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
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
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.