CATH NAN EUN.
Bha am ann uair, anns an robb. na h'
uile beathach 's eun a cruinneachadh gu cath. Thubhairt mac rìgh
Cathair Shìomain, "Gu'n rachadh e a dh' fhaicinn a chath, agus gun
d'thugadh e fios cinnteach dhachaidh do dh' athair an rìgh,
co a bhiodh 'na rìgh air na beathaichcan air a
bhliadhna so." Bha 'n cath seachad mu 'n dràinig e, ach eadar
aon-fhitheach mòr dubh agus nathair, agus bha aogas gu'm faigheadh an
nathair buaidh air an fhitheach. 'Nuair a chunnaic mac an rìgh
so, chuidich e ’m fitheach, agus le aon bhuille thugar an ceann do 'n
nathair. 'Nuair a leig am fitheach anail, 'sa chunnaic e gu'n robh an
nathair marbh, thubhairt e, "Air son do choimhneis dhòmhsa
an diugh, bheir mise sealladh dhuit; thig a nios a nis air bun mo dhà
sgéithe." Chaidh mac an rìgh
suas air muin an fhithich agus mu 'n do stad e, thug e thairis e air
seachd beanntaibh, seachd glìnn, agus seachd monaidhean. "A nis," ars' am
fitheach, "am bheil thu faicinn an tigh' ud thàll; falbh a nis d'a 'ionnsuidh;
's i piuthar dhòmhsa a tha gabhail còmhnuidh
ann agus théid mis 'an urras gu'r é do bheatha, agus ma dh' fhoighneachdas
i dhìot, 'an robh thu aig Cath nan eun? abair thusa,
'gu'n robh'." "Agus ma dh' fheòraicheas i dhìot,
'am faca tu mo choltas-sa, abair thusa 'gu 'm faca, ach bi cinnteach gu'n
coinnich thu mise moch am màireach anns an
àite so." Fhuair mac an rìgh gabhail
aige gu maithe 's gu ro rnhaith air an oidhche so, biadh dheth gach biadh,
's deoch dheth gach deoch, uisge blàth d'a chasan 's leaba bhog d'a leasan.
Air an ath latha, thug am fitheach an sealladh ceudna dhà
thairis air seachd beanntaibh, seachd glinn, agus seachd monaidhean.
Chunnaic iad bothan fad' uatha ach ge b' fhad uatha, cha b' fhada 'ga 'ruigheachd.
Fhuair e gabhail aig' air an oidhche so gu maith mar an ceudna; paílteas
biadh 's deoch, 's uisge blàth d'a chasan, 's leaba bhog d'a leasan. Air
an treas maduinn an àit an
fhithich fhaicinn, mar air na h-uairean roimhe, co thug coinneamh dha, ach
an t-òganach a bu dhreachmhoire a chunnaic e riamh,
agus pasgan aige na Làimh. Dh' fhoighneachd mac an rìgh
do 'n òganach so, "Am fac e fitheach mòr dubh?"
Thubhairt an t-òganach ris, "Cha 'n 'fhaic thu 'm
fitheach tuillidh, oir s mise am fitheach a bha 'sin; bha mi air mo, chuir
fo gheasaibh agus 'se thusa a choinneachadh a dh' fhuasgail mi, air son
sin, tha thu a' faotainn a phasgain so." "Nis," ars' an t-òganach,
"pillidh tu air t'ais air a chois-cheum cheudna, agus bithidh tu oidhche
anns gach tigh mar a bha thu roimhe; ach am bonn a tha agad ri dhèanamh,'na
fuasgail am pasgan sin a thug mi dhuit, gus am bi thu anns an
àite bu mhiannaiche leat a bhith chòmhnuidh."
Thug mac an rìgh a chủl air an òganach,
agus thug e aghaidh air tigh Athar, agus fhuair e aoidheachd aig
peathraichean an fhithich ceart mar a fhuair e 'dol air aghaidh. Nuair a
bha e dlủthachadh ri tigh athar, bha e 'dol troimhe
choille dhủmhail; air leis gu ‘n robh am pasgan a' fàs
trom, agus smaoinich e gu 'n sealladh e gu dè a bh' ann. 'Nuair a dh'
fhuasgail e 'm pasgan, cha b' ann gun iongantas a chur air fhéin. Ann am
prioba na sủla, faicear an aon àite bu bhrèagha
a chunnaic e riamh caisteal mòr, agus lios, anns an robh na h-uile seòrsa
meas is luibhean mun cuairt air a' chaisteal. Sheas e làn
iongantais, agus aithreachais air son am pasgan fhuasgladh. Cha robh 'na
chomas a chur air ais a rithist, agus bu mhiann leis an t-àite
bòidheach so a bhith air an lagan bhòidheach
uaine a bha fa chomhair tigh athar. Ach sủil do 'n
d' thug e, faicear famhair mòr, 's e gabhail d'a 'ionnsuidh. " 'S olc an
t-àite anns an do thog thu do thigh, a mhic an rìgh,"
ars' am famhair. "Seadh, ach cha b’ ann an so bu mhiannaiche leam e 'bhith,
ge do thachair e 'bhith ann gu tabaisteach," arsa mac an rìgh.
"Ciod an duais a bheireadh tu air son a chur air ais sa phasgan mar a bha
e roimhe?" "Ciod an duais a dh' iarradh tu?" arsa mac an rìgh.
"Ma bheir thu dhòmhs' a cheud mhac a bhitheas agad,
'nuair a bhitheas e seachd bliadhna dh' aois," ars' am famhair. "Gheibh
thu sin ma bhitheas mac agam," thubhairt mac an rìgh.
Ann am prioba na sủla chuir am famhair gach lios is gàrradh
is caisteal 'sa phasgan mar a bha iad roimhe. "Nis," ars' am famhair, "gabh
thusa do rathad féin, 's gabhaidh mise mo rathad féin, ach cuimhnich do
ghealladh 's ged nach cuimhnich thusa, cha di-chuimhnich mise." Thug mac
an rìgh an rathad air, 's an ceann beagan Làithean
ràinig e 'n t-àite bu
mhiannaiche leis; dh' fhuasgail e 'm pasgan, agus bha 'n t-àite
ceudna dìreach mar a bha e
roimhe, agus a nuair a dh' fhosgail e dorus a chaisteail, faicear an òigh
bu dhreachmhoire air an d' thug e sủil riamh. "Thìg
air t-aghaidh, a mhic an rìgh," ars' an nighean bhòidheach,
"tha gach ni an òrdugh air do shon, ma phòsas
tu mise, an nochd féin." " 'S mis' an duine a bhitheas toileach,"
thubhairt mac an rìgh; agus air an oidhche sin féin
phòs iad. Ach an ceann latha 's seachd bliadhna co 'm fear mòr a chithear
a tighinn a dh' ionnsuidh a chaisteail ach am famhair. Chuimhnich mac an rìgh
a ghealladh do' n famhair, agus gus a so, cha d’ innis e do 'n bhan-rìgh
a ghealladh. "Leig thus' eadar mise's am famhair," ars' a bhan-rìgh.
"Cuir a mach do mhac," ars' am farnhair; "cuimhnich do ghealladh." "Gheibh
thu sin," ars' an rìgh, " 'nuair a chuireas a
mhathair an òrdugh e air son a thurais. " Sgeadaich
a bhan-rìgh mac a chòcaire
agus thug i do 'n fhamhair air làimh e. Dh' fhalbh
am famhair leis, ach cha b’ fhada a chaidh e, 'nuair a chuir e slatag ann
an làimh a ghille-bhig. Dh' fheòraich
am famhair dheth, "Na 'm bitheadh an t-slatag sin aig t-athair, de 'dhèanadh
e, leatha?" "Na 'm biodh an t-slat so aig m' athair, ghabhadh e air na
coin 's air na cait na 'm biodh iad a dol a chòir
biadh an rìgh," ars' an gille beag. " 'S tusa mac a
chòcaire," ars' am famhair. Beirear air dha chaol
cois' air, agus sgleogar e ris a chloich a bha ri' thaobh. Thill am
famhair air ais a dh' ionnsuidh a chaisteail ann am feirg is cuthach, 's
thubhairt e, "Mar cuireadh iad a mach dhàsan
mac an rìgh, gu 'm b’ e 'chlach a b,
àirde a chlach a b’ ìsle bhiodh do 'n
chaisteal." Thubhairt a bhan-rìgh ris an rìgh,
'Feuchaidh sinn fathast e, tha mac a bhuidealair an aon aois h ar mac
féin." Sgeadaich i mac a bhuidealair, agus thugar do 'n fhamhair e air làimh.
