Around Hogmanay, 1861, a merchant from Alloa had to send £12 to a neighbouring village.

He rolled it up in a parcel and gave it to his servant boy to take to the carrier.

When the boy reached the stance, he could not find the carrier so he handed it over to the gentleman who was always at the stance, who said he would give it to the carrier when he appeared. The boy agreed and headed back to his master.

No more was thought about the parcel until a few days later when the merchant bumped into the carrier and asked if he had delivered it.

The carrier told him he knew nothing about it and had not received the parcel. The merchant called on the boy and asked him who he had given the parcel to, and the youngster told him.

The merchant went to speak to the gentleman, but he could not recall a specific package as he had handled so many that day. He went on that if he had received the money, he would have passed it on to the carrier.

As a result, the fiscal was called in and an investigation got underway. However, the mystery was soon solved.

The carrier had left before the boy had turned up with the money, and the man who had been entrusted with the £12, having found this out, had handed it to an ostler who was heading to the same village.

He mischievously told the ostler that the package contained poison and he should take good care of it, and hand it over to the courier when he met up with him. He promised to do this and no more was thought about it until the money was missed.

After racking his brains for a week, the Alloa gentleman remembered the transaction, and told the carrier to call on the ostler, which he did.

It transpired that having been told it was poison, the ostler had tossed it in a hole in the stable then forgot all about it.

The carrier asked if he still had it, and he told him he had seen it a few days earlier but did not think it was worth delivering by then.

The carrier opened the parcel, and there was the money. He quipped: 'See, there's the kind o' poison ye threw i' the hole.'

The astonished ostler replied: 'If I had kent, they widna lain there sae lang.'

The mystery had been solved.