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Popular Tales of the West Highlands
The Poor Brother and the Rich
From Flora MacIntyre, Islay


URSGEUL

Bha bràthair bochd agus bràthair beairteach ann roimhe so. 'Se 'n obair a bh' aig an fhear bhochd a bhi déanadh dhraintan. Dh' fhasdaidh e gille, 's cha robh mìr aca le am biadh ach 'ga 'ghabhail tur. "Nach fheàrra dhuinn," urs' an gille; "bò de chuid do bhràthar a ghoid. " Dh' fholbh iad agus rinn iad so. Bha 'm bràthair beairteach a' gabhail amharuis gur h‑iad a ghoid a' bhò, 's cha robh fhios aige dé 'n dòigh a dhèanadh e air faotainn a mach an iad a ghoid i.

Dh' fholbh e 's chuir e 'mhàthair‑chéile ann an cisde, 's thàinig e dh' iarraidh rum de 'n chisde ann an tigh a bhràthar. Chuir e aran is càise leis a' chaillich anns a' chisde, 's bha toll urra, air alt gu' mòchadh ise do na h‑uile gnothuch. Mhothaich an gille gun robh a' chailleach anns a' chisde. Fhliuch e saic, is thilg e air muinn na cisd' iad. Bha 'n t‑uisge 'sruthadh as na saic air a' chaillich, 's cha robh i 'cluinntinn smid. Chaidh e anns an oidhche far an robh a' chailleach, 's thuirt e rithe an robh i cluinntinn. "Cha 'n 'eil," urs' ise. "Am bheil thu 'g itheadh a' bheag?" "Cha 'n 'eil." "Thoir dhòmhsa piosa de 'n chàise 's gearraidh mi dhuit e." Gheàrr e 'n càise, 's dhinn e 'na muineal e gus an do thachd e i. Chaidh a' chisde 'thoirt dachaidh, 's a' chailleach marbh innte. Thìolaic iad a' chailleach, 's cha d' rinn iad ach cosdas beag urra. Anns an oidhche thuirt gille an fhir bochd r'a mhaighstir, "Nach déisneach a leithid siod de dh' anart a dhol leis a' chaillich do 'n chill, 's cho feumail ‘s a tha na pàisdean air léintean."

Dh' fhoIbh e 's thug e leis spàd; riinig e 'n clagh; chladhaich e 'n uaigh; thug e 'chailleach as a chiste‑luidh; thug e dhi an t‑ais-aodach; thilg e air a mhuinn i; 's thàinig e gu. tigh a' bhàthair bheairteach. Chaidh e stigh leatha, 's chuir e i 'na suidhe aig a' ghealbhan, 's an clotha eadar a da chois. Nur a dh' éiridh an searbhanta anns a' mhaidinn thuit i ann am paiseanadh, nur a chunnaic i 'chailleach roimpe. Ghabh am bràthair bearteach air a' bhean airson a màthar ag ràdh gun robh i brath a sgrios. Chaidh e gu tigh a' bhràthair bhochd,'s dh' innis e gun d'thàinig a'chailleach dhachaidh. "A ha!" urs' an gille, "O nach do chosd thu ea beò e cosdaidh thu r'a marbh e! Chunnaic mise leithid so roimhid. Feumaidh tu cosdas math a dheanadh urra."

Cheannaich iad cuid mhath de ghnothuichean airson an tòrraidh, ‘s dh' fhàg iad an darna leith dheth ann an tigh a'bhrathair bhochd. Thìolaic iad a' chailleach a rithisd. "Nach déisneach," ursa gille “bhrathair bhochd r'a mhaighstir, "a leithid siod do dh’ anart a dhol air a' chaillich, 's cho feumail 's a tha thu féin air léine."

Chaidh e do 'n chill an oidhche sin a rithisd. Thog e 'chailleach, s’ thug e dhith an t‑ais‑aodach, 's thug e leis air a'mhuinn i. Chaidh e stigh do thigh a' bhràthair bheairtich mar a b’ àbhaist, 's chuir e ‘chailleach 'na seasamh aig ceann an dresseir, 's a cròg làn do chàith as an t‑soitheach chabhrach, mar gum biodh i 'ga itheadh. Nur a chunnaic fear an tighe air a h‑ais i anns a mhaidinn, ghabh e air a' bhean gu h‑iomlan airson a màthar. Chaidh e 'n sin do thigh a' bhrathar bhochd, 's dh' innis e gun d' thàinig a' chailleach dhachaidh a rithisd. "A ha!" urs' an gille, "O nach do chosd thu r'a beò e, cosdaidh thu r'a marbh e. Chunnaic: mise 'leithid so roimhid." "Folbh thusa mata 's dean cosdas math urra chionn tha mise sgìth dhi.