Cha deach am famhair ach goirid, nuair a chuir e 'n t-slatag 'na Iàimh,
"Na 'm bitheadh an t-slat so aig t-athair," ars' am famhair, "dé a dhèanadh
e leatha?" "Ghabhadh e air na coin 's air na cait 'nuair a bhiodh iad a
tighinn dlủth air botail 's air gloinneachan an rìgh."
" 'S tusa mac a bhuidealair," ars' am famhair, is spad e 'n t-eanchainn as
air an dòigh cheudna. Thill am famhair, ann am feirg
is corruich ro mhòr. Chrith an talamh fo 'bhonn, 's chrith an caisteal 's
na bh' ann." "MACH AN SO DO MHAC," ars' am famhair, "oir ann nam prioba na
sủla 's e chlach is àirde, 'chlach is
ìsle bhitheas do 'n aitreabh. " 'S e bh' ann gu m b' éiginn
mac an rìgh thabhairt do 'n flamhair. Thug am
famhair e d'a thigh féin, agus thog e mar mhac dha féin e. Latha do na làithibh
‘s am farnhair bho 'n bhaile, chuala am t-òganach an
ceòl bu bhinne a chual e riamh, ann an seòmar a bha 'm mullach tigh an
fhamhair. Sủil do 'n d'thug e, chunnaic an aghaidh
bu bhrèagha a chunnaic e riamh. Smèid i air e
thighinn ni bu dlủithe dhi, agus thubhairt i ris,
"E' dh' fhalbh air an am so ach e bhith cinnteach e 'bhith anns an
àite cheudna mu mharbh mheadhain-na h-oidhche so;" agus mar
a gheall, choimhlion. Bha nighean an fharnhair ri' thaobh ann am prioba na
sủla agus thubbairt i ris, "Am
màireach gheibh thu do roghainn ri phosadh dheth mo
dhà phiuthar; ach abair thusa
nach gabh thu a h-aon dhiubh ach mise; tha m' athair air son gu 'm pòs mi
mac rìgh na Cathair uaine, ach 's coma leam è. " Air
an latha màireach, thug am famhair a mach a thriuir
nighean 's thubhairt e, 'Nis, a mhic rìgh na Cathair
Shìomain, cha do chaill thu air a bhith leamsa cho fada: gheibh thu air
son bean aon do 'n dithis is sine do m' nigheanaibh, agus bithidh cead
agad dol dhachaidh leatha, an déigh na bainnse." "Ma
bheir thu dhomh an té bheag bhòidheach so," arsa mac
an rìgh, "gabhaidh mi air t-fhacal thu." Las fearg
an fharnhair, agus thubhairt e, "Ma'm faigh thu sin, feumaidh tu na tri
nitheanana a dh' iarras mis' ort a dhèanamh." "Abair
romhad," arsa mac an rìgh. Thug am famhair do 'n
bhàthaich e. "Nis," ars' am famhair, "tha innear nan ceud damh an so, agus
cha deach a chartadh o cheann seachd bliadhna. "Tha mise 'dol o 'n bhaile
'n diugh agus mar bi 'm bàthach so air a chartadh mu
'n d'thig: an oidhche cho ghlan 's gu'n ruith ubhall òir
o cheann gu ceann dith, cha 'n e mhàin nach faigh thu mo nighean, ach 's e
deoch dhe d'fhuil a chaisgeas mo phathadh a nochd." Toisichear air cartadh
na bathaich, ach bu cheart cho maith teannadh ri taomadh a chuain mhòir.
'N déigh mheadhoin-latha 's am fallus 'ga 'dhalladh
thàinig nighean òg an fhamhair far an robh e 's thubhairt i ris, “Tha thu
'ga’d’ phianadh, a rnhic an rìgh. " "Tha mi 'n sin,"
arsa mac an rìgh. "Thig a nall," ars' ise, "agus
leig do sgìos." "Ni mi sin," ars esan, "cha 'n 'eil ach am bàs
a feitheamh orm co dhiu." Shuidh e sìos Iàimh
rithe. Bha e cho sgìth, agus gu 'n do thuit e 'na chadal ri 'taobh. 'Nuair
a dhủisg e, cha robh nighean an fhamhair ri fhaicinn;
ach bha bhathaich cho glan cairte 's gu 'n ruitheadh ubhall òir
bho cheann gu ceann dhith. 'Steach thigear am famhair, 's thubhairt e, "Chairt
thu'm bathaich, a mhic an rìgh " "Chairt mi," ars'
esan. "Chairt neach éiginn i," ars' am farnhair. "
Cha do chairt thus' i co dhiu," thubhairt mac an rìgh.
"Seadh! Seadh!" ars' am famhair, "bhon a'bha thu co tapaidh an diugh,
gheibh thu gus an am so am maireach gu tubhadh a bhathaich so le clòimh
eòin gun dà ite air an aon
dath." Bha mac an rìgh air a chois roi'n ghrein.
Ghlac e a bhogha 's a bhalg-saighead a mharbhadh nan èun. Thug e 'm monadh
air, ach ma thug, cha robh na h-eòin cho furasda ri 'm faotainn. Bha e a
ruith 'nan déigh, gus an robh am fallus 'ga 'dhalladh.
Mu mheadhon-la co 'thigeadh ach nighean an fhamhair. "Tha thu
ga'd'phianadh, a mhic an rìgh," ars' ise. "Tha mi,"
thubhairt esan, "cha do thuit ach an dà
Ion dubh so, agus iad air aon dath. " "Thig a nall, 's leig do sgìos air a
chnocan bhòidheach so," arsa nighean an fhamhair. "
'S mi tha toileach," thubhairt esan. Smaoinich e gu n cobhaireadh i air
air an àm so cuideachd. Shuidh
e sios làimh rithe, 's cha b’fhad' a bha e 'n sin
gus an do thuit e 'na chadal; agus a nuair a dhủisg
e, bha nighean an fhamhair air falbh. Smaoinich e tilleadh thun an tighe,
's faicear am bathaich tủghte leis na h-itean. 'Nuair
a thàinig am famhair dhachaidh thubhairt e, "'Thubh thu' m bathaich, a
mhic an rìgh." "Thubh mi," ars' esan. "Thubh
cuid-eiginn i," ars' am famhair. "Cha do thubh thusa i," arsa mac an rìgh.
"Seadh! Seadh!" ars' am famhair. " 'Nis," ars' am famhair, "tha craobh
gbiubhas ri taobh an loch ud shios agus tha nead pioghaid 'na mullach."
