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Popular Tales of the West Highlands
THE SEA MAIDEN

From John Mackenzie, fisherman, near Inverary


A MHAIGHDEAN MHARA.

Bha ann roimhe so, sean iasgair bochd, ach air a bhliadhna so, cha robh e faotainn a bheag do dh'iasg. Latha do na laithean 's e 'giasgach, dh' eirich maighdean-mhara ri taobh a bhta, 's dh' fheraich i dheth, An robh e faotainn a bheag do dh'iasg? Fhreagair an seann duine, 's thubhairt e nach robh. "De 'n duais a bheireadh tu dhmhsa airson pailteas isg a chuir thugad?" "Ach!" ars' an seann duine, "Cha 'n 'eil a bheag agamsa ri sheachnadh. " "An toir thu dhomh an cud mhac a bhitheas agad?" ars' ise. `S mise a bheireadh sin dhuit na'm biodh mac agam; cha robh's cha bhi mac agamsa," ars' esan; "tha mi fin 's mo, bhean air cinntinn co sean. 'Ainmich na bheil agud.' Cha 'n 'eil agamsa ach seann lir eich, seana ghalla choin, mi fin 's mo bhean; sin agadsa na tha chreutairean an t-saoghail mhr agamsa." "So agad, mata, tri spilgeanan a bheir thu do d'mhnaoi air an oidhche nochd, agus tri eile do 'n ghalla, agus an tri so do 'n chapull, agus an tri so mar an ceudna, cuiridh tu air củủl do thighe; agus 'nan am fein bithidh triủir mhac aig do bhean, tri searraich aig an Iir, tri cuileanan aig a ghalla, agus cinnidh tri chraobhan air củl do thighe, agus bithidh na craobhan 'nan samhladh; 'nuair a bhasaicheas a h-aon do na mic seargaidh t do na craobhan. Nis, thoir do thigh ort, agus coinnich mise dur a bhitheas do mhac tri bliadhna 'dh' aois, 's gheibh thu fin pailteas eisg an digh so. "Thachair na h-uile ni mar a thubhairt a mhaighdean-mhara; agus bha e fin a faotainn pailteas isg, ach a nuair a bha ceann nan tri bliadhna a dlủthachadh bha an seann duine a fs cianail, trom-chridheach, 's e 'dol uaithe na h-uile latha mar bha teachd. Air comhainm an latha, chaidh e'dh' iasgachd mar a b'bhaist, ach cha d'-thug e mhac leis.

Dh' rich a mhaighdean-mhara ri taobh a bhta, 's dh' fharraid i, "an d'-thug thu leat do mhac thugam?" "Ach! cha d'-thug, dhi-chuimhnich mi gu 'mi b’e so an latha." "Seadh! seadh! mata," ars' a mhaighdean-mhara, "gheibh thu ceithir bliadhn' eile dheth; faodaidh gur ann is usa dhuit dealachadh ris; so agad a chomhaoise," 'si togail suas leanabh bragha sultmhor, "am bheil do mhac-sa cho bragha ris?" Dh' fhalbh e dhachaidh In sodain is slais, a chionn gu 'n d' fhuair e ceithir bliadhn' eile d'a mhac; 's bha e’g-iasgach 'sa' faotainn pailteas isg. 'Ach an ceann na h-ath cheithir bliadhna, bhuail mulad 's brn e, 's cha ghabhadh e ln 's cha danadh e tủrn, 's cha robh a' bhean a tuigsinn d a bha cur air. Air an am so, cha robh fios aige de 'dhanadh e, ach chuir e roimhe, nach d'-thugadh e leis a mhac air an uair so nis m. Dh'-fhalbh e dh' iasgach mar air na h-uairean roimhe, 's dh'irich a mhaighdean-mhara ri taobh a bhta, 's dh' fheraich i dheth, "An d' thug thu thugain do mhac?" "Ach dhi-chuimhnuich mi e air an uair so cuideachd," ars' an seann duine. "Falbh dhachaidh, mata," ars' a mhaighdean-mhara, "agus an ceann seachd bliadhna na dheigh so, tha thu cinnteach mis' a choinneachadh; ach cha 'n ann an sin is usa dhuit dealachadh ris; ach gheibh thu iasg mar a b-bhaist dhuit."

