Tales of the West Highlands THE
DAUGHTER OF THE SKIES
From James MacLauchlan, servant, Islay.
there. before now a farmer, and he had a leash of daughters, and much
cattle and sheep. He went on a day to see them, and none of them were to
be found; and he took the length of the day to search for them. He saw, in
the lateness, coming home, a little doggy running about a park.
came where he was - "What wilt thou give me," said he, "if I get thy lot
of cattle and sheep for thee?" "I don't know myself, thou ugly thing; what
wilt thou be asking, and I will give it to thee of anything I have?" "Wilt
thou give me," said the doggy, "thy big daughter to marry? "I will give
her to thee," said he, "if she will take thee herself."
home, himself and the doggy. Her father said to the eldest daughter, Would
she take him? and she said she would not. He said to the second one, Would
she marry him? and she said, she would not marry him, though the cattle
should not be got for ever. He said to the youngest one, Would she marry
him? and she said, that she would marry him. They married, and her sisters
were mocking her because she had married him.
He took her
with him home to his own place. When he came to his own dwelling place, he
grew into a splendid man. They were together a great time, and she said
she had better go see her father. He said to her to take care that she
should not stay till she should have children, for then she expected one.
She said she would not stay. He gave her a steed, and he told her as soon
as she reached the house, to take the bridle from her head and let her
away; and when she wished to come home, that she had but to shake the
bridle, and that the steed would come, and that she would put her head
She did as he
asked her; she was not long at her father's house when she fell ill, and a
child was born. That night men were together at the fire to watch. There
came the very prettiest music that ever was heard about the town; and
every one within slept but she. He came in and took the child from her. He
took himself out, and he went away. The music stopped, and each one awoke;
and there was no knowing to what side the child had gone.
She did not
tell anything, but so soon as she rose she took with her the bridle, and
she shook it, and the steed came, and she put her head into it. She took
herself off riding, and the steed took to going home; and the swift March
wind that would be before her, she would catch; and the swift March wind
that would be after her, could not catch her.
"Thou art come," said he. "I came," said she. He noticed nothing to her;
and no more did she notice anything to him. Near to the end of three
quarters again she said, "I had better go see my father." He said to her
on this journey as he had said before.
She took with
her the steed, and she went away; and when she arrived she took the bridle
from the steed's head, and she set her home.
night a child was born. He came as he did before, with music; every one
slept, and he took with him the child. When the music stopped they all
awoke. Her father was before her face, saying to her that she must tell
what was the reason of the matter. She would not tell anything. When she
grew well, and when she rose, she took with her the bridle, she shook it,
and the steed came and put her head into it. She took herself away home.
When she arrived he said, "Thou art come." "I came," said she. He noticed
nothing to her; no more did she notice anything to him. Again at the end
of three quarters, she said, "I had better go to see my father." "Do,"
said he, "but take care thou dost not as thou didst on the other two
journeys." "I will not," said she. He gave her the steed and she went
away. She reached her father's house, and that very night a child was
born. The music came as was usual, and the child was taken away. Then her
father was before her face; and he was going to kill her, if she would not
tell what was happening to the children; or what sort of man she had. With
the fright he gave her, she told it to him. When she grew well she took
the bridle with her to a hill that was opposite to her, and she began
shaking the bridle, to try if the steed would come, or if she would put
her head into it; and though she were shaking still, the steed would not
come. When she saw that she was not coming, she went out on foot. When she
arrived, no one was within but the crone that was his mother. "Tbou art
without a houseman to day," said the crone; and if thou art quick thou
wilt catch him yet. She went away, and she was going till the night came
on her. She saw then a light a long way from her; and if it was a long way
from her, she was not long in reaching it. When she went in, the floor was
ready swept before her, and the housewife spinning up in the end of the
house. "Come up," said the housewife, "I know of thy cheer and travel.