"Na h-uibhean a gheibh thu anns an nead, feumaidh iad a bhi agamsa gu mo
cheud-lon, gaidh; cha 'n fhàod a h-aon a bhith sgàinte no
briste, agus 's e còig a tha 'san nead." Moch' sa
mhaduinn, dh'fhalbh mac an rìgh far an robh a
chraobh, 's cha robh sin duilich amas oirre. Cha robh a leithbhreac 'sa
choill' air fad. Bho 'bonn gu ruig a ceud mheanglan, còig
ceud troidh. Bha mac an rìgh à
dol ceithir thimchioll air a chraoibh. Thàinig ise 'bha daonnan
furtachd dha: "Tha thu air call craiceann nan làmh
's nan cas, a mhic an rìgh." "Ach tha," ars' esan,
"cha luaithe shuas na shìos mi." "Cha 'n àm
fuireachd so," arsa nighean an fhamhair. Shàth i' meur an déigh
meur, gus an d' rinn i fàradh do mhac an rìgh
gu dol suas do nead na pioghaid. 'Nuair a bha e aig an 'nead, thubhairt
ise, "Dèan cabhag a nuas leis na h-uibheam, oir tha anail m' athar a'
losgadh mo dhroma. " Leis a chabhaig a bh' air san, dh' fhàg ise 'lủdag
am mullach na craoibhe. "Nis," ars' ise, "thèid thu dhachaidh leis na h-uibhean
gu luath, agus gheibh thu mise ri phòsadh a nochd ma
dh'aithnicheas tu mi; bithidh mis' agus mo dha phiuthar air ar n-èideadh
anns an aon trusgan, agus air ar dèanamh coltach ri'
chéile. Ach seall thus' ormsa 'nuair a their m'
athair 'falbh le d' mhnaoi, a mhic an rìgh; agus chi
thu Iàimh gun lủdag. " Thug e
na h-uibhean do'n fhamhair. " Seadh! Seadh! " ars' am famhair, "bi' dèanamh
deas chum do phòsadh." 'S ann an sin a bha bhanais,
's b’e bhanais i famhairean 's daoiné uaisle, 's mac rìgh
na Cathair uaine 'nam meadhon. Chaidh am pòsadh, 's
thòisich an dàmhsa, 's b'e sin
an damhsa. Bha tigh an fhamhair air chrith bho 'mhullach gu 'bhonn. Ach
thàinig àm dol a luidhe, 's
thubhairt am famhair, "T'ha 'n t-àm
dhuit dol a luidhe, a mhic rìgh na Cathair Shìomain;
thoir leat do bhean as am meadhon sin." Chuir ise mach a làimh
dheth 'n robh an lủdag agus rug e oirre air làimh.
"Dh' amais thu gu maith air an am so cuideachd, ach cha ‘n 'eil fios nach
coinnich sinn thu air dòigh eile," thubhairt am
famhair. Ach a luidhe chaidh iad. "A nis," thuirt ise; "cadal cha dèan thu,
air neo bàsaichidh tu; feumaidh sinn teicheadh gu
luath, oir gun teagamh marbhaidh m' athair thu." A mach ghabh iad, agus
air an loth dhuinn a bha anns an stabull, chaidh iad. "Dèan socair beagan,"
ara' ise, "agus cluichidh mise cleas air an t-seann laoch." Leum i stigh,
agus gheàrr i ubhall 'na naoi earannan, 's chuir, i dà
earrann dhith aig ceann na leapa, agus dà
earrann aig casan na leapa; dà
earrann aig dorus-chadha, agus dà
earann aig an dorus-chadha, agus dà
earann aig an dorus mhòr, agus a h-aon air taobh a mach an tighe. Dhủisg
am farnhair, agus ghlaodh e, `M bheil sibhse 'nur cadal." "Cha 'n 'eil
fathast," ars' an ubhall a bha aig ceann na leapa. An ceann ghreis ghlaodh
e rithist, "Cha 'n 'eil fathast," ars' an ubhall a bha aig casan na leapa.
Greis an déigh sin, ghlaodh c rithist, "Cha 'n 'eil
fathast," thubhairt an ubhal aig dorus a chadha. Ghlaodh am famhair a
rithist, 's fhreagair an ubhal a bha aig an dorus mhòr. "Tha sibh a' dol
ni's faide uam," ars' am famhair. "Cha 'n 'eil fathast," ars' an ubhal a
bha air taobh a mach an doruis. "Tha sibh a teichadh," ars' am famhair.
Leum am famhair air a chasan, agus gu ruig an leabaidh chaidh e; ach bha i
gu. fuar, fàs. "Tha
cuilbheartan mo nighean féin a feuchainn rium," thubhairt am famhair. Air
an tòir ghabh e," Am beul an latha, thuirt nighean
an fhamhair, "Gu 'n robh anail a h-athiair a losgadh a droma. " "Cuir do
làmh gu luath," ars' ise, "ann an cluais na loth
dhuinn, agus ge be ni gheibh thu innte tilg 'na d' dhéigh
e." "Tha bior do sgitheach an so," thubhairt esan. “TiIg as do dheigh e."
Cha luaithe rinn e so, na bha fichead mile do sgitheach cho tiugh ann 's
gum bu ghann do neas dol troimhe. Thàinig am famhair 'na dhian 's siud e
'n coinneamh a chinn 's amhach anns an sgitheach!! "Tha cuilbheartan mo
nighean féin an so mar an ceudna," thubhairt am famhair; "ach na 'm biodh
agamsa mo thuagh mhòr ‘s mo, chorc choille an so, cha b’ fhad' a bhithinn
a dèanamh rathad troimhe so." Thill e dhachaidh air
son na tuaidh mòire 's na corc choille, agus gun teagamh cha robh e fad a'
dèanamh rathad troi 'n sgitheach. "Fàgaidh
mi n' tuadh s' a chorc choille 'n so, gus am till mi," ars' esan. "MA DH’
FHAGAS, thuirt feannag a bha ann an craobh," goididh sinne iad." "Ni sibh
sin fhéin," ars' am famhair, “ach cuiridh mise dhachaidh iad." Thill e
agus dh' fhàg e iad aig an tigh. Ann an teas an latha mhothaich ise anail
a h’athar a losgadh a droma. "Cuir do mheur ann an cluais na lotha, agus
tilg na gheibh thu innte as do dhéigh." Fhuair e
sgealb do chlach ghlais 's thilg e as a dhéigh i.
Ann am prioba na sủla, bha fichead mile do chreag mhòr ghlas air leud 's
air àirde as an déigh. Thàinig
am fanihar’na dheann, ach seachad air a' chreag cha robh comas dha dol.
"Se cuilbheartan mo, nighinn fèin rud as cruaidh' a thachair riamh rium,"
ars' am famhair. "Ach na 'm biodh agamsa mo, gheamhlag ‘s mo mhatag mhòr,
cha b’ fhada a bhithinn a dèanamh rathad roimh n'
chreig so cuideachd." B'fheudar tilleadh air an son, agus b’e féin gille
sgoltadh nan clach. Cha robh e fada a dèanamh rathad
troimh 'n chreag. "Fagaidh mi an acfhuinn an so, 's cha thill mi tuillidh."
"MA DH' FHAGAS," ars' an fheannag, "goididh sinn' iad." "Tha sin' s a
roghainn agad; cha ‘n ‘eil tìom tilleadh ann." Ann
am bristeadh na fàire
thubhairt nighean an fhamhair, "gu'n robh i mothachainn anail a h-athar a
losgadh a droma." "Seall ann an cluais na lotha, a mhic an rìgh,
air neo tha sinn cailte." Rinn e so, agus, s' e aotroman làn
uisge a bha 'na cluais air an am so. "Tilg 'na d' dhéigh
e," arsa nighean an fhamhair. Rinn e so, agus bha loch uisge fichead mile
air fad 's air leud 'nan déigh. Thàinig am famhair
air aghaidh, ach leis an astar a bh' aige, bha e ann am meadhoin an loch,
agus chaidh e foidhe, 's cha d' éirich e ni's mò.
Air an ath latha, bha a chuideachd òg air tighinn am fradharc tigh athar-san.