Chaidh an seann duine dhachaidh ln aoibhneis: fhuar e seachd bliadhn' eile d'a mhac! agus mu'n rachadh seachd bliadhna seachad, bha 'n seann duine a smuaineachadh gu 'm biodh e fin marbh, agus nach faiceadh e 'mhaighdean-mhara tuillidh. Ach coma co dhiu, bha ceann nan seachd bliadhna so a dlủthachadh cuideachd, agus ma 'bha cha robh an seann duine gun chủram a's trioblaid. Cha robh fois aige a latha na dh' oidhche. Dh’ fheraich am mac bu shine d'a athair, aon latha, an robh ni air bith a' cuir dragh air? Thubhairt an seann duine gu'n robh, ach nach buineadh sin dhsan, na do neach air bith eile. Thubhairt an t-ganach gu 'm feumadh e fios fhaotainn air, 's dh'innis athair dha mu dheireadh mar a bha chuis eadar e fin 'sa mhaighdean-mhara. "Na cuireadh sin củram 'sam bith oirbh," ars' am mac: "Cha tid, mise na 'r n-aghaidh." "Cha teid, cha teid, a mhic, ged nach faighinn iasg a chaoidh." "Mur leig sibh* dhomh dol maille ribh, rachaibh do'n cherdach, agus deanadh an gobha claidheamh mr ldir dhmhsa, 's falbhaidh mi air ceann an fhortain. " Chaidh athair do 'n cheardaich, 's rinn an gobha claidheamh. Rug an t-ganach air ‘s thuge crathadh na dh air, 's dh' fhalbh e 'na cheud spealg. Dh' iarr e airathair dol do'n cherdaich, agus claidheamh eile fhaotainn deanta, anns am bitheadh a dh uiread do chudthrom; agus mar so rinn athair, agus air an digh cheudna thachair do 'n chlaidheamh; bhrist e na dha leth. Air ais chaidh an seann duine do'n cherdaich, agus rinn an gobha claidheamh mr; a leithid, cha d' rinn e riamh roimhe. "So agad do chlaidheamh," ars' an gobha, " 's feumaidh an dorn a bhi maith a chluicheas an lann so." Thug an seann duine an claidheamh d'a mhac; thug e crathadh na dithis air; "Ni so feum," ars' am mac, " 's mithich a nis triall air mo thuras," ars' esan. Air maduinn an ath latha, chuir e diollaid air an each dubh a bha aig an lir, agus thug e'n saoghal fuidh' cheann 's an củth dubh ri thaobh. 'N uair a chaidh e greis air aghaidh, thachair carcais caora ris aig taobh an rathaid. Aig a charcais bha madadh mr, seabhag, agus dbhran. Theirin e bhr an eich, agus roinn e a'chlosach eadar an triủir. Tri trianan do'n mhadadh, da thrian do'n dbhran, agus trian do'n t-seabhag. "Airson so," ars' am madadh, "Ma ni luathas chas na gire fiacail cobhair dhuit, cuimhnich ormsa, agus bithidh mi ri d' thaobh." Thubhairt an dbhran, "Ma ni snmh coise air grunnd linne fuasgladh ort, cuimhnich ormsa agus bithidh mi ri' d' thaobh." Ars' an t-seabhag, "Ma thig cruaidh chs ort, far an den luathas itean na crom ionga feum, cuimhnich ormas, 's bithidh mi ri 'd' thaobh." Ghabh e'n so air aghaidh, gus an d'rinig e tigh righ, 's ghabh e muinntearas gu bhi 'na bhuachaille, agus 's ann a rir 's na bhitheadh do bhainne aig a chrodh a bhiodh a thuarasdal. Chaidh e air faibh leis a chrodh, ach cha robh an t-ionaltradh ach lom. 'Nuair a thinig an t-anmoch, 's a thug e dhachaidh iad, cha robh 'bheag do bhainn' aca, bha 'n t-ite co lom, 's cha robh 'bhaidh na 'dheoch ach suarrach air an oidhche so. Air an ath latha, ghabh e air adhart ni b' fhaide leo, agus mu dheireadh thinig e gu ite anabarrach feurach, ann an gleann uaine nach fac e riamh a leithid. Ach mu am dha dol mu chủl a chruidh gu 'n tabhairt dhachaidh, co a chithear a'tighinn ach famhair mr,'sa chlaidheamh 'na limh. "HIU! HAU! HOAGRAICH! " ars' am farnhair, " 's fada bho 'n bha meirg air m' fhiaclan ag iarraidh do chuid feola: 's leamsa 'n crodh, tha iad air mo chrich, agus is duine marbh thusa." "Cha dubhairt mi sin," ars' am buachaille; "cha 'n 'eil fios nach usa sin a rdh na dhanamh."

Ann am badaibh a' cheile gabhar e fin 's am famhair. Chunnaic e gu 'n robh e fada bho a charaid 's dlu d'a nmhaid. Tharruing e 'n claidheamh mr nach fhagadh fuigheal beum, agus dhlủthaich e ris an fhamhair, agus ann am mireadh a chatha leum an củ dubh air củl an fhamhair, 's tharruing am buachaill' a chlaidheamh's bha ‘n ceann do 'n fhamhair ann am prioba na sủil. Leum e air muin an eich dhuibh, agus chaidh e shealltainn airson tigh an fhamhair. Rinig e 'n dorus, agus leis a' chabhaig, a bha air an fharnhair, dh' fhg e gach geata 's gach dorus fosgailte. 'Steach chaidh am buachaille, agus 'sann an sin a bha 'n greadhnachas, r 's airgiod ann am pailteas, 's trusgain dheth gach sersa air am faitheam le r ‘s airgiod, 's gach ni bu riomhaiche na cheile. Am beul na h-oidche thug e caisteal an righ air, ach cha d' thug e dad air bith leis a tigh an fhamhair; agus a nuair a chaidh an crodh a bhleoghan, 's ann an sinn. a bha 'm bainne. Fhuair e de bheatha mhaith air an oidhche so, biadh 's deoch gun ghainne, agus bha an righ anabarrach toilichte, gu 'n d' fhuair e greim air a leithid do bhuachaille. Chaidh e air aghaidh air son ủine air an digh so, ach mu dheireadh, dh' fhs an gleann lom do dh' fheur, agus cha robh an t-ionaltradh cho maith. Ach smaoinich e gun rachadh e air aghaidh beagan ni b’fhaide a' stigh air cir an fhamhair, agus faicear pirce mhr do fheur. Thill e airson a chruidh agus cuirear a stigh do 'n phirce iad. Cha robh iad ach goirid ag ionaltradh 'sa phirce, 'nuair a thinig famair mr, fiadhaich, lan fearg agus corruich "Hu! H!  hoagraich!" ars' am famhair, " 'se deoch do d' fhuil a chaisgeas mo phathadh a nochd." "Cha 'n 'eil fios,” ars' am buachaille, "Nach fasa sin a rdh na dheanamh." Ach na cheile ghabh na fir, 's ann an sin a bha 'n crathadh lann. Mu dheireadh thall bha coltas air gu'm faigheadh am farnhair buaidh air a bhuachaille. 'N sin ghlaodh e air a chủ, agus le aon leum, rug an củ dubh air amhaich air an fhamhair, 's ghrad bhuail am buachaille an ceann de.

