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Picture Book
Ceilidh Tonight!


A huge, green, cloth banner was strung across the front of the MacBeanís house. It read, ĎCEILIDH TONIGHT!í The whole village of Trecheng, in the highlands of Scotland, was invited to attend.

There were about a hundred people living in Trecheng. It was a small village. The people were more like a large family, as everyone got along and looked out for each other.

Trecheng sat nestled in a tree-filled glen, surrounded by large hills. Heather, thistle, gorse, and bluebells grew among birches, pine, and oaks. The village sat in the center of the glen.

The ceilidh, which is the Gaelic name for a social get-together, was going to be held at the MacBean house this year. They villagers took turns each year, celebrating at a different house.

The MacBeans spent the day preparing for the evening events. There was much to do, but at last the guests arrived. There was a fiddler, a bagpiper, an accordion player, and a Celtic harp player to entertain the guests. Food was piled high on the table. Oysters, fish, and shellfish, just caught from the sea tempted many a guest. Cheeses, mostly homemade, using the freshest cream from the MacBeanís highland cows, was cut into slices and lay on a plate for all to sample. Mushrooms the size of saucers had been sautťed with onions looked and smelled so delicious. Fresh vegetables from the MacBeanís vegetable garden lay decoratively on a plate. Haggis, sausage rolls, meat pies, bridies, and pastries galore filled the rest of the table. It was a feast.

Angus kept the men busy with tales of golf, hunting deer, and fishing in the deep loch, not far from the village. Maggie and the women tended to the food and the wee ones. The older children ran around outside, chasing the MacBeanís chickens and sheep.

It was a grand celebration. A roaring fire was blazing in the fireplace, popping and crackling. Gray smoke, mingled with sparks, floated out the chimney. As the fire died down, the peat embers, red and shimmering, called to the older members of the village. They pulled chairs around it and told stories of old times. They sang traditional Scottish songs with some of the wee laddies and lassies. Norman, the MacBeanís dog, sat in front of the fire, his tail wagging softly with excitement as he watched the children run around.

After the meal was done and everyone was thinking of going home, Maggie asked them all to gather round. She wanted to take a photo of the villagers. They crowded around Granny MacBeanís chair. The bairns stood in front of her and all the men crowded in behind. "Say cheese!" the photographer said. The whole village smiled their biggest grins.

That night, when everyone went home, they all told the MacBeans that it was the best ceilidh the village had ever had. The next day a photograph of the group was on the front page of the local paper. The headline read, ĎThe Grandest Ceilidh Trecheng Ever Had!í And it was.


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