"Nis." ars' ise, "tha m'athair bàite, 's cha chuir e
dragh tuillidh òirn. "Ach mu'n d' théid sinn ni 's
faide," ars' ise, "rach thusa gu tigh t'athar, agus innis ga'bheil mo
leithid-sa agad; ach am bonn a tha agad ri 'dheànamh, na leig le duine na
crèutair do phògadh; oir ma ni
thu sin, cha bhi cuimhn' agad gu'faca tu riamh mi." Chuir gach neach mar a
bha tachairt air fàilte is furan air, 's thug e
àithne d'a athair 's d'a mhàthair, gun esan a phògadh;
ach mar a bha 'n tubaist 'an dàn,
bha sean mhial-chủ do ghalla 'steach 's dh' aithnich i e, 's leum i suas
ri bheul, agus na dhéigh sin dhi-chuimhnich e
nighean an fhamhair. Bha ise 'na suidhe aig taobh an tobair mar a dh' fhàg
e i, ach cha robb. mac an rìgh a' tighinn. Ann am
beul na h-oidhche, streap i suas ann an craobh do dharach a bha ri taobh
an tobair. Luidh i ann an gobhall na craoibhe fad na h'oidhche sin. Bha
tigh aig greusaiche dlủth do 'n tobar, agus mu
mheadhon là a màireach,
dh' iarr an greusaich air a mhnaoi, I 'dhol airson deoch dha as an tobar.
'Nuair a rainig bean a ghreusaiche an tobar, 's a chunnaic i faileas na té
a bha anns a chraoibh, air saoilsinn dh'ise gu 'm b'e faileas féin a bh'
ann (s' cha do shaoil leatha gu so gu'n robh i co brèagha),
thug i tilgeil do'n chuman a bha 'na làimh, 's
bhrist i ris an talamh e, 's thug i'n tigh oirre gun chuinneag gun uisge!
"Cait'am bheil an t-uisge, a bhean,"thubhairt an greusaiche. "A bhodaich
leibidich, shuaraich, gun mhaise, dh' fhan mi tuilidh's fada 'n am thràill
uisge 's connaidh agad." "Tha mi féin a smaoineachadh, a bhean, gu'n deach
thu air bhoile; faibh thusa a nighean, gu, luath 's faigh deoch do d'
athair. Dh' fhalbh a nighean, agus air an dòigh
cheudna thachair dhi. Cha do shaoil leatha gu so gu 'n robh i co
tlachdmhor, 's thug i 'n tigh oirre. "Nios an deoch," ars' a h-athair. "A
pheallaig bhodiach nam brò, an saoil thu gu 'bheil mise gu bhi 'm thràill
uisge agad. " Smaoinich an greusaiche bochd gu'n d' thug iad car as am
beachd, 's dh 'fhalbh e féin do 'n tobar. Chunnaic e faileas na gruagaiche
san tobar, 's dh' arnhairc e suas do 'n chraoibh 's faicear am boirionnach
bu bhrèagha a chunnaic e riamh. " 'S corrach do
shuidheachan ach 's maiseach do ghnủis," thubhairt an greusaiche. "Thig a
nuas, oir tha feum dhuit car ủine gheàrr 'nam thigh-sa."
Thuig an greusaiche gu'm b'e so am faileas a chuir a chuideachdsan air
bhoile. Thug an greusaich i gu thigh 's thubhairt e rithe, "Nach robh aige-san
ach bothan bochd, ach bothan bochd, ach gu 'm faigheadh i a cuid dhe na bh'
ann." An ceann latha na dhà 'na
dhéigh so, thàinig triủir
fhleasgach uasal gu tigh a ghreusaiche, airson brògan
a dhèanmh dhoibh, 's an rìgh
air tighinn dhachaidh, agus e 'dol a phòsadh. Ach sủil
do 'n d' thug na fleasgaich, chunnaic iad nighean an fhamhair, 's ma
chunnaic, cha 'n fhac iad riamh té co bòidheach
rithe. " 'S ann agad a tha 'n nighean bhòidheach an
so," thubhairt na fleasgaich ris a ghreusaiche. "Ach cha 'n e mo
nighean-sa th' ann. " "Nàile! " arsa fear dhiubh, "bheirinn
féinn ceủd punnd air son a pòsadh." Thubhairt an
dithis eile a leithid cheudna. nubhairt au greusaiche bochd, "Nach robh
gnothuch aige-san ri a dhéanmh rithe." "Ach," ars'
iadsan, "farraid thusa dhith 'n nochd, agus leig fios thugainne 'màireach.
" Nuair a dh' fhalbh na h’-uaislean, dh' fharraid i do'n ghreusaiche, "gu
dé sud a bha iad ag radh mu 'm dheibhinnse?" Dh’ innis an greusaiche dhith.
"Falbh 'nan déigh," ars’ ise, "pòsaidh
mi fear aca a nochd féin, 's thugadh e leis a sporan airgid. " Dh’ fhalbh
an greusaiche 'nan déigh, 's dh' innis e 'n sin fein.
Thill e'n t-òganach. Thug e ceud punnd do 'n
ghreusaiche, air-son tochar. "Chaidh i a luidhe, agus an uair a bha aodach
an òganaich dheth, dh' iarr i air deoch uisge as a
chòrn a bha air a bhòrd air taobh thall an t-seòmair;
dh' fhalbh e, ach a' sin cha d' thigeadh e fad na h’- oidhche, is greim
aig air an t-soitheach uisge." "Oglaich thu," thubhairt ise, "cairson nach
dig thu a luidhe?" ach as a' so cha diongadh e, gus an robh an latha geal
am màireach ann. Thàinig an greusaiche gu dorus an
t-seòmair, agus dh'iarr i air, "an slaodaire
ballaich sin a thabhairt air falbh." Dh’ fhalbh an suiriche so, 's thug ‘e
'n tigh air, ach cha do dh' innis e mar dh' érich dha do 'n dithis eile.
Air an ath oidhche, thàinig an darna fleasgach, agus air an doigh cheudna
nuair a chaidh i a luidhe, "Seall," thuirt ise, "am bheil an crann air an
dorus." Air a chrann ghabh a lamhan gréim, agus as
a' sin cha d' thigeadhe e fad na h-oidhche, as a' so cha d' thigeadh e gu
latha geal am maireach. Dh’ fhalbh e fo sprochd is nàlre.
Coma co dhiu, cha d’innis e, mar thachair, do 'n fhleasgach eile, agus air
an treas oidhche, thàinig am fear eile, agus mar a thachair do'n dithis
eile thachair dha; bha cas air an leabaidh 's cas eile air an urlar, cha
d’thigeadh 's cha rachadh e, ach, air an dòigh so
bha e fad na h’oidhche. Am màireach thug e 'bhuinn
as, 's cha 'n fhacas e' sealtairm 'na dhéigh. "Nis,"
arsa 'n nighean ris a ghreusaiche, " 's leatsa an sporan òir,
cha 'n 'eil feum agam-sa air, 's feàird thus' e, agus cha mhiosde mis' e,
airson do chaoimhneis dhomh." Bha na brògan ullamh
aig a ghreusaiche, agus air an latha sin féin, bha an rìgh
gu pòsadh. Bha 'n greusaiche dol do 'n chaisteal le
brògan nan òganach, 's
thubhairt an nighean ris a ghreusaiche, "bu mhaith leam sealladh fhaicinn
dhe mac an rìgh, mu'm pòsadh
e." "Thig leamsa," ars' an greusaiche, "tha mi mion eòlach
air seirbheisich a' chaisteail, agus gheibh thu sealladh air mac an rìgh
‘s na cuideachd uile." Agus a nuair a chunnaic na h-uaislean am
boireannach bòidheach a bha 'n so, thug iad i so
sheòmar na bainnse, agus liòn iad gloinne fion dhi. Nuair a bha i' dol a
dh' òl na bha sa ghloinne, chaidh lasair suas aiste, agus leum calman òir
‘s calman airgid as a' ghloinne. Bha iad ag itealaich mu 'n cuairt, ‘nuair
a thuit tri ghràinnean eòrna air an uriar. Leum an
calman airgiod, agus ithear sud. Thubhairt an calman òir
ris, na'm biodh cuimhn' agad 'nuair a chairt mi 'm bàthaich,
CHA ‘N ‘ITHEADH TU SIUD GUN CHUID A THOIRT DHOMHSA. A rithist thuit tri
gràinnean eòrn' eile, 's leum
an calman airgiod agus ithear siud mar an ceudna. "Na'm bitheadh cuimhn'
agad 'nuair a thubh mi 'm bàthaich CHA 'N ITHEADH TU
SIUD, GUN MO CHUID A THOIRT DHOAMSA," ars' an calman òir.