Chaidh e dhachaidh gl sgith air an oidhche so, ach nu'r thaing, mar a' robh bainne aig crodh an righ! 's bha 'n teaglach air fad co toilichte air son gun d' fhuair iad a' leithid so do bhuachaille. Lean e air a bhuachailleachd air an digh so r uine; ach oidhche 's e air tighinn dhachaidh, an ite do 'n bhanaraich furan's filte 'chur air, ‘s ann a bha iad air fad ri cumha 's ri brn. Dh' fhoighneachd e de 'n t-aobhar brin a bha' so an nochd. Thubhairt a bhanarach, gu 'n robh beist mhr le tri chinn 'san loch, agus gu 'n robh i ri aon fhaotainn a h-uile bliadhna, agus gu 'n d' thinig an crannchur am bliadhna air nighean an righ, " 's mu mheadhon latha 'mireach, tha i ri coinneachainn na huile-bhist aig ceann shuas an loch; ach tha suiriche mr an siud a tha 'dol g’a ternadh." "De 'n suiriche a tha ann?" thubhairt am buachaille. "0! tha Seanalair mr airm," thubhairt a' bhanarach, "agus a nuair a mharbhas e 'bhist, psaidh e nighean an righ; oir thubhairt an righ 'ge b' thernadh a nighean, gu 'faigheadh e i ri phsadh." Ach air an latha 'maireach, 'nuair a bha an t-am a dluthachainn, dh' fhalbh nighean an righ 's an gaisgeach airm so gu coinneamh a thabhairt do 'n bheist, 's rainig iad an Coire dubh aig ceann shuas an loch. Cha robh iad ach goirid an sin 'nuair a ghluais a bhst ann am meadhon an loch; ach air do'n t-Seanalair an t-uamhas biste so fhaicinn le tri chinn, ghabh e eagal, 's shap e air falbh 's dh' fhalaich e e fin, 's bha nighean an righ fo chrith 's fo eagal, gun neach ann a thernadh i. Sủil do 'n d' thug i faicear ganach foghainteach, dreachmhor a marcachd each dubh 's a' tighinn far an robh i. Bha e air a sgeadachdainn gu h-anabarrach 's fo ln armachd 's an củ dubh a' siubhal 'na dhigh. "Tha gruaim air do ghnủis, a nighean," ars, an t-ganach; "d tha thu deanadh an so?" "0! 's coma sin, thubhairt nighean an righ, cha 'n fhad' a bhitheas mi ann co dhiu." "Cha dubhairt mi sin," ars' esan. "Theich laoch cho cohach riutsa, 's cha 'n 'eil fada uaidhe," thubhairt ise. " 'Se laoch a sheasas cath," ars' an t-ganach. Shuidh e sios limh rithe 's thubhairt e rithe, "Na 'n tuiteadh esan 'na chadal, i ga 'dhủsgadh 'n uair a chitheadh ‘bhist a' deanamh air son tir." "De 's dủsgadh duit," thubhairt ise? " 'S dusgadh dhomh am finne th' air do mheur a chur air mo lughdag." Cha b’ fhada bha iad an sin, 'n uair a chunnaic i bhist a danamh gu tir. Thug i 'm finne bhr a meur, 's chuir i air lughdag an ganaich e. Dhủisg e, agus an coinneamh na bste ghabh e, le 'chlaidheamh 's le chủ; ach 's ann an sin a bha 'n t-slupartaich 's an t-slapartaich eadar e fin 's a' bhist; 's bha 'n củ danamh na b’ urrainn e, 's bha nighean an righ air bhall-chrith eagail le fuaim na biste. Bhiodh iad uair fuidhe 's uair an uachdar, ach ma dheireadh, gherr e fear do na cinn di; thug i aon raibheic aiste, 's ghoir mac-talla nan creag d'a sgruch, 's chuir i 'n loch 'na lasair bho cheann gu ceann, agus ann am prioba na sủla, chaidh i as an t-sealladh. "Piseach's buaidh gu'n robh ga d’ leantainn, ganaich," arsa nighean an righ, "tha mise sbhailt air son aon oidhche; ach thig a bheist a rithist, gu brth gus an d' thig an d cheann eile dhi." Rug e air ceann na biste, agus tharruing e gad roimhe 's thubhairt e rithe, i ga' thabhairt leatha 'm mireach an sud. Dh' fhalbh i dhachaidh's an ceann air a guallainn, 's thug am buachaille na mairt air. Ach cha b' fhada bha i air a' rathad 'n uair a choinnich an Seanalair mr so i, agus thubhairt e rithe gu marbhadh e i mur canadh i gur esan a thug an ceann do 'n bhist. "0! ars' ise, 's mi their! co eile 'thug an ceann do 'n bheist ach thu." Rinig iad tigh an righ 's an ceann air guallainn an t-Seanalair; ach 's ann an so a bha 'n t-aoibhneas, i 'thighinn dhachaidh be sln, agus ceann na biste ln fola aig a Chaiptean mhr so 'na limh. Air an latha ‘mireach, dh'fhalbh iad, agus cha robh teagamh sam bith nach ternadh an gaisgeach so nighean an righ. Rinig iad an t-ite ceudna, 's cha robh iad fad' an sin, 'n uair a ghluais an uile-bheist oillteil ann am meadhon an loch, 's shap an gaisgeach air falbh mar a rinn e air an lath' d. Ach cha b' fhad an digh so, dur a thinig fear an eich dhuibh 's deis eile air. Coma co dhiu, dh’aithnich i gur e cheart ganach a bh’ ann. " 'S mise tha toilichte d' fhaicinn," ars' ise, "tha mi 'n dchas gu limhsich thu do chlaidheamh mr an diugh mar a rinn thu 'n d; thig a nios 's leig t-anail." Ach cha b' fhada bha iad an sin, 'n uair a chunnaic iad a bhist a totail am meadhon an loch. Luidh an t-ganach sios ri taobh nighean an righ, 's thubhairt e rithe, "Ma chaidleas mise mu 'n d'thig a bhist, dủisg mi." "De as dủsgadh dhuit?" " 'S dủasgadh dhomh a chluais-fhail sin a tha 'na d' chluais, a chuir 'na mo th fin." Cha mhath a chaidil e 'n uair a ghlaodh nighean an righ, "Dủisg! dủisg!" Ach dusgadh cha danadh e; ach thug i chluas-fhail as a cluais, agus chuir i 'n cluas an ganaich e, 's air ball dhủisg e, ‘s an car na biste chaidh e; ach 's ann an sin a bha 'n t-slupartaich ‘s an t-slapartaich, raoiceil, 's taoiceil air a bhist. Lean iad mar so r ủine fada, 's mu bheul na h-oidhche, gherr e 'n ceann eile do 'n bhist. Chuir e air a' ghad e 's leum e air muin an eich dhuibh, 's thug e 'bhuachailleached air. Dh' fhalbh nighean an righ dhachaidh leis na cinn: thachair an Seanalair rithe 's thug e uaipe na cinn, 's thubhairt e rithe, "Gu 'm feumadh i chantainn gu 'm b’ esan a thug an ceann do 'n bhist air an uair so cuideachd." "Co eile a thug an ceann do 'n bhist ach thu?" thuirt ise. Rinig iad tigh an righ leis na cinn, ach 's ann an sin a bha 'n t-aoibhneas 's an t-aighear. Mha bha an righ subhach an ceud oidhche, bha e nis cinnteach gu 'n ternadh an gaisgeach mr so a nighean, 's cha robh teagamh sam bith nach bitheadh an ceann eile do 'n bhist air an latha mireach. Mu 'n am cheudna, dh'fhablh an dithis air an latha 'mireach. Dh' fhalaich an t-oifigir e fin mar a b-abhaist: thug nighean an righ bruaich an loch oirre, 's thinig gaisgeach an eich dhuibh, 's luidh e ri' taobh. Dhủisg i 'n t-lach 's chuir i cluas-fhail 'na chluais eile agus ann am bad na biste ghabh e. Ach ma bha raoiceil, is 's taoiceil air a bheist air na lithean a chaidh seachad, ‘s ann an diugh a bha 'n t-uamhas oirre. Ach coma co dhiu, thug e ‘n treas ceann do 'n bhist, 's ma thug cha b' ann gun spirn. Tharruing e ro 'n ghad e, 's dh' fhalbh i dhachaidh leis na cinn. 'N uair a rinig iad tigh an righ, bha na h-uile lin girdeachas, 's bha ‘n Seanalair ri nighean an righ a' phsadh air an ath latha. Bha bhanais a dol air a h-aghaidh 's gach neach mu 'n Chaisteal 's fadal air gus an d' thigeadh an sagairt. Ach a nuair a thainig an sagairt, cha phsadh i ach an neach a bheireadh na cinn do 'n ghad gun an gad a ghearradh. "Co bheireadh na cinn do 'n ghad ach am fear a chuir na cinn air," thuibhairt an righ. Dh' fheuch an Seanalair iad, ach cha b-urrainn e na cinn fliuasgiadh; 's mu dheireadh, cha robh a h’aon mu 'n tigh nach d' fheuch ris' na cinn a thoirt do 'n ghad, ach cha b-urrainn iad. Dh' fhoighneachd an righ, "An robh neach air bith eile mu 'n tigh a dh' fheuchadh ris na cinn a thoirt bhar a ghaid." nubhairt iad nach d' fheuch am buachaille fathast iad. Chaidh fios air a' bhuachaille, 's cha b' fhada bha esan a tilgeadh fear a null 's a nall diubh. "Ach fan beagan ganoich," arsa nighean an righ: "am fear a thug na cinn do 'n bhist, tha 'm finne agamsa aige, agus mo dh chluais-fhail." Chuir am buachaille ‘limh ‘na phca, 's thilig e air a bhrd iad. "S'-tusa mo dhuine-sa," arsa nighean an righ. Cha robh an righ cho toilichte, 'n uair a chunnaic e gu 'm b’e 'bhuachaille a bha ri' nighean a phsadh; ach; dh' rduich e gu feumt' a chur ann an trusgan ni b’fhearr. Ach labhair a nighean, 's thubhairt i, "Gun robh trusgan aige cho romhach 'sa bha riamh 'na chaisteal; agus mor so thachair, chuir am buachaille deis' ir an fhamhair, air, agus phs iad air an oidhche sin fein.