Thou art going to try if thou canst catch thy man; he is going to marry
the daughter of the King of the Sides." "He is!" said she. The housewife
rose; she made meat for her; she set on water to wash her feet, and she
laid her down. If the day came quickly, it was quicker than that that the
housewife rose, and that she made meat for her. She set her on foot then
for going; and she gave her shears that would cut alone; and she said to
her, "Thou wilt be in the house of my middle sister to night. " She was
going, and going, till the night came on her. She saw a light a long way
from her; and if it was a long way from her, she was not long in reaching
it. When she went in the house was ready swept, a fire on the middle of
the floor, and the housewife spinning at the end of the fire. "Come up,"
said the housewife, "I know thy cheer and travel." She made meat for her,
she set on water, she washed her feet, and she laid her down. No sooner
came the day than the housewife set her on foot, and made meat for her.
She said she had better go; and she gave her a needle would sew by itself.
"Thou wilt be in the house of my youngest sister to night," said she. She
was going, and going, till the end of day and the mouth of lateness. She
saw a light a long way from her; and if it was a long way from her, she
was not long in reaching it. She went in, the house was swept, and the
housewife spinning at the end of the fire. "Come up," said she, "I know of
thy cheer and travel." She made meat for her, she set on water, she washed
her feet, and she laid her down. If the day came quickly, it was quicker
than that that the housewife rose; she set her on foot, and she made her
meat; she gave her a clue of thread, and the thread would go into the
needle by itself; and as the shears would cut, and the needle sew, the
thread would keep up with them. "Thou wilt be in the town to night." She
reached the town about evening, and she went into the house of the king's
hen wife, to lay d6wn her weariness, and she was warming herself at the
fire. She said to the crone to give her work, that she would rather be
working than be still. "No man is doing a turn in this town to day," says
the hen wife; "the king's daughter has a wedding." "Ud!" said she to the
crone, "give me cloth to sew, or a shirt that will keep my hands going."
She gave her shirts to make; she took the shears from her pocket, and she
set it to work; she set the needle to work after it; as the shears would
cut, the needle would sew, and the thread would go into the needle by
itself One of the king's servant maids came in; she was looking at her,
and it caused her great wonder how she made the shears and the needle work
by themselves. She went home and she told the king's daughter, that one
was in the house of the hen wife, and that she had shears and a needle
that could work of themselves. "If there is," said the king's daughter,
"go thou over in the morning, and say to her, 'what win she take for the
shears.' " In the morning she went over, and she said to her that the
king's daughter was asking what would she take for the shears. "Nothing I
asked," said she, "but leave to lie where she lay last night." "Go thou
over," said the king's daughter, "and say to her that she will get that."
She gave the shears to the king's daughter. When they were going to lie
down, the king's daughter gave him a sleep drink, so that he might not
wake. He did not wake the length of the night; and no sooner came the day,
than the king's daughter came where she was, and set her on foot and ppt
her out. On the morrow she was working with the needle, and cutting with
other shears. The king's daughter sent the maid servant over, and she
asked "what would she take for the needle?" She said she would not take
anything, but leave to lie where she lay last night. The maid servant told
this to the king's daughter. "She will get that," said the king's
daughter. The maid servant told that she would get that, and she got the
needle. When they were going to lie down, the king's daughter gave him a
sleep drink, and he did not wake that night. The eldest son he had was
lying in a bed beside them; and he was hearing her speaking to him through
the night, and saying to him that she was the mother of his three
children. His father and he himself was taking a walk out, and he told his
father what he was hearing. This day the king's daughter sent the servant
maid to ask what she would take for the clue; and she said she would ask
but leave to lie where she lay last night. "She will get that," said the
king's daughter. This night when he got the sleep drink, he emptied it,
and he did not drink it at all. Through the night she said to him that he
was the father of her three sons; and he said that he was. In the morning,
when the king's daughter came down, he said to her to go up, that she was
his wife who was with him. When they rose they went away to go home. They
came home; the spells went off him, they planted together and I left diem,
and they left me.