Cheannaich e cuid mhath thun tòrradh na caillich, 's thug e 'n a leith thun tigh a' mhaighstir. Thìolaic iad a' chailleach. Anns an oidhche urs' an gille r'a mhaighstir, "Nach déisneach a' leithid siod do dh' anart a dol leis a' chaillich do 'n chill, 's mi féin cho feumail air léine." Thug e 'chill air; thog e chailleach; thug e dhi an t-ais‑aodach; chuir e air a mhuinn i; 's ràinig e tigh a' bhràthar bheairteach. Cha d' fhuair e stigh air an t‑siubhal so. Chaidh e leatha do 'n stàbull, 's cheangail e i air muinn bliadhnach eich. Nur a dh' éiridh iad 's a' mhaidinn bha iad gu toilichte, nur nach fhac iad a' chailleach romhpa. Bha esan a' dol o'n tigh. Chaidh e mach do ‘n stàbull, 's thug e leis an capull, ach cha do mhothaich e gun robh 'chailleach air muinn a bhliadnaich; nur a dh' fholbh esan air muinn a chapuill, as a dheigh a bha 'm bliadhnach, 's a' chailleach a’ glaigeileis air a mhuinn.Thill e air ais nur a chunnaic: e chailleach, ‘s theab e bhean a mharbhadh air an uair so. Chaidh e do thigh a' bràthar, 's dh' innis e gun d' thàinig a' chailleach dhachaidh a rithisd. "O nach do chosd thu r'a beò e," ars' an gille, "feumaidh tu 'chosd r'a marbh." "Theirig agus dean do rogha cosdus rithe," ars’ esan ris a' ghille, "ach cum air folbh i”. Chaidh e air an t‑siubhail so agus cheannaich e cuid rnhath airson tòrradh na caillich 's chuir e gach duine bha 'san àite. Thìolaic iàd a' chailleach a rithisd, 's bha 'm bràthair bochd cho beairteach ris an fhear eile air tàilleabh nan tòrradh.

One James MacQueen, who lived at Timeagan, near Kilmeny, but who is not living now, gave this to one Flora MacIntyre, at Kilmeny, who told it to Hector MacLean ‑ May 1859.

This story is not like any other that I know. It is one of a kind which is common, in which mortals alone play a part. Some are humorous, and some free. One such has been versified by Allan Ramsay, page 520, vol. 2; and is nearly the same as Tom Totherhouse, the Norse tale.

The expensive fimeral was once truly highland; and the invitation to all the world characteristic. It used to be told of one such funeral party, that they dropped the coffin out of a cart on the way over a strand, and never found it out till they got to the churchyard. They returned and finished the funeral, but went home afterwards very drunk; the sons shouting "Horo! it's the carlin's wedding." The funeral dinner was within my memory, and still may be, a solemn feast. Such toasts as "Comfort to the distressed," and "The memory of the deceased," were drank in solernn silence; and the whole matter was conducted with gravity and decorum, but with profuse and necessary hospitality, for the funeral guests had often to travel great distances, and the coffin had to be carried many miles. No High­lander, if his friends can help it, is buried anywhere but at home; coffins may be seen on board the steamers, conveying to the outer islands the bodies of those who have died on the main land. It is a poetic wish to be buried amongst friends, and one that is in full force in the Highlands to this day. The curse of Scotland may occasionally intrude even on such solemn occasions; but a fimeral is almost always decorously conducted. In some places, as I am told, a piper may still be seen at the head of the fimeral procession, playing a dirge. There is no want of reverence, but death is treated as an ordinary event. I have seen a man's tombstone, with a blank for the date, standing at the end of his house, while he was quite well.

It was lately said of a man who went home to die, "He took his own body home;" and so he did.

There is something mythological about the old woman who win not rest, because enough has not been laid out on her funeral. It may be some remnant of a notion of purgatory; but I suspect it is something heathen.

Romans had to pay their passage, perhaps Celts had to do so likewise.


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