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Full text of "Carmina gadelica : hymns and incantations with illustrative notes on words, rites, and customs, dying and obsolete"

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CARMINA GADEUCA 

ORTHA NAN GAIDHEAL 




Carmina Gadelica 

Hymns and Incantations 

With Illustrative Notes on Wo?-ds, Rites, and Customs, 
Dying and Obsolete : Orally Collected in the Highlands 
and Islands of Scotland and Translated into E?iglish 

By Alexander Carmichael 



Volume II 




Oliver and Boyd 

Edinburgh : Tweeddale Court 

London: 33 Paternoster Row, E.C.4 

1928 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BV 
AND BOYD, EDINBURGH 



-.30 WV^ 

■i., /, o r- !"i ■ ^ 



ORTHA NAN GAIDHEAL 

URNAN AGUS UBAGAN 

LE SOLUS AIR FACLA GNATHA AGUS 

CLEACHDANA A CHAIDH AIR CHUL 

CNUASAICHTE BHO BHIALACHAS 

FEADH GAIDHEALTACHD NA H-ALBA 

AGUS TIONNDAICHTE 

BHO GHAIDHLIG GU BEURLA, LE 

ALASTAIR MACGILLEMHICHEIL 



CONTENTS 



UIBE 

122. Eolas iia Ruaidh 

Faic, a Mhic 's a Chriosda 

123. Eolas na Ruaidh 

A ruadh ghaothar, atar, aogail 

124. Eolas na Ru 

A ru eugail, aogail, atail 

125. Eolas at Cioch 

Eolas a rinn GilleCaluira 

126. Eolas an Deididh 

Ob a chuir Bride bhoidheaoh 

127. Eolas na Budha 

Air bhuidhe, air dhuibhe 

128. Eolas sgiucha Feithe 

Rann a rinn ban-naomh Bride 

129. Eolas sgocha Feitli 

Paidir Moire a h-aon 

130. Eolas an t-Sniamh 

Char Bride mach 

131. Eolas an t-Sniamh 

Chaidh Criosda ri croich 

132. Eolas an t-Sniamh 

Chaidh Criosd a mach 



INCANTATIONS 



PAGE 

3 



Charm for Rose 

Behold, Son and Christ 

Charm for Rose 5 

Tliou rose windy, swelling, deadly 

Charm for Rose 7 

Thou rose deathly, deadly, swollen 

Charm for swollen Breast 9 

The charm made by Gillecaluim 

Toothache Charm 11 

The incantation put by lovely Bride 

Charm for Jaundice 13 

For the jaundice, for the spaul 

Charm for a bursting Vein 15 
The rune made by the holy maiden 

Charm for bursting Vein 17 

Rosary of Mary, one 

Charm of the Sprain 19 

Bride went out 

Charm for Sprain 19 

Christ went on the cross 

Charm for Sprain 21 

Christ went out 



CONTENTS 



133. 
134. 
135. 
136. 
137. 
138. 
139. 
140. 
141. 
142. 
143. 
144. 
145. 
146. 
147. 



Fàth-Fith 
Fath fith 

Sian a Bheatha Bhiian 
Cuirim an seun air do chom 

Sian a Bheatha Bhuan 
Cuirim sian a bheatha bhuan 

Sian Bride 
Sian a chuir Bride nam buadh 

Sian 
Sian a chuir Moir air a Mac 

Eolas Gradhaich 
Chan eolas gradhach duit 

Eolas Gradhaidh 
Eolas gradhaidh dut 

Cronachduinn Suil 
Co a thilleas cronachduinn suil ? 

Eolas a Bheum Shula 
Saltraim air an t-suU 

Cronachdain Suil 
Churnaich suil thu 

Uibe ri Shul 

Uibe gheal chuir Muire mhin 

Obi ri Shuil 
Cuirim an obi seo ri m' shuil 

Eoir Beum Sula 
Ge be co rinn duit an t-suil 

Eolas 

Peadair is Seumas is Eoin 

Mallachd 

Thainig dithis a mach 



PAGE 

Fath Fith 22 

Fath fith 

Charm of the Lasting Life 26 
I place the charm on thy body 

Charm of the Lasting Life 33 
I will place the charm 

St Bride's Charm 35 

The charm put by Bride 

Sain 37 

The sain put by Mary on her Son 

Love Charm 39 

It is not love knowledge to thee 

Love Charm 41 

A love charm for thee 

Thwarting the Evil Eye 43 

Who shall thwart the evil eye ? 

Exorcism of the Eye 45 

I trample upon the eye 

Counteracting the Evil Eye 49 
An eye covered thee 

SpeU for Evil Eye 53 

The fair spell that lovely Mary sent 

Charm for the Eye 55 

I place this charm to mine eye 

Charm for the Evil Eye 57 

Whoso laid on thee the eye 

Charm 59 

Peter and James and John 

A Malediction 61 

There came two out 



CONTENTS 



148. Eolas a Bheim Shuil 

Saltruighidli mis air an t-suil 

149. Obi nan Sul 

Obi nan geur shul 

150. Oba ri Shul 

Cuirim an oba seo ri m' shuil 

151. Oba ri Sul 

Oba mho-ghil 

152. Ob ri Shul 

Ob a chuir Moire mhor-gheal 

153. Eolas a Chronachaidh 

Buainidh mi a chathair aigli 

154. Cunntas an t-Sleamhnain 

C'uim an tainig an aon slea- 
mlinan 

155. Am Fionn-Faoilidh 

Cuireara fionn-faoilidh uraam 

156. Eolas Tnu 

Ge be co rinn duit an tnu 

157. An Dearg Chasachan 

Buainidli mi an dearg-chasachan 

158. An Eidheann-Mu-Chrann 

Buainidh mis 

159. Eolas an Torranain 

Buainidh mi an torranan 

160. An Torraiian 

Buainidh mi an torranan 

161. Eolas an Torranain 

Buainidh mi an torranan 

162. An Eariiaid Shith 

Buainidh mi an earnaid 



Spell of the Evil Eye 61 

Trample I upon the eye 

Incantation for the Eye 63 

Incantation of the seeing eye 

Spell of the Eye 65 

I place this spell to mine eye 

Spell of the Eye 67 

The spell fair-white 

Spell of the Eye 69 

The spell the great white Mary sent 

Spell of the Counteracting 71 
I will pluck the gracious yarrow 

The Counting of the Stye 73 
Why came the one stye 

The ' Fionn-Faoilidh ' 75 

I place the ' fionn-faoilidh ' on me 

Envy Spell 75 

Whoso made to thee the envy 

The Red-Stalk 77 

Pluck will I the little red-stalk 

The Tree-entwining Ivy 77 

I will pluck 

The Charm of the P'igwort 78 
I will pluck the figwort 

The Figwort 87 

I will pluck the figwort 

The Charm of the P'igwort 91 
I will cull the figwort 

The Fairy Wort 93 

Pluck will I the fairy wort 



CONTENTS 



163. 


Earr Thalmhaiun 




Buainidh mi an earr reidh 


164. 


An Earr-Thalmhainn 




Buainidh mi an earr reidh 


165. 


Achlasan Chaluim-Chille 




Buainidh mise m' achlasan 


166. 


Achlasan Chaluim-Chille 




Buainidh mi mo choinneachan 


167. 


Achlasan Chaluim-Chille 




Achlasain Chaluim-chille 


168. 


Eala-Bhi, Eala-Jihi 




Eala-bhi, eala-bhi 


169. 


An Crithionn 




Mallachd ort, a chrithinn 


170. 


Seamarag nam Buadh 




A sheamarag nam buadh 


171. 


Seamarag nam Buadh 




A sheamarag nan duilleag 


172. 


Am Mothan 




Buainidh mi am mothan suairce 


173. 


Am Mothan 




Buainidh mi am mothan 


174. 


Am Mothan 




Buainidh mis am mothan suairce 


175. 


Ceus-Chrann nam Buadh 



A cheus-chrann chaomh nam 
buadh 

176. Garbhag an t-Sleibh 

Garbhag an t-sleibh air mo 
shiubhal 



The Yarrow 

I will pluck the yarrow fair 

The Yarrow 

I will pluck the yarrow fair 

Saint John''s Wort 

I will cull ray plantlet 

St Columba's Plant 

I will pluck what I meet 

St Columba's Plant 
Plantlet of Columba 

Saint John's Wort 
Saint John's wort 

The Aspen 

Malison be on thee, O aspen 



PAGE 

95 



95 



97 



99 



101 



103 



105 



107 



177. 



An Dearg-Bhasach 
Criosd ag iraeachd le ostail 



Shamrock of Luck 

Thou shamrock of good omens 

The Shamrock of Power 109 

Thou shamrock of foliage 

The 'Mothan' 111 

I will pluck the gracious ' mothan ' 

The 'Mothan' 113 

Pluck will I the ' mothan ' 

The 'Mothan' 115 

I will pluck the gracious ' mothan ' 

Passion-Flower of Virtues 115 
Thou passion-flower of virtues 

The Club-Moss 117 

The club-moss is on my person 

The Red-Palmed 117 

Christ walking with his apostles 



CONTENTS 



178. A Chloimh Chat 

Buainidh mi a chloimh chat 

179. A Chloimh Chat 

Buainidh mi f hin a chloimh chat 

180. Eolas a Bhun Deirg 

An ainm Athar caoimh 

181. Eolas Bun Deirg 

Ta mis a nis air leirg 

182. Eolas a Ghalar Fhuail 

Eolas ta agam air a ghalar fhuail 

183. An Stringlein 

' Each 's an stringlein ' 

184. Sian Sionnaich 

Biodh sian a choin-choille 

185. Ora Cuithe 

Cuiream tan a steach 

186. Feith Mhoire 

Feith Mhoire 

187. An Eilid 

Bha Peadail is Pol a dol seachad 

188. Calum-cille, Peadail, agus Pol 

La domh 's mi dol dh' an Roimh 

189. Eolas a Mheirbhein 

Eolas a rinn Calum 

190. Eolas Chnamh Chir 

Mu dh' ith thu fiar nan naodh 
beann 

191. Eolas a Chrannaehain 

Thig na saor, thig 

192. An Eoir a chuir Moire 

Eoir a chuir Moir Oighe 



PAGE 

The Catkin Wool 119 

I will pluck the catkin wool 

The Catkin Wool 119 

Pluck will I myself the catkin wool 

Incantation of Red Water 121 
In name of the Father of love 

Red Water Charm 123 

I am now on the plain 

The Gravel Charm 125 

I have a charm for the gravel 

The Strangles 127 

' A horse in strangles ' 



The Spell of the Fox 

Be the spell of the wood-dog 

Prayer of the Cattle-fold 
I drive the kine within 

The Ditch of Mary 
Ditch of Mary 



129 



131 



133 



137 



The Hind 

Peter and Paul were passing by 

Columba, Peter, and Paul 137 
A day as I was going to Rome 

The Indigestion Spell 139 

The spell made of Columba 

Cud Chewing Charm 141 

If thou hast eaten the grass 

Charm of the Churn 142 

Come will the free, come 

The Charm sent of Mary 1 53 
The charm sent of Mary Virgin 



CONTENTS 



193. UIc a dhean mo Lochd 

Ulc a dhean mo lochd 

194. Frith Mhoire 

Dia faram, Dia fodham 



The Wicked who would me 155 
The wicked who would do me harm 

Augury of Mary 159 

God over me, God under me 



MEASGAIN 

195. Ciad Miarail Chriosd 

Chaidh Eosai is Mairi 

196. An Oigh agus an Leanabh 

Chunnacas an Oigh a teachd 

197. Dia na Gile 

Dia na gile, Dia na greine 

198. Dia na Gile, Dia na Greine 

Dia na gile, Dia na greine 

199. Tearuinteachd nam fial 

Deir Calum-cille ruinn 

200. Coistrig Mathar 

An Dia raor bhi eadar 

201. Am Fear a Cheusadh 

Fhir a chruchadh air a chribh 

202. An Coileach sin 

Sin 'd uair labhair a bhean bhorb 

203. Manaidh 

Moch maduinn Luan 

204. Moch La Luan Casg 

Moch La Luan Casg 

205. Manadh nan Eala 

Chuala mi guth binn nan eala 

206. Manaidh 

Chuala mi chuthag gun bhiadh 



MISCELLANEOUS 

The first Miracle of Christ 163 
Joseph and Mary went 

The Virgin and Child 167 

The Virgin was seen approaching 

God of the Moon 167 

God of the moon, God of the sun 

God of the Moon 169 

God of the moon, God of the sun 



Safety of the Generous 
Columba tells us, that 



169 



171 



Mother"'s Consecration 
Be the great God between 

He who was Crucified 173 

Thou who wert hanged upon the tree 

That Cock 177 

It was then spoke the rude woman 

Omens 179 

Early on the morning of Monday 

Early Easter Monday 181 

Early on the day of Easter Monday 

Omen of the Swans 183 

I heard the sweet voice of the swans 

Omens 185 

I heard the cuckoo with no food 



CONTENTS 



207. An Tuis 

Ri la do shlainte 

208. Duan nan Daol 

Trath bha Ti nan dul to choLU 

209. Duan nan Daol 

D uair bha Criosda fo choill 

210. Duan an Daoil 

A dhaolag, a dhaolag 

211. Taladh 

Eala bhan thu 

212. Ban-Tighearna Bhinn 

Co i bhain-tighearna bhinn 

213. Righinn nam Buadh 

Is min a bas 

214. Cill-Moluag 

UiU ! hUI ! uiU ! O ! 

215. Am Breid 

Mile failte dhut fo d' bhreid 

216. Fuigheal 

Mar a bha 

Notes .... 



The Incense 187 

In the day of thy health 

Poem of the Beetles 188 

When the Being of glory 

Poem of the Beetles 193 

When Christ was under the wood 

Poem of the Beetle 193 

Little beetle, httle beetle 

Lullaby 195 

Thou white swan 

The Melodious Lady-Lord 203 
Who is she the melodious lady-lord 

209 



Queen of Grace 
Smooth her hand 

Killmoluag 

Uill ! hiU ! uiU ! O ! 

The Kertch 

A thousand hails to thee 

Fragment 
As it was 



211 



212 



217 



221 



Names of the Reciters of the Poems 



374 



IV 




UIBE 

INCANTATIONS 




UIBE 



EOLAS NA RUAIDH 



[122] 



When this charm is appHed, the point of a knife or a needle, or the tongue of 
a brooch or of some other sharp instrument, is pointed threateningly at the 
part affected. The part is then spat upon and crossed three times in the names 

AIC, a Mhic 's a Chriosda, 

Cioch do Mhathar air at ; 

Thoir-sa fois dh' an chich, 

Cuir-s' an crion an t-at ; 

Thoir-sa fois dh' an chich, 
Cuir-s' an crion an t-at. 

Faic fein i, Righinn, 
'S tu a rug am Mac, 
Cuir-sa casgadh air a chich, 
Cuir-sa crionadh air an at ; 

Cuir-sa casgadh air a chich, 

Cuir-sa crionadh air an at. 




Faic thus i, losda, 

Is tu Righ nan dul ; 

Cuir-sa casgadh air a chich, 

Cuir-sa crionadh air an uth ; 

Cuir-sa casgadh air a chich, 
Cuir-sa crionadh air an uth. 



Chithim, thubhairt Criosda, 
Is nithim mar is fiu, 
Bheirim fois dh' an chich, 
'S bheirim sith dh' an uth ; 

Bheirim fois dh' an chich, 
'S bheirim sith dh' an uth. 



INCANTATIONS 



CHARM FOR ROSE 

of the three Persons of the Trinity, whether it be the breast of a woman or the 
udder of a cow. The legend says tliat Mary and Jesus were walking together 
when Mary took rose (erysipelas) in her breast, and she said to Jesus : — 

Behold, Son and Christ, 
The breast of Thy Mother swollen ; 
Give Thou peace to the breast. 
Subdue Thou the swelling ; 

Give Thou peace to the breast. 

Subdue Thou the swelling. 

Behold it thyself, Queen, 
Since of thee the Son was born. 
Appease thou the breast, 
Subdue thou the swelling; 

Appease thou the breast, 

Subdue thou the swelling. 

See Thou it, Jesu, 
Since Thou art King of life ; 
Appease Thou the breast. 
Subdue Thou the udder ; 

Appease Thou the breast, 

Subdue Thou the udder. 

I behold, said Christ, 
And I do as is meet, 
I give ease to the breast. 
And rest to the udder ; 

I give ease to the breast, 

And rest to the udder. 



UIBE 




EOLAS NA RUAIDH 

;*) RUADH ghaothar, atar, aogail, 
Fag an taobh agus an tac sin, 
Sin an carr 's an lar, 
Agus fag a chioch. 

Seal], a Chriosd, a bhean 
Agus a cioch air at, 
Seall fein i, Mhuire, 
'S tu rug am Mac. 



[123] 



A ruadh ghaothar, aogar, iota. 
Fag a chioch agus am bac, 
Agus sin a mach, 

Slan gu robh dh' an chich, 
Crion gu robh dh' an at. 



Teich a bhradag ruadh, 
Teich gu luath a bhradag. 
At a bha 's a chich, 

Fag a charr 's a chioch, 
Agus sin a mach. 



INCANTATIONS 



CHARM FOR ROSE 

Thou rose windy, swelling, deadly, 
Leave that part and spot. 
There is the udder in the ground, 
And leave the breast. 

See, Christ, the woman 
And her breast swollen. 
See her thyself, Mary, 

It was thou didst bear the Son. 

Thou rose windy, deadly, thirsty. 
Leave the breast and the spot, 
And take thyself off'; 

Healed be the breast, 

Withered be the swelling. 

Flee thieving red one, 
Flee quickly thieving one. 
Swelling that was in the breast. 

Leave the udder and the breast, 
And flee hence. 



VOL. II. 



UIBE 




EOLAS NA RU 

RU eugail, aogail, atail. 
Fag uth na ba caisne, 
Fag uth na ba cait-cinn. 
Fag, fag a phait sin, 

Agus tar pait eil ort. 

A ru rag, rudaidh, 
Dur an uth a mhairt, 
Fag an t-at 's an t-utha, 
Teich gu grunn na claiche. 

Cuirini ru ri clach, 
Cuirim clach ri lar, 
Cuirim bainne an uth, 
Cuirim sugh an ar. 



[124] 



INCANTATIONS 



CHARM FOR ROSE 

Thou rose deathly, deadly, swollen, 
Leave the udder of the white-footed cow, 
Leave the udder of the spotted cow. 
Leave, leave that swelling. 

And betake thyself to other swelling. 

Thou rose thrawn, obstinate. 
Surly in the udder of the cow. 
Leave thou the swelling and the udder, 
Flee to the bottom of the stone. 

I place the rose to the stone, 
I place the stone to the earth, 
I place milk in the udder, 
I place substance in the kidney. 



UIBE 




EOLAS AT CIOCH 

OLAS a rinn Gille-Caluim 
A dh' aona bho na caillich, 
Air ruaidh, air chruaidh, air chradh, 
Air at, air pat, air mam. 
Air dhair, air cliairr, air bhleoghan, 
Air tri corracha crith, 
Air tri corracha cnamh, 
Air tri corracha creothail, 
Na ob e do bhruid, 
Na diult e do mhne, 
Na tar e 's an Domhnach. 
Eolas a rinn Fionn fial. 
Da dhearbh phiuthair. 
Air ruaidh, air chruaidh, 
Air at ciche. 



[125] 



INCANTATIONS 



CHARM FOR SWOLLEN BREAST 

The charm made by Gillecaluim, 
On the one cow of the cariin, 
For rose, for hardness, for pain. 
For swelling, for lump, for growth, 
For uzzening, for udder, for milking, 
For the three ' corracha crith,' 
For the three ' corracha cnamh,' 
For the three ' corracha creothail,' 
Do not deny it to beast. 
Do not refuse it to wife. 
Do not withhold it on Sunday. 
The charm made of generous Fionn, 
To his very sister. 
For rose, for hardness, 
For swelling of breast. 



10 



UIBE 



EOLAS AN DEIDIDH 



[126] 



The teeth of ancient human skeletons found in stone coffins and other enclosures, 
and without enclosures, are usually good and complete. This is in marked 
contrast to the teeth of modern human remains, whicli are generally much 
impaired if not whoUy absent. But there must have been toothache and even 
artificial teeth in ancient times, as indicated by the mummies in Egypt and the 
toothache charms and toothache wells in the Highlands. One toothache charm 
and one toothache well must suffice to illustrate this. The toothache well is in 
the island of North Uist. It is situated 1 95 feet above the sea, at the foot of a hill 
757 feet high, and nearly three miles in the moorland from the nearest townland. 
The place is called 'Cuidh-airidh,' shieling fold, 
while the well is variously known as ' Tobar Chuidh- 

B a chuir Bride bhoidheach 
Komh ordag Mathar De, 
Air mhir, air lion, air chorcraich, 
Air chnoidii, air ghoimh, air dheud. 

A chnoidh a rinn domh deistinn, 
Air deudach mo chinn, 
Ifrinn teann da m'' dheud, 
Deud ifrinn da mo theiun. 




Deud ifrinn da mo theann ; 
Am fad 's is maireann mi-fein 
Gu mair mo dheud am cheann. 



DOIGHEAN EILE 

Air mhir, air chir, air chnodaich. 
Air mhair, air chuan, air chorsa. 
Air li, air lionn, air liogradh. 



INCANTATIONS 11 



TOOTHACHE CHARM 

airidli,' well of the shieling fold, ' Tobar an deididh,' well of the toothache. ' Tobar 
na cnoidh,' well of the worm, and ' Tobar cniiimh fliiacail,' well of the tooth 
worm, from a belief that toothache is caused by a worni in the tooth. 

The general name of the well is ' Tobar Chuidh-airidh,' well of the shieling 
fold, to distinguish it from other healing wells throughout the Isles. The pilgrim 
suffering from toothache must not speak, nor eat, nor drink, after beginning the 
pilgrimage till after three draughts of the well of Cuidh-airidh are drunk in 
name of God, and in name of Christ, and in name of Spirit. 

Some persons profess to derive no relief, some profess to derive partial relief, 
and some profess to derive complete relief from toothache after drinking the 
water of the well of Cuidh-airidh. 

The incantation put by lovely Bride 
Before the thumb of the Mother of God, 
On lint, on wort, on hemp. 
For worm, for venom, for teeth. 

The worm that tortured me, 
In the teeth of my head, 
Hell hard by my teeth. 
The teeth of hell distressing me. 



The teeth of hell close to me ; 
As long as I myself shall last 
May my teeth last in my head. 

Variants — 

On lint, on comb, on agony. 
On sea, on ocean, on coast. 
On water, on lakes, on marshes. 



12 



U>BE 



EOLAS NA BUDHA 



[127] 



The following scene was described to me by Angus MacEachain, herdsman, 
Staonabrig, South Uist, one of the chief actors in the episode. 

The daughter of a farmer in the neighbourhood was ill with jaundice. The 
doctor of the parish was attending her, but she was becoming worse instead of 
better, and her end seemed near. Her distressed parents sent for ' Aonas nan 
gisrean,' Angus of the exorcisms, and he came. The man examined the girl and 
announced that she was possessed of the demon of the jaundice, but that he would 
expel the demon and cure the girl. He requested the mother to put on a big fire, 
the sisters to bring a tub of clear cold water, and the father to bring the plough 
irons, evil spirits being unable to withstand iron. All this was promptly done. 
The exorcist placed the plough irons in the fire, displaying much solicitude that 
they should be red-hot. The room was darkened and the eyes of the patient 
were bandaged that the eyes of the body might be subjective to the eyes of 
the mind. Directed by the exorcist, the mother and sisters placed the back 
of the girl to the front of the bed, and laying it bare left the room, the man 
securing the door after them. Making a clanging noise with the plough irons 
as if to drive away the jaundice demon, the man replaced the share in the 
fire and put the coulter in the water. Then pretending 
to take the red-hot share out of the fire, he took up 
the icy-cold coulter and placed it along the spine of the 

IR bhuidhe, air dhuibhe, air arnach, 

Air a ghalar-dhearg, air a ghalar-shearg, 
Air a ghalar-tholl, air a ghalar-lom, 
Air a ghalar-dhonn, air a ghalar-bhonn, 
'S air gach galar a dh' f haodadh 
A bhi an aorabh\ba 
No an sgath gamhna. 




INCANTATIONS 13 



CHARM FOR JAUNDICE 

patient, loudly commanding the demon to depart. The girl screamed in evident 
agony, calling on the Mother of Christ and on the Foster-mother of Christ, and on 
her own mother, to come and rescue her from the brutal treatment of black Angus 
the father of evil, the brother of demons, and to see how her blood was flowing 
in streams and her flesh was burnt off her back, la}ing her backbone bare. 
While loudly calling to the jaundice demon to depart, the expert exorcist threw 
the red-hot share into the tub of water, adding to the already abundant noise in 
the room. Against the remonstrances of the father, who said that Angus knew 
what he was about, the mother and sisters burst open the door, calling on Mary 
Mother to rescue the maltreated girl, and on Calumcille to redress her wrongs. 

' Whether the cure was due to her simple faith in the exorcist or to the shock 
to her nervous system I do not know,' continued the narrator, ' but in a few days 
the girl was up and about. She is grateful, but shy of me ever since, probably 
remembering the hard things she said. She will always believe that I exercised 
some occult power over the jaundice demon. The case of this girl was as bad as 
any I have seen. She had been an attractive, comely girl, with a winning 
expression and a clear complexion, but she had become yellow-black instead of 
rosy-red.' 

Angus MacEachain told of this and similar cases with much humour, but 
without a smile on his lips, though his eyes sparkled, and his countenance 
glowed with evident appreciation of the scenes. 

For the jaundice, for the spaul, for the bloody flux, 

For the red disease, for the withering disease, 

For the bot disease, for the skin disease, 

For the brown disease, for the foot disease, 

And for every disease that might be 

In the constitution of cow 

Or adherinor to stirk. 



14 



UIBE 




EOLAS SGIUCHA FEITHE 

ANN a rinn ban-naomh Bride 
Dh' an mharaiche chrubach, 
Air ghlun, air lug, air chuagas, 
Air na naodh galara gith, air na tri 

cuara, 
Na ob e do bhruid, na diult e do mhne. 

Chaidh Criosd air each, 
Bhrist each a chas, 
Chaidh Criosd a bhan, 
Rinn e slan a chas. 



[128] 



jalara 



Mar a shianuich Criosd sin, 
Gun slanuich Criosd seo, 
Agus na 's mo na seo, 
Ma 's e thoil a dheanamh. 



An t-eolas a rinn Caluni-cille, 
Air eorlain a ghlinne. 
Do sgocha feithe, do leum cnamha — 
Tha thu tinn an diugh, bithidh thu slan am 
maireach. 



INCANTATIONS 15 



CHARM FOR A BURSTING VEIN 

The rune made by the holy maiden Bride 

To the lame mariner, 

For knee, for crookedness, for crippleness. 

For the nine painful diseases, for the three venomous 

diseases. 
Refuse it not to beast, deny it not to dame. 

Christ went on a horse, 
A horse broke his leg, 
Christ went down. 
He made whole the leg. 

As Christ made whole that, 
May Christ make whole this. 
And more than this. 
If it be His will so to do. 

The charm made by Columba, 

On the bottom of the glen. 

For bursting of vein, for dislocation of bone — 

Thou art ill to-day, thou shalt be well to-morrow. 



16 



UIBE 




EOLAS SGOCHA FEITH [129] 

AIDIR Moire a h-aon, 
Paidir Moire a dha, 
Paidir Moire a tri, 
Paidir Moire a ceithir, 
Paidir Moire a coig, 
Paidir Moire a sia, 
Paidir Moire a seachd, 
Seachd paidriche Moire gu brath 
Eadar cradh agus ceart, 
Eadar bonn agus braigh, 
Eadar slan agus feart. 



Chaidh Criosd air as, 
Sgiuch a cas, 
Thaiuig e bhan 
Shlanuich e cas ; 
Mar a shlanuich e sin 
Gun slanuich e seo, 
Agus na 's mo na seo 
Ma 's e thoil a dheanamh. 



INCANTATIONS 17 



CHARM FOR BURSTING VEIN 

Rosary of Mary, one, 
Rosary of Mary, two, 
Rosary of Mary, three. 
Rosary of Mary, four, 
Rosary of Mary, five. 
Rosary of Mary, six, 
Rosary of Mary, seven, 
Seven Rosaries of Mary ever 
Between pain and ease, 
Between sole and summit, 
Between health and grave 

Christ went on an ass, 
She sprained her foot, 
He came down 
And healed her foot ; 
As He healed that 
May He heal this. 
And greater than this, 
If it be His will to do. 



18 



UIBE 




EOLAS AN T-SNIAMH [iso 

HAR Bride mach 
Maduinn mhoch, 
Le caraid each ; 
Bhris each a chas, 
Le uinich och, 
Bha sid mu seach, 
Chuir i cnamh ri cnamh, 
Chuir i feoil ri feoil, 
Chuir i feithe ri feithe, 
Chuir i cuisle ri cuisle ; 
Mar a leighis ise sin 
Gun leighis mise seo. 



EOLAS AN T-SNIAMH 



[131 



Chaidh Criosda ri croich, 
Sgiuch cas eich ; 
Thainig Criosda ri lar, 
Shlanaich a chas. 



Mar a shlanaich sin 
Gun slanaich seo, 
Ma 's e thoil a dheanamh, 
A uchd Ti nan dul, 
Agus Triuir na Trianaid, 

Ti nan dul, 

Triuir na Trianaid. 



INCANTATIONS 19 



CHARM OF THE SPRAIN 

Bride went out 
In the morning early, 
With a pair of horses ; 
One broke his leg, 
With much ado. 
That was apart. 
She put bone to bone, 
She put flesh to flesh, 
She put sinew to sinew. 
She put vein to vein ; 
As she healed that 
May I heal this. 



CHARM FOR SPRAIN 

Christ went on the cross. 
Sprained the leg of a horse ; 
Christ came to the ground. 
Whole became the leg. 

As that was made whole 

May this become whole. 

If His will be so to do. 

Through the bosom of the God of life, 

And of the Three of the Trinity, 

The God of life. 

The Three of Trinity. 



20 



UIBE 




EOLAS AN T-SNIAMH [132 

HAIDH Criosd a mach 
Maduinn moch, 
Fhuair e cas nan each 
'Nan spruilleach bog ; 



Chuir e smior ri smior, 
Chuir e smuais ri sinuais, 
Chuir e cnaimh ri cnaimh, 
Chuir e streabhon ri streabhon, 
Chuir e feith ri feith, 

Chuir e fail ri fuil, 

Chuir e creais ri creais, 

Chuir e feoil ri feoil, 

Chuir e saill ri saill, 

Chuir e craicionn ri craicionn, 

Chuir e fionn ri fionn, 

Chuir e blath ri blath, 

Chuir e fuar ri fuar ; 

Mar a leighis Righ nam buadh sin 

Is dual gun leighis e seo, 

Ma 's e thoil fein a dheanamh. 
A uchd Ti nan dul, 
Affus Tiur na Trianaid. 



INCANTATIONS 21 



CHARM FOR SPRAIN 

Christ went out 

In the morning early, 

He found the legs of the horses 

In fragments soft ; 

He put marrow to marrow. 

He put pith to pith. 

He put bone to bone, 

He put membrane to membrane, 

He put tendon to tendon. 

He put blood to blood, 

He put tallow to tallow, 

He put flesh to flesh. 

He put fat to fat. 

He put skin to skin, 

He put hair to hair. 

He put warm to warm. 

He put cool to cool, 

As the King of power healed that 

It is in His nature to heal this. 

If it be His own will to do it. 

Through the bosom of the Being of life. 
And of the Three of the Trinity. 



VOL. II. 



22 UIBE 



FATH-FITH [iss] 

' FÀTH-F1TH ' and ' fith-fàth ' are interchangeable terms and indiscriminately 
used. They are applied to the occult power which rendered a person invisible 
to mortal eyes and which transformed one object into another. Men and women 
were made invisible, or men were transformed into horses, bulls, or stags, while 
women were transformed into cats, hares, or hinds. These transmutations were 
sometimes voluntary, sometimes involuntary. The ' fith-fath ' was especially 
serviceable to hunters, warriors, and travellers, rendering them invisible or 
unrecognisable to enemies and to animals. 

Fionn had a fairy sweetheart, a daughter of the people of the mounds, but 
Fionn forsook her and married a daughter of the sons of men. The fairy was 
angry at the slight put upon her, and she placed the wife of Fionn under the ' fith- 
fath ' spell in the form of a hind of the hill. The wife of Fionn bore a son in the 
island of Sanndraigh in Loch-nan-ceaU in Arasaig. The mother possessed so 
much of the nature of the hind that she licked the temple of the child when he 
was born, but she possessed so much of the nature of the woman that she only 
gave one lick. But hair like the hair of a fawn grew on the part of the temple 
of the child which the tongue of the hind-mother had touched. And because of 
this patch of fawn's hair on his temple the child was called ' Oisein,' the fawn. 
While still a boy Ossian followed Fionn and the Feinne to the hunting-hill to 
chase the mountain deer. In the midst of the chase a magic mist darker than 
night .came down upon the hunters, blinding them from one another and from 
their surroundings — no one knew where was another or where he was himself. 
Hunt- wandering came over Ossian, and he wandered wearily alone, and at last 
found himself in a deep green glen surrounded by high blue hills. As he walked 
along he saw a timid hind browsing in a green corrie before him. And Ossian 
thought to himself that he had never seen a creature so lovely as this timid 
hind, and he stood gazing upon her with joy. But the spirit of the hunt was 
strong upon Ossian, and the blood of the hunter was hot in his veins, and he 
drew his spear to throw it at the hind. The hind turned and looked at Ossian 
and gazed upon him with her full wistful grey eyes, more lovely and alluring 
than the blue eyes of love. ' Do not hurt me, Ossian,' said the hind ; ' I am thy 
mother under the " fith-fath," in the form of a hind abroad and in the form of a 
woman at home. Thou art hungry and thirsty and weary. Come thou home 
with me, thou fawn of my heart. ' And Ossian accompanied the hind step by step 
till they reached a rock in the base of the hill. The hind opened a leaf in a 
door in the rock where no door seemed to be, and she went in, and Ossian went 
in after her. She closed the door-leaf in the rock and there was no appearance 
of a door. And the graceful hind became transformed into a beautiful woman, 
like the lovely woman of the green kirtle and the locks of gold. There was 
light in the bower in the bosom of the ben like the light of ' trath-nona la leth an 



INCANTATIONS 



23 



t-samhraidh ' — noontide on midsummer day. Nor was it the light of the sun, 
nor was it the light of the moon, nor was it the Hght of the star of guidance. 
His mother prepared food and drink and music for Ossian. And she placed 
food in a place of eating for him, and she placed drink in a place of drinking for 
him, and she placed music in a place of hearing for him. Ossian took of the 
food and of the drink and of the music till he was full satisfied— his seven full 
satiations. After feasting, Ossian said to his mother, ' I am going, mother, to 
see what Fionn and the Feinne are doing in the hunting-hill.' And his mother 
placed her arm around his neck and kissed Ossian with the three kisses of a 
mother, and then she opened the door-leaf in the door of the bower and allowed 
him out. When she closed it there was no appearance of a door in the rock. 

Os.sian had been feasting on food and drink and music in the bower with 
his mother for the space of three days, as he thought, but he had been in the 
bower for the space of three years instead. And he made a song, the first song 
he made, warning his mother against tiie men and the hounds of the Feinne. 

In his Leahhar IVa Feinne Iain Campbell of Islay says that he had received 
fourteen versions of this song of Ossian. Six of these had been sent to him 
by the present writer. One of these versions was obtained from Oirig Nic Iain 
— Eflric or Effie Mac Iain— lineally descended, she said, from Alexander Mac 
Iain, chief of the massacred Macdonalds of Glencoe. 

Effric Mac Iain was not tall, but she was very beautiful, intelhgent, and 
pleasant. I obtained a silver brooch from her which, she said, had come down 
like herself through the generations from the massacred chief of Glencoe. The 
brooch is circular and beautifully chased, though much worn. 

ANAS OISEIN D'A MHATHAIR OSSIAN'S WARNING TO HIS MOTHER 



I 's tu mo mhathair 's gur a fiadh thu, 

Bheir mi hoirion ho a hau, 
rich mu 'n eirich grian ort. 

Bheir mi hoirion ho a hau, 

Eho hir ir i-ibhag o, 

Na hao hi ho a ro hau. 



Ir thou be niy mother and thou a deer. 
Arise ere the .sun arises on thee. 



I 's tu mo mhathair 's gur a fiadh thu, 
ibhail sliabh mu 'n tig an teasach. 



If thou be my mother and thou a deer. 
Travel the hills ere the heat of the hunt. 



1 's tu mo mhathair 's gur a fiadh thu, 
icill ort romh fhearaibh Fianna. 



If thou be my mother and thou a deer. 
Beware thou the men of the Feinne. 



1 's tu rao mhathair 's gur a fiadh thu, 
icill ort romh chonaibh Fianna. 



If thou be my mother and thou a deer, 
Beware thou the hounds of the Feinne. 



1 theid thu do choiribh dona, 
licill ort romh ghniamh nan conu, 
)naibh conachar, conaibh confliach, 
iad air mhire-chatha romhad. 



If thou shouldst go to hurtful corries, 
Beware thou the deeds of the hounds. 
Hounds of uproar and hounds of rage. 
And they in battle-fury before thee. 



24 



UIBE 



Seachainn Caoilte, seachainn Luath, 
Seachainn Bruchag dhubh nam bruach, 
Seachainn saigh an earbail dhuibh. 
Bran mac Buidheig, narah nam fiadh, 
Agus Geolaidh dian nan damh. 

Ma theid thu do ghleannaibh iosal, 
Faicill ort romh chlanna Baoisge, 
Clanna Baoisge 's an cuid con. 
Da chiad diag a dh' aireamh fhear, 
A lann fein an laimh gach laoich, 
A chu fein an deigh gach fir. 
Is iad air eil aig Leide mac Liannain, 
Is fearan beag ri sgath creaige. 
Is da chu dliiag air lothain aige. 
Is eagal air nach tig thige. 



Avoid ' Caoilte,' avoid ' Luath, 
Avoid black ' Bruchag ' of the banks. 
Avoid the bitch of the black tail, 
' Bran ' son of ' Buidheag,' foe of deer. 
And little ' Geolaidh ' keen of stags. 

Shouldst thou go to low glens. 

Beware thou of the ' Baoisge ' Clan, 

The ' Baoisge ' Clan and their hounds. 

Twelve hundred of numbered men. 

His own blade in each hero's hand. 

His own hound after each man. 

And they on the thong of ' Lide ' son of ' Lian 

And a little manikin in shade of a rock. 

While twelve dogs he has on leash. 

And he fears the hunt will not come to him. 




ATH fith 
Ni mi ort, 
Le Muire na frithe, 
Le Bride na brot, 
Bho chire, bho ruta, 
Bho nihise, bho bhoc, 
Bho shionn, 's bho mhac-tire, 
Bho chrain, 's bho thorc, 
Bho chu, 's bho chat, 
Bho mhaghan masaich, 
Bho chu fasaich, 
Bho scan foirir, 
Bho bho, bho mharc, 
Bho tharbh, bho earc, 
Bho mhurn, bho mhac, 
Bho iantaidh an adhar, 
Bho shnagaidh na talmha, 
Bho iasgaidh na mara, 
'S bho shiantaidh na gailbhe. 



INCANTATIONS 



25 



Ma theid thu do bheannaibh mora, 
Faicill ort romh Chlanna Morna, 
Clanna Morna 's an cuid con, 
Da chiad diag a dh' aireamh fhear 
A lann fein an laimh gach laoich. 

Ma theid thu do bheannaibh arda, 
Faicill ort romh Chlanna Gaisge, 
Clanna Gaisge 's an cuid con. 
Da chiad diag a dh' aireamh tliear, 
A lann fein an laimh gach laoich. 

Ma theid thu gu fairir frithe, 
Faicill ort romh Chlanna Frithir, 
Clanna Frithir 's an cuid con. 
Da chiad diag a dh' aireamh fhear, 
A lann fein an laimh gach laoich.' 



Shouldst thou go to the great bens. 
Beware thou of the ' Morni ' Clan, 
The ' Morni ' Clan and their hounds. 
Twelve hundred of numbered men. 
His own blade in each hero's hand. 

Shouldst thou go to the high bens. 
Beware thou of the ' Gaisge ' Clan, 
The ' Gaisge ' Clan and their hounds. 
Twelve hundred of numbered men. 
His own blade in each hero's hand. 

Shouldst thou go to the haze-land forest. 
Beware thou of the ' Frithir ' Clan, 
The ' Frithir ' Clan and their hounds. 
Twelve hundred of numbered men. 
His own blade in each hero's hand. 



Fath fith 

Will I make on thee, 

By Mary of the augury, 

By Bride of the corslet. 

From sheep, from ram, 

From goat, from buck. 

From fox, from wolf. 

From sow, from boar. 

From dog, from cat, 

From hipped-bear. 

From wilderness-dog. 

From watchful ' scan,' 

From cow, from horse. 

From bull, from heifer. 

From daughter, from son, 

From the birds of the air. 

From the creeping things of the earth. 

From the fishes of the sea, 

From the imps of the storm. 



26 UIBE 



SIAN A BHEATHA BHUAN [i34] 

' SiAN ' or ' seun ' is occult agency, supernatural power used to ward away injury, 
and to protect invisibly. Belief in the charm was common, and examples of its 
efficacy are frequently told. A woman at Bearnasdale, in Skye, put such a 
charm on Macleod of Bearnaray, Harris, when on his way to join Prince Charlie 
in 1745. At CuUoden the bullets showered upon him Uke hail, but they had no 
effect. When all was lost, Macleod threw off his coat to facilitate his flight. 
His faithful foster-brother Murdoch Macaskail was close behind him and took up 
the coat. When examined it was found to be riddled with bullet-holes. But 
not one of these bullets had hurt Macleod ! 

A woman at Bornish, South Uist, put a charm on Allan Macdonald of 
Clanranald when he was leaving to join the Earl of Mar at Perth in 1715. But 
Clanranald took a lad away against the will of his mother, who lived at Staona- 
brig. South Uist. The woman implored Clanranald to leave her only son, and 
she a widow, but he would not. Then she vowed that ' Ailean Beag,' Little 
Allan, as Clanranald was called, would never return. She baked two bannocks, 
a little bannock and a big bannock, and asked her son whether he would have 
the little bannock with his mother's blessing, or the big one with her cursing. 
The lad said that he would have the Httle bannock with his mother's blessing. 
So she gave him the little bannock and her blessing and also a crooked sixpence, 
saying, ' Here, my son, is a sixpence seven times cursed. Use it in battle against 
Little Allan and earn the blessing of thy mother, or refrain and earn her cursing.' 
At the battle of Sheriffrauir blows and bullets were showering on Allan of 
Clanranald, but he heeded them not, and for every blow he got he gave three. 
When the strife was hottest and the contest doubtful, the son of the widow of 
Staonabrig remembered his mother's injunction, and that it was better to fight 
with her blessing than fall with her cursing, and he put the crooked sixpence in 
his gun. He aimed, and Clanranald fell. His people crowded round Clanranald 
weeping and wailing like children. But Glengarry called out, ' An diugh gu 
aichbheil, am maireach gu bron,' — ' To-day for revenge, to-morrow for weeping,' 
and the Macdonalds renewed the fight. Thirsting for revenge they fell upon the 
English division of Argyll's army, cutting it to pieces and routing it for several 
miles. 

Wlien Clanranald's foster-father was asked whom he wept and watched, his 
only reply was, ' Bu duine an de e ' — ' He was a man yesterday.' 



INCANTATIONS 27 

Allan Macdonald of Clanranald was called 'Ailean Beag,' Little Allan, in 
contradistinction to some of his predecessors who had been exceptionally big 
men. If apparently short of stature, he was exceedingly broad and powerful, 
active, gallant of bearing, and greatly beloved by his people. 

After the failure of Dundee in 1689 Clanranald lived in France for several years. 
There he made tlie acquaintance of Penelope, daughter of Colonel Mackenzie, 
governor of Tangiers under Charles II. Clanranald married Penelope Mackenzie 
and brought her home. He also brought a French architect, French masons, 
and French freestone to build a new house at Ormacleit. The house took seven 
years in building and was occupied for seven years. On the night of the battle 
of Sheriffmuir, when its owner was killed, the house was burnt to the ground 
through the kitchen chimney taking fire. Some days previously Lady Clanranald 
had told some guests that she had had a vision that her eyes melted away in 
scalding water and that her heart burned up like a live coal, and she feared 
some dire double disaster was to befall her. 

* Tota mhor Ormacleit ' — the great ruins of Ormacleit, stand high and 
picturesque on the monotonous far-reaching raachairs of the Atlantic side of South 
Uist. The gables are high-pointed, and the wings being at right angles to the 
main building, the ruins show to admirable advantage in the long level landscape. 

The freestone forming the corners, doors, and windows is of peculiar 
hardness, and of a blue tint. 

The farm of Ormacleit had been tenanted during many years by Mr John 
Maclellan, whose wife was Miss Penelope Macdonald, a kinswoman of Flora 
Macdonald and of her chief Clanranald. Mrs Maclellan was a lady of great 
beauty, excellence, historical knowledge, and good sense. She had the happiness, 
a few years before she died, of handing to her chief and relative. Admiral Sir 
Reginald Macdonald of Clanranald, some jewellery that had been found in the 
ruins of the castle. The jewellery in all probability had been the property of 
Penelope Mackenzie, the lady of the gallant Clanranald of the '15, and for 
whom Penelope Macdonald had been named. 



[pp. 28-31. 



28 



UIBE 



SIAN A BHEATHA BHUAN 



UIRIM an seun air do chom, 
Agus air do shealbliachd, 
Seun Dhe nan dul 
Chum do thearmaid. 



n seun a chuir Bride nan ni 
u mhuineal min Dhornghil, 
An seun a chuir Moire niu Mac, 
Eadar bonn agus broghaid, 
Eadar cioch agus glun, 
Eadar cul agus broth, 
Eadar braigh agus bonn, 
Eadar suil agus folt. 




Cliar Mhicheil air do thaobh, 
Sgiath Mhicheil air do shlinnean, 
Ni bheil eadar neamh is lar 
Na bheir buaidh air Righ nan gras. 

Cha reub lainn thu, 
Cha mhill muir thu, 
Cha teum mnaoi thu, 
Cha treann duin thu. 



Brat Chriosda fein uniad, 
Sgath Chriosda fein tharad, 
Bho mhullach do chinn 
Gu buinn do chas. 



INCANTATIONS 29 



CHARM OF THE LASTING LIFE 

I PLACE the charm on thy body, 
And on thy prosperity, 
The charm of the God of life 
For thy protection. 

The charm that Bride of the kine 
Put round the fair neck of Dornghil, 
The charm that Mary put about her Son, 
Between sole and throat. 
Between pap and knee. 
Between back and breast. 
Between chest and sole. 
Between eye and hair. 

The host of Michael on thy side, 
The shield of Michael on thy shoulder, 
There is not between heaven and earth 
That can overcome the King of grace. 

No spear shall rive thee, 
No sea shall drown thee. 
No woman shall wile thee, 
No man shall wound thee. 

The mantle of Christ Himself about thee. 
The shadow of Christ Himself above thee. 
From the crown of thy head 
To the soles of thy feet. 



30 UIBE 

Ta seun De ort a nis, 
Cha teid gu brath ort ailis. 

Theid thu mach an ainm do Righ, 
Thig thu steach an ainm do Phriomh, 
Is le Dia nan dul thu nis gu h-uilidh, 
Agus leis na Cunihachdan comhla. 

Cuirim an seun seo nioch Di-luain, 
An ceum cruaidh, druiseach, droigheach, 
Falbh a mach 's an seun mu d' chom, 
Is na biodh bonn eagail ort. 

Diridh tu cirein nan stuc, 
Dionar tu a thaobh do chuil, 
Is tu an eala chiuin 's a bhlar, 
Cumhnar tu am measg nan ar, 
Seasaidh tu troinih choig ceud. 
Is bidh feircirich an sas. 

Seun De umad ! 
Feun De tharad ! 



INCANTATIONS 31 

The charm of God is on thee now, 
Thou shalt never know disgrace. 

Thou shalt go forth in name of thy King, 
Thou shalt come in in name of thy Chief, 
To the God of life thou now belongest wholly, 
And to all the Powers together. 

I place this charm early on Monday, 

In passage hard, brambly, thorny. 

Go thou out and the charm about thy body, 

And be not the least fear upon thee. 

Thou shalt ascend the crest of the hill, 
Protected thou shalt be behind thee. 
Thou art the calm swan in battle. 
Preserved thou shalt be amidst the slaughter, 
Stand thou canst against five hundred. 
And thine oppressors shall be seized. 

The charm of God about thee ! 
The arm of God above thee ! 



32 



UIBE 




SIAN A BHEATHA BHUAN [135] 

UIRIM sian a bheatha bhuan, 
Mu V crodh luath, leathann, Ian, 
An creagan air an laigh an spreidh, 
Gun eirich iad beo slan. 

A nuas le buaidh 's le beannachd, 
A suas le luaths 's le leannachd, 
Gun ghnu, gun tnu, gun fharmad, 
Gun suil bhig, gun suil mhoir, 
Gun suil choig an deannaid. 



Sughaidh mise seo, sughadh feith farmaid 
Air ceannard an tighe 's air teaghlaich a bhaile, 
Gun eirich gach droch-bhuil, ^s gach droch-bhuaidh 
Bu dhualta dhuibh-se dhaibh-san. 

Ma mhallaich teanga duibh, 
Bheannaich cridhe duibh ; 
Ma ghonaich suil duibh, 
Shonaich run duibh. 



Tionndanam is teanndanam, 

Culionn cruaidh is creanndagaich 

Air an caoire boirionn 's air an laoighe firionn. 

Fad nan naodh 's nan naodh fichead bliadhna. 



INCANTATIONS 33 



THE CHARM OF THE LASTING LIFE 

I WILL place the charm of the lasting life, 
Upon your cattle active, broad, and full. 
The knoll upon which the herds shall lie down. 
That they may rise from it whole and well. 

Down with success, and with blessing, 
Up with activity and following. 
Without envy, without malice, without ill-will. 
Without small eye, without large eye. 
Without the five eyes of neglect. 

I will suck this, the sucking of envious vein 
On the head of the house, and the townland families, 
That every evil trait, and every evil tendency 
Inherent in you shall cleave to them. 

If tongue cursed you, 
A heart blessed you ; 
If eye blighted you, 
A wish prospered you. 

A hurly-burlying, a topsy-turvying, 
A hard hollying and a wan withering 
To their female sheep and to their male calves, 
For the nine and the nine score years. 



34 



UIBE 




STAN BRIDE 

IAN a chuir Bride nam buadh, 
M'a mise, m'a cire, m'a buar, 
M'a capuill, m'a cathmhil, ni'a cual, 
Moch is anamach dol dachaidh is uaith. 

Gan cumail bho chreagan, bho chleitean, 
Bho ladhara 's bho adhaircean a cheile, 
Bho iana na Creige Ruaidh, 
Is bho Luath na Feinne. 



[136] 



Bho lannaire liath Creag Duilionn, 
Bho iolaire riabhach Beinn-Ard, 
Bho sheobhag luth Torr-an-Duin, 
Is fitheach dur Creag-a-Bhaird. 

Bho mhada-ruadh nan cuireid, 
Bho mhada-ulai a Mhaim, 
Bho thaghan tocaidh na tuide, 
■"S bho mhaehan udail a mhais. 



Bho gach ceithir-chasach spui reach, 
Agus guireach da sgiath. 



INCANTATIONS 35 



ST BRIDE'S CHARM 

The charm put by Bride the beneficent, 
On her goats, on her sheep, on her kine, 
On her horses, on her chargers, on her herds, 
Early and late going home, and from home. 

To keep them from rocks and ridges. 
From the heels and the horns of one another, 
From the birds of the Red Rock, 
And from Luath of the Feinne. 

From the blue peregrine hawk of Creag Duilion, 
From the brindled eagle of Ben-Ard, 
From the swift hawk of Tordun, 
From the surly raven of Bard's Creag. 

From the fox of the wiles, 

From the wolf of the Mam, 

From the foul-smelling fumart, 

And from the restless great-hipped bear. 



From every hoofed of four feet, 

And from every hatched of two wings. 



36 



UIBE 




SIAN 

IAN a chuir Moir air a Mac, 

Sian romh mharbhadh, sian romh lot, 

Sian eadar cioch agiis glun, 

Sian eadar glun agus lore, 

Sian nan tri sian, 

Sian nan coig sian, 

Sian nan seachd sian, 

Eadar barr do chinn 

Agus bonn do chos. 

Sian nan seachd paidir, a h-aon, 

Sian nan seachd paidir, a dha, 

Sian nan seachd paidir, a tri, 

Sian nan seachd paidir, a ceithir, 

Sian nan seachd paidir, a coig, 

Sian nan seachd paidir, a sia, 

Sian nan seachd paidir, a seachd 

Ort a nis. 
Bho chlaban do bhathas, 
Gu dathas do bhonn, 
Ga d' chuniail o d' chul, 
Ga d' chumhn o t' aghaidh. 

Clogad slainne mu d' cheann, 
Cearcul comhnant mu d' bhraigh, 
Uchd-eididh an t-sagairt mu d' bhrollach, 
Ga d' dhion an cogadh 's an comhrag nan namh. 

Ma's ruaig dhuit, oig, o thaobh do chuil, 
Buaidh na h-Oigh ga do chomhnadh dluth, 
Sear no siar, siar no sear, 
Tuath no deas, deas no tuath. 



[137] 



INCANTATIONS 37 



SAIN 



The sain put by Mary on her Son, 
Sain from death, sain from wound. 
Sain from breast to knee, 
Sain from knee to foot. 
Sain of the three sains, 
Sain of the five sains, 
Sain of the seven sains. 
From the crown of thy head 
To the soles of thy feet. 
Sain of the seven paters, one, 
Sain of the seven paters, two, 
Sain of the seven paters, three, 
Sain of the seven paters, four, 
Sain of the seven paters, five. 
Sain of the seven paters, six. 
Sain of the seven paters, seven 

Upon thee now. 
From the edge of thy brow. 
To thy coloured soles. 
To preserve thee from behind. 
To sustain thee in front. 

Be the helmet of salvation about thine head. 

Be the corslet of the covenant about thy throat. 

Be the breastplate of the priest upon thy breast. 

To shield thee in the battle and combat of thine enemies. 

If pursued, oh youth, from behind thy back. 
The power of the Virgin be close to succour thee, 
East or west, west or east, 
North or south, south or north. 

VOL. II. C 2 



38 



UIBE 



EOLAS GRADHAICH 



[138] 



The people quote many proverbs relating to love and to love charms. ' Is 
leth-aoin an caothach agus an gaol,' — Twins are lunacy and love. ' Is ionann an 
galar gaoil agus an galar caothaich,' — Alike the complaint of love and the com- 
plaint of madness. ' Duinidh gaol mile suil ach duisgidh 




HAN eolas gradhach duit 
Uisge thraghadh tronih shop, 
Ach gradli an fhir [te] thig riut, 
Le bhlaths a tharsainn ort. 

Eirich moch 's an Domhnach, 
Gu leac comhnard pleatach 
Beir leat currachd sagart, 
Agus puball beannach. 



Tog sid air do ghualainn 
Ann an sluasaid mhaide, 
Faigh naoi gasa roinnich 
Air an gearradh le tuaigh, 

Tri cnamhan seann-duine, 
Air an tarruinn a uaigh, 
Loisg iad air teine crionaich, 
Is dean gu leir 'n an luath. 



Crath an dearbh bhrollach do leannain, 
An aghaidh gath gaoth tuath, 
'S theid mis an rath, 's am baran duit, 
Nach falbh am fear [bean] sin uat. 



INCANTATIONS 39 



LOVE CHARM 

cuig mile farraaid,'— Love wiU close a thousand eyes but waken five thousand 
jealousies. 

The lucky bones are the joint of the big toe of the right foot and the nail- 
joints of the left foot of an old man. These are said to be the first part of the 
human body to decay. 

It is not love knowledge to thee 

To draw water through a reed. 

But the love of him [her] thou choosest, 

With his warmth to draw to thee. 

Arise thou early on the day of the Lord, 

To the broad flat flag 

Take with thee the biretta of a priest, [fox-glove (?) 

And the pinnacled canopy. [butter-bur (.-') 

Lift them on thv shoulder 
In a wooden shovel, 
Get thee nine stems of ferns 
Cut with an axe, 

The three bones of an old man. 
That have been drawn from the grave, 
Burn them on a fire of faggots. 
And make them all into ashes. 

Shake it in the very breast of thy lover, 
Against the sting of the north wind. 
And I will pledge, and warrant thee. 
That man [woman] will never leave thee. 



40 



UIBE 



EOLAS GRADHAIDH 



[139] 




OLAS gradhaidh dut, 

Uisge thraghadh thromh shop, 
Blaths an fhir [te] thig riut, 
Le ghradh a tharsainn ort. 



Eiricli moch Di-domhnaich, 
Gu lie chomhnard chladaich 
Beir leat beannach pubaill, 
Agus currachd sagairt. 

Deannan beag a ghriosaich 
An iochdar do bhadain, 
Dornan corr a ghruaigean 
Ann an sluasaid mhaide. 



Tri cnamhan seann-duine, 
An deigh an creann a uaigh, 
Naoi goisne reann-roinnich, 

An deigh an treann le tuaigh. 

Loisg iad air teine crionaich 
Is dean gu leir diubh luath ; 
Crath am broDach broth do leannain, 
An aghaidh gath gaoth tuath. 

Rach ruaig rath an alachd, 

Car nan coig cuart, 

'S bheirim brath is baran duit 

Nach falbh am fear [bean] sin uat. 



INCANTATIONS 41 



LOVE CHARM 

A LOVK charm for thee, 
Water drawn through a straw, 
The warmth of him [her] thou love.st. 
With love to draw on thee. 

Arise betimes on Lord's day, 
To the flat rock of the shore 

Take with thee the pointed canopy, [butter-bur (?) 
And the cap of a priest. [fox-glove (?) 

A small quantity of embers 
In the skirt of thy kirtle, 
A special handful of sea-weed 
In a wooden shovel. 

Three bones of an old man, 
Newly torn from the grave. 
Nine stalks of royal fern. 

Newly trimmed with an axe. 

Burn them on a fire of faggots 
And make them all into ashes ; 
Sprinkle in the fleshy breast of thy lover, 
Against the venom of the north wind. 

Go round the ' rath ' of procreation. 
The circuit of the five turns. 
And I will vow and warrant thee 

That man [woman] shall never leave thee. 



42 



UIBE 



CRONACHDUINN SUIL 



[140] 



The results of the evil eye appear in yawning and vomiting and in a general 
dishirbance of the system. The countenance assumes an appearance grim, 
gruesome, and repulsive — 'greann, greisne, grannda.' 

This formula for removing the effects of the evil eye is handed down fi-om 
male to female, from female to male, and is efficacious only when thus 
transmitted. Before pronouncing it over the particular case of sickness, the 
operator proceeds to a stream, where the living and the dead alike pass, and 
lifts water, in name of the Holy Trinity, into a wooden ladle. In no case is the 
ladle of metal. On returning, a wife's gold ring, a piece of gold, of silver, and 
of copper, are put in the ladle. The sign of the holy cross is then made, and 
this rhyme is repeated in a slow recitative manner — the name of the person or 
animal under treatment being mentioned towards the end. In the case of an 
animal a woollen thread, generally of the natural colour of the sheep, is tied 

,0 a thilleas cronachduinn suil.' 
Tillidh mise tha mi 'n duil, 
Ann an ainm Righ nan dul. 
Tri seachd gairmeachdain co ceart. 
liabhair Criosd an dorusd na catlirach ; 
Paidir Moire a h-aon, 
Paidir Righ a dha, 
Paidir Moire a tri, 
Paidir Righ a ceithir, 
Paidir Moire a coig, 
Paidir Righ a sia, 
Paidir Moire a seachd ; 
Tillidh seachd paidrichean Moire 

Cronachduinn suil, 
Co dhiubh bhitheas e air duine no air bruid. 

Air marc no air earc ; 
Thusa bhi na d' h-ioma shlainte nochd, 
[Ail t-ainm] 
An ainm an Athar, a Mhic, 's an Spioraid Naoimh. Amen. 




INCANTATIONS 43 



THWARTING THE EVIL EYE 

round the tail. The consecrated water is then given as a draught, and sprinkled 
over the head and backbone. In the case of a cow the horns and the space 
between the horns are carefully anointed. 

The remnant of the water, no drop of which must have reached the ground 
previously, is poured over a corner stone, threshold flag, or other immovable stone 
or rock, which is said to split if the sickness be severe. Experts profess to dis- 
tinguish whether it be a man or a woman who has laid the evil eye : — if a man, the 
copper adheres to the bottom of the upturned ladle, significant of the ' iomadh 
car,' many turns in a man's dark wily heart ; if a woman, only the silver and gold 
adhere, the heart of a woman being to that of man— not in this case, 'as moonlight 
unto sunlight and as water unto wine ' — but as gold and silver to copper and brass. 
Old women in the Highlands say that if men's hearts were laid bare they would 
be found to contain many more twists and turns and wiles than those of women. 

Who shall thwart the evil eye .'' 
I shall thwart it, methinks, 
In name of the King of life. 
Three seven commands so potent. 
Spake Christ in the door of the city ; 

Pater Mary one, 

Pater King two, 

Pater Mary three. 

Pater King four. 

Pater Mary five. 

Pater King six, 

Pater Mary seven ; 
Seven pater Maries will thwart 

The evil eye, 
Whether it be on man or on beast. 

On horse or on cow ; 
Be thou in thy full health this night, 
[The name] 
In name of the Fatlier, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. 



44 



UIBE 



EOLAS A BHEUM SHULA 



[141] 




ALTRAIM air an t-suil, 

Mar a shaltrais lach air luin, 
Mar a shaltrais eal air burn, 
Mar a shaltrais each air uir, 
Mar a shaltrais earc air iuc, 
Mar a shaltrais feachd nan dul, 

Mar a shaltrais feachd nan dul. 

Ta neart gaoith agam air, 

Ta neart fraoich agam air, 

Ta neart teine agam air, 
Ta neart torruinn agam air, 
Ta neart dealain agam air, 
Ta neart gaillinn agam air, 
Ta neart gile agam air, 
Ta neart greine agam air, 
Ta neart nan reul agam air, 
Ta neart nan speur agam air, 
Ta neart nan neamh 
Is nan ce agam air, 

Neart nan neamh 

Is nan ce agam air. 



Trian air na clacha glasa dheth, 
Trian air na beanna casa dheth, 
Trian air na h-easa brasa dheth. 



INCANTATIONS 45 



EXORCISM OF THE EYE 

I TRAMPLE upon the eye. 
As tramples the duck upon the lake, 
As tramples the swan upon the water. 
As tramples the horse upon the plain. 
As tramples the cow upon the ' iuc,' 
As tramples the host of the elements, 

As tramples the host of the elements. 

Power of wind I have over it. 
Power of wrath I have over it, 
Power of fire I have over it. 
Power of thunder I have over it. 
Power of lightning I have over it. 
Power of storms I have over it, 
Power of moon I have over it. 
Power of sun I have over it. 
Power of stars I have over it, 
Power of firmament I have over it, 
Power of the heavens 
And of the worlds I have over it. 

Power of the heavens 

And of the worlds I have over it. 

A portion of it upon the grey stones, [third 

A portion of it upon the steep hills, 
A portion of it upon the fast falls, 



46 UIBE 



Trian air na liana maiseach dheth, 
'S trian air a mhuir mhoir shalach, 
'S i fein asair is fearr gu ghiulan, 
A mhuir mhor shalach, 
Asair is fearr gu ghiulan. 

An ainm Tri nan Dul, 
An ainm nan Tri Numh, 
An ainm nan uile Run, 
Agus nan Cursa comhla. 



INCANTATIONS 47 

A portion of it upon the fair meads. 

And a portion upon the great salt sea, 

She herself is the best instrument to carry it, 

The great salt sea, 

The best instrument to carry it. 

In name of the Three of Life, 
In name of the Sacred Three, 
In name of all the Secret Ones, 
And of the Powers together. 



48 



UIBE 




CRONACHDAIN SUIL 



HURNAICH suil thu, 
Thurmaich bial thu, 
Runaich cridh thu, 
Smunaich miann thu. 



Ceathrar a rinn du-sa trasd, 

Fear agus bean, 

Mac agus mum ; 

Triuir cuiream riu 'g an casg, 

Athair, 

Mac, 

Spiorad Numb. 



[142] 



Cuiream fianuis chon Moire, 

Mathair-chobhair an t-sluaigh, 

Cuiream fianuis chon Bride, 

Muime Chriosda nam buadh, 

Cuiream fianuis chon Chaluim, 

Ostal oirthir is chuain, 

'S cuiream fianuis chon flathas, 

Chon gach naoimh is gach aingil tha shuas. 



