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Popular Tales of the West Highlands
MURCHAG A'S MIONACHAG

From Ann Darroch, James Wilson, Hector MacLean, Islay, and many others in other parts of the Highlands.


Moorachug and Meenachug went to gather fruit, and as Moorachug would gather Meenachug would eat. Moorachug went to seek a rod to lay on Meenachug, and she eating his share of fruit.

"What's thy news to-day, oh Voorachai?" said the rod. " 'Tis my own news, that I am seeking a rod to lay on Meenachug, and she eating my share of fruit."

"Thou wilt not get me until thou gettest an axe that will reap me." He reached the axe. "What's thy news to-day, oh Voorachai?" " 'Tis my own news that I am seeking an axe to reap rod - rod to lay on Meenachug and she eating my share of fruit."

"Thou wilt not get me until thou gettest a stone to smooth me." He reached a stone; "What's thy news to-day, oh Voorachai?" said the stone. " 'Tis my own news that I am seeking stone to smooth axe - axe to reap rod - rod to lay on Meenachaig and she eating my share of fruit."

"Thou wilt not get me," said the stone, "till thou gettest water will wet me." He reached the water. "What's thy news to day, oh Voorachai?" said the water. " 'Tis my own news that I am seeking - water to stone - stone to smooth axe - axe to reap rod - rod to lay on Meenachaig and she eating my share of fruit."

"Thou wilt not get me," said the water, "till thou gettest a deer to swim me." He reached the deer. "What's thy news to-day, oh Voorachai?" said the deer. `Tis my own news, that I am seeking - deer to swim water - water to stone - stone to smooth axe - axe to reap rod - rod to lay on Meenachaig and she eating my share of fruit."

"Thou wilt not get me," said the deer, "until thou gettest a dog to run me." He reached the dog. "What's thy news to-day, oh Voorachai?" said the dog. " 'Tis my own news that I am seeking dog to run deer - deer to swim water - water to stone - stone to smooth axe - axe to reap rod - rod to lay on Meenachaig  and she eating my share of fruit."

"Thou wilt not get me," said the dog, "till thou gettest butter to be rubbed to my feet." He reached the butter. "What's thy news to-day, oh Voorachai?" said the butter. " 'Tis my own news, that I am seeking butter to feet of dog - dog to run deer - deer to swim water - water to stone - stone to smooth axe - axe to reap rod - rod to lay on Meenachaig and she eating my share of fruit."

"Thou wilt not get me," said the butter, "till thou gettest a mouse will scrape me." He reached the mouse. "What's thy news to-day, oh Voorachai?" said the mouse. " 'Tis my own news, that I am seeking mouse to scrape butter - butter to feet of dog - dog to run deer - deer to swim water - water to stone - stone to smooth axe - axe to reap rod - rod to lay on Meenachaig and she eating my share of fruit."

"Thou wilt not get me," said the mouse, "till thou gettest a cat to hunt me." He reached the cat. "What's thy news to-day, oh Voorachai?" said the cat. " 'Tis my own news, that I am seeking cat to hunt mouse - mouse to scrape butter - butter to feet of dog - dog to run deer - deer to swim water - water to stone - stone to smooth axe - axe to reap rod - rod to lay on Meenachaig  and she eating my share of fruit."

"Thou wilt not get me," said the cat, "until thou gettest milk for me." He reached the cow. "What's thy news to-day, oh! Voorachai?" said the cow. " 'Tis my own news, that I am seeking milk for the cat - cat to hunt mouse - mouse to scrape butter - butter to feet of dog  - dog to run deer - deer to swim water - water to stone - stone to smooth axe - axe to reap rod - rod to lay on Meenachaig and she eating my share of fruit."

"Thou wilt not get milk from me till thou gettest a whisp from the barn gillie." He reached the barn gillie. "What's thy news to-day, oh, Voorachai?" said the barn gillie. " 'Tis my own news that I am seeking a whisp for the cow - a cow will shed milk for the cat  - cat to hunt mouse - mouse to scrape butter - butter to feet of dog - dog to run deer - deer to swim water - water to stone - stone to smooth axe - axe to reap rod - rod to lay on Meenachaigand she eating my share of fruit."

"Thou wilt not get a whisp from me," said the barn gillie, "till thou gettest a bonnach for me from the kneading wife." He reached the kneading wife. "What's thy news to-day, oh, Voorachai!" said the kneading wife. "Tis my own news, that I am seeking bonnach to the barn gillie - whisp to the cow from the barn gillie - milk from the cow to the cat - cat will hunt mouse - mouse will scrape butter - butter to feet of dog - dog to run deer - deer to swim water - water to stone - stone to smooth axe - axe to reap rod - rod to lay on Meenachaig  and she eating my share of fruit."

"Thou wilt not get bonnach from me till thou bringest in water will knead it."

"How will I bring in the water? There is no vessel but that sowen's sieve."