Tuitear tri ghràinnean eile, s leum an calman airgiod, agus ithear siud
cuideachd. "Na 'm biodh cuimhn' agad 'nuair a chreach mi nead na pioghaid,
CHA ‘N ’ITHEADH TU SIUD GUN MO CHUID A THOIRT DHOMHSA," ars' an calman òin
"Chaill mi ‘n lủdag 'gad' thadhairt a nuas, agus tha
i dhìth orm fathast." Chuimhnich mac an rìgh,
's dh' aitnich e co a bh' aige. Leum e far an robh i, 's phòge
e i bho Iàimh gu i beul, agus a nuair a thàinig an
sagairt phòg iad an darna h-uair!! Agus dh' fhag mis' an sin iad.
2. There is another version of this tale current in
Islay. It was taken down from the recitation of Ann Darroch by Hector
Maclean. It is called the "Widow's Son." He goes to seek his fortune, and
comes to a giant's house, where he engages himself as servant for a peck
of gold and a peck of silver. He is sent first to cleanse the seven byres
that have never been cleansed for seven years. All he puts out at one door
comes in at the other. The giant's daughter comes; he promises to marry
her, and she says, "Gather, oh shovel, and put out, oh grape," and the
tools work of themselves, and clear the byres. Next he has to thatch the
byres with feathers, no quills to be upwards. He gets only one feather,
and the giant's daughter takes three grains of barley, and throws them on
the roof. The birds of the air gather, and thatch the byres in a minute.
Next day he has to catch the steed that had never seen a blink of earth or
air. The girl gives him a little rusty bridle, and the steed comes and
puts her head into it. She makes six little cakes, which she places at the
fire, the foot water, the door of the chamber, the side of the bed, and
the kitchen door, and they mount the steed and ride off. The giant lies
down and calls to his daughter. The cakes answer till there are none left
to reply. Then he rises, takes his clothes, his boots, and his sword of
light; he makes seven miles at each step; he sees seven miles by the light
of the sword - he follows; they hear him coming; the girl gives the
widow's son a golden apple, and tells him to throw it at a mole on her
father, where alone he is vulnerable; he fears that he will miss so small
a mark, so she throws it herself, and the giant is dead in an instant.
They reach a big town. He is told to kiss nothing, or
he will forget the girl and his promise. A big dog comes to meet him, and
puts his paws on his shoulder and kisses him. He takes service with the
king, and at last he is to be married to the king's daughter.
She takes service with a smith, disguised as a man, and
"comes on famously." The smith's daughter falls in love with her, and
wants to marry her. She tells, at last, that she is a girl in search of
her own lover. On a day of days the smith and his daughter and his servant
are invited to the wedding of the widow's son with the king's daughter.
They go, and the giant's daughter sets a golden cock and a silver hen on
the board before the bridegroom. She takes a grain of barley from her
pocket and throws it before them. The cock pecks the hen and eats the
barley; and the hen says, "Gog, Gog, if thou hadst mind when I cleansed
the seven byres for thee, thou wouldst not do that to me." She does this
three times, and the birds remind him of what has been done; then he knows
her, leaps over the board, catches her by the arm, leaves the king's
daughter, and marries her.
3. There is another version current at Inverary,
repeated to me by a stable boy who was then employed at the ferry of St.
Katharines, and who repeated it in Gaelic while rowing the boat to
Inverary. It began thus: - I will tell you a story about the wren. There
was once a farmer who was seeking a servant, and the wren met him, and he
said, "What art thou seeking for?" "I am seeking a servant," said the
farmer. "Wilt thou take me?" said the wren. "Thee, thou poor creature;
what good wouldst thou do?" "Try thou me," said the wren. So he engaged
him, and the first work he set him to was threshing in the barn. The wren
threshed (what did he thresh with? a flail to be sure), and he knocked off
one grain. A mouse came out and she eats that. "I'll praise thee, and
don't do that again," said the wren. He struck again, and he knocked off
two grains. Out came the mouse and she eats that. So they arranged a
contest that they might know which was the strongest, and there was
neither mouse nor rat on earth that did not gather, nor was there bird
under heaven that did not come to the battle. The son of a gentleman heard
of the fight, and he came also, but he slept before it was over, and when
he awoke there was neither "mouse nor rat to be seen; there was but one
great black raven." The raven and the man agreed to travel together, and
they come to an inn. The gentleman goes in, but the raven is sent to the
stable, because the porters and waiters object to the like of a raven.
Here he picks out all the horses' eyes, and in the morning there is a
disturbance. The gentleman pays and scolds, and they go to another inn,
where the raven is sent to the byre, and picks out all the cows' eyes.
Then they part. The raven takes out a book, and gives it to his companion
with a warning not to open it till he gets home to his father's house. He
breaks the charge, looks, and finds himself in a giant's house. There he
takes service, and is sent to clean the byre. It had seven doors, it had
not been cleaned for seven years, and all that he put out at one door came
in at the other. Then came the giant's red haired daughter, and said, "If
thou wilt marry me I will help thee." He consents; and she sets all the
grapes and forks about the place to work of themselves, and the byre is
cleansed. Then the giant sets him to reach the byre with feathers, and
every feather he put on the wind blew away. Then came the giant's girl,
and the promise was repeated; and she played a whistle that she had, and
he laid his head in her lap, and every bird there was came, and they
thatched the byre.
Then the giant sent him to the hill to fetch the gray
horse that was seven years old; and she told him that he would meet two
black dogs, and she gave him a cake of tallow and half a cheese, and a
tether, and she said that the dogs and the horse would kill him unless he
gave the dogs the food, and put the tether on the horse. When the dogs ran
at him, he put the tallow in the mouth of one, and the cheese in the
throat of the other; and when the horse came down the hill to kill him
with his mouth open, he put the tether in his mouth and he followed him
quietly home. "Now," said she, "we will be off." So they mounted and rode
away, but first she took four apples, three she placed about the house,
which spoke as in the other tales, the fourth she took with her. When the
last of the apples had spoken, the giant rose and followed. Then the girl
felt her father's breath on her back, and said, "Search in the horse's
car." And he found a twig. "Throw it behind you," said she; and he threw
it, and it became the biggest wood that ever was. The giant came, and
returned for his "big axe and his little axe," and he hewed his way
through; and the red haired girl said that she felt her father's breath.
"Now," said she to the king's son (here the narrator remembered that he
was a prince instead of a young farmer), "see in the filly's ear" (here he
remembered that it was a filly). So he looked, and found a bit of stone,
threw it, and it became a mountain. The giant came, looked for his big
hammer and his little hammer, and smashed his way through the hill, and
she felt his breath again. Then he sought in the ear, and found a
(something) of water, and threw it, and it became a loch of fresh water.
The giant came, and returned for his big scoop and his little scoop, and
baled the water out, and he was after them again. Then she said, "My
father is coming now, and he will kill us. Get off the filly, king's son,"
and he got off, and she gave him the apple, and she said, "Now put it
under the filly's foot." And he did so; and the filly put her foot on it,
and it smashed to bits; and the giant fell over dead, for his heart was in
the apple. So they went on to his father's house, and she was made house
keeper, for they were not married; then in a short time she became house
maid, then kitchen maid, and then hen wife; and then the king was to be
married (he had now become a king); and then first the porter, then the
head waiter, and then some other servant, came and courted her. They
promise to let her in to the wedding, and give her a fine dress each; and
each in turn is admitted into the hen wife's room; but the first goes to
put the lid on the kettle, and is fast by the hands all night; the second
is, in like manner, fast to a window which he goes to shut; and the feet
of the third stick to the floor. Then she comes to the porter in her dirty
dress. He drives her away, but he is at last obliged to give her a fine
dress, and let her in. Then she comes to the head waiter, who does the
same. Then she comes to the servant, who does the same, but is forced to
let her in to the wedding. Then she takes out a golden cock and a silver
hen, which she had brought. She sets them on the floor, and they talk.