Bha siod ann
roimhe so tuathanach, 's triủtir nigheanan aige, 's mòran cruidh is
chaorach. Dh' fholbh e la 'am faicinn 's cha robh gin r'a fhaotainn dhiu,
's thug e fad an latha 'gan iarraidh. Chunnaic e, anns an anamoch a'
tighinn dachaidh, cuilean beag a' ruith feadh pàirce. Thàinig an cuilean
far an robh e, "De bheir thu dhòmhs'," urs' esan, "ma gheobh mi do chuid
cruidh is caorach dhuit?" "Cha n 'eil fhios 'am féin a ruid ghrannda. De
bhios thu 'g iarraidh? 's bheir mise dhuit e de ni sam bith a th' agam."
"An d' thoir thu dhomh," urs' an cuilean, "do nighean mhòr r'a pòsadh." "Bheir
mise dhuit i, urs' esan, "ma ghabhas i féin thu." Chaidh iad dhachaidh, e
féin 's an cuilean. Dh' fhoighneachd a h-athair d'a nighean bu shine an
gabhadh i e, 's thuirt i nach gabhadh. Thuirt e ris an darna té am pòsadh
ise e, 's thuirt i nach gabhadh. Thuirt e ris an darna té am pòsadh ise e,
's thuirt i nach pòsadh, ged nach faighte an crodh gu bràth. Thuirt e ris
an té b òige am pòsadh ise e, 's thuirt i gum pòsadh. Phòs iad, 's bha'
peathraichean a magadh urra airson gu do phòs i e. Thug e leis dhachaidh
i d'a àite féin. Nur a thàinig e g' a àite còmhnuidh féin dh' fhàs e 'na
dhuine ciatach. Bha iad còmhla ủine mhòr, 's thuirt ise gum b' fheàrra dhi
dol a dh' amharc a h-athar. Thuirt esan rithe i thoirt an aire nach
fhanadh i gus am biodh clan aice. Bha i torrach 'san am. Thuirt i nach
fanadh. Thug e dhi steud, 's thuirt e rithe, cho luath 's a ruigeadh i 'n
tigh an t-srian a thoirt as a ceann, 's a leigeil air folbh, 's nur a
bhiodh toil aice tighinn dachaidh nach robh aic' ach an t-srian a
chrathadh, 's gun d' thigeadh an steud 's gun cuireadh i 'ceann innte.
Rinn i mar a dh' iarr e urra. Cha robh i fad' an tigh a h-athar nur a dh'
fhàs i gu bochd 'sa chaidh a h-asaid. An oidhche sin bha daoine cruinn aig
a' ghealbhan 'ga 'faire. Thàinig an aona cheòl a bu bhinne chualas riamh
feadh a' bhaile, 's chaidil a' h-uile duine stigh ach ise. Thainig esan a
stigh 's thug e uaithe am pàisde. Ghabhe 'mach 's dh' fholbh e. Stad an
ceòl, 's dhuisg gach duine, 's cha robh fios de 'n taobh a chaidh am
pàisde. Cha d' innis i ni sam bith, ach cho luath 's a dh' 'eiridh i thug
i leatha an t-srian, 's chrath i i, 's thàinig an steud, 's chuir i 'ceann
innte. Ghabh i air mharcachd urra, 's ghabh an steud air folbh dhachaidh;
bheireadh ise air a ghaoith luath Mhàrt a bh' air thoiseach orra, 's cha
bheiseadh a ghaoth luath Mhàrt a bha na déigh orra. Ràinig i.