Moorachug took with him the sowen's sieve. He reached the water, and every drop he would put in the sowen's sieve it would go through. A hoodie came over his head, and she cried, "Gawr rag, gawr rag, little silly, little silly." "Thou art right, oh hoodie," said Moorachug. "Crah rooah s' cinneach, crah rooah s' cinneach," said the hoodie.

Moorachug set crah rooah s' cinneach, brown clay and moss to it, and he brought in the water to the kneading wife  - and he got bonnach from the kneading wife to barn gillie -  whisp from the barn gillie to the cow - milk from the cow to the cat - cat to hunt mouse -  mouse to scrape butter - butter to feet of dog - dog to run deer - deer to swim water - water to stone - stone to smooth axe - axe to reap rod - rod to lay on Meenachaig and she eating his share of fruit. And when Moorachug returned Meenachag had just BURST.

This is the best known of all Gaelic tales. It is the infant ladder to learning a chain of cause and effect, and fully as sensible as any of its kind. It used to be commonly taught to children of five or six years of age, and repeated by school boys, and it is still remembered by grown up people in all parts of the Highlands. There are few variations. In one version the crow was a light bird; in another a gull was introduced, which advised the use of the sand to stuff the riddle.

The tale has sixteen steps, four of which contain double ideas. The English house that Jack built has eleven. The Scotch old woman with the silver penny has twelve. The Norsk cock and hen a-nutting twelve, ten of which are double. The German story in Grimm has five or six, all single ideas. All these are dfferent. In Uist the actors are Biorachan mor agus Biorchan Beag; in Sutherland, Morachan agus Mionachan.

The speech of the Hoodie is always a very close imitation of his note. In another version she says, "CUIR CRIADH RIGHIN RUADH RIS - Put tough red clay to it;" and the gull said, "CUIR POLL BOG RIS - Put soft mud to it;" which is rather the speech of some other bird. There are several rare words in this; for example, "Gadhar," a dog.

MURCRADH A'S MIONACHAG.