"Dost thou remember how I cleansed byre? Dost thou mind how I thatched the
barn? Dost thou remember how I saved thy life?" And so on, till they
repeat the whole story, reminding the king how she had been the house
keeper, house maid, and hen wife, and faithful throughout. And the king
said, "Stop, I will marry thee." And when she said that, she showed the
fine dresses that she had got from the porter, and the head waiter, etc.,
and they were married; and if they have not died since then, they are
alive, merry, and rich.
4. The stable boy said that he had learned this from a
very old man, now living near Lochgilphead, who could tell it much better
than he could. A gentleman at the inn said that an old woman, now dead,
used to tell something like this, and that her raven was the son of the
king of Lochlin. The old woman lived near Dalmally, and her daughter is
said to be there still, but I have been unable to find her out. On asking
for her, and giving my reason, I was told by a waiter that "light had
dawned in that district, and that ignorance was banished."
5. A very similar story is well known in South Uist,
and a fragment of it is still told in Sutherland.
6. The Uist story told to me by Donald MacCraw, as we
walked along the road last September, is called "Mother's Blessing." The
lad, so called because he is so good, goes to seek his fortune. He plays
cards, and wins from some gentles; then stakes seven years' service
against so many thousands, and loses to a black dog who comes in with a
looking glass on every paw. He goes to serve the dog, and is shown a cave
where there are a hundred stakes and ninety nine heads on them. He is set
to cleanse the byte, to catch the steed, and to rob the nest. The black
dog's daughter helps. She throws out one spadeful, and the litter flies
out, "seven spadefuls at each of seven doors for every one he throws out."
She gives a rusty bridle for the steed. She strikes the sea with a rod,
and makes a way to the island where the nest is, and gives her toes to
make a ladder to climb up. He leaves one, and offers one of his own
instead. She refuses, because "her father always washes her feet himself."
They ride off on the horse - the dog and his company follow. A wood grows
and a river flows from things found in the horse's ear, and the dog is
defeated but not killed. She gives the lad a treasure which is found under
a tuft of rushes. He goes home, speaks to his mother, and forgets all. He
builds a palace, and is to be married to a lady, but she is so proud that
she will have the widow's hut pulled down. Mother's Blessing will not, so
the match is off, but after a time it is on again. The door opens, and in
walks the black dog smoking a pipe. He goes to the priest and forbids the
ceremony. The priest says, "Begone to thine own place down below." "It's
many a long day since thou art wanted there," says the dog. The priest
defies all fiends, and will marry the pair. The dog says, "If I tell all I
know thou wilt not." Then he whispers, and the priest is silenced. Then he
brings in a fine gentleman, and says to the bride – “There is thy first
lover; marry him." And they are married then and there. The dog brings in
his own daughter; Mother's Blessing marries her, and the dog danced at the
wedding with the priest. MacCraw said there was something left out which
his informant would not tell.
7. I have received yet another version of this tale,
very well written in Gaelic, from JOHN DEWAR, who, according to his own
account of himself, is now (October 1859) residing in Glendaruail, and is
about to proceed to Roseneath, where he used to get employment in making
stobbs for the fences. He heads his story - "Tales of the Gael in the
Winter Nights," and promises to send more. UIRSGEALN NAN GAEL S' NA
OIDHCHENAN GEAMHRAIDH. - His Gaelic spelling is rather phonetic –
He heard it from his mother, told nearly as the stable
boy gave it; and has heard it lately in Glendaruail. He first heard an
abridgement four or five years before 1812 or 1813, when he learned this
from Mary MacCalum, a native of Glen Falloch, at the head of Loch Lomond.
It begins with a quarrel between a mouse and a wren in
a barn about a grain of oats, which the mouse will eat. The wren
brings his twelve birds - the mouse her tribe. The wren says, "Thou hast
thy tribe with thee" – “As well as myself," says the mouse. The mouse
sticks out her leg proudly, and the wren breaks it with his flail. The
creatures of the plain and of the air all joined the quarrel, and there
was a pitched battle on a set day. They fought the battle in a field above
a king's house; and the fight was so fierce, that there were left but a
raven and a snake. The king's son looked out of a window, and saw the
snake twined round the raven's neck, and the raven holding the snake's
throat in his beak - GOB - and neither dared to let go. Both promised
friendship for help, and the king's son slew the serpent - NATHAIR.
The raven lived for a year and a day in the palace,
then took the king's son hunting for the first time, and when he was
tired, carried him. "And he put his hands about the raven before his
wings, and he hopped with him over nine Bens, and nine Glens, and nine
Moors." They go to the three sisters, and the king's son gets hospitality,
because he comes from the land where the birds set the battle, and brings
news of the raven, who is yet alive, and lived with him for a year and a
day. Each day the number of glens, and hills, and moors passed over, falls
from nine to six and three. The same thing is said by each of the three
sisters: "That is a year and a day for thee in this place, and a piece in
thy purse on the day when thou goest;" but he keeps tryst, and returns to
the raven. On the third day came a mist, and the raven was not to be
found; but when the king's son was nearly beat, he looked over a rock, and
saw FEAR LEADANACH BUIDHE BOIDHEACH AGUS CIR OIR ANSA N’ DARNA LAIMH, AGUS
CIR AIRGID SAN LAIMH EILE, a beautiful yellow ringletted man, with a
golden comb in the one hand, and a silver comb in the other, who asked if
he would take him instead of the raven. He would not, "Nor half a dozen
such." So the yellow ringletted man told him that he was the FFITHEACH
CROM DUBH - the black humpy raven that was laid under spells by a bad
DRUIDH that knew how to put under spells. He had been set free by coming
to his father's house with the king's son. Then he gave him a book, and
told him to go with the wind the way it might blow, and to look in the
book when he wished to see his father's house, but always from a hill top.
The king's son soon got tired, and looked in the book
at the bottom of a glen, and saw his father's house at the bottom of a
peat hag, with all the doors and windows shut, and no way to get to it.
Then came a giant, who shewed him the way for the
promise of his first son. He shewed him his father's house on the top of a
hill, with each door and window open, and got the promise. "And it was the
giant who had cast DRUIDHEACHD upon him, that he might see his father's
house in the bottom of a peat hag."
"Long after that the old king died, and the son got the
kingly chair. He married; he had a son; and he was coming on to be a brave
lad, and they were dwelling happily in the castle. The giant came to them,
and he asked that the king's son should be sent out to him there, and they
were not very willing to do that; but the giant said, unless they sent him
out, that the highest stone of the castle would be the lowest presently;
and they thought of arraying the cook's son bravely, and sending him out;
and they did that. The giant went away with him, and he had a rod in his
hand, and when they were a little bit from the house, the giant asked the
cook's son What would thy father do with this little rod if he had it? 'I
don't know myself,' said the cook's son,'unless he would beat the dogs
away from the meat.'With that the giant understood that he had not got the
right one, and he turned back with him, and he asked that the king's son
should be sent to him. Then they put brave clothes on the son of the
STIUARD, and they sent him out to the giant, but the giant was not long
tin he did to him as he had done to the cook's son, and he returned with
him full of heavy wrath. He said to them, unless they sent out to him
there the king's son, that the highest stone in the castle would be the
lowest presently, and that he would kill all who were within; and then
they were obliged to send out the king's son himself, though it was very
grievous; and the giant went away with him. When they were gone a little
bit from the castle, the giant showed him the rod that was in his hand and
he said 'What would thy father do with this rod if he were to have it?'And
the king's son said My father has a braver rod than that.' Apd the
giant asked him 'Where will thy father be when he has that brave (briagh)
rod? And the king's son said 'He will be sitting in his kingly chair;'and
the giant understood that he had the right one. [This passage is
translated entire, because, as I am told, there is a similar passage in
the Volsung tale.] The giant took him home, and set him to clean the
byre that had not been cleansed for seven years; and in case of failure,
threatened 'S E’T FHUIIL URAR ALUIN GHRINN A BHITHIS AGUM A CHASGA M’
IOTADAH AGUS T’ FHEOIL UR GHRINN MAR MHILLISTAIN FHIACAL. It is thy fresh
goodly beautiful blood I will have quenching my thirst, and thy fresh,
beautiful flesh as sweetening of teeth;" and he went to bed.