urs' esan. "Thàinig," urs' ise. Cha do leig e rud sam bith air rithe, 's
cha mhotha leig ise rud sam bith orra risan. Dlủith air ceann tri ràithean
a rithisd thuirt ise, " 'S fheàrra dhomh dol a dh' amharc m athar. "
Thuirt e rithe air an t-siubhal so mar a thuirt e roimhid. Thug i leatha
an steud 's dh' fholbh i. Nur a ràinig i thug n t-srian a ceann na steud,
's leig i dhachaidh i, 's an oidhche sin féin chaidh a h-asaid. Thàinig
esan mar a rinn e roimhid le ceòl. Chaidil a' h-uile duine, 's thug e leis
am pàisde. Nur a stad an ceòl dhủisg iad air fad. Bha 'h-athair air a h-aodann
ag ràdh rithe gum feumadh i innseadh de bu chiall de 'n ghnothach. Cha 'n
innseadh ise ni sam bith. Nur a dh' fhàs i gu math, 's a dh' éirich i,
thug i leatha, an t-srian, chrath i i, 's thàinig an steud, 's chuir i
ceann innte. Ghabh i air folbh dhachaidh. Nur a ràinig i thuirt esan. "Thàinig
thu. Thàinig," urs' ise. Cha do leig e rud sam bith aire rithe, 's cha
mhotha 'leig ise urra risan. An ceann tri ràithean a rithisd thuirt i, "
'S fheàrra dhomh dol a dh' amharc m' athar." "Dèan," urs' esan, "ach thoir
an aire nach dèan thu mar a rinn thu an da shiubhal roimhid." "Cha dèan,"
urs' ise. Thug e dhi an steud, 's dh' fholbh i. Ràinig i tigh a h-athar,
's dh' asaideadh i 'n oidhche sin féin. Thàinig an ceòl mar a b àbhaist,
's thugadh am pàisd' air folbh. Bha 'h-athair air a h-aodann an sin, 's e
'dol a 'marbhadh mar an innseadh i dé 'bha tachairt do na pàisdean, no dé
'n seòrsa duine a bh' aice. Leis an eagal a chuir e urra dh' innis i dha
e. Nur a dh' fhàs i gu math, thug i leatha an t-srian gu cnoc a bha ma 'coinneamh,
's thòisich i air crathadh na sréine feuch an d'thigeadh an steud, na'n
cuireadh i 'ceann innte, 's ged a bhiodh i 'crathadh fhathasd cha d'
thigeadh an steud. Nur a chunnaic i nach robh i 'tighinn ghabh i mach 'na
cois. Nur a ràinig i cha robh duine stigh ach a' chailleach a bu mhàthair
dha. "Tha thusa gun fhear tighe an diugh," urs' a' chailleach, " 's ma
bhios thu tapaidh beiridh thu air fhathasd."
Ghabh i air
folbh, 's bha i 'folbh gus an d' thàinig an oidhche orra. Chunnaic i 'n
sin solus fada uaithe, 's ma b fhada uaithe cha b' fhada bha ise 'ga 'ruigheachd.
Nur a chaidh i stigh bha urlar réidh sguabte roimhpe, 's bean an tighe 'sniomh
shuas an ceann an tighe. "Thig a nòis," ursa bean an tighe, "tha fios do
sheud 's do shiubhail agamsa. Tha thu folbh feuch am beir thu air t-fhear.