Bha iad a nis psda's na h-uile ni dol air aghaidh gu maith. Bha iad aon lath' a spaisdearachd mu thaobh an locha, 's thinig bist a b-uamhasaiche na 'n te eile, 's thugar air falbh e gun athadh gun fhoighneachd. Bha nighean an righ an so gu dubhach, durach, dalla-bhrnach air son a fear-posda. Bha i daonnan 'sa sủil air an loch. Thachair scana ghobha rithe, 's dh' innis i dha mar thachair da cile-psda. Chomhairlich an gobha dhi i 'sgaoileadh gach n bu bhragha na chile anns a cheart ite 'san ‘d’ thug a bhist air falbh a duine; agus mar so rinn i. Chuir a bhist suas a srn, 's thubhairt i. " 'S bragh ‘d’ ailleas a nighean an righ." " 'S bragha na sin an t-illeagan a thug thu uam," thubhairt ise. "Thoir dhomh aon sealladh do m' dhuine,'s gheibh thu aon ni do na tha thu 'faicinn." Thug a' bhist suas e. "Aisig dhomh e, 's gheibh thu na tha thu ‘faicinn," ars' ise. Rinn a' bhist mar a thubhairt i; thilig i beo sln e air bruach an locha. Goirid 'na dheigh sud, 's iad a sridimeachd ri taobh an loch, thug a bhist cheudna air falbh nighean an rgh. Bu bhrnach gach neach a bha 'sa bhaile air an oidhche so. Bha a duine gu dubhach, deurach, a' siubhal sos agus suas mu bhruachan an locha a latha 's do dh' oidhche. Thachair an seana ghobha ris. Dh' innis an gobha dha, Nach robh digh air an uile-bheist a mharbhadh, ach aon digh, agus 's e sin – “Anns an eilean 'tha am meadhon an locha tha eilid chaisfhionn as caoile cas 's as luaithe ceum, agus ge do rachadh beirsinn oirre, leumadh feannag aisde, agus ged a rachadh beirsinn air an fheannag, leumadh breac aisde; ach tha ubh am beul a bhric, agus, tha anam na biste 'san ubh 's ma bhristeas an t-ubh, tha a bhist marbh." Nis cha robh digh air faotainn do 'n eilean so, bho 'n chuireadh a bhist foidh gach bata 's gach rth, a rachadh air an loch. Smaoinich e gu 'm feuchadh e 'n Caolas a leum leis an each dhubh, agus mar so fhein rinn e. Leum an t-each dubh an Caolas, 's an Củ dubh le aon leum. as an digh. Chunnaic e' n eilid, 's leig e 'n củ dubh 'na digh, ach an uair a bhiodh an củ air aon taobh do 'n eilean bhiodh an eilid air an taobh eile. "0! bu mhath a nis madadh mr na closaiche fela an so." Cha luaithe 'labhair e 'm facal na bha 'm madadh cir ri thaobh, agus an digh na h-eilid ghabh e 's cha b’  fhada 'bha na laoich ga cuir ri talamh; ach cha bu luaithe a rug e oirre, na leum feannag aisde; " 'S ann a nis a bu mhath an t-seobhag ghlas as geire suil 's is lidire sgiath." Cha luaithe thubhairt e so, na bha 'n t-seobhag as digh 'na feannaig, 's cha b’ fhada 'bha i ga cuir ri talamh; agus air tuiteam do 'n fheannaig air bruach an locha, a mach aisde leumtar am breac. "0! nach robh thus' agamsa a nis a dhobhrain." Cha luaith' thubhairt na bha 'n dobhran ri thaobh, agus a mach air an loch leum i, 's thugar am breac a meadhon an loch; Ach cha luaithe bha 'n dran air tir leis a bhreac na thainig an t-ubh a mach as a bheul. Ghrad leum esan, 's chuir e 'chas air, 's ann an sin a leig a bhist raoic aisde, 's thubhairt i, "Na brist an t-ubh, 's gheibh thu na dh' iarras tu. " "Aisig dhmhsa mo bhean. " Ann am prioba na sủla bha i ri 'thaobh. Nuair a fhuair e greim air a laimh 'na dha' Iimh, leig e chas air an ubh, 's bhisaich a bist. Bha ‘bheist marbh a nis, agus 'sann a nis a bha 'n sealladh ri fhaicinn. Bha i uamhasach ri sealltainn oirre, bha na tri chinn di gun teagamh, ach ma bha, bha ceann os-ceann cheann oirre, agus sủilean, 's coig ceud cas. Coma co dhiu, dh' fhig iad ann a 'sud i, 's chaidh iad dhachaidh. Bha slas is girdeachas ann an tigh an righ air an oidhche so, 's cha d’innis e do 'n righ gu so mar a mharbh e na famhairean. Chuir an righ urram. mr air, 's bha e 'na dhuine mr aig an rgh.