Dh' fholbh Murchadh a's Mionachag a bhuain sugh, 's mar a bhuaineadh Murchadh dh' itheadh Mionachag. Dh 'fholbh Murchadh a dh' iarraidh slat a ghabhail air Monachaig 's i 'g itheadh a chuid sugh - "De do naigheachd an diugh a Mhurchaidh?" urs' an t-slat. " 'Se mo naigheachd fin gu 'bheil mi 'g iarraidh Slat a ghabhail air Mionachag 's i 'g itheadh mo chuid sugh." "Cha'n fhaigh thu mise gus am faigh, thu tuagh a bhuaineas mi." Rinig e 'n tuagh. "De do naigheachd an diugh a Mhurchaidh?" "Se mo naigheadchd fin gu 'bheil mi 'g iarraidh Tuagh a bhuaineas slat - Slat a ghabhail air Mionachaig 's i 'g itheadh mo chuid sugh"  - 'Cha 'n fhaigh thu mise gus am faigh thu clach a lobhas mi." Rinig e 'chlach. "D do naigheachd an diugh a Mhurchaidh?" urs' a' chlach. " 'Se mo naigheachd fin gu 'bheil mi 'g iarraidh Clach a lobhadh tuagh - Tuagh a bhuain slat - Slat a ghabhail air Mionachaig 's i' g itheadh mo chuid sugh. " "Cha n fhaigh thu mis'," urs' a' chlach, "gus am faigh thu uisge a fhliuchas mi." Rinig e 'n t-uisge - "De do naigheachd an diugh a Mhurchaidh? urs' an t-uisge. " 'S e mo naigheachd fin gu bheil mi 'g iarraidh Uisge ma chloich - Clach a lobhadh tuagh - Tuagh a bhuain slat - Slat a ghabhail air Mionachaig 's i 'g itheadh mo chuid sugh." "Cha 'n fhaigh thu mis'," urs' an t-uisge, "gus am faigh thu fiadh a shnmhas mi." Rinig e 'm fiadh. "D do naigheachd an diugh a Mhurchaidh?" urs' am fiadh. "'Se mo naigheachd fin gu 'bheil mi'g iarraidh Fiadh a shnmh uisg'. Uisge ma chloich. Clach a lobhadh tuagh. Tuagh a bhuain slat. Slat a ghabhail air Mionachaig's i 'g itheadh mo chuid sugh." "Cha 'n fhaigh thu mis'," urs' am fiadh, "gus am faigh thu gadhar a ruitheas mi." Rinig e 'n gadhar. "D do naigheachd an diugh a Mhurchaidh?" urs' an gadhar. " S e mo naigheachd fin gu 'bheil mi 'g iarraidh Gadhar a ruith fiadh. Fiadh a shnmh uisg'. Uisge ma chloich. Clach a lobhadh tuagh. Tuagh a bhuain slat. Slat a ghabhail air Mionachaig 's i 'g itheadh mo chuid sugh." "Cha 'n fhaigh thu mis," urs' an t-im, "gus am faigh thu luch a sgriobas mi." "Rinig e 'n luch. "D do naigheachd an diugh a Murchaidh?" urs' an luch. " 'Se mo naigheachd fin gu 'bheil mi 'g iarraidh Luch a sgrobadh im. Im chasa gadhair. Gadhar a ruith fiadh. Fiadh a shnmh uisg'. Uisge ma cloich. Clach a lobhadh tuagh. Tuagh a bhuain slat. Slat a ghabhail air Mionachaig 's i 'g itheadh mo chuid sugh." "Cha 'n fhaigh thu mis'," urs' an luch, "gus am faigh thu cat a 'shealgas mi. " Rinig e 'n cat. "D do naigheachd an diugh a Mhurchaidh?" urs' an cat. " 'Se mo naigheachd fin gu 'bheiI mi 'g iarraidh Cat a shealg luch. Luch a sgrobadh im. Im chasa gadhair. Gadhar a ruith fiadh. Fiadh a shnmh uisg'. Uisge ma chloich. Clach a lobhadh tuagh. Tuagh a bhuain slat. Slat a ghabhail air Mionachaig 's i 'g itheadh mo chuid sugh." "Cha 'n fhaigh thu mis'," urs' an cat, "gus am faigh thu bainne dhomh." Rinig e 'bh." "D do naigheachd an diugh a Mhurchaidh?" urs' a' bh." 'Se mo naigheachd fin gu 'bheil mi 'g iarraidh Bainne do 'n chat. Cat a shealg luch. Luch a sgrobadh im. Im chasa gadhar. Gadhar a ruith fiadh. Fiadh a shnmh uisg'. Uisge ma chloich. Clach a lobhadh tuagh. Tuagh a bhuain slat. Slat a ghabhail air Mionachaig 's i 'g itheadh mo chuid sugh." "Cha 'n fhaigh thu bainne uamsa, gus am faigh thu sop o 'n ghilleshabhaill. " Rinig e 'n gille-sabhaill. "D do naigheachd an diugh a Mhurchaidh?" urs' an gille-sabhaill. " 'Se mo naigheachd fin gu 'bheil mi 'g iarraidh. Sop a gheobh b. Bo bhligheadh bainne do 'n chat. Cat a shealg luch. Luch a sgrobadh im. Im chasa gadhar. Gadhar a ruith fiadh. Fiadh a shnmh uisg'. Uisge ma chloich. Clach a lobhadh tuagh. Tuagh a bhuain slat. Slat a ghabhail air Mionachaig 's i 'g itheadh mo chuid sugh." "Cha 'n fhaigh thu sop uamsa," urs' an gillesabhaill, "gus am faigh thu Bonnach dhomh o 'n Bhean-fhuinne." Rinig e 'bhean-fhuinne. "D do naigheachd an diugh a Mhurchaidh?" urs' a' bhean-fhuinne. " 'Se mo naigheachd fin gu 'bheil mi g iarraidh Bonnach do 'n ghille-shabhaill. Sop do 'n Bho o 'n Ghille-shabhaill. Bainn' o 'n Bho do 'n chat. Cat a shealgas luch. Luch a sgrobas im. Im chasa gadhair. Gadhar a ruith fiadh. Fiadh a shnmh uisg'. Uisge ma chloich. Clach a lobhadh tuagh. Tuagh a bhuain slat. Slat a ghabhail air Mionachaig 's i 'g itheadh mo chuid sugh." "Cha'n fhaigh thu bonnach uamsa mar an d'thoir thu stigh uisg' a dh' fhuinneas e." "D mar a' bheir mi stigh an t-Uisge? Cha 'n 'eil soitheach ann ach an Criathar Cabhrach sin." Thug Murchadh leis an Criathar Cabhrach, 's rinig e n t-uisge, 's a h-uile deur a chuireadh e 's a' Chriathar Chabhrach rachadh e roimhe. Thinig Feannag as a chionn 's ghlaoidh i "Grrag, grrag." "Tha thu ceart, fheannag," ursa Murchadh. "Cradh ruagh 's cinneach, cradh ruagh 's cinneach. " Chuir Murchadh cradh ruagh 's cinneach ris, 's thug e 'stigh an t-Uisge, 's fhuair e Bonnach o 'n Bhean-fhuinne do 'n Ghille-shabhaill. Sop o 'n Ghille-shabhaill do 'n Bh. Bainn'o'n Bh do 'n chat. Cat a shealg luch. Luch a sgrobadh im. Im chasa gadhair. Gadhar a ruith fiadh. Fiadh a shnmh uisg'. Uisge ma chloich. Clach a lobhadh tuagh. Tuagh a bhuain slat. Slat a ghabhaill air Mionachaig 's i 'g itheadh a chuid sugh. 'S nur a thill Murchadh bha Mionachag an digh SGAINEADH!!


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