Tha e 'folbh a phòsadh nighean rìgh nan speur." "Tha!" urs' ise. Dh'
éirich bean an tighe; rinn i biadh dhi; chuir i air uisge 'ghlanadh a cas;
's chuir i 'laidhe i. Ma bu luatha a thàinig an latha bu luaithe na sin a
dh' éirich bean an tighe 'sa rinn i biadh dhi. Chuir i air a cois i 'n sin
airson folbh, 's thug i dhi siosar a ghearradh leis féin, 's thuirt i
rithe. "Bidh thu ann an tigh mo phiuthar mheadhonachsa nochd." Bha i 'folbh
's a' folbh, gus an d' thàinig an oidhche urra. Chunnaic i solus fada
uaithe,' s ma b fhada uaithe cha b fhada bha ise 'ga ruigheachd. Nur a
chaidh i stigh bha 'n tigh réidh, sguabte; gealbhan air meadhon an urtair,
's bean an tighe 'sniomh an ceann a' ghealbhain. "Thig a nòis," ursa bean
an tighe, "tha fios do sheud 's do shiubhail agamsa." Rinn i biadh dhi;
chuir i air uisge; ghlan i casan 's chuir i laidhe i. Cha bu lủaithe a
thàinig an latha na 'chuir bean an tighe air a cois i, 's a rinn i biadh
dhi. Thuirt i rithe gum b fheàrra dhi folbh, 's thug i dhi snàthad a dh'
fhuaigheadh leatha féin. Bidh thu ann an tigh mo pheathar is òige a nochd,"
Bha i folbh
's a' folbh gu deireadh latha 's beul anamoich. Chunnaic i solus fada
uaithe, 's ma b' fhada uaithe cha b' fhada bha ise 'ga ruigheachd. Chaidh
i stigh. Bha 'n tigh sguabte, 's bean an tighe 'sniomh os ceann a'
ghealbhain. "Thig a nòis," urs' ise, "tha fios do sheud 's do shiubhail
agamsa." Rinn i biadh dhi, chuir i air uisge, ghlan i 'casan, 's chuir i
laidhe i. Ma bu luath a thàinig an latha, bu luaithe n a sin a dh' éirich
bean an tighe; chuir i air a cois i, s rinn i biadh dhi. Thug i dhi
ceairsle shnàth 's rachadh an snàthainn anns an t-snàthad leis féin, 's
mur a ghearradh an siosar, s mur a dh' fhuaigheadh an t-snàthad, chumadh
a cheairsle snàth ruitha. "Bidh thu anns a' bhaile nochd."
Ràinig i 'm
baile ma fheasgar's chaidh i stigh do thigh chailleach chearc an rìgh.
Shuidh i 'leigeil a sgòis; bha i ga garadh aig a' ghealbhan; thuirt i ris
a' chaillich obair a' thoirt dhi, gum b fheàrr leatha 'bhi 'g obair na
bhi 'na tàmh. "Cha 'n 'eil duine dèanadh turn 's a' bhaile so 'n diugh,"
ursa a' chailleach; "tha pòsadh aig nighean an rìgh." "Ud!" urs' ise ris
a' chaillich, "thoir dhomh aodach r'a fhuaghal, na léine 'chumas mo làmh
air folbh." Thug i dhi léintean r'a dhèanadh. Tbug i mach siosar a a pòca;
chuir i dh' obair e; chuir i 'n t-snàthad a dh' obair as a dhéigh. Mar a
ghearradh an siosar dh' fhuaigheadh an t-snàthad, 's rachadh an snàth anns
an t-snàthaid leis féin. Thàinig té do shearbhantan an rìgh stigh; bha i
'g amharc urra; 's bha e cur ioghnadas mòr urra démur a bha i 'toirt air
an t-siosar 's air an t-snàthad oibreachadh leotha féin. Chaidh i
dhachaidh, 's dh' innis i do nighean an rìgh gun robh té ann an tigh
chailleach nan cearc, 's gun robh siosar agus snàthad aice a dh'
oibreachadh leotha féin. "Ma tha," ursa nighean an rìgh, "theirig thusa
nunn anns a' mhaidinn., 's abair rithe de 'ghabhas i air an t-siosar."
Anns a' mhaidinn chaidh i 'nunn, 's thuirt i rithe gun robh nighean an
rìgh a' foighneachd dé ghabhadh i air an t-siosar. "Cha 'n iarr mi," urs'
ise, "ach cead laidhe far an do laidh i féin an rair." "Theirig thusa nunn,"
ursa nighean an rìgh, " 's abair rithe gum faigh i sin." Thug i 'n siosar
do nighean an rìgh.