Bha e fein 's a' bhean a' sridimeachd aon latha, 'n uair a thug e fainear caisteal beag ri taobh an loch, ann an coille. Dh’ fharraid e do 'n mhnaoi co bha gabhail cmhnuidh ann? Thubhairt i nach robh neach air bith a' dol a chir a chaisteal ud, bho nach d'thainig neach air ais fathast a chaidh ann a dh' innseadh sgeủil. "Cha 'n fhaod a chủis a bhi mar sin," ars' esan; "a nochd fin chi mi co' tha gabhail comhnuidh ann." "Cha d' theid, cha d' theid," thubhairt ise, "cha deach duine riamh do 'n chaisteal so a phill air ais. " "Biodh sin 's a roghainn aige," ars' esan. Dh' fhalbh e, agus gabhar do 'n chaisteal 's nuair a rinig e 'n dorus, thachair cailleach bheag, bhrosgulach ris 'na seasamh san dorus. 'Furan's failte dhuit, a rnhic an iasgair 's mi fin a tha toilichte d' fhaicinn; 's mr an onair do 'n rioghachd so do leithid a thighinn innte; 's urram. do 'n bhothan bheag so thu thighinn a stigh;' gabh a stigh air thoiseach, onair na h-uaisle, 's leig t' anail:” ‘s a steach ghabh e; ach a nuair a bha e air t dol suas, tharruing i an slacan-dhruidheachd air an củl a chinn, ‘s air ball thuit e 'n sin. "Air an oidhche so bha brn ann an caisteal an righ agus air an latha mireach bha tuireadh ann an tigh an iasgair. Chunnacas a chraobh a seargadh 's thubhairt mac meadhonach an iasgair, "gu 'n robh a bhrthar marbh," 's thug e bid is briathar gu falbhadh e s gu 'm biodh fios aige cait' an robh corp a bhrthar na luidhe. Chuir e dollaid air each dubh, 's mharcaich an digh a choin duibh (oir bha each dubh 's củ dubh aig triủir mhac an iasgair) agus gun dol a null na nall, lean e air ceum a bhrthair bu sine, gus an drinig e tigh an righ. Bha e so co coltach ri 'bhrthair 's gu, 'n d' shaoil le nighean an rgh gu 'm be duine fein a bh' ann. Dh' fhan e 'n so 'sa chaisteal, 's dh' innis iad dha mar thachair d'a brthair, agus do chaisteal beag na cailliche dh' fheumadh e' dol bog na cruaidh mar thachradh, 's do 'n chaisteal chaidh e, agus ceart mar a thachair do 'n bhrthair bu sine, anns gach digh thachair do 'n mhac mheadhonach, 's le aon bhuille do 'n t-slacan-dhruidheachd, leag a' chailleach e na shineadh ri' taobh a bhrthar. Air faicinn an darna craobh a' seargadh do mhac g an iasgair thubhairt e, gu 'n robh a nis a dhithis bhrithrean marbh, agus gu' feumadh fios a bhi aigesan de 'm bs a thinig orra. Air muin an eich dhuibh ghabh e, 's lean e 'n củ mar a rinn a bhrthair, agus tigh an rgh bhuail e mu 'n do stad e. 'Se 'n rgh bha toilichte fhaicinn, ach do 'n chaisteal dubh (oir 'se so ainm) cha leigadh iad e, ach do 'n chaisteal dh' fheumadh e dol, 's mur sin rinig e 'n caisteal. "Failte 's furan dhuit fin, a mhic an iasgair, 's mi tha toillichte d'fhaicinn; gabh a steach 's leig t-anail," thuirt ise. " 'Stigh romham thu, a chailleach, 's coma leam sodal a muigh." "Rach a steach 's cluinneam do chmhradh." A' steach, ghabh a chailleach, agus a nuair a bha a củl ris, tharruing e a chlaidheamh 's spadar a ceann dhi, ach leum an claidheamh as a laimh, 's ghrad rug a chailleach air a ceann le a da Iimh, s cuirear air a h-amhaich e mar' bha e roimhe. Leum an củ air a chaillich, 's bhuail I 'm madadh cir leis an t-slacan-dhruidheachd, 's luidh esan an sin, ach cha deach so air mhithapadh do 'n lach, 's an ss sa chaillich gabhar e. Fhuair e grim air an t-shlacan-dhruidheachd, agus le aon bhuille am mullach a cinn bha i ri talamh ann am prioba na sủl. Chaidh e beagan air aghaidh suas, 's faicear a dha bhrthair na 'n luidhe taobh ri taobh. Tbug e buille do gach fear dhiubh, leis an t-slacan dhruidheachd 's air an cois bha iad. Ach 's ann so a bha ‘n spuill ir 's airgid, 's gach ni bu luachmhoire na chile ann an caisteal na cailliche. Thinig iad air an ais do thigh an rgh, 's ann an sin a bha 'n girdeachas. Bha 'n rgh a fs seann, agus chaidh mac bhu shine an iasgair a chrủmadh 'na rgh, 's dh' fhan an dithis bhrithrean latha 's bliadhna ann an tigh an rgh, 's dh' fhalbh an dithis a nis dhachadh le r 's airgiod na caifliche, 's gach n romhach eile 'thug an rgh dhoibh; 's mar do shiubhail iad uaidh sin tha iad beo gus an latha 'n diugh.