Ma's e fear a rinn do lochd, 
Le droch shuil, 
Le droch run, 
Le droch ruam, 



INCANTATIONS 49 



COUNTERACTING THE EVIL EYE 

An eye covered thee, 
A mouth spoke thee, 
A heart envied thee, 
A mind desired thee. 

Four made thee thy cross, [? have done thee harm 

Man and wife. 

Youth and maid ; 

Three will I send to thwart them. 

Father, 

Son, 

Spirit Holy. 

I appeal to Mary, 

Aidful mother of men, 

I appeal to Bride, 

Foster-mother of Christ omnipotent, 

I appeal to Columba, 

Apostle of shore and sea. 

And I appeal to heaven, 

To all saints and angels that be above. 

If it be a man that has done thee harm. 
With evil eye, 
With evil wish. 
With evil passion. 



50 UIBE 

Gun tilg thu dhiot gach olc. 

Gach mug, 

Gach gnug, 

Gach gruam, 

'S gum bi thu gu math gu brath, 

Ri linn an snathle seo 

Dhol a d' dhail mu'n cuart, 

An onair De agus los, 

Agus Spioraid ioic bhi-bhuain 



INCANTATIONS 51 

Mayest thou cast off each ill, 

Every malignity, 

Every malice. 

Every harassment, 

And mayest thou be well for ever, 

While this thread 

Goes round thee. 

In honour of God and of Jesus, 

And of the Spirit of balm everlasting. 



52 



UIBE 




UIBE RI SHUL [143] 

IBE gheal chuir Muire mhin, 

A nail air allt, air muir, 's air tir. 

Air bhrig, 's air ghat fharmaid, 

Air mhac armaid. 

Air fiacaill coin-ghiorr, 

Air siadhadh coin-ghearr, 

Air tri chorracha-cri, 

Air tri chorracha cnamh, 

Air tri chorracha creothail, 

'S air lion leothair lair. f.'' leobhar 



Ge be co rinn dut an t-suil, 
Gun laigh i air fein, 
Gun laigh i air a thur. 
Gun laigh i air a spreidh. 
Gun laigh i air a shult. 
Gun laigh i air a shaill, 
Gun laigh i air a chuid, 
Gun laigh i air a chlainn, 
Gun laigh i air a bhean, 
Gun laigh i air a loinn. 



Clomhaidh mise an t-suil, 

Somhaidh mise an t-suil, 

Iniirichidh mi 'n t-suil, 

A thri feithean feiche, 

'S teang eug an iomalain. 

Tri maighdeana beaga caomh, 

A rugadh 's an aon oidhche ri Criosd, 

Ma's beo dh'an triuir sin air an oidhche nochd, 

Beo bhith d' ire-sa, bheothaich bhochd. 



INCANTATIONS 63 



SPELL FOR EVIL EYE 

The fair spell that lovely Mary sent. 

Over stream, over sea, over land. 

Against incantations, against withering glance, 

Against inimical power. 

Against the teeth of wolf. 

Against the testicles of wolf. 

Against the three crooked cranes, 

Against the three crooked bones, 

Against the three crooked ' creothail," 

And against lint 'leolhair' of the ground. [? long lint 

Whoso made to thee the eye,' 
May it lie upon himself. 
May it lie upon his house, 
May it lie upon his flocks, 
May it lie upon his substance. 
May it lie upon his fatness, 
May it lie upon his means, 
May it lie upon his children, 
May it lie upon his wife, 
May it lie upon his descendants. 

I will subdue the eye, 
I will suppress the eye, 
And I will banish the eye. 
The three arteries inviting (?), 
And the tongue of death completely. 
Three lovely little maidens. 
Born the same night with Christ, 
If alive be these three to-night, 
Life be anear thee, poor beast. 
VOL. II. D 2 



54 



UIBE 




OBI RI SHUIL 

UIRIM an obi seo ri m'' shuil. 
Mar a dh' orduich Ti nan dul, 
A uchd Pheadail, a uchd Phoil, 
An treas ob is fearr fo'n ghrein. 

Sil, a Mhoire, sil, a Biiride, 
Sii, a Phadra, righ nan reachd, 
Sil, a Chalum-chille chaoimb, 
Sil, a Chiarain naoimh nam feart. 



[144] 



Air bhuadh larach, air chruadh lamha, 
An cath tearmaid, an cath farraaid, 
Air gach mac da math d' an teid, 
Bidh Mac De leis an treuin armachd. 



A uchd Athar, 

A uchd Mic, 

A uchd Spioraid Naoimh. 



Amen. 



INCANTATIONS 55 



CHARM FOR THE EYE 

I PLACE this charm to mine eye, 
As the King of life ordained, 
From the bosom of Peter and Paul, 
The third best amulet under the sun. 

Pour Mary, pour Bride, 
Pour Patrick, king of laws. 
Pour Columba the kindly, 
Pour Ciaran, saint of power. 

For victory in battle, for hardness of hand. 
In battle of defence, in battle of offence. 
On every son with whom it shall go well. 
The Son of God will be with him in full armour. 

From the bosom of Father, 

From the bosom of Son, 

From the bosom of Holy Spirit. 

Amen. 



56 



UIBE 




EOIR BEUM SULA 

E be CO rinn duit an t-suil. 
Gun curn i air fein. 
Gun curn i air a thur. 
Gun curn i air a spreidh, 
Air a chaillich mhungaich, 
Air a chaillaich mhiongaich, 
Air a chaillaich mhangaich, 
'S air a chaillich gheur-luirg, 

A dh' eirich 's a nihaduinn, 

'S a suil 'n a seilbh, 

'S a seilbh 'n a seoin, 

Nar a leatha a buaile fein, 

Nar a leatha leth a deoin, 

A chuid nach ith na fithich di. 

Gun ith na h-eoin. 



[145] 



Ceathrar a rinn duit an t-suil. 
Fear agus bean, mac agus murn ; 
Triuir a thilgeas diot an tnu, 
Athair agus Mac, agus Spiorad Numh. 



Mar a thog Criosd am meas, 

Thar bharra nam preas, 

Gun ann a thogas e dhiot-s' a nis 

Gach cnid, gach tnu, gach farmad, 

Cn la'n diugh gu la deireannach do shaoghail. 



INCANTATIONS 57 



CHARM FOR THE EVIL EYE 

Whoso laid on thee the eye. 

May it lie upon himself, 

May it lie upon his house. 

May it lie upon his flocks. 

On the shuffling carlin. 

On the sour-fiiced carlin. 

On the bounding carlin, 

On the sharp-shanked carlin. 

Who arose in the morning, 

With her eye on her flocks, 

With her flocks in her ' seoin,' 

May she never own a fold, 

May she never have half her desires. 

The part of her which the ravens do not eat. 

May the birds devour. 

Four made to thee the eye, 
Man and dame, youth and maid ; 
Three who will cast oft' thee the envy. 
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

As Christ lifted the fruit. 

From the branches of the bushes, 

May He now lift off thee 

Every ailment, every envy, every jealousy, 

From this day forth till the last day of thy life. 



58 



UIBE 




EOLAS [146] 

E AD A III is Seumas is Eoin, 
Triuir is binne beuis an gloir, 
Dh' eirich a dheanamh na h-eoir, 
Ronih mhor dhorus na Cathrach, 
Ri glun deas De a Mhic. 

Air na feara fur-shuileach, 
Air na bana bur-shuileach, 
Air na siocharra seanga sith, 

Air na saighde siubhlach sibheideach. 



Dithis a rinn dut dibhidh sul, 
Fear agus bean le nimh agus tnu, 
Triuir a chuirim an urra riu, 

Athair, agus Mac, agus Spiorad Numb. 

Ceithir ghalara fichead an aorabh duine 's bruid, 

Dia d' an sgrid, Dia d' an sgroid, Dia d' an sgruid, 

A t' fhuil, a V fheoil a d' chnaniha cubhra caoin, 

O'n la''n duigh 's gach la thig, gun tig la crich do shaoghail. 



INCANTATIONS 59 



CHARM 

Peter and James and John, 
The three of sweetest virtues in glor}'. 
Who arose to make the charm, 
Before the great door of the City, 

By the right knee of God the Son. 

Against the keen-eyed men. 
Against the peering-eyed women. 
Against the slim, slender, fairy-darts, 
Against the swift arrows of furies. 

Two made to thee the withered eye, 
Man and woman with venom and envy. 
Three whom I will set against them. 
Father, Son, and Spirit Holy. 

Four and twenty diseases in the constitution of man and beast, 

God scrape them, God search them, God cleanse them. 

From out thy blood, from out thy flesh, from out thy fragrant 

bones. 
From this day and each day that comes, till Ihy day on earth 

be done. 



60 UIBE 




MALLACHD [m] 

IIAINIG dithis a mach 
A Catlirach Neobh, 
Fear agus bean, 
A dheanadh nan oisnean. 

Mallaich dha na beana bur-shuileach, 
Mallaich dha na feara fur-shuileacli, 
Mallaich dha na ceithir saighde, guineach, guid, 
Dh' f haodadh a bhi 'n aorabh duine 's bruid. 



EOLAS A BHEIM SHUIL [us] 

The following fragment was copied from an old manuscript and sent to me by 

Saltruighidh mis air an t-suil, 

Mar a shaltruigheas eal air tigh nocht, [traigh ? 

Ta neart gaoithe agam air, 

Ta neart greine agam air, 

Ta neart Mhic Righ Neamh 

Agus talmhainn agam air, 

Trian air na clacha glasa, 

* * * * 

'S trian air a mhuir mhoir. 
Is i fein acfhuinn is fearr 'g a ghiulan. 



INCANTATIONS 61 



A MALEDICTION 

Therk came two out 
From the City of Heaven, 
A man and a woman, 
To make the ' uisnean.'' 

Curses on the blear-eyed women. 

Curses on the sharp-eyed men, 

Curses on the four venomous arrows of disease. 

That may be in the constitution of man and beast. 



SPELL OF THE EVIL EYE 

the Rev. Angus Macdonald, KiUearnan, Black Isle. The reciter's name is given 
as ' Anna Chairabeul ' — Ann Campbell. 

Trample I upon the eye, 

As tramples the swan on a bare house, [strand ? 

Power of wind I have over it, 

The power of the Son of the King of Heaven 

And of earth I have over it, 

A portion of it on the grey stones, [third 

* * * * 

And a portion on the great sea. 
She herself is the instrument most able to bear it. 



62 UIBE 



OBI NAN SUL [149] 

^j^^ BI nan geur shul, 
V\« ^^^ "*" reul-iul, 
■.-ilU Obi Re nan uile re, 
^^K/ Obi Dhe nan dul, 
\vljf/ Obi Re nan uile re, 

Jtl ^^^ V)\i& nan dul. 

Obi Bhride nan ciabh oir, 

Obi Mhoire mhin-ghil Oigh, 
Obi Bheus nan uile bheus, 
Obi Dhe na gloir, 

Obi Bheus nan uile bheus, 

Obi Dhe na gloir. 

Obi Pheadail agus Phail, 
Obi Airil 's Eoin a ghraidh, 
Obi Dhe nan uile dhe, 
Obi Dhe nan gras, 

Obi Dhe nan uile dhe. 

Obi Dhe nan gras. 

Feill Mhairi, Feill Dhe, 

Feill shagart agus chleir, 

Feill Chriosd, Righ nam feart, 

Dhiongaich anns a ghrein a neart, 
Feill Chriosd, Righ nam feart, 
Dhiongaich anns a ghrein a neart. 



INCANTATIONS 



INCANTATION FOR THE EYE 

Incantation of the seeing eye, 

Incantation of the guiding star, 

Incantation of the King of all kings. 

Incantation of the God of life. 

Incantation of the King of all kings. 
Incantation of the God of life. 

Incantation of Bride of the locks of gold, 
Incantation of the beauteous Mary Virgin, 
Incantation of the Virtue of all virtues, 
Incantation of the God of glory. 

Incantation of the Virtue of aU virtues. 
Incantation of the God of glory. 

Incantation of Peter and of Paul, 
Incantation of Ariel and John of love, 
Incantation of the God of all gods, 
Incantation of the God of grace. 

Incantation of the God of all gods, 
Incantation of the God of grace. 

Feast of Mary, Feast of God, 

Feast of cleric and of priest. 

Feast of Christ, Prince of power. 

Who established the sun with strength, 
Feast of Christ, Prince of power. 
Who endowed the sun with strength. 



64 



UIBE 




OBA RI SHUL 

UIRIM an oba seo ri m' shuil, 
Mar a dh' orduich Rif^h nan dul, 
Oba Pheadail, oba Pholl, 
Oba Sheumais, oba Eoin, 

Oba Chaluini-chille chaoimh, 

Oba Phadra sar gacli naoimh, 

Oba Bhride bhith nam ba, 

Oba Mhoire mhin nan agh, 

Oba tromla, oba treuid, 

Oba lomra, oba spreidh, 

Oba nolla, oba ni, 

Oba sona, oba sith, 

Oba troga, oba treuin, 

An treas oba is fearr fo'n ghrein, 

Oba bhuadha nan Tri Bhuadh, 
Athar, Mic, Spioraid buan. 



[150] 



INCANTATIONS 65 



SPELL OF THE EYE 

I PLACE this spell to mine eye, 
As the King of life ordained, 
Spell of Peter, spell of Paul, 
Spell of James, spell of John, 
Spell of Columba benign, 
SpeU of Patrick, chief of saints, 
Spell of Bride, tranquil of the kine. 
Spell of Mary, lovely of the joys. 
Spell of cows, spell of herds. 
Spell of sheep, spell of flocks. 
Spell of greatness, spell of means. 
Spell of joy, spell of peace, 
Spell of war, spell of the brave. 
The third best spell under the sun. 
The powerful spell of the Three Powers, 
Father, Son, Spirit everlasting. 



VOL. II. 



66 UIBE 




OBA RI SUL [151] 

BA mho-ghil, 

A chuir Moir Oighe, 
Chon ighinn Dorail, 
Nan or-bhi cuach, 
A nail air mor-thir, 
A nail air oir-thir, 
A nail air log-thir, 
A nail air cuan, 
Chon casga sula, 
Chon casga dula, 
Chon casga tnutha, 
Chon casga fuatha, 
Chon tilleadh breotaich, 
Chon tilleadh greotaich, 
Chon tilleadh sreotaich, 
Chon tilleadh ruaidh. 



INCANTATIONS 67 



SPELL OF THE EYE 

The spell fair-white, 
Sent of Mary Virgin, 
To the daughter of Derail, 
Of the golden-yellow hair, 
Hither on main-land. 
Hither on coast-land. 
Hither on lake-land. 
Hither on ocean, 
To thwart eye. 
To thwart net, 
To thwart envy, 
To thwart hate. 
To repel ' breotaich,' 
To repel ' greotaich,' 
To repel ' sreotaich,' 
To repel rose. 



UIBE 




OB RI SHUL [152] 

B a chuir Moire mhor-gheal 
Gu Bride mhin-gheal, 
Air muir, air tir, air li, 's rachd f barmaid, 
Air fiacail coin-ghiorr, ''s air siadha coin-ghearr. 

Ge be co leag ort an t-suil, 
Gum much i air fein, 
Gum much i air a thur, 
Gum much i air a spreidh. 

Clomhadh mis an t-suil, 
Somhadh mis an t-suil, 
Tri teanga tur nan iomlan, 
Am feithean a chridhe. 
An eibhlean imileig. 

A uchd Athar, 

A uchd Mic, 

A uchd Spioraid Naoinih. 



INCANTATIONS 69 



SPELL OF THE EYE 

The spell the great white Mary sent 

To Bride the lovely fair, 

For sea, for land, for water, and for withering glance, 

For teeth of wolf, for testicle of wolf. 

Whoso laid on thee the eye. 
May it oppress himself. 
May it oppress his house. 
May it oppress his flocks. 

Let me subdue the eye. 
Let me avert the eye. 
The three complete tongues of fullness, 
In the arteries of the hearb. 
In the vitals of the navel. 

From the bosom of Father, 

From the bosom of Son, 

From the bosom of Holy Spirit. 



70 



UIBE 




EOLAS A CHRONACHAIDH [iss] 

UAINIDH mi a chathair aigh 
A bhuain Criosd le leth-laimh. 



Thainig Ard Rigli nan aingeal 

Le ghradh 's le f hath os mo chionn. 

Thainig losa Criosda steach 
Le bliochd, le blachd, le barr, 
Le laoigh bhoirionn, le ais. 



Air suil bhig, air suil mhoir. 
Air uachdar cuid Chriosd. 

An ainm Ti nan dul 
Cum rium do ghras, 
Crun Righ nan aingeal, 
Bainne chur an nth ''s an ar, 
Le laoigh bhoirionn, le al. 



Gun robh agaibh fad nan seachd bliadhna 
Gun chall laogh, gun chall bainne, 
Gun chall niaona no caomh charaid. 



INCANTATIONS 71 



SPELL OF THE COUNTERACTING 

I WILL pluck the gracious yarrow 

That Christ plucked with His one hand. 

The High King of the angels 

Came with His love and His countenance above me. 

Jesus Christ came hitherward 

With milk, with substance, with produce, 

With female calves, with milk product. 

On small eye, on large eye, 
Over Christ's property. 

In name of the Being of life 
Supply me with Thy grace, 
The crown of the King of the angels 
To put milk in udder and gland. 
With female calves, with progeny. 

May you have the length of seven years 
Without loss of calf, witiiout loss of milk. 
Without loss of means or of dear friends. 



72 



UIBE 



CUNNTAS AN T-SLEAMHNAIN [154] 



The exorcism of the stye is variously called ' Cunntas an t-Sleamhnain ' — 
Counting of the Stye, 'Eolas an t-Slearahnain ' — Exorcism of the Stye, and 
' Eoir an t-Sleamhnain ' — Charm of the Stye. 

When making the charm the exorcist holds some sharp-pointed instrument, 
preferably a nail, or the tongue of a brooch or buckle, between the thumb and 
forefinger of the right hand. With each question the operator makes a feint 
with the instrument at the stye, going perilously near the eye. The sensation 
caused by the thrusting is extremely painful to the sufferer and even to the 
observer. 

The reciter assured the writer that a cure immediately follows the operation. 
Possibly the thrusting acts upon the nervous system of the patient. 

Ordinarily the exorcist omits mentioning the word ' sleamhnan ' after the 
first two times, abbreviating thus : — 

' C'uim an tainig a dha an seo Why came the two here 

Gun a tri an seo ? ' Without the three here ? 



'UIM an tainig an aon sleamhnan, 
Gun an da shleamhnan an seo .'' 
Cuim an tainig an da shleamhnan, 
Gun na tri sleamhnain an seo .'' 
Cuim an tainig na tri sleamhnain, 
Gun na ceithir sleamhnain an seo .'' 
C'uim an tainig na ceithir sleamhnain. 
Gun na coig sleamhnain an seo .'' 
C'uim an tainig na coig sleamhnain, 
Gun na sia sleamhnain an seo .'' 
Cuim an tainig na sia sleamhnain, 
Gun na seachd sleamhnain an seo ? 
Cuim an tainig na seachd sleamhnain. 
Gun na h-ochd sleamhnain an seo .'' 
Cuim an tainig na h-ochd .sleamhnain, 
Gun na naodh sleamhnain an seo .'' 
Cuim an tainig a naodh. 
No aon idir an seo .'' 




INCANTATIONS 73 



THE COUNTING OF THE STYE 

After the incantation the Lord's Prayer is intoned, and the following is 
repeated : — 

' Paidir a h-aon. Pater one, 

Paidir a dha. Pater two, 

Paidir a tri. Pater three, 

Paidir a ceilhir, Pater four, 

Paidir a coig. Pater five, 

Paidir a sia. Pater six, 

Paidir a seachd. Pater seven, 

Paidir a h-ochd. Pater eight, 

Paidir a naodh. Pater nine, 

Paidir a h-aon Pater one 

'S a h-ochd. And eight, 

Paidir Chriosda chaoirah Pater of Christ the kindly 

Ort an oidhche nochd. Be upon thee to-night, 

Paidir Tri nan dul Pater of the Three of life 

Air a shuil gun loclid.' Upon thine eye without harm. 
This seems to indicate that the Lord's Prayer was originally repeated nine times. 

^VHY came the one stye, 
Without the two styes here ? 
Why came the two styes. 
Without the three styes here ? 
Why came the three styes. 
Without the four styes here ? 
Why came the four styes, 
Without the five styes here ? 
Why came the five styes. 
Without the six styes here ? 
Why came the six styes. 
Without the seven styes here ? 
Why came the seven styes. 
Without the eight styes here ? 
Why came the eight styes, 
Without the nine styes here .'' 
Why came the nine. 
Or one at all here ? 



74 



UIBE 




AM FIONN-FAOILIDH [i55] 

UIREAM fionn-faoilidh umam, 
A thraoghadh feirge falamh, 
A chumail rium mo chliu, 
Fad 's a bhios mi biu air talamh. 



O Mhicheil ! glac mo lamh, 
Liobh rium cairdeas De, 
Ma tha mi-run no di-run air mo namh, 
Criosd a bhi eadar mis is e, 
0, Criosd eadar mis is e ! 



Ma tha mi-run no di-run air mo sgath, 
Criosd a bhi eadar mis is e, 
O, Criosd eadar mis is e ! 



EOLAS TNU 



[156] 



These lines were obtained in Tiree from a woman known as ' Nic "aldomhnuich, 
the daiigliter of Maoldomhnuich, rendered ' Ludovic.' This woman had known 
many such runes, but was forgetting them. 

MaolDomhnuicli is one of tlie many personal names originating in the Celtic 
Church, now rare elsewhere, but still current in the Western Isles. Some of 
these names with their meanings are interesting. MaolDomhnuich means ' the 
tonsured of the Lord,' MaolCiaran 'the tonsured of Ciaran,' MaolPadniig 'the 
tonsured of Patrick,' MaoICalum ' the tonsured of Columba,' MaolMicheil ' the 
tonsured of Michael,' MaolBride ' tlie tonsured of Bride,' MaolMoire ' the tonsured 
of Mary.' Maollosa, 'the tonsured of Jesus,' is the MaUse and Malsie of Sir 

Ge be CO rinn duit an tnu, 
Fear dubh, no bean fionn, 
Triuir cuirim riu ga chasg — 
Spiorad Nunih, Athair, Mac. 



INCANTATIONS 75 



THE FIONN-FAOILIDH' 

I PLACE the ' fionn-faoilidh ' on me, 
To drain wrath empty. 
To preserve to me my fame. 
While I shall live on earth. 

O Michael ! grasp my hand, 

Vouchsafe to me the love of God, 

If there be ill-will or ill-wish in mine enemy, 

Christ be between me and him, 

Oh, Christ between me and him ! 

If there be ill-will or ill-wish concerning me, 
Christ be between me and it, 

Oh, Christ between me and it ! 



ENVY SPELL 

Walter Scott, and the Malisu of the Earls of Strathearn. A precipitous island 
near the east entrance to Macneilltown, Barra, is called ' Maoldomhnuich ' from 
an anchorite of the name who Uved there and whose cell is still to be seen. 
The island is also called ' Eilean nam fiadh,' isle of the deer, from the ancient 
MacneiUs of Barra having had deer there. 

There is hardly an island however remote, or an ocean-girt rock however 
precipitous, throughout the stormy Hebrid seas, that does not show touching 
traces of the courage and devotion of these self-denying anchorites. 

The writer often took pleasure in visiting these almost inaccessible rocks and 
tracing their cells. 

Whoso made to thee the envy. 
Swarthy man or woman fair, 
Three I will send to thwart it — 
Holy Spirit, Father, Son. 



76 



UIBE 




AN DEARG CHASACHAN 



[157] 



UAINIDH mi an dearg-chasachan aic, 
An lion a bhuain Bride mhin tromh glaic, 
Air buaidh shlainte, air buaidh chairdeas 

Air buaidh thoileachais, 
Air buaidh droch run, air buaidh droch shul, 

Air buaidli chronachais. 
Air buaidh droch bheud, air buaidh droch bheus, 

Air buaidh ghonachais, 
Air buaidh droch sgeul, air buaidh droch bheul. 

Air buaidh shonachais — 

Air buaidh shonachais. 



AN EIDHEANN-MU-CHRANN 



[158] 



BuAiNiDH mis an eidheann-mu-chrann, 
Mar a bhuain Moire le a leth-laimh, 
Mar a dh' orduich Righ nan dul, 
Bainne chur an uth 's an ar, 
Le laoigh bhreaca, bhoirionn, bhailgneach, 
Mar a thubhradh anns an dailgneachd. 
Air an laraich sec gu ceann la 's bliadhna, 
A uchd Dia nan dul 's nan cursa comhla. 



INCANTATIONS 77 



THE RED-STALK 

Pluck will I the little red-stalk of surety, 

The lint the lovely Bride drew through her palm, 

For success of health, for success of friendship, 

For success of joyousness. 
For overcoming of evil mind, for overcoming of evil eye, 

For overcoming of bewitchment. 
For overcoming of evil deed, for overcoming of evil conduct, 

For overcoming of malediction. 
For overcoming of evil news, for overcoming of evil words, 

For success of blissfulness — 

For success of blissfulness. 



THE TREE-ENTWINING IVY 

I WILL pluck the tree-entwining ivy. 

As Mary plucked with her one hand, 

As the King of life has ordained. 

To put milk in udder and gland. 

With speckled fair female calves. 

As was spoken in the prophecy, 

On this foundation for a year and a day. 

Through the bosom of the God of life, and of all the powers. 



78 UIBE 



EOLAS AN TORRANAIN [i59] 

The figwortis known as ' farach dubh,' ' farach donn,' ' farum,' ' forum," ' fothlus,' 
' fotlus,' ' lus nan cnapan,' ' lus nan clugan,' ' clugan,' ' cluganach,' ' lus an torran- 
ain,' ' torranach,' and ' torranan. ' The names are descriptive : — ' farach dubh ' — 
black mallet, ' farach donn ' — brown mallet ; ' farum ' and ' forum ' are probably 
forms of ' farach.' ' Fothlus ' and ' fotlus '—crumbs, refuse, scrofuloas, ' lus nan 
clugan ' — plant of the clusters, ' lus an torranain ' — plant of the thunderer. 
Probably ' tarrann,' ' torrann,' ' torranan,' ' tarranan,' are variants of Taranis, 
the name of the thunder god of the Gauls. 

On the mainland the figwort is known for its medicinal properties, and in the 
islands for its magical powers. On the mainland the leaf of the plant is applied 
to cuts and bruises, and the tuber to sores and tumours. In the islands the 
plant was placed on the cow fetter, under the milk boyne, and over the byre 
door, to ensure milk in the cows. 

Having intoned the incantation of the ' torranan,' the reciter said — ' The 
" torranan " is a blessed plant. It grows in sight of the sea. Its root is a cluster 
of four bulbs like the four teats of a cow. The stalk of the plant is as long as 
the arm, and the bloom is as large as the breast of a woman, and as pure white 
as the driven snow of the hill. It is full of the milk of grace and goodness 
and of the gift of peace and power, and fills with the filling and ebbs with the 
ebbing tide. It is therefore meet to cull the plant with the flow and not with the 
ebb of the restless sea. If I had the " torranan " it would ensure to me abundant 
milk in my cow all the year. Poor as I am, I would rather than a Saxon pound 
that I had the blessed " torranan." I went away to John the son of Fearachar, 
who knows every plant that comes through the ground, to see if he would get 
me the " torranan " of power. But John's wife said " No," and that I was only 
an " oinig," a .silly woman. The jade ! ' 

John Beaton, known as John, son of Fearachar, son of John, son of ' Niall 
Dotair,' Neil the Doctor, was a shepherd by occupation but a botanist by instinct. 
He knew Gaelic only, and he knew no letters, but probably he knew more about 
plants and plant habitats and characteristics than any other man in Scotland. 
He lived in close communion with Nature, and loved plants as he loved his 
children — with a warm abiding love which no poverty could cool and no age 
could dim. A Gaehc proverb says : — ' Bu dual da sin ' — that was hereditary to 
him: and: — ' Sgoiltidh an dualchas a chreig' — heredity will cleave the rock; 



INCANTATIONS 79 

and again : — ' Theid dualchas an aghaigh nan creag ' — heredity will go against 
the rocks. John Beaton was a striking confirmation of these sayings, being 
descended from a long line of botanists and botanical doctors who left their 
impress on the minds and on the language of their fellow-countrymen. He was 
descended from the Beatons of Skye, who were descended from the Beatons of 
Islay. They in turn were descended from the Beatons of Mull, who are said to 
have come down from Beatan, the medical missionary of the Columban Church 
of lona. These Beatons produced many eminent men, among them James 
Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, and his still greater nephew David, the 
Cardmal Archbishop of St Andrews, and, through the Barons Livingstone 
of Bachuill, Lisraore, David Livingstone, physician, missionary, traveller 
and explorer. Mary Beaton, mentioned in the song of the Queen's Four Maries, 
was also of these Beatons : — 

' Last night tliere were four Maries, 

This night there shall be but three ; 
There was Marie Beaton and Marie Seaton 
And Marie Carmichael and me.' 

The people of Mull say that this Mary Beaton was of the Mull family, but the 
distinguislied scholar, the late Hector Maclean, and other Islay men, claimed that 
she was of the Islay Beatons. The Beatons were hereditary ' leighean,' physicians, 
to the Lords of the Isles and to other great insular and mainland chiefs. They 
were also physicians to the Kings of Scotland, whom they visited periodically. 
Payments for some of these visits are recorded in the Exchequer Rolls. 

The Beatons left many MSS. on medicine and on medicinal plants. Some of 
these are in the Advocates' Library, some are in private possession, and many 
are known to liave been lost. Some of the most beautiful sculptured stones in 
lona. Mull, Islay, and elsewhere, are over the tombs of Beatons. 

Several of the Beatons of Mull and Islay went to Paris and other Continental 
cities to complete their medical and theological studies. Some of these remained 
abroad and rose to positions of distinction. The name is still to be met with in 
France in the French form of Bethune. One of the Beatons on returning to 
Scotland retained that form of the name. He settled in Fife. A descendant of 
his settled in Skye as leech to Macleod of Macleod, founding the Skye branch 
of the family. One of this family was known as ' Fearachar Leigh,' ' Fearachar 
Lighiche,' Farquhar the Physician. He held the small estate of Husabost, near 
the mouth of Dunvegan Loch, for his services. He had a medical MS. valued 
at sixty milch cows ; and so careful was he of this manuscript, that when he 
himself came up to Dunvegan by boat he sent a trusted man-servant on horse- 
back round by land with the manuscript. John Beaton, the shepherd of Uist, 
was descended from this ' Fearachar Leigh.' 

John Beaton was too old and too rheumatic to move from home, but he 



80 UIBE 

described the 'torranan,' its flower, leaf, stalk, and root, and its situation in 
Benmore, to his son and the writer, with marvellous fullness and accuracy, 
though he had not been to Benmore nor seen the ' torranan ' for many years 
previously. He said that there were only two plants of it there, and that these 
were near one another on Benmore and overlooking the sea. He explained the 
various medicinal uses of the plant, but smiled at its alleged magical powers. 

This was in 1877. John Beaton died in 1881, aged 92, one of nature's scientists 
and of nature's gentlemen. In 1896 his son, Fearachar, sent me the two plants 
from Benmore in South Uist. One of them I gave to Professor Bayley Balfour 
of the University of Edinburgh, who kindly identified the plant for me. 

The following tradition is current in Uist : — The Pope sent Torranan to teach 
the people of Ireland the way of salvation. But the people of Ireland would not 
receive Torranan, whom they beat and maltreated in various ways. Torranan 
prayed to God to deliver him from the Irish, and shook the dust of Ireland off 
his feet. He betook himself to his coracle and turned it sun-wise, in name of 
God, and in name of Christ, and in name of Spirit, praying the ' Teora Naomh,' 
Holy Three, to send him when and where and whichever way they listed and had 
work for him to do — but not again to Ireland. The man was driven about 
hither and thither on the wild waves in his frail coracle no one knows how long 
or how far. But an Eye was on his prow, and a Hand was on his helm and the 
tide, and the wind, and the waves combined to take him into the little creek of 
Cailigeo in Benbecula. 

The Island of Benbecula is situated between the islands of South Uist and 
North Uist, its axis being at right angles to the axis of these islands— one end 
on the Minch, the other on the Atlantic. It is fordable on both sides when the 
tide is out, hence the Gaelic name ' Beinn-nam-faoghla ' — ben of the fords. The 
hill indicated in the name is near the centre of the island and nearly in a direct 
line between the fords. It is called ' Ruaidhbhal,' ' Ruaival ' — red hiU, from the 
Gaelic ' ruadh ' — red, and the Norse ' fell ' a hill. Ruaival is the only hill in 
Benbecula. It is cone-shaped, flat and level on the top, and 409 feet in height. 
The sloping sides are flushed with heather, while the flat summit is green and 
grassy. The summit commands an extraordinary view of fords and channels, 
islands, peninsulas and mainlands, seas and lakes, and of moors and machairs 
broken up and dotted over in the most marvellous manner with shallow pools, 
tarns, and lakes scattered broadcast beyond count, beyond number. Probably 
the world does not contain anything more disorderly than the distribution of 
land and water in and around Benbecula. 

When Torranan was ascending the round red hill of Ruaival to survey his 
surroundings and to ascertain his whereabouts, his breast was sore from thirst, 
for he had had no water to drink since leaving Ireland. And Torranan prayed 
to God for water to quench his thirst, and lo ! the red rock before him rent 



INCANTATIONS 81 

asunder, and from the fissure a clear rill of cold water issued. Torranan thus 
pre-experienced the truth of Goethe's words : — 

' At his appointed time revolving. 

The sun these shades of night dispels. 
The rock, its rugged breast dissolving. 
Gives up to earth its hidden wells.' 

The water was fair to see and pleasing to taste, and Torranan drank his ' seachd 
sath ' — seven satiations, and he blessed the rill from the rent rock and called it 
' Gamhnach ' — farrow cow. ' Agus ghuidh Torranan air Dia mor nan dul nach 
d'reathadh a Ghamhnach gu brath an diosg ' — ' And Torranan beseeched the great 
God of the elements that the " Gamhnach " might never go dry.' And ever since 
then all pilgrims who go to the ' Gamhnach' and drink of the rill give a choice green 
leaf to the ' farrow cow ' in memory of its refreshing drink to the holy man who 
came to teach the people of ' Innis Cat ' — Isle of the Caty — the way of salvation. 

The man rejected of the people of Ireland became the accepted missionary of 
the people of Uist. He wished to build his prayer-house on ' Cnoc Feannaig,' the 
knoll of the hooded crow, within sight and hearing of the wild waves of Cailigeo 
where he had been driven ashore from his perilous voyage. Accordingly he 
began to gather stones to build himself a prayer-house on the knoll. But the 
stones that Torranan collected on the knoll during the day, the spirits transferred 
by night to the island in the lake adjoining. After a time Torranan gave up the 
imequal contest, saying that it was not meet for him to set his will against the 
will of God as revealed by His angels. Then Torranan built his prayer-house 
on the little island within hearing but not within seeing of the green seas and 
white waves of Caihgeo. And when the house was made Torranan dedicated 
the labour of his hands and the subject of his prayers to God and to Columba. 

The lake containing the islet on which the seafarer built his oratory is now 
lowered, and what was formerly an island is now a peninsula jutting into the lake. 
The oratory said to have been built by Torranan is a ruin. The ruin shows an 
extension of the original building. This extension is said to have been made by 
Amie, daughter of Ruairi mac Allan, High Chief of Lorn, and wife of John of 
Islay, Lord of the Isles. Shell lime is used in the extension ascribed to the Lady 
Amie, but not in the original structure ascribed to Torranan. Captain Thomas, 
R.N., to whom the antiquities and archfeology of the Outer Hebrides owe mucli, 
said that the part of the church ascribed to Torranan might well belong to tlie 
Columban period. The Columban churches are believed to have been usually 
constructed of wattles. But there were no wattles nor wood of any kind in Uist 
so late as Columba's time. Consequently, in this and similar situations the 
Columban brethren and followers had to depart from their usual practice, and 
build of stone. 

The lake containing the peninsula on which Torranan built his prayer-house, 
dedicated to Columba, is called ' Loch Chaluim-chille ' — Columba's Loch. It only 
VOL. II. y 



82 UIBE 

covers an area of some few acres and is of no great depth. Cairns and crosses 
studded Uie many knoUs and hillocks surrounding the lake. But no trace of cairn 
nor of cross now remains. These pious offerings of a grateful people and of a 
bygone age to the memory of the saint have been secularised and utilised in 
making roads and in building culverts. 

A religious house was afterwards built on Cnoc Feannaig, where Torranan 
had wished to build his prayer-house. It is now, and has been for centuries, 
a dwelling-house, and is probably the oldest inhabited house in Scotland. 

Torranan is represented on the West in the island of ' Tarransey,' Tarran's 
island. In this small rocky glaciated island of the Atlantic there were two small 
churches, of which nothing now remains but the foundations, with a small 
burying-ground attached to each. The churches are beautifully situated on the 
sea-shore near one another, and look across to the ice-rounded mountains of 
Harris and Uist, while in the far-away blue distance are seen the serrated calcined 
hills of Skye. One of these simple churches with its burying-ground was 
dedicated to Saint Tarran and called ' TeampuU Tharrain ' — the Temple of Tarran, 
and ' Cladh Tharrain '—the burial-place of Tarran. The other church and burying- 
ground were dedicated to Saint Ce, or Keith, and were called ' TeampuU Che ' — 
the Temple of Ce, and ' Cladh Che ' — the burial-place of Ce. The temple and 
burying-ground of Tarran were exclusively for the use of women, while the 
temple and burying-ground of Ce were exclusively for the use of men. This rule 
coidd not be violated with impunity. If the body of a man were buried in 
St Tarran's, or the body of a woman in St Ce's, the guardian spirits of the temples 
and burying-grounds thrust forth the obtruded corpse during tlie night, and it was 
found in the morning lying stiff and stark above-ground. In North Uist there 
is a tall obelisk called ' Clach Che ' — the stone of Ce. Saint Ce is represented on 
the East by ' Beinn Che'— Benachie, the hill of Ce, ' Innis Che" — Inchkeith, 
the island of Ce, and ' Dail Che ' — Dalkeith, the plain of Ce. 

Palladius is the name usually assigned to the missionary sent by the Pope to 
the Irish and rejected by them. Skene thinks that Ternan was a disciple of 
Palladius, with whom he is confounded. ' Ternan was buried at Liconium or 
My Toren of Tulach Fortchirn, in Ui Felmada, and Druim Cliab in Cairbre.' 
Skene thinks that Liconium was the old name of Banchory-Ternan on the river 
Dee in Aberdeenshire. 

The feast of St Ternan is the 12th of June. Like St Brendan of Clonfert, 
St Ternan was a seafarer, visiting many countries. He is spoken of as ' Torranan 
buan bannach darler lethan longach ' — ' Torranan lasting, deedful, over a wide 
shipful sea.' Many popular stories and distinctive names attach to him. 

The plant named after him is popularly supposed to grow only near the sea 
which Torranan loved. The small rill from which Torranan obtained a drink is 
named ' Gamhnach,' farrow cow — a cow that does not carry a calf, but which 



INCANTATIONS 83 

gives milk of good quality and continuous but small in quantity. At present the 
blade of any grass or tlie leaf of any plant is given to the ' Gaiuhnach ' in offering. 
Probably it was permissible for pUgrims who came to drink the water and to 
worship the 'Gamhnach,' to offer only the leaf of the ' torranan ' to the rill. 
Another curious thing is that two streams into which the ' Gamhnach ' runs 
are called ' na Deathachan,' the Dees, and that two lakes into which these 
streams flow are called ' Loch nan Deathachan fo dheas,' the Loch of the Dees 
to the south, and ' Loch nan Deathachan fo thuath,' Loch of the Dees to the 
north. ' Dee ' and ' Deathachan ' are plurals of ' dia,' god. Were these rivers 
worshipped as gods ? 

St Ternan forms a connecting-link between the Dees of Benbecula and the 
Dee of Aberdeen. 



[pp. 84-85 



84 



UIBE 




EOLAS AN TORRANAIN 

^UAINIDH mi an tonanan, 
Le toradh mara 's tir, 
Lus nan agh 's nan sonas e, 
Lus a bhainne mhi. 

Mar a dh'' orduicli Righ nan righ, 
Brigh a chur an cich 's an carr, 
'S mar a dh' orduich Ti nan dul, 
Sugh a chur an uth 's an ar, 
Le bliochd, le blachd, le bladh, 
Le cobhan, le orahan, 's le ais, 
Le laoigh bhoirionn, bhreac, 
Gun laoigh f hirionn ac, 
Le al, le agh, le toradh, 
Le gradh, le baigh, le sonadh. 



Gun fear mi-run, 

Gun bhean mi-shul. 

Gun ghnu, gun tnu, gun toirinn, 

Gun mhaghan masach. 

Gun chu fasaich. 

Gun scan foirinn 

Dh' f haighinn greim air a chugain 

Anns an teid seo, 
Torranan nan sionn, 
Toradh ga chur ann, 
Le al, le agh, le sonas. 



INCANTATIONS 85 



THE CHARM OF THE FIGWORT 

I WILL pluck the fig wort, 
With the fruitage of sea and land, 
The plant of joy and gladness, 
The plant of rich milk. 

As the King of kings ordained, 

To put milk in pap and gland, 

As the Being of life ordained. 

To place substance in udder and kidney. 

With milk, with milkiness, with butter milk, 

With produce, with whisked whey, with milk-product, 

With speckled female calves. 

Without male calves, 

With progeny, with joy, with fruitage. 

With love, with charity, with bounty, 

Without man of evil wish, 

Without woman of evil eye. 

Without malice, without envy, without ' toirinn,'' 

Without hipped bear, 

Without wilderness dog. 

Without ' scan foirinn,' 

Obtaining hold of the rich dainty 

Into which this shall go. 
Figwort of bright lights, 
Fruitage to place therein, 
With fruit, with grace, with joyance. 
VOL. II. F 2 



86 



UIBE 




AN TORRANAN 

UAINIDH mi an torranan, 
Le toradh mara 's tir, 
Ri lionadh gun traghadh, 
Le d' laimh, a Mhoire mhin. 

Calum caomh da m' sheoladh, 
Odhran naomh da m' dhion, 
'S Bride nam ban buadhaeh 
Cur bhuadh anns an ni. 



[160] 



Mar a dh' orduich Righ nan righ, 
Bainne chur an cicli 's an carr, 
Mar a dh' orduich Ri nan dul, 
Sugh a chur an uth 's an ar. 

Ann an uth bruc, 
Ann an uth brae, 
Ann an uth mure, 
Ann an uth marc. 



Ann an uth urc, 

Ann an uth arc, 

An uth gobhar, othasg, agus caora, 

Maoiseach, agus mart. 



INCANTATIONS 87 



THE FIGWORT 

I WILL pluck the figvvort, 
With the fullness of sea and land, 
At the flow, not the ebb of the tide, 
By thine hand, gentle Mary. 

The kindly Colum directing me. 
The holy Oran protecting me. 
Whilst Bride of women beneficent 
Shall put fruitage in the kine. 

As the King of kings ordained. 
To put milk in breast and gland, 
As the Being of life ordained, 
To put sap in udder and teat. 

In udder of badger. 
In udder of reindeer, 
In udder of sow (?), 
In udder of mare. 

In udder of sow (?), 

In udder of heifer, 

In udder of goat, ewe, and sheep. 

Of roe, and of cow. 



88 UIBE 



Le bliochd, le blachd, le bladh, 
Le bair, le dair, le toradh, 
Le laoigh bhoirionn, bharr, 
Le al, le agh, le sonadh. 

Gun fear mi-ruin, 
Gun bhean mi-shuil, 
Gun ghnu, gun tnu, 
Gun aon donadh. 

An ainm nan ostal deug, [da 

An ainm Mathar De, 
An ainm Chriosda fein, 
Agus Phadruig. 



INCANTATIONS 89 

With milk, with cream, with substance, 

With rutting, with begetting, with fruitfulness, 

With female calves excelling. 

With progeny, with joyance, with blessing. 

Without man of evil wish. 
Without woman of evil eye, 
Without malice, without envy, 
Without one evil. 

In name of the apostles twelve, 
In name of the Mother of God, 
In name of Christ Himself, 
And of Patrick. 



90 



UIBE 




EOLAS AN TORRANAIN [lei] 

UAINIDH mi an torranan, 

Le mile beannachd, le mile buaidh. 
Bride bhith dha chonall dhomh. 
Moire mhin dha thoradh dhomh, 
Moire mhor, Mathair chobhair an t-sluaigh. 



Thainig na naoi sonais, 

Le na naoi marannan, 

A bhuain an torranain, 

Le mile beannachd, le mile buaidh- 

Le mile beannachd, le mile buaidh. 



Lamh Chriosda liom, 

Fath Chriosda rium, 

Sgath Chriosda tharam, 

Tha mo lus allail an alios a bhuain — 

Tha mo lus allail an alios a bhuain. 



An ainm Athar ais, 
An ainm Criosda Phais, 
An ainm Spiorad grais, 
An agallaich mo bhais, 
Nach fag mi gu Luan — 

An agallaich mo bhais, 
Nach fag mi gu Luan. 



INCANTATIONS 91 



THE CHARM OF THE FIGWORT 

I WILL cull the figwort, 

Of thousand blessings, of thousand virtues, 

The calm Bride endowing it to me. 

The fair Mary enriching it to me, 

The great Mary, aid-Mother of the people. 

Came the nine joys. 

With the nine waves. 

To cull the figwort. 

Of thousand blessings, of thousand virtues — 

Of thousand blessings, of thousand virtues. 

The arm of Christ about me. 
The face of Christ before me. 
The shade of Christ over me. 
My noble plant is being culled — 
My noble plant is being culled. 

In name of the Father of wisdom, 
In name of the Christ of Pasch, 
In name of the Spirit of grace. 
Who in the struggles of my death, 
Will not leave me till Doom — 

Who in the struggles of my death, 

Will not leave me till Doom. 



92 



UIBE 




AN EARNAID SHITH 

UAINIDH mi an earnaid, 
Le earlaid a bruth, 
Chur barrlait air gach ainreit. 
Fad 's is earnaid i. 



Earnaid sliith, earnaid shith, 
Mo niarach an neach dh' am bi, 
Ni bheil ni niu iadhadh grein, 
Nach bheil di-se le buaidh reidh. 



[162] 



Buainidh mi a chraobh urramach 

Bhuain Moire mhor, Mathair chobhair an t-sluaigh, 

Chur dhiom gach sgeula sguana, sgulanach, 

Dim-bith, dim-baigh, dim-buaidh, 

Fuailisg, guailisg, duailisg, doilisg, 

Gun teid mi dh' an fhuar lie fo''n talanih. 



INCANTATIONS 93 



THE FAIRY WORT 

Pluck will I the fairy wort. 

With expectation from the fairy bower, 

To overcome every oppression, 

As long as it be fairy wort. 

Fairy wort, fairy wort, 
I envy the one who has thee. 
There is nothing the sun encircles, 
But is to her a sure victory. 

Pluck will I mine honoured plant 

Plucked by the great Mary, helpful Mother of the people. 

To cast oft' me every tale of scandal and flippancy, 

Ill-hfe, ill-love, ill-luck. 

Hatred, falsity, fraud and vexation. 

Till I go in the cold grave beneath the sod. 



94 



UIBE 




EARll THALMHAINN 

UAINIDH mi an earr reidh, 
Gum bu cheinide mo chruth, 
Gum bu bhlathaide mo bheuil, 
Gum bu gheinide mo ghuth. 
Biodh mo ghuth mar ghath na grein, 
Biodh mo bheuil mar eiii nan subh. 

Gum bu h-eilean mi air muir, 
Gum bu tulach mi air tir. 
Gum bu reuil mi ri ra dorcha, 
Gum bu lorg mi dhuine cli, 
Leonaidh mi a h-uile duine, 
Cha leoin duine mi. 



[163] 



AN EARR-THALMHAINN 

BuAiNiDH mi an earr reidh, 
Gum bu treuinide mo bhas, 
Gum bu bhlathaide mo bheuil, 
Gum bu ceumaide mo chas ; 
Gum bu h-eilean mi air muir, 
Gum bu carraig mi air tir, 
Leonar liom gach duine, 
Cha leon duine mi. 



[164] 



INCANTATIONS 95 



THE YARROW 

I WILL pluck the yarrow fair. 
That more benign shall be my face, 
That more warm shall be my lips, 
That more chaste shall be my speech. 
Be my speech the beams of the sun, 
Be my lips the sap of the strawberry. 

May 1 be an isle in the sea. 

May I be a hill on the shore. 

May I be a star in waning of the moon. 

May I be a staii' to the weak, 

Wound can I every man, 

Wound can no man me. 



THE YARROW 

I WILL pluck the yarrow fair, 
That more brave shall be my hand, 
That more warm shall be my lips. 
That more swift shall be my foot ; 
May I an island be at sea. 
May I a rock be on land, 
That I can afflict any man. 
No man can afflict me. 



96 



UIBE 



ACHLASAN CHALUIM-CHILLE [les] 



Saint John's wort is known by various names, all significant of the position of 
the plant in the minds of the people : — 'achlasanChaluim-chille,' armpit package 
of Columba; ' caod Chaluim-chille,' hail of Columba ; ' seun Chaluim-chille,' 
charm of Columba; 'send Chaluim chUle,' jewel of Columba; 'alius Chaluim- 
chille,' glory of Columba ; ' alia Mhoire,' noble plant of Mary ; ' alla-bhi,' 
' alla-bhuidhe,' noble yellow plant. Possibly these are pre-Christian terms to 
which are added the endearing names of Mary and Columba. 

Saint John's wort is one of the few planLs still cherished by the people to 
ward away second-sight, enchantment, witchcraft, evil eye, and death, and to 
ensure peace and plenty in tlie house, increase and prosperity in the fold, and 
growth and fruition in the field. The plant is secretly secured in the bodices 
of the women and in the vests of the men, under the left armpit. Saint 
John's wort, however, is effective only when the plant is accidentally found. 

When this occurs the joy of the finder is great, and gratefully 

expressed : — 

UAINIDH mise m' achlasan, 
Mar achan ri nio Righ, 
Chosga fuath nam fear fiila, 
Chosga meanm nam ban bith. 

Buainidh mise m' achlasan, 
Mar achan ri mo Righ, 
Gur liom-sa buaidh an achlasain 
Thar gach neach a chi. 

Buainidh mise m' achlasan, 
Mar achan ris an Tri, 
An sgath Triura nan gras, 
Affus Moire Mathair los. 




INCANTATIONS 



97 



SAINT JOHN'S WORT 



' Achlasan Chaluim-chille, 
Gun sireadh, gun iarraidh ! 
Dheoin Dhia agus Chriosda 
Am bliadhna chan fhaigheas bas. 



Saint John's wort, Saint John's wort, 
Without search, without seeking ! 
Please God and Christ Jesu 
This year I shall not die. 



It is specially prized when found in the fold of the flocks, auguring peace and 
prosperity to the herds throughout the year. The person who discovers it says : — 



'Allabhi, aUabhi, 
Mo niarach a neach dh' am bi. 
An ti a gheobh an cro an ail, 
Cha bhi gu brath gun ni.' 



Saint John's wort. Saint John's wort, 
Happy those who have thee. 
Whoso gets thee in the herd's fold. 
Shall never be without kine. 



There is a tradition among the people that Saint Columba carried the plant on 
his person because of his love and admiration for him who went about preaching 
Christ, and baptizing the converted, clothed in a garment of camel's hair and 
fed upon locusts and wild honey. 

I WILL cull my plantlet, 

As a prayer to my King, 

To quiet the wrath of men of blood, 

To check the wiles of wanton women. 

I will cull my plantlet, 
As a prayer to my King, 
That mine may be its power 
Over all I see. 



I will cull my plantlet, 
As a prayer to the Three, 
Beneath the shade of the Triune of grace. 
And of Mary the Mother of Jesu. 
II. G 



98 UIBE 




ACHLASAN CHALUIM-CHILLE [les] 

UAINIDH mi mo choinneachan, 
Mar choinneamh ri mo naomh, 
Chasga fuath nam fear foille, 
Agus boile nam ban baoth. 



Buainidh mi m' achlasan, 
Mar achainidh ri m' Righ, 
Gur liom-sa buaidh an achlasain, 
Thar gach neach a chi. 

Buainim an duille gu h-ard, 
Mar a dh' orduich an t-Ard Righ, 
An ainm Tri Naomh nan agh, 

Agus Moire, Mathair Chriosd. 



INCANTATIONS 



ST COLUMBA'S PLANT 

I WILL pluck what I meet. 

As in communion with my saint, 

To stop the wiles of wily men, 

And the arts of foolish women. 

I will pluck my Columba plant, 
As a prayer to my King, 
That mine be the power of Columba 's plant. 
Over every one I see. 

I will pluck the leaf above. 
As ordained of the High King, 
In name of the Three of glory. 

And of Mary, Mother of Christ. 



100 



UIBE 




ACHLASAN CHALUIM-CHILLE [i67] 

CHLASAIN Chaluim-chille, 
Gun sireadh, gun iarraidh, 
Achlasain Chaluim-chille, 
Fo m' righe gu siorruidh ! 



Air shealbh dhaona. 
Air shealbh mhaona, 
Air shealbh mhianna, 
Air shealbh chaora, 
Air shealbh mhaosa, 
Air shealbh iana. 
Air shealbh raona. 
Air shealbh nihaora. 
Air shealbh iasga, 
Air shealbh bhliochd is bhuar, 
Air shealbh shliochd is shluagh, 
Air shealbh bhlar is bhuadh, 
Air tir, air lir, air cuan, 
Trid an Tri ta shuas, 
Trid an Tri ta nuas, 
Trid an Tri ta buan, 
Achlasain Chaluim-chille, 
Ta mis a nis da d' bhuain, 

Ta mis a nis da d' bhuain. 



INCANTATIONS 101 



ST COLUMBA'S PLANT 

Plantlet of Columba, 

Without seeking, without searching, 

Plantlet of Columba, 

Under my arm for ever ! 

For luck of men. 

For luck of means, 

For luck of wish (?), 

For luck of sheep. 

For luck of goats, 

For luck of birds, 

For luck of fields. 

For luck of shell-fish, 

For luck of fish. 

For luck of produce and kine, 

For luck of progeny and people, 

For luck of battle and victory, 

On land, on sea, on ocean. 

Through the Three on high. 

Through the Three a-nigh. 

Through the Three eternal, 

Plantlet of Columba, 

I cull thee now, 

I cull thee now. 



VOL. II. 



102 



UIBE 




EALA-BHI, EALA-BHI [les] 

ALA-BHI, eala-bhi. 

Mo niarach neach aig am bi, 
Buaineam thu le mo latnh dheas, 
Teasdam thu le mo lamh chli, 
Ga ba co a gheabh thu 'n cro an ail, 
Cha bhi e gu brath gun ni. 



INCANTATIONS 103 



SAINT JOHN'S WORT 

Saint John's wort, Saint John''s wort, 
My envy whosoever has thee, 
I will pluck thee with my right hand, 
I will preserve thee with my left hand, 
Whoso findeth thee in the cattle fold, 
Shall never be without kine. 



104 UIBE 



AN CRITHIONN [i69] 

The people of Uistsay ' gu bheil an crithionn crion air a chroiseadh tri turais ' — 
that the hateful aspen is banned three times. The aspen is banned the first time 
because it haughtily held up its head while all the other trees of the forest bowed 
their heads lowly down as the King of all created things was being led to 
Calvary. And the aspen is banned the second time because it was chosen by the 
enemies of Christ for the cross upon which to crucify the Saviour of mankind. 
And the aspen is banned the third time because [here the reciter's memory failed 

ALLACHD ort, a chrithinn chrann ! 
Ort a chrochtadh Righ nam beann, 

'S na bhualtadh tarrann gun lann, 

"S bha 'n sparradh cheusda sin gle theann — 
Bha 'n sparradh cheusda sin gle theann. 

Mallachd ort, a chrithinn chruaidh ! 
Ort a chrochtadh Righ nam buadh, 

lobairt Firinn, Uan gun truaill, 
Is fhuil na taosg a taom' a nuas — 
Fhuil na taosg a taom' a nuas. 

Mallachd ort, a chrithinn chrin ! 
Ort a chrochtadh Righ nan righ, 

Is mallaichte gach suil a chi. 

Mar mallaich i thu, a chrithinn chrin — 
Mar mallaich i thu, a chrithinn chrin ! 




INCANTATIONS 105 



THE ASPEN 

him]. Hence the ever-tremulous, ever-quivering, ever-quaking motion of the 
guilty hateful aspen even in the stillest air. 

Clods and stones and other missiles, as well as curses, are hurled at the aspen 
by the people. The reciter, a man of much natural intelligence, said that he 
always took of his bonnet and cursed the hateful aspen in all sincerity wherever 
he saw it. No crofter in Uist would use aspen about his plough or about his 
harrows, or about his farming implements of any kind. Nor would a fisherman 
use aspen about his boat or about his creels or about any fishing-gear whatsoever. 

Malison be on thee, O aspen tree ! 

On thee was crucified the King of the mountains, 

In whom were driven the nails without clench, 

And that driving crucifying was exceeding sore — 
That driving crucifying was exceeding sore. 

Malison be on thee, O aspen hard ! 

On thee was crucified the King of glory. 
Sacrifice of Truth, Lamb without blemish. 

His blood in streams down pouring — 

His blood in streams down pouring. 

Malison be on thee, O aspen cursed ! 

On thee was crucified the King of kings, 

And malison be on the eye that seeth thee. 
If it maledict thee not, thou aspen cursed — 
If it maledict thee not, thou aspen cursed ! 



106 



UIBE 



SEAMARAG NAM BUADH 



[170] 



Some of the people say that the four-leaved shamrock is the shamrock of luck. 
Others maintain that the shamrock of luck is the five-leaved shamrock. This is 
a very rare plant and much prized when found. 

The shamrock of luck must be found, like many of the other propitious 
plants, ' gun sireadh, gim iarraidh ' — without searching, without seeking. When 
thus discovered the lucky shamrock is warmly cherished and preserved as an 
invincible talisman. 

' Seamarag nan buadh,' shamrock of luck, is often lovingly called ' seamarag 
nam buadh agus nam beannachd,' shamrock of luck and of blessing. 



SHEAMARAG nam buadh, 
A fas fo bhruaich 
Air na sheas Moire shuairce, 
Mathair De. 




Tha na seachd sonais. 
Gun sgath donais 
Ort, a mhoth-ghil 
Nan gath grein — 

Sonas slainte, 
Sonas chairde, 
Sonas taine, 
Sonas treuid, 
Sonas mhac, is 
Mhurn mhin-gheal, 
Sonas siocha, 
Sonas De ! 



Ceithir dhuilleagan na luirge dirich, 
Na luirge dirich a friamh nam meanglan ceud, 
A sheamarag gheallaidh La Fheill Moire, 
Buaidh is beannachd thu each re. 



[coi^ 



INCANTATIONS 107 



SHAMROCK OF LUCK 

It is also called ' searaarag nan each," horse shamrock, ' seamarag nan 
searrach,' foal shamrock, 'seamarag an deocain,' shamrock of the 'deocan,' 
' seamarag an deocadain,' shamrock of the ' deocadan,' and simply ' deocan ' and 
' deocadan. ' 

Immediately after birth the foal throws up a pale soft substance resembling 
a sponge or the seed-cells of the cod. This sponge-like substance coughed up 
by the newly-born foal is variously called ' deocan, deocadan, deocardan.' The 
people bury this in the ground, believing that the lucky shamrock grows from it 
as the nettles grow from human remains, whether buried in the pure shelly sand 
on the sea-shore or in the pure peat moss on the mountain-side. 

Thou shamrock of good omens, 
Beneath the bank growing 
Whereon stood the gracious Mary, 
The Mother of God. 

The seven joys are. 
Without evil traces, 
On thee, peerless one 
Of the sunbeams — 

Joy of health, 
Joy of friends, 
Joy of kine, 
Joy of sheep, 
Joy of sons, and 
Daughters fair, 
Joy of peace, 
Joy of God ! 

The four leaves of the straight stem, [five 

Of the straight stem from the root of the hundred rootlets, 
Thou shamrock of promise on Mary's Day, 
Bounty and blessing thou art at all times. 



108 



UIBE 




SEAMARAG NAM BUADH [ni] 

SHEAMARAG nan duilleag, 
A sheamarag nam buadh, 
A sheamarag nan duilleag, 
Bha aig Muire fo bhruaich, 
A sheamarag mo ghraidh, 
Is ailinde snuadh, 
B' e mo mhiann anns a bhas, 
Thu bhi fas air m' uaigh, 

B' e mo mhiann anns a bhas, 

Thu bhi fas air m' uaigh. 



INCANTATIONS 1Ò9 



THE SHAMROCK OF POWER 

Thou shamrock of foliage, 
Thou shamrock of power, 
Thou shamrock of foliage, 
Which Mary had under the bank. 
Thou shamrock of my love. 
Of most beauteous hue, 
I would choose thee in death. 
To grow on my grave, 

I would choose thee in death. 

To grow on my grave. 



110 



UIBE 



AM MOTHAN 



[172] 



The ' mothan ' (bog-violet ?) is one of the most prized plants in the occult science 
of the people. It is used in promoting and conserving the happiness of the 
people, in securing love, in ensuring life, in bringing good, and in warding away- 
evil. 

When the ' raothan ' is used as a love-philtre, the woman who gives it goes 
upon her left knee and plucks nine roots of the plant and knots them together, 
forming them into a ' cuach ' — ring. The woman places the ring in the mouth of 
the girl for whom it is made, in name of the King of the sun, and of the moon, and 
of the stars, and in name of the Holy Three. When the girl meets her lover or 
a man whom she loves and whose love she desires to secure, she puts the ring in 
her mouth. And should the man kiss the girl while the ' mothan ' is in her 
mouth be becomes henceforth her bondsman, bound to her everlastingly in cords 
infinitely finer than the gossamer net of the spider, and infinitely stronger than 
the adamant chain of the giant. 

The ' mothan ' is placed under parturient women to ensure delivery, and 
it is carried by wayfarers to safeguard them on their journeys. It is sewn by 
women in their bodice, and by men in their vest under the left arm. 

An old woman in Benbecula said : — ' Thug mi am mothan beannaichte do 
Ruaraidh i-uadh mac Raoghail Leothasaich as a Cheann-a- 
deas agus e air a thuras do Loch-nam-madadh, dol ga 
fhiachain air bialabh an t-siorram agus fhuair e dheth ge do 
bha e co ciontach 's a chionta ri mac peacaich ' — ' I gave the 
blessed " mothan " to red Roderick son of Ranald of Lewis 

UAINIDH mi am mothan suairce, 

Mar a bhuain Righ buadhach domhan ; 
An ainm Athar, agus Mic, agus Spioraid buan, 
Bride agus Moire, agus Micheal romham. 

Mi anns a bhlar ghabhaidh dhearg, 
Anns an traoghar gach fraoch is fearg, 
Aobhar gach sonais, agus gach solais, 
Sffiath an Domhnaich dha m' dhion. 




INCANTATIONS HI 



THE MOTH AN' 

from the South-end (of Uist), and he on his journey to Lochraaddy to be tried before 
the sheriff, and he got off although he was as guilty of the guilt as the son of a 
sinner.' ' Ach a Chairistine carson a thug sibh am mothan dh'an duine agus fios 
agaibh gun robh e ciontach ? Saoilidh mi fein nach robh e ceart dhiiibh a dhol 
ga dheanamh ' — ' But, Christina, why did you give the '• mothan " to the man 
when you knew that he was guilty ? I think myself it was not right of you to go 
and do it ! ' ' O bhidh 's aodaich ! a ghraidhean mo chridhe agus a ghaoilean mo 
dhaoine, cha b' urra dhomh fhein dhol ga dhiultadh. Bhoinich e orm, agus 
bhochain e orm, agus bhoidich e orm, agiLS chuir e rud am laimh, agus O ! a 
Righ na gile 's na greine, agus nan corracha ceuta, curra, de b' urra dhomh 
fhein a gh' radh no dheanamh agus an duine dona na dhubh-eigin na dhearg- 
theinn agus na chruaidh-chas '— ' O food and clothing! thou dear one of my 
heart, and thou loved one of my people, I could not myself go and refuse him. 
He besecched to me, and he swelled to me, and he vowed to me, and he placed 
a thing in ray hand, and oh ! King of the moon, and of the sun, and of the 
beautifid, sublime stars, what could I myself say or do, and the bad man in 
his black trouble, in his red difficulty, and in his hard plight ! ' I remembered 
Bacon and was silent. 

To drink the milk of an animal that ate the ' mothan ' ensures immunity 
from harm. If a man makes a miraculous escape it is said of him, ' Dh' ol e 
bainne na bo ba a dh' ith am mothan ' — ' He drank the milk of the guileless cow 
that ate the " mothan." ' 

I am not sure what the plant is — perhaps the bog-violet. 