Nur a bha iad
a' dol a laidhe thug nighean an rìgh deoch chadail dàsan, air alt 's nach
dhủisgeadh e. Cha do dhủisg e fad na h-oidhche, 's cha bu luaithe a
thàinig an latha na thàinig nighean an rìgh far an robb ise, 'sa chuir i
air a cois i. An la 'r na mhàireach bha i 'g obair leis an t-snàthaid, 's
a' gearradh le siosar eile. Chuir nighean an rìgh an searbhanta nunn a dh'
fhoighneachd dé ghabhadh i air an t-shàthaid. Thuirt i nach gabhadh ni sam
bith ach cead laidhe far an do laidh i rair. Dh innis an searbhanta so do
nighean an rìgh. "Gheobh i sin," ursa nighean an rìgh. Dh innis an
searbhanta gum faigheadh i siod, 's fhuair i'n t-snàthad. Nur a bha iad a'
dol a laidhe thug nighean an rìgh deoch chadail da, 's cha do dhủisg e 'n
oidhche sin. Bha 'm mac a bu shine bh' aige arm an leaba làmh riutha, 's
bha e 'ga 'cluinntinn a' bruidhinn ris feadh na h-oidhche, 's ag ràdh ris
gum b'i màthair a thriủir chloinn'i. Bha athair 's e féin a' gabhail sràid
a mach, 's dh' innis e d'a athair dé 'bha e'cluinntinn. An latha, so chuir
nighean an rìgh an searbhanta a dh'fheòraich de'ghabhadh i air a'
cheairsle, 's thuirt i rithe nach iarradh i ach cead laidhe far an do
laidh i 'n rair, "Gheobh i sin," ursa nighean an rìgh. An oidhche so nur a
fhuair e 'n deoch chadail thaom e i, 's cha d' òl e idir i. Feadh na h-oidhche
thuirt ise ris gum b e athair a triủir mac, 's thuirt esan gum b' e.
mhaidinn, nur a thàinig nighean an rìgh nuas, thuirt e rithe i 'dhol suas,
gum bi 'bhean a bha leis. Nur a dh' eiridh iad dh' fholbh iad airson dol
dachaidh. Thàinig iad dachaidh; dh' fholbh na geasan deth. Chuir iad
còmhla 's dhealaich mise riutha, 's dhealaich iadsan riumsa.
This is but
another version of No. III., The Hoodie;" but it has certain magic gifts
which I have not found in any other Gaelic story; and the little dog who
goes to the skies, and is about to marry the daughter of the king, and is
transformed into a man at home, may turn out to be a Celtic divinity. When
so little is known of Celtic mythology, anything may be of use. The raven,
the crow, and the serpent, have appeared as transformed beings of superior
power. Now, the little dog appears, and there are mystic dogs elsewhere in
Gaelic stories, and in other Celtic countries. In the Isle of Man is the
well known "Modey dhu," black dog which used to haunt Peel Castle, and
frightened a soldier to death.
In a curious
book, written to prove Gaelic to be the original language (History of the
Celtic Language, by L. MacLean, 1840), there is a great deal of
speculation as to the Farnese Globe; and the dog star in particular is
supposed to have been worshipped by the Druids. Without entering into such
a wide field, it is worth notice that "Anubis," the dog star, was son of
Osiris and Nephthys, had the nature of a dog, and was represented with the
head of one. He was a celestial double deity, and watched the tropics. The
servant lad who told this story; and the old woman, MacKerrol, from whom
he learned it, are not likely persons to have heard of Anubis, or the
Farnese Globe; so anything got from them may be taken at its value,
whatever that may be. The opinion that Celts came from the East by way of
Phnicia, has been held by many, and some one may wish to follow the trial
of the little dog; so I give his history as it came to me, rather than
fuse it into one story with the Hoodie, as I was at first tempted to do
before the plan of this work was decided on.
of this tale is the Gaelic "Once upon a time."
Bha siod ann
Was yonder in it ere this.
TRIUR is a
collective noun of number for three, and answers to leash; or to
pair, brace, dozen, for two; twelve.
clearly the same word as steed. It is commonly used in these stories, and
I have never heard it used in conversation. It is feminine, like FALAIRE,
the other word commonly used for a horse in stories and poetry; and hardly
ever in ordinary speech.
are derived from steud, and I do not think that it is imported.
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