HECTORURQUHART.

2. Another version of this was told to me in South Uist, by DONALD MACPHIE, aged 79, in September 1859.

There was a poor old fisher in Skye, and his name was Duncan. He was out fishing, and the sea maiden rose at the side of his boat, and said, "Duncan, thou art not getting fish." They had a long talk, and made a bargain; plenty of fish for his first son. But he said, "I have none." Then the sea maiden gave him something, and said, "Give this to thy wife, and this to thy mare, and this to thy dog, and they will have three sons, three foals, and three pups," and so they had, and the eldest son was Iain. When he was eighteen, he found his mother weeping, and learned that he belonged to the mermaid. "Oh," said he, "I will go where there is not a drop of salt water." So he mounted one of the horses and went away. He soon came to the carcase of an old horse, and at it a lion (aeon), a wolf (matugally), and a falcon (showag). LEMHAN, MADADH-ALLUIDH, SEABHAG or SEOBHAG.

The lion spoke, and she asked him to divide the carcass. He did so, and each thanked him, and said, "When thou art in need think of me, and I will be at thy side (or thou wilt be a lion, a wolf, or a falcon, I am uncertain which he meant), for we were here under spells till some one should divide this carcass for us."

He went on his way and became a king's herd. He went to a smith and bade him make him an iron staff. He made three. The two first bent, the third did well enough. He went a herding, and found a fine grass park, and opened it and went in with the cattle. FUATH of the seven heads, and seven humps, and seven necks, came and took six by the tails and went away with them (so Cacus dragged away cows by the tail). "Stop," said the herd. The FUATH would not, so they came to grips. Then the fisher's son either thought of the lion, or became one, but at all events a lion seized the giant and put him to earth.

"Thine is my lying down and rising up," said he. "What is thy ransom?" said the herd. The giant said, "I have a white filly that will go through the skies, and a white dress; take them." And the herd took off his heads.

When he went home they had to send for carpenters to make dishes for the milk, there was so much.

The next day was the same. There came a giant with the same number of heads, and took eight cows by their tails, and slung them on his back. The herd and the wolf (or as a wolf) beat him, and got a red filly that could fly through the air, and a red dress, and cut off their heads. And there were still more carpenters wanted, there was so much milk.

The third day came a still bigger giant and took nine cows, and the herd as, or with a falcon, beat him, and got a green filly that would go through the sky and a green dress, and cut his heads off, and there was more milk than ever.

On the fourth day came the Carlin, the wife of the last giapt, and mother of the other two, and the fisher's son went up into a tree. "Come down till I eat thee," said she. "Not I," said the herd. "Thou hast killed my husband and my two sons, come down till I eat thee." "Open thy mouth, then, till I jump down," said the herd. So the old Carlin opened her gab, and he thrust the iron staff down her throat, and it came out at a mole on her breast [ this is like the mole of the Gruagach in No. 1], and she fell. Then he sprang on her, and spoke as before, and got a basin, and when he washed himself in it, he would be the most beautiful man that was ever seen on earth, and a fine silver comb, and it would make him the grandest man in the world; and he killed the Carlin and went home.

[So far this agrees almost exactly with the next version, but there is a giant added here and a coarse comb left out].

When the fisher's son came home, there was sorrow in the king's house, for the DRAYGAN was come from the sea. Every time he came there was some one to be eaten, and this time the lot had fallen on the king's daughter.

The herd said that he would go to fight the draygan, and the king said, "No; I cannot spare my herd." So the king's daughter had to go alone. [ The incident of the cowardly knight is here left out]. Then the herd came through the air on the white filly, with the white dress of the Fuath. He tied the filly to the branch of a tree and went where the king's daughter was, and laid his head in her lap, and she dressed his hair, and he slept. When the draygan came she woke him, and after a severe battle he cut off one head, and the draygan said, "A hard fight tomorrow," and went away. The herd went off in the white filly, and in the evening asked about the battle, and heard his own story. Next day was the same with the red filly and the red dress, and the draygan said, "The last fight to morrow," and he disappeared.

On the third day she scratched a mark on his forehead when his head was in her lap: he killed the draygan, and when he asked about it all, there was great joy, for now the draygan was dead. Then the king's daughter had the whole kingdom gathered, and they took off their head clothes as they passed, but there was no mark. Then they bethought them of the dirty herd, and when he came he would not put olf his head gear, but she made him, and saw the mark, and said, "Thou mightest have a better dress." He used his magic comb and basin, and put on a dress, and was the grandest in the company, and they married. It fell out that the king's daughter longed for dulse, and he went with her to the shore to seek it. The sea maiden-rose up and took him. She was sorrowful, and went to the soothsayer and learned what to do.

And she took her harp to the sea shore and sat and played and the sea-maiden came up to listen, for sea-maidens are fonder of music than any other creatures, and when she saw the sea-maiden she stopped. The sea-maiden said, "Play on;" but she said, "No, till I see my man again." So the sea-maiden put up his head. (Who do you mean? Out of her mouth to be sure. She had swallowed him.) She played again, and stopped, and then the sea-maiden put him up to the waist. Then she played again and stopped, and the sea-maiden placed him on her palm. Then he thought of the falcon, and became one and flew on shore. But the sea-maiden took the wife.

Then he went to the soothsayer, and he said, "I know not what to do, but in a glen there is TARBH NIMH, a hurtful bull, and in the bull a ram, and in the ram a goose, and in the goose an egg, and there is the soul of the sea-maiden."

