Thomas disappeared mysteriously for a second time. This time he did not return. One night, while hosting a banquet in his tower, news was relayed to him of two white deer, a hart and hind, calmly walking down the street of the village. On hearing the news, Thomas left the tower, followed the animals across the Leader River and into the forest, never to be seen again. Legend says this was the sign from the Faery Queen for Thomas to return to her Kingdom. In Scottish myth and legend, white deer are said to be Faeries in disguise. There are other less fanciful explanations given for the disappearance of Thomas of Ercildoune. Some say he found sanctuary at Fail Monastery near Ayr. Thomas had been known to frequent this monastery periodically throughout
his life. There are even suggestions this was where he spent his seven year absence. Another story was told by a local man, by the name of Rob Messer, to whom it had been handed down from his ancestors. Thomas was en route to Lauder Castle to have a deed witnessed by the Laird, and was carrying a considerable sum of money. He was ambushed and murdered; his body being disposed of in the Leader River. Thomas was a close friend and confidante of King Alexander 111. The King's death plunged Scotland into troubled times, and Thomas was subsequently caught up in the politics of the time.
Extract from The Ballad of Thomas the Rhymer Part 1 of 3