The story of the white heather is an old, old tale and a sad one. The Celtic Bard Ossian had a daughter, Malvina, who was as fair as the dawn and gentle as the dew. She was betrothed to Oscar, a warrior as gallant as he was handsome. Though he had wandered far in search of fame and beauty, no one held chief place in his heart save Malvina the fair.
Once in the glory of autumn, Malvina and her father were sitting on the moor's edge talking of Oscar's return from some warlike expedition. Over the heather came limping to them a ragged messenger. Wounded and weary, he knelt before them. Holding ut a spray of purple heather to Malvina, he told her that it came from Oscar as a last token of his love for he was slain in battle and his henchmen had barely escaped to bring the news.
As Malvina listened, her tears fell on the purple heather which immediately became white.
Ossian made mournful music for his daughter's dead lover, and, as they wandered over the moors, her tears often fell upon the clumps of purple heather which immediately turned white. Then, even in the bitterness of her own sorrow, wishing the others may be happier than she, Malvina said, "Although it is the symbol of my sorrow, may the white heather bring good fortune to all who find it."