Then he called on his three creatures, and by their help got the goose, but the egg fell out in the loch.

Then the lion said she knew not what to do, and the wolf said the same. The falcon told of an otter in an island, and flew and seized her two cubs, and the otter dived for the egg to save her cubs. He got his wife, and dashed the egg on the stones, and the mermaid died. And they sent for the fisher and his sons, and the old mother and brothers got part of the kingdom, and they were all happy and lucky after that.

I asked if there was anything about one brother being taken for the other and the naked sword, and was told that the incident was in another story, as well as that of the withering of the three trees. These incidents were in the version of the stable boy; and as they are in Mackenzie's, they probably belong to the story as it was known in Argyllshire.

3. Another version of this was told in April 1859, by John MacGibbon, a lad who was rowing me across Loch Fyne, from St. Katharine's to Inverary; he said he had heard it from an old man living near Lochgilphead, who could tell many stories, and knew part of the history of the Feine.

The hero was the son of a widow, the youngest of ten; blackskinned and rough "carrach." He went to seek his fortune, and after adventures somewhat like those of the heroes in the other versions, he became like them a king's herd, and was in like manner beset by giants who claimed the pasture. Each fight was preceded by a long and curious parley across a ditch. The giants got larger each day, and last of all came the wife of one, and mother of the other two, who was worst of all.

He got spoil from each, which the conquered giant named as his ransom, and which, as usual, the herd took after killing his foe. From the mother he got a "golden comb, and when he combed his hair with the fine side, he was lovely, and when he combed it with the coarse side, he was hideous again," and a magic basin which made him beautiful when he washed in it. And he got wonderful arms, and dresses, and horses from the giants.

Then the king's daughter was to be given to a giant with three heads who came in a ship. When he leaped on shore, he buried himself to the waist, he was so heavy. The herd was asleep with his head in the lap of the princess, and dressed in the giant's spoil, combed with the fine gold comb, and washed in the magic basin, and beautiful, but nevertheless the princess dressed his hair.

He was awakened each day by biting a joint off his little finger - cutting a patch from the top of his head - and a notch from his ear. Each day he cut off a head, and the giant, when he leaped from the ship on the third day, only sunk to his ankles in the sand, for he had lost two heads.

The third head jumped on again as fast as it was cut off, but at last, by the advice of a hoodie, the cold steel of the sword was held on the neck till the marrow froze, and then the giant was killed, and the herd disappeared as usual.

A red-headed lad, who went to guard the princess, ran away and hid himself, and took the credit each day, but he could not untie the knots with which the heads were bound together on a withy by the herd. Then when all the kingdom had been gathered, the herd was sent for, but he would not come, and he bound three parties of men who were sent to bring him by force.

At last he was entreated to come, and came, and was recognized by the marks, and then he combed his hair, and washed in the magic basin, and dressed in the giant’s spoils, and he married the princess, and the Gille Ruadh was hanged.

Here the story ended, but so did the passage of the ferry.

4. I have another version written by Hector Maclean, from the dictation of a woman, B. Macaskill, in the small island of Bemeray, Aug. 1859. - MAC A GHOBHA,The Smith's Son.

A smith takes the place of the old fisherman. The mermaid rises beside his boat, gets the promise of the son, and sends him fish. (The three mysterious grains are omitted.) One son is born to the fisher, and the mermaid lets him remain till he is fourteen years of age.

BHA 'N GILLE ‘N SO CHO MOR AN CEAUNN NAN CEITHIR BLIADHNA DIAG! CHA ROBH LEITHID RE BHAIGHIN CHO MOR 'S CHO GARBH 'S CHO  FOGHAINTEACH RIS.

The lad was now so big at the end of the 14 years! His like was not to be found, so big, so rugged, so formidable as he.

Then he asked his father not to go in the wind of the shore or the sea, for fear the mermaid should catch him, and to make him a staff in which there should be nine stone weight of iron; and he went to seek his fortune. His father made him the staff, and he went, and whom should he meet but MADADH RUADH the fox, MADADH ALLUIDH the wolf, AGUS AN FHEANNAG, and the hoodie, AGUS  OTHAISG ACA GA H'ITHEADH, and eating a year old sheep. He divided the sheep, and the creatures promised to help him, and he went on to a castle, where he got himself employed as a herd, and was sent to a park; "No man ever came alive out of it that ever went into it."

A big giant came and took away one of the cows, and then (SABAID) a fight began, and the herd was undermost, AGUS DE RINN AM BUACHAILL’ ACH CUIMHNEACHADH AIR A MHADADH ALLUIDH AGUS GHRAD! BHA 'M BUACHAILL AN AIRD AGUS AM FUAMHAIR FODHA AGUS MHARBH E 'M FUAMHAIR, and what did the herd but remember the wolf, and swift! the herd was above and the giant below, and he killed the giant, and went home with the cattle, and his master said to the BANACHAGAN, "Oh, be good to the herd." (The spoil, the dresses, and the horses are here all left all out). The second day it was the same, and he again thought of the wolf, and conquered after he was down.

The third day it was again the same. On the fourth day CAILLEACH MHOR a  great carlan came. They fought, and he was undermost again, but thought of the wolf and was up. BAS AS DO CHIONN A CHAILLEACH ARS AM BUACHAILLE DE’ T’ EIRIG? (EIRIG, a fine for bloodshed, a ransom. Fine anciently paid for the murder of any person. Scottish Laws - Regiam Majestatem (Armstrong dic.) The Laws of the Brets and Scots, in which every one was valued according to his degree (Innes's "Scotland in the Middle Ages").

"Death on thy top, Carlin," said the herd, "what's thy value?"

"That is not little," said the Carlin, "if thou gettest it. I have three TRUNCANNAN (an English word with a Gaelic plural) full of silver. There is a trunk under the foot board, and two others in the upper end of the castle." "Though that be little, its my own," said he as he killed her.

On the morrow the king's daughter was to go to the great beast that was on the loch to be killed, and what should the herd do but draw the cattle that way, and he laid his head in her lap and slept, but first told the lady, when she saw the loch trembling, to take off a joint of his little finger. She did so. He awoke, thought of the fox, and took a head, a hump, and a neck off the beast, and he went away, and no one knew that he had been there at all. Next day was the same, but he had a patch cut from his head.

