In the depths of the countryside on a cold, dark night, a woman living on her own in a secluded cottage spots two prowlers stumbling about in her garden.
Fearlessly, she runs outside in her nightgown to confront them.
A voice booms from the dark: “Hello, I’m Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP, and this is our candidate for Galloway. We’ve just stopped to look at a comet’.”
A likely story, she might have retorted.
But to her astonishment it was true SNP leader Alex Salmond and his Galloway candidate, Alasdair Morgan, were gazing upwards at the stars.
Mr Salmond can barely control his laughter as he recounts the night he wandered around trying to catch sight of the famous comet Hale-Bopp.
It sounds like a ridiculous scenario, but when you learn of his love of astronomy it actually makes perfect sense.
It was early 1997, and as SNP leader, Mr Salmond was on the campaign trail with Mr Morgan to clinch another seat.
Throughout the campaign, Mr Salmond was convinced victory would be theirs, as “the cosmos was sending us a sign” he explains, without a hint of sarcasm.
Comet Hale-Bopp, one of the brightest seen for decades, was due to appear in the night’s sky, and the politician was ecstatic.
Not only was he fascinated by the stars, but he was convinced it was a signal from the heavens that fate was on the SNP’s side.
As a boy Mr Salmond became amazed by astronomy after his father purchased a set of encyclopaedias.
He recalls: “When I was a youngster I had very bad childhood asthma, and I was off school as much as I was there. When I was off I read these encyclopaedias from cover to cover. There was a whole one on astronomy, so I knew everything there is to know up to the year 1960.
“My knowledge since is less, of course, but I’ve picked up one or two things as I’ve always kept up an interest.
“In fact, I almost did astronomy when I went on to university as St Andrews had a great department and observatory.”
On the night Comet Hale-Bopp was due to appear, Mr Salmond and Mr Morgan were travelling north to Castle Douglas. Just before midnight, they stopped their car on a pitch-black road in the hope of catching a glimpse of the spectacle.
Little did they know they had pitched up right next to a country home, and its sole occupant came running outside to find out who the “strange men” were in her garden.
“She came out the house in her goonie, wondering who on earth these people were are at the side of her house,” Mr Salmond recalls, giggling.
“Thankfully she was a good-natured soul and even offered us a look through her binoculars. She wanted to see it, too.”
Incidentally, Mr Morgan was crowned victor that year.
But astronomy, stars and the cosmos are not just interests for Mr Salmond the concepts are also laced in his rhetoric when it comes to politics. He tells us he believes fate is conspiring to offer opportunities to Scotland.
“The opportunity is quite simple, and that involves the likelihood on the one side of a balanced parliament, and the likelihood on the other side of a strong SNP break,” he explains.
“Now, in the world of politics and life, for that matter nothing is certain. If these two things conjoin, if these two stars are aligned in the heavens as it looks like they will be then the opportunities for Scotland are endless. And that’s fantastic.”
As a young civil servant, Mr Salmond recalls dashing off from meetings at Great Westminster House in London to visit the Planetarium at Greenwich.
His fascination of the universe has also encouraged a lasting adoration for Star Trek.
His love of the stars even took him close to a mini-emergency in his own back garden at home in Strichen as he went searching for another less spectacular comet going by the name of Linear.
Mr Salmond eventually spotted the comet as he stood in an expanse of grass which goes down to the River Ugie.
He says: “I went outside with my binoculars.
“After about an hour or so, I noticed I was getting frozen so I started trying to move, but I’d sunk. My sock came out my boot as I tried to pull. I was stuck in the marsh, comet spotting.
“So if you ever see a mad politician with a pair of binoculars in his back garden staring up at the sky, that’s what I am up to.”