I WILL pluck the gracious 'mothan,' 
As plucked the victorious King of the universe ; 
In name of Father and of Son and of Spirit everlasting, 
Bride, and Mary, and Michael, before me. 

I in the field of red conflict. 

In which every wrath and fury are quelled, 

The cause of all joy and gladness. 

The shield of the Lord protecting me. 



112 



UIBE 




AM MOTHAN 

UAINIDH mi am mothan, 
Luibh nan naodh alt, 
Buainidh agus boinichidh, 

Do Bhride bhorr 's dh' a Dalt. 

Buainidh mi am mothan, 

A dh' orduich Righ nam feart, 

Buainidh agus boinichidh. 

Do Mhoire mhor 's dh' a Mac. 



[173] 



Buainidh mi am mothan, 
A dh' orduich Righ nan dul, 
Bheir buaidh air gach foirneart, 
Is ob air obi shul. 



INCANTATIONS 113 



THE 'MOTH AN' 

Pluck will I the ' mothan,' 
Plant of the nine joints, 
Pluck will I and vow me. 

To noble Bride and her Fosterling. 

Pluck will I the ' mothan,' 

As ordained of the King of power, 

Pluck will I and vow me. 

To great Mary and her Son. 

Pluck will I the ' mothan,' 
As ordained of the King of life, 
To overcome all oppression, 
And the spell of evil eye. 



114 UIBE 




AM MOTHAN [i74] 

UAINIDH mis am mothan suairce, 
An luibh is luachmhoire 's an torn, 
Dulagan nan seachd sagart, 
'S an agallaich a ta n' an com. 



Gur liom an ciall 's an codhail. 
Fad 's a bhios am mothan liom. 



CEUS-CHRANN NAM BUADH [ns] 

A cHEUs-CHRANN cliaomh nam buadh, 

A naomhaich fuil naomh an Uain, 

Mac Moire min, Dalta Bride nam buar, 

Mac Moire mor, Mathair chobhair an t-sluaigh. 

Ni bheil tur, no tir, 

Ni bheil cith, no cuan, 

Ni bheil led, no li, 

Ni bheil frith, no fruan, 

Nach bheil domh-sa reidh, 

Le comhnadh ceus nam buadh, 

Nach bheil domh-sa reidh, 

Le comhnadh ceus nam buadh. 



INCANTATIONS 115 



THE 'MOTHAN' 

I WILL pluck the gracious ' mothan,'' 

Plant most precious in the field, 

That mine be the holiness of the seven priests, 

And the eloquence that is within them. 



That mine be their wisdom and their counsel. 
While the ' mothan ' is mine. 



THE PASSION-FLOWER OF VIRTUES 

Thou passion-flower of virtues beloved. 
Sanctified by the holy blood of the Lamb, 
Son of Mary fair, Foster Son of Bride of kine. 
Son of Mary great, helpful Mother of the people. 

There is no earth, no land. 

There is no lake, no ocean. 

There is no pool, no water, 

There is no forest, no steep. 

That is not to me full safe. 

By the protection of the passion-flower of virtues. 

But is to me full safe, 

By the protection of the passion-flower of virtues. 



116 UIBE 




GARBHAG AN T-SLEIBH [ne] 



ARBHAG an t-sleibh air mo shiubhal, 
Chaneirich domh beud no pudhar; 
Cha mharbh garmaisg, cha dearg iubhar mi, 
Cha riab grianuisg no glaislig uidhir mi. 



AN DEARG-BHASACH [nv] 

Ceiosd ag imeachd le ostail, 
'S a briste tosd thubhairt e — 
' Ciod e ainm na lusa seo ? ' 
' Is e ainm na lusa seo 

An dearg-bhasach, [chasach 

Bos deas De a Mhic 
Agus a chos chli.' 



INCANTATIONS 117 



THE CLUB-MOSS 

The club-moss is on my person, 

No harm nor mishap can me befall ; 

No sprite shall slay me, no arrow shall wound me, 

No fay nor dun water-nymph shall tear me. 



THE RED-PALMED 

Christ walking with His apostles, 
And breaking silence He said — 
' What is the name of this plant ? ' 
' The name of this plant is 
The red-palmed, [stalked 

The right palm of God the Son 
And His left foot.' 



118 



UIBE 




A CHLOIMH CHAT 



[178] 



UAINIDH mi a chloimh chat, 

Mar a bhuain Mathair Chriosda tromh glac. 

Air bhuaidh, air bhuar, air bhleoghanii, 

Air chual, 's air thoradh na tana, 

Gun chall uan, gun chall caora, 

Gun chall maosa, gun chall lara. 

Gun chall bo, gun chall laogha, 

Gun chall maona, gun chall carda, 

A uchd Ti nan dul, 

'S nan cursa comhla. 



A CHLOIMH CHAT 



[179] 



BuAiNiDH mi fhin a chloimh chat, 
An lion a bhuain Bride mhin tromh glac. 
Air bhuaidh, air bhuar, air thoradh, 
Air dhair, air chairr, air bhleoghann. 
Air laoigh bhoineann bhailgionn. 

Mar a thubhradh anns an deailgne. 



INCANTATIONS 119 



THE CATKIN WOOL 

I WILL pluck the catkin wool, 

As plucked the Mother of Christ through her palm, 

For luck, for kine, for milking. 

For herds, for increase, for cattle. 

Without loss of lamb, without loss of sheep, 

Without loss of goat, without loss of mare, 

Without loss of cow, without loss of calf, 

Without loss of means, without loss of friends, 

From the bosom of the God of life, 

And the courses together. 



THE CATKIN WOOL 

Pluck will I myself the catkin wool, 

The lint the lovely Bride culled through her palm, 

For success, for cattle, for increase, 

For pairing, for uddering, for milking, 

For female calves, white bellied. 

As was spoken in the prophecy. 



120 



UIBE 



EOLAS A BHUN DEIRG 



[180] 



In making the incantation of the red water, the exorcist forms her two pahus 
into a basin. She places this basin under the urine of the 
cow or other animal affected, and throws the urine into water. 



N ainm Athar caoimh, 
An ainm Mic na caoidh, 
An ainm Spioraid Naoimh, 




Amen. 



Muir mor, muir ruadh, 
Neart mara, neart cuain, 
Naoi tobraiche Mhic-a-Lir, 
Cobhair ort a shil, 
Casg a chur air t-f huil, 
Ruith a chur air t-fhual. 
[An t-ainmJ] 



INCANTATIONS 121 



INCANTATION OF THE RED WATER 

preferably running water, to carry away the demon of the complaint. Having 
washed her hands in clean cold water, the woman forms them into a trumpet. 
She then faces the rising sun, and intones the incantation through the trumpet 
as loudly as she can. 

In name of the Father of love. 
In name of the Son of sorrow, 
In name of the Sacred Spirit. 

Amen. 

Great wave, red wave, 
Strength of sea, strength of ocean, 
The nine wells of Mac-Lir, 
Help on thee to pour. 
Put stop to thy blood. 
Put flood to thy urine. 
[The name.] 



122 



UIBE 




EOLAS BUN DEIRG [i8i] 

A mis a nis air leirg, 
Traogh' fraoich is feirg, 
Deanamh eolas a bhun deirg, 
Dh' an bho bhailg dhuibh. 

Air bhlioclid, air bhlaclid, air bhlalh, 
Air omhan agus ais, 
Air slaman agus slaig. 

Air im, air cais, air griith. 



Air aghar agus agh, 
Air damhair agus dair, 
Air taghar agus tan, 

Air rathaich agus ruth. 

Naoi tobraiche Mhic-an-Lir, 
Cobhair ort a shil, 
Casg a chur air t-f huil, 
Ruith a chur air t-f hual, 
A bho bhuar, dhubh. 



Muir mor, 
Eas ruadh, 
Casg fuil, 
Ruith fual. 



INCANTATIONS 123 



RED WATER CHARM 

I AM now on the plain, 
Reducing wrath and fury, 
Making the charm of the red water, 
To the beauteous black cow. 

For milk, for milk substance, for milk produce. 
For whisked whey, for milk riches. 
For curdled milk, for milk plenty, 
For butter, for cheese, for curds. 

For progeny and prosperity. 
For rutting time and rutting. 
For desire and kine. 

For passion and prosperity. 

The nine wells of Mac-Lir, 
Relief on thee to pour. 
Put stop to thy blood. 
Put run to thy urine, 

Thou cow of cows, black cow. 

Great sea. 
Red cascade, 
Stop blood. 
Flow urine. 



124 



UIBE 




EOLAS A GHALAR FHUAIL [iss] 

OLAS ta agam air a ghalar fhuail. 
Air a ghalar a ta buan ; 
Eolas ta agam air a ghalar dhearg. 
Air a ghalar a ta garg. 

Mar a ruitheas abhuinn fhuar, 

Mar a mheileas muileann luath, 

Fhir a dh'orduich tir is muir, 

Casg air fhuil, ruith air fhual. 



An ainm Athar, agus Mic, 

An ainm Spioraid Naoimh. 



INCANTATIONS 125 



THE GRAVEL CHARM 

I HAVE a charm for the gravel disease, 
For the disease that is perverse ; 

I have a charm for the red disease, 
For the disease that is irritating. 

As runs a river cold, 

As grinds a rapid mill. 
Thou who didst ordain land and sea, 

Cease the blood and let flow the urine. 

In name of Father, and of Son, 
In name of Holy Spirit. 



126 



UIBE 




AN STRINGLEIN 

ACH 's an stringlein,' 
Orsa Calum-cille. 



' Tillidh mis e,' 
Thubhairt Criosd. 

' Moch Di-domhnaich ? ' 
Orsa Calum-cille. 

' Romh eirigh ghreine,' 
Thubhairt Criosd. 



[183] 



' Tri postachan anns an tobar,' 
Orsa Calum-cille. 

' Togaidh mis iad,' 
Thubhairt Criosd. 

' An leighis sin e ? ' 
Ors Eoin Baistidh. 



' Barantaich e,' 
Thubhairt Criosd. 



INCANTATIONS 127 



THE STRANGLES 

' A HOESE in strangles,' 
Quoth Coluniba. 

' 1 will turn it,' 
Said Christ. 

' On Sunday morning ? ' 
Quoth Coluniba. 

'Ere rise of sun,' 
Said Christ. 

' Three pillars in the well,' 
Quoth Columba. 

' I will lift them,' 
Said Christ. 

' Will that heal him ? ' 
Quoth John the Baptist. 

' Assuredly,' 
Said Christ. 



128 UIBE 



SIAN SIONNAICH [i84] 

The fox was the plague of the people of the Highlands, killing their sheep as the 
wolf killed their cattle, and as the foumart killed their fowls. From the wildness 
of the land and the sparseness of the people, the Highlands were the natural 
habitat of beasts and birds of prey and other noxious creatures, which took the 
people much time and trouble to subdue. 

Much could be written of the intelligence of the fox. One of the tales 
illustrating this intelligence is known as ' Sionnach na Maoile '—the Fox of the 
Mull [of Kintire]. This fox never committed destruction near his home— always 
going considerable distances to make his raids, sometimes ten or twenty miles. 
He caused much injury to the sheep that he attacked, and to the dogs that 
chased him. When pressed, the fox leaped over a certain precipice and the dogs 
leaped over after him. The dogs were found dead on the rocks below, but not 
the fox, who in due time turned up as before. 

Nothing could be seen from above nor from below the precipice to account for 
the immunity of the fox. No shelf or ledge could be seen whereon the fox 
could leap, and the people were puzzled. But the fox-hunter was not satisfied, 
and procuring ropes, he went down the precipice and examined it carefully. 
He found a sapling mountain ash growing out of the rock, and marked as 
if to distinguish it from the saplings of ordinary ash, bramble, plane, and 
other woods which were growing in the neighbourhood. And he 

lODH sian a choin-choille, 
Mu chasaibh an t-sionnaich, 
Mu nihiann, mu ghoile, 

Mu shlugaid a ghionaich, 

Mu chorr fhiacail chorraich, 

Mu chorran a mhionaich. 

Biodh sian an Domhnaich mu chaorail, 
Sian Chriosda chaoimh-ghil, chaoin-ghil, 
Sian Mhoire mhin-ghil, mhaoth-ghil, 
Romh chona, romh iana, romh dhaonail, 
Romh chona shithil, romh chona shaoghail, 
Far an t-saoghail a bhos, far an t-saoghail thall. 




INCANTATIONS 129 



THE SPELL OF THE FOX 

found that by bending the marked mountain ash to a certain degree from its 
perpendicular and at a certain angle to the plane of the precipice, it touched 
a narrow thread-like sinuous ledge that might yield a precarious footing to a 
cat, to a marten, or possibly to a fox. This ledge led away to other ledges up 
and down the cliff. The fox-hunter cut the marked sapling, securing it, however, 
in its place. When the next havoc of the sheep had occurred, and the next 
pursuit of the fox had followed, the fox was found dead at the foot of the 
precipice, the marked mountain ash in his mouth ! Choosing the tough mountain 
ash sapling in preference to the other less tough saplings showed sagacity, 
leaping from the precipice and seizing the sapling in mid-air to arrest his fall 
showed courage, and taking the precipice at an angle by which to get the sapling 
to land him in the only possible spot showed intelligence of a high order in the 
fox. The scene of this story has ever since been called ' Creag an t-Sionnaich ' 
— precipice of the fox. 

The conduct of this fox gave rise to many sayings of the people, ' Co carrach 
ri sionnach ruadh Maol Chinntire,' — as crafty as the red fox of the Mull of 
Kintire. 'Co seolta ri sionnach na Maoile,' — as cunning as the fox of the Mull. 
' Co siogada sinn seanarach ri sionnach na Maoile,'— as great-great-great-grand- 
fatherish as the fox of the Mull. ' Bheir e leis a chreaig sibh mar a thug an 
sionnach na todhlairean,' — He will lead you over the cliff as the fox led the hounds. 

Be the spell of the wood-dog, 
On the feet of the fox, 
On his heart, on his liver, 
On his gullet of greediness. 
On his surpassing pointed teeth. 
On the bend of his stomach. 

Be the charm of the Lord upon the sheep-kind. 
The charm of Christ kindly-white, mild-white. 
The charm of Mary lovely-fair, tender-fair. 
Against dogs, against birds, against man-kind. 
Against fairy dogs, against world dogs. 
Of the world hither, of the world thither. 
VOL. II. I 



130 



UIBE 




ORA CUITHE 

UIREAM tan a steach 

Air bhearn nan speach, 

Air ghuth mairbh, 

Air ghuth tairbh, 

Air ghuth dair. 
Air ghuth na ba ceire 
Cionnara, ceannara, cairr, 
Clach mhor bhun sgonnaig 
Gun faothachadh, gun lomadh, 
Na taodaiche tromaidh 
Bhi slaodadh ri dronnaig bhur tairr, 
Gon tig latha geal am mair. 



[185] 



An t-Athair, am Mac, an Spiorad Naomh, 
D'ar caomhnadh, d'ar comhnadh, 's d'ar tiileadh, 
Gun comhlaich mise no mo dhuine sibh. 



INCANTATIONS 131 



PRAYER OF THE CATTLE- FOLD 

I DRIVE the kine within 

The gateway of the herds, 

On voice of the dead, 

On voice of bull, 

On voice of pairing, 

On voice of grayling cow 

White-headed, strong-headed, of udder. 

Be the big stone of the base of the couple 

Without ceasing, without decreasing. 

As a full-weighted tether 

Trailing from the hunch of your rump. 

Till bright daylight comes in to-morrow. 

The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, 
Save you, and shield you, and tend you, 
Till I or mine shall meet you again. 



132 



UIBE 



FEITH MHOIRE 



[186] 



Flat moorland is generally intersected with innumerable veins, channels, and 
ditches. Sometimes these are serious obstacles to cattle, more especially to 
cows, which are accurate judges. When a cow hesitates to cross, the person 
driving her throws a stalk or a twig into the ditch before the unwilling animal 
and sings the ' Feith Mhoire,' Vein of Mary, to encourage her to cross, and to 
assure her that a safe bridge is before her. The stalk may be of any corn or 
grass except the reed, and the twig of any wood except the wild fig, the aspen, 
and the thorn. All these are forbidden, or ' crossed ' as the people say, because 
of their ungracious conduct to the Gracious One. The reed is ' crossed ' because 
it carried the sponge dipped in vinegar ; the fig-tree because of its inhospitality ; 
the aspen because it held up its head haughtily, proud that the cross was made 



EITH Mhoire, 

Feith Mhoire ; 
Casa curra, 
Casa curra ; 
Feith Mhoire, 
Feith Mhoire ; 
Casa curra fothaibh, 
Drochaid urra romhaibh. 




Chuir Moire gas ann, 
Chuir Bride has ann, 
Chuir Calum cas ann, 
Chuir Padra clach f huar. 



Feith Mhoire, 
Feith Mhoire ; 
Casa curra, 
Casa curra ; 
Feith Mhoire, 
Feith Mhoire; 
Casa curra fothaibh, 
Drochaid urra romhaibh. 



INCANTATIONS 133 



THE DITCH OF MARY 

of its wood, when all the trees of the forest — all save the aspen alone — bowed 
their heads in reverence to the King of glory passing by on the way to Calvary ; 
and the thorn-tree because of its prickly pride in having been made into a crown 
for the King of kings. Notwithstanding, however, the wand of safety and the 
hymn of the herdsman, a cow driven against her will sometimes sinks into the 
ditch while crossing. This may necessitate the assistance of neighbours to 
extricate her from her helpless position. Hence the proverb : — ' Is e fear na bo 
fein theid 's an fheith an tos ' — It is the man of the cow himself who shall go 
into the ditch first. The practice of throwing down the wand and repeating the 
hymn gave rise to a proverb among the more sceptical of the people : — ' Cha 
dean thu feith Mhoire orm-s' idir a mhicean * — Thou wilt not make a ' vein of 
Mary ' upon me at all, sonnie. 

Ditch of Mary, 

Ditch of Mary ; 

Heron legs, 

Heron legs ; 

Ditch of Mary, 

Ditch of Mary ; 
Heron legs under you. 
Bridge of warranty before you. 

Mary placed a wand in it, 
Bride placed a hand in it, 
Columba placed a foot in it, 
Patrick placed a cold stone. 

Ditch of Mary, 

Ditch of Mary ; 

Heron legs. 

Heron legs ; 

Ditch of Mary, 

Ditch of Mary ; 
Heron legs under you. 
Bridge of warranty before you. 



134 UIBE 

Chuir Muiril inirr ann, 
Chuir Uiril mil ann, 
Chuir Muirinn fion ann, 
'S chuir Micheal ann buadh. 

Feith Mhoire, 
Feith Mhoire ; 
Casa curra, 
Casa curra ; 
Feith Mhoire, 
Feith Mhoire ; 
Casa curra fodhaibh, 
Drochaid urra romhaibh. 



INCANTATIONS 135 

Muirel placed myrrh in it, 
Uriel placed honey in it, 
Muirinn placed wine in it, 
And Michael placed in it power. 

Ditch of Mary, 
Ditch of Mary ; 

Heron legs. 

Heron legs; 

Ditch of Mary, 

Ditch of Mary ; 
Heron legs under you, 
Bridge of warranty before you. 



136 



UIBE 




AN EILTD [187] 

HA Peadail is Pol a dol seachad, 
Is eilid ''s an ro a cur laoigh ; 
' Tha eilid a breith,' osa Peadail ; 
Chi mi gu bheil,' osa Pol. 



' Mar a thuiteas a duille bho 'n chraoibh, 
Gun ann a thuiteadh a seile gu lar, 
An ainm Athar an aigh agus Mhic an aoibh. 
Agus Spiorad a ghliocais ghraidh ; 

Athar an aigh agus Mhic an aoibh, 
Agus Spioraid a ghliocais ghraidh.' 



CALUM-CILLE, PEADAIL, AGUS POL [m] 

La domh 's mi dol dh' an Roimh, 

Thachair orm Calum-cille, Peadail, agus Pol, 

Is e comhradh a bh' aca 's a thachair bhi 'n am beul, 

Laoigh bheura, bhoirionn, bhailgionn, 

Mar thubhradh anns an dailgionn. 

Air an laraich seo gu ceann la 's bliadhna, 

A uchd Dia nan dul is nan uile bhuadh, 

Triath nan triath 's nan Cumhachdan siorruidh shuas. 



INCANTATIONS 137 



THE HIND 

Peter and Paul were passing by. 

While a hind in the path was bearing a fawn ; 

' A hind is bearing there,' said Peter ; 

' I see it is so,' said Paul. 

' As her foliage falls from the tree. 

So may her placenta fall to the ground. 

In name of the Father of love and of the Son of grace. 

And of the Spirit of loving wisdom ; 

Father of love and Son of grace, 

And Spirit of loving wisdom.' 



COLUMBA, PETER, AND PAUL 

A DAY as I was going to Rome, 

I forgathered with Columba, Peter, and Paul, 

The talk that they had and that happened in their mouths. 

Was loud-lunged, white-bellied, female calves, 

As was spoken in the prophecy, 

On this foundation for a year and a day. 

Through the bosom of the God of life and all the hosts, 

Chief of chiefs and of the everlasting- Powers above. 



138 



UIBE 




EOLAS A MHEIRBHEIN [i8 

OLAS a rinn Calum, 
Dh' aona bho caillich, 
Air a chraillich, air a ghaillich. 
Air a bholg, air a cholg. 
Air a mheirbhein ; 

Air a ghalar ghir. 
Air a ghalar chir, 
Air a ghalar nihir, 
Air a ghalar tolg. 
Air an tairbhein ; 

Air a ghalar chil. 
Air a ghalar nihil, 
Air a ghalar lioil, 
Air a ghalar dhearg. 
Air a mhearchann ; 

Sgoiltidh mi an crailleach, 

Sgoiltidh mi an gaiileach, 

Sgoiltidh mi am bolg, 

Sgoiltidh mi an colg, 

Agus marbhaidh mi am meirbhein : 

Sgoiltidh mi an gir, 
Sgoiltidh mi an cir, 
Sgoiltidh mi am mir, 
Sgoiltidh mi an tolg, 
Agus falbhaidh an tairbhein ; 

Sgoiltidh mi an cil, 
Sgoiltidh mi am mil, 
Sgoiltidh mi an lioil, 
Sgoiltidh mi an dearg, 
Is seargaidh am mearchann. 



INCANTATIONS 139 



THE INDIGESTION SPELL 

The spell made of Columba, 

To the one cow of the woman, 

For the ' crailleach,'' for the gum disease, 

For the bag, for the ' colg,' 

For the indigestion (?) ; 

For the flux disease. 
For the cud disease, 
For the 'mir' disease, 
For the ' tolg ' disease, 
For the surfeit (?) ; 

For the ' cil ' disease, 
For the ' mil ' disease. 
For the water disease. 
For the red disease, 
For the madness (?) ; 

I will cleave the ' crailleach,' 

I will cleave the gum disease, 

I will cleave the bag, 

I will cleave the ' colg,' 

And I will kill the indigestion (?) ; 

I will cleave the flux, 

I will cleave the cud, 

I will cleave the ' mir,' 

I will cleave the ' tolg,' 

And drive away the surfeit (?) ; 

I will cleave the ' cil,' 

I will cleave the ' mil,' 

I will cleave the water, 

I will cleave the red. 

And wither will the madness (?). 



140 



UIBE 



EOLAS CHNAMH CHIR 



[190] 



This incantation is said over an animal suffering from surfeit. It is repeated 
three times, representing the Three Persons of the Trinity. If the surfeit is from 
eating too much grass or from drinking too much water, the cow or other animal 



A dh' ith thu fiar nan naodh beann, 
Nan naodh meall, nan naodh toman, 
Ma dh' ol thu sian nan naodh steallt, 
Nan naodh allt, nan naodh lodan, 
A Ghruaigein thruaigh na maodail cruaidh, 
Cnamh, a luaidh, do chir. 
A Ghruaigein thruaigh na maodail cruaidh, 
Cnamh, a luaidh, do chir. 




INCANTATIONS 141 



CUD CHEWING CHARM 

affected begins to chew the cud on being appealed to. If the animal does not 
begin to chew the cud, the cause of swelling must be sought for otherwise, and 
the appropriate incantation appUed. 

If thou hast eaten the grass of the nine bens, 

Of the nine fells, of the nine hillocks. 

If thou hast drunk the water of the nine falls, 

Of the nine streams, of the nine lakelets. 

Poor ' Gruaigein "■ of the hard paunch. 

Loved one, chew thou thy cud. 

Poor ' Gruaigein ' of the hard paunch. 

Loved one, chew thou thy cud. 



142 UIBE 



EOLAS A CHRANNACHAIN [i9i] 

An evil eye or an evil spirit is powerless across water, especially across a running 
stream or a tidal water. 

' Sir Eoghan Dubh Lochiall ' — Black Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, was at 
feud with Mackintosh of Moy about lands in Lochaber. ' Gormshul mhor na 
Moighe '^great Gormul of Moy, the celebrated witch, wished to destroy Lochiel, 
the foe of her chief and of her race. But, though she nursed her wrath and 
pursued her course day and night, she could not accomplish her purpose, as 
running water lay between herself and the object of her hatred. Lochiel knew 
this, and, although brave to recklessness, he prudently kept out of the way of 
the witch-woman. But on one occasion when Lochiel was returning from a 
conference at Inverness, great Gormul saw him far away on the blue horizon ; 
but, if far away was he, not long was she in reaching him : — 

GoRMSHTit — Gormul — 

' Ceum ann, eudail Eoghain.' ' Step on, beloved Ewen.' 

Lochiall — Lochiei. — 

' Ceum ann thu fhein, a chailleach, ' Step on thou thyself, carhn, 

'S ma 's a h-eudar an ceum a And if it be necessary to take the 

ghabhail, step, 

Ceum a bharrachd aig Eoghan. ' A step beyond thee for Ewen. ' 

Sir Ewen Cameron was one of the bravest men in Albain, and one of the best 
walkers in Gaeldom. Many a brave Saxon man he met without quailing, and 
many a hero he laid low, but this fi-oward woman was trying him severely, and 
he was anxious to be rid of her with the least delay of time and Uie least betrayal 
of fear. The witch-woman observed this ; and the more desperately he pressed 
on space, the more she pressed on him, while she herself appeared to be only 
making ' cas ceum coilich feasgar fann foghair agus a sgroban Ian ' — the footstep 
of a cock on a gentle autumn eve when his crop is full. 

Gormshul — Gormul — 

' Ceum ann, eudail Eoghain, ' Step on, thou beloved Ewen, 

'S a Righ Goileara 's a Righ And oh ! King Goileam and King 

Geigean ! Geigean ! 

Is fhada fhein o'n latba sin ! ' Long indeed since that day ' ' 



INCANTATIONS 143 

LOCHIALL LOCHIEI.^ 

' Ceum ann thu fhein, a chailleach, ' Step on thou thyself, carlin, 
'S ma 's a h-eudar an ceura a And if the step must be 

ghabhail, taken, 

Ceiim a bharrachd aig Eoghan.' A step beyond thee for Ewen." 

Remembering that occult power could not operate across running water, Lochiel 
suddenly swerved aside to the first stream he saw and plunged into it. The 
witch, chagrined at the escape of the prey she had thought safe, immediately 
called after him : — 

GOHJISnUL GORMUL — 

' Durachd rao chridhe dhut, ' The wish of mine heart to thee, 

A ghradh nam fear, a Lochiall.' Thou best-beloved of men, Lochiel.' 

LocHiALL — Lochiel — 

' Durachd do chridhe, chailleach, ' The wish of thine heart, carlin, 

Dh'an chlaich ghlais ud thall.' Be upon yonder grey stone.' 

The pillared grey stone on the bank of the river to which Lochiel pointed with 
his sword rent from top to base ! Gallant courtier though he was. Sir Ewen 
Cameron waited to show but scant courtesy to great Gormul of Moy. 

The influence of an evil spirit commanded by an evil mind is believed to 
retard or wholly to prevent butter trom coming upon tlie cream in the churn. 
This evil influence was used by one woman against another in order to spirit 
away the butter from her neighbour's churn to her own churn. This, however, 
could only be done if no stream ran between the two women. A fire for kindUng 
carried across a stream, however small, loses its occult power and is ineffective 
in spiriting away milk, cream, butter, or other milk product. 

The following story was told me in 1870 by Mor Macnelll, cottar. Glen, Barra. 
Sometimes the substance is spirited out of the milk, nothing being left but the 
semblance. On one occasion a household in Skye were at the peat-moss making 
peats, none remaining at home but the housewife and a tailor who was making 
clothes for the father and the sons of the house. 

The housewife was up in the ' ben ' churning, and the tailor was down in the 
'butt' sewing. He sat on the meal-girnel, cross-legged, after the manner of 
tailors. Presently a neighbour woman came in and asked for a kindhng for her 
fire. She took the kindling and went her way. When she went out, the tailor 
leaped down, and taking a live cinder from the fire, placed it in the water-stoup 
below the dresser, and with a bound was back again cross-legged on the raeal- 
girncl sewing away as before. In a little while the woman came back saying 
that she failed to kindle her fire, and asked for another kindling, which she took. 
The tailor leapt down again and took another live cinder out of the fire and put 
it in the water-stoup below the dresser, and, with a spring to the meal-girnel, 
resumed his work. The woman came a third time saying that she had failed to 



144 



UIBE 



kindle her fire, and for the third time she took a kindling and went her way. As 
soon as she had left, the tailor leapt down, and taking a hve cinder from the fire, 
placed it in the water-stoup as he had done before, and then springing to the top 
of the meal-girnel sat cross-legged sewing as if nothing unusual had occurred. 

Towards evening the housewife came down in sore distress, saying — ' O Mary 
and Son, am I not the sorely shamed woman, churning away at that churn the 
live-long day till my spirit is broken and my arms are weary, and that I have 
utterly failed to bring butter on the churn after all ! O Mary ! Mary, fair 




EOLAS A CHRANNACHAIN 



y^, HIG na saor, thig ; 
Thig na daor, thig ; 
Thig na caor, thig ; 
Thig na maor, thig ; 
Thig na faor, thig ; 
Thig na baor, thig ; 
Thig na gaor, thig ; 
Thig na caoch, thig ; 
Thig na caon, thig ; 
Thig na caomh, thig ; 
Thig na gaol, thig ; 
Thig na claon, thig ; 
Thig fear a churraig bhuidhe, 
Chuireas am muighe na ruith. 



Thig na 
Thig na 
Thig na 
Thig na 
Thig na 
Thig na 
Thig na 
Thig na 



saora. 

daora, 

caora, 

maora, 

faora, 

baora, 

gaora, 

caocha, 



INCANTATIONS 145 

Mother of grace ! what shall I do when the people come home ? I shall never 
hear the end of this churning till the day of my death ! ' Place thine hand in 
the water-stoup below the dresser and see if thy butter be there,' said tlie tailor. 
And with that the woman placed her hand in the water-stoup as directed, and 
three successive times, and each time brought up a large lump of butter as fresh 
and fair and fragrant as the beauteous butter-cups in their prime. The clever 
tailor had counteracted the machinations of the greedy neighbour woman by 
placing the live cinders in the water-stoup. 



CHARM OF THE CHURN 

Come will the free, come ; 
Come will the bond, come ; 
Come will the bells, come ; 
Come will the maers, come ; 
Come will the blade, come ; 
Come will the sharp, come ; 
Come will the hounds, come ; 
Come will the wild, come ; 
Come will the mild, come; 
Come will the kind, come ; 
Come will the loving, come ; 
Come will the squint, come ; 
Come will he of the yellow cap, 
That will set the churn a-running. 

The free will come. 
The bond will come, 
The bells will come. 
The maers will come. 
The blades will come. 
The sharp will come, 
The hounds will come. 
The wild will come. 



146 UIBE 

Thig na caona, 

Thig na caomha, 

Thig na gaola, 

Thig na claona, 

Thig lonia Ian na cruinne, 

Chur a mhuighe na ruith ; 

Thig Cahim caonih na uidheam, 

'S thig Bride bhuidhe chruidh. 

Tha glug a seo, 

Tha glag a seo, 

Tha glag a seo, 

Tha glug a seo, 

Tha slug a seo, 

Tha slag a seo, 

Tha slag a seo, 

Tha slug a seo, 

Tha seilcheag mhor bhog a seo, 

Tha brigh gach te dhe'n chrodh a seo, 

Tha rud is foir na mil is beoir, 

Tha bocan buidhe nodh a seo. 

Tha rud is fearr na choir a seo, 
Tha dorn an t-sagairt nihoir a seo, 
Tha rud is fearr na chairbh a seo, 
Tha ceann an duine mhairbh a seo, 
Tha rud is fearr na fion a seo, 
Tha Ian cuman Cairistine 
Do mhiala boga bine seo, 

Do mhiala boga bine seo. 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig; 



INCANTATIONS 147 

The mild will come, 

The kind will come, 

The loving will come, 

The devious will come. 

The brim-full of the globe will come, 

To set the churn a-running ; 

The kindly Columba will come in his array, 

And the golden-haired Bride of the kine. 

A splash is here, 

A plash is here, 

A plash is here, 

A splash is here, 

A crash is here, 

A squash is here, 

A squash is here, 

A crash is here, 

A big soft snail is here. 

The sap of each of the cows is here, 

A thing better than honey and spruce, 

A bogle yellow and fresh is here. 

A thing better than right is here, 

The fist of the big priest is here, 

A thing better than the carcase is here, 

The head of the dead man is here, 

A thing better than wine is here. 

The full of the cog of Caristine 

Of live things soft and fair are here. 

Of live things soft and fair are here. 

Come, thou churn, come ; 
Come, thou churn, come ; 



148 UIBE 



Thij;, a bhitheag ; thig, a bheathag ; 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 

Thig, a chuthag ; thig, a cheathag ; 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 

Thig an fliosgag a adhar, 

'S this caillcaj; a chinn-duibli. 



Tiiig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig an Ion, tliig an smeol, 
'S thig an ceol as a bhrugh ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a chait chaothaich, 
Chur faoch air do ruch ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig. 



Thig, a nihaduidh, 's caisg do phathadl) : 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 

Thig, a bhuichd ; thig, a nuichd ; 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 

Thig, a dhiola-deirce 

Is deistiniche ruichd ; 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig; 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 

Thig, gach creutair acrach. 

Is dioil tart do chuirp. 



INCANTATIONS 149 

Come, thou life ; (?) come, thou breath ; (?) 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou churn, come; 

Come, thou cuckoo ; conic, thou jackdaw ; 

Come, thou churn, come; 

Come, thou churn, come; 

Come will the little lark from the sky. 

Come will the little carlin of the black-cap. 



Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come will the merle, come will the mavis, 

Come will the music from the bower ; 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, tliou churn, come ; 

Come, thou wild cat. 

To ease thy throat ; 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou churn, come. 



Come, thou hound, and quench thy thirst ; 
Come, thou churn, come ; 
Come, thou churn, come ; 
Come, thou poor ; come, thou naked ; 
Come, thou churn, come ; 
Come, thou churn, come ; 
Come, ye alms-deserver 
Of most distressful moan ; 
Come, thou churn, come ; 
Come, thou churn, come ; 
Come, each hungry creature. 
And satisfy the thirst of thy body. 
11. K 2 



150 UIBE 



Thig. a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
'S e Dia duileach a chuir oirnn, 
'S chan ora caillich le luibh. 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a Mhuire mhin-ghil, 
Is dilimich nio chuid ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a Bhride bhith-ghil. 
Is coistrig brigh mo chruidh. 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Am maistreadh rinn Moire, 
Air astradh a ghlinne, 
A lughdachadh a boinne, 
A mheudachadii a h-ime ; 
Blathach gu dorn, 
Im gu uileann ; 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig. 



INCANTATIONS 151 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

It is the God of the elements who bestowed on us. 

And not the charm of a carlin with plant. 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou churn, come; 

Come, thou fair-white Mary, 

And endow to me my means ; 

C^ome, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou beauteous Bride, 

And bless the substance of my kinc. 

Come, thou churn, come ; 
Come, thou churn, come ; 
The churning made of Mary, 
In the fastness of the glen. 
To decrease her milk, 
To increase her butter ; 
Butter-milk to wrist. 
Butter to elbow ; 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou churn, come. 



152 



UIBE 




AN EOIll A CHUIR MOIRE [i92] 

OIR a chuir Moir Oighe, 
Dh' an chaillich bha chomhnuidh 
Air orrlain a ghlinne, 
Air fircacha fuara — 

Air orrlain a ghlinne, 

Air fireacha fuara. 

Chuir i eoir ri seile, 
Chon meudach a h-ime, 
Chon lughdach a bainne, 
Chon tachradh a tuara — ■ 

Chon meudach a h-ime, 

Chon lughdach a bainne, 

Chon tachradh a tuara. 



[The nun referred to is Brigit, of whom Broccau's llijmu says, ' She was not a 
railkniaid of a mountain-side ; she wrought in the midst of a plain.' The second 
stanza is an echo of one of the miracles attributed to her in the same hymn ; 
' when the first dairying was sent with the first butter in a hamper, it kept not 
from bounty to her guests, their attachment was not diminished,' explained 
further as follows : ' Brigit serving a certain wizard was wont to give away nuich 
butter in charity. This displeased the wizard and his wife, who came on her 
without notice. Brigit had only a small churning ready and she repeated this 
stave — "My store-room, a store-room of fair God, a store-room which my King 
has blessed, a store-room with somewhat therein. 

' " May Mary's Son, my friend, come to bless my store-room which ray King 
has blessed, a store-room with somewhat therein. 

' " May Mary's Son, ray friend, come to bless my store-room. The Prince of 
the world to the border may there be plenty with Him. 

' " O my Prince, who hast power over all these things ! Bless, O God— a 
cry unforbidden — with thy right hand this store-room." 



INCANTATIONS 153 



THE CHARM SENT OF MARY 

The cliann sent of Mary Virgin, 

To the nun who was dwelling 

On the floor of the glen, 

On the cold high moors — 
On the floor of the glen, 
On the cold high moors. 

She put spell to saliva. 

To increase her butter. 

To decrease her milk, 

To make plentiful her food — 
To increase her butter, 
To decrease her milk. 
To make plentiful her food. 



' She brought n half cliuining to the wizaril's wife. " That is good to fill a big 
hamper!" said the wizard's wife. "Fill ye your liamper," said Brigit, "and 
God will put somewhat therein." She still kept going into her kitchen and 
bringing half a making thereout and singing a stave of these staves as she went 
back. If the Iiampers which the men of Mimster'possessed had been given to 
her she would have filled them all. The wizard and his wife marvelled at the 
miracle which they beheld. Then said the wizard to Brigit : "This butter and 
the kine which thou hast milked, I offer to thee ; and thou shalt not be serving 
me but 'Serve the Lord." Said Brigit: "Take thou the kine, but give me my 
mother's freedom. Said the wizard : " Behold thy mother and the kine ; and 
whatsoever thou shalt say, that will I do." Then Brigit dealt out the kine to the 
poor and the needy ; and the wizard was baptized and " he was full of faith.'" 

See Broccans Hymn, told at greater length in the note. Thesaurus Palwu- 
hlherniciis, vol. ii., p. 331, etc. Also Lismore Lives, p. 186-7 ; compare also 
pp. 18-19, 34-35, 150-151, 158-159 of this volume with incidents in the Life of 
St Brigit as recorded in the above books. 



154 



UIBE 



ULC A DHEAN MO LOCHD 



[193] 



This and otiier poems were obtained from Isabella Chisliolm, a travelling tinker. 
Though old, Isabella Chisholm was still tall and straight, fine-featured, and fresh- 
complexioned. She was endowed with personal attraction, mental ability, and 
astute diplomacy of no common order. Her father, John Chisholm, is said to have 
been a ' pious, prayerfid man ' — terms not usually applied to his class. Isabella 



LC a dhean mo lochd 
Gun gabh e 'ii galar glue gloc, 
Guirneanach, gioinieanach, guairneach, 
Gaornanach, garnanach, gruam. 




Gum bu cruaidhe c na chlach, 
Gum bu duibhe e na 'n gual, 
Gum bu luaithe e na 'n lach, 
Gum bu truime e na 'n luaidli. 



Gum bu gointe, gointe, geuirc, gairbbe, guiniche e, 
Na'n cuilionn cruaidh cnea-chridheacli, 
Gum bu gairge e na'n salann sion, sionn, searbh, sailte, 
Seachd seachd uair. 

A turabal a null, 
A tarabal a nail, 
A treosdail a sios, 
A dreocbail a suas, 



A breochail a muigh, 
A geochail a staigh, 
Dol a mach minic, 
Tishinn a steach ainmic. 



INCANTATIONS 155 



'IHE WICKED WHO WOULD ME HARM 

Chisholm had none of the swarthy skin and far-away look of the ordinary gipsy. 
But she had the gipsy habits and the gipsy language, variously called 'Cant,' 
' Shelta,' ' Romany,' with rich fluent Gaehc and linglish. She had many curious 
spells, runes, and hymns, that would have enriched Gaelic literature, and many rare 
words and phrases and expressions that wouldhave improved the Gaelic dictionary. 

The wicked who would do me harm 
May he take the [throat] disease, 
Globularly, spirally, circularly, 
Fluxy, pellety, horny-f^rim. 

Be it harder than the stone. 
Be it blacker than the coal. 
Be it swifter than the duck, 
Be it heavier than the lead. 

Be it fiercer, fiercer, sharper, harsher, more malignant. 
Than the hard, wound-ciuivering holly. 
Be it sourer than the sained, lustrous, bitter, salt salt. 
Seven seven times. 

Oscillating thither. 
Undulating hither. 
Staggering downwards, 
Floundering upwards. 

Drivelling outwards. 
Snivelling inwards. 
Oft hurrying out. 
Seldom comin<j in. 



156 UIBE 

Sop an luib gach laimlic, 
Cas an cois gach cailbhe, 
Lurg am bun gach ursann, 
Sput ga chur 's ga chairbinn. 

Gearrach fhala le cridhe, le crutha, le cnaniha, 
Le gruthan, le sgumhan, lo sganiha, 
Agus sgrudadh cuisil, ugan is arna, 
Dha mo luchd-tair agus tuaileis. 

All ainni Dhia nam feart, 
A shiab uam gach olc, 
'S a dhion mi le neart, 
Bho lion mo luchd-freachd 
Agus fiiathachd. 



INCANTATIONS 167 

A wisp the }3ortion of each hand, 
A foot in the base of each pillar, 
A leg the prop of each jamb, 
A Hux driving and dragging him. 

A dysentery of blood from heart, from form, from bones, 
From the liver, from the lobe, from the lungs. 
And a searching of veins, of throat, and of kidneys, 
To my contemners and traducers. 

In name of the God of might. 
Who warded from me every evil. 
And who shielded me in strength. 
From the net of my breakers 
And destroyers. 



158 



UIBE 



FRITH MHOIRE 



[194] 



The 'frith," augury, was a species of divination enabling the ' frithir,' augnrer, 
to see into the unseen. This divination was made to ascertain the position and 
condition of the absent and the lost, and was applied to man and beast. The 
augury was made on the first Monday of the quarter and immediately before 
sunrise. The augurer, fasting, and with bare feet, bare head, and closed eyes, 
went to the doorstep and placed a hand on each jamb. Mentally beseeching the 
God of the unseen to show him his quest and to grant him his 
augury, the aiigurer opened his eyes and looked steadfastly 
straight in front of him. From the nature and position of the 
objects within his sight, he drew his conclusions. 

lA faram, Dia fodham, 

Dia romhani, Dia am dheoghainn, 
Mis air do shlighe Dhia, 

Thus, a Dhia, air mo luirg. 

Frith rinn Muire d'a Mac, 
lobair Bride ri a glac. 
Am fac thu i, a Kigh nan dul ? — 
Ursa Righ nan dul gum fac. 




Frith Muire da muirichinn fein, 
Trath dha bhi re ri cuairt, 
Flos firinn gun fios breuige. 

Gum faic mi fein na bheil uam. 



Mac Muire min-ghil, Righ nan dul, 
A shulachadh domh-s' na bheil uam, 
Le gras nach falnaich, nui m' choinneamh, 
Gu brath nach smalaich 's nach doillich. 



INCANTATIONS 159 



AUGURY OF MARY 

Many men in the Higlilands and Islands were famed augurers, and many 
stories, realistic, romantic, and extremely curious, are still told of their divinations. 

The people say that the Virgin made an augury when Christ was missing, and 
that it was by means of this augury that Mary and Joseph ascertained that 
Christ was in the Temple disputing with the doctors. Hence this divination 
is called 'frith Mhoire," — the augury of Mary; and ' frithireachd Mhoire,' — the 
auguration of Mary. 

The ' frith ' of the Celt is akin to the ' frett ' of the Norseman. Probably the 
surnames Freer, Frere, are modifications of ' frithir,' augurer. Persons bearing 
this name claim that their progenitors were astrologers to the kings of Scotland. 

God over me, God under iiie, 
God before me, God behind me, 
I on Thy path, O God, 

Thou, O God, in my steps. 

The augury made of Mary to her Son, 

The offering made of Bride through lier palm, 

Sawest Thou it. King of life .'' — 

Said the King of life that He saw. 

The augury made by Mary for her own offspring. 
When He was for a space amissing, 
Knowledge of truth, not knowledge of falsehood. 
That I shall truly see all my quest. 

Son of beauteous Mary, King of life, 
Give Thou me eyes to see all my quest, 
With grace that shall never fail, before mo. 
That .shall never quench nor dim. 



V 




MEASGAIN 

MISCELLANEOUS 




162 



MEASGAIN 



CIAD MIARAIL CHRIOSD 



[195] 



This poena was obtained in 1891 from Malcolm MacmiUan, crofter, 
Grimnis, Benbecula. MacmiUan was then an old man. He heard this and 
many other poems when a boy from old people who, when evicted in 
Uist, emigrated to Prince Edward's Island, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, 
and other parts of the Canadian Dominion, and 



HAIDH Eosai is Mairi 
Chon aireamh a suas, 
'S chaidh eoin an geall caithream 
Ann an caille nan cuach. 



Bha 'n dithis a siubhal slighe, 
Gon a ranuig iad coille tiugh. 
Is anns a choille bha miosan 
Bha CO dearg ris na subh. 




Sin an t-ani an robh ise torrach, 
Anns an robh i giulan Righ nan gras, 
Is ghabh i miann air na miosan 
Bha air sliosrach an aigh. 

Is labliair Mairi ri Eosai, 
Le guth nialda, miamh, 
' Tabhair miosan domh, Eosai, 
Gon caisg mi mo mhiann/ 



Is labhair Eosai ri Mairi, 
'S an cradh cruaidh na chom, 
' Bheir mi 'uit miosan, a Mhairi, 
Ach CO is athair dha d' throm ? ' 



MISCELLANEOUS 163 



THE FIRST MIRACLE OF CHRIST 

to Australia. These old people took great quantities of traditional Gaelic 
lore with theiu to their new homes, some of which still lingers among 
their descendants. Many original and translated songs of the Highlands and 
Islands are sung among these settlers, whose hearts still yearn towards their 
motherland. 

Joseph and Mary went 

To the numbering up, 

And the birds began chorusing 

In the woods of the turtle-doves. 

The two were walking the way, 
Tdl they reached a thick wood, 
And in the wood there was fruit 
Which was as red as the rasj). 

That was the time when she was great, 
That she was carrying the King of grace. 
And she took a desire for the fruit 
That was growing on the gracious slope. 

Then spoke Mary to Joseph, 
In a voice low and sweet, 
' Give to me of the fruit, Joseph, 
That I may quench my desire.' 

And Joseph spoke to Mary, 
And the hard pain in his breast, 
' I will give thee of the fruit, Mary, 
But who is the father of thy burthen .'' " 



164 MEASGAIN 

Sin 'd uair labhair an Leanabh, 
A mach as a bru, 
' Lub a sios gach geug aluinn, 
Gon caisg mo Mhathair a ruth.' 

''S o 'n mheanglan is airde, 
Chon a mheanglan is isde, 
Lub iad a sios gon a glun, 
'S ghabli Mairi dhe na miosan 
Ann am fearann fiosraidh a ruin. 

An sin thuirt Eosai ri Mairi, 
'S e Ian aithreacliais trom, 
' Is ann air a ghiulan a tasa, 
Righ na glorach 's nan grasa. 
Beannaicht thu, Mhairi, 

Measg mnai gach fonn. 
Beannaicht thu, Mhairi, 

Measg mnai gach fonn.' 



MISCELLANEOUS 165 

Then it was that the Babe spoke. 
From out of her womb, 
' Bend ye down every beautiful bough, 
Tliat my Mother may quench her desire.' 

And from the bough that was highest, 
To the bough that was lowest, 
They all bent down to her knee, 
And Mary partook of the fruit 
In her loved land of prophecy. 

Then Joseph said to Mary, 
And he full of heavy contrition, 
' It is carrying Him thou art. 
The King of glory and of grace. 
Blessed art thou, Mary, 

Among the women of all lands. 
Blessed art thou, Mary, 

Among the women of all lands.' 



L2 



166 



MEASGAIN 




AN OIGH AGUS AN LEANABH 

HUNNACAS an Oigh a teachd, 
Criosda gu h-og na h-uchd, 
Ainghle a lubadh dhaibh umhlachd, 
Righ nan dul a dubhradh gur ceart. 

An Oigh is or-dhealta cleachd, 
An t-Ios is ro ghile na 'n sneachd, 
Searapha ciuil a seinn an cliu, 
Righ nan dul a dubhradh gur ceart. 



DIA NA GILE 

DiA na gile, Dia na greine, 
Dia na cruinne, Dia nan reula, 
Dia nan dile, tir, is neamha, 
Dh' orduich dhuinne Righ na feile. 

'S i Moire mhin chaidh air a glun, 
'S e Ti nan dul a chaidh na h-uchd, 
Chaidh durch is diuir a chur air chul, 
'S chaidh reul an iuil an aird gu much. 



Dh' fhoillsich fearann, dh' fhoillsich fonn, 
Dh' fhoillsich doltrom agus struth, 
Leagadh bron is thogadh fonn, 
Chaidh ceol air bonn le clar is cruth. 



MISCELLANEOUS 167 



THE VIRGIN AND CHILD 

The Virgin was seen approaching, 
Christ so young on her breast, 
Angels making them obeisance. 
The King of glory saying it is just. 

The Virgin of gold-bedewed locks, 
The Jesu whiter than snow, 
Seraphs of song singing their praise. 
The King of glory saying it is just. 



GOD OF THE MOON 

God of the moon, God of the sun, 
God of the globe, God of the stars, 
God of the waters, the land, and the skies, 
W^ho ordained to us the King of promise. 

It was Marv fair who went upon her knee, 
It was the King of life who went upon her lap, 
Darkness and tears were set behind, 
And the star of guidance went up early. 

Illumed the land, iUumed the world, 

Illumed doldrum and current. 

Grief was laid and joy was raised. 

Music was set up with harp and pedal-harp. 



168 



MEASGAIN 




^ DTA NA GILE, DIA NA GREINE [i98] 



lA na gile, Dia na greine, 

Dh' orduich dhuinne Mac na meine. 

Muire niin gheal air a glun, 

Criosda Righ nan dul 'n a h-uchd. 

Is mise an cleireach stucanach, 

Dol timcheall nan clach stacanach, 

Is leir dhomh tulach, is leir dhonih traigh, 

Is leir dhonih ainghlean air an t-snamh, 

Is leir dhomh calpa cuimir, cruinn, 

A tighinn air tir le cairdeas duinn. 



TEARUINTEACHD NAM FIAL [i99] 



This verse, the only verse of the poem he could remember, was obtained from 
John Kane, a native of Ireland. John Kane had many traditional stories of 
Saint Columba showing that he ' being dead yet speaketh.' These stories were 

Dkir Calum-cille ruinn, 
Dh' ifrinn gu brath nach tar am fial ; 
Ach luchd na meirle 's luchd nam mionn, 
Caillidh siad an coir air Dia. 



MISCELLANEOUS 169 



GOD OF THE MOON, GOD OF THE SUN 

God of the moon, God of the sun, 
Who ordained to us the Son of mercy. 
The fair Mary upon her knee, 
Christ the King of life in her lap. 
I am the cleric established. 
Going round the founded stones, 
1 behold mansions, I behold shores, 
I behold angels floating, 
I behold the shapely rounded colunui 
Coming landwards in friendship to us. 



SAFETY OF THE GENEROUS 

vivid and graphic, tlie probable and improbable, possible and impossible, blend- 
ing and diffusing throughout. 

CoLUMB.-v tells to us, that 
To hell the generous shall never go ; 
But those who steal and those who swear. 
They shall lose their right to God. 



170 



MEASGAIN 



COISTRIG MATHAR 



[aoo] 




The following lines are whispered by mothers into the ears 
of sons and daughters when leaving their homes in the 
Outer Isles for the towns of the south and for foreign lands. 

N Dia iiior bhi eadar do dha shlinnein, 
Ga do chonihnadh a falbh 's a tilleadh, 
Mac Moire Oi<rhe bhi an coir do chridhe, 
■■S an Spiorad foirfe bhi ort a sileadh — 
O, an Spiorad foirfe bhi ort a sileadh ! 

[Aoidh [ Una 

[ Thorcuil [Shorcha 

[ Thnsrail [Shlainte. 



MISCELLANEOUS 171 



MOTHER'S CONSECRATION 

Probably they are the last accents of the mother's voice — heard in the far-away 
home among the hills clothed with mist or on the machair washed by the sea — 
that linger on the Gaelic ear as it sinks in the sleep that knows no waking. 

Be the great God between thy two shoulders, 
To protect thee in thy going and in thy coining, 
Be tlie Son of Mary Virgin near thine heart. 
And be the perfect Spirit upon thee pouring — 
Oh, the perfect Spirit upon thee pouring ! 

[Aodh [Uiia 

[Tonjuil [Light 

[Tascal [Health. 



172 



MEASGAIN 



AM FEAR A CHEUSADH 



[201] 




The two following poems were got in Kintail. They are obscure 
in themselves, and the dialect of Kintail in which tliey were recited 



HIR a chruchadh air a chribh, 

Fhir a chiosadh le minn an t-sluaigh, 
Nis bho dh' f has mi aosda, liath, 

Gabh ri m'' fhaosaid, a Dhia ! truais. 

Chan ioghnadh domh is nior mo lochd, 
Is mi an clab-goileam bochd bua'al], 

Ri m' oige gun robh mi baoth, 

Ri m' aois gu bheil mi truagh. 

Seal mu'n taine Mac De, 

Bha 'n ce na lodruich dhuibh. 

Gun ri, gun ro, gun re, 

Gun chro, gun chre, gun chruth. 

Shoillsich fearann, shoillsich fonn, 
Shoillsich an trom f hairge ghlas, 

Shoillsich an cruinne ce gu leir, 

Ri linn Mhic De tigh'nn gu teach. 



[binn 



Sin 'd uair labhair Moire nan gras, 

An Oigh bhaigheil a bha ghnath glic, 

'D uair thug Eosai dhi-se ghradh, 

Bu mhiann leis bhi 'n a lathair trie. 



MISCELLANEOUS 173 



HE WHO WAS CRUCIFIED 

increases their obscurity. The reciters repeated them as one poem, but were 
uncertain whether tliey were one or two poems. 

Thou who wert hanged upon the tree. 

And wert crucified by the condemnation of tlie people, 
Now that I am grown old and grev. 

Take to my confession-prayer, O God ! pity. 

No wonder to me great is my wickedness, 

I am a poor clattering cymbal, 
In my youth I was profane. 

In my age I am forlorn. 

A time ere came the Son of God, 

The earth was a black morass, 
Without star, without sun, without moon, 

Without body, without heart, without form. 

Illumined plains, illumined hills. 

Illumined the great green sea. 
Illumined the whole globe together. 

When the Son of God came to earth. 

Then it was that spoke the Mary of grace, 
The Virgin always most kindly and wise, 

When Joseph gave to her his love. 

He desired to be often in her presence. 



174 MEASGAIN 

Bha cumhnant eadar Eos agus Oigh, 
Ann an ordugh dligheach ceart, 

Gum biodh cuis ga cur air doigh 
Le seula Righ Mor nam feart. 

Chair iad leis gu Teampull De, 

Far an robh a chleir a steach ; 

Mar a dh' orduich an t-Ard Righ Mor, 
Phos iad mu'n taine niach. 

Thainig aingeal na dheigh : — 

' Eosai, ciod e 'n gleus a th' ort P" 

' Fhuair mi boirionnaeh bho 'n chleir, 
Cha dual donih fein a bhi ceart/ 

' Eosai, fuirich ri do cheil, 

Chan nodaidh dhuit beud a radh, 

Gur h-e tK agad an Oigh ghlan. 

Air nach deachaidh le fear lamh/ 

' Ciamar a chreideas mi sin uat ? 

Agam fein, mo nuar ! tha fios — 
'D uair a laigh mi sios ri guar 

Bha leanabh beo a briosg fo crios.' 



MISCELLANEOUS 175 

A compact there was between Joseph and Virgin, 

In order well-becoming and just, 
That the compact might be confirmed 

By the seal of the Great King of virtues. 

They went with him to the Temple of God, 

Where the clerics sat within ; 
As ordained of the Great High King, 

They married ere they came out. 

An angel came afterwards : — 

' Joseph, why excited thou .■' " 
' I got a woman from the clerics. 

It is not natural for me to be calm.' 

' Joseph, abide thou by thy reason. 

Not enlightened of thee to find fault. 
What thou hast gotten is a virgin pure, 

On whom man never put hand.' 

' How can I believe that from thee .'' 

I myself, my grief! have knowledge — 

When I laid me down by her shoulder 

A living child beneath her girdle throbbed.' 



176 



MEASGAIN 




AN COILEACH SIN 

IN 'd uair labhair a bhean bhorb — 
' Is iad na coirb a rinn mo chreach, 
Cuir am breugaire sios fo lorg, 
'S bidh do bheatha nios dha m' theach. 

An coileach sin agad 's a phoit, 
Air a phronnadh cho broit ri cal, 
Cha teid am breugadair an sloe 
Gon an goir e air an sparr/ 



Chair an coileach air an sparr, 
Chairich e dha sgiath r a chorp, 
Ghoir e ann gu blasdar, binn, 
Is thainig mo Righ bho 'n chroibh. 



[202] 



An dream nach miannach le Dia 
Luchd nam breug is luchd nam mionn ; 
B' annsa leis an urnuigh fhior 
Is li nan rossr a ruitli gu teann. 



MISCELLANEOUS 177 



THAT COCK 

It was then spoke the rude woman — 
'It was the wicked who made my ruin, 
Drive the liar down below the beam, 
And thou shalt be welcome to my house. 

That cock thou hast in the pot, 
Chopped as broken as the kail, 
The liar shall not go to the pit 
Till he shall crow upon the spar.' 

The cock went upon the spar. 
He placed his two wings to his body. 
He crew sweetly, melodiously, 
And my King came from the tree. 

The people not liked of God 
Are those who lie and those who swear ; 
Rather would He have the genuine prayer 
And water from the eyelids flowing swiftly. 



178 MEASGAIN 



MANAIDH [203] 

The people believed in omens of birds and beasts, fishes and insects, and of men 
and women. These omens were innumerable, and a few only can be mentioned. 
The fi'iher would deem it a bad omen to meet a red-haired woman when on his 
way to fish ; and were the woman defective in mind or body, probably the man 
would return home muttering strong adjectives beneath his breath. On the other 

OCH maduinn Luan, 
Chualas meaghal uan, 

Agus meigead eunaraig, 
Seimh am shuidhe crom, 

Agus cuthag liath-ghorm, 
'S gun am biadh am bhronn. 

Feasgar finidh Mhart, 
Chunnas air lie mhin, 
Seilicheag shlim, bhan, 

Agus an clacharan fionn 
Air barr a gharraidh toll, 

Searrach seann larach 
Spagail 's a chula rium. 

Dh' aithnich mi fein 'n an deigh 
Nach eireadh a bhliadhna liom. 




MISCELLANEOUS 179 



OMENS 

hand, it was lucky for a girl to find the red hair of a woman in the nest of 
certain birds, particularly in the nest of the wheatear. 

' Gruag ruadh boirionnaich. The red hair of a woman, 

Fiasag liath firionnaich. The grey beard of a man. 

Ruth agus rath na leirist Are love and luck to the sloven 

Gheobh an nead a chlacharain.' Who gets thera in the nest of the 
[bhigirein wheatear. [tit. 

Early on the morning of Monday, 
I heard the bleating of a lamb, 

And the kid-like cry of snipe. 
While gently sitting bent, 

And the grey-blue cuckoo. 
And no food on my stomach. 

On the fair evening of Tuesday, 
I saw on the smooth stone, 
The snail slimy, pale. 

And the ashy wheatear 

On the top of the dyke of holes. 

The foal of the old mare 

Of sprauchly gait and its back to me. 

And I knew from these 

That the year would not go well with me. 



180 



MEASGAIN 




MOCH LA LUAN CASG 



OCH La Luan Casg, 
Cliunna mi air sal 
Lach is eala bhan 

A siiamh le cheile. 

Chuala mi Di-mart 
Eunarag nan trath, 
Meannanaich 's an ard 
'S ag eigheacli. 



[204] 



Di-ciadain bha mi 
Buain na feamain-chir. 
Is chunna mi na tri 
Ri eirigh. 

Db' aitlmicb mi air ball 
Gun robb an iinirig ann, 
Beannacbd nach biodb ann 
An deijrli sin. 



Comraig Bhride bbith, 
Comraig Mlioire mhin, 
Comraig Mhicbeil nihil, 
Dbomh fhi' 's dba m' eudail, 

Dhomh f hi' 's dha m eudail. 



MISCELLANEOUS 181 



EARLY EASTER MONDAY 

Early on tlie day of Easter Monday, 
I saw on the brine 
A duck and a white swan 
Swim together. 

I heard on Tuesday 
The snipe of the seasons, 
Bleating on high 
And calling. 

On Wednesday I had been 
Cutting the channelled fucus, 
And then saw I the three 
Arising. 

I knew immediately 
That a flitting there was, 
Blessing there would not be 
After that. 

The girth of Bride calm, 
The girth of Mary mild, 
The girth of Michael strong. 
Upon me and mine, 

Upon me and mine. 



182 



MEASGAIN 




MANADH NAN EALA [205] 

HUALA mi guth biiin nan eala, 
Ann an dealachadh nan trath, 
Glugalaich air sgiathaibh siubhlach, 
Cur nan cura dhiubh gu h-ard. 

Glirad sheas mi, cha d' rinn mi gluasad, 
Suil dhan tug mi bhuam co bha 
Deanamh iuil air an toiseach ? 

Righinn an t-sonais an eala bhan. 



Bha seo air feasgar Di-aona, 
Bha mo smaontan air Di-mart — 
Chaill mi mo chuid 's mo dhaona 
Bliadhn o'n Aona sin gu brath. 



Ma chi thu eala air Ui-aona, 
Moch 's a mhaduinn fhaoilidh, agh, 
Bidh cinneas air do chuid 's do dhaona, 
Do bhuar cha chaochail a ghnath. 



MISCELLANEOUS 183 



OMEN OF THE SWANS 

I HKAKD the sweet voice of the swans. 
At the parting of night and day, 
Gurghng on the wings of travelling. 

Pouring forth their strength on high. 

I quickly stood me, nor made I move, 
A look which I gave from me forth 
Who should be guiding in front ? 

The queen of luck, the white swan. 

This was on the evening of Friday, 
My thoughts were of the Tuesday — 
I lost my means and my kinsfolk 

A year from that Friday for ever. 

Shouldst thou see a swan on Friday, 
In the joyous morning dawn. 

There shall be increase on thy means and thy kin. 
Nor shall thy flocks be always dying. 



184 



MEASGAIN 




MANAIDH 



[206] 



HUALA mi chuthag 's gun bhiadh am bhroinn, 
Chuala mi am fearan am barr a chroinn, 
Chuala mi "n suaircean shuas amis a choill, 
'S chuala mi nualla cumhachag na h-oidhche. 

Chunna mi 'n t-uan "s a chula rium, 
Chunna mi 'n t-seiliche air lie luim, 
Chunna mi 'n searrach le thulachain rium. 
Chunna mi an clachran air gharadh tuill. 
An eunarag 's mi 'm shuidhe cruinn, 
'S dh' aithnich mi f he' nach teidheadh 
A bhliadhna lioni. 



MISCELLANEOUS 185 



OMENS 

I HEARD the cuckoo with no food in my stomach, 
I lieard the stock-dove on the top of the tree, 
I heard the sweet singer in the copse beyond, 
And I heard the screech of the owl of the night. 

I saw the lamb with his back to me, 
I saw the snail on the bare flag-stone, 
I saw the foal with his rump to me, 
I saw the wheatear on a dyke of holes, 
I saw the snipe while sitting bent, 
And I foresaw that the year would not 
Go well with me. 



186 



MEASGAIN 




AN TUIS 

I la do shlainte, 

Cha dean thu crabhadh, 
Cha tabhair thu taine, 
'S cha tar thu tuis ; 

Ceann an ardain, 
Cridhe na gabhachd, 
Beul gun fhaigheani, 

'S cha nar leat cuis. 

