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Robert Kirk (1644-1692) was a minister and Gaelic scholar who is best known for this manuscript on fairy superstitions and the second sight. As well as pioneering the translation of the Bible in Scottish Gaelic, Kirk collected traditions of elves, ghosts and witchcraft. The Secret Commonwealth was eventually published by Sir Walter Scott in 1815. After Kirk's death it was rumoured that he had been taken by fairies in revenge for revealing their secrets.