The king's son failed of course; all that went out at
one door came at in at another. Then came MARI RUADH, Auburn Mary, the
giant's daughter, and made him promise to marry her, and he gave his hand
and his promise. She made him set all the CAIBE and shovels in order,
waved her hand, and they worked alone, and cleaned the byte. "She took an
apple from her pocket - a golden apple - and it would run from end to end,
and would raise no stain in any place, it was so clean.
The daughter "had been in sewing all day," when her
father came home from hunting, and asked his housewife. Next came the
thatching of the barn with "the feathers of all the birds the giant had
ever killed, to be laid as close as ever they lay on the back of a heather
hen or a black cock."The wind blew them a new promise, "CHATHUDH," she
shook them as chaff (is shaken on hill tops now), with the wind, and the
wind blew them straight to their own place. The giant came home from his
hunting as usual, and asked - "Housewife,was Aubum Mary out at all
to-day)" "No, she was within sewing.” He went out, and brought in SRIAN
BHRIAGH SHOILIER DEARRSACH, a brave, clear, shiny bridle, and ordered the
king's son to catch the FALAIRE, filly, on yonder hill, and tie her in the
stable, or else, &c.
The fine bridle would not do. Then the daughter brought
from the stable, SEAN SRIAN DUBH MEIRGACH, an old, black, rusty bridle
that was behind one of the turf seats, and shook it, and the filly came
and put her nose into it.
The giant had the usual talk, but gave no more orders,
and his daughter told the king's son that he would kill him that night,
but that she would save him if he would promise to marry her.
"She put a wooden bench in the bed of the king's son;
two wooden benches in her own bed. She spat at the front of her own bed,
and spat at the side of the giant's bed, and spat at the passage door, and
she set two apples above the giant's bed, ready to fall on him when he
should wake and set him asleep again." And they mounted and rode away, and
set the filly "running with might."
The giant awoke, and shouted "Rise, daughter, and bring
me a drink of the blood of the king's son." "I will arise," said the
spittle, in front of his bed; and of the apples fell and struck him
between the two shoulders, and he slept. The second time it was "Rise,
wife," and the same thing happened. The third time he shouted "Art thou
rising to give me a drink of the blood of the king's son, Oh wife?"
"Coming with it," said the spittle, "behind the door of the cabh."
Then he lay a while, and got up with an axe, and struck
it into the bench in the bed of the king's son. [So did a giant to Jack
the giant killer, and so did Skrymir to Thorr in Gylfi's mocking. Edda
(translated by G. W. Dasent, page 54)]. And when he saw what he had, he
ran to his daughter's bed, and struck his axe into the two things which he
found there. Then he ran into the stable, and then he ran after the
fugitives. At the mouth of day, the daughter said "I feel my father's
breath burning me between the two shoulders;" and the king's son took a
drop of water from the filly's right ear, and threw it over his shoulder,
and it became a lake which the giant could not cross. Then he said – This
is a part of my own daughter's tricks; and he called out, FIRE FAIRE, A
MHARI RUADH, AGUS NA THUG MISE DHUITSA DO DH'FHOLUM AGUS DO IONNSACHADH,
N’ E SO MAR A RINN THU ORM MA DHEIREADH. "Feere Faire, Auburn Mary, and
all the learning and teaching I have given thee, is it thus thou hast done
to me at last?" And, said she, CHAN EILE AGUD AIR ACH A BHI NAS GLIC A
RITHISD. "Thou hast for it but to be wiser again." Then he said, if I had
MO BHATA DUBH DIONACH FHEIN NACH FACA GAOTH NA GRIAN O CHEAN SEACHD
BLIADHNA. My own tight black boat that saw neither wind nor rain since
seven years' end. And his daughter said – “Thou has for it but to go and
fetch her then."
Next time it was a little stone that was found in the
left ear which became a great crag, and was broken through with the big
hammer and the little hammer, ORD MOR AGUS ORD BEAG, which broke and
pounded a breach through the rock in an instant by themselves. The third
time it was the seed of a tree which became a wood, and was cut through by
the axes TUATHAN of the giant, which he set to work, and his wife brought
up the black dogs.
The fourth time it was a very little tiny drop of water
that was found in the left ear, which became a narrow loch, but so deep
that the giant could not cross it. He had the usual talk with his
daughter, and got the same reply; tried to drink the water, but failed,
for a curious reason, then he thought he would leap it, but his foot
slipped and he was drowned.
Then came the incident of the kiss and the old
She went to the house of a seamstress, and engaged
herself, and was a good workwoman. When the king's son was to be married
to another, the cook sent one of his underlings to the well for water. She
stood on a branch of the tree above the FUARAN cold spring, and when the
maid saw her shadow in the well she thought she had grown golden herself,
for there was "golden weaving" on the dress of Auburn Mary. And she went
back to the cook and said: "Thou art the lad to send me to fetch thee
water, and I am a lump of gold." He sent another, with the same result, so
he went himself and saw Mary go to the house of the seamstress. The cook
told, and they asked about the stranger, but no one knew anything about
her, till the hen wife went to the seamstress and found out "that she had
come from a shore afar off; that she never saw her like for sewing nor for
shape, and if they had her at the wedding, she would make FEARTAN miracles
that would astonish them."
The hen wife told the queen, and she was engaged to
help to make the dresses. They were pleased with her, and asked her to the
wedding, and when there they asked her to show some of her wonderful
Then she got a pock, and showed that it was empty; and
she gave it a shake, and it grew thick, and she put in her hand and took
out a silver hen, and she set it on the ground, and it rose and walked
about the house. Then came the golden cock, and the grain of corn, and the
pecking, and the hen said
"Leig ma choir learn,
Ma chuid do n' eorna.”
Leave me my right, my share of the corn; and the cock
pecked her; and she stood out from him, and said –
Geog Geog Geōa.
Geog Geog Geōa.
cuimhne leat an latha Dost thou
remember the day
chuir mi m' bathach falamh that I
emptied the byre
air do shon?
'S an cuimhne leat an latha Dost thou
remember the day
a thubh mi n' sabhal that
I thatched the barn
air do shon?
'S an cuimhne leat an latha Dost thou
remember the day
ghlac mi n'fhailair
that I caught the filly
air do shon?
'S an cuimhne leat an latha Dost thou
remember the day
bhith mi m'athair air
that I drowned my father
Then the king's son thought a little and he remembered
Auburn Mary, and all she had done for him, and he asked a voice with her
apart, and they had a little talk, and she told the king and the queen,
and he found the "gin" kin good, and he turned his back on the other one,
and he married Auburn Mary, and they made a wedding that lasted seven
years; and the last day was no worse than the first day -
S'ma bha na b ‘fhearr ann,
S'mar robh leig da
And if there were better
And if not, let them be
The tale is ended.
Tha crioch air 'n sgeul.
This version is probably the oldest. It is the most
picturesque; it contains nearly all that is in the others, and it is full
of the quaint expressions which characterize the telling of Gaelic tales.
The quarrel is remarkably like a fable aimed at the greedy castle
mouse and the sturdy country wren, a fable from the country side,
for the birds beat the beasts of the plain, the raven beat the snake.
8. 1 have still another version, told by Roderick
Mackenzie, sawyer, Gairloch, and written by Hector Urquhart. It is called,
NIGHEAN DUBH GHEAL DEARG, The Daughter of Black-white Red.