Ach thig do gheamhradh. 
Is cruas do theanndachd. 
Is bidh do cheann mar 
Am meall 's an uir ; 



[207 



Do luth air failing, 
Do chruth air f hagail, 
Is tu na do thraill, 

Air do dha ghlun. 



MISCELLANEOUS 187 



THE INCENSE 

In the day of thy health, 
Thou wilt not give devotion, 
Thou wilt not give kine, 

Nor wilt thou offer incense ; 

Head of haughtiness, 
Heart of greediness, 
Mouth unhemmed. 

Nor ashamed art thou. 

But thy winter will come, 
And the hardness of thy distress, 
And thy head shall be as 
The clod in the earth : 

Thy strength having failed, 
Thine aspect having gone, 
And thou a thrall. 

On thy two knees. 



188 MEASGAIN 



DUAN NAN DAOL 

There are many curious legends and beliefs current in the Isles about the ' cearr- 
dubhan,' or sacred beetle. When his enemies were in search of Christ to put 
Him to death, they met the sacred beetle and the gravedigger beetle out on a 
foraging expedition in search of food for their families. The Jews asked the 
beetles if they had seen Christ passing that way. Proud to be asked, and 
anxious to conciliate the great people, the gravedigger promptly and volubly 
replied : ' Yes, yes ! He passed here yesterday evening, when I and the people 
of the townland were digging a grave and burying the body of a field-mouse 
that had come to an untimely end. ' ' You lie ! you lie ! ' said the sacred beetle ; 
' it was a year ago yesterday that Christ the Son passed here, when my children 
and I were searching for food, after the king's horse had passed.' 

Because of his ready ofBciousness against Christ, the gravedigger is always 
killed when seen ; while for his desire to shield Christ, the sacred beetle is spared, 
but because he told a lie he is always turned on his back. The sacred beetle 
is covered with a strong integument like a knight encased in armour. Conse- 
quently he is unable to resume his position, and he struggles continually, waving 
his feet in the effort to touch something which will assist him to rise. It is 
unlawful to pass by the sacred beetle without putting him on his back, but 
should he succeed in rigliting himself, it is unlawful to molest him further. 

In some places the gravedigger is killed because otherwise he will profane the 
grave of the grandmother of the person who passes him by. 

The following somewhat similar legend is also current in Uist : — 

The anti-Christians were pursuing Christ, wishing to kill Hira. Christ came 
to a townland where a crofter was winnowing corn on the hillock. The good 
crofter placed Christ under the heap of grain to conceal Him from his enemies. 
The crofter went into the barn to bring out more grain to place over Christ to 
hide Him more effectually. In his absence the fowls attacked the heap of corn 
under whicli Christ was hidden. They were round the heap and over the 
heap — hens and ducks feeding as rapidly as they could. The ducks contented 
themselves with eating and tramping the corn. Not so the hens : they scattered 
the corn about with their feet as they ate, so that the hidden Christ was 
exposed to view when the crofter returned. In consequence of this disservice 
to Christ in His distress, it was left as a heritage to the hen and to her seed for 
ever that she should be sever-toed ; that she should be confined to land ; that 



MISCELLANEOUS 189 

she should dislike hail, rain, sleet, and snow ; that she should dread thunder 
and lightning ; that dust, not water, should be her bath ; that she should have 
no oil with which to annoint herself and preen her feathers ; and finally, that 
she should have only one life and only one joy in life — the joy of land. 

And because the duck contented herself vrith eating the corn without exposing 
the person of Christ, it was left to her and her descendants ever more that she 
should be web-footed, and not be confined to land ; that she should rejoice in 
hail and rain and sleet and snow; that she should rejoice in thunder and 
lightning ; that water not dust should be her bath ; that she should have oil 
with which to anoint herself and preen her feathers ; that she should have three 
lives and three joys — the joy of earth, the joy of air, and the joy of water ; nay, 
a fourth life and a fourth joy — the joy of under the water ; that she should be 
most dressed when the hen was most draggled ; that she should be most joyous 
when the hen was most miserable ; that she should be most hopeful when the 
hen was in most despair ; that she should be most happy when the hen was in 
most dread ; that she should dance with joy when the hen quaked with fear. 
When the hen hears thunder she trembles as the aspen and hurries home in 
terror, screaming and screeching the while. Hence the saying — 

' Tha do chridh air chrith Thine heart is quivering 

Mar chirc ri torruinn.' Like a hen in thunder. 

The converse is true of the duck. When she hears thunder she rejoices and 
dances to her own ' port-a-bial ' — mouth music. This gave rise to the saying — 

' Is coltach thu ri tunnaig Thou art like a duck 

'S a fiughair ri torruinn.' Expectant of thunder. 



[pp. 190-191 



190 



MEASGAIN 




DUAN NAN DAOL 



RATH bha Ti nan dul fo choill, 
Agus daoibhidh air a dheigh, 
De thuirt daolaire na doill, 

Ris an daol 's an dealan-de ? 

' Am facas seach an diugh no 'n raoir, 
Mac mo ghaoil-sa — Mac De ? ' 
'Chunnas, chunnas,'' os an daol, 
' Mac na saorsa seach an de/ 



' Cearr ! cearr ! cearr thu fhe/ 
Os an cearr-dubhan feach ; 
' A bhliadhna mhor choii an de 
Chaidh Mac De seach.' 



MISCELLANEOUS 191 



POEM OF THE BEETLES 

When the Being of glory was in retreat, 
And wicked men in pursuit of Him, 
AVhat said the groveller of blindness, 
To the beetle and the butterfly ? 

' Saw ye passing to-day or yestreen, 
The Son of my love — the Son of God ? "' 
' We saw, we saw,' said the black beetle, 
' The Son of freedom pass yesterday. 

' Wrong ! wrong ! wrong art thou,' 
Said the sacred beetle earthy ; 
' A big year it was yestreen 

Since the Son of God passed.' 



192 



MEASGAIN 




DUAN NAN DAOL 

UAIR bha Criosda fo choill, 

Agus naitnhdean air a dheigh, 
Is e thiiirt faochaire na foil], 

Ris an daol 's an dealan-de — 

' Am facas seach an diugh no 'n raoir, 
Mac mo ghaol-sa, Mac De ? ' 

' Chunna, chunna/ ors an daol, 
' Mac na saorsa seach an de/ 



[209] 



• Breug ! breug ! breug ! ' 

Orsa cearran ere nan each, 

• A bhliadhna mhor chon an de, 

Chaidh Mac De seach.' 



DUAN AN DAOIL 

A DHAOLAG, a dhaolag, 
An cuimhne leat an la 'n de ? 
A dhaolag, a dhaolag. 
An cuimhne leat an la 'n de ? 
A dhaolag, a dhaolag. 
An cuimhne leat an la 'n de 
Chaidh Mac De seachad ? 



[210] 



MISCELLANEOUS 193 



POEM OF THE BEETLES 

When Christ was under tlie wood. 
And enemies were pursuing Him, 

The crooked one of deception, 

Said to the black beetle and the butterfly- 

' Saw ye pass to-day or yesterday, 

The Son of my love, the Son of God ? ' 

' We saw ! we saw ! ' said the black beetle, 
' The Son of redemption pass yesterday.' 

' False ! false ! false ! ' 

Said the little clay beetle of horses, 
' A full year yesterday, 

The Son of God went by.' 



POEM OF THE BEETLE 

Little beetle, little beetle, 
Remeniberest thou yesterday .'' 
Little beetle, little beetle, 
Rememberest thou yesterday ? 
Little beetle, little beetle, 
Rememberest thou yesterday 
The Son of God went by .'' 



194 



MEASGAIN 



TALADH 



[211] 



The swan is a favourite bird and of good oraen. To hear it in the morning 
fasting — especially on a Tuesday morning — is much to be desired. To see 
seven, or a multiple of seven, swans on the wing ensures peace and prosperity 
for seven, or a multiple of seven years. 

In windy, snowy, or wet weather swans fly low, but in cahn, bright, or frosty 
weather they fly high ; but even when the birds are only specks in the distant 
blue lift above, their soft, silvery, flute-like notes penetrate to earth below. 

Swans are said to be ill-used religious ladies under enchantment, driven from 
their homes and forced to wander, and to dwell where most kindly treated and 




ALA bhan thu, 

Hii hi ! ho ho ! 



'S truagh do charamh, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

'S truagh mar tha thu, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

'S t-fhuil a V fhagail, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 



Eala bhan thu, 

Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Cian o d' chairdiu, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 



Bean do mhanrain, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 



MISCELLANEOUS 195 



LULLABY 

where least molested. They are therefore regarded with loving pity and 
veneration, and the man who would injure a swan would thereby hurt the 
feelings of the community. 

A woman found a wounded swan on a frozen lake near her house, and took 
it home, where she set the broken wing, dressed the bleeding feet, and fed 
the starving bird with lintseed and water. The woman had an ailing child, and 
as the wounds of the swan healed the health of the child improved, and the 
woman believed that her treatment of the swan caused the recovery of her child, 
and she rejoiced accordingly and composed the following lullaby to her restored 
chUd :— 

Thou white swan, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Sad thy condition, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Pitiful thy state, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Thy blood flowing, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Thou white swan, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Far from thy friends, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Dame of thy converse, 
Hu hi ! ho hoi 



196 MEASGAIN 

Fan am nabachd, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Leigh an aigh thu, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Sian mo phaisdean, 
Hu hi ! ho ho 1 

Dion o 'n bhas e, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Greas gu slain t e, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Mar is ail leat, 

Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! hi ho ! 

Pian is anradh 

Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Dh'' fhear do sharuich, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! hi ho ! 

Mile failt ort, 

Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Buan is slan thu, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Liim an aigh dhut, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 



VOL. II. 



MISCELLANEOUS 197 

Remain near me, 
Hi hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 



Leech of gladness thou, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Sain my little child, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Shield him from death, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Hasten him to health, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

As thou desirest, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! hi ho ! 

Pain and sorrow 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

To thine injurer, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi! hi ho! 

A thousand welcomes to thee, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Life and health be thine, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

The age of joy be thine, 
Hu hi I ho ho ! 

N 2 



198 MEASGAIN 

Anns gach aite, 

Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! hi ho ! 



Furt is fas dha, 
Hi hi ! ho ho ! 

Neart is nas dha, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Buadh na larach, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Anns gach ait dha, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! hi ho ! 

Moire Mhathair, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Mhin ghil aluinn, 
Hu lii ! ho ho 1 

Bhi da d' bhriodal, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Bhi dha d' nihanran, 
Hu hi I ho ho ! 

Bhi dha d' lithiu, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Bhi dha d' arach, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 



MISCELLANEOUS 199 

In every place, 

Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! hi ho ! 



Peace and growth to him, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Strength and worth to liim, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Victory of place, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Everywhere to him, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! hi ho ! 

The Mary Mother, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Fair white lovely, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Be fondling thee, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Be dandling thee, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Be bathing thee, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Be rearing thee, 

Hu hi ! ho ho ! 



200 MEASGAIN 

Bhi dha d' dhion 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Bho lion do namhu ; 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Bhi dha d' bheadru, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Bhi dha d' naisdiu, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Bhi dha d' lionu 

Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Leis na grasu ; 

Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! hi ho ! 

Gaol do mhathar thu, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Gaol a graidh thu, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Gaol nan ainglilean thu, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Ann am Paras ! 

Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! hi ho ! 



MISCELLANEOUS 201 

Be shielding thee 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

From the net of thine enemy ; 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Be caressing thee, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Be guarding thee, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Be filling thee 

Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

With the graces ; 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! hi ho ! 

The love of thy mother, thou, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

The love of her love, thou, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

The love of the angels, thou, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

In Paradise ! 

Hu hi! ho ho! 
Hu hi ! hi ho ! 



202 



MEASGAIN 



BAN-TIGHEARNA BHTNN 



[212] 



There were many religious houses throughout the Isles. Two of these were in 
Benbecula — one at ' Baile-rahanaich,' Monk's-town, and one at ' Baile-nan- 
cailleach,' Nuns'-town. These houses were attached to lona, and wei-e ruled and 
occupied by members of the first families of the Western Isles. Probably their 
insularity secured them from dissolution at the time of the Reformation, for 
these communities lingered long after the Reformation, and ceased to exist 
simply through natural decay. 

It is said that two nuns had been visiting a sick woman. When returning 
home from the moorland to the townland, they heard the shrill voice of a child 
and the soft voice of a woman. The nuns groped their way down the rugged 
rocks, and there foimd a woman soothing a child in her arms. They were the 
only two saved from a wreck — the two frailest in the ship. The nuns took thera 
home to Nunton. The woman was an Irish princess and a nun, and the child an 
Irish prince, ag.ainst whose life a usurper to the throne had conceived a plot. 
The holy princess fled with the child-prince, intending to take him for safety to 
Scandinavia. The two nuns are said to have composed the two following poems. 

One version of the story says that the child grew up and succeeded to the 
throne in Ireland ; another that he died in the North Sea, and that he was buried 
in North Ronaldsay, Orkney. 

During the three centuries of the Norse occupation there was much cordial 
communication between Scotland and Ireland, and much, but not cordial 
communication between Ireland and Scandinavia. Norsemen infested the east 
of Ireland and west of Scotland. There were plots 
and counterplots and wars innumerable between 
invaders and invaded, the ends of the beam ascending 

M O i bhain-tighecariia bliinii, 
An bun an tuini, 
Am beul an tuim ? 




Chan alca, 
Cha lacha, 
Chan eala, 
'S chan aonar i. 



[fhalc 



MISCELLANEOUS 203 



THE MELODIOUS LADY-LORD 

and descending in sore quick succession. Ultimately the Irish succeeded in 
inflicting a crushing defeat on the Scandinavians at the battle of Clontarf. 

Clontarf is situated on Dublin Bay, a few miles below the city. It is a 
low-lying plain of much extent and great fertility. In the adjoining sea is a spit 
or bar emitting curious sounds during certain conditions of tide and wind. The 
sounds resemble the bellowing of a bull, and hence the name ' Cluain tarbh,' 
Clontarf, the plain of bulls. 

The famous battle of Clontarf was fought on Good Friday, 23rd April, 1014. 
The Irish were led by their celebrated warrior-king, Brian Boroimhe, monarch of 
all Ireland, and the Danes by their Celto-Danish Prince, Earl Sigurd. There 
was indescribable havoc on both sides. The slaughter, as seen from the walls of 
Dublin, is described as resembling the work of mad reapers in a field of corn. 
Earl Sigurd fell. Tliis was foretold him by his mother, Audna, daughter of 
Carroll, King of Ireland, when she gave him the ' Raven Banner of Battle ' at 
Skidda-myre, now Skidden, in Caithness. Audna told Sigurd that the Raven 
Banner would always bring victory to the owner, but death to the bearer. At 
the battle of Clontarf every man who took up the Raven Banner fell. At last 
no one would take it up. Seeing this, Sigurd himself seized the banner, saying, 
"Tis meetest that the beggar himself should bear his bag.' Immediately 
thereafter Sigurd fell, and with him the Norse power in Ireland. The victorious 
Irish slaughtered the defeated Danes with all the concentrated hate of 
three centuries of cruel wrong. The fall of Earl Sigurd was made known to 
his friends in the North through the fore-knowledge of the Valkymar, the 
twelve weird sisters of Northern Mythology, of whom Gray sings in his ' Fatal 
Sisters.' 

Who is she the melodious lady-lord, 
At the base of the knoll, 
At the mouth of the wave .'' 

Not the ale. 
Not the duck. 
Not the swan. 
And not alone is she. 



204 MEASGAIN 

Co i bhain-tighearna bhinn, 
Am bun an tuim, 
Am beul an tuim ? 

Chan fhosga, 
Cha lona, 
Cha smeorach, 
Air gheuig i. 

Co i bhain-tighearna bhinn, 
Am bun an tuim. 
Am beul an tuim ? 



Cha tarman tuirim 
An t-sleibh i. 

Co i bhain-tighearna bhinn, 
Am bun an tuim. 
Am beul an tuim ? 

Cha bhreac air a bhuinne, 
Cha mhoineis na tuinne, 
Cha mhuirghin-mhuire 
Na Ceit i, 

Co i bhain-tighearna bhinn. 
Am bun an tuim,i 
Am beul an tuim ? 

Cha bhainisg na cuigeil, 
Chan ainnir na fuiril, 
Cha bhainnireach bhuidhe 
Na spreidh i. 



MISCELLANEOUS 205 

Who is she the melodious lady-lord, 
At the base of the knoll, 
At the mouth of the wave ? 

Not the lark. 
Not the merle. 
Not the mavis, 

On the bough is she. 

Who is she the melodious lady-lord, 
At the base of the knoll, 
At the mouth of the wave ? 



Not the murmuring ptarmigan 
Of the hill is she. 

Who is she the melodious lady-lord. 
At the base of the knoll. 
At the mouth of the wave .'' 

Not the grilse of the stream. 
Not the seal of the wave. 
Not the sea maiden 
Of May is she. 

Who is she the melodious lady-lord. 
At the base of the knoll. 
At the mouth of the wave ? 

Not the dame of the distaff. 
Not the damsel of the lyre. 
Not the golden-haired maid 
Of the flocks is she. 



206 MEASGAIN 

Co i bhain-tighearna bhinn, 
Am bun an tuim, 
Am beul an tuim ? 

Bain-tighearna bhinn, 
Bhaindidh mhin, 

Ighinn righ, 
Ogha righ, 
lar-ogh righ, 
lon-ogh righ, 
Dubh-ogh righ. 
Bean righ, 
Mathair righ, 
Muime righ, 
I taladh righ, 

Is e fo breid aic. 

A Eirinn a shiubhail i, 
Gu Lochlann tha fiughair aic. 
An Trianaid bhi siubhal leath 
H-uile taobli a theid i — 
H-uile taobli a theid i. 



MISCELLANEOUS 207 

Who is she the melodious lady-lord. 
At the base of the knoll, 
At the mouth of the wave ? 

Melodious lady-lord, 
God-like in loveliness. 

Daughter of a king. 
Granddaughter of a king. 
Great-granddaughter of a king, 
Great-great-gianddaughter of a king. 
Great-great-great-granddaughter of a king, 
Wife of a king. 
Mother of a king. 
Foster-mother of a king. 
She lullabying a king. 

And he under her plaid. 

From Erin she travelled, 
For Lochlann is bound. 
May the Trinity travel with her 
W^hithersoever she goes — 
Whithersoever she goes. 



208 



MEASGAIN 



RIGHINN NAM BUADH 

S min a bas, 
Is fin a cas, 
Is caomh a cruth. 
Is caoin a guth, 
Is binn a cainn. 
Is grinn a meinn, 
Is blath sealladh a sul. 
Is tlath meaghail a gnuis, 
'S a broUach graidh-gheal a snanih 'n a com 
Mar chra-fhaoileag air bharr nan tonn. 

Is naomhar an oigh is or-dhealta cul, 
Le maotharan og am bonn nan stuc, 
Gun Ion dhaibh le cheil fo chorr nan speur, 
Gun sgoth fo 'n ghrein bho 'n namhaid. 

Ta sgiath Mhic De da comhdach, 

Ta ciall Mhic De da seoladh, 

Ta briathar Mhic De mar bhiadh di fein, 

Ta reul 'n a leirsinn mhoir di. 



[213] 



Ta duibhre na h-oidhche dhi mar shoillse an lo, 
Ta an lo dhi a ghnath 'n a sholas, 
Ta Moir oigh nan gras ''s a h-uile h-ait, 
Le na seachd graidh 'g a comhnadh, 
Na seachd graidh V a comhnadh. 



MISCELLANEOUS 209 



QUEEN OF GRACE 

Smooth her hand, 

P'air her foot, 

Graceful her form. 

Winsome her voice. 

Gentle her speech, 

Stately her mien. 

Warm the look of her eye, 

Mild the expression of her face. 

While her lovely white breast heaves on her bosom 

Like the black-headed sea-gull on the gently heaving wave. 

Holy is the virgin of gold-mist hair. 

With tenderest babe at the base of tlie bens, 

No food for either of them under the arch of the sky. 

No shelter under the sun to shield them from the foe. 

The shield of the Son of God covers her. 
The inspiration of the Son of God guides her. 
The word of the Son of God is food to her. 
His star is a bright revealing light to her. 

The darkness of night is to her as the brightness of day. 
The day to her gaze is always a joy. 
While the Mary of grace is in every place. 
With the seven beatitudes compassing her. 
The seven beatitudes compassing her. 



210 



MEASGAIN 



CILL-MOLUAG 



[214] 




A CURIOUS ceremony was current in the Island of 
Lismore. When several boys gathered together, two 

ILL! hill! uill! O! 
Co chill an tcid seo ? 

Cill-Moluag an Lios-mor, 
Far an cinn na cnoimheagan ! 

Uill! hill! uill! O! 
Co chill an teid seo ? 



Cill-Moluag an Lios-mor, 
Loisealam na greine. 

Uill! hill! uill! O! 
Co chill an teid seo ? 

Cill-Moluag an Lios-mor, 
Boid nach dean e eiridh I 



After more questions and more answers, the boy was carried round in 
procession sunwise to a wailing march, in which all the boys joined. The boy 
was then laid upon a rock or knoll for an altar. After more singing and more 



MISCELLANEOUS 211 



KILLMOLUAG 

boys seized a third by tlie liead and heels, and swaying hira 
from side to side sang an eerie ciiant over hira. 

First Boy Uill ! hill ! uill ! ! 

In what kill shall this go ? 

Second Boy In Killnioluag of Lismore, 
Where the maggots grow ! 

Uill! hill! uill! O! 

In what kill shall this go ? 

In Kilhnoluag of Lismore, 
Fairest 'neath the sun. 

Uill ! hill ! uill ! O I 

In what kill shall this go ? 

In Killmoluag of I^isniore, 
I vow he shall not rise ! 

ceremonial the victim was laid in some convenient hollow for a grave, to the 
music of another eerie lament and the laughter of the boys. The writer was an 
actor in this boyish drama, but what the drama represented he does not know. 



212 



MEASGAIN 



AM BREID 



[215] 



' Am bbeid,' the kertch or coif, was a square of linen formed into a cap and donned 
by a woman on the morning after her marriage. It was the sign of wifehood as 
the ' stiora,' snood, was the emblem of maidenhood. The linen of the kertch was 
pure white and very fine. The square was arranged into three angles symbolic 
of the Trinity, under whose guidance the young wife was to walk. From this it 
is called ' currachd tri-chearnach ' — three-cornered cap. The kertch was fastened 
to the hair with cords of silk or pins of silver or of gold. It is said to have been 
very becoming and picturesque. It is mentioned in many of the sayings of the 
people as : — ' breid ban ' — white kertch ; ' breid cuailean ' — hair kertch ; ' breid 
beannach ' — pinnacled kertch ; ' breid an crannaig' — kertch on props ; ' breid 
cuimir nan crun,' the shapely coif of the crowns ; and ' breid cuirair nan tri 
crun '—the shapely coif of the three crowns. It is also spoken of in many songs. 



' Nar a faicear ort breid 
La feille no clachain, 
'S nar a faicear do chlann 
Dol gu teampuU baistidli.' 

' Na 'm faighinn dhomh fein 
Thu le beannachd na cleire, 
Gur a mis a bhitheadh reidh 
Ri bhi faicinn do bhreid 
An ceud Domhnach.' 



Never on thee be seen kertch 
Upon feast-day or church-day. 
And never be seen thy children 
Going to the temple of baptism. 

Were I to obtain to myself 
Thee with the blessing of the clerics. 
It is I who would be joyous 
At seeing on thee thy kertch 
The first Sunday. 



' A cul dualach, camlach, cuachach, 
Ann an sguaib aig m' eudail, 
'S ge boidheach e 's an stiora a suas 
Cha mheas an cuailean breid e. ' 



Her hair in coils, curled, curved. 
And in clustered folds has my beloved. 
And though beautiful it seems within the snood 
It would not look worse beneatli the kertch. 



' Giir a matli thig breid ban 
Air a charamh beannach dhut, 
Agus staoise dh' an t-sioda mhin, 
'G a theannadh ort.' 



Well becomes thee the white kertch, 
Placed pinnacle-wise. 
And cords of the fine silk 
Binding it upon thee. 



The song from which this last verse is quoted had curious wanderings and narrow 
escapes — from Lochaber to Lahore, from Lahore to Lochalsh, and from Lochalsh 
to Skye and Uist. It was taken down at Howmore, South Uist, from Peggie 
Macaulay, better known as Peggie Robertson and ' Peigi Sgiathanach '—Skye 



MISCELLANEOUS 213 

Peggie. She came from ' Sleibhte riabluicli nam ban boidlicach,'— brindled Sleat 
of the beautiful women, and well uplield the reputation of her native place, for 
she was a tall, straight, comely brunette, with beautiful brown eyes and hair 
' like raven's plumage, smoothed on snow.' She had accompanied her master and 
mistress. Captain and Mrs Macdonald, Knock, Skye, on a visit to Sir John 
Macrae, Airdantouil, Loclialsh. Sir John was famed for his symmetry, bravery, 
and accomplishments. He inherited the musical talents of the Macleods of 
Raarsey, and could play a phenomenal number of musical instruments. He 
was wont to say that there was no music for the house equal to Highland music, 
nor instrument for the field equal to the Higliland bagpipe. Sir John had been 
military attache to his cousin, the Marquis of Hastings, when he was Governor- 
General of India. From Sir John Macrae, Peggie Macaulay heard the words of 
this song and an account of how he got them. Sir John said that when in India 
he was sent with despatches to a distant fort. As he was Hearing the gate under 
cover of night, he was surprised to hear a Gaelic song once heard in childhood 
and often sought since. When he reined in his horse to listen, the sentry stopped 
his song and challenged. The answer was given in Gaelic, and the sentry was 
surprised in his turn. Macrae was just in time to rouse the Governor from his 
fancied security and to lead the garrison to repel an attack, in which the singer 
Eoghan Cameron fell after killing seven sepoys single-handed. 

Sir John Macrae died soon after Peggie Macaulay heard him singing the 
song, and she died soon after the song was taken down from her dictation by 
the present writer. Sir John Macrae called this song, ' treas biladh na h-Alba, 
— the third lullaby of Alban, and as sung by bright Peggie Robertson it merited 
praise. 



[pp. 214-215 
O 2 



214 



MEASGAIN 




AM BREID 

ILE failtc (Ihut fo d' bhreid, 
Ri do re gu robh thu slan, 
Luth is laithean dhut le sith, 
Do pharas le do ni bhi fas. 

An tus do chomh-ruith is tu og, 
An tus do lo iarr Ti nan dul, 
Cha churani dha nach toir e ceart 

Gach foil is feart a bhios 'nad run. 

An coron-ceile a chuir thu suas, 
Is trie a fhuair e buaidh do mhnai ; 
Bi-sa subhailc ach bi suairc, 

Bi-sa stuam an lid 's an laimh. 

Bi-sa fialaidh ach bi glic, 
Bi-sa misneachail ach stold, 
Bi-sa bruithneach ach bi balbh, 
Bi-sa caiuiGÌneach ach coir. 

Na dean criontaireachd an toirt, 
Na dean brosg ach iia bi fuar, 
Na labhair fos air neach ge h-olc, 
Ma labhrar ort na toir-sa fuath. 

Bi-sa gleidhteach air h-ainm, 
Bi-sa sgeimineach ach suairc, 
Lamh Dhe biodh air h-eilm, 

An deilbh, an gniamh ''s an smuain. 

Na bi gearanach fo d' chrois, 

Siubhail socair fo chopan Ian, 

A chaoidh dh'an olc na toir-sa speis, 

'S le do bhreid dhut ceud mile failt ! 



MISCELI.ANEOUS 215 



THE KERTCH 

A THOUSAND hails to thee beneath tliy kertch, 
During thy course mayest thou be whole, 
Strength and days be thine in peace, 

Thy paradise with thy means increase. 

In beginning thy dual race, and thou young, 

In beginning thy course, seek thou the God of life, 

Fear not but He will rightly rule 

Thine every secret need and prayer. 

This spousal crown thou now hast donned, 
Full oft has gotten grace to woman. 
Be thou virtuous, but be gracious, 
Be thou pure in word and hand. 

Be thou hospitable, yet be wise. 
Be thou courageous, but be calm. 
Be thou frank, but be reserved. 
Be thou exact, yet generous. 

Be not miserly in giving, 
Uo not flatter, yet be not cold. 
Speak not ill of man, though ill he be. 
If spoken of, show not resentment. 

Be thou careful of thy name, 

Be thou dignified yet kind, 

The hand of God be on thine helm, 

In inception, in act, and in thought. 

Be not querulous beneath thy cross. 
Walk thou warily when thy cup is full, 
Never to evil give thou countenance. 

And with thy kertch, to thee a hundred thousand hails 



216 



MEASGAIN 



FUIGHEAL 



[216] 




AR a bha, 
Mar a tha, 
Mar a bhitheas 
Gu bra til, 
A Thrithinn 
Nan gras ! 
Ri traghadh, 
'S ri lionadh ! 
A Thrithinn 
Nan gras ! 
Ri traghadh, 
'S ri lionadh ! 



MISCELLANEOUS 217 



FRAGMENT 

As it was, 
As it is, 
As it shall be 
Evermore, 
O Thou Triune 
Of grace ! 
With the ebb. 
With the How, 
O Thou Triune 
Of grace ! 
With the ebb. 
With the flow. 



NOTES 

ETC. 




NOTES 



A 

Abhr, ahhra, fat, rich, oily ; 'cloimh abhvais,' oiled wool, wool prepared 
for spinning; 'ablirta,' 'abhrtacli,' ' abhrtadh,' a feast, festival, 
rich entertainment. 

Abhr, aur, prayer (?). A place at the base of ' Beinn Rigli Coinnich ' 
— King Kenneth's Mount, or ' Beinn airidh Coinnich ' — Ben of 
Kenneth's shieling, in South Uist, is called ' Auratot,' ' Aura- 
tobhte,' prayer ruin. The spot is green and grassy, and contains 
the remains of an oratory, which was used by seafarers before and 
after voyaging. A font and other ecclesiastical objects have been 
found among the ruins. Cf. ' aurtech,' gen. ' aurtige ' ; ' for 
bendchopar ind aurtige,' — on the roof of the oratory. — Windisch's 
ÌV'òrterbuch. Perhaps merely a diphthongised form of ' or," prayer, 
as in 'abhran,' "^oran." 

Acair, anchor. The ancht)r in the West is often a stone. A form of 
anchor in olden times was a cylinder made of heather ropes bound 
strongly together, closed at one end and filled with stones. This 
anchor was called 'mogais,' cylinder. At anclior, 'air chruaidh,' 
lit. ' on hard,' fast. 

Adhamhnan, Adamnan. There are several dedications in Scotland to 
St Adamnan. There is a ' Port Adhamhnain,' port of Adamnan, 
in lona. Mull, and Lismore. A cross called ' Crois Adhamhnain,' 
cross of Adamnan, stood above the port of Adamnan in lona, and 
there is a ' Crois Adhamhnain,' cross of Adamnan, in North Uist. 
This cross is incised on a large ice block at which the saint is said 
to have stood when preaching the first Gospel message to the 
natives. The people are said to have cut the cross on the side 
and set the stone on edge in honour of the occasion. There is a 
' Srath Adhamhnain,' Strath Adamnan, in Strathfillan. Near 
Strath of Adamnan is ' Beinn Chaluim,' mountain of Columba. 
Adamnan was the successor and biographer of Columba. 



222 NOTES 

At, sheep. ' Cuir a stigh an ai,' put in the sheep. Perhaps coiuiected 
with Greek aix, a goat. 

Ai, swan. 'Chi mi ai air loch a mhuilinn/ I see a swan on the mill 
loch. 'Chi mi ai air ailn an eilein/ I see a swan on the loch of 
the island. ' Ai ' seems to mean white, whiteness ; perhaps akin 
to ' aigh/ beautiful. 

Aibheis, eibheis, an abyss, a place or person in ruins or unkempt. 

' Ged tha thu 'n diugli ad aibheis fhuar, Though thou art to-day a ruin cold, 
Bha thu uair ad aros righ. ' Thou wert once the dwelHng of a king. 

Aicil, a form of ' faicill,' circumspection. 

Aigne, the (bird) swft, anything of unusually quick motion. ' Co 
luath ris an aigne,' as quick as the swift. ' Co luath ri aigne nam 
ban baoth,' as swift as the thoughts of the foolish women. 

Ailbh, al, rock foundation, anything hard, solid, rigid, immovable. 

Ailinde, most beautiful. The people use many forms of this superlative, 
as ' aUne,' ' ailindeach,' ' aildiche,' ' aluinnde,' and others. 

' Ailineachd rana na Greuige. ' The beauteousness of the woman of Greece 
(Helen). 

Aingeal, aigheal, aitheal, athal, light, flame, fire, glowing fire, angel. 
Cf. ' aithine,' ' athaine,' ' aine,' fire, glowing peat. 

' Aingeal ' occurs in many place-names, as ' Tom Aingil,' ' Dun 
AingU,' ' Cnoc Aingil,' ' Carn Aingil,' in Lochaber, Lismore, Islay, 
lona, Muckairn, Uist, Lewis, and other places. As the names 
indicate, the places stand high. Dun Aingil in Lochaber is 
situated on the side of a mountain 686 feet above the sea, and is 
also called ' Cladh ChoireU,' St Cyril's Burial-ground. This lis the 
only ' aingil ' knoU known to me used as a place of burial, though 
at Muckairn a ' Cnoc Aingil ' or ' Tulach Aingil ' adjoins the 
burying-ground, 105 feet above sea-level, called by some 'Cladh 
Choireil,' Cyril's Burial-ground, and by others ' Cladh Easbuig 
EaraU,' Bishop Harold's Burial-ground. Harold was the first 
bishop of the see of Argyll and the Isles, disjoined from that of 
Dunkeld in 1200. 

' Cnoc Aingil ' in lona is a green knoll on a sandy plain. In 
his 'Life of Columba,' Adamnan says that angels were wont to 
converse with Columba on this knoll, and lliat during drought the 
brethren carried the tunic of the saint round the knoll singing 
psalms and rejieating prayers the while, whereupon copit)us rain 



NOTES 223 

fell. Pennant mentions that the people of lona rode sunwise 
round ' Cnoc Aiiigil ' on St Michael's Day. 

Probably these knolls were places of sun-worship and fire- 
worship, which were current in the West as they are in the East. 

In a poem composed over two centuries ago, ' aingeal ' is twice 
used for fire — ■ 

' Bha 'n spor bhcarnach, gheur, thana, The jagged flint, sharp, thin. 

Am beul snaip air dheagh theannadh. Was in the snap mouth well bound, 

Ged dhiult tini dhomh aingeal Though thou didst refuse me fire 

Ri ord. To the hammer. 

Nan tugadh tu aingeal Hadst thou given the fire 

Chuirinn cunnart air anam, I had placed his soul in jeopardy, 

Ged cliaillinn ris gearran Though I had lost by it a garron 
'Samhod.' In the moot. 

' Aingeal ' meaning fire is current in some districts though 
obsolete in others. The word is borrowed into Scots and applied 
to the hearth, as 'ingle,' 'ingle-neuk' — neuk being from 'an iuc,' 
' 'n iuc,' the corner, the angle. 

The idea of an angel guarding the door is not unknown to 
literary art. At an inn visited by Burns an angel was painted 
above the door. The house was kept by a husband and wife 
whose names were Peace and Grace. When Burns revisited the 
place he found the angel gone, the husband dead, and the wife 
more gracious tlian graceful, on which he composed the following 
lines : — 

' Wlien Peace and Grace lived in this place. 
An angel kept the door ; 
Now Peace is dead, the angel's fled. 
And Grace is grace no more. ' 

Airii, the angel Ariel. The people speak of ' Airil nan og,' Ariel of 
the youth ; ' Airil ail nan og,' Ariel beauteous of the youth, and 
other endearing terms. Those who were under his care enjoyed 
perpetual youth and perpetual beauty. Ariel is called the 'city 
of Judah,' 'the .strength of God,' 'the lion of God,' and other 
favoured names. 

Ais, mUk, mUk preparation ; dainty, delicacy, nectar, ambrosia. 
Ais, wisdom. ' Ais na mna sithe,' the wisdom of the fairy woman. 
(See ' cnoc.') 

Ale, f hale, Jalc. In some districts 'ale' is applied to the razor-bill 
(alca tarda), and in some to the guillemot (uria troile). The razor- 
bOl and the guillemot resemble one another closely, and at some 



224 



NOTES 



distance can only be distinguished liy the practised eye. In 
Cornwall both birds go by the name of ' murr/ from the sounds 
they emit. The guillemot, however, is slightly larger and more 
graceful, and its bill is long, pointed, and smooth, while that of 
the razor-bill is shorter, more rounded, and more furrowed towards 
the point. The eggs, like the birds, resemble one another in 
shape, size, and markings. 

A crofter in Lewis, a shrewd, sensible man, went under the 
name of ' Alcag,' Little 'Ale.' He had come to Lewis from Mull. 
Mackenzie of Lewis and he had frequent wit-combats, generally 
to the discomfiture of the former. On one occasion Mackenzie, 
with whom the man was a favourite, and a friend met the ' Alcag ' 
returning from Stornoway with a pot on his head, when Mackenzie 
said, ' I will pay you the price of the pot if you wUl allow me to 
make a rmie upon you without retorting,' and proceeded : — 

' Thainig thugainn, air muir a nail, There came to us over sea hither 

Eoin fiadhaich air sgadan cuain Wild birds after ocean herring 

A Muile, 's ge fada thall,' From MuU, and though far away, 

B' olc an dream, daibh bu dual. Bad the breed, to them hereditary. 



An Alcag a braigh a Chaolais 
Caobaidh i fear a h-araich, 
Asgartach nan daoine baotha, 
Aircleach, aoireach, mi-narach.' 



The Little Ale from the head of the Sound 
Will peck at the hand of its rearing, 
The refuse of all ill men found, 
A needy, shameless satirist. 



To this Mackenzie's friend added : — 



' A phoit dhona gun ro-f heum, 
B' f hearraceannach air an fheill, 
'S ge li-uallaeh foi' do cheum, 
Cha d' fhuair thu i reis gun 
toibheum.' 



Wretched pot of little worth. 
Better to have bought it in the market ; 
Though lightsome be thy step beneath it, 
Thou hast not got a span of it without 
reproach. 



The man replied : — 
' Is cubhaidh do gach saoidh nach 

socrach, 
A bhith na f hulangach, sar-f haclach. 
Is buinidh a dh' f hear a bhios na aire 
A bin 'n eisemeil fear dha chomhnadh. 

Is gilide am bord a chailc, 
Cha mhiside a chruaidli a h' 

aghart, 
Eisemeil is tu 's an aire, 
Cha taiside do laoch a tobhart.' 



It behoves the man who is not 

secure. 
To be enduring and clioice-worded. 
And the man who is in straits 
To defer to him who aids him. 

The board is the whiter for the chalk, 
The steel is not the worse for being 

tempered. 
Deference and thou in straits. 
Is not weakness in hero to give. 



Combats of this kind were frequent between chiefs and clansmen, 
probably to the advantage of both. 



NOTES 225 

Altakh, nurture, nourish, bring up. 

' Acha Tiii is mor gloir. But Thou Being of great glory, 

Altaicii fein an siol og, Nurture Thou the young seed, 

Ta gun tagsa, gun sgor Reft of prop, and of rocii 

Acuildaibh.' Behind them. 

— St Kilda song. 

Amadan-De, butterfly, God's fool. In some districts the term is 
' amadan-leith,' grey fool. Sometimes applied to giddy, foolish 
children. 

Ao7i, Aona, Aoin, Aoine, Fast, Friday. (See ' Di.') 

Arna Moire, kidney of Mary ; ' tearna Moire,' saving of Mary. This 
is a square, thick Atlantic nut, sometimes found indented along 
and across, the indentations forming a natural cross on the nut. 
It is occasionally mounted in silver and hung round the neck as 
a talisman. Every nurse has one which she places in the hand 
of the woman to increase her faith and distract her attention. It 
was consecrated on the altar and much venerated. 

Arrais, evil, wicked, demon. Cf. ' arracht,' spectre. 
Ath-aodach, alhaodach, second clothing, second-hand clothing. A person 
wearing a new suit is addressed : — 

' Meal an greann, Enjoy the clothing, 

Paigh an sainns, Pay the hansel, 

Is cuir an nail And send thither 

An t-athaodach.' The old clothing. 

With some people ' athaodach ' means new cloth, the explanation 
being that the wool is first 'aodach na caora,' the sheep's clothing, 
and afterwards man's clothing : — 

' Meal is caith an t-athaodach. Enjoy and wear the second clothing, 

Sguiridh tathaich an taileair.' The tailor-visiting shall cease. 



B 

Badhar, placenta of cow. 

Bainisg, a female satirist, a songstress, a singing naiad ; from ' ban,' 

woman, and ' eisg,' satirist. 
Baireachd, quarrelling, wrangling. 
Balg bannaig, bannock bag ; the sacred shrine in which the Host was 

carried ; the bag in which the Christmas gifts, the Easter gifts, and 
VOL. II. P 



226 NOTES 

the gifts of other sacred seasons were placed. The 'balg bannaig ' 
is now used to carry the various kinds of food-stuffs given to 
carollers at Christmas and New Year. 
Balgaire, thief, rogue, robber, the fox. A place in Badenoch is called 
' Creag a bhalgaire,' rock of the rogue. The fairies came down 
and carried a newly-born child up this rock and away to fairy- 
land. 

Ballan, a teat, a cup, tub, vessel. ' Ballan buirn,' water tub ; ' ballan 
bainne,' milk tub ; ' ballan blathaich,' butter-milk tub ; ' ballan 
binndeachaidh/ the vessel in which milk is placed to ciu-dle for 
cheese ; ' ballan binndichte,' cheese press ; ' ballan stiallach,' stocks ; 
'ballan iocshlaint,' vessel of healing, in which, according to the 
old tales, was kept the balsam for restoring to health and to life 
those wounded or killed in battle. ' Cur nam ballan,' applying 
the cups, is a term used in cupping for rheumatism and kindred 
complaints. This fragment of Highland surgery is occasionally 
practised in outlying places, and with much success. 

Bannag, Christ, Eucharist, a cake, gift, offering, a wish, a blessing. 
Cf. ' bonnach,' a bannock, cake. 

Certain cakes are made in certain ways and at certain seasons, 
and all significant, as ' bannag,' ' breacag,' ' bonnach,' ' bonnach- 
boise,' ' dearnagan,' ' poilean," or ' moilean.' The ' bannag,' 
' bonnach-boise,' ' dearnagan,' and ' moilean ' are made on the 
palm of the hand. There must be no 'fallaid,' loose meal left 
from a former baking, used. If the ' fallaid ' is put back in the 
meal-chest, the ' cailleach,' carlin, will come and sit in the chest, 
eating up all the luck of the family, and will not leave till five 
o'clock in the morning. This is called 'a mhionaid mhi-fhortanach,' 
the unfortunate minute. 

When the ' bannag ' is finished it is placed on the left palm, 
and the thumb of the right hand is turned round sunwise through 
the centre. This is as a preventive of witchcraft. The 'bannag 
is symbolic of Christ, and is broken and eaten by the family with 
becoming reverence and solemnity. After the bamiock has been 
cooked the mother takes up the 'clach bhannag,' bannock-stone, 
against which the cake was supported before tlie fire, and tenderly 
hands it to her daughters, in emblem of Christ. 

The ' dearnagan ' and the ' moilean ' are not perforated. TJie 
former is given to girls, and the latter, which is thicker, is given 
to boys. 



NOTES 227 

The first Monday after Christmas is called ' Diluain bannaig/ 
Monday of the bannock, while tlie first Monday of the New Year 
is ' Diluain sainnseU/ hansel Monday. 

Bansgal, an unmarried woman, a masculine woman, an amazon ; a 
whale, leviathan. 

'a.d. 891. "A ' banscal ' was cast ashore by the sea in Albaj 
whose length was 195 feet. The length of her hair was 17 feet, 
of a finger of her hand 7 feet, of her nose 7 feet. She was all 
white as a swan." ' — Annals of Ulster. 

Barlait, barrlait, check, hindrance, prevention, suppression. 

Beairdean, ordinarily 'boitean,' a pottle, a bottle, a buttle, a bundle 
of hay, straw, or reeds. 

Beall, heoll, fire, glowing fire, glowing embers — hence ' beollag,' 
bright little flame, a word common in Uist. Cf. Eng. 'bale-fire.' 

Bean-nigh, bean-itighidh, washer, wash-woman ; also ' nigheag,' little 
washer ; ' nigheag na h-ath,' little washer of the ford ; ' nigheag 
bheag a bhroin,' little washer of the sorrow. This is the naiad or 
water-nymph who presides over those about to die, and washes 
their shrouds on tlie edge of a lake, the bank of a stream, or the 
stepping-stones of a. ford. While washing the shroud the water- 
nymph sings the dirge, and bewails the fate of tlie doomed. The 
' nigheag ' is so absorbed in her washing and singing, like the 
black-cock in his gyrations and serenading, that she is sometimes 
captured. When this occurs she will grant her captor three 
requests. Hence when a man is specially successful in some work 
or phase of life, it is said of him, 'Moire! fhuair an duine chuid 
a b'fhearr dh'an nigheig agus thug i dha a thri ragha miann' — 
Mary ! the man got the better of the 'nigheag ' and she gave him 
his three choice desires. 

' Ann am marbh-thrath na h-oidliche bha gUle-cas-fliuch Mhic 
'ic Ailean Mor nan Eilean a dol dachaidh chon an Dun-bhuidhe 
am braigh Bheinn-a-faoghla. Agus d' uair a bha e siaradh an 
loch CO chunnaic e roimhe air fath a chlachain ach gum b' i a 
bhean-nighe a nigheadh agus a strulladh, a gul agus a gal. 

A leineag bheag bhais na dorn 
A mialaran broin na beul. 

Chaidh 'gille-cas-fliuch gu fiath failidh air a cul agus rug e air 
nigheag 'n a ghlac. " Leig as mi," orsa nigheag, " agus thoir cead 
mo choise dhomh agus gu bheil am fabhan dotha tha dluth dha 



228 NOTES 

t-fhiasaig chiaru cliairtidh an annar stad a cliur air anail mo 
bhraghaid. Is mor gum annsa le m' shroin agus gum bu deoine 
le m' chridhe aile tuise cubhraidh ceathach nam beann." "Cha 
leig mi as thu," orsa gille-cas-fliuch, " gun geall thu dhomh mo 
tliri ragha miann." "Chiinnim iad a dhuine dhona," orsa nigheag. 
"Tha, thu dh' innseadh dhomh co dha tha thu nigheadh na 
leineige agus a seirm na duaineige, thu thoir dhomh mo ragha ce, 
agus thu chumail tachair todhair an croic a bhail againn am fad 
agus a mhaireas bodach Sgeh'-rois dha thuiream." "Tha mi 
nigheadh na leine agus a seinn na duaine do Mhac 'ic Ailean Mor 
nan Eilean, agus cha teid e tuillidh ri bheo mhaireann shaoghail a 
null no a nail air clachan an Duin-bhuidhe." Thilg gille-cas-fliuch 
an leine bhais a muigh dh'an loch air barr a ghaise agus leum e 
dhachaidh na dheann a chon taobh leaba Mine 'ic Ailean. Dh' 
inns e chuile car mar a chunna agus a chuala agus a dh' eirich 
dha. Leum Mac 'ic Ailean na chruinn chruaidh leum na sheasadh 
bonn as an leaba f hraoich agus dh' orduieh e bo a spadadh agus 
curachan a chur air doigh. Spadadh bo agus rinneadh curachan 
agus chaidh Mac 'ic Ailean as an eilean a null thar an loch gu tir- 
mor agus cha do thill e riamh tuillidh dh' an Dhun-bhuidhe am 
braigh Bheinn-a-faoghla.' 

' In the dead watch of the night ' gUle-cas-fliuch,' wet-foot man, 
of Great Clanranald of the Isles, was going home to Dun-buidhe 
in the upland of Benbecula — ben of the foi'ds. And when he was 
westering the loch, whom should he see before him in the vista 
on the 'clachan,' stepping-stones, but the washer-woman of the 
ford, washing and rinsing, moaning and lamenting — 

Her little shroud of death in her hand. 
Her plaintive dirge in her mouth. 

' Gille-cas-fliuch ' went gently and quietly behind ' nigheag ' and 
seized her in his hand. " Let me go," said ' nigheag,' " and give 
me the freedom of my feet, and that the breeze of reek coming 
from thy grizzled tawny beard is anear putting a stop to the breath 
of my throat. Much more would my nose prefer, and much 
rather would my heart desire, the air of the fragrant incense of 
the mist of the mountains." " I will not allow thee away," said 
'gille-cas-fliuch,' "till thou promise me my three choice desires." 
"Let me hear them, ill man," said 'nigheag.' "That thou wOt 
tell to me for whom thou art washing the shroud and crooning 
the dirge, that thou wilt give me my choice spouse, and tliat thou 



NOTES 229 

wilt keep abundant seaweed in the creek of our townland as long 
as the carle of Sgeir-rois shall continue his moaning." " I am 
washing the shroud and crooning the dirge for Great Clanranald 
of the Isles, and he shall never again in his living life of the 
world go thither nor come hither across the clachan of Diin- 
buidhe." ' Gille-cas-fliuch ' threw the shroud of death into the 
loch on the point of his spear, and he flew home hard to the 
bedside of Clanranald. He told everything that he saw and 
heard and that befell him. Clanranald leaped his hard round leap 
on to his feet from the heath-bed, and he ordered a cow to 
be felled and a little coracle to be made ready. A cow was 
felled accordingly, and a little coi'acle was constructed in which 
Clanranald went from the island over the loch to the mainland, 
and he never again retui'ned to Dun-buidhe in the upland of 
Benbecula.' 

Beinn a c/ieo, mount of mist. The term occurs in the following old 
songs : — 

' Am beinn a cheo. In the mount of mist, 

'S sinn ann 'n ar dithis, And we two together, 

Challain cile, Callain cile, 

Na bho hi o.' Na vo hi o. 

' Is truagh nach robh mi 's mo ghaol. Would were I and my true love, 

Muigh ri taobh beinn a cheo. On the side of the mount of mist. 
Mo nigh'nn donn ho hu. My brown maid ho liu, 

Hi ill u ho ill au.' Hi ill u ho ill au. 

Probably ' beinn a cheo ' is a particular name and not a general 
term. Similarly ' Eilean a cheo,' the Isle of mist, has come into 
use as a poetic name for Skye. 

Beithir, adder, serpent, thunderbolt, lightning, a destructive deity 
dwelling in caves, corries, and mountain fastnesses. The great 
scholar Ewen Maclachlan makes effective use of this figure in 
his beautiful elegy on his friend Professor James Beattie : — 

' Bu tu craobh ubhal a gharaidh, Thou wert the apple tree of the garden, 

A chaoidh cha chinnich ni 's aillidh Never more so beauteous shall grow 

fo'n ghrein, beneath the sun. 

Dealt an t-samhraidh mu blathaibh. The dews of summer bathed its blossom, 

Luisreadh dhuileag mu chracaibh a With abundant foliage spreading over its 
geug ; branches ; 

VOL. II. P 2 



230 NOTES 

Ach tliilg dubh-dhoireann a gheamli- But the black tempest of winter 

raidli threw 

A bheithir theintidh le srann as an The levin bolt with a whirr from the 

speur, sky. 

Is thuit an gallan ur rionihach, And the handsome fresh sapling fell, 

Is uile mhaise ghrad chrion air an And all its beauty quickly withered on 

fhcur.' the grass. 

A family of two elderly brothers and a sister in Benbecula were 
known as ' Na Beitlirich/ the thunderbolts, from their frequently 
saying : ' Sgrios na beithrcach ort ! ' — The destruction of the 
thunderbolt upon thee ! During a terrible thunderstorm, as the 
three were sitting round their fire, a thunderbolt came crashing 
through the roof of their little cottage, filling the room with a 
glare of light and a smell of suljihur, and the inmates with terror. 
None of the three ever used their singular imprecation again. 

Some people allege that the serpent bursts the belly in 
bringing forth its young, hence the term used by one scold to 
another : ' Sgoltadh beithreach ort ! ' — The bursting of the serpent 
on thee ! There is a similar belief regarding the salmon, hence : 
' Sgoltadh bradain ort ! ' — The bursting of the salmon upon thee ! 

Beoir, spruce, spruce beer. Spruce beer is obtained from the spruce 
tree, as whisky was obtained from the birch tree. 

Spruce was much used in olden times, and is often mentioned 
in the old songs and sayings of the people. 

' Beoir is brailis b'eol donih agad. Spruce and wort I know were thine. 

Mil is bainne buaile.' Honey and milk of cattle-fold. 

A lover addresses his love — 

' Gur a milse do phog Sweeter is thy kiss 

Na mil agus beoir. Than honey and spruce, 

Ge robhas 'g an ol Though we were drinking tliem 

A gloineachan.' From glasses. 

Bialag, a person in front of another person on horseback. 

Biasl duhh, biasl donn, black beast, brown beast, the otter, especially the 
female otter. The otter is also called ' dobhran,' from ' dobhar,' 
water. ' Dobhar-chu,' water-dog, is confined to the male otter. 
Otters and seals are instructive and interesting, and become much 
attached to those who feed them and teach them. They fish in the 
river, in the lake, and in the sea, and bring the fish ashore as 
retrievers bring birds. 



NOTES 231 

Mar dhobhran am beul uisge, As an otter at the mouth of water, 

Mar sheobhag am bun sleibhe. As a hawk at the base of hill. 

Mar chu chon cait, mar chat chon As a dog to a cat, as a cat to a 
luch, mouse, 

Bidh bean mic gu mathair-cheile. ' So is son's wife to mother-in-law. 

Binne-hheul, 'mouth of melody,' a. character in Gaelic story. (Vol. i. 
p. 8.) The people say that the birds of the air, the beasts of the 
field, and the fishes of the sea stood still and listened when ' Binne- 
bheul ' sang. ' Bile-Binn,' musical mouth, is also the name of a 
female character in the tales. 

Biolair, biorbis, water-cress, water-plant, from ' bir,' ' bior,' water, and 
' lus,' plant. The water-cress is also called •' dobhar-his,' ' dubhar- 
lus,' and 'durlus,' from 'dobhar,' water, and 'lus,' plant — -'biolair 
Moire,' water-cress of Mary. It was much prized, and was used as 
food, as medicine, and as an occult agent. 

Bionn, symmetrical, well-featured, beauteous. The word occiu-s in tlie 
following old chorus : — 

' Is binne liom a guth na'n smeoracli More sweet to me her voice than mavis 

Air na lointibh ri la ciuin ; On the plains in summer time ; 
Ho rao leannan, he mo leannan. Ho my love, he my love. 

Is i mo leannan an te bhionn.' My love she is the beauteous maid. 

Possibly ' bionn ' is a form of ' fionu,' fair. 

Bilh-eulrom, light-element, the lift, the atmosphere, the lieavens ; from 
' bith,' world, globe, element, and ' eutrom,' liglit, buoyant, volatile. 
Tlie nearest term to this known to me is ' bith-braonach,' dewy- 
world, a term which occurs in a lament composed bj' a maiden on 
her lover slain by her three brothers. The song is very old and 
very beautiful. It was sung to a weird old air by a girl in the 
island of Miunghlaidh (Mingalay), Barra, in August 1868. As the 
girl reliearsed the history and sang the song her fine features 
glowed with subdued animation .-ind sympathy for the distressed 
maiden. 

' Tha mo ghradh 's a gharadh lios. My lover is in the garden of flowers, 

De mu tha, chan ann le fios. But if he is it is not with knowledge, 

Marcaich an eich chrudhaich ghlais. Rider of the well-shod grey steed, 

Shiubhlainn am bith-braonach leis. I would travel the dewy-world with him. 

Blianach, a fish, bird, or beast that has died from want or from disease ; 
from ' blian,' blanch. In Uist ' blianach,' ' blianadh,' is applied to 
exhausted land, especially to mossy land and to land overlaid with 
drift-sand or shell-sand. 



232 NOTES 

Bliochd, milk, whey, wliey when in the curd ; skimmed milk, sour 
milk, milk that has lost any of its original character. In Assynt 
' bliochd ' or ' bleachd ' is the general term for dairy produce. 
E. Ir. 'mlicht,' cognate with English 'milk.' 

Bochd, poor, indigent, weak, sick. In the islands of Barra, ' bochd,' 
poor, is declined in the same manner as ' boc,' a buck. ' Is misde 
na buic a bhi lionar ' — Worse are the poor for being numerous. 
' Na beirt a dol a suas, na buic a dol a sios ' — The rich going up, 
the poor going down. 

Bochuin, swelling, bursting, protruding ; from ' bochd,' swell. The 
month of May is called ' mi bochuin,' ' mios buchuin,' the month 
of swelling. May is also known as ' mi Moire,' ' mios Moire,' the 
month of Mary, and ' buchuin Moire,' the swelling of Mary. 

Bochuin, the sea, the ocean. 

Bochuin, the ripple at the bow of a moving boat. 

Boisileag, palmful, a small palmful of water ; from ' bois,' ' bas,' the 
palm of the hand ; hence ' basaidh,' a basin, ' baslach,' the full of 
the two palms placed side by side. 

Brae, curve, the curve of the wave immediately before breaking. 

Bmc, a bellow, the roar of the stag. 

Brae, branch, applied to the horns of the deer. 

Brae, reindeer, red-deer, fallow-deer, deer in general. (Vol. i. p. 52 fi.) 
The reciter, Catherine Mackintosh, said that ' brae ' was ' creatair 
mor bracach 's na duthchan thall ' — a big branchy-horned creature 
in the countries beyond (the sea). The reindeer was in Scotland 
till tlie beginning of the thirteenth century, probably later, and 
reindeer moss grows on the Scottisli mountains. The reindeer is 
implied in the following fairy lullaby, known as ' Bainne nam 
fiadh ' :— 

' Air bainne nam fiadh a thogadh mi. On milk of deer I was reared. 

Air bainne nam fiadh a shealbhaich. On milk of deer was nurtured. 

Air bainne nam fiadh fo dhruim nan On milk of deer beneath the ridge 

sian, of storms. 

Air bharr nan sliabh 's nan garbhiach.' On crest of hill and mountain. 

The late J. G. Campbell, minister of Tiree, held that a race 
similar to the Lapps lived in Scotland about the Glacial period. 

In 18G9 the writer ojiened an underground house at Valacuidh, 
North Uist. In 1871 the late Iain F. Campbell of Islay accompanied 
him to see it. Mr Campbell was familiar with Lajips .and Lapp 



NOTES 233 

dwellings, and he said that this underground structure was entirely 
similar to those of the Lapps. Fragments of horns, bones, shells, 
and other debris found in the house were submitted to Sir Richard 
Owen, who discovered bits of reindeer horns and bones among 
them. ' Brae,' is mentioned in the following fragment, evidently 
the composition of one of the Macdonalds of the Isles, several of 
whom were poets : — 

' A nighean righ nan roiseal Thou daughter of the king of bright-lit 

soluis, mansions. 

An oidhche bhios oirnne do On the night that thy wedding is 

bhanais, on us. 

Ma 's fear beo mi an Duntuilm If living man I be in Duntulm 

Theid mi toirleum da d'earrais. I will go bounding to thee with gifts. 

Gheobh tu eiad bruicean tadhal Thou wilt get an hundred badgers dwellers 

bruach, in banks, 

Ciad dobhran donn, dualaeh allt. An hundred brown otters native of streams, 

Gheobh tu ciad damh alliiidh Thou wilt get an hundred wild stags that 

nach tig will not come 

Gu innis ard ghleannaidh. To the green pastures of the high glens. 

Gheobh tu ciad steud stadach. Thou wilt get an hundred steeds stately 

luath, and swift, 

Ciad brae bruaill an t-sarahraidh. An hundred reindeer intractable in summer, 

'S gheobh tu ciad maoUseach And thou wilt get an hundred liuminelled 

maol, ruadh, red hinds, 

Nach teid am buabhall am That will not go in stall in the Wolfmonth 

Faoilleach geamhraidh.' of winter. 

A few miles south-west of Inveraray there is a hill called 
' Barr nam brae,' ' Barr a bhrac ' — Ridge of the deer, ridge of the 
reindeer. 

Biac/ul, putrescence, putrefaction, effervescence, fermentation. 
' Braieh,' malt ; ' braicheadh,' malting ; ' brachadh,' ' braehach,' 
' braehag,' and other forms. ' Brachd ' assumes the form of 
' bruchd,' a term applied in the Outer Isles to the red seaweed 
cast on the shore and collected in heaps and allowed to ferment. 
' Bruchda dubh,' ' bruga dubh,' black putrefaction. 

Brachd, fat, rich, generous. 

Bradan, salmon. The simple term is confined to the salmo salar, but 
qualified it is applied to the turbot and the sturgeon. The turbot 
is called 'bradan brathain,' round salmon, quern-like salmon, 
while the sturgeon is called ' bradan leatiiann,' broad salmon, 
' bradan bacach,' lialting salmtui, and ' bradan cearr ' or ' gearr,' 



234 NOTES 

left-sided or broad salmon. ' Stireaii ' and ' stiorasg ' are modifica- 
tions of the English sturgeon. Like the salmon proper, the 
sturgeon ascends rivers to spawn. 

' Bradan breithinn ' — the salmon of knowledge touched by Fionn. 
It is ominous to see a dead fish when going to fish, to see a 
a dead bird when going to shoot, or to see a dead beast when 
going to hunt. (Vol. i. p. 314.) Even sickly, weakly, maimed, 
or old persons were shunned when going to fish, shoot, or hunt, 
and men otherwise shrewd and sensible would turn home in 
displeasure if such crossed their path. Were a woman with red 
hair to meet them their mutterings would be deep and long. 
This is the colour of hair attributed to Judas Iscariot, for whom 
the people have a personal hatred. 
Bralh, doom, judgment. ' Gu brath,' till doom, for ever ; ' La Bhrath,' 
Day of Judgment. The ' Clacha Brath ' of lona were put round, 
and as long as they continued to move the Day of Judgment 
woiUd not come. 

Brclth, a quern, handmill, anything round, anything that has no end. 
' Bonnach brathain,' a round bannock ; ' bradan brathain,' a round 
salmon, turbot ; ' liabag bhrathain,' round flounder. 

Breideag, breideachag, little woman of the kertoh ; from ' breid,' 
kertch, ' breideach,' kertched. 

Breun, sour, acid, fermented, putrid. ' Bainne breun,' soured milk, 
fermented milk. Travellers in Greece, Palestine, Syria, and 
other pastoral countries of the East, speak of the soured, fermented 
milk used by the people of those lands. The traveller in Uist 
may probably be offered milk similarly affected, but may not be 
able to take it. Seeing this, the kindly woman will say, ' Cha 
toigh leibh bainne breun ? ' — You do not like soured milk ? Our 
men prefer it sour, and the more sour the more they like it.' 

Throughout tlie Shetland Isles whey is soured and used as 
a beverage under the name of 'bliind.' Cf. the 'koumiss' of 
otlier countries. 

Brian, bnain, angel, arcliangel, god, divinity, hence god of evil ; a 
term of exclamation. ' A bhriain ! ' thou god ! ' a bhriain 
Mhicheil ! ' thou god 'Michael ! ' 'a bhriain Choibhi ! ' thou god 
Coivi ! ' a bhrian dhonais ! ' thou demon god ! Cf. Gaulish Brennos, 
also Brian, one of the 'tri dee dana,' three gods of fate. See 
Rliys' Hibherl Lectures. 



NOTES 235 

Brianain, Breannun, Brendan. St Brendan was a voyager going 
long journeys west and north in his missionary zeal. According 
to Matthew Arnold's short poem on St Brendan, the saint saw 
Judas Iscariot sitting on an iceberg in the far nortli. On inquiry 
he found that on account of his having given his cloak to a beggar, 
Judas was allowed an hour's respite from burning pain, and 
selected an iceberg as likely to be the most comfortable place. 

Malcolm Maclean, smith, Ceanntangval, Barra, said that 
Brendan asked to be buried beside his beloved ' anam-chai'a,' 
soul friend, Moluag in Lismore, and tiiat this was done. Malcolm 
Maclean, who was a man of quiet wit, natural intelligence, and 
independence of mind, told me the following story : — - 

A man called ' Domhull Dubh,' sometimes ' Domhull Dubh 
Mor,' dwelt at Baile-na-creige, near St Brendan's church and 
burial-place in Barra. 

Domhull Dubh had opinions of his own about Saints and 
Saints' Days, in consequence of which he and the priest of 
St Brendan had occasional rubs, sometimes bordering on anger- 
The man was neighbourly and industrious, but some said sceptical 
and irreligious, barely observing the Sunday, and hardly even the 
Feast Day. 

On the day of the holy Brendan, when others becomingly 
went to nn)rning mass, Domliull Dubh went away to plough. 
He chose a hollow out of sight, where he thought he might 
work unseen and unmolested of man, or of woman, or of tell-tale 
child, not thinking that the eye of Brendan would see him, nor 
that the wrath of Brendan woidd be upon him for disturbing his 
rest and breaking his day. 