The third day she took off the point of his ear, he awoke, was again beaten by the beast, thought of the fox, and was uppermost, and killed the beast (S' BHA I  NA LOCH UISGE N’ UAIR A MHARBH E I) and she was a fresh water lake when he had killed her.

(The cowardly general, or knight, or lad, or servant, is here left out.) Then the king's daughter gave out that she would marry the man whose finger fitted the joint which she had cut off and kept in her pocket. Everybody came and cut off the points of their little fingers, but the herd staid away till it was found out by the dairymaids that he wanted the joint, and then he came and married the lady.

After they were married they went to walk by the shore, and the mermaid rose and took him away. "It is long since, thou wert promised to me, and now I have thee perforce," said she. An old woman advised the lady to spread all her dresses on the beach, and she did so in the evening, and the mermaid came, and for the dresses gave back her companion, "and they went at each other's necks with joy and gladness."

In a fortnight the wife was taken away, "and sorrow was not sorrow till now - the lad lamenting his wife." He went to an old man, who said, "There is a pigeon which has laid in the top of a tree; if thou couldst find means to break the egg ANAIL, the breath of the mermaid is in it." SMAOINTICH E AIR AN FHEANNAIG  'S CHAIDH E NA FHEANNAIG 'S LEUM E GO BARR NA CRAOIBHE. He thought on the hoodie, and he became a hoodie (went into his hoodie), and he sprang to the top of the tree, and he got the egg, and he broke the egg, and his wife came to shore, and the mermaid was dead.

It is worth remarking the incidents which drop out of the story when told by women and by men. Here the horses and armour are forgotten, but the faithful lover is remembered. The sword is a stick, and the whole thing savours strongly of the every-day experience of the Western Isles, which has to do with fishing, and herding sheep and cattle. It is curious also to remark the variations in the incidents. The hero seems to acquire the qualities of the creatures, or be assisted by them.

5. I have another version from Barra, but it varies so much, and has so many new incidents, that I must give it entire, if at all. It most resembles MacGibbon's version. It is called AN 'T IASGAIR the fisher, and was told by Alexander MacNeill, fisherman.

6. I have a sixth version told by John Smith, labourer, living at Polchar in South Uist, who says he learned it about twenty years ago from Angus Macdonald, Balnish. It is called AN GILLE GLAS, the Grey lad. He is a widow's son, goes to seek his fortune, goes to a smith, and gets him to make an iron shinny (that is a hockey club), he becomes herd to a gentleman, herds cattle, and is beset by giants whom he kills with his iron club; he gathers the skirt of his grey cassock (which looks like Odin), he gets a copper and a silver and a golden castle, servants (or slaves) of various colour and appearance, magic whistles, horses, and dresses, and rescues the daughter of the king of Greece. The part of the cowardly knight is played by a red headed cook. The language of this is curious, and the whole very wild. Unless given entire, it is spoilt.

In another story, also from Berneray, the incident of meeting three creatures again occurs.

There is a lion, a dove, and a rat. And the lion says:

"What, lad, is thy notion of myself being in such a place as this?"

"Well," said he, "I have no notion, but that it is not there the like of you ought to be; but about the banks of rivers."

It is impossible not to share the astonishment of the lion, and but for the fact that the rat and the dove were as much surprised at their position as the lion, one would be led to suspect that Margaret MacKinnon, who told the story, felt that her lion was out of his element in Bemeray. Still he is there, and it seems worth inquiring how he and the story got there and to other strange places.

1st. The story is clearly the same as Shortshanks in Dasent's Norse Tales, 1859. But it is manifest that it is not taken from that book, for it could not have become so widely spread in the islands, and so changed within the time.

2d. It resembles, in some particulars, the Two Brothers, the White Snake, the Nix of the Mill Pond, the Ball of Crystal, in Grimm; and there are similar incidents in other German tales. These have long been published, but I never heard of a copy in the west, and many of my authorities cannot read. It is only necessary to compare any one of the Gaelic versions with any one German tale, or all together, to feel certain that Grimm's collection is not the source from which this story proceeded.

3d. A story in the latest edition of the Arabian Nights (Lane's, 1839), contains the incident of a genius, whose life was not in his body, but in a chest at the bottom of the Circumambient Ocean, but that book is expensive, and quite beyond the reach of peasants and fishermen in the west, and the rest of the story is different.

4th. There is something in Sanscrit about a fight for cattle between a herd and some giants, which has been compared with the classical story of Cacus. - (Mommsen's Roman History).

5th. I am told that there is an Irish "fenian" story which this resembles. I have not yet seen it, but it is said to be taken from a very old Irish MS. (Ossianic Society).

6th . It is clearly the same as the legend of St. George and the Dragon. It is like the classical story of Perseus and Andromeda, but Pegasus is multiplied by three, and like the story of Hercules and Hesione, but Hercules was to have six horses. On the whole, I cannot think that this is taken from any known story of any one people, but that it is the Gaelic version of some old myth. If it contains something which is distorted history, it seems to treat of a seafaring people who stole men and women, and gave them back for a ransom, of a wild race of "giants" who stole cattle and horses, and dresses, and used combs and basins, and had grass parks; and another people who had cattle and wanted pasture, and went from the shore in on the giants' land.

If it be mythical, there is the egg which contains the life of the sea monster, and to get which beast, bird, and fish, earth, air, and water, must be overcome. Fire may be indicated, for the word which I have translated SPINDRIFT, LASAIR, generally means flame.

I am inclined to think that it is a very old tale, a mixture of mythology, history, and every-day life, which may once have been intended to convey the moral lesson, that small causes may produce great effects; that men may learn from brutes, Courage from the lion and the wolf, Craft from the fox, Activity from the falcon, and that the most despised object often becomes the greatest. The whole story grows out of a grain of seed. The giant's old mother is more terrible than the giants. The little flattering crone in the black castle more dangerous than the sea monster. The herd thought of the wolf when he fought the giants, but he thought of the fox when he slew the dragon. I can but say with the tale tellers, "dh' fhg mise n' sin eud." "There I left them," for others to follow if they choose. I cannot say how the story got to the Highlands, and the lion into the mind of a woman in Berneray.


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