THERE was once a man in
Trotternish, in the Island of Skye, who had no snuff. He went to
all the shops in the place for more, but they had all run out of
it—bha iad uile air ruith a mach ais. He heard that there was a
pedlar—ceannaiche-siubhail—in the township of Kilmuir, who had
plenty of snuff. So after him he went. But when he reached Kilmuir
the pedlar was after going to Waternish. He went after him there,
but when he reached, the pedlar was after going to Edinbane. He
went after him there, but when he reached, the pedlar was after
going to Dunvegan. He went after him there, but when he reached,
the pedlar was after going to Stein. He went after him there, but
when he reached, the pedlar was after going to Portree. He went
after him there, and when he reached, he found the pedlar before
him. He bought a few pounds of snuff and went away. On his way
home he got thirsty, and went for a drink to a spring near the
road. When he was coming from the well he saw an old gray-headed
man sitting beside the road. He entered into conversation with
him, and told him of the trouble he had before he got the snuff.
"Well," said the old man, "I will give you a snuff-box, full of
snuff, and if you will always give it open to others, the snuff in
it will never be spent." The man took the box, thanked the old
man, and went away. He had the snuff-box for a considerable time
after this; yet the box never failed, because he always gave the
box open to other people. Some time after this Lord Macdonald came
to collect his rent, and this man, while paying his rent, offered
him "a snuff" having first, of course, opened the box. "Would you
dare," said his lordship, "to give the box open to me. Shut it,
for I can open it myself." The man complied, and shutting the box,
handed it to his lordship. He opened it, when lo! it was empty.
The man explained the mystery, whereupon his lordship, on account
of the loss he inflicted on the man, gave his croft to him free as
long as he lived, besides many presents.
From Mr. Kenneth Macleod, Eigg.