No sooner had Domhull Dubh called his horses to go on than 
a 'ceo draoi,' magic mist, came down, dark as the shroud) of death, 
hiding the horses before him, and the ' crom-nan-gad,' single 
plough, in his hand. Feeling that he had offended the Saint, he 
called on his name : — 

' A Bhrianain ! a Bhrianain ! Brendan ! O Brendan ! 

Tog dhiom an ceo. ' Lift off nie the mist. 

The ft)g lifted, but instead of liis stout, steady, short-eared, long- 
maned, long-tailed garrons, he had but slim, frail, long-eared, 
short-maned, shoit-tailed asses before him in the furrow, and 
instead of his plough he had now but his wife's distaff in his hand, 
while he himself had dwindled down to a mere manikin no bigger 
than a dwarf. Domhull Dubh Mor marvelled much at the 



236 NOTES 

transformation, and was soi'ely perplexed what to do. But, 
thinking to make the best of the worst, he called to the asses to 
go on. Immediately the magic mist came down, rendering the 
light around him as black as the sea around the cuttle-fish, hiding 
the asses in front, and the distaff in his hand. Again he called on 
the Saint : — 

' A Bhrianain ! a Bhrianain ! Brendan ! O Brendan ! 

A dheoin Dliia 's a mhiann dliaoiue, With God's will and men's wish. 
Tog dhioni an ceo. ' Lift from me the fog. 

The fog cleared away, but instead of the asses and the distaff he 
had now long-eared, maneless, tailless coneys in front of him, and 
his wife's spindle in his hand, while he himself was no bigger than 
a fairy man of the knoll. Domhull Dubh marvelled much at the 
transformation, and was sorely perplexed what to do. He, 
however, began again to plough, but again the magic mist 
descended. Being now convinced that he had offended the Saint, 
he earnestly called upon his name in contrition of heart : — 

' A Bhrianain ! a Bhrianain ! Bi-endan ! O Brendan ! 

Eisd ri mo bhriathran. Listen to my prayer, 

A dheoin Dhia 's a mhiann dhaoine, With God's will and men's desire. 

Tog dhiora an ceo.' Lift from me the fog. 

Domhull Dubh Mor having shown repentance of soul and a spirit 
of prayer, the fog lifted up, and instead of the coneys and the 
spindle he had now his own sturdy garrons in front of him and 
his own good plough in his hand, and he himself, from being as 
small as a fairy man of the knoll, was become himself again. 

When Domhull Dubh Mor fomid that he could not contend 
against the Saint, he was much cast down, and wended his way 
home ' fo naire, 's fo mhasladh 's fo rudha gruaidh ' — under shame, 
and disgrace, and flushing of cheek. His neighbours found him 
out and mocked him, while his best friends upbraided him, saying 
that it was futile for a sinner to contend against a Saint, and that 
he deserved all that had come upon him, and more, for disturbing 
the rest of the blessed Brendan, and breaking his holy day. But 
there was one who did not upbraid Domhull Dubh Mor, but who 
cleaved to him the more closely the more he was reviled, and who 
sang in her heart if not with her voice : — 

' My loving dark-haired one, 
Let sharp tongues assail thee, 
One heart will not fail thee 
That knows to be true. 



NOTES 



237 



Dark-haired one, dark-haired one. 
Though poor, poor we be. 
No rich old man could please rae 
Like thee, love, like thee.' 

The comely young wife of Domhull Dubh ran to tlie priest, and 
besought him for the sake of the Holy Motlier, the Virgin of 
sorrows, to come and sprinkle 'the water' on Domhull, and 
remove from him the ban of Brendan. 

' Let Domhull Dubh Mor revel in liis agony,' said the priest, 
' till he shows by his good deeds contrition for his evil ways.' But 
the good priest c;ime notwitlistanding, and, after administering a 
rebuke to Domhull Dubh, sprinkled on him the water of peace, 
and bade him go and give alms to the poor and the needy made 
in the image of God, and sin no more. 

'Chunna Brianain Domhull Dubh, 
Is faide an la an diugh na 'n de, 
Ge mor 's gun cunnta tu dha 

d' ni 
Is beag ara pris an tigh Mhic 

De. 



Brendan saw Black Donald, 

Longer is to-day than (was) yesterday. 

How many soever thou wouldst count 

of thy flocks. 
Small is their price in the house of 

God's Son. 



Cha dean mis, no ciob, no uan, 
Cha dean curachd, buain, no feur, 
Cha dean marc, no earc, no buar, 
Dhusa buanachd la an eug. 

Tha suil Bhrianain ort am muig, 
Tlia chruth a dubhradh ort 's an 

neul, 
Tha chlaidhe geur a chon do sgruid, 
Ann an taigh na diumb 's na pein. 

Treig a dhaolaire do chealg, 
Treig do mhearrachain is do 

bhreuig. 
An tearapull De dean-sa t' earb. 

An deachu fial 's an nasgu deirc. 

Threig an t-aithreachan a chearb. 
Thill chon tearmad teach Mhic 

De, 
Air altair fein thug deirc dha ainm, 

'S bha ait is aoibh air ainghle 
nearah. ' 



No goat, no sheep, no Iamb, 
No sowing, no reaping, no grass. 
No horse, no cow, no cattle. 
Shall avail thee on the day of death. 

The eye of Brendan is on thee in frown. 
His form is darkening on thee in the 

cloud. 
His sword is sharp to scourge thee. 
In the house of wrath and pain. 

Forsake, thou grub, thy deception. 
Forsake thine errors and thine evil 

ways. 
In the temple of God place thou thy 

reliance. 
In liberal tithes and in free alms. 

The penitent forsook his errors. 

He sought the protection of the house 

of God's Son, 
On His own altar he gave alms to His 

name. 
And there was joy and delight on the 

angels of heaven. 



238 NOTES 

In the Roman Catholic isles of the West the Sunday is more 
observed, and the Saints' Days are less observed than was the 
case some years ago. 

A Protestant girl from South Uist married a miller in South 
Harris. Some time after the marriage a Roman Catholic companion 
of the young wife came to visit them. On Sunday the miller and 
his wife went to church, and, there being no Roman Catliolic 
service in Harris, the friend stayed at home. On their return from 
church the young couple found their guest busily baking. The 
young wife chided her friend, who replied, in much astonishment : 
' O Mhoire ! Mhoire ! nach tu tha gun doigh a nighean ! A Righ ! 
chunna mise mnathan <a bhail againn fhein a fuinne La Feile gun 
ghuth air La Domhnach ! ' O Mary ! Mary ! art not thou the 
girl without reason ! King ! I saw the women of oiu* own townland 
baking on a Saint's Day, to say nothing of the Lord's Day ! ' 

Broth, breast, breast-bone, stem of ' brollach,' breast. Cf. ' broth,' 
eruption, rash, pimples, swollen, projecting ; hence 'duine brothach,' 
a man swollen up with anger, pride, or from some other cause. 

Bwi-dearg, red swelling ; ' burn dearg,' red water ; ' galar dearg,' red 
disease ; ' earna dhearg,' ' earnach dhearg,' red murrain ; ' earna 
dhubh,' ' earnach dhubh,' black murrain. The red and the black 
murrain are two stages of this disease, which is produced by several 
causes. On the mainland it is generally caused by the cattle eating 
the young leaves of shrubs and trees, especially the bog myrtle, the 
alder, and the birch, and by drinking water impregnated with 
them. In the Isles the disease is caused chiefly by eating the 
sundew {drosera rotiindifolid). Wherever sundew prevails red 
pleura is common. A place in South Uist is known as ' Bogach na 
fala,' marsh of blood, from the |irevalence of sundew and its 
deadly effects. 

Bun-Jeann, hun-feam, buii-feainiin, rumj>-tail, root of the rump. A wolf 
was destroying the sheep of the crofters of Kintail. Two old men 
went to kill it. One entered the den of the wolf, while the other 
stood guarding the entrance. When the wolf came home the man 
at the entrance seized him by the tail as he was entering his den 
and held him fast. The man within called out : — 
' 'lUeChriost chaim. One-eyed Gillchrist, 

Co dhruid an toll ? ' Who closed the hole ? 

The other answered : — 

' Ma bhriseas am bun-feann, If the rurap-tail should break, 

Bith fios sin aig do sgall. ' Thy skull shall know that. 



NOTES 239 

Bum, water. In Sccits and English the Gaelic 'burn' means a river, 
and occurs as a river-name, as do also the Gaelic ' uisg,' ' abhuinn,' 
in Esk, Avon, and other forms. 

' Burn ' is used in the following lullaby : — 

' Brochan buirn, buirn, buirn. Porridge of water, water, water, 

Brochan buirn gheobh mo leanabh, Porridge of water shall my child get, 

'N uair a bheireas a bho rahaol, When the hummel eow shall calve 

Gheobh mo ghaol brochan bainne.' My darling shall get porridge of milk. 



CaiUeac/i, a woman, a single woman, an old woman, a carlin, a woman 
without offspring, a nun ; the counterpart of ' bodach,' carle ; also 
a supernatural of malign influence dwelling in dark caves, woods, 
and corries ; a period of time. 

' Cailleach uisg,' water woman, water carlin ; akin to the ' bean 
nigh,' ' uraisg,' ' peallaidh,' and many other water divinities with 
which the old Highlanders invested their lakes, streams, and 
waterfalls. The term 'cailleach uisg' is ap])lied to a diseased potato 
containing only water. According to some people, 'cailleach' as 
a period of time is the first week of April, and is represented as 
a wild hag with a venomous temper, hurrying about with a magic 
wand in her withered hand switching the grass and kcejnng down 
vegetation, to the detriment of man and beast. When, however, 
the grass upborne by the warm sun, the gentle dew, and the 
fragrant rain overcomes the 'cailleach,' she flies into a terrible 
temper, and throwing away her wand into the root of a whin bush, 
she disappears in a whirling cloud of angry passion till the 
beginning of April comes again, saying as she goes : — 

• Dh' f hag e mhan mi, dh' fhag e It escaped me below, it escaped me 

'n ard mi, above, 

Dh' fhag e eadar rao dha lamh mi. It escaped me between my two hands, 

Dh' fhag e bial mi, dh' fhag e cul It escaped me before, it escaped me 

mi, behind, 

Dh' fliag e cadar mo dha shul mi. It escaped me between my two eyes. 

Dh' fhag e shios mi, dh' fhag e It escaped me down, it escaped me 

shuas mi, up, 

Dh'fhag e eadar mo dha chluasmi. It escaped me between my two ears, 

Dh' fhag e thall mi, dh' fhag e It esciiped me thither, it escaped me 

bhos mi, hither, 

Dh' fhag e eadar mo dha chos mi. It escaped me between my two feet. 



240 NOTES 

Thilg mi 'n slacan druidh donai I threw my driiidic evil wand 

Am bun preis crin cruaidh Into tlie base of a withered hard whin 

conuis, bush. 

Far nach fas fionn na foiii- Where sliall not grow ' fionn ' nor ' foin- 

nidh, nidh,' 

Ach fracan froinnidh feurach.' But fragments of grassy ' froinnidh.' 

Cairn, cam, a loop, a curve, a circle, a sanctuary, an imaginary circle 
described with the hand round himself by a person in fear, danger, 
or distress. 

' Caim,' a sanctuary, is a term of frequent occurrence among 
the people, as — ' caim Dhe,' the sanctuary of God ; ' caim Chriosd,' 
the encompassing of Christ ; 'caim Mhoire mhin,' the encircling of 
the gentle Mary, and many other forms. ' Rinn mi caim Mhoire 
orm fein,' I made the sanctuary of Mary on myself. ' Rinn mi caim 
na Cro-Naoimhe,' I made the sanctuary of the Sacred Heart. This 
making of the sanctuary is not confined to illiterates nor to 
Catholics. A distinguished scholar and rigid Protestant told me 
that he often found himself unconsciously making the 'caim.' 

I had the following story from a woman who evidently accepted 
it in its literal aspect : — 

A maiden, tending her father's flocks, met a ' lasgaire loinneil,' 
handsome young man, on the lone hillside. The man pressed his 
suit upon the maiden ; but though pleased with his appearance, 
and charmed with his manner, she kept shy of him, and tried to 
evade him. He asked her to lift some of the sheep droppings 
rolling down towards them, and to satisfy him she did so, and lo ! 
they became balls of glittering gold, shining and sparkling in the 
bright light of the sun, like the fireflies of night. The youth told 
the maiden that this was only a small part of what he could do for 
her ; and, pressing his suit the hai-der, asked her to meet him again. 

But through her long downcast eyelashes the girl thought that 
she could discern what seemed like hoofs instead of feet, witii clay 
in their crevices and earth on their edges, and there appeared also 
to be fragments of ' rabhagach,' water-reeds, in his moist hair, and 
she feared in her heart that he might be the ' each-uisge,' water- 
horse, of which her mother had warned her. The maiden was 
sore afraid, and, fearing to say ' No,' tremblingly promised to 
meet the man again. 

On getting home the girl told her mother, and her mother told 
her father, and her father told the ' pears-eaglais,' priest. ' It is 
the devil with his lures,' said the good jn-iest, ' and we must meet 



NOTES 241 

him stoutly. I myself \vill go with thee and with thy daughter, 
and I will bring the Book, and we will make the blessed sanctuary.' 

They went, and the priest took the Book, and made the ' caim ' 
in Name of the Sacred Three, and of the sanctified saints, and of 
the siidess angels. 

Presently the young man arrived, clothed from head to heel 
in finest garb and gaudiest array, and right full of seductive smiles 
and enticing words. He tried to come near them, and went round 
and round three successive times, but could not come through the 
' caim Chriosda chaoimh ' — sanctuary of Christ the kindly. 

And again, and again, and yet again the prideful young man 
tried to come near, but again, and again, and yet again failed 
because of tlie blessed 'caim.' Then the big cock crowed, and 
the young man, defeated, fled vrith a roar, flames of forkling fire 
more deadly than the fangs of the serpent issuing from his ears, 
eyes, nostrils, and heels, and showing his form anew. 

The aflrighted girl, trembling like the leaf of the aspen tree^ 
looked in her hand, and lo ! the erstwhile pellets of glittering 
gold were become filth, and in disgust she threw them away. 

' Is e'n tarbh baoidhre bh'ann, a ghraidh mo chridhe, agus caim 
losa Mine Mhoire mhin bin cadar siniie agus e agus gach gniomh 
graineil agus gach bair duaichnidh.' — ' It was the bull of lust, thou 
love of my heart, and may the sanctuary of Jesus the Son of the 
gentle Mary be between us and him and each unsightly thing and 
unseemly strife.' 

' Cam ' and its inflections occur in the names of many places 
widely apart, as ' Caim,' a bay, and also a stream, in Arasaig, and 
the hamlet of ' Bun-na-caime ' ; ' Caim,' a river in Rannoch ; 
' Cam,' the river upon which Cambridge stands ; and ' Camel,' 
'cam-thuil,' crooked flood, a river in Cornwall. 

From 'cam' comes ' cambar,' a place of burial. 

There is a place of burial called ' Cambar ' in the island of 
St KUda, and another in the island of Bearnaray, Harris. 

The daughter of a widow in North Uist died in Bearnaray. 
The weather being stormy and the people unable to bury the girl 
among her kindred, the distressed mother appealed to Columba : — 

' A Chahim-chille an Sannda, Oh ! Columba in Sannda, 

Nar leig mo laogh an Charabar ! Allow not my love to Cambar. 

There is a dedication to Columba in Sannda, North Uist, in 
which three chiefs of the Macdonalds of the Isles are buried, 
VOL. II. Q 



242 NOTES 

including ' Gilleaspa Dubh/ Black Archibald, who murdered his 
two brothers to clear his own path to the chiefship. 

Caimeineach, caimineach, saving, economical ; from ' caimeiii,' ' caimin,' 
small. 

Caimldetichadii, cuingleaciiadh, restraining, confining, hemming in, en- 
trapping ; ' caimh,' ' caimhil,' to confine ; ' caimhleachadh chaorach,' 
hemming in sheep ; ' caimleachadh bhreac,' guddling trout. 

Caimir, a fold, a stockade in which flocks were safeguarded ; a sanctuary. 

Caiti, white, clear, bright, fair, pure. 

Cairbre. This is a frequent name in Gaelic lore. In Gaelic mythology, 
'Cairbre' is the name of the hero who carried the souls of the 
men slain in battle to ' flathanas,' heaven. 

' Cairbre ' means a charioteer, from ' cairb,' a chariot, a thing 
that carries. 

It was customary to place a wax candle, a gold coin, a hammer, 
and a pair of scales with the body in the grave. The candle was 
to light the pilgrim 'thar abhuiini dubh a bhais,' across the black 
river of death, tlie coin to pay ' duais a asgair,' the services of the 
ferryman ; the hammer, ' chon bualadh dorus nam flathas,' to 
knock at the door of heaven ; and the scales, 'chon cothromachadh 
an anama,' to weigh the soul. 

Some years ago the Atlantic waves exposed to view a grave 
in Cladh Aruinn, an ancient burial-plot in the small island of 
Keilligrey, in the Sound of Harris. The grave contained a large 
skeleton, a small hammer, and a pair of small scales. 

Candlesticks have also been found in graves. 

When the news reached the people of Lismore that their 
beloved St Moluag was dead, twenty-four of the strongest men of 
the island travelled to Ardclach and brought home the body and 
buried it beneath the altar of his church in the centre of the 
churchyard. About the close of last century, while opening a 
grave about this place, a tripod gold candlestick was found. 
Calcined bones, stones, and wood came up in tlie debris where the 
tripod was discovered. The church, crowded with people, had 
been burned by the Norsemen. The tripod may have formed 
part of the altar furnishing of the church, or it may have been 
buried with St Moluag. It is said to have been plain, but 
beautifully formed. The people gave the candlestick to the 
highly popular General Campbell of Lochnell. What became 



NOTES 243 

of it at the dispersion of the general's extensive collection is 
not known. Some of his things went to the British Museum. 
The authorities of the Museiun allowed the writer to examine 
candlesticks in their possession, some of which had been found in 
graves, but they did not know whether tlie candlestick of St 
Moluag was among them. 

Cairo, flesh, a person. 

Cairdc, convenient, suitable, appropriate ; as being of kin. 

Caisean-nchd, a strip of skin from the breast of a sheep killed at 
Christmas, New Year, and other sacred festivals. The strip is 
oval, and no knife must be used in removing it from the flesh. 
It is carried by the carollcrs when they visit the houses of the 
townland, and when lit by the head of the house it is given to 
each person in turn to smell, going sunwise. Should it go out, 
it is a bad omen for the person in whose hand it becomes 
extinguished. 

The inhaling of the fumes of the burning skin and wool is a 
talisman to safeguard the family from fairies, witches, demons, 
and other uncanny creatures, during the year. 

Two such strips were placed face to face to form a bag. 
Probably this was the 'uilim,' the sacred bag for alms. (Vol. i. 
p. 126 /f.) 

Caitliris, wake, watch, harass ; the labour recpiired of a crofter holding 
under a tacksman. 

Throughout the Highlands and Islands the chiefs and pro- 
prietors generally rented out large tracts of land to relatives, 
connections, and friends. These were called ' fir gabhail,' 
gavelkind men, ' fir baile,' townland men, tacksmen, in Ireland 
middlemen. The tacksmen retained the best land in their own 
immediate possession, sub-letting the remainder to tenants of 
varying degrees at exorbitant rents. Besides exacting high rents, 
the tacksman exacted labour — so many days from each crofter 
throughout the year. It would not be profitable, were it possible, 
to describe these things here. The reader interested can find 
them in Travels in the Western Isles, by the Rev. John Lane 
Buchanan, and other works. 

The lot of the crofter holding under the proprietor might be 
hard enough, but that of the crofter holding mider the tacksman 
was infinitely harder. This wrung from the hearts of the people 



244 NOTES 

many sayings, as, ' Gille ghille is measa na'n diobhal ' — The servant 
of the servant is worse than the devil. 

' Is don an gabhalach. Bad is the tenancy, 

Ach tha don an donuis But the evilness of the evil one 

Anns an ath-ghabhalach.' Is in the sub-tenancy. 

In many extensive districts cleared of people the proprietor 
was able to say that he never had crofters in these places. This 
was true in word but not in spirit, the crofters having been the 
sub-tenants, or the sub-sub-tenants, of the proprietor's tenant. 

Calanas, wool or flax or silk working, from the raw material to the 
finished cloth. The women of the Highlands are famous at 
' calanas,' the first crow of the old cock being their call to morning 
prayer and ' eident calanas.' There are crofter houses in the 
West in which from ten to twenty pairs of blankets are laid past 
apart from the current requirements of the household. These 
become useful when the daughters of the family are getting 
married. (Vol. i. p. 294 /.) 

Cahim-cille, St Columba, was probably the greatest man that Ireland 
ever produced. He was a man of splendid presence, and had 
a magnificent voice, and a wonderful fascination over the minds 
of men. For several centuries Columba was the patron saint of 
Scotland, till superseded in the south by St Andrew, through the 
influence of Margaret, the Saxon wife of Malcolm Canmore. He 
is still virtually the patron saint of the Highlands, and is held 
in the highest veneration. Thursday of the second week of June 
is sacred to Colimiba, and by implication every Thursday 
throughout the year is propitious for man, beast, and enterprise. 
This is expressed in many sayings. Even the furies, the fairies, 
the witches, the people of the evil eye, and of druidry, were 
powerless for evil on Thursday. Oblation cakes are baked for 
St Columba's Day as for other festivals. (Vol. i. pp. 162, 163.) 

St Columba's reliquary, the ' breac-beannach,' speckled peaked 
one, was intrusted to the keephig of the Abbey of Arbroath, and 
from about 1420 its custodians were the Irvines of Drum in 
Aberdeenshire. It is now at Monymusk. 

Caoibean, the five or six inches of warp uncrossed by the weft at 
the beginning of the web ; 'caob,' a piece. 

Caoincag, caoinleag, caoineac/iag, cnoinleachag, caoidhcag, weeper. 



NOTES 245 

mourner ; from ' caoin,' weep, and ' caoidh/ mourn. These names 
are applied to the naiad who foretells the death of and weeps 
for those slain in combat. Unlike ' nigheag,' ' caoineag ' cannot 
be approached nor questioned. She is seldom seen, but often 
heard in the liOl, in the glen, and in the corrie, by the lake, by 
the stream, and by the waterfall. Her mourning and weeping 
cause much trepidation to night-farers, and much anxiety to 
parents whose sons are in the wars. Wlien a mournful cry is 
heard, and the remark is made, ' Co tha sid ? ' — Who is that .'' the 
answer invariablj' is, ' Co ach caoineachag ' — Who but ' caoineachag.' 
' Co <ach caoineachag bheag a bhroin ' — Who but little * caoineachag ' 
of the sorrow. The sorrowing of ' caoineachag ' was much feared 
before a foray, an expedition, or an impending battle. It is said 
that she was heard during several successive nights before the 
Massacre of Glencoe. This roused the suspicions of the people, 
and notwithstanding the assurance of the peace and friendship 
of the soldiery, many of the people left the glen and thus escaped 
the fate of those who remained. Fragments of the dirges sung 
by 'caoineachag ' before the massacre are current in that valley 
of the dark shadow of death ; — 

' Tha caoineachag bheag a bhroin. Little ' oaoine.ichag ' of tlie sorrow 

A dortadh deoir a sula. Is pouring the tears of her eyes, 

A gul 's a caoidh cor Clanii Weeping and wailing the fate of 

Domhuill, Clandonald. 

Fath nio leoin ! nach d' eisd an Alas my grief! that ye did not heed 

cumha.' her cries. 

' Tha caoidh us caoineadh am bcinn lliere is gloom and grief in the mount 

a cheo, of mist, 

Tha gul is glaodhaich am beinn a Tlicre is weeping and calling in the 

cheo, mount of mist, 

Tha bur is baoghal, tha raurt is There is death and danger, there is 

maoghal, maul and murder, 

Tha fuil ga taomadh am beinn a There is blood spilling in the mount of 

cheo." mist. 

Caor, red, red beri'ies, red sparkles, red bodies of a globular form ; 
probably from ' era,' red, crimson. ' Caora teine,' fire sparkles ; 
' tha an duine na chaoire dearga teine,' the man is in red 
sparkles of fire. ' Caor,' is specially apjilied to the berry of the 
mountain ash, it being the most common. The berry as well 
as the wood of the mountain ash was used to safeguard animals, 
and especially to avert mishap to bearing animals — 

VOL. IL Q 2 



246 NOTES 

' Lair dhubh bhreabach, A black mare a-kicking, 

Feadh nan creagan, Among the rocks. 

Lair dhubh bhreabach, A black mare a-kicking, 
'S i na ruith.' And she a-running. 

' Lan an duirn de chaora dearga A handful of red rowan berries 
Chum a teanacsa. To safeguard her, 

'Sina ruith.' And she a-running. 

Caorrann, caon'unn, rowan, mountain ash. 

The rowan was sacred, and used in many forms about the 
homestead. ' Failean caorruinn,' a rowan sucker, or ' flcasg 
caorruinn,' a rowan wand, was placed over the lintels of the barn, 
byre, stable, sheep-fold, and lamb-cot, as a safeguard against 
witchcraft and malicious spirits. A twig of rowan was coiled 
into a circlet and placed beneath the milk boynes to keep the 
milk from being spirited away. A fire of rowan was sacred, and 
therefore the festival cakes were cooked with rowan faggots or 
other sacred wood. 

A coffin, or a bier, or the spokes on which it was carried, was 
treated with especial reverence if made of the mountain ash. 

' A chraobh chaorrainn sin 's an dorus. Thou rowan tree before the door, 

Theid thu fotham-sa dh'an chill. Thou shall go imder me to the burial place, 

Cuirear m' aghaidh ri Dundealgan, My face shall be put toward Dundealgan, 

'S deantar dhomh-sa carbad grinn.' And a beautiful bier shall be made for me. 

Carr, cairr, flesh, coarse flesh, the flesh of the seal and the whale, 
which is of a peculiarly rich carmine colour ; the udder, the 
glandular organ in which the milk of mammals is collected ; 
shingle on mountain-tops. 

' Is fearr a bhi dubh na bhi donn. Better be black than be brown. 

Is fearr a bhi donn na bhi ban. Better be brown than be fair. 

Is fearr a bhi ban na bhi ruadh. Better be fair than be red, 

Ni bheil air an ruadh Nothing can be said for the red 

Ach gur fearr e bhi shuas na But that 'tis better to be there than the 
charr.' flesh. 

Cas-chrom, bent-spade, the name of a spade much used in the Western 
Isles ; from ' cas,' leg, and ' crom,' bent. The * cas-chrom ' is 
well adapted for ground of tough surface, but not for ground 
already broken in and pulverised. 

Cat-cinn, inflorescence on shrubs and trees ; spots in the liair of 
animals. 

Càthaith, cleaning corn in the barn with two open doors opposite each 



NOTES 247 

other to cause a draught. If the corn is winnowed outside, 

' fasgnadh ' is the word used. 
Calhadh, cahha, cahhnadh, snow, snow - wreath, snow-drift, ' cabha- 

lair,' ground-drift ; ' cabha-sian,' a visible storm of rain, a white 

sheet of rain ; ' cabha-mara,' sea-drift. 
Cathu, calhudh, an offensive smell, especially fi'om fish newly salted, or 

from skate when becoming ' high.' 
Cc, in cruinne-cc, this present world. 
Cc, spouse, companion, friend, devotee. ' Thu thoir dhomh-sa mo 

ragha ce ' — You to give me my choice spouse. A form of ' ceile, 

spouse, partner. 
CI; Keith, St Keith. 

Ccabhar, ce'ar, sky, cloud, upper clouds, slight wind; 'ceairidh,' 
'ciridh,' cirrus clouds. 

The term is used in the story of the ' Gobhar Ghlas,' Grey 
Goat. During the absence of the goat the fox discovered the 
two kids carefully hid under the grass in the hollow by the 
mother when she left for the foraging. The fox ate the kids, 
and while they were still bleating in his stomach the goat 
returned. In answer to the distressful cry and reproachful looks 
of the mother the fox said : — 

' Air an dreighinn, air an dris, By the thorn, by the bramble. 

Air an uisge ruith 's an eas, By the water in the waterfall. 

Air an adhar os do chionn. By the sky above thine head. 

Air an talamh os do bhonn. By the earth beneath thy foot, 

Air a ghrian anns an iarm. By the sun in the firmament. 

Air a ghealach seachad siar. By the moon in its westing, 

Air na reultai anns a chi'ar. By the stars in the lift, 

Ni 'm facas riamh do chuid meann.' I never saw thy set of kids. 

This is a form of asseveration common among boys at play. 
One boy says to another : ' Tog do lamh agus thoir do mhionnan ' 
— Lift thine hand and give thine oath. The boy thus commanded 
repeats the lines of the fox. This oath is called 'mionnan a 
mhadaidh ruaidh/ the asseveration of the red dog ; and ' mionnan 
a mhadaidh ruaidh dh'an ghobhair ghlais,' the asseveration of 
the red dog to the grey goat. 

Ceacharra, obstreperous, unmanageable ; ' duine ceacharra,' head- 
strong man. M.Ir., 'cecharda,' miry ; dirty; stingy. 

Ceal, same, similar, similar colour, hue. 



248 NOTES 

Ceal, cliff, ridge ; ' na cealaichean/ ridge of cliffs. 

Ceal, end, finish, complete. ' Cuir ceal air,' put an end to it. 

Cearr-duhhan, the sacred beetle, the wrong or left-sided little black 
one. ' Cearradan,' ' cearrdaman,' ' cearraman,' ' cearran,' ' cearna- 
bhan,' ' ceard-dubhan,' seem to be forms of the ' cearr-dubhan.' 
It is also called ' cearr-fhiollan,' ' ceard-fliioUan,' ' cearrallan,' left- 
sided insect. Possibly the name should be ' gearr-dubhan,' 
' gearr-daolan,' thick-set black one, broad little beetle. (Vol. ii. 

p. 188/:) 

' Co ard 's gun seol an cearr-dubhan, However high the beetle soars. 
Is ann 's a ghlar a thuiteas e.' It is in the filth it falls. 

Ccasg, floss ; an animal with long flossy hair or wool, a sheep ; a 
supernatural creature of great beauty, half-woman half-grilse ; 
a fresh-water mermaid, with hair long and flossy. ' Ceasg lin,' 
a tuft of fine lint ; ' ceasg sioda,' a tuft of fine silk ; ' ceasg cloimhe,' 
a tuft of fine wool. 

Ceigeach, shaggy, having long matted hair ; a sheep, a goat. 

' Thug e leis a chul na creige He took with him behind the rock 

Chaora cheigeach an robh bhrigh.' The shaggy sheep of substance. 

' Dhannsadh na gobhair cheigeach. Dance would the shaggy goats, 

Mheigeach, bhailgean, Bleatful, spotted, 

Dhannsadh 's na minn bheaga. Dance would the little kids, 
'S bheiceadh ri na caUbhean.' And curtsey to the wattles. 

Ceitein, May, as now understood. There were at least four periods of 
time called ' Ceitein.' These were the ' Ceitein Earraich,' the 
Spring Ceitein ; ' Ceitein Samhraidh,' the summer Ceitein ; ' Ceitein 
Oinnsich,' foolish woman's Ceitein ; and ' Ceitein Geamhraidh,' 
the winter Ceitein. Probably there was a ' Ceitein Foghraidh,' 
autumn Ceitein, although it is not now known among the people ; 
or ' Ceitein Oinnsich,' Ceitein of the foolish woman, is probably 
a mistake for ' Ceitein Oinich,' liberal Ceitein, the Ceitein of 
autumn, when Nature was generous and food abundant. 

' Ceiid Diluain an raithe,' the first Monday of the quarter. This was 
a lucky day, a day of good omen for the people. In order to 
appease any evil spirits that might be hovering about in the air 
above or lurking about in the earth beneath, a living creature 
was thrust outside by the first person who rose in the morning, 
and the door shut again. The awaiting spirits seized the 
propitiatory sacrifice thus offered to them, which was generally 
a cock or hen, a drake or duck, or a cat, rarely a dog. If this 



NOTES 249 

offering to the night spirits were neglected, some mishap would 
occur. 

' A chiad Diluain dh'an gheamhradh The first Monday of the cold 
fhuar winter 

Is daor a phaigh mi duais nan Dearly did I pay the reward of the 

sealg — chase- 
Fear buidhe, ban, bu ro-ghlan The yellow-haired man of brightest 

snuadh hue 

Air taobh na beinne fuar 's e On the side of the mountain cold and 
marbh.' dead. 

Ceus-chrann, ceus-chrannd , passion-flower, crucifying tree ; from ' ceus,' 
crucify, and 'craim,' tree. The people say that drops of the 
sacred blood fell upon the plant at the foot of the Cross, and that 
hence the semblance of the cross on the flower and the name 
given to the plant. 

Cillorn, cilleorn, an urn, a sacred vessel. 

Cioh, sheep ; hence 'ciobair,' shepherd. The sheep has several names, 
as ' caora,' ' cire,' ' ceasg,' ' ai.' These are generic terms, the 
different kinds, sexes, and ages having special names. Modern 
critics of Highlanders allege that there were no sheep in the 
Highlands till they were introduced by Lowland farmers towards 
the end of the eighteenth century. The statement is as much 
opposed to truth as innumerable other statements from the same 
sources. Don Pedro de Agala, who wrote in 1498, speaks of 
the vast flocks of sheep in Scotland, and especially in the Highlands. 
Cosmo Innes and other writers confirm the statement. It is sur- 
prising, indeed, to find that there were such flocks of sheep, con- 
sidering the destruction to which they were exposed by wild-cats, 
pole-cats, marten-cats, foxes, wolves, and birds of prey. During the 
Commonwealth, a tax of one mark was levied on every sheep in 
Scotland. This pressed heavily on those who had large flocks of 
sheep. ' Iain dubh nan cath ' — Black John of the battles, as High- 
landers loved to call Montrose — abolished this impost. For this 
relief a grateful Highlander praises Montrose's great commander, 
Alexander Macdonald, better known to Highlanders as ' Alastair 
mac Cholla Chiotaich ' — Alexander, son of left-handed Coll : — 

* Dia leat, Alastair 'ic Cholla, God be with thee, Alexander son of Coll, 

Ismordothromadammeasgdhaona, Great is thy weight among men, 

Gloir dh'an Mhae thu thighinn a Praise to the Son that thou hast come 

dh'Alba, to Alban, 

Cha phaigh sinne marg air shealbh We shall not pay a mark for our sheep 

chaora.' flocks. 



250 NOTES 

Highlanders regard the sheep as blessed because Christ speaks of 
himself as the Shepherd, and of His people as His sheep. On 
this account they treat the sheep with loving care, and speak 
of it as of a familiar friend. 

Ciob, club-rush, flaky peat. 

Closan, diminutive of ' cios,' a basket. Scottish ' cassie.' The ' ciosan' 
is made of reeds, rushes, rib-grass, bent, bent roots, straw, hazel, 
birch, or willow. It is made in two forms. One form is small and 
circular, like a bee-hive. This is called 'ciosan mine,' meal 
basket. The other form is large and spherical, vrith an opening 
in the side. This is called ' ciosan cloimhe,' wool cassie. In 
Argyll this form is called 'murlag' and 'murlach.' Another form 
of wool basket is called ' ciarachan.' It is open at the top, 
bulges out in the middle, and again tapers in towards the base. 
Another kind of basket is called ' maois,' Anglicised maize. It 
is flat, oblong", or circular, and now made of willow, but formerly 
of reeds or rushes. Perhaps the term ' maois,' for basket, is from 
' Maois,' Moses, the law-giver, whose cradle was made of bulrushes. 
The ' maois ' is now made of one uniform size, and is principally 
used as a measure for herrings. 

The Shetland Isles, like the Outer Isles, being destitute of 
wood, the ' ciosan ' there, called ' caisie,' ' caizie,' is made of the 
stems of thistles, dockens, and ragwort. 

Cir, are, ciridh, sheep, a cud-chewing animal ; in use in the Outer 
Hebrides, and in the Isle of Man. 

Gir, comb. The comb was an article of importance in olden times. 
It is mentioned in the old tales and represented on the sculptured 
stones, and is found in the ancient cists among the bones of the 
dead. When thus found it indicates that the grave was that of 
a lady, probably of rank. Bride is frecjuently represented combing 
her golden hair, sometimes with a comb of gold and sometimes 
with a comb of silver. 

Citk, citke, cuithe, cuidhe, a mass, a quantity, a shower, a drizzle ; 
' cithe buirn,' a bank of water ; ' cithe sneachd,' a bank of snow ; 
' cithe ceo,' a bank of fog ; ' an cithe,' the mass, the world mass. 

Citheal, probably a form of ' ciall,' reason, prudence, wisdom. 

Cilhcal, cidheal, cibheal, ciall, giall, jaw, jaw-l>one. 



NOTES 251 

Clacharan, cloichirean, wheatear, stone-bird. The wheatear is facetiously 
called ' fear na Feill Padruig/ bird of the Feast of Patrick, because 
he appears then. The people speak of the wheatear as 'slant/ 
sained, as, they say, he lies dormant during winter. Ornithologists 
are not agreed on this point. It has not been the privilege of 
the \vTÌter to see the wheatear dormant, but he has conversed 
with several reliable men who assured him that they had so 
seen it. 

Donald MacMurdoch, crofter, Bailemeadhonach, Islay, said 
that he and his boys were clearing away a fail-dyke in mid- 
winter, when they came upon great numbers of wheatears in 
hollows in the turf. The birds were stiff and cold, and to all 
appearance dead. The boys took home a bonnetful of the 
wheatears and placed them on the floor round the fire. Bj' 
degrees the apparently dead birds began to show signs of 
returning life, and to rise to their feet, and to flap their wings, 
and to fly about, though evidently weak and dazed. Many flew 
out at the open door to fall witli the falling snow, others died, 
while some lived for several days. Donald MacMurdoch is a 
most intelligent man, and a very observant naturalist. 

Donald MacColl, foxlnniter, Glencreran, said that one winter, 
early in the century, a long stretch of undermined bank fell down 
on the road. Among the debris of roots, moss, and gravel there 
were masses of wheatears, apparently dead. There had been 
long-continued frost, followed by a sudden thaw and abnormal 
heat. The birds exposed to the warmtli of the sun showed signs 
of reviving life. Boys and girls took home many of the dormant 
birds and brought them to life before tiieir home fires. People 
from distant places came to see the strange phenomenon. Donald 
MacCtill visited the place several times, and he was an entirely 
trustworthy man and a minute observer. 

Clar, clarsack, harp, harp stave. The harp was common throughout 
the Highlands and Islands down to modern times. The poems 
and proverbs are full of sayings about harps and harpers : — 

• Piobair an aona phuirt. The piper of the one tune, 

'S clarsair an t-seana phuirt.' And the harper of the old tune. 

' Chan eil tend am chlarsaich, There is not a chord in ray harp, 

Bho 'n a dh' fhag mo run mi.' Since my lover has left me. 

' Dheanadh Eoghan clarsaichean Koglian would make harps 
Nan cuireadh cacha ceol annt.' If others would put melody in them. 



252 NOTES 

All the chief families and religious houses had harpers attached 
to them. The harpers, like the other officials, were paid in kind. 
A piece of land at Torrloisg, in Mull, is called ' Peighinn a 
chlarsair,' the harper's pennyland. Another piece of land at 
Cnoc-an-torrain, in North Uist, is called ' Croit nan clarsair,' the 
croft of the harpers, while a family of Macdonalds are known 
as 'Clann a chlarsair,' the children of the harper, and 'Na 
clarsairean,' the harpers. A jilace near Beauly is called ' Carn 
a chlarsair,' the cairn of tlie harper. Probably this harper 
was attached to the Priory of Beauly or to Castle Brahan. In 
Lismore there is a place called ' Croit nan clarsair,' the croft of 
the harpers, and a well called 'Tobar nan clarsair,' tlie well of 
tlie harpers. It is likely that the harpers in Lismore were 
attached to the church of St Moliiag, tlie cathedral of tlie See 
of Argyll and the Isles, and built during the episcopate of Bishop 
Carmichael, generally called an ' t-Easbuig Ban,' the ftiir-haired 
bishop. 

' Cadal a chlarsair The sleep of the harper 

Seachd raidhean gun fhaireacli.' Seven quarters without knowing. 

* Cadal a chlarsair leisg The sleep of the lazy harper 

Seachd raidhean na bliadhn.' Seven quarters of the year. 

' C'ait am bheU na puirt Where may be the tunes 

Nach ursgeil an clarsair ? ' The harper will not recall ? 

The last harper of note in the Highlands was Roderick Morrison, 
harper to Macleod of Macleod. He was a man of good family 
and education, and was known as a celebrated musician, not only 
tliroughout Scotland, but in England and Ireland. 

Cleachd, hair, ringlet, fillet of hair, wool, or lint ; the hair dressed. 
An old song says : — 

' Chuir i suas a gruag an cleachd. She put up her hair in form, 

'S bha shnuagh air dhreach an oir.' And its hue was of the lustre of gold. 

Cleid, quip, prank, trick, fillip, sharp stroke. 

Cleit, a ridge, a backbone, a door bar, land surrounded by the sea at 
high-water, an island, a rock, a cliff; from Norse Kletir, a rock, 
a cliff, an eminence. 'Cleit' often occurs as a prefix and as a 
suffix in place-names. ' Ormacleit,' Orm's ridge, in South Uist ; 
' Cleite na dubhcha,' ridge of the black dye, in Harris ; ' Na 
Cleitean," the ridges, in Kintyre ; the ' Clett Rock ' in Caithness ; 



NOTES 253 

' Cleite Gàdaig/ cliff of ' Gadag,' St Kilda. This term occurs in 
the ' Banais loirteach," St Kilda Wedding : — 

' Is truagh nach robh mi 's giullachan Would were I and manikin 

Air miillach Cleite Gadaig, On crest of Cleite Gadaig, 

Acuinn air a sunnaradh, His harness well established. 

Is mise bhi gu h-aird oirr.' And I in charge of it. 

'Cleite na comhla,' bar of the door ; 'cleit/ a hut, store, the name 
in St KUda for the small structures in which the people store 
birds, peats, and provender. 

Cliath, stockade, wattle, creel, pannier, hurdle, hamper, harrow. 

In olden times ' cliath ' included a strong stockade, constructed 
of wood or wattle, to safeguard ' raeanbh chrodh,' small cattle, 
and sheep, from the ravages of wild animals. 

When 'caol,' oziers, were unattainable and the enclosure was 
built of stones, it was called ' cro,' pen. 

Cloimh-chal, catkin, cat-wool, the inflorescence of the birch, the beech, 
the willow, and other trees. The catkin wool was twined into a 
three-plied cord, and that into a circle, and placed under the 
milk boyue to safeguard the milk against unseen powers. The 
triple cord symbolised the Trinity, and the circle eternity. 

Clomh, clomhadh, counteract, subdue, surmount, overcome. 

Cnoc, knoll, hill, council, court, wisdom, sense. The Celts held their 
meetings in the open air, and the word for the knoll on which the 
meetings were held came to denote the meeting itself. 

Trial by jury was not known in England before the Norman 
Conquest, some say not before the time of Henry III. In 
Scotland trial by jury was common long before this. Cutting a 
cross on a tree, digging a trench on a hill, or erecting a stone 
on a plain, denoted that the king in person signified the decision 
of the council. In the Higlilands the jury were the clansmen and 
the judge the chief of the clan. In some districts the chiefs 
appointed judges to act for them. These were called ' breitheamh,' 
Anglicised ' brehon.' The office was as a rule hereditary. The 
best known of these ' brehons ' were the Morrisons of the Western 
Isles, generally called ' Na breithimh Leodhsach,' the Lewis 
brehons, who are still spoken of with admiration. These 
hereditary jurisdictions were abolished after the '45, the chiefs 
being compensated. 

The origin of the Council of St Kilda goes back beyond 



254 NOTES 

tradition to the peopling of the island itself, while the rules of the 
council are inelastic as brass. Woe betide the crofter who would 
propose an iota of change on the ways of the fathers ! The 
' mod/ council, meets on the ' cnoc,' knoll, every morning except 
Sunday. All are allowed to attend, but only householders to 
speak. 

The discussions are varied, animated, and forcible, all affecting 
the immediate interests of the people. Perhaps the matter before 
the little community is when to begin to manure or till the 
ground, sow seed, cut turf, pluck sheep, shear corn, lift eggs, kill 
birds, or go a-fishing. What one does all do. All speak together, 
every man his loudest, irrespective of his neighbour, as he strides 
to and fro on the knoll ; and the lung-power of the people of 
St Kilda being of the most admirable qualit}', the confusion of 
voices is great. 

But the lung-power of even a St Kilda man has its limits, and 
these having at length been reached, the confusion of voices 
subsides, and the people peaceably and promptly decide their 
action for the day, hastily go in to breakfast, and leisurely come 
out to work. 

An observer would think, not unreasonably, that these people 
were quarrelsome and ill-tempered ; quite the reverse, however. 
The members of this simple, lovable little community are most 
kind and attached one to the other, the joy of one, or the grief of 
another, being the joy or the grief of all. 

' Escaped the severed workl by happy stealth, 
A skiff their navy and a rock their wealth. 
Rough as the stormy elements they brave, 
Fearless they ride upon the heaving wave.' 

The ' cnoc ' is often spoken of in prose and poetry, — ' Cnoc na 
comhairle,' hill of counsel ; 'cnoc na droch comhairle,' hill of evil 
counsel ; ' duine cnocach,' a shrewd man ; ' duine cnocach cruaidh,' 
a shrewd hard man ; ' cho glic ri cnoc,' as wise as a council knoll ; 
' cho glic ri leanabh cnoc ais,' as wise as the child of the knoll of 
wisdom. 

' An la bhathas a roinn na ceil The day that sense was apportioned 

Cha robh mi fein air a chnoc, I myself was not on the hillock. 

Nan d'f huair mise mo chuid fhein Had I received mine own share 

Cha robhas anns an tein s' a nochd.' I would not be in this strait to-night. 

'Cnoc' in the text (Vol. i. p. 6) implies wisdom, good sense, 
intelligence. 



NOTES 255 

I came to know tliis in a curious manner, after I had despaired 
of getting at the true meaning. 

Lachlan Maedonald, crofter, Benbecula, a man of great natural 
intelligence, ability and industry, often praised my wife, and on 
one occasion added, ' She was on the knoll the day that sense was 
portioned.' I paid no heed to the phrase at the time ; but some 
sixteen years afterwards I went from Edinburgh to the Outer 
Hebrides and various other places, to try to ascertain the 
meanings of words and phrases occurring in these poems. 

The following summary is translated and condensed from 
Lachlan Macdonald's prose poetry : — 

' Bha righinn na toinisg a tuinne The maiden-queen of wisdom dwelt 

An Grianan Aluinn una chroinn. In Beauteous Bower of the single tree. 

Far am faiceadh i 'n saoghal uile. Where she could see the whole world, 

'S far nach faiceadh fuidir a loinn. ' And where no fool could her beauty sec. 

' Great grief was on the queen of fairy-land at seeing the want 
of wisdom in the daughters of men. And the fairy queen put her 
lips to the fairy flax, and every blade and plant, every frond and 
flower, and every bush and tree throughout the wide world 
breathed an invitation to the daughters of men to come to the 
knoll, and that she, the fairy queen, would give them wisdom. 

' Much commotion followed this invitation, the whole woman- 
world heaving and moving like the hill of the ant, the byke of 
the wasp, or the hive of the bee. The proud scorned, the foolish 
laughed, but the thoughtful sighed. Some said that they were 
wiser than the fairy queen herself, others that they had wisdom 
enough already. But many dames and damsels came to the knoll, 
some to see, some to be seen, and some to seek wisdom. 
Presently the queen of fiiiry-land ap]ieared, holding in her hand 
the 'copan Moire,' cup of Mary, the blue-eyed limpet-shell, 
containing the ' ais ' of wisdom. 

'The lovely little queen was arrayed in all the beauteous 
irridescent hues of silver, emerald green, and mother-of-pearl. 

' " Loveliness shone around her like light, 
Her steps were the music of songs." 

' With a grace of form and a charm of manner all her own the 
fairy queen held up the 'copan Moire,' and invited all the women 
of the world to come and partake of the 'ais.' A derisive wave 
moved over maids and matrons, like a wave of light over the 
green and golden corn. But to all who sought wisdom in their 
hearts the fairy queen gave of the ' ais ' ; to each according to 



256 NOTES 

her faith and desire, till none was left. Many came to the knoll 
too late and there was no wisdom left for them. That is why 
some women are wise and some are otherwise. " And by my 
father's hand, and by my grandfather's hand, and by mine own 
two liands to free them, your lady must have been there on the 
knoll when the queen of fairy-land distributed the 'ais' of 
wisdom, and the gracious (]ueen must have given to her a goodly 
portion from tlie beautiful cup of the lovely Mary of grace." ' 

Coibki, Coibhe, Coivi, tlie traditional archdruid of the Celts. 

' Ge faisge leac ri lar. Though near be the stone to the ground. 

Is faisge lamh Choibhi.' Yet nearer is the hand of Coivi. 

[Really ' Coimhdhe," God, the Lord.] 
Cuich, coc, coc/i, cochul, a case, seed-vessel, husk, sheath, sln-ine, screen. 
' Coich anama,' soul-shrine ; ' coich na cno,' the sheath of tlie nut. 
Coig, five. One of the sacred numbers, but not so common as three, 
seven, and nine. ' Crog nan coig miar,' hand of five fingers ; ' cas 
nan coig miar,' foot of five toes ; ' fuamliaire mor nan coig ceaim, 
nan coig meal, agus nan coig muineal,' the big giant of tlie five 
heads, the five humps, and the five necks. 

' Car nan coig cuart,' the turn of the five circuits — a lucky 
circuit. When a boy is making a hole in tlie ground for a ball, 
he swings round on his heel five times. 

'Tha coig coigeamh an Eirinn agus coig coigeamh an Srath- 
eireann, ach is fearr aon choigeamh Eireann na coig coigeamh 
Srath-eireann ' — There are five-fifths in Erin and five-fifths in 
Stratherin (Stratlidearn), but better is one-fifth of Erin than 
the five-fifths of Stratherin. 

Coitchionn, coitcinn, caitciiin, general, communal, a common grazing. 
In the island of Tiree ' caitcinn ' is the form of the term. Possibly 
the Cathkins Braes, near Glasgow, may have been the common 
grazing of the surrounding villages. 

Conair, a blessing, a crown, a path, a course, a haven, a plant, a circle, 
a rosary. 

' lomhaidh is conair Moire,' image and rosary of Mary ; ' Conair 
meangain,' a plant mentioned in the ' Muilearteacli.' 

Conal, conall, love, friendship, the guardian spirit of cliildhood, the 
Cupid of the Gael. 

A child had got lost in the mist and was benighted on the 
wild moor, when a storm came on. But the good Conal took 



NOTES 257 

the child by the hand and led him to safety. The following 
verse is part of a poem composed to the protecting spirit : — 

' Fhuaradh dha-san blaths is conail. Found for him were warmth and love, 

Oidhche nan seachd sian, On the night of the seven elements, 

Fhuair Conal dha-san creagan, Con.il found for him a bower, 

Fo'n do ghabli e dian.' Whereunder he was sheltered. 

Conal, conail, fruitage, fruitfulness, endowment, corn, ear of corn. 

Cormag, Camtag, Connac, St Cormac. There were several saints of 
this name, tlie most celebrated being the learned Cormac, king 
of Mmister, who wTote a Gaelic Glossary much prized by Celtic 
scholars. Probably the Cormac of these poems was the friend 
of Columba. 

Corrachd, a promise, a very sacred promise, a death promise, entreaty. 
Irish ' coraidheacht,' bail, security, guarantee, recognisance. 
The word occurs in the following song. A young maiden in 
Uist promised a young man that she would meet him on the 
machair. But the maiden rued her promise and remained at 
home. The yomig man was ' lifted,' and when moving with the 
' hosts ' in the sky above the girl's liome, he was heard to 
sing :— 

' Mhorag bheag an cum thu rium cath ? Morag wilt thou hnkl battle with me ? 

Bheil thu nochd air son na corrachd ? Wilt thou to-night keep thy promise ? 

Mhorag bheag an cum thu rium cath l-" Morag wilt thou hold battle with me ? 

Gu bhcil an gath dha d' ionnsuidh. And that the dart is towards thee. 

' Bheil thu nochd air son na corrachd ? Art thou this night for the promise ? 

Bheil thu nochd air son na coinneamh ? Art thou this night for the tryst ? 

Bheil thu nochd air son a chath ? Art thou this night for the battle ? 

'S an t-saighead grad dha d' ionn- And that the arrow is fast towards 

suidh. thee. 

Cra, blood ; hence red. ' Cra-diiearg,' blood-red ; ' cra-dhubh,' dark 
red ; ' cra-gheal,' light red. ' Cra ' enters into place and animal 
names, as ' Cra-leacainn,' red slope, the name of a place situated 
near Loch Fyne ; ' cra-rionnach,' red mackerel, tumiy fish ; 
' cra-chluasach,' red-eared ; ' cra-chu,' red dog, the fox ; ' cra- 
fhaoOeag,' red gull, the black-headed gull generally called 
'ceann-dubh' and 'ceann-dubhan,' black-headed; ' cra-ghiadh,' 
red goose, shell-drake. This beautiful bird is common in the 
Outer Isles — Uist being known as ' Uibhist nan cra-ghiadh,' 
Uist of the shell-drakes. 

VOL. II. R 



258 NOTES 

John Mncdonald, 'Ian Lom/ poet-laureate to Charles II., 
says : — 

' Dol gu uidhe chuain fliiadhaich, Going the way of the ocean wild, 

Mar bu chubhaidh dhuinn iarraidh, Pleasantly as we could desire, 
Gu Uibhist bheag riabhach To brindled little Uist 

Nan cra-ghiadh.' Of the shell-drakes. 

And again Alexander Macdonald, 'Mac Mhaighstiv Alastair,' 
poet-laureate to Prince Charlie, says : — 

' Cuiribh fothaibh an rudha ud. Place behind you yonder point, 

Le fallus mhailghean a sruthadh. With the sweat of eyebrows pouring, 

'S togaibh siuil rithe bho Uibhist And lift sails to her from Uist 

Nan cra-ghiadh.' Of the shell-drakes. 

Creaii, criun, quake, tremble, suffer, upheave, tear up, excavate. 

Creodach, paralysis of the limbs in horses. 

Creiibh, person, body, corpse. When Macdonald of the Isles died iu 
Edinburgh his wraith appeared to his people at Duntulm the 
following night, and said : — 

' Bha mi 'n Dun-eideann an de, I was in Edinburgh yestreen, 

Tha mi 'm thalla fein an nochd, I am in mine own hall to-night, 

'S meud a ghoinebhein anus a ghrein. And as much as the mote in the sun, 

Chan eil ann mo chreubh a lochd.' There is not of harm in my corpse. 

Crios, girdle. The girdle is much spoken of and prized. 

When the young wife of the king of Lochlann, a daughter of 
the king of France, eloped with generous Ailde of the golden 
hair, Fionn sent a princess (according to some versions his own 
daughter) to offer compensation to the injured husband. The 
damsel mentioned to the king the many tilings he would receive 
in atonement, and among them the girdle — 

' Gheobh tu siud is ceud crios, Thou wilt get that and an hundred girdles, 

Cha teid slios rau'n teid iad aog, Nor loin round which they go shall die, 

Leighisidh iad leatrom is sgios — They will relieve burden and lassitude — 

Seudan riomhach nam ban saor.' The lustrous jewels of the noble women. 

* Crios-feile,' kilt girdle, a leather or woven strap used to keep 
the kilt in position. A similar strap is used by women in the 
Isles when working on the strand, in the field, or travelling the 
moors. 
Crioslachan, a bag suspended from the ' crios ' or girdle. ' Crioslachan 
chnoj' a girdleful of nuts. There are no nuts now in the Outer 
Isles, but abundance of nut shells. These are found underlying 
peat-moss and glacial deposits. Kock underlying peat-moss is 



NOTES 259 

corroded, while that under ghieial deposit is perfectly preserved 
and highly polished, the striae speaking as clearly as do Egyptian 
cylinders. 
Crilhionn, crilhinn, aspen ; from ' crith,' to quiver. Highlanders will 
not use aspen in any form either on land or sea. It is said that 
the first poem composed by Ross, the Gaelic Burns, was on the 
aspen and the willow. When a child he was in a boat which was 
driven by storm upon a shelterless, uninhabited island. The 
thole-pins broke, and no wood to replace them grew in the island 
except ' caoldubh,' black willow, and aspen. Tradition says that 
the white willow was transformed into black \villow because of 
the wickedness that went on among it, and that the aspen was 
' crossed ' for its want of reverence to Christ. The boatmen 
would use neither aspen nor black willow for oar-pins, and the 
people had to remain on the island till rescued. William Ross, 
then a child, said : — 

' Is ineinig a thachair ann an eilean Alas, to fall upon an isle [iiiairg 

Far nach beirear earba, Where hind is never born. 

Gun dad ann ach seileach salach. Where nothing is but willow vile, 

'S crithionn grad an tairmisg.' And aspen worthless, forbidden. 

L'ro, col, fold, hiding-place, place of protection ; ' cro-laogh,' calves' 
cot ; ' cro-sheilg," a hiding-place for hunters ; ' cro-dhion,' sanctuary ; 
' cro-chuile,' a recessed pen, a pen in the hollow between two or 
more hills, a place-name. 
An Uist song says : — 
' Cha teid rai do chro nan gobhar, I will not go to the fold of the goats, 

Cha teid mi do chro nan uan, 1 will not go to the fold of the lambs, 

Cha teid rai do chro nan caorach, I will not go to the fold of the sheep, 

Bho n dli" fhalbh mo ghaol uam.' Since my lover is gone from me. 

• Crothadh," enclosing ; ' crothadh uan,' enclosing lambs ; 
'crothadh arbhair,' enclosing corn, ingathering crop. 
L'ro, heart, death, occasionally and mistakenly used for ' era,' blood ; 
' cro-leapa,' bier, death-bed ; ' cro-leine,' shroud ; ' Cro Naomh/ 
Sacred Heart. 

A lament of intense passion and great beauty, composed by a 
hapless maiden on her slain lover — ' Seathan mac Righ Eireann,' 
John, son of the king of Ireland, — says : — 
' Cha tugainn dh' an Mhoire mhin I would not give thee to the gentle 

thu, Mary, 

Cha tugainn a dh' losa Criosd thu, I would not give thee to Jesus Christ, 
Cha tugainn dh" an Chro Naoimh I would not give thee to the Holy 
thu.' Heart. 



260 NOTES 

A well at Drimmore, in South Uist, is called ' Tobar Cro Naomh,' 
Well of the Holy Heart. All who drank of its refi'eshing and 
curative waters i)laced a votive offering in the cairn beside the 
well. Another well of the same name is in Sannda, in North Uist. 
This one, however, cannot be located, the extensive and once 
populous district being now almost uninhabited. 

A ruin at Gauslan, in Lewis, is called ' Teampull Cro Naomh,' 
Temple of the Holy Heart. It is situated above the shore, and 
measures eighteen feet by nine. Tradition says that it was built 
as a ' nasgadh deirce,' vow-offering, by a Saxon who, when in peril 
in the North Sea, vowed that if saved he would build a temple to 
Christ wherever he might be cast ashore. He was cast upon the 
wild coast of Gauslan, and built the temple on the spot where he 
offered up prayer for his deliverance. In recent years the tenant 
of the farm removed the stones of the temple to build a fold for 
his cattle. 

Crodh-mara, sea-cows. ' Cra-chluasach,' crimson-eared, and 'corc- 
chluasach,' purple-eared, are terms applied to a species of cattle 
with red ears which are alleged to be descended from sea-cows. 
Some of these cattle have one or both ears scalloped, and are 
hence called ' torc-chluasach,' notch-eared. Probably these red- 
eared cattle are descended from the old Caledonian white cattle, 
whose ears were red. The Caledonian cattle are also called 
'earc iucna,' notched cattle. 

Several sea-cows came ashore at Struth, Obbe, Harris. The 
sea-maiden was tending the sea-cows, and singing the following 
song as she sent them back to the sea and away through the 
Sound of Harris : — 

' Chualas nuall an ciian Canacli, A low is heard in the sea of Canna, 

Bo a Tiriodh, bo a Barraidti, A cow from Tiree, a cow from Barra, 

Bo a He, 's bo a Arainn, A cow from Islay, a cow from Arran , 

'S a Cinntire uain a bharraich. And from green Kintyre of birches. 

Caillear, caillear, caillear Cuachag, Lost, lost, lost will be ' Cuachag,' 

Caillear Gumag, caillear Guaraag, Lost will be 'Gumag,' lost will be 

' Guamag,' 

Caillear Guileag, caillear Guail- Lost wiU be 'Guileag,' lost will be 

lionn, 'Guaillionn,' 

'S caillear Cruinneag dhonn iia And brown ' Cruinneag ' of the cattle- 

buaile. fold. 



NOTES 261 

Theid mi, theid mi, theid mi Mhuilc, I will go, I will go, I will go to Mull, 

Theid rai dh' Eire nam fear fuileach, I will go to Eirin of the bloody men, 

Theid mi Mhannain bheag nan I will go to little Man of the 

culaidh, wherries, 

S theid mi ceura dh'an Fhraing 's cha And I will go to France and no 

chunnart. mishap. 

Caillear, caillear, caiUear Gorag, Lost, lost, lost will be ' Gorag,' 

Caillear Dubhag, caillear Dothag, Lost will be ' Dubhag,' lost will be 

' Dothag,' 
Caillear Muileag, caillear Moileag, Lost will be ' Muileag,' lost will be 

' Moileag,' 
'S caillear Muirneag dhonn an or- And brown ' Muirneag ' of the golden 
fhuilt.' hair. 

Club, crT(l>a, pi. cru/xnuiii, crubachmi, bed recess. The 'crub' is a 
recess in the thickness of the wall. The entrance to it is a small 
opening a little above the floor ; from ' crub,' crouch. 

The ' crub ' is not now seen except in the old dwelling-houses 
of St Kilda or in the old sheiling bothies of Lewis.' 

Cndl, harp. Gaelic, 'croit,' 'cruit'; Irish, 'crot,' 'croit'; Welsh, 
' crwth.' Probably the name is from ' crot,' curve. ' Cruit ' 
and ' clar," or ' clarsach,' are now used sj'nonymously, but 
the names meant two dift'erent instruments. Probably ' cruit ' 
was applied to the small harp used by ladies, and ' clar,' or 
' clarsach,' to the large pedal harp used chiefly by men. 

' Cuir do cheanna nail 'n a mo dliail. Place thine head near me hither, 
'S gun seinninn dhut clar is That I may play thee pedal harp 
cruit.' and small harp. 

In the island of Luing there is an old fort called ' Dun-cruit,' 
fort of the harp, and a glen near Oban called ' Gleann-cruitein,' 
which may mean the glen of the harper, or the glen of the king- 
fisher. (' Cruitein,' crouched one ; ' biora cruitein,' water crouched 
one ; and ' bior an iasgair,' fisher point, are the Gaelic names of 
the beautiful kingfisher.) In Colonsay there is a place called 
' Lag a chruiteir,' hollow of the harper ; and in Loch Roag, 
Lewis, a place called ' An Cruiteai',' the harper. 

Criilli, form, feature, symmetry. The old Higlilanders placed much 
value upon form, not only in woman but in man. They said that 
the father gave form, the mother mind, to the child. There are 
many proverbs among the people bearing upon these physiological 
matters. 

' Tus ratha rogha dealbh. The beginning of prosperity choice form, 

Uirghill mhaith is deagh labhraidh.' Good speech and good delivery. 
VOL. IL R 2 



262 NOTES 

Crut/iach, placenta of mare. 

Cuanal, flocks, cattle, horses, slieep, and goats ; generally the younger 
generations. 

Cuart, circuit; 'cuart claidh,' circuiting the burying-ground ; 'cuart 
Mhicheil,' Michael circuiting, the circuit made round the burying- 
ground on St Michael's Day; 'cuart cladaich,' shore circuit; 
'cuart time,' time circuit; 'cuart duine,' man's life. (Vol. i. 
p. 198 J. 

Cunrlachadh, circuiting, encompassing, surrounding, making a sanctuary. 
' Cuartachadh a chlaidh,' circuiting the burying-ground ; ' cuar- 
tachadh cladh nan athraichean,' circuiting the burying-ground 
of the fathers. This is done on St Michael's Day, and is probably 
a remnant of ancestor-worship, while 'dol deiseil a chlaidh,' 
going sunwise round the burial-ground, represents sun-worship. 
' Cuartachadh teaghlaich,' encompassing the family. This is the 
term used for family worship in the counties of Ross, Cromarty, 
Sutherland, and Caithness. ' Cuartachadh baUe,' circuiting the 
townland. Being tenants at will, and liable to eviction^ the 
crofters erected no fences round their fields ; consequently when 
the crops were in the ground they had to guard them by night 
and by day from their own and their neighbours' herds. During 
the day the townland herdsman tends the animals and keeps 
them from the crops, but by night the townland is patrolled by 
a man from each of two families taken in rotation. These men 
are called ' cuartaiche,' circuiters. If the townland be a large 
one this duty coming at long intervals is not much felt, but in 
a small townland the night watching becomes oppressive. In 
crofting townlands adjoining deer forests, geese, duck, or other 
game resorts, the men patrol their crops all night to safeguard 
them, and kindle fires where incursions are most feared. Should 
damage result through the remissness of these two men, the two 
families represented are responsible and make reparation. The 
damage done is appraised by men set apart and sworn for the 
purpose. 