Three sons of the king of Erin were on a day playing
shinny on a strand, and they saw birds whose like they had never seen, and
one especially. Their father told them that this was MAC SAMHLADH NIGHINN
DUBH GHEAL DEARG, and the eldest son said that he would never rest till he
got the great beautiful bird for himself. Then his father sent him to the
king of France (NA FRAINGE), and he struck palm on latch, and it was asked
who it was, and he said that he was the son of Erin's king, going to seek
the daughter of Black-white Red. He was entertained, and next day set off
to the king of Spain (NA SPAINDE), and did the same; and thence he went to
the king of Italy (NA H’EADILT). He gave him an old man, BODACH, and a
green boat, and they sailed (and here comes in a bit of the passage which
is common to so many stories about hoisting the sails, etc., with one or
two lines that I have found nowhere else, and here the three kings seem to
replace the three old women, who are always appearing, for they know where
the lad is going, and help him on). The old man sailed the boat on shore,
and up to the door of Black-white Red, a giant, who as usual said FIU FA
FOAGRAICH, and threatened to make a shinny ball of his head, and eat him
unless he performed the tasks set him. The giant's eldest daughter came,
and he knew her at once, and they played at cards all night. She gave him
a tether to catch the little dun shaggy filly, which he would lose unless
he put it on the first time.
Next he had to kill, TARBH MOR NA TANICH, the great
bull of the cattle, (or perhaps of the earth, TAN). The daughter gave him
her father's BOGHA SAIGHEAD, arrow bow, with which he pushed at the bull,
and he followed him. He put the big black arrow in his forehead when he
got to the house.
The third task was to cleanse the great byre of the
seven stalls that had not been cleansed for seven years, or his head to be
a football. The daughter came at night as usual and gave him BARA agus
CROMAN, a barrow and a crook, and told him to say CAB CAB A CHROMAIN, CUIR
AIR A BHARA A SHLUASAID, CUIR A MACH A BHARA, and the tools worked of
Then he had three more tasks set. The three daughters
put three needles through three holes in a partition, he caught the one
without "CHRO (?) They put out three great pins, and he caught the one
that had two "PHLOC" heads. Then they pushed out their little fingers, and
he took the one with, CAB AS AN IONGA, a notch in the nail.
“Hugh! huh! " said the giant, "thou hast her now, but
to Erin thou goest not; thou must stay with me." At last they got out the
barge (BIRLINN). The giant awoke and asked, what was that sound? One of
the daughters answered, that it was a OIDHCHE UAMHASACH LE TEIN-ADHAIR 'S
TAIRNEANACH, a fearful night with heaven fire and thunder. "It is well to
be under the shelter of a rock," said the giant. The next scrape of the
boat it was the same thing, and at the third the barge was out and under
sail, but the giant was on foot, and he threw A CHEARTLEADH DHUBH, his
black clue, and the boat sailed stem foremost. The giant sat down in the
gravel to haul the boat, and the daughter shot an arrow, ANN AM BONN DUBH
AN FHAMHAIR, into the giant's black sole, and there he lay.
Then they got to Erin. He went home first; she staid in
the barge, till tired of waiting, she went to a smith's house where she
staid with the smith and his mother.
One day the smith heard that the RIDIR was going to be
married, and told her. She sent him to the palace to tell the cook that
the finest woman he ever saw was living with him, and would marry him if
he would bring her part of the wedding feast.
The cook came, and when he saw her, brought a back load
of viands. Then they played the same trick to the butler, and he brought a
back load of wine every day. Then she asked the smith to make her a golden
cock, and a silver hen; and when he could not, she made them herself. Then
she asked the butler if she could get a sight of the king's son and the
bride, "and the butler was very much pleased that she had asked him, and
not the cook, for he was much afraid that the cook was looking after her
also." When the gentles saw her they asked her to the dancing room, and
then came the cock and hen play, in which the hen said - A CHOILICH
DHURDANICH DHUIBH, Thou black murmuring cock, dost thou remember, etc. The
prince remembers, marries the true girl, "and there I left them."
This version varies considerably from the others. It is
very well told, and I much regret that space will not allow me to give it
entire, the more so because the reciter has braved the prejudices of some
of his neighbours who object to all fiction. I hope I have said enough to
show that this story is worth preservation.
If stories be mythological this contains a serpent.
NATHAIR, pronounced Na-ir, and a raven, FITHEACH, pronounced
Feeach, who seem like transformed divinities, for they appear only to
start the other characters, and then vanish into some undescribed kingdom.
There is one passage (referred to) which resembles Norse mythology.
So far as I can make out, it seems to be best known
near Cowal in Argyllshire, though it is known throughout the Highlands.
It would have been easy to construct one version from
the eight here mentioned, but I have preferred to give the most complete,
entire, and full abstracts of the rest. Many more versions can be got, and
I shall be grateful to anyone who will throw light on the story and its
One of the tasks resembles one of those imposed on
Hercules. It might have been taken from classical mythology if it stood
alone, but Norwegian peasants and West Highlanders could not so twist the
story of Hercules into the same shape.
All the Gaelic versions are clearly versions of the
same story as the Master Maid, in Dasent's Norse Tales; and there are
other traits in other Norse stories, which resemble the Gaelic.
Of the forty three heroes called Hercules, and
mentioned in ancient lore, one, at least, is said to have made long
voyages in the Atlantic beyond his own pillars. Another, or the same, was
prevented from being present at the hunting of the Caledonian boar, having
killed a man in "Calydo," which, by the way, is Gaelic for Black Forest.
Another was an Indian, and this may be one of the same clan.
If stories be distorted history of real events, seen
through a haze of centuries, then the giants in this tale may be the same
people as the Gruagach and his brother in the last. They are here
described as a wise learned race, given to magic arts, yellow or auburn
haired. (RUADH) possessing horses, and knowing how to tame them able to
put the water between them and their pursuers able to sew better than the
others - better looking - musical possessing treasure and bright weapons
using king's sons of other races as slaves, and threatening to eat them.
If the raven was one, they were given to combing their own golden ringlets
with gold and silver combs and the giant maidens dressed the hair of their
lovers who laid their heads in their laps, as I have often seen black
haired Lapland ladies dress the hair of Lapland swains, and as ladies in
popular tales of all lands always do. I will not venture to guess who this
race may have been, but the race who contended with them would seem to
have been dark complexioned. Nearly all the heroines of Gaelic songs are
fair or yellow haired. Those are dark who now most admire yellow locks. A
dark Southern once asked if a golden haired youth from the north had dyed
his hair, for nothing natural could be so beautiful. Dark Celts and fair
northmen certainly met and fought, and settled and intermarried, on the
western isles and coasts, where this tale is current, but I am told that
it has traits which are to be found in Eastern manuscripts, which were old
long before the wars of the Northmen, of which we know, began. The task I
have undertaken is to gather stories, not to account for them, but this
much is sure, either Norway got this from Scotland or Scotland from
Norway, when they were almost one country, or both got it from the same
source. The Gaelic stories resemble each other about as much as they all
resemble the Norse. The translation was published in 1859, and this story
has been current in the islands at least for 40 years. I can remember to
have heard part of it myself more than 20 years ago. I believe there is an
Irish version, though I have not met with it in any book. I have traced
the story amongst Irish labourers in London, who have told me that they
used in their young days to sit about the fire whole winter nights, and
tell about the fight between the raven and the snake; about the giants,
Fin MacCoul and Conan Maol, "who had never a good word for any one," and
similar tales. My informants were from Cork, their language, though
difficult, could be made out from a knowledge of Gaelic only.
The bridle described seems to be the old Highland
bridle which is still common. It has no bit, but two plates of wood or
iron are placed at right angles to the horse's mouth, and are joined above
and below by a rope, which is often made ofhorse hair, leather, or twisted
bent. The horse's nose goes INTO IT.
The ladder is also the Highland ladder still common in
cottages. It consists of a long stick with pegs stuck through it.
There are many stories in Grimm's German collection
which resemble the Battle of the Birds. They have incidents in common,
arranged somewhat in the same order; but the German stories, taken
together, have a character of their own, as the Gaelic versions have: and
both differ from the Norwegian tale. Each new Gaelic version which comes
to me (and I have received several since this was written), varies from
the rest, but resembles them; and no single version is like any one of the
German tales, though German, Norse, and Gaelic all hang together.