The security of land tenure given by the recent Crofters Act 
is putting an end to the necessity for circuiting the townland 
crops, as already fences, houses, drains, and other land improve- 
ments are rapidly progressing. 



NOTES 263 

Ctiat, a lover, a sweetheart, a bosom friend. The word is common in 
the Western Isles. 

Cu-fasach, cu-fasaich, wolf, lit. wilderness dog. 

Ciigallacli, precarious, unstable, uncertain. 

' Is cugallach an t-sealg. Precarious is the hunting. 

Is cearbadach an t-iasg. Unreliable the fishing, 

Cuir do luhuinighin anns an talanih. Place thy trustance in the land, 
Cha d' fhag e fear falamh riamh.' It never left man empty. 

This sentiment is characteristic of the Celt, who is a man of 
the land primarily and a man of the sea secondarilj' — a landsman 
of choice and a seaman of necessity. Nevertheless, when the Celt 
does take to the sea, probaljly he is unexcelled as a boatman, as 
a mariner, or as a navigator. It is computed that two-thirds t)f 
the seafaring men of the Clyde are Celts and of Celtic descent, 
and probably these will compare favourably with their class 
elsewhere. An impression prevails in many places that the 
islesmen of the West are not boatmen equal to the coastmen of 
tlie East. That is not my experience, extending over a long 
period of close observation of both. Of the two the islander is 
the more daring, more active, and more expert boatman. This 
was many times acknowledged to me by East Coast men fishing 
on the West Coast. 

The East Coast man is a fisherman by choice inherited through 
many generations and many centuries ; the West Coast man is a 
fisher from compulsion. The sea of tlie West Coast is more tidal, 
more stormy, and more dangerous than that of the East Coast, 
and the natives do not take to it from choice. They have many 
sayings against it : — ' Is corrach gob an dubhan ' — Unstable the 
point of the fish-hook. 

' Is math an cobhair an t-iasg. Good is the help of the fishing, 

Ach is don an sobhal an t-iasg.' But a bad barn is the fishing. 

Cugan, food, choice food, dainty. 

' Cha tig cugan air cuid cait.' No cream comes on the cat's portion. 

' Cugan a chait chaothaich.' The choice food of the wild-cat. 

Cugar, cugarbhad, male cat, male wild-cat, hero, gallant, champion. 
' Cugarbhad Mor righ nan cat,' — Great Cugarvad, king of the cats, 
is the title of a weird story full of graphic scenes and elliptical 
runes, interesting to the mythologist and the grammarian. 



264 NOTES 

Cu-gearr, short dog, wolf ; from ' cu,' dog, and ' gearr,' short. Several 
names are applied to the wolf, as ' cu-faol,' ' faol-chu,' ' madadh- 
alla,' ' alla-mhadadh,' wild-dog ; ' eu-coille,' ' coille-chu,' wood dog ; 
' madadh-mor,' ' mor-mhadadh,' big dog ; ' blad,' mouth ; ' bladair,' 
mouther. 

In 1427, Parliament passed an Act calling upon all bai'ons 
to exterminate the wolf. It was not, however, till 1743 that 
the wolf became extinct in Scotland. This was effected near 
Feith-ghiuthais by Macqueen of Poll-lochaig on Findhorn, chief 
of that name. Macqueen died in 1797. 

Cuid, property, share. The clothes of the deceased became the 
perquisite of the clergy. Those of the rich went to the higher 
clergy, and those of the poor to the lower clergy. Angry 
disputations sometimes occurred over the clothes of the dead, 
even over those of the dying, leading to unbecoming scenes and 
to many satirical sayings. 

' An sagart 's an cleireach The priest and the clerk 

A sadadh a cheile 's a mhod.' Dusting each other in court. 

' Cha ghreann ri mo re This cloth is not, in my time, 

Do shagart no chleir. For priest nor for cleric, 

Ach 's greann gu brath But cloth it is for evermore 

Dha m' Dhomhallan gradhach fein.' For mine own little Donald beloved. 

Cuileagan, feast, feast m secret ; from ' cuil,' a corner. 

Cuilidh, treasury, secret place, retreat, sanctuary ; from ' cuil,' a 
magazine, repository. ' Cuilidh rath,' treasury of prosperity ; 
' cuilidh Mhoire,' treasury of Mary, ajiplied in the Barra Isles to 
the sea, from which the people derive most of their livelihood. 
' Cuilidh mhic Ciaran,' the treasury of the son of Ciaran in 
na h-Eileacha Naomha. 

Cuisil, caisil, caisiol, a fort, a stronghold, a case, a bier, a coffin. 

The bier on which the dead and dying were removed from the 
battlefield was called ' caisil-chro,' ' cuisil-chra,' blood bier. 

The want of wood in the Isles necessitated the people burying 
their dead either without coffins or in stone cists. It was only 
when the American timber trade began and wood was cast on 
their wild shores, or could be got from the South, that the use of 
coffins became general. Before then there was a 'cro-leapa, 
dead-bed, in every townland to convey the body to the grave 
Old men in Lewis speak of the last ' cro-leapa ' being buried with 
the last body carried in it. 



NOTES 265 

Cuithe, fold, cattlefold, enclosure, cattle enclosure, a stronghold. 

' Cha teid mi dh'an Chiiithe Chreagach, I will not go to ' Cuithe Creagach,' 
Is beag mo cheist air Anndra, But little is my love for Andrew, 

B'annsa Horn am fleasgach fearail. Rather would I the manly youth, 

Na fear breac le seann-chrodh.' Than a pock-marked man with 

old cows. 

I do not know where ' Cuithe Creagach,' rocky fold, is. A 
cognate name, ' Cuithe Clachach,' stony fold, is in Middlecjuarter, 
North Uist. ' Cuitiie Fhraing,' Quiraing, enclosure of Francis, in 
Skye, is well known. 
Culag, a person behind another person on horse-back, generally a 
woman sitting sideways behind a man. 

Culait, culaist, back place, back wing to a dwelling. The ' culaist ' 
and the ' cultaigh ' are synonymous terms in Lewis, where this 
adjunct to the dwelling is frequent. It is used for keeping farm 
produce, farm gear, fishing gear, or for sleeping, and often for all 
these purposes. 

Curach, corach, curachau, coracle, little coracle. The coracle is a boat 
whose framework, called ' crannaghail,' is made of wicker, lath, 
or cane, and covered with skin, canvas, or rubber. 

Columba is supposed to have come to Scotland in a boat of 
this description. On landing in lona, Columba, it is said, buried 
his boat above the beach, to remove the temptation of returning 
to Ireland. The place where the boat was buried is called 
' Port a Churaich,' Port of the Coracle. There is a raised ridge, 
the shape of an up-turned boat, covered, like the surrounding 
machar, with short green grass. The ridge is called ' An Curach,' 
the coracle. 

The coracle is often mentioned in old songs : — 

'Chan f haic mi bata no curach I see neither boat nor coracle 
A Tir a mhurain a seoladh. ' From. the Land of the bent-grass sailing. 

(The people of neighbouring islands called Uist ' Tir a mhurain," 
the land of the bent-grass, and the people ' Muranaich,' bent- 
grass people. Even the people on the east side, wliere there is 
no bent, apply the name to those on the west, where this grass 
grows.) 

A small grassless island on the east side of Barra is called 
' An Curachan,' the little coracle. The shell of the beautiful blue 
valilla is poetically called 'curachan na mna sith,' little coracle 
of the fairy woman. 



266 NOTES 

' The fairy woman of the green kii-tle, and of the lovely locks 
of gold, could steer her little fair blue coracle adroitlj' and wisely 
on the crest of the black-blue green-white waves, though the 
wind of the hill should be tearing the goat from the rock, the 
beard from the buck, and the heath from the hill.' 

Currachd sagairt, possibly monkshood, usually called ' currachd 
manaieh.' 

Curran cruaidh, hemlock, lit. hard carrot. In Uist the hemlock is 
called ' curran cruaidh ' ; in Lochaber, ' mungach mcar ' ; in 
Harris, ' de-theodha ' ; and in Lismore, ' ith-teodha.' 

In his Gaelic Na7nes of Plants, Cameron suggests that 'iteodha' 
means feather-foliaged. Probably ' ith-teodha ' means hot-eating, 
from ' ith,' eat, and ' teodha,' hot, the plant causing a bvn-ning 
sensation in the throat. 

The old Highlanders used a plaster of hemlock for the 
extraction of cancer. The plaster was applied to the part 
affected. It is said to have been effective in the earlier stages 
of the disease, extracting the cancer with its innumerable roots 
and rootlets, and leaving a hollow where it had been. The 
process of extraction is said to have been extremely painful, the 
somid of the tearing out of the roots of the cancer being like 
the snapping of linen thread. 

Cu-sith, fairy dog, dog of the spirit-world. This indicates the belief 
of the ancient Celts in animals as well as men of the spirit-world. 

When Clanranald resided at Nunton, in Benbecula, two men 
were tending calves one night in a building known as 'an tigh 
fada,' the long house. They sat talking of many things before 
the brightly burning fire, when suddenly two strange dogs rushed 
into and right round the house, to the consternation of the men 
and the terror of the calves. The dogs were leashed together 
on a leash of sUver bespangled with gold and brilliant stones 
that sparkled in the bright moonbeams and the light of the 
fire. A voice was heard in the air without calling : — 

' Sitheach-seang, sitheach-seang I Slender-fay, slender-fay ! 

Siubhal-bheann, siubhal-bheann ! Mountain-traveller, mountain-traveller! 

Dubh-sith, dubh-sitii ! Black-fairy, black-fairy ! 

Cuile-ratli, cuile-rath ! Lucky-treasure, lucky-treasure ! 

Cu-gorm, cu-gorm ! Grey-hound, grey-hound ! 

Sireadb-thall, sircadh-thall ! ' Seek-beyond, seek-beyond ! 

When the dogs were thus recalled they rushed out, the men 



NOTES 267 

following as soon as they had recovered their scattered wits. 
And there in the bright blue sky they beheld a multitudinous 
host of spirits, with hounds on leash and hawks on hand. The 
air was filled with music like the tinkling of innumerable silver 
bells, mingled with the voices of the ' sluagh,' hosts, calling to 
their hounds. The men were so astonished that they could only 
remember a few of the names they heard. 

These were the spirits of the departed on a hunthig expedition, 
travelling westwards beyond the ' Isle of the nuns,' beyond the 
' Isle of the monks,' beyond the Isle of ' Hirt,' beyond the Isle 
of ' Rockal," and away and away towards ' Tir fo thuinn,' the 
Land under waves ; ' Tir na h-oige,' the Land of youth ; and 
' Tir na h-aoise,' the Land of age, beneath the great western sea. 

' Turas math dhaibh agus deagh shealg — 's O Righ na gUe 's 
na greine 's nan coiTacha reula cubhra ! is iad fein a chuir an 
gniomh 's an giamh, 's barrachd 's ni 's leoir, air fir 's air laoigh 
ChlannRaghail.' — Fortune follow them and luck of game — and 
oh. King of the sun, and of the moon, and of the bright effulgent 
stars ! it was they who put fear and fright, and more than enough, 
on the men and the calves of Clanranald. 



D 

Dailghin, dailgionn, prophecy, foretelling ; ' dailgneachd,' auspices, 
prophetic vision, occurs in my version of the ' Children of Uisne.' 

Dais, a musical instrument. 

Daol, daolag, beetle, black beetle, gravedigger. This beetle is 
remorselessly killed in the Highlands. In some places this is 
done to prevent it from molesting the grave of the person's 
grandmother, but in Uist it is killed because of its officiousness 
in helping to betray Christ. (Vol. ii. p. 188 ff.) 

Dcabhadh {dea'adK), act of drying up. 

' Tha'n lir a deabhadh.' The water is drying. 

Dealan-Dc, butterfly, golden butterfly ; lit. fire of God — ' dealan,' fire, 
flame, lightning ; and ' De,' God. 

The golden butterfly is held sacred. It is said to be the angel 
of God come to bear the souls of the dead to heaven. If it be 



268 NOTES 

seen in or near the house where a person is dead or dying, the 
omen is good, and the friends rejoice. If it be not seen, a 
substitute is made by rapidly twirling a fire-pointed stick, moving 
the while from the dead or dying person towards the door or 
window. This is called 'dearban De,' 'dealan De.' 

The ancient Egyptians represented the soul leaving the body 
as a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, sometimes from the 
mouth of the dead. 

Dearb, dairb, an insect of the beetle tribe. ' Dairbeart,' water beetle ; 
'dairbeag,' tadpole; 'deairbean/ glowworm. 

Deaig, an impression ; hence, a wound ; ' deargadh,' ploughing. 
' Cha d'fhuair mi dearg — deargadh eisg,' I did not get an 
impression — an impression of fish ; ' Cha toir mi deargadh air/ 
I cannot make an impression on it. 

Dearras, dearrais, obdurate, venomous, the serpent. 

' Thig an dearrais as an toll. ' The serpent will come from the hole. 

Dears/ml, Darthula, the wife of Naoise, and the type of affection. 
Many places in the Highlands are called after this beautiful lady. 
(Vol. i. p. 8.) 

Deis-de, girth, sanctuary, God ward, a place of safety, a point in 'tig' 
where the boy within is secure and cannot be touched, from 
' deas,' right hand, and ' De,' of God. 

Deor, deoir, diuir, tear, tears. 

Deor, pilgrim, traveller, wayfarer, a poor person. ' Is tu an deora 
truagh ' — Thou art the miserable poor. ' Deor,' ' diuir,' an 
almoner, hence Dewai', a personal name. Probably Deer and 
the famous Book of Deer got their names from ' deor,' almoner. 
The Barons Livingstone of Bachuill, Lismore, were almoners to 
the church of St Moluag in Lismore, the cathedral church of 
the See of Argyll and the Isles, founded in 1200. They were 
known as 'deora,' almoners, while the site of the old residence 
of the family is still called ' Larach taigh nan deora,' the site of 
the house of the almoners, and the brae below the house as 
'Bruthach taigh nan deora,' the declivity of the house of the 
almoners. These almoners were also keepers of the staff of 
St Moluag, and assessors and collectors of the tithes of the 
diocese. Whenever the custodian of the staff appeared with the 
staff as the emblem of his ofiice, due obedience was given to him 



NOTES 269 

within his own special jurisdiction. Some interesting traditions 
are still current concerning some of the barons and their travels 
and the staff of the saint which they carried about, and to which 
miraculous powers were attributed. The custodian of the staff 
of St Moluag possessed a freehold estate for his varied services. 
The estate was of considerable extent, but is now reduced to 
a small piece of land thi-ough the fraud of ' Domliull Dubh nan 
Ard,' Black Donald of Airds. Sir Donald Campbell was a 
natural son of Campbell of Calder. He was an ecclesiastic 
when ecclesiastical affairs in Scotland changed complexion with 
the facility of the kaleidoscope, and Donald Campbell changed 
with them. When Catholicism was in the ascendant he was a 
Catholic, when Episcopacy superseded he was an Episcopalian, 
and when Presbyterianism was promising he was all for 
Presbyterian parity. He was nominated, possibly appointed, 
but not consecrated. Bishop of Argyll. Donald Campbell was 
a man of great ability, but utterly miscrupulous as to the 
means whereby to attain his ends. His conduct towards Baron 
Livingstone of Bachuill, Baron Carmichael of Sguran, and other 
small proprietors in his neighbourhood, shows him to have been 
a man of extraordinary stratagem, duplicity, and rapacity. 

Dr David Livingstone was descended from these Barons 
Livingstone of Lismore, through a member of the family who 
had settled in Mull. The great traveller resembled his kinsmen 
and clansmen in Lismore in a remarkable manner, physically, 
mentally, and morally. The present venerable Baron Alexander 
Livingstone of Bachuill has been taken for his famous name- 
sake. The Bai'on however is taller, being nearly six feet in 
height. 

The ' Clann an Leigh,' ' Clann an Leighean," children of the 
physicians, Livingstones of Bachuill, are said to be descended, 
like the famous Beaton physicians of Mull, Islay, Skye, and 
Reay, from Beatan, the Columban medical missionary of lona. 
(Vol. ii. p. 78^.) 'Sgoiltidh an dualchas a chreag ' — Heredity 
will cleave the rock. David Livingstone cleaved his way through 
rocks harder than any that his kindred had ever faced. 

The Campbells of Bail-an-deor, in Lorn, were almoners to 
tlie Priory of Airdchattan. They were big powerful men. One 
of them is still spoken of as 'An Deora mor,' the big almoner, 
and ' lieora mor Bliail-an-deor,' the big almoner of the townland 
of the almoner. 



270 NOTES 

Robert Burns' ancestor was a Campbell descended from 
Walter Campbell, Bogjoram, Kincardine. It is almost if not 
wholly certain that this Walter Campbell was the son of the 
' Deora Mor/ and had to flee from home on account of the 
storm he raised against himself, under extreme provocation, in 
his treatment of the 'cliar Sheanchain,' strolling satirists. 

Here again heredity asserts itself, several of these Campbells 
of BaU-an-deor having been poets in olden and in modern times. 

Near Bail-an-deor is the home of the ' Rusgain,' Ruskins. 
The Ruskins were in Glenlonain from time immemorial. Many 
pieces of sculpture have been found lying scattered about in 
various places in this beautiful glen. Some of these are still 
seen. ' Rusgan ' means peeler, bark-peeler, hewer. A tradition 
still exists among the old people of the place that the Ruskins 
were 'luchd ceaird,' artisans ; 'draoinich,' sculptors. There were 
schools of sculpture in the Highlands. One of these was in 
' Innis-draoinich,' Lochawe, a few miles from Glenlonain, the 
liome of the Ruskins. ' Innis draoinich ' means isle of the 
artisans, isle of the sculptors — from ' innis,' isle, and ' draoineach,' 
sculptor. Within a few hundred yards of Innis-draoineach is 
' Innis-ail,' beautiful isle. There had been a house of Cistercian 
nun-sisters here, and an ancient burying-ground. There are 
ancient sculj)tured stones here, probably unexcelled for beauty 
of design and of execution. Jewellery in gold and silver from 
designs on these ancient Celtic sculpturings is used by royalty. 

' Ciorsdan Dhugliuill f higheadair,' Christina, daughter of 
Dugald the weaver, was the last of the Ruskins of Glenlonain. 
Her father was Dugald MacCalman, and her motlier was a Ruskin 
— the last of the name. 

The tradition of the Clerks of Duntannachain, Glenlonain, 
was that John Ruskin was descended from the Ruskins of 
Glenlonain. The Clerks were descended from educated parents 
and were an educated and intellectual family, one of them being 
the late Rev. Archibald Clerk, LL.D., the accomplished Celtic 
scholar. The father was the learned farmer spoken of by Dr 
Macleod in his Reminiscences of a Higidand Parish, and the mother 
was Margaret Carmichael, Lisniore, sister of Captain Dugald 
Carmichael, of the 72nd Highlanders, 'the father of marine 
botany ' and the friend of Sir William Hooker. 

The members of this family were unanimous in saying that John 
Ruskin was descended from a Ruskin who went south in one of 



NOTES 271 

the expeditions from Argyll, and who remained south. They 
said that the last of the Ruskins of Glenlonain who lived near 
them strongly resembled the distinguished writer mentally and 
physically. 

Di, day. There is much lore connected with the days of the 
week. ' Di-luain/ ' Luan,' Monday, Moon ; ' Luan mall,' tardy 
Monday ; ' paighear Di-luain mall e,' it will be paid on tardy 
Monday — never. The people will not begin important work on 
Monday lest it should be tedious : — 

' An rud ri 'n toisichear Di-luain, That which is begun on Monday, 

Bithidh e luath, no bithidh e mall.' It will be quick or it will be slow. 

They also avoid finisliing the shearing on Monday, saying — 
' Is mi-shealbhach moch Di-luain Unlucky it is on early Monday 

A dhol a bhuain na maighdinn.' To go to the shearing of tlie maiden. 

(The ' maiden ' is the last sheaf of corn cut for the season, and is 
dressed and decorated with flowers and placed in the best room in 
the house till spring, when it is given to the horses in their first 
flaring for luck of work and luck of corn, and to safeguard them 
against mishap.) The people therefore begin and finish any 
important work on Saturday. On the other hand, Monday is a 
good day to travel : — 

' Imirich Sathurna rau thuath. The expedition of Saturday to the north, 

Imirich Luan mu dheas, Theexpeditionof Monday to the south, 

Ge nachbitheadli again ach an t-uan. Though I should only have the lamb, 

'Sann Di-luain a dh'fhalbhainn leis.' It is on Monday I would go with it. 

North and south I'epresent respectively unlucky and lucky. 

' Di-mairt,' Tuesday, Mar's day, is a lucky day to begin cutting 
corn, or doing any work requiring a sharp instrument. ' Mart gu 
gearradh,' Tuesday for cutting. In Uist m;irriages always take 
place on Tuesday or Thursday. 

' Di-ciadaoin,' Wednesday, the day of the first fast, from 
'ciad,' first, and 'aoin,' fast — Friday being the second and 
pi'incipal fast. Wednesday was considered a lucky day. 

' Charobh Ciadaoin riarah gun ghrian, Never was Wednesday without sun, 

Cha robh geamhradh riamh gun smal. Never was winter without gloom, 

Cha robh NoUaig Mhor gun f heoil. Never was New Year without flesh, 

Cha robh bean da deoin gun raliac' Never was wife willingly without son. 

' Di-ardaoin,' Thursday ; ' di-eadar-aoin,' the day between the 
fasts ; ' di-eadar-da-aoin,' day between the two fasts. Being 
dedicated to the i beloved Columba, Thursday was propitious for 
all good work, especially for work connected with sheep, cattle, 



272 NOTES 

and wool-working. It is a good day to be born, to die, and to 
go forth to battle : — 

' La gii breith, la gu bas, Day to bear, day to die. 

La chur gais chon na raeirgh.' Day to place the staff to the banner. 

Witches and all evil things are powerless on Thursday. 

' Di-aoin/ ' Di h-aoine,' Friday, day of the fast, from ' di,' day, 
and 'aoin,' fast. The people were avei'se to the counting of men, 
or of flocks, or of anything, on a Friday. Monday or Sunday, 
especially the first Monday or the first Sunday of the quarter, was 
the auspicious day for counting flocks. 

' Thuirt a Mliuirae ri mo Shlan'ear, His Foster-mother said to ray Re- 
deemer, 
Nach e'n Aona bha 'g an aireamh. That it was not tlie Friday they were 

counted, 
Ach an Luan an tus an raithe. But the Monday at the beginning of 

the quarter. 
No an Domhnach, La na Sabaid.' Or the Lord's Day, the Day of the 

Sabbatli. 
Next to these, and sometimes preferred to them, was Thursday, 
the day of Columba. 

Friday is unlucky and banned because Christ was put to death 
on that day. It is not permissible to begin ploughing, reaping, 
cutting peats, clipping sheep, nor even to cut hair on Friday. If 
peat-cutting is begun on Friday, some one will remark, ' Tha cuid- 
eigin an seo an diugh nach faic a mhoine seo loisgie ' — There is 
some one here to-day who wUl not see these peats burnt. All 
feel more than they say. 

No burial occurs on a Friday, nor anj' other work necessitating 

the use of iron. Even the fairies were not allowed to appear on 

Friday : — 

' Luchd nan triisganan uaine. The tribe of tlie green mantles, 

'S nan tulachan cluanach reidh. And of the hillocks reijoseful and smooth, 

Beannachd nan sion 's nan siubhal The blessing of the spell (?) and of the 

dhaibh — travelling be theirs — 

An diugh an Aona s clia chluinn To-day is Friday and they cannot hear 
iad sinn.' us. 

There are many sayings about Friday : — 
' An Aona an aghaidh na seachdain.' The Friday against the week. 
'Aona bagarrach, Friday threatening, 

' Sathurna deurach." Saturday tearful. 

' An Aona an aghaidh na glaic' The Friday against the grasp (palm). 

'Ma gheobh 'n a Aona na bhial e.' If the Friday gets it in its mouth, i.e. it 

will rain. 



NOTES 273 

Till recently no iron was used in the harrow for harrowing the 
corn, nor in the dibble with which the potatoes were planted. 
It was permissible, therefore, and even commendable, to sow 
and plant on Friday : — 

' Aona gu fas, Friday for growing. 

Mart gu gearradh.' Tuesday for cutting. 

On the other hand, the 'reiteach,' formal betrothal, always 
takes place in Uist on Frida}'. 

' Di-sathuirn,' Saturday, Saturn's day, is never praised except 
by implication : — 

'Sathurna gun athadh, gun iasad, Saturday without reproach, without 
gun f hiachan, borrowing, without debts, 

Deireadh seachdain gasda, geal. End of a week gladsome, bright, sun- 

grianach.' shiny. 

' Gealach Sathurna foghair An autumn Saturday moon 

Gabhaidh an caothach seachd Will take (give :-) madness seven times, 
uairean.' i.e. madness will be seven times 

worse. 

' Is leoir gealach ur Shathurn Enough is the new moon on Saturday 

Truth 's na seachd bliadhna.' Once in the seven years. 

' Ma thoisicheas a bhuain Di-sathurna If the reaping begin on Saturday 

Bithidh e seachd Sathurna giui It will be seven Saturdays before it is 
bhuain.' reaped. 

' Deireadh nan seachd Sathurn ort ! ' The end of the seven Saturdays upon 

thee ! 

' Sonas nan seachd Sathurn ort ! ' The joy of the seven Saturdays upon 

thee ! — used derisively. 

These are maledictions much resented, though their meaning is 
not now quite clear. 

' Di-domhnaich,' Sunday, day of the Lord. Sunday was a 
lucky day to be born ; — 

' Leanabh an Domhnach The child of the Lord's Day 

Comhnartach ceum. ' Even of step. 

The child born 'between watches' sees the unseen. The 
child born on the stroke of midnight has second-sight. 9 p.m. is 
the most unlucky time to be born. 

A mother closed all days of the week to her son who wished 
to go away : — 

' Na falbh 's an Luan, Go not on the Monday, 

Na gluais 's a Mhart, Move not on the Tuesday, 

An Ciadaona daobha, The Wednesday is false. 

An Daorn dalach. The Thursday dilatory, 
VOL. n. S 



274 NOTES 

An Aona mi-bhuadha, Friday is unlucky. 

An Sathurna mi-ghradhach, Saturday is unloving, 

Leig dhiot sgriob na truaighe ; Give up thy journey of misery ; 

Cha dual dut falbh am maireach — Unseemly for thee to go to-morrow — 

An Domhnach gu fois tamha.' The Lord's Day is for peaceful rest. 

Another version says : — 
' Domhnach eirig dh' an Re, Sunday tribute to the King, 

Diluan na eirich moch, Monday arise not early, 

Dimairt ar agus eug, Tuesday is slaughter and death, 

Diciadain creuchd is croch, Wednesday is wounds and blood, 

Diardaoin daoch agus lochd, Thursday is hateful and evil, 

Diaoin ire na di-bhuaidh, Friday of dire ill-deed, 

Cha dual dut falbh a nochd.' Ill-timed to leave to-night. 

Much more folk-lore on the days of the week might be added. 
Di-baigh, dim-haigh, loveless, merciless ; from ' di,' want of, and ' bagh,' 

love, mercy. 
Di-biih, dim-bith, lifeless, luckless ; from ' di,' want of, and ' bith,' life. 
Dochaidh, comparative of ' dogli,' ' dòigh,' trust ; hence more trustful, 

more hopeful, more likely. 
Doiiisg, vexation, annoyance, grief, state of death. 

Domhnach Ceusda, Easter Sunday, Crucifying Sunday ; from ' Domh- 
nach,' Lord's Day, and the old genitive of ' ceusadh,' crucifying. 

The people say that the sun dances on this day in joy for a 
risen Saviour. 

Old Barbara Macphie at Dreimsdale saw this once, but only 
once, during her long life. And the good woman, of high natural 
intelligence, described in poetic language and with religious 
fervour what she saw or believed she saw from the summit of 
Benmore : — ' Bha ghrian or-ghil an deigh eirigh air sgeith nam 
beann mora agus i a caochladh dath — uaine, purpaidh, dearg, 
cra-dhearg, geal, gile-gheal, agus oir-gheal, mar ghloir Dhe nan 
dul do chlanna dhaona. Bha i a dannsadh a sios agus a suas 
ann an gairdeachas ri aiseirigh aigh Slanuighear gradhach nam 
buadh.' — The glorious gold-bright sun was after rising on the 
crests of the great hills, and it was changing colour — green, 
purple, red, blood-red, white, intense-white, and gold-white, like 
the glory of the God of the elements to the children of men. 
It was dancing up and down in exultation at the joyous resurrection 
of the beloved Saviour of victory. 

'To be thus privileged, a person must ascend to the top of 
the highest hill before sunrise, and believe that the God who 



NOTES 275 

makes the small blade of grass to grow is the same God who 
makes the large, massive sun to move.' 

Dornan, a handful, a glove without separate fingers. ' Dornag,' 
' doirneag,' a roimd pebble, a handful of a pebble. ' Dornan,' 
' beum,' ' slathag,' ' dlo,' ' sineag,' ' glac,' are some of the names 
applied to a handful of corn cut with one stroke of the reaping- 
hook. Three stalks of corn are used to bind a handful, and there 
are twenty-four handfuls in tlie ' raoid,' sheaf. 

Dorn-gheal, Dor-gheal, Whitehand. 

This was the name of the man who clothed ' Murachadh Mac 
Brian ' — Murdoch the son of Brian, in his war vestments, and 
equipped him with his war weapons. The description of this 
equipment is an extraordinary piece of word-painting — probably 
misurpassed. 

DrSbkachd, debauchery, indelicacy of speech ; from ' drabii,' dark, 
black, smut. 

Dris, drills, bramble. The bramble was much valued by the old 
Highlanders, and where not indigenous was cultivated. The fruit 
was used for food, the root for dyeing, and an infusion of the 
leaves was used for medical purposes. Alone, and in combination 
with the ivy and the rowan, the bramble was placed above the 
lintel of the byre door to ward away witches and evil sjiirits. 

It is spoken of as 'an druise beaimaichte ' — the blessed 
bramble. It is said that a branch of the bramble was the wand 
with which Christ hastened the ass when going into Jerusalem, 
and the rod with which He drove the money-changers from the 
Temple. 

The bramble is mentioned in several proverbs : — 

' Is fearr an druise na 'n draighionn, Better the bramble tlian the black-thorn. 
Is fearr an draighionn na 'n donas.' Better the black-thorn than the devil. 

'Am fear a readhadh 's an druise domh. He who would go in the bramble forme, 
Readliainn 's an draighionn da.' I would go in the thorn for him. 

Duailisg, fraud, deceit, stubbornness. 

Diiine, 'the mortal one,' man, husband, man of children, and the 
counterpart of ' bean,' woman, mother of children. 



276 NOTES 



E 

Eala, eal, at, swan. ' Eala bhan/ fair swan ; ' eala-gheal,' white swan ; 
' eala ghlas/ grey swan ; ' eala-dhonn,' brown swan, cygnet. 

There is no bird of passage so welcome in the Western Isles 
as the swan. Its size, its beauty, its mysterious, plaintive melody, 
give it a semi-sacred character in the eyes of the people. It is 
interesting to see swans feeding, and varieties of small ducks, 
chiefly teal, jerking in and out among them, busily picking up the 
animalcula and fragments brought up by the swans. The swans 
take no notice of the ducks, but treat them with dignified 
indifference, even when the ducks pass under their bills and 
necks. 

In severe winters swans come in large flocks to the Western 
Isles. When the freezing of the water seems imminent the swans 
will flap the water with their wings to keep an open space, taking 
the work in turn. When they are frozen out of the lake they 
betake themselves to the estuaries of the sea. Swans, like geese, 
fly in wedge-shaped flocks, often at a high altitude. But even 
when the flock is only an indistinct haze their striking melody fills 
the air. To see sever;il hundreds of these beautiful birds together, 
as they sail rather than fly overhead, is a sight one would not 
willingly forget, while their liquid voice is like the music of the 
long-ago echoing through the cloistered cells of memory. 

But the swan sings its most beautiful melody as its own death 
dirge. The following imitations of the swan's song were taken 
down from; old people in Uist who lived beside lakes on which 
swans remained for half the year, and to whom swans and their 
ways were familiar : — 

' Guile, guile ! guile, guile ! 

Mo chasa dubha, My feet so black, 

Guile gi, guile gi ! 

'S mi fein gle gheal. And myself so white, 

Guile go, guUe go ! 

Turas mo dhunaidh, Journey of ruin. 

Guile, guile ! guile, guile ! 

Thug mi a dh' Eirinn, That took me to Erin, 

Guile go, guile go ! 

Spuilleadh mo chulaidh. Robbed was ray robe. 

Guile gi, guile gi ! 
Struilleadh rao leine, Spoiled was my shirt. 



NOTES 



277 



Guile, guile, guile go ! 

Ruisgeadh mo bhothan, 

Guile gi, guije gi ! 

Lotadh mo clieile, [cheud ghaol 

Guile go, guile go ! 

Leonadh mo phiuthar. 

Guile, guile, guile gi ! 

Muirneig na feile. 

Guile gi, guile gi ! 

Leonadh 's mo bhrathair. 

Guile, guile, guile, guile ! 

'S mo mhathair chan eiricli. 

Guile go, guile go ! 

Sgeula mo rahulaid. 

Guile gi, guile gi ! 

Thug mi a dh' Eirinn. 

Guile, guile ! guile, guile ! 

Guile gi ! guile gi ! 

Guile, guile ! guile, guile ! 

Guile go ! guile go ! 

Another version is :^ 

' Gu bhi gi, 
Gu bhi go, 
Mo thuras dubh, 
Mo thuras dubh. 
Mo thuras dubh. 
Mar dhealaich sinn ! 
Mo thuras dubh 
A thug mi dh' Eire, 
Mo chruaidh leir, 
Mar dhealaich sinn ! 

Gu bhi gi, gu bhi go ! 
Guth na h-eala, guth an eoin, 
Gu bhi gi, gu bhi go ! 
Gu na h-eala air an loin.' 



Bared was my bower. 

Torn was my spouse, [first love 

Wounded ray sister. 

Maiden of joy. 

Yea, and wounded my brother, 

And ray mother may not rise. 

Tale of my sorrow. 

That took me to Eire. 



Gu vi gi, 
Gu vi go. 
My black journey. 
My black journey. 
My black journey. 
How we parted ! 
My black journey 
I took to Erin, 
My hard pain. 
How we parted ! 

Gu vi gi, gu vi go ! 

Voice of the swan, voice of the bird, 

Gu vi gi, gu vi go ! 

Voice of the swan on the lake. 



Probably the mention of Ireland is in reference to the story of 
' The Ciiildren of Lir,' one of the three great ' Sorrows of Story- 
telling.' 

Although the singing of the swan is not generally acknowledged 
by ornithologists, it is a widespread and an old belief. Several 
of the Latin poets speak of it, and mention of it is also to be 
found in German and Russian authors. C/. Miillenhoff 's Aller- 
luniskunde, where an interesting accoimt is given of the song of 
the swan. 

VOL. II. S 2 



278 NOTES 

There are many references in Gaelic poetry to the song of 
the swan : — 

' Bithidh mi tuillidh gu tursach I shall henceforth be sorrowful, tear- 
deurach, ful, 

Mar eala bhan an deigh a reubadh. Like to the white swan after she is 

wounded, 
Guileag bhais aic air lochan feurach, Singing her death dirge on a reedy lake, 
'S each uile an deigh a treigsinn.' When all the others have forsaken her. 

This is true to nature. 

' Is binn na h-eoin an coir na mara. Sweet are the birds beside the sea. 

Is binn na h-eala tha air an Ion, Sweet are the swans upon the lake. 

Is binne leam-sa guth mo leannain Sweeter to me the voice of my love 

'N uair a theannas i ri ceol,' When she sings a melody. 

Vows were made upon the swan. In Uist the vow took a 
negative form. Vows of constancy were made on ' righinn na 
h-ealt,' the queen of the bird-kingdom : — 

Feumaidh mi rao ghruag a ghearradh, I must needs tonsure my hair, 

Is m'aithreachas a dhubladh. And double my repentance. 

Mo bhoid gu gramail thoir dh' an eala, My vow give firmly to the swan, 

Feuch am mair mo chliu mi.' To see if my fame will cleave to me. 

Dunbar, Court poet to James IV., speaks of vowing upon the 
swan : — 

' I wad gif all that ever I have. 
To that condition, so God me save. 
That ye had vowit on the swan 
Ane year to be Johan Tamson's man.' 

The swan was vowed upon in England also : — ' Edward vowed on 
the swan.' — Green's History. 

The word ' eala ,' is also applied to a pillared stone, a sanctuary, 
but probably in this case it is old Gaelic ' elad,' ' ealadh,' a tomb. 
There are stones so called in Lismore, lona, Crinan, Fortrose, 
and elsewhere. That in Lismore is near the church, formerly 
the choir of the cathedral. A criminal who reached the ' eala ' 
was safe for a year and a day, or until he paid the ransom. If 
the ransom was not paid by the expiry of that time, the criminal 
was tried at ' Druim na Bithe,' ridge of judgment, a few hundred 
yards west of the ' eala.' After the trial the accused was led 
back to the stone. If acquitted he was led sunwise round the 
sanctuary and liberated. If condemned, he was led three times 
withershins round the stone and then taken to ' Druim na croiche,* 



NOTES 279 

ridge of the gallows, a few hundred yards to the south. In lona, 
at ' Port nam marbh,' port of the dead, where the dead were 
landed for burial in the holy isle, there is a raised platform called 
' eala.' The platform is in the form of an altar, and the dead 
were carried three times simwise round it and placed upon it 
before burial. All the stones known to me called ' eala ' were 
places of sanctuary. The poetess Mairearad NicLachuinn has 
'dhol air tir air an Ealaidh,' to land at the 'eala,' in lona. 

Ear, east. The old people paid much attention to the orientation 
of their dwellings and temples. 

' An ear 's an iar Eastward and westward 

An dachaidh is fearr.' The best homestead. 

' Mo bhruthain bheag fein Mine own little bower 

'S a shuil 's a ghrein. With its eye in the sun, 

Is teampuU De And the temple of God 

'S a cheann 's an ear.' Witli its head in the east. 

Eararadh, seeking, searching. ' Air eiriridh,' on the search ; ' eiriridh 
maidne,' morning search ; ' eiriridh chloimh,' wool - seeking ; 
'eiriridh dhaoine,' seeking people. 

Eararach, eiririch, parched grain. When corn, especially here or 
barley, is dried it is beaten to take off the awn. This used to 
be done with the naked feet, generally by women, so as not 
to bruise or break the grain. Hence the reference in the 
dance song : — 

' Ta chuile te cho togarrach Each damsel is so blithely 

"S i bogadh ris na beiririch, Bowing to the ' beiririch,' 

'S gun dannsadh i cho sodanach, And she would dance as lightly, 
'S ge d' bhiodh i pronnadh eiririch. As if tramping parched corn. 

' 'S e Domhull, 's e Domhull, 'Twas Donald, 'twas Donald, 

'S e Domhull a rinn a bhanais ! 'Twas Donald made the wedding ! 

'S e Domhull, 's e DomhuU, 'Twas Donald, 'twas Donald, 
A rinn a bhanais ainmeil ! ' That made the famous wedding ! 

In Shetland the parched grain and the meal from it are called 
' burstin,' probably from the tendency of the grain to burst in 
the process of drying. 

Earasaid, a wide mantle that used to be worn by women in the 
Highlands. Occasionally it was made of tartan, but generally 
of ' iomairt.' The ' earasaid ' is mentioned in a song sung by 
Boswell at Rararsay. The subject of the song is Prince Charlie, 
over whom Highlanders lost their heads and their hearts. 



280 NOTES 

' Is ioma maighdean sparasach. There is many a haughty maiden, 

Dha math dh' an tig an earasaid. To whom becomes the ' earasaid,' 

Eadar Baile-mhanaich's Caolas Bharr From Monkstown to Barra Sound 

An deigh ort ; In love of thee ; 

Tha tighinn fotham, fotham, fotham, I must arise, arise, arise, 

Tha tighinn fotham, fotham, fotham, I must arise, arise, arise, 

Tha tighinn fotham, fotham, fotham, I must arise, arise, arise, 
Tha tighinn fotham eirigh. I must arise and wield the claymore. 

Tha cuid 's an Fhraing 's an Eadailt There are some in France and Italy, 

dhiubh, 

Tha cuid an Eilean Bheagram dhiubh. There are some in Isle of Beagram, 

'S chan eU la teagaisg nach bi Nor is there a preaching day 

An Cille-pheadair trend dhiubh.' But is in Killpheadair a band of them. 

Earc, a heifer, cow, beast of the cow kind ; ' earc iue/ notched cow, 
from 'earc,' a cow, and 'iuc,' a notch, possibly applied to the 
Caledonian cattle. 

Earnach, arnach, red-water in cattle, red pleura, bloody flux. 

Earrlait, rich soil, ground manured one year and productive the next, 
productive animals, prosperous undertaking. 

Eidhion, iadhahi, eidh-sklaf, iadh-shlat, and eidhion mu chrann, ivy. 
' Iadh-shlat ' is more often and more correctly applied to the 
honeysuckle. 

Ivy is one of the many sacred shrubs of the Celts. It is used 
as a protective for milk, milk products, flocks, and by lovers as an 
emblem of fidelity. An old man in Uist said that he used to swim 
to an islet in a lake in his neighbourhood for ivy, woodbine, and 
mountain ash. These, sometimes separately and sometimes 
combined, he twined into a three-plied 'cuach,' ring, which he 
placed over the lintel of his cow-house and imder the vessels in 
his milk-house, to safeguard his cows and his milk from witchcraft, 
evil eye, and murrain. 

The term ' iadh-shlat ' is used by old people, and occurs in old 
poetry. 

' Thug an dithis dh'an ainnir gaol, The two to the damsel gave love, 

Ach air GoU bha a gorni-shuil chaon. But on GoU was her lovely blue eye, 
B'e fath a h-aislig e 's an oidhche. He was the subject of her dreams by 

night, 
'S fath a broin an cos nan coilltean. And the cause of her sighs in the depths 

of the woods. 



NOTES 281 

A Dhuarain c'uim a sheas ! Duaran, why didst thou stand ! 

A Ghoill c'uim a thuit ! Goll, why didst thou fall ! 

A Dhuarain c'uim an cualas riamh Duaran, why was ever heard 

Luaidh air do shliochd ! Praise of thy race ! 

Fhuaradh an ailleag, 's i bronach. The lovely damsel was found, and she in 

grief. 
Is beo eha bhuainte bho a gaol i, And living would not be torn from her 

lover, 
A beul r'a bheul, a h-uchd r'a uchd. Her lips to his lips, her breast to his 

breast, 
A iTiighe geal 'g a iadhadh And her white arm twining round hira 

Mar iadh-shlat mu stoc aosda. As the twining-wand around the aged 

tree. 

This fragment was taken down in 1860 from Kenneth 
Morrison, Trithion, Mhiginis, Skye. Kenneth Morrison was 
tlien blind and old, but he remembered many beautiful and 
rare old poems with more or less completeness. These he 
heard when a boy at the 'ceilidh,' of whicli he gave many graphic 
descriptions. 

Eigir, Aegir, a god, a deity, a king. In Norse mythology Aigir is 
king of the sea, god of the ocean. In Celtic mythology he is 
king of the dwarfs, god of the misers. 

In Arran, ' iasg eigir ' is a small fish, a dwarf fish, and 
'iasgach eigir' is a poor fishing, whether for the night or for the 
season. In Barra, ' ubh eigir ' is a small egg, a dwarf egg, while 
' uibhean eigir,' dwarf eggs, is a term applied to the eggs of the 
smallest sea and land birds. 

' Eigir,' wrongly ' seigir,' is applied to the little gull, an 
occasional visitor, and more commonly to the kittiwake, the 
smallest permanent British gull. 

' Eigire giuUain ' is a puny boy ; ' eigire bodaich,' a miserly 
carle ; ' eigire truagh dume," a mean, miserable man. ' Teom 
eigir' is a small dole; 'deirc eigir,' miserable alms; 'tiodhlac 
eigir,' a miserly donation. ' Tiodhlac eigir ' is applied to an 
illiberal religious oblation. ' D uair bha an duine ann an gabhadh 
bais agus ann an anradh cruaidh thug e boid agus briathar gun 
toireadh e tiodhlac toighe agus nasga deirce. Fhuair an duine as 
a ghabhadh bais agus as an anradh chruaidh agus thug e tiodhlac 
agus deirc ach b'e sin deirc a bhroin agus tiodhlac eigir ! ' — 
'When the man was in death straits, and in hard plight, he 



282 NOTES 

vowed and asseverated that he would give oblation and free alms. 
The man got out of the death straits, and out of the hard plight, 
and he gave oblation and alms, but that was the alms of sorrow 
and the puny oblation ! ' 

Besides ' Lioc a Eigir ' in South Uist, there is ' Laimrig Eigir,' 
landing-place of Aigir in North Uist, and there are in Benbecula 
' Loch Eigir,' lake of Aigir, ' Eilean Eigir,' island of Aigir, ' Sgeir 
Eigir,' the reef of Aigir, and ' lol Eigir,' the fishing-place of 
Aigir. 

The lake is small and full of small brown trout. The island 
is merely a rock on which some grass grows. It is the resort of 
the black-headed gull and of the Arctic tern in their season. 

An old ' clachan,' path of stepping stones, connects the rock 
with the shore, and indicates that the fishing-place was known 
to people in olden times. 

' Leac Eigir ' is mentioned in a secular poem taken down in 
1870 from Fearachar Beaton, shepherd, Corradale, South Uist. 
The poem is old and of geological interest. It describes scenes 
and changes which have occurred in the relative position of sea 
and land, and in the climatic and economic conditions of Uist. 
The poet had either a prophetic eye for the future or an observant 
eye for the past. The poem professes to have been composed by 
a woman of whose age even tradition failed to account. The 
woman was known during the centuries as 'Cailleach bheag an 
fhasaich,' little carlin of the wild. The oldest 'seanachie,' 
historian, in Uist remarked to the woman that she had been an 
old woman when his great-great-grandfather was a boy. The 
woman did not take offence at her implied great age, and she 
said : — 

'When I was a "marcag mullaich," little summit-rider, Heisgeir 
was the peninsula of Ei, in Benbecula, and joined to South Uist 
and to North Uist. South Uist was joined to Barra, and North 
Uist was joined to Harris, and this Long Island was called " Innis 
Cat," Island of the Cat or Caty. I would leave my little brown 
bower beneath the shelter of " Creag nam brath," in Heisgeir, 
when the little brown brindled lark of Mary bounded to the ear 
of heaven to herald the dawn, and I would ride my white sturdy 
garron and reach my green grey bothy in Corradale as the swift 
russet stag rose from his lair to shake the dew-drops from his 
horns.' 

This and mucli more had been in verse, but the fragment that 



NOTES 283 

follows is all that the narrator could remember in the original 
form : — 

' 'Duair bha an f hairge mhor What time the great sea 

'Na coiUe choinnich ghlais. Was a grey mossy wood, 

Bha mis am mhuirneig oig, I was a joyous little maiden, 

Bu bhiadh miamh maidne dhomh My wholesome morning meal 

Duileasg Lioc a Eigir, The dulse of the Rock of Agir 

Agus creamh an Sgoth, And the wild garlic of ' Sgoth,' 

Uisge Loch-a-Cheann-dubhain, The water of ' Loch-a-Cheann-dubhain,' 

Is iasg an lonnaire-mhoir. And the fish of ' lonnaire-mor,' 

B" iad siud mo ragha beatha-sa Those would be ray choice sustenance 

Am fad 's a bhithinn beo. As long as I would live, i 

Chuirinn mo naoi imirean lurach lin I would sow my nine lovely rigs of lint 

An gleannan grinn Chorradail, In the little trim glen of Corradale, 

Is thogainn mo chrioslachan chno And I would lift ray skirtful of nuts 

Eadar dha Thorarnis.' Between the two Torarnises. 

All the places mentioned are in South Uist. Corradale is a 
deep green glen between Hecla and Benmore facing the Minch. 
There are several underground dwellings and rock caves of much 
interest in the neighbourhood of Corradale. One of these caves 
is ' Uamh nan Tighearnan,' the cave of the gentlemen, where 
the gentlemen of South Uist met once a year for sport and 
enjoyment. Lower down is ' Uamh a Phrionnsa,' the cave of 
the prince, where Prince Charlie and some of his followers lived 
for several weeks after the disasters of Culloden. It is a small 
cave, being only a few feet in depth and breadth. The floor is 
a steep slope. There are no crofters in Corradale now nor within 
many miles, but during the time of the Prince the whole of this 
region was full of crofter families. I have the names of eighty- 
two crofter families who were evicted from the district of 
Corradale some years afterwards. The Prince and his followers 
lived there on such homely fare as these hospitable people could 
give, and moved about among their houses. Occasional supplies 
of linen and other luxuries were brought to them by the gentle- 
men of Barra, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist, and Skye. 
While the Prince was in Corradale all the people not only of 
South Uist but of all the neighbouring islands knew that he 
was there. The writer saw and spoke with men and women 
whose fathers and mothers had seen and succoured the Prince. 
The whole of these faithful people of Corradale, and hundreds 
more were evicted and driven to all ends of the earth— many of 
them to die moral and physical deaths in the slums of Glasgow 



284 NOTES 

and other cities — in order to add their land to the already 
extensive lands of tacksmen, one of these being the parish 
minister. 

Torarnis, Torrarnis, Torrannis, is the point of Thor, the point 
of the thunderer. There are two places of this name in South 
Uist, and in the neighbourhood of one another, both famed for 
bere. 

There are no nuts there now, nor anywhere in Uist, nor 
bushes nor trees of any kind — nothing but long reaches of sessile 
sand here and there overlying long stretches of compacted peat. 
Hazel-nuts in great quantities have been found in Uist lying 
on the glacial rock. In many places round the west side of the 
Outer Hebrides the remains of trees of various sizes have been 
found at low-water embedded in the hard peat moss underlying 
pure sand. 

Torrarnis is mentioned in a poem taken down in 1869 from 
a woman at Lianacuith, South Uist. The poem purports to 
foretell the overflowing of the Atlantic and the submerging of 
certain places, including 

' Torrarnis an eorna, Torrarnis of the bere, 

'S am muir raor m'a raeadhon.' With the great sea round its middle. 

'The walls of the churches shall be the fishing-rocks of the 
people, while the resting-place of the dead shall be a forest of 
tangles, among whose mazes the pale-faced mermaid, the marled 
seal, and the brown otter shall race and run and leap and gambol — 

' " Like the children of men at play. " ' 
This prophecy is to some extent verified, for vast tracts of lands 
and woods, and in some places the remains of dykes, houses, 
and churches, can be seen along the coast at low-water. 

Carlyle speaks in Heroes and Hero- Worship of the boatmen 
on the Yorkshire Ouse calling out when the river is in flood — 
' Eager is coming ! Eager is coming ! ' ' Eager ' is also known 
on the Severn. In this case the idea is that of the Norse giant. 
A deity of this name is also god of the muses in Celtic mythology. 

Eimir, the wife of Cuchulainn. She is the type of beauty in Gaelic 
story. (Vol. i. p. 8.) 

Eoir, spell, charm, incantation. 'Eoir' in Lewis, 'eolas' in Uist. 

Eolas, eoilse, eoisle, a spell, charm, incantation, magic, exorcism, 
knowledge. 



NOTES 285 

Eorlain, earlaiii, arlain, floor, bottom, lower part, a glen that slopes 
to a narrow compass, from 'earr,' limit. The three planks on 
each side of the keel of a boat are called ' eorlain,' — ' eorlain 
na h-eithir ' — bottom of the boat, in this case from ' earrlain,' 
keel. 

Eimarag, snipe, little goat-bird, from 'eun,' bird, 'gobharag,' little 
goat. As many as thirteen Gaelic names are applied to the 
snipe, some of them in reference to the kid-like cry of the bird. 
The snipe is one of the seven dormant birds of the people. It 
is 'sained,' and more feared than liked by nightfarers. (See 
Memmanaicii.') 



Fabhradh, swirl, whirl, eddy. ' Fabhradh nimheil na gaoithe 'n ear ' 
— the venomous swii-1 of the east wind. 

Fad-buinii, door-step, lit. sole-sod. The name originated when a 
grassy turf was, as it still is occasionally, the door-step. ' Fad- 
buinn ' is also applied to a wooden, but not to a stone step, which 
is called 'starsaeh.' 

Fadhdach, black, blackness, confusion ; cf. ' fadhbhag,' ' fadhtag,' 
cuttle-fish. 

Fad-seilhk, possession sod, infeftment ; the sod or handful of earth 
given by the seller to the buyer of land. 

Faileagaii, meadows, little lawns ; from ' fal,' sod, turf. ' Fal ' enters 
into many combinations, as ' foid-fail,' the sod laid on the top of 
the wall of a thatched house ; ' garradh-fail,' turf-dyke, fail-dyke ; 
' fal,' divot.s, in some places ' sgrath.' 

Fairig, dead bird, dead fish, dead seal or dead whale, any creature 
found dead on the sea or shore. 

Fairir, far-thir, probably 'oirthir,' border, coast. 

Falach fuinn, land hiding ; from ' falach,' hiding, and ' fuinn,' oblique 
of ' foiui,' land. ' Thainig ceo draogh air na fearaibh, agus rinn 
iad falach fuinn ' — Magic mist came upon the men, and they made 
land hiding. 



286 NOTES 

Falc, flood, flooding, bathe, dip. 

' Tobar Tiobartain nam buadh The well of Tiobartain of efficacy 

A chasgas gach falc is fiial. To quell flood and gravel. 

An eilean iomartach a chuain In remotest isle of the ocean. 

Am fior iomal an domhain On the very verge of the great 

mhoir.' domain. 

'Tiobartan' is on the west side and in the south end of 
South Uist. According to tradition, the well of Tiobartan was 
famous in olden times, pilgrims resorting to it from afar. Then 
a man brought his sick horse to it, and the spirit of the well fled 
shrieking, and never returned. The well is in the machair, near 
the sea, and is now filled up with drift sand. The term 'Tobar 
Tiobartain ' or ' Tobar Tibirt ' is curious as showing a dujilication 
of words. ' Tiobar ' means a well, synonymous with ' tobar.' 
' Tobar Tiobartain ' might mean ' well of wells.' There is ' Aber 
Tibirt ' at the head of Loch Tiacais in Morvern. 

'Tobar nan naoi beo,' — the well of the nine lives. This well 
is said to have kept nine children alive during a famine. 

Healing and holy wells are very numerous in the Highlands, 
as elsewhere in Britain, scarcely a district being without one or 
more. Much interesting lore is connected with these wells, and 
with their curative powers and the rites observed at them. 

Falluinn, falluing, garment, mantle, robe. 

' Faodaidh luchd nam falluinne dearga, The tribe of the red robes [deer] 
Gun an calg a bhi fuilteach. ' Need not have their hair bloody. 

The robe was asseverated upon — 

' Air m' f halluinn fhein tha.' Upon mine own robe it is. 

' A nighean donn nam meal-shuilean. Brown maiden of the liquid eyes, 

Air m' f halluinn thug mi speis dhut.' By my robe I gave thee love. 

Famh-bhual, famh-fhual, lamh-fhual, water-mole, from ' famh,' mole, 
and ' bual,' water. Several names are applied to the water-shrew, 
as 'famh-bhual,' water-mole ; 'lamh-fhual,' 'labh-alan,' water-vole, 
and ' bad-alan,' water-vole. Probably ' labh ' and ' lamh,' arise 
from the influence of the n of the article on asjiirated ' famh,' 
mole. The names of the water-mole have their counterparts in 
the names of the land-mole. 'Famh,' 'fomh,' mole; 'famh-uir,' 
earth-mole ; ' famh-thalmhan,' ground-mole, ' dith-reodha ' in 
Perthshire. The 'famh-bhual,' the mole of the water, is the 
counterpart of the 'famh-uir,' the mole of the earth. The two 
moles resemble one another in appearance and habits, but not 



NOTES 287 

in habitats. The land-mole abides under the earth, living upon 
earth-plants, earth-roots, and earth-insects, and moving about under 
tlie earth with surprising speed. The water-mole abides under 
the water, living upon water-plants, water-roots, and water-insects, 
and moving about under the water with marvellous rapidity. 

The mysterious water-mole was much dreaded by the people. 
Its touch was supposed to cause paralysis, mortification, and death. 

In the inimitable burlesque of Brigis Mkic Ruaraidh, the poet 
warns his friends against allowing the trouserless man to the 
moorland lest the water-shrew should come and strike him. 

' Na leigibh bho bhail e. Do not allow liim from townland. 

Do mhointeach nan coileach, To moorland of grouse cocks, 

Mu'n tig an labh-alan Lest the water-mole should come 

'S guiu buail i e.' And smite him. 

The giants who live in caves and underground structures go under 
the names of ' famh,' mole, ' famhair ' and ' fuamhaire,' giant. 
A man much addicted to burrowing underground is called ' famh,' 
mole ; ' famhair ' and ' fuamhaire,' giant. Perhaps the ' famhair,' 
'fuamhaire,' was the Titan of the Celt, the Cyclop of his 
underground structures, and the Fomorian of his history. 

Faochaire, a knave, a betrayer, a perjurer, Judas ; from ' faoch,' 
a curve, from which also ' faochag,' periwinkle. 
' Co cama ri cruim na faochaig.' As crooked as the worm of the whelk. 
' Co cama ri faochag dhubh a As crooked as the black whelk of the 
chladaich.' strand. 

— morally oblique. 

' Fait faochaidh fionn. Hair curving fair, 

Cama lubaidh donn.' Curly winding brown. 

Faoigh, faig/i, Joig/i, thig, thigging, genteel begging. 

' Chan f haoigh e. ' It is not a thigging. 

The wool for the web had not been obtained by ' thigging,' which 
was a common practice in Britain in the Middle Ages, nor is it 
yet wholly extinct. In 1414 the Scottish Parliament passed an 
Act against ' thiggers ' and ' sorners,' these being the social pests 
of the period. The thing begged was indicated as ' faoigh eorna,' 
barley thigging; 'faoigh chruidh,' cattle thigging. An old 
proverb says ; — 

' Chan i mhuc is fearr It is not the best pig 

A gheobh fear na faoighe. ' That the man of the thigging gets. 



288 



NOTES 



When the sons and daughters of the higher classes married, they 
went 'air faoighe,' a-thigging, to help them to set up in the 
world. Others followed their example down to the lowest grade. 
The writer conversed with an old man of ninety-nine years of 
age who went round thigging with the daughter of his chief after 
her marriage. The lady, who was very lovely, rode a beautifid 
black pony, and my informant was her ' coiseachan,' footman. She 
and her husband were well received and hospitably entertained 
everywhere, and after an absence of some weeks they returned 
home with a miscellaneous herd, enough to stock a large farm. 
Faoilleach, Faoilleach, FaoiUheachd, possibly 'the Carnival Season,' but 
folk-etymology, leaning upon ' faol,' wolf, makes it ' wolf-month.' 
During this proverbially hard period the wolf, driven from wood 
and mountain, approached dwellings. There are many sayings 
about this pressing period of the year : — 

' Mi Faoillich, Month of ' Faoilleach,' [sharp, ravenous, tearing wind. 

Naoi la Gearrain, Nine days of ' Gearran,' [galloping wind, like a garron. 
Seachdain Feadaig, A week of ' Feadag,' [sharp, piping wind. 

A week of ' Cailleach,' 
Three days of ' Sguabag, 
Up with the Spring ! 
These lines personify the weather under the names of animals and 
other figures. Here we see myths in the making. 
' Tri la luchair 's an FhaoiUeach, Three days of Dog-days in Wolf-month, 
Tri la Faoilleach 's an luchar. ' Three days of Wolf-month in Dog-days. 
' Thubhairt an Gearran ris an FhaoU- The ' Gearran ' said to the ' Faoil- 
leach, 
" C'ait, a ghaoil, an gamhuinn bochd ? " 
" Fhir a chuir mi chon an t-saog- 

hail, 
Chuir mi mhaodal air an stochd." 
" Och mo leireadh," ors an Ceitein, 
" 'S truagh an eirig a thig ort. 
Nan d' fhuair raise bogadh chluas dheth, 
Chuir mi suas e ris a chnoc." ' 

The people disliked heat in the 
unnatural. 



Seachdain Caillich, 
Tri la Sguabaig, 
Suas an t-earrach ! ' 



[a few semi-calm days, 
[the soughing blast which 
ushers in the spring. 



leach,' 
' Where, love, the lean stirk ? ' 
' Thou who didst send me into the 

world, 
I placed his paunch upon the stake.' 
' O ! my grief,' said the ' Ceitein,' 
' Great the ransom upon thee. 
Had I at all got hold of his ears, 
I would have sent him up the hill.' 

Faoilleach,' deeming it 



' Faoilleach, Faoilleach, crodh air 

teas, 
Caoidh us caoineadh dheanadh 

mis, 
Faoilleach, Faoilleach, crodh am 

preas, 
Gaire caomha dheanainn ris.' 



' Faoilleach,' ' Faoilleach,' cattle flee- 
ing from heat. 

Weeping and wailing I would make 
to it, 

' Faoilleach, ' ' Faoilleach,' cattle flee- 
ing to bushes. 

Laughter and hail I would make to it. 



NOTES 289 

The ' Gobag,' voracious one, began the day before the ' Faoilleach," 
and is on this account called the mother of the ' Faoilleach ' : — 
' Gobag ! Gobag ! mathair FaoiUich ' Gobag ' ! ' Gobag ' ! mother of the 

fuair, Wolf-month cold, 

A mharbh a chaor agus a chaol- That didst kill the sheep and the 

uan, lean lamb, 

A mharbh a ghobhar ghlas ri That didst kill the grey goat in two 

dha, watches, 

Agus an gamhuinn breac ri aon trath. ' And the speckled stirk in one. 
The old people wished to have the furrows filled three times 
during the Wolf-month — 'Ian uisge, Ian sneachda, Ian tugha nan 
taighean ' — full of water, full of snow, full of the thatch of the 
houses. 
Far, the preposition 'on' used in compounds, e.g. 'farasg,' false fish, 
fish found dead on the sea or shore ; spent fish, as ' fara-bhreac,' 
spent trout ; ' fara-bhradan,' spent salmon ; ' fara-laogh,' false calf, 
monstrosity; ' fara-ghaol,' false love; 'far-thir,' an out-of-the-way 
place ; ' far-thagh,' ' foireagh,' a certain amount of farm produce 
allowed to farm servants in olden times. 
Farch, farch-chiuil, fairchU, a musical instrument, possibly the lute, 
probably the lyre. The ' farch ' is mentioned in the ' Lay of 
Fraoch,' taken down in 1861 from Kenneth Morrison, Trithion, 
Skye :— 

' B' f haide do shleagh na slat Longer thy spear than the yard of the 
shiuil, sail, 

Bu bhinne na farch-chiuil do Sweeter than the lyre of melody thy 

ghuth, voice, 

Snamhaiohe cho fath ri Fraoch A swimmer as swift as Fraoch 

Cha do shin a thaobh ri smth.' Never stretched his side to flood. 

Probably ' farch,' the musical instrument, is from the same root as 
' farchin,' ' farch-chrann,' ' fara-chrann,' bread-toaster. Both being 
sharply curved, the one may have borrowed the name from the 
other, or both may have borrowed from a common source. 

Fa, fàlh, vista, perspective, a long, narrow glen. ' Fath fad air falbh,' 
a view far away. ' Chi mi fath air na feidh ' — I see a distant view 
of the deer. ' Ni 'm faic mi fath dhiubh ' — Nor see I a view of 
them. Probably cognate with ' faire,' ' faircadh,' horizon. 

' Chi mi, chi mi fad air faireadh, I see, I see in the far vista 

Air bharr na roide ruaidhe On the top of the red bog-myrtle. 

Am mac a tighinn o'n mhathair The son coming from the mother. 

Am matliair a tighinn uaithe. The mother coming from him. 

This is a riddle the answer to which is ' night and day.' 
VOL. II. T 



290 NOTES 

Feaman-chir, feamain-chirein, feamain chireineach, the channelled fucus, 
the crested seaweed. This seaweed lies highest on the strand — 
the last submerged by the flood, and first exposed by the ebb. It 
is said to contain more potash than any other seaweed, and on this 
account is much used by the people for poulticing and medicinal 
purposes. Boiled and mixed with meal it is given to cows and 
calves, pigs and poultry, principally in spring. 

Fearan, fearain, dove, stock-dove, wood-pigeon. 

Fhin, the arm, the hand, the hollow of the palm. 

Fideag, flute, whistle, whistling. 

' Co shinneas an f hideag airgid — Who will play the silver flute — 
Mac rao righ air tir an Albain ! ' The son of my king ashore in Alban ! 

Fiodhag, JiotUiagach, bird-cherry. The bird-cherry takes the place of 
the wild fig-tree in popular lore. The people say that the wild 
fig-tree is banned because of the incident of the barren fig-tree. 
They do not use it for any structural purpose, but in some districts 
a decoction of the wood is made for certain diseases in cattle. 

When ' MacMhuirich Mor' seized 'isean na beist,' the young 
of the beast, the mother besought him to give her back her 
young, and tliat she woidd perform for him whatever service he 
demanded. Never tliinking that she could accomplish such a 
thing, 'MacMhuirich Mor' asked the 'beast' to build him a house 
of nine couples, and to thatch it with the down and feathers of 
birds, no two feathers to be alike. 

The 'beast' was dismayed at the ransom demanded of her, 
but she set to work resolutely and completed her task before 
the old cock crowed. She could be heard in the midnight air 
cheerily singing as she flew about to and fro, the burden of her 
song being — 

' Sgrith ! sgrath ! sgolban ! Turf ! divot ! and splint ! 

Taobh taigh a chealgair ! ' To the side of the house of the rogue ! 

The ' beast ' would then change the measure of her song, 
and sing — 

' Gach fiodh 's a choill ach fiod- Any tree in the forest save the wild 

hagach, fig-tree, 

Gach fiodh 's a choill ach fiod- Any tree in the forest save the wild 

hagach, fig-tree, 

Gach fiodh 's a choill ach crithionn Any tree in the forest save the aspen 

crainn, tree, 

Druidhinn dreang, iubhar cam is The thorn of pain, the crooked yew, 

fiodhagach.' and the wild fig-tree. 



NOTES 291 

Fiolan, fiollan, Jeahan, a fly, a worm, an insect, an animal, a parasite, 
the bot-fly. 

It is difliciilt to determine the precise meaning attaelied to 
' fiolan ' in these incantations. Probably ' fiolan fionn ' is the 
gadfly ; ' fiolan donn,' the earwig ; ' fiolan fada,' long insect, the 
centipede ; ' fiolan feoir,' the shrew ; ' fiolan luachair," the lizard, 
ordinarily * dearc luachrach.' 

' Fiolag,' a fly, a flighty person. From the frequent mention 
of the ' fiolan fionn,' it must have been a common pest among the 
people. Probably sleeping much in the open air was conducive to 
this — the insect depositing its eggs in the necks and faces of the 
people, as it deposits its eggs in the backs and rumps of cattle. 

The ' fiolan ' moves about ' eadar bian is sithionn," between 
skin and flesh, causing intense pain and suffering. The people 
applied poultices of water-cress and other plants to the part 
affected, and rubbed it with honey, hog's lard, and other specifics. 

Similar insect pests are common in South America, Africa, and 
India, causing much trouble, sometimes resulting in permanent 
injuries to natives and Europeans. 

Fion, wine. Wine is frequently mentioned in old Gaelic lore, whisky 
never. The following lines occm- in a song taken down in 
Miunghlaidh, one of the islands of Barra, in the summer of 

1865 :— 

' Is e mac Aoidh an duine treubhach, The son of Aodh is the brave man, 

Ni e sioda dh'an chloimh Cheitein, He could make silk of the May wool, 

'S fion air bharr an fhraoich, And wine from the heather-top, 
Nam b' flieudar.' If it were necessary. 

Fionn-faoilidk, a plant, the English name of which I do not know. 

Fitheack, biadhtack, raven. Ravens are seldom gregarious, generally 
going in ones, twos, or threes. Occasionally they congregate in 
flocks of many hundreds when a dead animal is on the moor or 
on the shore, when they gorge themselves by day and sleep in 
the rocks by night. At such times they become a nuisance to the 
people of the place, who try to capture one of them. When 
secured, the bird is tarred, painted, plucked or clipped, and placed 
on the carcase. The rest of the ravens hold a court over the 
unfortunate bird, standing round it and talking loudly and 
simultaneously. After a time one goes forward and gives a peck 
at the hapless bird, then another and another, till the whole of 
them crowd round the victim and end him. Sometimes the ravens 



292 NOTES 

simply look at tlie injured one, and then sail away as sOently and 
as variously as they came, till in a minute or two not a raven is 
to be seen. 

Of a man who has arrived accidentally and opportunely it 
is said : — 

' Tha fios fithich aige.' He has raven's knowledge. 

' Fios fithich gu roic' Raven's knowledge to a feast. 

When a raven is killed during nidification, the bereaved mate 
goes away, and after a short absence returns with another raven. 
When one of these is in turn killed, the other raven goes away 
and brmgs a new mate. This process is repeated till the third 
time, but if one be killed after that the remaining bird leaves the 
place and never returns. The term ' biadhtach,' feeder, is applied 
to the raven, and sometimes to a gluttonous man or boy. 

One of the Lords of the Isles was going along Bac, in Barra — 
some say Greinetobht, North Uist, — when he saw a black-haired, 
unkempt boy sitting at the edge of a cornfield husking ears of 
corn while basking in the sun and tending the cattle. Being a 
ready-witted poet, like many of the old Highland chiefs, the Lord 
of the Isles said : — 

'A bhiadhtaich sin, s' a bhiadhtaich, Thou raven there, and thou raven. 

Is math a chrimeas tu na diasan. Right well thou nibblest ears of corn. 

Is e mo ghuidhe air Righ na cruinne It is my prayer to the King of the sphere 

Thu bhi gun ionga, gun fhiacail.' That thou be without nail, without tooth. 

The boy promptly replied : — 

' Ma 's a tusa Mag-omhnuill, If thou be the Macdonald, 

Gun dean an Domhuach a dhiol May the Lord make thee recom- 

dhut, pense, 

Ca'n cualas riamh fear dha d' Where was ever heard a man of thy 

chinneadh name 

Ag aoireadh giUe ma dhiasan ? ' Satirising a boy for ears of corn ? 

(When the Lord of the Isles is meant, and then onlj-, the 
name ' MacDhomhnuill ' is pronomiced ' Mag-omhnuUI.') 

The ready wit and the implied compliment in the rebuke 
pleased the Lord of the Isles, and under his care the boy rose to 
position and founded a family. 

A raven dance is curious. My wife and I once had the 
privilege of seeing this ; and as I have never met with an 
account of a similar occurrence, I quote the description written at 
the time : — 

' Mrs Carmichael and I were driving from Scolpaig to Newton, 



NOTES 293 

North Uist. Immediately on coming to the top of Cnoc 'ic 
Eoghain looking across the " ob " — bay within a bay — of Geireann, 
we saw near the strand a number of ravens going through some 
shuttle-cock movements that puzzled us much. Intervening 
hillocks, windings of the road, and rapid driving prevented us 
for a time from having a continuous view of what was going on ; 
but having come to a place where we had a near and full view of 
the birds, we stopped our little phaeton, and watched their 
singular proceedings in breathless silence. 

' There were ten or twelve ravens in all, I forget which, on the 
smooth green grass adjoining the dry strand, and about a hundred 
yards below where we stood. On a small elevation hard by stood 
a large, noble-looking raven, probably the MacCrimmon of his 
race, and piped a " port-a-bial," mouth-tune, loud, fast, and 
furious. To this all the other ravens responded by running, and 
hopping, and jumping rapidly and regularly from certain given 
points in two opposite directions. "They reeled, they crossed," 
but I cannot say they "cleekit," like the witches in old Alloway 
Kirk. But they certainly went through certain movements and 
evolutions, now singularly resembling the " Reel of Tulloch," and 
now absurdly like the " Lancers' Quadrille." While these strange 
movements were gone through by the ravens on the ground, 
another raven flew to and fro overhead, now making a wide 
circuit, now a narrow one, and now an angle, and evidently 
guarding against surprise. Ultimately this strange dance — as 
I think I am justified in calling it — ceased, having lasted, from 
the time we noticed the birds first, some eight or ten minutes. 
Immediately thereafter all the ravens flew away, not in a body, 
and in one direction, as their congeiicrs the crows would have 
done, but like a gang of thieves taken by surprise, all in different 
directions, and in various waj's, no two of them going together. 
I have been familiar with ravens all my life, and at various times 
and in various places have seen numbers of them together ; but 
I never before saw a ravens' quadrille, and probably shall never 
see the same thing again.' 

Farlos, farlus, fairleus, the smoke-hole in the ridge of a house for the 
egress of smoke and the ingress of light, from 'far,' over, and 
' leus,' light. 

Flathas, heaven, an abbreviated form of ' flathanas,' ' flaitheamhnas.' 
Sometimes taken to be ' flaitliinnis,' isle of the noble ; from ' flath,' 
VOL. II. T 2 



294 NOTES 

noble, and 'innis,' isle. This mysterious isle lay far away under 
the western main and beneath the setting sun. There men and 
women retained perpetual youth, perpetual life, and perpetual 
love, amidst the chase, the song, and the story. 

F5, brink ; ' fo a bhais,' brink of death. 

Foirich, foiriche, lump, mallet, pestle, the stone used in crushing the 
corn in the ' pollag,' corn mortar. 

Foiritm, border land, debatable land, land held in dispute and 
therefore watched. 

Foiriridh, foirireadh, keen observation, anxious waiting, wake, watching 
the corpse. 

Forack, forch, Joirch, foiriche, a projection, a swelling, a rock, a reef 
in the sea, oi'dinarily called ' bogha.' These invisible reefs are 
sources of extreme danger along the Atlantic side of the Outer 
Isles, and in arms of the sea opening on the Atlantic. On a calm 
day, when the water is smooth, the sea may suddenly and 
noiselessly rise from five to fifteen feet, and then rusli along 
roaring for a distance of fifty or a hundred yards, falling down in 
a grand cascade. 

This sudden rising of the sea in the neighbourhood of sunken 
reefs has been fatal to many boats, among others to that of the 
chief of Ulva's isle in ' Loch-nan-Ceall,' Mull. The fatal reef is 
well known, and lies half-way between Gribonn and Ulva ; for the 
ballad of 'Lord Ullin's Daughter' is founded upon fact, as are all 
Campbell's ballads. 

Fosg, lark, ' fosgag,' little lark, from ' fosg,' open, bird of the open, 
bird of the open sky. ' Fosgag Moire,' ' fosgag Mhoire,' the little 
lark of Mary, endearingly applied to the skylark. 

' Tha fosgag bheag a cheileir ghrinn The little lark of melodious trill 

Os cionn mo chinn ri oran ; Is over my head singing ; 

Cha dhuisg i dhomh-sa solas binn But she will not awaken in me joy of music, 

'S mo chridhe tinn an dolas.' And that my heart is sick in sorrow. 

Fosglan, a porch ; ' fosglan air an f hosglan,' an opening on the 
opening — porch ; ' am fosg,' the space above us ; ' anns an f hosg,' 
in space. 

Freigh, fraigh, fragh, wall, partition, division, shelf. 'Crog fraigh,' 
hand shadow, shadow pictures thrown on the wall. 

' Is duilich banas taighe Difficult it is liousewifery 

Dheanamli air fraighibh fiisa.' To make upon empty walls. 



NOTES 295 

Frid, frldc, gnome, pigmy, elf, rock-elfin. The people apply the 
term ' fride ' and its derivatives ' fridean,' ' frideag,' ' fridich/ to 
creatures which they allege dwell in the internal rocks and in the 
innermost parts of the earth. They say that these gnomes eat 
and drink like men, and that it is not right to deprive them of the 
crumbs that fall to the ground. When crumbs of food or drops 
of milk fall on the floor the old people deprecate removing them, 
saying, * Gabh ealla ris, is ioma bial feumach tha feitheamh air ' — 
Let it be, many are the needy mouths awaiting it. ' MacMhuirich 
Mor ' of Staoligearry was losing his cattle through ' dosgaidh,' 
mischance. As he sat on a rock musing over his losses he heard 
a gnome mother singing to her child — 

' Uist a lurain, uist a luaidh. Hush, thou dearie, hush, thou pet, 

Uist a chuilean nan cas luath. Hush, thou darling of the rapid feet, 

D uair a shuidhichear clar MhicMhuiricli, When MacVuirich s board is set, 

Gheobh mo luran iodh is uachd.' My darling will get corn and cream. 

'MacMhuirich Mor' went home; and though he never went into 
his kitchen before, he went in that day. His baking-woman was 
making bread, and bits of dough and grains of meal were falling 
from her in the process. She took no notice of these till a piece 
fell from the bannock on her palm, and then she stooped down 
and lifted it. MacVuirich noticed her, and he went over and gave 
her a tap on the back of the hand with the switch he had, saying, 
' Gabh ealla ris, a mhuirneag, is ioma bial feumach tha feitheamh 
air ' — ' Leave it alone, maiden, many a needful mouth is waiting 
for it. And as long as thou shalt stand in my house, never again 
remove the fragments of food from the floor ; they are the rightful 
dues of "fridich nan creag," the gnomes of the rocks.' And as 
long as MacVuirich lived he went daily to the knoll with an 
offering of crumbs of bread and drops of milk to the gnomes. 
Never again did 'MacMhuirich Mor' lose his kine or his sheep 
or his horses. ' We must remember the smallest of God's 
creatures if we are to thrive in this world below and to live in 
the world beyond,' and the aged narrator had acted on her belief 
throughout her long life, though she had never once seen nor 
heard the recipients of her bounty. 

Frith, augury, divination. (Vol. ii. pp. 158, 1.59.) 

Frith, small, diminutive, infinitesimal — generally a prefix. ' Frith- 
ghaol,' small love, ' frith-ghaoth,' weak wind, ' frith-eheol,' low 
music, ' frith-cheol min nan sitheaeh seang,' the soft music of the 



296 NOTES 

slender fairies. ' Frith-iasg/ small fish — generally applied to 
garvles, matties, and to immature fish ; ' traigh frith-eisg/ strand 
of small fish, implying sand-eels ; ' frith-thraigh/ small ebb ; 
' frith-rathad,' footpath, in contradistinction to 'rathad mor,' 
high-road; ' fi'ith-ainm,' by-name, tee-name; 'frith-bhuille,' small 
blow, 'frith-bhuille bhreabadair,' the small stroke of the weaver. 
The weaver who contents himself with a weak stroke of the sleay 
makes flimsy cloth. 

Fruan, acclivity, steepness, a steep hill ; akin to ' fraon.' 

Fuarag, a mixture of meal and cream, or of meal and milk, or of meal 
and water. In some districts the ' fuarag ' is called ' stapag.' 

After the battle of Inverlochy in 1431 the Earl of Mar in 
course of his flight was forced to seek food from an aged woman, 
who had nothing by her except a little barley meal. This he 
mixed with cold water in the heel of his shoe. On the woman 
regretting the poorness of the provision, the Earl said — 

' Is math an cocair an t-acras ; A good cook is hunger ; 

Is meinig a dhean tarcuis air biadh. Woe to him who would depise food. 

Fuarag eorn a sail mo bhroige A mixture of barley-meal in the heel 

of my shoe 
Biadh a b' fhearr a fhuair mi riamh.' Was the best food that I ever got. 

Fuath, a spectre, a kelpie, a demon, a water-fiend frequenting glens, 
rivers, and waterfalls. 

Fuidheag, thrum, the warp-thread, ten or twelve inches long, remaining 
unwoven at the end of the web. 

Fuidir, fool, lout, clown ; akin to ' fuidse,' coward, also to ' buidir,' 
a witling. 

Fidl, blood. The blood of a friend was drunk as a mark of affection. 
When Campbell of Breadalbane and his son Colin slew Grigor ' 
Macgregor, the husband of Breadalbane's daughter, the lady 
said : — 

'Chuir iad do cheann air stoc daraich, They placed thy head on a block of oak. 

Is dhoirt iad t'fhuil gu lar ; And they poured thy blood to the ground ; 

Nan robh agam-s' an sin copan, Had I there a cup in my hand, 
Dh' olainn dhith mo shath.' I would have drunk of it my fill. 



Ann Campbell, daughter of Donald Campbell, the entertainer 
of Prince Charlie at Scalpay, Harris, was exceptionally handsome. 
She was about to be married to Captain Allan Morrison 



I 



NOTES 



297 



Crossbost, Lewis. He was drowned on the way to his marriage. 
Ann Campbell composed a beautiful lament for her lover, in which 
she says : — 



' Is tniagh, a Rigli ! nach mi bha lamh 

riut, 
Ge b'e eilb na ob an traigh 

thu, 
Dh'olainn deoch ge b'oil le 

each e, 
Cha b'ann a dh'fhion dearg na Spainne 
Fuil do chuim a ghraidh a b'fheurr 

liora. 
An fhuil tha nuas o lag do 

bhraghaid.' 



Would, O King ! that I were near 

thee. 
On whatever bank or creek thou art 

stranded, 
I would drink a drink, gainsay it who 

would, 
Not of the rich red wine of Spain, 
The blood of thy body, love, would 

I prefer. 
The blood that comes down from 

the hollow of thy throat. 



The following occurs in a song composed by ' Nic Coiseam ' 
to her foster-son, ' Mac Iain 'ic Sheumais,' the famous warrior-poet 
of the Macdonalds, after the battle of Garnish in 1601 : — 



' Bha fuil do chuirp chubhraidh 
A drudhadh thromh t'anart, 
Bha mi fein ga sughadh 
Gon do thuch air m'anail. ' 

Another song says : — 

' Chasg mi do chreuchd, 
'S iad gu leir ro lionmhor, 
'S dh'ol mi d' fhuil chra, 

'S i na b'fhearr na'm fion liom. 



The blood of thy fragrant body 
Was soaking through thy linen, 
I myself was sucking it 
Till my breath became hoarse. 



I stanched thy wounds. 
And they all too numerous. 
And I drank of thy red blood. 
More sweet to me than wine. 



Shakespeare speaks of drinking the blood of a friend. 
Spenser tells of a case at Limerick where he saw a woman 
drink the blood of her foster-son on his being executed. 
Furadh, furaradh, fidrireadh, parching corn, a mode of drying grain 
to make the cakes for Christmas and other festivals. ' Min 
fhuiriridh,' parched-corn meal. 



Gais, goes, wisdom. 

Gais, spear, lance, spear-haft, flag-staff; 'gaise na brataich,' staff of 
the banner. 

GSis, plenty, abundance, food ; probably ' geis,' milk, milk produce, 
gestation. 



298 NOTES 

Gainisg — diminutives, ' gainisgeag,' 'gaineseag' — a small divinity 
dwelling among reeds and marshes on the borders of lakes and 
banks of rivers, moaning and wailing before storms for the deaths 
that are to follow. 

' Gainisgeag bheag a bhroin Little ' gainisgeag ' of the sorrow 

A sileadh deoir a sula.' Sliedding tlie tears of her eyes. 

' Gainisg,' sedge, is the long coarse grass among which the naiad 
weeps and moans. 

Galar-bonn, bruised soles, a disease in the hoof of cattle caused by 
walking over hard, rough, stony ground. It is troublesome to 
cows and difficult to cure. 

Galar-lom, a disease of cattle whereby the skin becomes corrupt and 
the hair falls off, akin to ' faileadh.' 

Garbhag an l-sleibh, club-moss. The club-moss was used for fixing 
dyes, for strengthening the eyes, as an emetic and a cathartic, and 
was worn on the person as a talisman to ensure lawful love and 
peaceful journeying, and also for luck of lambs. 

Gannan, garman-uchd, weaver's beam, breast-beam. 

Angus Morrison, minister of Contin, Ross, was a man much 
given to wit and humour, which were generally expressed in 
rhyme. When dying he said to his wife : — 

' Ochadan mar tha thu 'n diugh Alas ! alas ! thy state to-day. 

Is Aonghas dubh a dol gu bas, And black Angus going to death, 

Cha dean e posadh no bais- He will perform no marriage nor 

teadh, baptism, 

'S cha mho gheobh thu dad bho Nor shalt thou get aught from 

chach.' others. 

(This was during Episcopacy in Scotland, there being no marriage, 
baptismal, nor funeral fees in the Presbyterian Church.) A deacon 
present said : — ' Mr Angus ! Mr Angus ! is it not time for you to 
discontinue these things ì ' The ruling passion being strong in 
death, the dying man moved on his elbow and said : — 

' Dealaichidh sinne ris an t-saoghal, We shall part from the world. 

Is dealaichidh an saoghal ruinn. And the world shall part from us, 

Ach leanaidh am breabadair ris a But the weaver shall cleave to his 

gharman, beam. 

Is leanaidh an t-armadh ris an And the dressing shall cleave to the 

t-slinn. ' sleay. 



NOTES 299 

Gas, stalk, stem, column, a sapling, a stripling, a youth. 

' Na gasain ura, siol nam fiuran The fresh youths, offspring of the 

dauntless, 
Bha 'n an diulnaicb anns an sganart. ' Who were heroes in the combat. 

Gearr, short, thick-set, squat, strong. ' Gearr ' often occurs in 
descriptive names as ' gearr-loch," short, broad loch. There is a 
loch of this name in Ross, and another in Argyll. ' Gearr-chu,' 
squat dog, the wolf; 'gearr,' 'gearr-f hiadh,' squat deer, the 
hare ; ' gearra-breae,' short speckled one, the lesser black-backed 
guillemot ; ' gearr,' ' gearr a chuain,' squat one of the ocean, the 
grilse : — 

' D uair is e'n ron is cu 's an ruaig When the seal is the hound .in the chase 
Cha teid gearr a chuain as.' The hare of the ocean [grilse] shall not 

escape. 

' Thig a chuthag, thig an t-snag. The cuckoo will come, the night-jar will 

come, 
Thig a chuile h-ian g' a nead, Every bird will come to its nest, 

Thig a ghearr as a chuan. The hare [grilse] will come from the ocean, 

Ach cha tig, mo nuar! mo bhean.' But, woe is me ! mine own wife never. 

' Gearr-bhall,' 'gearra-bhall,' the squat spotted one, is the extinct 
gair-fowl, the great auk. It was a low-set bird, with a patch of 
white on each side of the head, and the name is descriptive. 
' Gearra-chot ' and ' cota-gearr ' was a short coat or doublet like an 
Eton jacket, but with a short cut-away tail. It was made of 
tartan or of scarlet cloth, which was called 'cath-dath,' war- 
colour; 'cath-dath rioghail,' regal war-colour. The 'cota-gearr' 
is mentioned in a song taken down from a old woman in Uist in 
18G6. She said tliat the song had been composed to one of the 
gallant ClauRanalds by a lady, after the battle of Aiddearn. 

' Luchd nan calpana fearail Men of the manly limbs, 

Dha math dh' an tig feile. To whom kilt is becoming. 

Luchd nan cotaiche gearra. Men of tlie short coats, 

Liom a b'aithghearr bhur ceilidh, To me short you stay, 

Luchd nan cotaiche gearra, Men of the short coats. 

Chit an dearrsa la greine. Gleaming in the sunny day. 

Thug sibh mionnan a Bhiobuill, Ye gave your Bible oath, 

Dol a sios gu Allt-eire, Going down to Auldearn, 

Nach de'adh claidhe a dhubladh That no sword should be sheathed 

Gun an cruinte Righ Searlach.' Till crowned was King Charles. 

The battle of Auldearn was fought, in May 1645, between the 



300 NOTES 

troops of the Commonwealth under General Hurry and the 
Loyalist Highlanders under Montrose. The veterans of Hurry 
were cut to pieces by the untrained Highlanders of Montrose — - 
Hurry's slain being equal to the whole number opposed to him. 

' Gearr/ Anglicised ' Gair/ is a siu-name derived from personal 
appearance. There were many men in the Highlands to whom 
the epithet was applied. One of these was ' Iain Dubh Gearr ' 
Macgregor, who composed the ' Reel of Tulloch.' Pei'haps the 
most memorable was one of the Macleans of Mull, and he is 
chiefly remembered through his son, who was a noted reiver and 
pirate. He is still spoken of in Gaelic song and story as ' Mac 
Iain Ghiorr.' A widow in Uist was milking her cow and singing 
a song, the burden of which was — 

'Chan fliaigh Mac Iain Ghiorr The son of John Gearr from Mull shall 

a Muil thu, not get thee, 

Ogha Ciaraig, iar-ogha Granddaughter of Ciarag, great-grand- 
Cruinneig. ' daughter of Cruinneag. 

Just then the reiver sprang from a cleft in the rock behind the 
woman, and, seizing the cow by the horn, hurried her off to his 
galley ere the astonished owner could recover herself or summon 
her friends. The people say that the luck of Mac Iain Ghioi-r 
began to decline after he took the widow's only cow, till at last he 
met the fate he had long merited. 

Geas, gis, gets, spell, enchantment, exorcism, sorcery ; dim. ' giseag,' 
' geiseag,' ' gisrean gisreagan,' spells ; ' gisreag,' a female exorcist, 
' gisrean,' a male exorcist. ' Geob nan geise,' lawn of the spells, 
is one of several names applied to certain places where the people 
were wont to lustrate their cattle with fire, ammonia, water, and 
salt, and with prayers and incantations to safeguard them from 
evil influences. These lustrations were performed on the first 
day of the quarter, but especially on the first day of summer, 'an 
Ceitein Samhraidh,' and the first day of winter, 'an Ceitein 
Geamhraidh.' 

Geigean, Rigk Geigean, Geigean, King Geigean. This was the term 
applied to the man who presided over the death revels. These 
were held in winter. Lots were cast, and the man upon whom 
the lot fell was elected king of the revels, over which he reigned 
from midnight till the old cock crew. A tub of cold water was 
poured over his head and down his throat, after which his face and 
neck were smeared uith soot. When the man had been made as 



NOTES 301 

formidable and hideous as possible, a sword, scythe, or sickle was 
placed ill his hand as an emblem of office. 

This ceremony was described to me by Mr Donald Mackay, 
minister of Cross, Lewis. He said he had seen it in the first 
decade of the century in his native parish of Creich, Sutherland. 
I have faUed to find any trace of the ceremony further south. 

A rhyme common among boys at play says : — 

' Thaine mi o chri-chas, I came from small peril, 

Thaine mi o chruai-chas, I came from great peril, 

Thaine mi o Ghigean, I came from Geigean, 

Thaine mi o Ghuaigean, I came from Guaigean, 

'S thig mi uat-s' ma dh'f haodas mi. And I will come from thee if I can. 

' Gigean ' and ' Guaigean ' are probably forms of ' Geigean.' 

Geil, a form of ' goU,' boil, bubble, a well, a spring, a fountain. 

' Geil,' a fountain, is obsolete in Scottish, but current in Manx 
Gaelic. Overlapping and forming a breakwater to the beautiful 
bay of Oban is the green, hummocky island of Kerara. In the 
jmiction of a steep rocky declivity and a smooth green plain in 
Kerara is an old keep of the ancient Macdougalls, lords of Lorn. 
The keep is picturesquely situated and beautifully built, indicative 
of the artistic eye and the skilful hand of the builders. 

The old ruin is called ' Caisteal nan Geimhlean,' Anglicised 
Geylaii Castle. The meaning deduced from the name is 'castle 
of gyves.' The evident spelling and meaning are ' Caisteal nan 
Geilean,' castle of the fountains. Close to the base of the old 
keep is a phenomenal number of clear crystal springs, boiling 
and bubblmg and sparkling in the summer sun, like stars twinkling 
in the winter sky. 

' Geilean,' bubbles, is applied to wells in Bracadale and in 
Waternish, Skye. Mary is beautifully and poetically called — 
' Geil ar slainte, fath ar solais.' Fount of our health, source of our joy. 
Gets, geisnean, gestation, gestators, gestating animals ; milk, mUk 
products. 

The term occurs in a lullaby sung to a child in the island of 
Lismore. The singer said that a human mother tending her 
flocks and nm'sing her child heard a fairy mother singing the song 
to her changeling in the fairy bower beneath the knoll :■ — 
* Cas a mhog-a luirean. Lilting on the light foot, 

A luirean, a luirean. The light foot, the light foot, 

Cas a mhog-a luirean. Lilting on the light foot. 

Air ular aig m' eudail. My dearie trips the floor. 



302 



NOTES 



Chuirinn ann an creadhail thu, 
Bhithinn f hin a feitheamh ort, 
Is ioma te bhiodh aighearach 

Nam bu leatha fhein thu. 
Cas a rahog-a luirean, etc. 

Thogainn air rao ghualain thu 
Shiubhlainn eutrom uallach leat, 
'S mis an te bhiodh uaibhireach, 

A cuallach leat na spreidhe. 
Cas a mhog-a luirean, etc. 

Bheirinn bin is brailis dhut, 
Bheirinn fin na cailis dhut, 
Bheirinn mire meala dhut. 

Is bainne geal nan geisnean. 
Cas a mhog-a luirean, etc' 



I would place thee in the cradle. 
And I myself would tend thee. 
Many a woman would be joyful 

An thou wert her own. 
Lilting on the light foot, etc. 

I would lift thee on my slioulder. 
And light and hearty go with thee, 
'Tis I that would be prideful 

Beside the flocks with thee. 
Lilting on the light foot, etc. 

I would give thee mead and nectar, 
I would give thee wine of the chalice, 
I would give thee combs of honey. 

And the white milk of the gestators. 
Lilting on the light foot, etc. 



' Gels ' occurs in another lullaby recovered in Uist- 



' Gur truagh nach mi 's mo leanu a bha, 
Gur truagh nach mi 's mo leanu a bha, 
Gur truagh nach mi 's mo leanu a bha, 
A muigh fo sgath nan geug O ! 

Am buaile an tulaich, am buaile an 

tulaich. 
Am buaile an tulaich, am buaile an 

tulaich. 
Am buaile an tulaich, am buaile an 

tulaich. 
Am bi gruain, is gruithim, is 

geis O ! ' 



Would that I and my baby were. 
Would that I and my baby were, 
Would that I and my baby were. 
Under the shade of the trees O ! 

In the fold of the hill, in the fold of 

the hill. 
In the fold of the hiU, in the fold of 

the hiU, 
In the fold of the hiU, in the fold of 

the hiU, 
Of ' gruain,' and crowdie, and of 

milk O ! 



Gil, an intensive form of ' geal,' white, used in the Outer Hebrides ; 
a water-course on a mountain-side, a rift, the moon — 

' Co fad 's a mhaireas gil is grian As long as moon and sun shall last 
Cha bhi fear na fialachd falamh.' The generous man shall ne'er be empty. 

Gitk, pain in the wrist, common among seamen, fishermen, reapers, 
navvies, and others whose wrists are strained. 

Glac, hollow of the hand, handful, as much of anything as can be 
caught between the thumb and the middle finger, the span 
between these. 

Glaistic, glaisiig, glaisnig, glaislig, a water-imp, from 'glas,' water, 
' Stic,' imp. The ' glaistic ' is a vicious creature, half woman, 
half goat, frequenting lonely lakes and rivers. She is much 



NOTES 303 

dreaded, and many stories are told of her evil deeds. ' MacUalrig 
Mor/ Big Kennedy of Lianachan, Lochaber, was coming home 
at night when he saw the ' glaistic.' He seized her and put her 
on the saddle before him with his sword-belt round her waist, 
and when he got home he locked her in the 'cul-taigh,' back- 
house. In the morning Big Kennedy heated the coulter of his 
plough and requested the ' glaistic ' to swear on the iron that 
she would never again molest man or woman in the place, and 
never more be seen in Lochaber while the sun shone by day 
or the moon by night. When the ' glaistic ' stretched out her 
lovely little hand and placed it on the coulter to give the required 
assurance, her hand was burnt to the bone. With a shriek of 
agony she flew out at the window and through the mist of the 
morning to the hillside beyond, and tliere she put out three 
bursts of the blood of her heart, which are still visible in the 
discoloured russet vegetation of the spot, and with each burst of 
blood the ' glaistig ' uttered a curse on Big Kennedy and on his 
seed for ever : — 

' Fas mar an roinneach daibh. Growth like the fern to them, 

Crion mar an hiachair daibh. Wasting Hke the rushes to them, 

'S diombuan mar cheo nam beann.' And unlasting as the mist of the hill. 

The descendants of Big Kennedy of Lianachan say that the curse 
is still upon them. 

Glas, water. The word is now rare in the simple form, but is 
common in compounds, as — Douglas, Duglas, from 'dubh,' black, 
and ' glas,' water ; Conglas, ' con,' fierce, and ' glas ' ; Finglas, 
'glas,' and ' fionn,' white; 'an t-uisge glaiseach,' the river Glas, 
in Strathglass. 

Glugalaich, gluglaich, gulping, gurgling, full of gulping; from 'glug,' 
gidp. The term is applied to a person who stammers, who 
makes a liquid noise in the throat, who moves unsteadily, and 
to an animal suffering from throat disease. 

' Glugalaich nan gamhna ghigach, The gulping of the gulping stirks, 

Glugalaich nan gruaigean, The gulping of the hairy ones, 

Glugalaich nan gamhna glugach, The gulping of the gulping stirks, 

Muigh ri mullach Ruaibhall. ' Out the face of Ruaival. 

Glun, knee — 

' Chaidh Muire mhin gheal air a glun. ' The fair white Mary went upon her knee. 
In the Islands the parturient woman goes upon her knee, 
preferably the right knee, during delivery. Hence in figurative 



304 NOTES 

language the number of times a woman goes upon her knee 
is equivalent to the number of her confinements. 

Glupad, dropsy in the throat affecting cattle and sheep, due to 
decay in the liver and kidneys. 

Gobkar, gahhar, goat. This active and sagacious animal was once 
common in the Highlands, but it is now rare. The eye of the 
goat is as beautiful as that of the kindred gazelle. This fact did 
not escape the notice of the old people, who had many sayings 
about the goat — 

' Suil ghobhar ghean The eye of the sportive goat 

An aodann bhan In the faces of women 

Gu raealladh fhear.' To wile the men. 

Sometimes the women reverse this. 

' Co cinnteach speir As sure of foot 

Ri gobhar nan creag.' As the goat of the rocks. 

' Miann ba, braon. The desire of the cow, dew, 

Miann caora, teas. The desire of the sheep, heat, 

Miann gobhar, gaoth Tlie desire of the goat, wind 
Ann an aodann creag.' On the face of the rock. 

Goileam, fire, fire kindling. ' Righ goileam,' fire king, king of the 
fire revels. 

Goiri, Goiridk, Godfrey. ' Goiridh,' Godfrey, and ' Ruaraidh,' 
Roderick, are facetiously applied to the fox. 

Goisear, plural goisearan, guisers, waits, young men who go about 
singing carols at Christmas, New Year, and other great festivals. 

The guisers are dressed in vei-y long white linen shirts, and 
in very tall white paper hats with flaps in front covering the face, 
holes being made for the eyes. These guisers represent crowiied 
kings and queens, popes, cardinals, mitred archbishops and 
bishops, cowled abbots and monks, priests and veiled nuns. 

In some places the guisers go about in small groups of twos, 
threes, or fours, in other places in large groups of tens, fifteens, 
or twenties. The 'ceann-snaodli,' leader, trails behind him or 
carries over him a dried bull-hide which his followers strike witli 
clubs, singing and shouting, and making all the noise and din 
possible. They call at every door, especially at every door where 
anything good is likely to be got, singing chants, and announcing 



NOTES 305 

that they — the good guisers — have come, that they have never 
been here before, and tliat tliey are come now, not to beg nor 
to borrow, not to buy nor to steal, but to bless the house, the 
houseman, the housewoman, the household, and the fanri and 
plenishing. 

In the Outer Isles the walls of the houses are veiy thick, 
varying from four to eight feet. A facing of stone is to the inside 
and another to the outside, the space between being filled with 
stones, gravel, or earth. The corners of the building are rounded, 
and there are no gables, the low walls being level right round. 
The roof is raised from the inner facing of the wall, the rest 
behig laid over with turf and green grass, where pet sheep or 
lambs often graze, and occasionally — wlien the building abuts 
on a bank, as is sometimes the case — a courageous cow and calf 
or even a mare and foal. Two or three stone steps project from 
the wall near the door, to enable the family to ascend and 
descend when occasion requires. In suitable summer weather 
the women of the family take possession of these grassy wall 
tops, and sew, spin, or knit, and look about them, while tlie 
household dogs sleep beside them in the sun. The principal 
object of these stone steps, however, is to enable the men to get 
up to thatch and rope the house, ladders being short, rare, or 
non-existent. 

When the carollers arrive at a house they generally mount 
on the walls and go roimd on them singing, shouting, stamping, 
and striking the bull-hide. After this they get meat, meal, 
butter, cheese, crowdie, eggs, and any other good thing there 
may be in the house. They place and carry these in a tanned 
leather bag of lamb-skin or sheep-skin, called ' uilim,' and retire 
to some roomy dwelling, barn, or other building previously 
arranged. Here they hold a feast and a dance, to which they 
invite their girl friends. 

Greann, cloth, rough-piled clothing. ' Greanndag,' a piece of cloth, 
a rag, a tatter. When the senile woman in the quern song 
asked her three sons what clothing the husband with whom 
they were providing her had on, they replied : — 

' Luireag, is barlag, is greanndag, A rag, and a tatter, and a tunic, 

Is seann chraicinn brathain, And an ancient quern skin, 

Agus claidhe air a leis. And a glave upon Iiis hip, 

Claidhe air a leis ! ' A glave upon his hip ! 

VOL. II. U 



306 NOTES 

Grios, griosadh, profane swearing, swearing by God, by Christ, or by 
any of the host of heaven. 

Gniagack, a supernatural female who presided over cattle and took 
a kindly interest in all that pertained to them. In return a 
libation of milk was made to her when the women milked the 
cows in the evening. If the oblation were neglected, the cattle, 
notwithstanding all precautions, were found broken loose and in 
the corn ; and if still omitted, the best cow in the fold was fomid 
dead in the morning. The offering was poured on ' clach na 
gruagaich,' the ' gruagach ' stone. There is hardly a district in 
the Highlands which does not possess a 'leac gruagaich' — a 
'gruagach,' flag-stone — ^whereon the milk libation was poured. 
I have seen such stones in Arran, Kintyre, Gigha, Islay, Mull, 
Lismore, Kerara, Lorn, lona, Tiree, Coll, Barra, South Uist, 
Benbecula, North Uist, Heisgeir, St Kilda, Harris, Lewis, Suther- 
land, Ross, at Culloden, Cawdor, Lochaber, and in various other 
places. All these oblation stones are eiTatic ice-blocks. Some 
of them have a slight cavity into which the milk was poured ; 
others have none, the libation being simply poured on the stone. 
In making the oblation the woman intoned a ruue — 

' A ghruagach, a ghruagach, Brownie, brownie, 

Cum suas mo spreidhe, Uphold my herds. 

Cum sios an Guaigean, Keep down the ' Guaigean,' 

Cum uap an Geige.' Keep from them the ' Geige.' 

There is probably no district in the Highlands where the 
' gruagach ' coidd not be fully described. A woman living in 
the remote island of Heisgeir described her so graphically and 
picturesquely that her interested listener could almost see 
moving about in the silvery light of the kindly moon the 
' gruagach ' with her tall conical hat, her rich golden hair falling 
about her like a mantle of shimmering gold, while with a slight 
swish of her wand she gracefully turned on her heel to admonisli 
an imseen cow. At intervals he seemed to hear her mellow 
voice in snatches of eerie song as she moved about among the 
grassy ruins of the old nunnery — all silent now of the holy 
orisons of gentle sisters. 

Each district gives its own local colouring to the ' gruagach.' 
The following account was given to me by a woman at West 
Bennan in Arran in August 1895 : — 

The 'gruagach' lived at East Bennan in a cave which is still 



NOTES 307 

called ' uamh na gruagaich ' — cave of the ' gruagach/ and 
'uamh na beiste ' — cave of the monster. She herded the cattle 
of the townland of Bennan, and no spring-loss, no death-loss, 
no mishap, no murrain, ever befell them, while they throve and 
fattened and multiplied right well. 

The ' gruagach ' would come forth with the radiant sun, her 
golden hair streaming on the morning breeze, and her rich voice 
filling the air with melody. She would wait on a grassy hillock 
afar off till the people would bring out their 'creatairean,' 
creatures, crooning a lullaby the while, and striding to and fro. 
The following is a fragment of one of her songs : — 

' Ho, hi, ho ! mach na boidhean. Ho, hi, ho ! out the kine, 

Boidhean boidheach brogach bean- Pretty cattle hoofed and horned, 

nach. 

Ho, hi, ho ! mach na boidhean. Ho, hi, ho ! out the kine. 

Crodh Mhicugain, crodh Mhicean- Cows of Macugan, cows of Mackinnon, 
nain, [Cook 

Crodh MhicFhearachair mhoir a Cows of big Macfarquhar of the 
Bheannain, Bennan, 

Ho, hi, ho ! mach na boidhean. Ho, hi, ho ! out the kine. 

Corp us cam air graisg na Beuria, Corpse and cairn to the rabble English, 
Mharbh iad orm mo cheile falaich. They have killed my hidden lover. 
Ho, hi, ho ! mach na boidhean. Ho, hi, ho ! out the Idne. 

Ruisg iad mi gu ruig mo leine. They have stripped me to my shift, 

Struill agus streuill mo leannan. They have clubbed and torn my lover, 

Ho, hi, ho ! mach na boidhean. Ho, hi, ho ! out the kine. 

Oidhch an Arainn, oidhch an He, A night in Arran, a night in Islay, 

'S an Cinntire uaine a bharraich. And in green Kintyre of birches. 

Ho, hi, ho ! mach na boidhean.' Ho, hi, ho ! out the kine. 

The people of Bennan were so pleased with the tender care 
the ' gruagach ' took of their corn and cattle that they resolved 
to give her a linen garment to clothe her body and down 
sandals to cover her feet. They placed these on a knoll near 
the ' gruagach ' and watched from afar. But instead of being 
grateful she was offended, and resented their intrusion so much 
that she determined to leave the district. She placed her left 
foot on Ben Bhuidhe in Arran and her right foot on ' Allasan,' 
Ailsa Craig, making this her stepping-stone to cross to the 
mainland of Scotland or to Ireland. While the ' gruagach ' was 
in the act of moving her left foot, a three-masted ship passed 
beneath, the mainmast of which struck her in the thigh and 



308 NOTES 

overturned her into the sea. The people of Bennan mourned 
the ' gruagach ' long and loudly, and bewailed their own 
officiousness. 

' Gruagach ' is now applied to a maiden, and occasionally, in 
derision, to a man witli long hair. But that it was not always 
so is evidenced by these lines from an old ballad : — 

' Inghean oighre Bhaile-cliath, Daughter am I of the heir of Dublin, 

Cha cheilinn, a thriath nan lann, I will not conceal, thou chief of spears, 

Do ghruagach Eilean nan eun To the ' gruagach ' of the Isle of birds 

Is ann a rug rai fein luo chlann.' I myself bore my children. 

' Gruagach ' is also the name of a famous swordsman and 
athlete in the old tales. 

Gruaigean, a seaweed, lit. little hairy one {iilaria esculentd). This 
seaweed contains saccharine and iodine, and is eaten raw. 
' Miorcan ' in Lewis. 

Gruiihim, crowdie, granulated curds and butter mixed ; ' gruth, 
curds, and 'im,' butter. In some districts of the South crowdie 
is a mixture of meal and milk, or of meal and water, as in the 
song — ' Ye'll crowdie a' my meal away.' 

Glial, grief, consumed by grief as by fire : — 

' Mo chridh ga ghualadh 's ga losgadh.' My heart consuming and burning. 

— Barra Song. 

' Mi ga m* ghualadh 's mi ga m' losgadh I consuming and burning 
Bhi 'g a faicinn air a thoisgeal.' To be seeing her on thy right hand. 

Gual, giiala, gnalain, shoulder ; ' crois air gach guala dheis,' a cross 
on every right shoulder; 'crois gheal air gach guala dheis,' a 
white cross on evei'y right shoulder ; ' crois dhearg air gach 
guala dlieis,' a red cross on every right shoulder. These are 
variants. I do not know which is the correct one. The red 
cross was the emblem of the knights of St John of Jerusalem, 
founded in the eighth century by Baldwin, king of Jerusalem. 
(Vol. i. p. 227.) 

It was customary to paint a cross on the door of the house 
during a sacred festival. 

Guailisg, false, falsity, distorted, displaced, out of order morally, 
mentally, or physically. It has 'go,' a lie, at base. For 
formation, cf. 'tuilisg,' 'tuailisg'; perhaps the g in such case is 
epithetic. May be for 'duailisg,' fraud, deceit. 



NOTES 309 

Gidm, ciiivi, conspiracy, revolt, rebellion. 'Tha iad a deanamh guim 
an aghaidh a nihaoir ' — They are making a conspiracy against 
the ground-officer. 

Gill, lament, weep. Mourning for the dead was a profession among 
the Celts, as in the East, and was generally done by women. 
* Bean tuiream,' mourning woman, is the term applied to a 
professional weeper. 'Tuiream 'is specially applied to mourning 
for tbe dead ; ' tuiream bhais,' death-mourning. Similar terms 
are 'seis,' dirge, and 'seis bhais,' 'seisig bhais,' death-dirge, 
death-wail. In Ireland this is called ' caoineadh,' weeping, 
Anglicised 'keening.' (Vol. i. p. 219.) 

In 1870 the writer prevailed upon a woman in Barra to do 
the ' tuiream ' as she had heard it when young. The funeral 
was that of a crofter at Castlebay who had died leaving a young 
widow and several children. As the fimeral procession left the 
house the woman set up a plaintive cadence. At first her voice 
was low and tremulous, but gradually rose to a great height. 
The scene was striking. Below, on a tidal rock, was the castle 
of Ciosmal, now a roofless ruin, once the picturesque home of the 
Macneills of Barra, while the Atlantic waves dashed against the 
rocks, mingling their wailing with that of the ' bean tuiream,' 
weeping woman. 

An amusing story is told in the neighbourhood of Glen 
Dessary at Ceann Locharkaig, of weeping women who were 
paid ten shillings each for professional services at the funeral of 
two of General Wade's soldiers. To a sad and mournful air they 
sang : — 

' Ho, ro, hi, ho ! Ho, ro, hi, ho ! 

Dh' fhalbh na Sasunnaich, The Saxon men are gone. 

Hi, hu, ho, hi ! Hi, hu, ho, hi ! 

'S dar a tig an t-aon la thilleas And may the day never come when they 
iad.' shall return. 

A Lochaber woman in Glasgow was taken to see Richard III. 
In the course of the play she exclaimed — 'Ach a Mhoire 
Mhathair ! co iad na mnathan tuiream.''' — But, Mary Mother! 
who are they the weeping women ? 



U 2 



310 NOTES 



Ichd, ichd, ic, a fi-ame put under a bee-hive. 

lodh, corn, food. ' lodh ' is obsolete as a simple term, but current 
in compounds, as ' iodlilaun,' corn enclosui'e, stackyard, from 
' iodh,' corn, and ' lann,' an enclosure ; ' iodhlan,' a small strip of 
land under corn. The words ' iodldach ' and ' iodhlachadh ' are 
applied in Skye to all handling of corn, from cutting to stacking. 
* Tireadh,' ' tiriodh,' drying corn on a kiln. 

Tiree, 'Tir-iodh,' cornland, was the grange of the religious 
community of lona, as Trotarnis was the grange of the Mac- 
donalds of the Isles, and as Lismore was the grange of the kings 
of ' Barra-gobhan,' Latinised ' Beregonium.' The name ' Tir-iodh,' 
land of corn, is singularly applicable to this low-lying, fertile 
island, which is spoken of as ' Tir iosal an eorna ' — low land of 
barley. Other popular sayings about Tiree are : — 

' Tir na mine mine. The land of the fine meal, 

Chuireadh sith air geocair.' That would bring peace to a glutton. 

' Tir na mine matha. Land of the good meal, 

Chuireadh gean air cocair.' That would give joy to a cook. 

' Bheireadli Tir-iodh an da bharr Tiree would give the two crops 
Mur bhi eagal an da mhail. ' Were it not the fear of the two rents. 

The word occurs in place-names in some other districts of the 
Highlands, and in several places in the county of Sutherland. 
All of these are good corn lands. Rob Donn, the Reay bard, 
being asked his name, said : — 
' Dar bhitheas mi 'n Tiriodh is Gordanach When I am in Tiriodh I am a 

mi, Gordon, 

Dar bhitheas mi 'n Asaint is Leodach When I am in Assynt I am a 

mi, Macleod, 

Dar bliitheas mi 'n Cataibh is Sutharlach When I am in Cataibh I am a 

mi, Sutherland, 

Dar theid mi dhachaidh is Caoidheach mi.' When I go home I am a Mackay.' 

The different places represent the districts of the clans named, 
and are all in the county of Sutherland. 

lol, tola, a fishing-rock on shore, a fishing-bank at sea ; in Uist, fishing 
with rod or line in a boat 'air chruaidh,' at anchor, in contra- 
distinction to 'maghar,' moving about. In Shetland, 'iola,' 'eila,' 
means fishing with a feather, whether moving or stationary. 



NOTES 311 

'Tola' is a frequent place-name in the Western Isles. A 
fishing-bank near Barra is called ' lola-nam-bodach,' fishing-bank 
of the cods ; a townland in North Uist is called ' lol-airidh,' 
fishing-bank of the shelling. Near PoUtil, in Skye, is a place 
called ' lola-Phadruig/ the fishing-bank of Patrick, and 'lola- 
geoghamhna,' the fishing-place of the creek of the stirk ; while 
in the near neighbourhood is a precipice called ' lolagag.' This 
rock is mentioned in an old dance song : — 

* A Phara bhig a rahic Iain Bhruis, Little Patrick, son of John Bruce, 
Nach robh thu ann an lolagaig ! ' Would thou wert in lolagag ! 

The island of Rockal, perhaps the mythic submerged ' Rocabarraidh ' 
of the Barra people, is called ' lola nam miola mora,' the fishing- 
bank of the great creatures ; ' lola nam muca mara,' the fishing- 
bank of the sea-pigs, whales. 

Inid, Shrove, Shrove Tuesday. 

' A ohiad Di-mairt dh'an t-solus ur The first Tuesday of the new moon, 

Di-raairt Inid, Tuesday of Shrove, 

Seachd seachdainean o breith gu bas Seven weeks from birth to death, 

Eadar Casg is Inid.' Between Easter and Shrove. 

Isean. In some places ' isean ' is ajjplied to the young of birds only, 
and in some to the young of all creatures, as in Uist, 'isean roin,' 
the young of the seal, and in Lewis, ' isean eich,' the 3'oung of the 
horse. 

luchd, uic, nook, angle, recess, slit, scallop, fissure. ' Earc iuchd,' 
slit-eared cows, ordinarily called 'tore chluasach,' notch-eared, or 
'crodh mara,' sea-cows. A cliff in Benderloch is called 'Creag- 
niuchd,' evidently a corruption of 'creag an iuchd,' rock of the 
angle or recess, a descriptive name. 

ITichd, ITic, was the name of one of the four children of Tuirenn. The 
name is mentioned in the touching lament of their father, who 
died waiting and watching for them when the ill stepmother had 
put them under druidism in the form of swans. 

' A chleirich a chladhaich an uaigh. Thou cleric who didst dig the grave, 

Cuir lachaidh is Conn cruaidh ri mo Put lachaidh and Conn hard by my 

thaobh, side, 

Cuir Iuchd mo ghraidh eadar mo Place Iuchd of my love between my 

dha lamh, two arms, 

'S a chleirich aigh cairich rium And gracious cleric lay close to me 

Aodh.' Aodh. 



312 NOTES 



Lack, duck. The duck meant is the long-tailed duck, which is 
known by a variety of descriptive names : — ' beul-binn/ sweet 
mouth ; ' caothail/ wailer ; ' ian-binn/ bird of melody ; ' lacha- 
liath/ blanched grey duck ; ' lacha-stiurach/ rudder-duck ; ' ian 
buchuinn ' — preferably 'buch-f huinn ' — song-bird of the sea, from 
' ian,' bird, ' buch,' ' boch,' swollen (referring to the sea), and 
'f huinn/ gen. of 'fonn,' melody, refrain. From cognate causes 
May is called ' Mi Buchuinn,' month of swelling, month of 
bursting forth, ' Buchuinn Moire,' swelling of Mary, and ' Buchuinn 
buidhe Moire nam buadh,' the yellow swelling month of the Mary 
of grace ; ' Buchuinn Bealltain,' swelling of Beltane ; ' Buchuinn 
buidhe Bealltain,' yellow swelling of Beltane ; c/., however, ' boch,' 
hey-day, ' bochail,' proud, nimble. 

' Lacha-stiurach,' rudder-duck, is applied to the bird because 
its long tail resembles a long oar steering a boat. Yet the bird 
manages its tail amid the ^vild waves of the sea witli tlie same 
easy grace that the pheasant manages its tail among the rough 
branches of the trees, and tlie lady her train amid the mazes of the 
dance. The long-tailed duck is singularly graceful and melodious. 
In colour it is the water-wagtail, in form the pheasant, and in 
song the nightingale, of the sea. 

On arriving, from its summer sheiling in the north, at its 
winter homestead in the south, the long-tailed duck utters a few 
short syllables, sharp and impatient at the beginning, prolonged 
and modulated towards the e:id. The bird frequents the islands 
of Tiree and Coll, but is rarely seen elsewhere in the seas or 
sounds of the Inner Hebrides. It keeps to the open sounds of 
the Outer Hebrides, while its congener, the pin-tailed duck, 
keeps still further out and exclusively to the open Atlantic, being 
rarely seen within the Outer Sounds. The two places most 
familiar to me as the habitat of the long-tailed duck are the 
Sound of Barra and the Sound of Harris, forty-four miles apart. 
In crossing these stormy straits of the Atlantic, I often observed 
the evident enjoyment of these beautiful birds in the tumult of 
waters. The more the stately mountainous waves, snow-white, 
foaming, roaring, broke over them, the more evident their delight 



NOTES 313 

in the battle of the billows, like a band of maidens amidst a battle 
of flowers. 

In Tiree the people set small lines along the strand when the 
tide is out, to catch flounders and other flat fish. When the tide is 
in the long-tailed ducks dive for fry and sand-eels, and are caught 
on the hooks and drowned. During a visit to my friend and 
fellow-collector of folk-lore, the late Rev. Mr Campbell of Tiree, I 
saw at Hianaish, on the 23rd September 18S7, seven of these 
gracefid birds which had been drowaied on one set of lines ia 
one day. 

In the island of Bearnarey (Bernera), in the Sound of Harris, 
there is a sept of people called Clann 'Ic Anndaidh — Clan Macandy. 
The sept consists now of only a few families — most of them having 
left, being dissatisfied with the hard rocky and sterile sandy 
nature of the place. Local legend says that one half of the 
Macandys were keen lovers of the land, with its plants and 
animals, and declared by the golden sun that rules the day ; while 
the other half were keen lovers of the sea, with its plants and 
living creatures, and declared by the silvery moon and twinkling 
stars that rule the night. The sea-loving section laughed at the 
land-loving section, and in her resentment at their scoffing the 
witch of the land-lovers struck the sea-lovers with her ' slacan 
druidhcachd,' druidic wand, and placed them ' fo gheasaibh,' under 
enchantment, and ever since then one sept of the Macandys are 
swimming on the sea, diving in the deep, and flying in the air, 
like gleams of light, whOe their kinsmen and clansmen are 
grubbing in the gi-ound like earth-worms, their fellow-mortals. 

The people of Bearnarey allege that the long-tailed ducks are 
the enchanted section of the Macandy tribe, and that the birds 
hail their kinsmen in the loud long laughter of their hearts with 
greetings which have been converted into human language. The 
following is attributed by his people to Sir Norman Macleod of 
Bearnarey, knighted on the field of Worcester : — 

Clann ic Anndaidh ! Clan Mac Andy ! 

Clann ic Anndaidh ! Clan Mac Andy ! 

Finidh fanntaidh ! Weakly clansmen ! 

Finidh fanntaidh ! Weakly clansmen ! 

Bhioch ! bhoch ! bluich ! Vioch ! voch ! viich ! 
Ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ! Uv-iiv ! uv-uv ! uv-uv ! 

O! U! O! U! O! U! O! U! 

U!0!U!0! U!0!U!0! 

Ur ! ur ! ah ! Ur ! ur ! ah ! 



314 



NOTES 



Clann ic Anndaidh ! 
Clann ic Anndaidh ! 
Daoine sanndaidh ! 
Daoine sanndaidh ! 
Bhioch ! bhoch ! bhuch ! 
Ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ! 

U! O! U! O! 

O! U! O! U! 

OurO! Our a! 



Clan Mac Andy ! 
Clan Mac Andy ! 
Greedy clansmen ! 
Greedy clansmen ! 
Vioch ! voch ! vuch ! 
Uv-uv ! uv-uv ! uv-uv ! 

U! O! U! O! 

O! U! O! U! 

OurO! Our a! 



Clann ic Anndaidh ! 

Clann ic Anndaidh ! 

Gabh cabhraich ? 

Gabh cabhraich ? 

Bhioch ! bhoch ! bhuch ! 

Ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ! 

O! U! O! U! 

U! O! U! O! 



Clan Mac Andy ! 
Clan Mac Andy ! 
Take sowens ? 
Take sowens ? 
Vioch ! voch ! vuch ! 

Uv ! uv ! uv ! 

O! U! O! U! 

U! O! U! O! 



Gabh ! gabh ! gabh ! 
Bhioch ! bhoch ! bhuch ! 
Ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ! 

Ubh-ubh ! O ! U ! 

O! U! O! U! 

U! O! U! O! 



Take ! take ! take ! 
Vioch ! voch ! vuch ! 
Uv-uv ! uv-uv ! uv-uv ! 

Uv-uv ! O ! U ! 

O! U! O! U! 

U ! O ! U ! O ! 



Na h-Eoin Bhuchfliuinn, 
Thig bho'n bhochfhuinn, 

Dh' eubhas gu binn, 
Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 
Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 



Ye Birds of ' Buchuinn,' 
That come from ' bochuinn,' 

Calling sweetly, 
Bochuinn a vu ! 
Bochuinn a vu ! 



De chuir thu'n traigh an diugh ': 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 
Bhiochfhuinn ! bhochfhuinn ! 
bhachf huinn bhuth ! 

Bhochfliuinn a bhuth ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 



What sent ye to the strand to-day ? 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bochuinn a vu ! 
Biochuinn ! bochuinn ! bachuinn 
vu, 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bochuinn a vu ! 



Gaol is gradh is cairdeas 
dut, 
Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 
Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 
Bhiochfliuinn ! bhochfliuinn ! 
bhachfhuinn bhuth ! 
Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 
Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 



Love and affection and friendship for 
thee, 
Bochuinn a vu ! 
Bochuinn a vu ! 
Biochuinn ! bochuinn ! bachuinn 
vu, 
Bochuinn a vu ! 
Bochuinn a vu ! 



NOTES 315 

Gaoth air fiar, fiath air nuiir. Wind on lea, calm on sea 

Bhochfhuinn a bliuth ! Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bhochfliuinii a bhuth ! Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bhiochfhuinn ! bhochfliuinn ! Biochuinn ! bochuinn ! bachuinn 

bhachfhuinn bhuth ! vu, 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! Bochuinn a vu ! 

Na h-Eoin Bhuchfhuinn, The Birds of ' Buchuinn,' 

Thig bho'n bliochfhuinn. That come from ' bochuinn,' 

Dh' eubhas gu binn. Calling sweetly, 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! Bochuinn a vu ! 

Lacha Mhoire, Mary's duck. The mallard goes by various names, 
as ' lacha-ghlas,' grey duck ; ' lacha-riabhach,' brindled duck ; 
' lacha-ruadh/ russet duck ; ' lach a chinn-uaine,' duck of the 
green head. 

The common grey duck is among the first and the last birds 
to breed. It has young as early as the first week of April and 
as late as the last week of September. The subterfuges, tactics, 
and stratagems of the grey duck to save its young are amusing 
and instructive. No human mother in presence of a Solomon 
could show more tender solicitude. The people speak lovingly 
of Mary's duck, and would not willingly hurt it in the breeding 
season. 

When the mallard rises on the wing, it goes round and round, 
enlarging the circle as it ascends, and then stretches away as 
straight as an arrow with matchless speed. The people 
maintained that Mary's duck is the swiftest bird in the ' ealtain,' 
'ealt nan ian,' bird- world, world of the birds. 

Lacha shiih, teal, elf-duck ; from ' lach,' duck, and ' sith,' elf ; also 
'crion-lach,' tit-duck; ' crann-lach,' dwarf-duck; and ' lach eigir,' 
puny duck (see Eigir). 

The teal is the smallest British duck. It is numerous in 
the Isles in winter, but rare in summer. The arrival of the teal 
is supposed to indicate the coming of a storm, and when the bird 
is seen approaching the shore the people hasten to secure their 
crops and houses. 

The teal might be called the page of the swan, and more 
justly the pest of the swan. When swans are feeding, teals 
attend them, gliding about in and out, out and in, among them, 
picking up the animalcula brought up by the swans. Occasionally 



316 NOTES 

an audacious teal may be seen seizing a morsel from the mouth 
of a swan and swimming away a few feet. The noble bird rarely 
heeds this audacity ; but when it does give a ' wheeze/ the 
intruder scurries away — this time several yards. It coolly returns 
immediately, however, probably feeling that the swan is too 
dignified to cherish resentment. 

Lannair, lainnir, lanuer, falcon, peregrine falcon ; founded on ' lann,' 
a blade, a spear, a lance. 

Men singed their beards, and failing beards, their hair, to 
sam them from birds of prey. Possibly this was in imitation of 
the three young men who went through the fier)' furnace. When 
a boy is well behaved he is told : — ' Cha tog an t-seobhag thu ' — 
The hawk will not lift thee. The following fragment mentions 
other birds : — 

' Cha tog an lainnire ruadh thu, The ruddy lanner will not lift thee, 

Cha tog an t-seobhag dhuairc thu. The angry hawk will not hft thee, 

Cha tog an clamhan riabhach thu. The brindled buzzard will not lift thee. 

No iolaire liath nam beann.' Nor the grey-headed eagle of the hill. 

The following scene was described to me by Donald Mac- 
murdoch, crofter, Bailemeadhonach, Islay, a most observant 
naturalist : — 

' I was going along the road at Easter Eilister, and observed 
a flock of blue pigeons alight on a field of newly sown turnips. 
They had hardly alighted when they hurriedly rose. But instead 
of making for the sea-clifFs below, they ascended in a confused 
mass, shooting up in leaps and bounds, after the mamier of 
the lark. 

' I knew by the trepidation of the pigeons that an enemy was 
near, and looking round I saw the lanner coming from Tairteval 
and making straight for the pigeons. I stood in breathless 
suspense to await the result. With a loud scream the peregrine 
shot over the hapless birds, and in the twinkling of an eye one 
of them came tumbling down like a stone close to where I 
stood, followed by the hawk. With a swoop and a scream the 
hawk rose again without alighting, and I took up the dead pigeon. 
The birds above in the air were higher than before, but without 
deviating much to any side. 

' Again the hawk came down on the pigeons, and again one of 
them came down dead, followed closely by the hawk, screaming 



NOTES 317 

tlie while, and swooping off as before on neaving me. I took up 
the second pigeon, and the disappointed hawk swept by me with 
an unearthly scream. 

' The pigeons moved higher, but not laterally, and struggled 
in a confused, helpless mass, as if paralysed. 

' The peregrine made another swoop and went straight at the 
pigeons, and again one came tumbling down. Just as I was 
going to move toward the dead bird a rasping scream right 
overhead startled me back as if shot, and the hawk brushed past 
my face like a flash of lightning, and dashed itself dead on the 
road, splashing my feet with blood and displacing embedded 
pebbles in the hard road with its sharp beak. 

' Tiie dead pigeons had no marks upon them except a slight 
pin-like puncture on the same spot behind the head where the 
lanner had struck tlie spinal cord. Had the jiowerful hawk 
struck me on the neck, as it so very nearly did, I believe it 
would have killed me as it did the pigeons. 

' I brought home the hawk and the three pigeons, and kept the 
former for some time.' 

A warrior of the Macdonalds, known as ' Domhull Mac Iain 
'ic Sheumais ' — Donald, son of John, son of James — had a sword 
called 'an Lannaire Riabhach,' the brindled peregrine, sometimes 
' an Ranaire Riabhach,' the brindled roarer. 

■ Laogh na ha air hraigh na behige ' (vol. i. p. 268). When a calf dies, 
the mother will not give her milk. Highland cows being greatly 
attached to their calves. When this occurs the skin of the dead 
calf is placed on a shaped frame, generally of wicker-work, made 
and kept for the purpose. The improvised calf is placed beneath 
the cow and rocked to and fro iu imitation of the fretting 
motion of the live calf, the milkmaid being busy the while 
relieving the pleased cow of her milk, and singing a 'taladh 
bleoghain," milking lullaby. The cow every now and then sniffs 
at the 'calf to satisfy herself that it is her owii, for woe betide 
the milkmaid who placed the skin of another calf before a 
Highland cow ! 

The imitation calf is differently named in different districts, 
as 'laoicion,' ' loircean,' 'lulagan,' 'tulagan,' 'tulachan.' 

The term ' tulachan ' was applied to certain men appointed 
bishops in the Scottish Church after the Reformation. These 
men were bishops in name only, not in power, and their revenues 



318 NOTES 

were drawn by their patrons. Hence 'tulchan bishops,' a 
term of much contempt. 

Leann, ordinarily beer, here a pool, from the same root as 'linne,' a 
linn, a pool ; a river name. 

Li, I'm, Hit, III, water, liquid, lye, lustre. There are several forms of 
this root and of its derivatives — 'lir,' 'linne,' 'hi,' 'lua,' 'lighe.' 
The word enters into many place-names — as, ' Lite,' Leith ; 
' Uisge Lite,' Water of Leith ; the rivers Lee in England and in 
Ireland ; ' Traigh Li,' in Benderloch, Scotland ; and ' Traigh Li,' 
Tralee, Ireland. The root in these has reference not to the sea, 
but to the fresh waters behind. In connection with hills, there 
are ' Beinn Li,' Ben Lee, in Skye ; ' Li fo Dheas ' and ' Li fo 
Thuath,' Lee to the south and Lee to the north, in North Uist ; 
and ' Beinn Li,' in Barra. On the top of Lee in Barra is a pool 
containing small shell-fish like embryo cockles. Ben Lee, in 
Skye, is full of fountains ; while on the summit of South Lee, in 
North Uist, there is a deep tarn, evidently the mouth of an 
extinct volcano. An old rhyme in Uist says : — 

' Loch Feobhail sin, 's Loch Feobhail, Loch Foyle there, and Loch Foyle, 

Loch is doimhne fo 'n domhain. Loch the deepest in the world, 

Ach tha seachd doimhne Loch But there are seven depths of Loch 

Feobhail Foyle 

An loehan dubh domhain Li.' In the black, deep little loch of Lee. 

' Li ' is now confined to fresh water, but formerly it included salt 
water, as when in the old tales the sea is personified under the 
name of ' Lir,' ' Lear.' 

Liath chearc, greyhen. It is ominous to hear the greyhen after dusk. 
Apart from the evil it bodes, the sound is extremely eerie. The 
greyhen goes to a distance to make her nest, in order to conceal 
her eggs from the blackcock. The blackcock, like the peacock, 
is a source of danger to the eggs, but is careful of the young 
birds hatched by its mate. 

Linn, an age, a generation, a century, a family, a brood-hen, a brood 
of twelve. Twelve is a complete brood ; any number above this 
is ' linn mhor,' big brood ; any number below it is ' linn bheag,' 
small brood. 



NOTES 319 

Liohh, love, attachment. 

'Gu robh Iain Mac Gilliosa John the son of Gilhes 

Uair is uairigin a liobh rhim. Was time and times endearing me, 

Ach o 'n thain an t-Iarl a lie But since the Earl has come from Islay 

Sguiridh e dha bhriodal beoil.' He will cease beguiling me. 

This beautiful song and air were composed by Marion Gillies, a 
St Kilda maiden. The people of the Isles say that she was the 
most beautiful woman they ever saw. 

LÌ071, lint. There are several kinds of lint, and it is uncertain which 
is meant. Probably, however, the linum, flax of commerce, was 
the lint used by the old people for occult purposes. 

A hoop from three to four inches diameter was made of 
milkwort, butter-wort, dandelion, and marigold. This was bound 
with a triple cord of lint in name of Father, and of Son, and of 
Spirit, and placed under the milk-vessels, to prevent witches 
spiriting away the substance of the milk. 

When cream is rich, most of it goes into butter in the process 
of churning, and there is but little buttermilk left. When, 
however, cream is poor in quality, there is but little butter, while 
much buttermilk remains. When this occurred, probably not 
infrequently as the residt of poor feeding, the 'toradh,' substance, 
was said to be taken out of the milk by occult agency. It was to 
safeguard against this that the hoop bound with lint was made 
and placed under the milk-vessel. 

Lint was deemed specially ajipropriate to bind the ' cuach,' coil, 
made of the different plants. The people say that the hands and 
feet of Christ were bound with lint when He was taken down 
from the Cross, and before He was carried to the grave. In 
consequence of this the people speak of the lint with much 
reverence, and call it ' lion beannaichte,' blessed lint ; ' lion 
naomh,' sacred lint; 'lion Chriosda chaoimh,' the lint of Christ 
the kindly. They say that the person who would steal lint or 
lint-seed would be guilty of as heinous an offence as he who 
would sin against the Holy Ghost : — 

' Meirle lin agus meirle frois, Theft of lint and theft of seed, 

Da raheirle bho nach faighear sith Two thefts from which no peace nor 

na fois, relief can be. 

Gun tig an saoghal gearr gu crich Till the broad world comes to an end 

Chan fhaigh meirleach an lin clos.' The thief of lint shall get no respite. 



320 NOTES 

Some say that the thefts so condemned are the theft of salt 
and the theft of fish from a net : — 

' Meirle salainn agiis meirle lin, Theft of salt and theft of net, 

Meirle bho nach faighear sith. Thefts from which there is no peace, 

Gon tig an saoghal ciar gu crich Till the swart world shall come to an end 

Bidh meirleach an t-salainn shios.' The thief of the salt shall be down. 

' Lion na mna sith/ lint of the fairy woman, fairy flax. This 
flax is still used for medicinal purposes, and with good effect. 

Litkeadh, Ugheadh, flow, overflow, flood, flooded ; from ' li,' water : — 

' Tha mo chasan a call an coiseachd. My limbs have lost their walking, 

Tha mo cheuraan a fas fann, My steps have become weak, 

Tha mo shuilean trie a sileadh My eyes are often weeping 

Ceart co mirean ri ligheadh allt.' Just as fast as the flooded stream. 

Liuil, liulhail, bathe, bathing, washing, lustrating, purification ; from 
'li,' 'liu,' water. 

' Liu nan lasa,' water of the flame, lustral fire. Probably some rite is 
indicated (vol. i. p. 6). 

Loireag, a water-nymph, a water-sprite, a water-fairy. The ' loireag ' 
presided over the warping, weaving, waulking, and washing of the 
web, and if the women omitted any of the traditional usages and 
ceremonies of these occasions she resented their neglect in various 
ways. If a song were sung twice at the waulking, the ' loireag ' 
would come and render the web as thin as before, and all the 
work of the women of no avaU. They had to begin anew and 
waulk the web over again, taking special care not to repeat the 
offence. If a woman with 'guth cruaidh, reasgach, sgreagach,' 
hard metallic voice, sang out of tune and overwhelmed the others, 
the ' loireag ' was especially wrathful at her. 

A libation of milk had to be given to the 'loireag.' If this 
were omitted she sucked the goats, sheep, and cows of the 
townland, placing a spell upon them so that they could not move. 

I had the following from Mary Macinnes, Haccleit, Benbecula : 
'Benmore was always eerie because of the 'loireag* dwelling 
there. The ' loireag ' is a small mite of womanhood that does not 
belong to this world, but to the world thither. She was wont to 
drive the people out of their heart-shrine with fear with my first 
recollection. But since the people were driven from Bemnore, 
there is no person there whom she can frighten or dismay miless 
the big sheep. The ' loireag ' is a plaintive little thing, stubborn 



NOTES 



321 



and cunning. She is fond of milk and of milk produce, and she 
would suck the goat, the sheep, and the cow when she could get 
the opportunity, and she would place a spell upon the creatures 
that they could not move from her. There was once a little cross 
carle in Benmore, and the 'loireag' was sucking his cow. His 
daughter made an attempt to drive her away, but failed. She 
went in and told her father that neither the ' loireag ' nor the cow 
heeded her. The little carle leapt out at the door in sparks of 
red fire, swearing at the impudent ' loireag,' and at the cow. He 
threw a boulder at the 'loireag,' wishing to kill her, but struck 
the cow instead and nearly killed her ! He then seized the point 
of the cow's horn in the name of Columba the kindly, and 
immediately the cow leaped away from the 'loireag,' and she 
leaped away from the cow. (Columba was the best leech of man 
and beast in Alban in his day.) The ' loireag ' betook herself up 
the corrie of Coradale, her tune in her mouth and her tongue in 
her cheek, mocking the little cross-grained carle and singing as 
she went : — 



' Laoigh bhreaca blioirionn, 
Laoigh bhreaca bhoirionn, 
Laoigh bhreaca bhoirionn, 
Doinnion anns an damhuir ! 

Bhodaich bhig a bhun a Choire, 
Bhodaich bhig a bhun a Choire, 
Bliodaich bhig a bhun a Choire, 
Coradal us Craigeo ! 

Laoigh bhreaca bhoirionn. 

Bhodaich bhig a chota ghioire, 
Bhodaicli bhig a chota ghioire, 
Bhodaich bhig a chota ghioire, 
Circedal us Cragabhig. 

Laoigh bhreaca bhoirionn. 

Bhodaich bhig a bhun a Bhealaich, 
Bhodaich bhig a bhun a Bhealaich, 
Bhodaich bhig a bhun a Bhealaich , 
Treise dha do larahaich ! 
Mealam dhut do shlainte ! 

Laoigh bhreaca bhoirionn.' 



Calves flecked female. 
Calves flecked female. 
Calves flecked female, 
Storm in rutting time ! 

Little carle of Corrie foot. 

Little carle of Corrie foot. 

Little carle of Corrie foot, 

Coradale and Crageo ! 

Calves flecked female. 

Little carle of short coat. 
Little carle of short coat, 
Little carle of short coat, 
Circidale and Cragavig ! 

Calves flecked female. 

Little carle of the foot of the Pass, 
Little carle of the foot of the Pass, 
Little carle of the foot of the Pass, 
Strength I wish thine hand ! 
Health I pray be thine ! 
Calves flecked female. 



' Loireag ' occurs in the following lampoon. The places 
mentioned are four farms in North Uist adjoining one another. 
VOL. n. X 



322 NOTES 

All the four farms and several others are now in one farm under 
the inexpressive name of Newton. 

' Fithich dhubh a Chaolais, The black ravens of the Sound, 

Faoileagan Phort nan long, The seagiills of the Port of ships, 

Famhlagan Bhaile mhic Conain, The stormy petrels of the town of 

Conan's son, 
Loireagan Bhaile rahic PhaU.' The little dragglers of the townland 

of Paul's son. 

Lon, rope. The word is applied in St Kilda to the rope of raw hide 
with which the people descend the precipices after birds. 

' A lon laidir na feuraa.' Thou strong rope of purpose. 

St Kilda Lament. 
' Lonachan,' rope in uprights of loom. 

Lon-craois, May-fly, water-spider, water-beetle, water-demon, water- 
glutton, from *lon,' water, and 'craos,' lust, demon, gluttony, 
voracity. It is said that a may-fly taken into the stomach causes 
intense thirst and burning sensation. Hence of a man given to 
drink it is said : — 

' Shluig e lon chraois.' He swallowed a may-fly. 

' Tart na lon-chraois ort a dhuine The thirst of the water-demon on 

dhona.' thee, evil man. 

' Co gionaich ri lon-chraois.' As gluttonous as a water demon. 

A woman in Strathglass is said to have swallowed a may-fly, 
causing her insatiable thirst. She ate a salt herring and leant 
over a pool of water near a water-fall, wliich induced the fly to 
come up ! 
Lore, loirc, leg, shank, foot, foot-mark. 

'Loircean,' footling, active male child; 'loirceag,' footling, 
active female child ; akin to ' lorg,' shank, shank-bone, foot, 
foot-print. 

Lorg, a straight staff with the bark on and no iron on it, the staff" of 
a flail, the haft of a spear. When the bark peels off", the ' lorg ' 
is thrown aside. The 'bata' is a crook with the bark off", and an 
iron ring on it to keep away evil spirits. 

Luch-fheoir, grass mouse, common shrew, also called ' fiolan,' little 
beast, ' fiolan feoir,' ' fiolag f heoir,' little beast of the grass, 
'dallag f heoir," little blind one of the grass. When a shrew is 
caught it is carefully rolled up in woollen cloth and preserved, in 
order to counteract the paralysis in sheep, cattle, and horses, said 



NOTES 323 

to be caused by the fairy mouse. The shrew, preferably a live 
one, is carried sunwise across the loin of the animal affected, in 
name of Father, Son, and Spirit. But, like its congener, the 
water-vole, the common shrew was dreaded if seen near dwellings, 
as its appearance presaged death in the house or ruin in the fold. 
An aged woman and the writer observed a shrew mouse making 
its way in the direction of some houses up the glen. Pressing 
her hand on mine, the woman whispered in anxious tones, ' losa 
Mac Moire bin leinn, a ghraidh, tha i seo air toir cuideigin ' — 
Jesus the Son of Mary be about us, thou love, this one is seeking 
somebody. The death of her husband some days thereafter 
confirmed her belief. 
Lucha shith, fairy mouse, lesser shrew. It is also called ' beothachan 
feoir,' little life of the grass ; ' fionnag feoir,' little beast of the 
grass ; and ' feoirneachan,' little one of the grass. 

The lesser shrew is much disliked, from a belief that it 
causes paralysis of the spine in sheep, cows, and horses, by 
running across the animal when lying down. This is called 
' marcachd shith ' — fairy riding. To counteract its effects, a live 
common shrew if available, otherwise a dead one, is carried 
across the loin and spine of the animal affected, in name of 
Father, of Son, and of Spirit. 

In some districts 'a mharcachd shith,' 'na marcaich shith,' 
is applied to the perspiration, due to weakness, which comes 
out on cattle. 

The lesser shrew is the smallest British mammal and one of 
the prettiest. It is not rare, but it is seldom seen, because of its 
habit of travelling under the grass — its slender pliant body, its 
long tapering head, and its sharp pointed nose, being marvellously 
adapted to this mode of progression. The observer may not see 
the animal, but if he notices a rapid progressive but hardly 
perceptible movement in the grass, he may conclude that a 
fairy mouse is underneath. 



M 

Machair, level land; from 'magh,' a plain, and 'tir,' land. Long 
reaches of sandy plains fringe the Atlantic side of the Outer 
Isles. These are called 'machairs.' Even the more elevated parts 
of these long reaches are only a few feet above sea-level, while 



324 NOTES 

the more depressed parts are now and again submerged under 
the sea. This low-lying fringe is simply the fragment of the 
limitless tribute already exacted by the remorseless Atlantic. 
Even this fragment is being claimed year after year and century 
after century by the sea eating deeper and deadlier into the flesh, 
sinews, and bones of the ancient, ' Innis Cat,' Isle of the Catey. 

The fringe of machair which borders the Atlantic side of 
the Long Island is in striking contrast to the mountain chain 
running along its Minch side. The machairs are closely covered 
with short green grass, thickly studded with herbs of fragrant 
odours and plants of lovely hues. Corn grown in this sandy soil 
is stimted if the season be dry, and is pulled up by the roots 
instead of being cut in the usual way. Such corn is called 
'coirce coilchiim,' dwarf oats, 'eorna coUchinn,' meagre bere, 
' seagal coilchinn,' stunted rye. 

Mac-lir, Mac-an-lir, son of sea, son of the sea ; from ' mac,' son, and 
'lir,' genitive of 'lear,' sea. 

In Gaelic the Isle of Man is called ' Mannain,' Man, and 
'Eilean Mhannain, Isle of Man, ' Mannan mac Lir,' ' Mannan,' 
son of ' Lear,' the sea. 

The stories of ' The Children of Lir,' ' The Children of 
Uisne,' and ' The Children of Tuirenn ' are called ' Tri Broin nan 
Sgeulachd,' the three sorrows of story-telling. A highly dramatic 
and beautiful version of ' The Children of Lir ' was told in 
October 1871 by Hector Macleod, shoemaker, lochdar. South 
Uist, to Iain Campbell of Islay and the writer. 

On the west side of the island of Vallay, North Uist, there is 
a sunken rock called ' Bogha Lir,' reef of Lear. It is said that 
the ship of Lear, son of the king of Lochlami, struck on this 
reef, when Lear himself and all on board were lost. 

Probably ' Lir,' ' Lear,' is the Lear of Shakespeare. 

Mac-lire, wolf. In the time of Athelstan an hospital was put up at 
Flaxton in Yorkshire to protect the nurse travellers who might 
have suffered from the ravages of wolves and other wild animals. 

Maighdean na ttiinne, muirghin na tuinne, maid of the wave, conception 
of the sea, ordinarily called ' maighdean mhara,' maid of the sea. 
The belief in the mermaid is common. 

There are many mermaid stories throughout the Isles. I 
took down several of these, some of which may be mentioned. 



NOTES 325 

Colin Campbell, ci'ofter, Ceanntangbhal, Barra, saw, as he 
thought, an otter on a reef in 'Caolas Cumhan,' Barra. The 
otter was holding and eating a fish, with his eyes closed, after 
his manner. The man raised his gun to fire, when to his 
surprise the creature before him looked like a woman holding a 
child. He had a telescope that had been given him by a ship 
captain for brave service rendered at sea, and looking through 
the glass he saw that the object before him had the head, the 
hair, the neck, the shoulders, and the breast of a woman, and was 
holding a child. The man was greatly astonished, and concluded 
that this must be the mermaid of whom he had often heard. 

Inwardly thanking the loving Virgin for having withheld 
his hand, Campbell put up his glass. The click of the glass 
startled the mermaid, and in the twinkling of an eye she and 
her child went into the sea with a splash. Colin Campbell, 
an honest, intelligent, middle-aged man, firmly believed that he 
had seen the mermaid. 

Neill MacEachain, crofter, Hough-beag, South Uist, was 
returning from the Clyde, where he and others had been with 
farm produce, before the days of steamers in the West. They 
were becalmed emerging from the Sound of Mull. The sun was 
scorching, the air was breathless, and the surface of the sea 
was smooth as polished glass, when all were astonished to see a 
creature about two yards from the side of the motionless skiff. 
Its head, neck, breast, and shoulders resembled those of a 
woman, though its hair was more coarse, and its eyes more glassy. 
All below the breast was in the water. The creature gazed at 
them for a minute or more with its large wondering eyes, and 
then disappeared into the sea as silently as it had come. The 
narrator offered no explanation of the strange phenomenon, 
never having seen anything like it before, though all his life 
accustomed to the sea. One of his companions, however, said 
that it was the mermaid, and declared that he had seen a 
creatui-e exactly like it some years previously, while making 
kelp at AirdmaoUean, South Uist. 

Neill MacEachain was an entirely truthful man and incapable 
of inventing. He was one of Nature's nobles, being richly 
endowed mentally and physically, and with a phenomenal 
memory. He was a relation of Neill MacEachain, or MacDonald, 
father of Marshal MacDonald, Duke of Tarentum, and was 
remarkably like the duke in form and features as well as in 
VOL. II. X 2 



326 NOTES 

temperament. He h<ad seen and conversed with the duke when 
he visited his relatives in South Uist. 

Some seventy years ago, people were cutting seaweed at Sgeir 
na duehadh, Grimnis, Benbecula. Before putting on her stockings, 
one of the women went to the lower end of the reef to wash her 
feet. While domg so she heard a splash in the calm sea, and 
looking up she saw a creature in the form of a woman in miniature, 
some few feet away. Alarmed, the woman called to her friends, 
and all the people present rushed to the place. 

The creature made somersaults and turned about in various 
directions. Some men waded into the water to seize her, but 
she moved beyond their reach. Some boys threw stones at her, 
one of which struck her in the back. A few days afterwards, 
this strange creature was found dead at Cuile, Nunton, nearly two 
miles away. 

The upper portion of the creature was about the size of a 
well-fed child of three or four years of age, with an abnormally 
developed breast. The hair was long, dark, and glossy, while the 
skin was white, soft, and tender. The lower part of the body 
was like a salmon, but without scales. Crowds of people, some 
from long distances, came to see this strange animal, and all 
were unanimous in the opinion that they had gazed on the 
mermaid at last. 

Mr Duncan Shaw, factor for Clanranald, baron-bailie and 
sheriff of the district, ordered a coffin and shroud to be made for 
the mermaid. This was done, and the body was buried in the 
presence of many people, a short distance above the shore where 
it was found. There are persons .still living who saw and touched 
this curious creature, and who give graphic descriptions of its 
appearance. 
Marrum, marruin, milk, cream, and their products ; ' mart math 
marruineach,' a good productive cow. 

Marlain, La F/ieill Martnm, Martin, Day of the Feast of Martin. 
There are two Martins. One is known as ' Martain a bhuilg,' 
Martin of the bag. His feast is the 15th July. The other is 
' Martain an Tuir,' Martin of Tours, to whom St Ninian's church 
at Whithorn was dedicated. His feast is on the 11th November, 
a term-day in Scotland. 

Malhan, maghan, bear ; ' mag-ghamhainn,' handed stirk ; from ' math,' 
bear (.'), and 'gamhainn,' stirk. 



NOTES 327 

The bear was common in Scotland down to 1545, probably 
later. It is mentioned in the following lines addressed by one 
bard to another : — 

' Is tu am raaghan, 's tu am mastic. Thou art the bear, thou art the mastiff, 

'S madadh-alla an reubain. And thou the wild wolf of rapine, 

Is tu sionnach sion nan cuireid, Thou art the fox of foxine wiles, 

'S taghan dubh na deisdin. ' And the martin blacli detestable. 

Meabh, Meve, queen of Connacht and wife of Ailill. She lived at 
' Rath Cruachan,' the fort of Cruachan, and was the cause of the 
' Tain Bo Cuailgne,' ' Cattle-spoil of Cooley.' She is the type of 
bravery. (Vol. i. p. 8.) 

Meang, whey. ' Fionna-mhiong,' the thicker whey pressed out of the 
curds, literally white whey, from ' fionn,' fair, and ' meang,' 
'miog,' whey. 

Meannanaich, bleating like a kid ; from ' meann,' kid ; applied to the 
sound made by the snipe. The flight of the snipe is peculiar. 
In flying horizontally the bird moves zig-zag ; in ascending, 
obliquely ; and in descending, perpendicularly. In the descent 
the inner flexor of the wing seems to remain rigid, the outer 
alone moving, and that with singular rapidity. The vibration of 
the wing makes a sound like the cry of a kid. The sound is 
heard at night in early summer, and is probably made to scare 
the owl, which is destructive to the young of the snipe. The 
snipe is one of the eerie birds of the people. Many descriptive 
Gaelic names are applied to it — twelve or thirteen are known to 
me. (Vol. ii. p. 179.) 

Meirbh, to disintegrate, to digest ; in root akin to ' marbh,' to kill ; a 
place-name in Benbecula, Barra, lona, and elsewhere. 

A small lake in Benbecula is called ' Loch nam meirbh.' 
There are two islets about fifty yards apart on the lake, called 
respectively 'A Mheirbh Bheag,' Little Meirbh, and 'A Mheirbh 
Mhor,' Large Meirbh. In the centre of the Little Meirbh is a 
circular hole in the rock, partly natural and partly artificial, like 
an inverted cone. In this cavity criminals were tied and left to 
die, the water of the lake covering their lower limbs. Fi'om this 
the remains were removed and buried in the larger Meirbh. 
This small mossy isle, the surface of which is only a few feet 
above water, is covered vnth ' bogha-mucag,' ' butha-mucag,' blue 
hyacinth, of great luxuriance and richness of colouring. 



328 NOTES 

There is a small lake in Barra called ' Locli Tangastal/ and 
in it a small square keep called ' Tur Leoid,' the tower of Leod, 
the scene of Miss Porter's novel Si Clair of Ike Isles. Jutting into 
the lake in the direction of the old tower is a flat sandy peninsula 
called 'A Mheirbh.' Human bones, in whole skeletons and 
disarticulated, with bronze and brass brooches, fragments of 
swords, dirks, and daggers, have been turned up here from time 
to time, corroborating the traditions of the people and the story 
of the novelist. 

' Meirbh,' in lona, was surrounded by a wall, traces of which 
are visible. 

Meoir, finger. The middle finger and thumb were used to lift the 
eggs, especially the last two. (Vol. i. p. 287.) 

Miamh, substance, fat. Generally an adjective. 

' Is miann leis a chleireach a mhias mhiarah Desired by the clerk is tiie rich 
a bhitheas air bord an t-sagairt.' dish on the priest's table. 

On the west and on the east side of Harris are deeply 
indented arms of the sea called ' Miamhuig ' ; from ' miamh,' 
fat, and ' uig,' bay. The one on the west is called ' Miamhuig 
nam beann,' the fat bay of the mountains, and that on the east 
' Miamhuig a chuain,' the fat bay of the ocean. Both bays 
contain much alluvial mud and sediment brought down from 
the mountains. [Rather Norse ' mjo-vik,' narrow inlet.] 

(In the Outer Hebrides the ' ocean ' is the ' Cuan Sgl,' the 
haze ocean, known as the Little Minch, while the open Atlantic 
is known by the Norse name of ' haaf.' 

' Ri fuaim na haaf. To the sound of the ' haaf,' 

Is uaigneach mo ghean.' Lonesome is my mood.) 

Mile, meirc, sweet, sweetness ; from ' mil,' honey. 

Milcein, meilcein, solid warm white whey ; from ' mil,' honey, 
sweetness. 

Mileiir, milereaeh (alva marina), sea-grass, sweet grass ; from ' mil,' 
sweet, and 'feur,' grass. This grass is known by different names 
in different districts as 'mileurach,' ' milseanach,' ' misleanach,' 
' mineurach,' and other forms. 

The root of this grass is sweetish, and much relished by the 
barnacles, grey-lags, and other geese. Dried and cured, the 
grass is used in the Isles for bedding, and in the south for 
upholstery. 



NOTES 329 

Mis, miseac/i, misleac/i, manisleach, maoilscack, goat, doe. Primarily the 

doe ill the first year ; from ' maol,' hornless, and ' -seach,' a 

feminine suffix. 
Mnalha Greiiig, Greek woman, Penelope, the type of tactfulness. 

(Vol. i. p. 8.) 

' Minealas na mnatha sith. The softness of the fairy woman, 

Finealas na mnatha Greuig.' The fineness of the Greek woman. 

Mnalha-siihe, fairy woman. This is Faiin, queen of the elfin world, 
queen of the Celtic other-world. The reference (vol. i. p. 8) is 
to her connection with Cuchulaiiin in the old Gaelic saga, 
' Serglige Cuchulaiiin.' She typifies skill. 

Mogais, mogan, foot cylinder, from 'mog,' a cylinder, and 'cas,' a 
foot, foot-gear reaching to the knee, and resembling in form as 
in name the moccasin of the Indians. 

Mogan ; in Uist, spirits distilled from oats. 

Moilean, moillean, a small, thick round cake, a dumpling ; such as 
that made for St Mary's Day. ' Moilean ' is applied to a stout 
little boy, colt, or other sturdy young male animal, and 'moileag' 
to a stout little girl, filly, or young female animal. 

Moineis, shy, delicate, backward, the female of the grey seal. The 
female seal is much more shy and retiring than the male seal. 
But though ordinarily retiring, the ' moineis ' is courageous in 
defence of her young. The unshrinking manner in which this 
timid creature will throw herself between danger and her cub 
is touching and histructive. 

The 'cuilean,' whelp of the grey seal, is cream-coloured and 
very beautiful. The fur is soft and satiny, and continues thus 
for two months. After that the fur gradually gives place to hair, 
and the cub of the 'moineis' becomes like that of 'maolag,' 
'maoileag,' the female of the common seal, which is grey at 
birth. The 'maolag' brings forth in June, the 'moineis' in 
November. 

Mothan. I cannot be certain what plant this is, but it seems to be 
either the thyme-leaved sandwort (arenaria serpyllifoUa) or the 
bog-violet. It was one of the many sacred plants of the old 
people. It secured parturition and acted as a love-charm, as 
indicated in the following lines : — 
'A thilleadh aigne nam ban baoth To repel the fancies of the foolish women, 
A ghleidheadh gaol nam fear fior.' To retain the love of the true men. 



330 NOTES 

The ' mothan ' also ensures the safety of a person carrying it or 
drinkmg the milk of a cow which has eaten it. 

Donald MacCuithean, cottar, Fearann-an-lethe, Skj'e, said : — 
' Dun Gharsain was a famous fairy bower, from which the fairy 
people sallied forth on Hallow-Eve, like starlings swarming from 
their cave on St Patrick's morning. They trigged and danced, 
they reeled and set, on their lawn under the light of the silvery 
moon and the twinkling stars, no one interfering with them. 
They were very cunning, however, and sometimes waylaid the 
sons of men into their bowers, and carried away children to 
increase their colonies, and women to nurse their unbegotten 
nm'slings. But ' buamasdair gun toinisg,' a clown without sense, 
destroyed the bower of the fairies of Dun Gharsain when the 
fairies were all away helping the queen of Blath-bheinn to make 
a tartan kilt, a tartan coat, and a tartan plaid for her tall son on 
his marriage with the fair daughter of the king of Cuilionn. No 
one remahied at home except one fairy woman who was ill, and 
the man took away the stones to build folds for his cattle and 
pens for his sheep, leaving nothing but the site of their 
beautiful bower. 

'When the fairies returned and saw the destruction of their 
home, they were very angry and vowed vengeance. A light 
not of earth was seen where their hall had been, and a voice 
not of man was heard in the air saying : — 

' " Tilg an dearg air Tarmaid dubh, Throw the dart at black Norman, 

Tilg an dearg air Tarmaid, Throw the dart at Norman, 

Tilg an dearg air Tarmaid dubh. Throw the dart at black Norman, 

A bhrist mo theud, a reub mo chrut. Who broke my chord, tore my harp, 

'S a chuir am brugh a db'aona-cheann." And put the bower in ruins. 

To this another voice replied : — 

' " Chan urra mi f hi g'a chur a dhi, I cannot myself put him to death, 

Chan urra mi f hi g'a chearbadh, I cannot myself undo him, 

Chan urra mi foil a dhol 'n a choir, I cannot go stealthily near him. 

Is bainne na bo a dh'ith am And the milk of the cow that ale the 

mothan ' mothan ' 

Ann an coil a shealghain." In the folds of his throat. 

After this the fairies left Dun Gharsain and never returned, 
except it might be now and again, a stray fairy from some far- 
away land, who would come to look at the site of the home 
where his people had lived and danced and passed their happy 
lives.' 



NOTES 331 

Dun ' Gharsain ' or Ghaisin is at Tobht Ardaiv in Bracadale, 
Skye, and is the site of a concentric fort destroyed by the 
strancrer. Near it are ' Dun Beag,' the Little Fort, and ' Dun 
Mor,' the Big Fort, the hitter of which is described by Johnson 
in his Tour. 

A passage in W. G. Stewart's Highland Superstitions and 
Amusements (p. 90) shows that the 'mothan' was used as a 
charm in Glenurquhart and Strathspey : — ' Go to the summit of 
some stupendous cliff or mountain where any species of quadruped 
never fed nor trod, and gather of that herb in the Gaelic 
language called mothan, which can be pointed out by any " wise " 
person. The herb you will give to a cow, and of the milk of 
that cow you are to make a cheese, and whoever eats of that 
cheese is for ever after, as well as his gear, perfectly secure from 
every species of fairy agency.' 

Mitire, Moire, Mary. These forms are confined to the Virgin, while 
' Mairi ' is rarely applied to her. Feminine and masculine 
derivatives of ' Moire ' occur in the Isles. A knoll near Clachan- 
a-ghhiip. North Uist, is called ' Crois Moireig,' cross of the 
female devotee of Mary, and an islet at Staonabrig in South Uist 
is called 'Eilean Mhoirean,' isle of the male devotee of Mary. 

It is said that three brothers came to Christianise South Uist. 
The brothers were called ' Maoilean,' the tonsured, ' Micheil,' 
the devotee of Michael, and ' Moire an,' the devotee of Mary. 
The brothers built three prayer-houses on three low-lying 
peninsulas jutting into the Atlantic. These peninsulas became 
known as ' Aird Mhaoilean,' the point of Maoilean ; ' Aird 
Mhicheil,' the point of Michael ; and ' Aird Mhoirean,' the 
point of Moirean. Aird Mhoirean is now represented by 
'Eilean Mhoirean,' the isle of Moirean, an inlet a few square 
yards in extent and a few feet high, often washed over by the 
Atlantic waves. 

All tliese places contain ruins evidently very old, and of 
ecclesiastical origin. Those on Aii'd Mhaoilean adjoin the 
remains of a circular fort. It is not uncommon to find a church 
in the near neighbourhood of a fort. The church, cell, and 
burying-ground of St Brendan, Barra, abut on a strong stone 
circular fortress. 

Munn, Munna, Muinig, Munnigean, Mungan, St Munn, St Mungo. 
Probably the 'mungan,' fairy flax {linum catkarticunij is called after 



332 NOTES 

St Mungo. This plant was largely used for medicinal purposes. 

The common name for it in Gaelic is ' lion na mnatha sithe/ flax of 

the fairy woman. 
Mur, luibhre, leprosy ; also called ' losg.' Leprosy was common 

throughout Europe during the Middle Ages, and in some places 

down to modern times. Probably the toad is called ' losgan ' 

from 'losg/ irruption, leprosy. 
Mum, darling, maiden, damsel, girl, hence 'muirneag,' a little girl, 

a pretty girl, 'muirneach,' precious, endearing, prepossessing. 

'Muirneag' is the name of a hill in Lewis. It is mentioned in 

the ' Imirich Cuain,' Ocean Flitting, an emigrant song by John 

Macrae, a minister of Lewis. 

' Murn,' maiden, occurs in Irish ' mo mhuirnin,' my little 

darling, Anglicised 'mavourneen.' 

Mulhairti, little mother, dear little mother. Other Uist forms 
are ' mathairne,' ' mathairneag,' ' niathaireag.' Cf. O. Ir. 
'mathairnet.' 



N 

Naoi, naodh, nine. The number nine often occurs in these and 
other Gaelic compositions, — three, seven, nine, and occasionally 

five, being the mystic numbers. The following are some examples 
of the use of nine : — 

' An ainm Airil 's nan aingheal naodh.' In name of Ariel and the angels nine. 

' Naodh conair, is naodli conachair. Nine patlis and nine shouts. 

Is naodha ban seanga sitli. ' And nine slender fairy women. 

' Bi-sa taingeil leis an aon te Be thou tliankful with the one (duck) 

Ge do robh an naodh air an Though there should be nine on the 
t-snamh.' swim. 

' Chaidh Moire thar na naodh maranan Mary went over the nine waves 
A bhuain an torranain.' To pluck the figwort. 

' Naoi tobraiohe Mhic an Lir.' The nine wells of the Son of Lear. 

In North Uist there is a sandy plain called ' Sail Dharaich,' 
Oak-log. A beam of oak lay there, from which the people 
produced the ' tein-eigin,' neid-fire. This was done by 'naoi 
naoinear ciad ginealach mac,' nine nmes of first-begotten sons, 
these being in the estimation of the people the most sacred and 
enduring. 



NOTES 333 

111 the Glenlonain cross, which is evidently pre-Christian, 
there are nine radii from a central ring or boss. 

The girdle the fairy girl gave the man was to bring his wife 
back from death to life, 'ge do bhiodh na naoi bais na beul,' 
though the nine deaths were in her mouth. 

The sword of Connal 'could cut nine nines hither and nine 
nines thither.' 

Luas-lurgan, the sister of Cumhal, taught Fionn the son of 
Cumhal to swim so well that he could ' swim over the nine waves 
and be ashore before herself.' 

Oscar threatened to send the ' spear of the nine enchantments ' 
through Cairbre. 

In a story of great dramatic power dealing with an old belief 
that seals were metamorphosed human beings, the number nine 
occurs. 

A boat from Uist was 'dorghadh,' 'dorathach,' hand-line 
fishing, at Cousmal when a sudden storm arose and drove it, 
according to one version, to Lewis, according to others, to 
Mull, Tiree, or Scandinavia. The Uist crofters were hospitably 
entertained and their boat repaired. Their host was a big grizzly- 
bearded man, whose face, hands, and feet were full of scars and 
mended bones, as if he had fought his way through some 
desperate battle. According to Celtic custom the names of the 
guests were neither given nor asked till they were leaving. 
When the host heard the name and residence of his leading 
guest, he pointed to his scars and mended bones and addressed 
the man : — 

' logain ! logain ! logain ! logain ! logain ! logain ! 

logain a thainig a nail logain who came hither 

Air bharr nan naodh caogada tonn. On the crest of the nine fifty waves, 
Fhir a bhrist fiacla mo chinn Thou man who didst break the teeth 

of my head. 
Is fiata liom t'fhaicinn ma-rium. Roused am I to see thee with me, 

logain ! logain ! logain ! logain ! logain ! logain ! 

Ged a thug mi bithidh dhuit Though I gave thee food, 

Im, is cais, is feoil. Butter and cheese and flesh. 

Air a dha laimh, logain. By thy two hands, logain, 

'S tu chuir an gath am spoig. ' 'Twas thou drove the dart through 

ray paw. 

' logan ' (probably a diminutive of ' Iain ' — John, possibly an 
old native name), was struck with terror and remorse, for this 
was a big seal who, with his wife and children and many other 



334 NOTES 

metamorphosed seals, had been visiting the homes and graves of 
their sul)nierged fatherhind in the Atlantic, when they were 
attacked, and some of them slain, by the Uist men, among whom 
was logan. logan gave vow and word by his own hand and his 
father's hands that he would never again kill a seal. 

A ' seoltaiche,' cunning man, went about lifting the 'toradh,' 
substance, from the nine best glens in Scotland. KUlinn was the 
last glen to which he came. He lifted the substance of Killinn on 
his back, and was moving away, when a man more shrewd than 
his fellows cut the wizard's withy with his knife, and the luck of 
the whole nine glens fell to the ground. And that is how Killinn 
is the most fertile glen in Scotland, flowing with milk and honey. 

The Killinn meant is that in Stratherrick, near Lochness. 

Nine times nine is the number of straw joints required in the 
manipulation of ' Eolas nam foineachean,' the charm of the warts, 
and nine in ' Eolas nam mam,' the charm of the mumps. There 
are nine orders of angels, and nine choirs of archangels, according 
to the Christian hierarchy of the Fathers. 

The fairies are said to possess nine ages, with nine times nine 
periods of time in each. These are the periods : — 

' Naodh naodhanan a deothal chioch. Nine nines sucking the breast, 

Naodh naodhanan cliabastach cli. Nine nines unsteady, weak, 

Naodh naodlianan urra-chasach luth, Nine nines footful, swift, 

Naodli naodhanan murra-chasacli dJuth, Nine nines able and strong, 

Naodh naodhanan lasgarrach donn. Nine nines strapping, brown, 

Naodh naodhanan cosgarrach conn. Nine nines victorious, subduing, 

Naodh naodhanan coidheanach ciar. Nine nines bonneted, drab, 

Naodh naodhanan roibeanach liath. Nine nines beardy, grey, 

Naodh naodhanan ri uchd-bualaidh Nine nines on the breast-beating 

bais, death, 

'S bu dorra Horn na naodh naodhana And worse to me were these miser- 

truagh able nine nines 

No gach naodh naodha mi-bhuan a Than all the other short-lived nine 

bha.' nines that were. 

Nathair, serpent, adder. Several terms are applied to the serpent, 
as 'nathair,' serpent; 'nimhir,' venom; 'beithir,' lightning; 
' righinn,' queen ; and ' nighean Imhir,' daughter of Ivor, 
' dearrais,' perverse. Probably ' nighean Imhir,' daughter of 
Ivor is a mistake for ' an nimhir,' the serpent, while ' nighean ' 
may be a mistake for ' main,' hue, coloured spot. 

The serpent is now small and rare, though once large and 
numerous, in the Highlands. One was killed at Bailemonaidh, 



NOTES 335 

in Islaj', in the early years of the centuiy, measiu-ing nine feet in 
length and eighteen inches in ch'cumference. Much warm milk 
was abstracted every night from the milk-cot attached to the 
summer sheiling. After much searching, traces of milk were 
found leading to a grassy knoll in the neighbourhood. On the 
summit of the knoll a serpent lay coiled sunning itself in the 
summer sun and fast asleep. It immediately awoke, and, poising 
its head high in the air, hissed and lunged about in great fury. 
When shot, its enormously distended stomach was found to 
contain several twites, buntings, pipits, larks, and thrushes, and 
an incredible quantity of milk. 

Only a few years ago a larger serpent than this was killed in 
a turnip-field in Easter Ross. The presence of the reptile was 
indicated by the fear and anxiety displayed by a pair of well- 
trained horses working in the neighbourhood. Nothing could 
be seen, but the horses trembled violently, and, with nostrils 
distended and eyes staring, showed symptoms of great fear and 
could hardly be kept from running away from the men about 
them. When after some delay and difficulty the serpent was 
found and killed the horses quieted down, but for some days 
showed the effects of their fear. 

A product called ' clach-nathrach,' serpent stone, is found on 
the root of the long ling. It is of steel-grey colour, has the 
consistency of soft putty when new and of hard putty when old, 
and is as light as pumice-stone, which it resembles. It is of a 
globular form, and from one to three inches in diameter. There 
is a circular hole, about a quarter of an inch in width, through 
the centre. This substance is said to be produced by the serpent 
emitting spume round the root of a twig of heather. The 'clach- 
nathrach ' is greatly prized by the people, who transmit it as a 
talisman to their descendants. 

There are many sayings dealing with the serpent : — 

' Tha e ann an gratii na nathrach He is in the spirit of the serpent 

dhuit.' towards thee. 

'Tha nirah na nathrach aig dhuit.' The venom of the serpent he has 

towards thee. 
' Cho carach ris an nathair nimhe.' As twistful as the serpent venomous. 

' Cleas na nathrach cur a chraicinn.' The trick of the serpent changing the 

skin. 
' Cochull nathrach is olc a dli'fheuraadh The sheath of the serpent badly 
tu.' wouldst thou need. 



336 NOTES 

' Nead ri beul an uisge,' a nest by the mouth of the water (vol. i. 
p. 314). The nest of the black-throated diver is that indicated. 
The black -throated diver is known among the people as 'learg,' 
diver; 'learg mhor,* big diver; 'learg dhubh,' black diver; 
' learg choilearach,' ringed diver ; ' learg choilearach dhubh/ 
black-ringed diver ; ' giadh gaob/ rain goose. The last name is 
in reference to the belief that certain peculiarities in the cry and 
flight of the bird indicate rain. The bird is familiar in the West 
of Scotland, although rare or iniknown in other parts of Britain. 

During development the black-throated diver and tlie great 
northern diver are similar, although in maturity dissimilar. In 
course of incubation nature jjrovides birds with great heat, 
rendering them liable to great thirst. To obviate absence from 
the eggs and retardation of hatching, the black-tliroated diver 
makes her nest near water, generally on tlie bank of a lake, 
occasionally on the edge of a stream. The nest is simply a 
depression in the moss within reach of the water. Should drought 
occur, and the water subside below her reach, the bird flies about 
hither and thither uttering cries of concern. The people have 
rendered these utterances of the bird into human language ; — 

' Deoch ! deoch ! deoch ! Drink ! drink ! drink ! 

An loch a traghadh ! The loch is drying ! 

Deoch ! deoch ! deocli ! Drink ! drink ! drink ! 

An loch a traghadh ! The loch is drying ! 

Burn ! burn ! burn ! Water ! water ! water ! 

Mo luth 'm fhagail ! My strength failing nie ! 

Burn ! burn ! burn ! Water ! water ! water ! 

Mo luth 'm fhagail ! ' My strength faihng me ! 

These imitations differ more or less in different districts. The 
preceding imitation prevails in North and South Uist, the 
following in Harris and Lewis : — 

' Bir ! bir ! bir ! Rain ! rain ! rain ! 

An lir a deabhadh ! The lake is drying ! 

Bir ! bir ! bir ! Rain ! rain ! rain ! 

An lir a deabhadh ! The lake is drying ! 

Burn ! burn ! burn ! Water ! water ! water ! 

Burn ! burn ! burn ! Water ! water ! water ! 

Burn ! burn ! burn ! Water ! water ! water ! 

Mo luth 'm threigsinn.' My strength's failing me ! 

When the reverse occurs, and the risen lake submerges the 
nest, the cries of the hapless bird, flying hither and thither, are 
extremely distressing, and strikingly like the unavailing cries of 



NOTES 337 

a human mother. The people have rendered these cries into the 
following words : — 

' Mo chreach ! mo chreach ! My sorrow ! my sorrow ! 

M' eoin is m' uibhean. My chicks and my eggs. 

Mo chreach ! mo chreach ! My sorrow ! my sorrow ! 

M' eoin is m' uibhean. My chicks and my eggs. 

Mo dhith ! mo dhith ! My grief ! my grief ! 

Mo hnn 's an tuilinn. My brood in the flood. 

Mo dhith ! mo dhith ! My grief! my grief! 

Mo hnn 's an tuilinn.' My brood in the flood. 

M' urragan ! My chicks ! 

M' ulagan ! My gifts ! 

M' eoin 1 My birds ! 

M' uibhean ! My eggs ! 

M' ulaidh ! My treasures ! 

M' eislean ! ' My troubles ! 

Neamk, heaven. Old people pronounce this word 'neamh,' 'neomh/ 

' neoph,' ' neob/ ' nof,' * nef,' and other forms. 
Ni, neat, nowt, cattle, extended to flocks and herds of all kinds. 
No, nod, nodk, nudadh, knowledge, intelligence, information ; ' Ni 
bheil uodh agam air,' I have no knowledge of him. 



o 

Ob, oba, obi, spell, charm, incantation; gen. 'oib,' 'oibe'; pi. 
'obagan,' 'oibeagan'; dim. 'obag,' 'oibeag.' Also 'ub,' 'uba'; 
gen. ' uib,' ' uibe ' ; pi. ' uibe,' ' ubagan,' ' uibeagan ' ; dim. 
' ubag,' ' uibeag.' ' Oban,' pi. ' obanan,' wizard, also ' uibean,' 
pi. ' uibeanan,' ' fear uibe ' ; ' obag,' dim. ' obagag,' pi. ' obagan,' 
witch, also 'uibeag,' 'uibeagan,' 'bean uibe.' ' Mairi bhreac nan 
ob,' spotted (or pock-marked) Mary of the spells. ' Bis i ris na 
h-ob ' — She practises spells. ' Tha na h-ob a dol as ' — Spells are 
going out of use. 

The Gaelic ' ubadh ' occurs in the glosses of Klosterneuberg, 
Austria (eighth-ninth centuries) as 'auphtha.' 

It is curious that a spell used in British Central Africa for the 
evil eye is also called 'obi.' 

Od, oda, odaidh, race, racecourse, the scene of the athletics of the men 
and the racing of the horses. Possibly connected with the Norse 
at, horse-fight ; hesta at, horse-driving ; eija heslum, horse-driving, 
horse-battle. 

VOL. II. Y 



338 NOTES 

In Norwa)', the horse-fight took place in August, on Lovisa; 
Dag, the horse-combat finishing up the sports of the festival. 
By a curious coincidence, the horse-races of Norway and the 
principal horse-race of the Western Isles, that of South Uist, 
ceased in the same year, 1820, and in two succeeding months. 

A plain near Loch Snizort, a plain near Glendale, and a plain 
in Minginis, Skye, are called ' odaig,' racecourse, horse I'acecourse. 

The last great 'oda' occui-red in Barra in 1828, in South 
Uist in 1820, in Benbecula in 1830, in North Uist in 1866, and 
in Harris in 1818. In the Small Isles the ' oda ' continued later, 
while occasional ' oda ' have been held in all these places since 
the years mentioned. 

In Barra the ' oda ' was held on the 25th September, being 
the Day of St Barr, the patron saint of the island ; in all the 
other places on 29th September, being the Day of St Michael, 
the patron saint of horses and of the Isles. 

In Barra the sports were held on 'Traigh Bharra,' Strand of 
St Barr; in South Uist, on 'Traigh Mhicheil,' Strand of St 
Michael ; in Benbecula, on ' Machair Bhaile-mhanaich,' plain of 
the townland of the monks ; in North Uist, on ' Traigh Mhoire,' 
Strand of St Mary ; and in Harris, on ' Traigh Chliamain,' Strand 
of St Clement. 

All these places are singulai'ly adapted for man-racing, horse- 
racing, and other sports. 

' Oda nan gillean,' race of the youths ; ' oda nan each,' race of 
the horses ; ' each oda,' racehorse ; ' ranih oda,' ' oda ramh,' oar- 
race. 

Horse-racing, ' grafand,' pi. ' graifne,' formed part of the sport 
at the ancient Irish gatherings (Joyce, Social Hislori/, II., 462). 

Odharan, Odhran, Odran, Oran, Oran, St Oran ; also the name of St 
Patrick's charioteer. 

There are several places named after Oran, as ' Killoran ' in 
Colonsay ; 'Tiroran,' the land of Oran in Mull. 

The principal burying-ground in lona is called ' Reilig 
Odhrain,' the burying-place of Oran. It is also called ' Reilig 
nan Righ,' the burying-place of the kings. The people tell a 
tradition how this place came to be named after St Oran. 
Versions of the tradition were taken down in places widely 
apart. 

' Dhuisg carmasg agus connspuinn eadar Calum-cille agus 



NOTES 339 

Odhran mu dheighinn mathas neamh agus mi-mhathas ifrinn, 
suamhnas nan saoi agus duamhnas nan daoi. Thubhairt Odharan 
gun cuireadh easan a chuis gu deuchain ami an ionad nan seasamh 
bonn agus gun reachadh e re tri la agus tri oidhche sios dh'an 
uaigh (ifrinn). Fhuaradh uidheam treachaid agus threachaideadh 
uaigh CO domhain a sios agus a bha Odhran co ard a suas. 

'Chaidh Odhran a sios dh'an uaigli agus lionadh an uaigh 
thairis air. 

'An ceann nan tri la agus nan tri oidhche thubhairt Calum- 
cille gun robh e iomchaidh sealltain air Odhran, agus chaidh 
sealltain air mar a thubhradh. Air mosgladh a shul dha thubhairt 
Odhran : — 

" Ni bheil flathas mar a theireas, 
Ni bheil irionn mar a thubhras, 
Ni bheil saoi suthann sona, 
Ni bheil daoi dona duthann." 

An uair a chuala Calum-cille cainnt agus briathran Odhraiu 
dh'eubh e: — 

" Uir ! uir air suil Odhrain, 
Mu'n duisg e 'n corr carraaisg, 
Dh' fhios oi'm a thoir dh'an chuideachd, 
Dh' fhios toi'm a thoir dha bhraithraidh." 

' Chaireadh an uir a rithist air Odhran agus thiodhlaiceadh e. 

' Ghuil Calum-cille gu tursach trom, agus shil na deoir gu 
frasachifial ri linn Odhram ehaoimh, eheanail, dhilis, dheothais a 
dhol a dhi. 

' Sin an ceud neach a thiodhlaiceadh anns an ionad sin agus 
thugadh " Reilig Odhrain " mar ainm air a chladh. Chuireadh 
caibeal air Odhran agus thugadh " TeampuU Odhrain " mar 
ainm air a chaibeal." 

' Contention and controversy awoke between Columba and 
Oran about the merits of heaven and the demerits of hell, the 
happiness of the good and the unhappiness of the bad. Oran 
said that he would put the matter to the test in the place 
whereon they stood, and that he would go for the space of three 
days and three nights down to the grave (hell). Digging 
implements were procured, and a grave was dug as deep down 
as Oran was high up. Oran went down into the grave, and the 
earth was filled over him. 

' At the end of the three days and the three nights Columba 



340 NOTES 

said that it would be seemly to look upon Oran, and he was 
looked upon accordingly. 

' On the opening of the eyes to him Oran said : — 

" Nor is heaven as is alleged. 
Nor is hell as is asserted. 
Nor is the good eternally happy. 
Nor is the bad eternally unhappy." 

When Columba heard the words and language of Oran, he 
called : — 

" Earth ! earth on the eye of Oran, 
Before he wakes more controversy. 
Lest scandal should be given to the faith. 
Lest offence should be given to his brethren." 

The earth was agam placed upon Oran, and he was buried 
permanently. 

' Columba wept sorrowfully, heavily, and shed the tears 
showermgly, generously, because Oran tender, lovable, faithful, 
and earnest, went to death. 

' That was the first person who was buried in that place, and 
the name " Burial-place of Oran" was given to it. A chapel was 
placed on Oran, and " Temple of Oran " was given as a name to 
the chapel." 

There may be some truth in this tradition, although probably 
much altered. The period of three days and three nights in the 
grave is symbolic of Christ. Probably human sacrifices were 
placed under the foundation-wall of St Oran's Temple, whether 
or not Oran was the name of the man sacrificed. Human sacrifices 
were placed under buildings in ancient Greece and Rome, and 
under buildings in modern England, Ireland, and Scotland. A 
well-known Greek case was that of the Bridge of Arta, which 
only stood secure after the master-builder had placed his own 
wife beneath the foundation. It is said that when building the 
manse of Killtarlity the mason seized a passing woman and placed 
her under the foundation-stone of the building. The woman 
uttered curses upon the building, and upon those who would 
dwell therein. A Gaelic proverb says : — 

' Gheobh baobh a guidhe A wicked woman will get her wish 

Ge nach faigh a h-anam trocair.' Though her soul may not see salvation, 

A man knovm as ' Lachlan Og," ' Lachlann Ogi,' young 
Lachlan, was m the army in Ireland. He eloped with a young 



NOTES 341 

lady, whose brothers pursued them. While he was defending 
himself against her brothers, the lady went in behind him for 
protection, where she was struck and killed by a blow from his 
sword. He was put in prison, and while there he composed a 
beautiful song known as 'Mali bheag og,' young little May. 

* Lachlan Og ' became insane, and on being liberated he 
made his way to Lorn. He wandered about the country, 
making Killchrenan the centre of his circuiting. He never 
entered a house, never asked for food, and never spoke. When 
the people knew that he was about, they left food for him in 
well-known retreats — which were simply depressions among the 
rocks a)Kl hillocks — sunmier and winter. In his wanderings the 
hajiless man was seized at Bunawe, and placed under the pier 
building for an English iron-smelting company. 

Some say that ' Lachlan Og ' was placed under the foundation 
of Bunawe House, built by the same company, and not under 
the pier. In support of this the saying of the famous seer 
' Guala Chrosda ' is quoted : — 
' Taigh Lochan nan cnamh. House of the Lakelet of bones, 

Taigh gun sonas gun agh, House without joy without hick, 

Cha tig mac an deigh athar, Nor son shall succeed father, 

Air taigh Bhun-atha gu bratli.' In Bunawe House ever. 

A variant on this is : — 
' Taigh mor Pholl nan cnamh. Big Iiouse of the Pool of bones, 

Taigli gun sonas gun agh. House without joyaiice without prosperity. 

Far nach chiinnear gutli coilich. Where voice of cock sliall not be heard, 
No ruch leinibh gu brath.' Nor suck of child ever. 

(In a deej) pool behind the house quantities of human bones 
have been found. Hence the name. Pool of bones. Lakelet of 
bones.) 

These traditions are circumstantially related and believed. 

When the practice of sacrificing men and women fell into 

disuse, birds and animals were substituted. It was reported a 

few years ago that a builder placed a cock beneath the wall of a 

church in one of the midland counties of England. 

Omhau, whey whisked into froth, especially the richer whey pressed 

out of the curds. 
Or, drlha, prayer, rhymed prayer, hymn, supplication, petition, 
incantation ; pi. ' or,' ' ora,' ' orthachan,' * orrachan.' ' Domhull 
beag nan or,' Little Donald of the supplications. 

The word following gives the purpose of the petition as 'ora 
VOL. n. Y 2 



342 NOTES 

bhais/ death spell ; ' ora ghonaidh,' wounding incantation ; ' ora 
sheamlachais/ a charm to induce one cow to take to the calf of 
another ; ' ora bhalbh/ spell to silence an opponent ; ' ora 
ghrudaireachd,' spell to spoil another's brewing ; ' ora ghlas 
ghuib/ spell to lock an enemy's mouth ; ' ora na h-Aona,' spell 
of the Friday ; ' ora stoirm/ spell to raise a storm to dro\vn a foe. 

When the lady of Maclean of Duart heard that her lord was 
holding dalliance with the dark-eyed Princess Viola of Spain, 
her heart burned within her. She sent for Doiteag, the arch- 
sorceress of Mull, who undertook to raise a storm which would 
sink the Spanish ship at her anchor in the land-locked bay of 
Tobermory. Doiteag did this, and drowned all the Spaniards 
but saved all the Scots on board. It is said that people from 
Mull and Morvern were on the deck of the Florida when the 
ship was blown up into the air and the deck came down close to 
the shore, the natives of the country being miinjured. Martin 
says that one of the Beaton physicians of Mull was among those 
thus miraculously saved. Many stories are still told in Mull and 
Morvern about the Florida and the Spanish Armada. 

' Or ' and ' ob ' are used indiscriminately, the people not 
now differentiating between them. A grassy declivity behind 
the village in St Kilda was called ' Liana .nan or ' and ' Liana 
nan ob,' the lawn of the prayers, and the lawn of the incanta- 
tions. The community collected their herds there to sain and 
lustrate them, from the ' cear,' blood one, or the ' cearb,' killing one. 

A tombstone in St Oran's, lona, bears the inscription, 'Or 
Do Mail Fatric,' in modern Gaelic ' or do Maolphatric,' a prayer 
for Maolpatric. Another has the inscription, ' or ar anmin 
Eogahi,' in modern Gaelic, 'or air anam Eoghain,' a prayer for 
the soul of Ewen. 

Ora, orag, odharag, the young of birds while in the downy stage, 
especially the young of the swan, the shag, and the cormorant. 
From 'odhar,' dun. 

Ore, a pig ; ' oircean,' ' uircean,' a young pig. ' Ore ' was another 
name for the whale. The sea north-east of the Long Island was 
known to the old people as ' Cuan nan Ore,' the sea of the ores. 
In charts this sea is known as the Greater Minch. 

The Gaelic name of the Orkney Isles is ' Orcaibh,' ' Arcaibh,' 
the isles of whales, Orcades ; the Orkney seas, like the Minch, 
being subject to frequent visits from whales. 



NOTES 343 



Peadair, Peter. ' La Pheadair/ tlie Feast Day of Peter, the 29th 
June. This is a gi-eat day among fishermen. Even if there be a 
storm the fishermen put out to sea, believing that the fisherman- 
apostle will aid them and shield them. 

If the wind be from the west on the first of the year, the 
fishermen consider it a good omen for their calling. 

' Gaotli an iar iasg is aran ; Wind from the west, fish and bread ; 

Gaoth a tuath fuaehd is feannadh ; Wind from the north, cold and flaying 

[fainting] ; 
Gaoth an ear sneachd air beannaibh ; Wind from the east, snow on the hills ; 
Gaoth a deas meas air crannaibh.' Wind from the south, fruit on trees. 

Pimdack, pleatach, flat, broad, even, as 'casan pleatach,' broad feet, 
flat-footed. 

Postachan, posts (vol. ii. p. 126). I do not know the reference in the 
text. It may possibly refer to the following story : — A farmer 
was passing a well and noticed a stone image on the edge of the 
well. He took uj) the image and brought it home to his house, 
and placed it beside him on the table. When the farmer 
blessed himself before food, he observed that the passive stone 
became alive. Then the stone image smiled and said : — ' We 
were four angels that fell from heaven ; three fell into the well 
and I fell on the edge. I should have been there for ever hadst 
thou not brought me home and had I not heard the blessed 
words. Take me back to the well that I may again ascend to 
heaven.' 

Puball heannach, pointed canopy ; possibly the colt's-foot or butter- 
bur. Birds and small animals seek shelter under its leaves. 
' Pubal,' a tent, canopy, shelter. (Vol. ii. p. 38.) 



R 

Rachd, emotion, vexation, stoppage of speech. 'Thainig rachd orm ' 
— Emotion came upon me ; ' Thainig rachd am mhuineal ' — 
Choking came in my throat, a lump came in my throat. The 
vocal cords having become enlarged through emotion, failed in 
their functions. ' Rachd feirge,' fit of passion. 



344 NOTES 

Rachd, strength, toughness, emulation — 

' Bhrisl air mo rachd. My strength broke down, 

Chain mi mo dhreach.' I lost my appearance. 

A derivative is 'rachdaid,' a strong blow — 

' Thug mi rachdaid dha 's a chluais.' I gave him a hard blow in the ear. 

Ran, noble, very noble. ' Rigean ran,' noble queen. 

Rath, luck, fortune, success, prosperity. The word occurs in many 
of the sayings and phrases of the people, as — 

' Tus ratha ragha dealbh. Origin of success, good form, 

Uirghil mhaith is deagh labhraidh. ' Good speech and good oratory. 

' Gruag ruadh boirionnaich, The red hair of a woman, 

Fiasag Hath firionnaich. The grey beard of a man, 

Ruth agus rath dh'an leirist Progeny and prosperity to the hussy, 

Gheobh an nead a chlacharain. ' Who gets them in the nest of the 

wheatear. 

Birds cunningly contrive to line their nests in harmony with 
their surroundings. How the wheatear obtains the filaments of 
hair occasionally found forming its nest is curious. This and 
the fact of its being found dormant during winter causes the 
wheatear to be looked upon as 'sianta,' sained. 

When a man enters a human habitation he evokes peace and 
prosperity upon the dwelling and the dwellers. When he 
enters a fairy bower the man invokes strife and confusion upon 
the bower and the people therein. 

' Rath gun ealdhain air an treubh. Luck without skill upon the tribe. 
Rath gun ruth, gun fheart, gun Luck without seed, without efiBcacy, 
fheura.' without worth. 

If a man enters a fairy bower he inserts a knife, a nail, or a 
bit of iron of some kind, in the lintel or corner of the doorway 
to safeguard his return — fairies being unable to overcome iron. 

Derivatives are ' rathail,' prosperous, astute ; ' rathach,' 
forward, pushing, prosperous. ' Rath ' is used as a suffix, as 
'cuilidh rath,' fortune's store, fortune's treasury, the ocean. 
' Cuilidh Mhoire,' Mary's treasury, is another term applied to 
the ocean. ' Currachd rath,' lucky cap, lucky cowl, a name 
applied to the caul or membrane occasionally covering the head 
of a child at birth. This caul was much sought after in 
Scotland. It is still sought after in England, Ireland, and in 
some foreign countries, cliicHy by sailors, as a talisman against 



NOTES 345 

murder on land and drowning at sea. The price ranges from £2 
to £20, according to the means or the faith of the buyer. 

Sir Duncan Campbell of Loch Awe, who wrested Caisteal 
Caol-chuirn, Kilchurn Castle, from the Macgregors, was kno\vn 
as ' Donnchadh Dubh a churraichd,' Black Duncan of the cowl, 
because he had a caul on his head when born. Sir Duncan 
Campbell is said to have fully justified the faith in the 'currachd 
rath,' lucky cowl. 

Reann, rann, reang, rang, a bar, a rib, a stalk, a rod, a pole, a wand. 
The royal fern is called ' roinneach reangach,' ' reann roinneach,' 
from its wand-like stalks. 

Reiteach, clear, prepare, remove difficulties, remove obstructions. It 
was customary in the Highlands to clear the pathways before 
distinguished persons. Johnson mentions that the people turned 
out to clear the roadway before Lady Macdonald, one of the 
celebrated Eglintons. 

A burial-place in Glencreran, Appin, is situated 700 feet 
high on the mountain side. Immediately before a funeral men 
go up to clear the path, and bestrew it with birch and sycamore 
branches. 

The funeral cortege rushes up the steep hillside at a 
swinging pace, chanting a weird dirge the whUe. When tlie 
body is laid in the grave and the grave closed in, the bier on 
which it was carried is broken against a certain tree in the 
burying-ground to render it unfit for the 'sluagh,' hosts, to use 
in carrying away the dead in their aerial travelling. This 
picturesquely situated burying-ground is called ' Cladh Chuiril,' 
' Cladh Chuirirlean,' ' Cill Chuirealain,' the burying-ground of 
Cyril. St CyrU was Bishop of Antioch in the eighth century. 

There is a burial-ground in Lochaber, another on Loch Etive, 
and another on Loch Awe, dedicated to this saint. Cill Choireil 
in Brae Lochaber is 686 feet above sea-level ; that on Loch Etive 
is not so high, being only 105 feet above the sea; while that 
on Loch Awe is 700 feet above sea-level. These dedications to 
St Cyril are situated amid scenery of surpassing beauty, variety, 
and grandeur. Similar practices obtain or used to obtain at them 
all, fulfilling the command — ' Prepare ye the way of the Lord ; 
make His path straight.' Birch, which is fragrant, and plane- 
tree or sycamore, which is easily had, are used for want of palm 
branches. In his Monasteries of the Levant, Curzon mentions 



346 NOTES 

that burying-places and monasteries are situated in high-places. 
The situations and customs of these Highland burying-places are 
suggestive of the East, and with their dedicatory saint seem to 
connect the West with the East. 

Ridean, rigean, queen, a handsome maiden, a beautiful girl. 

Ro, rod, roth, pass, passage, way. Occurring in place-names as 
' Roglas,' water passage, from ' ro,' pass, and ' glas,' water, in 
Killdonan, and ' Ro lochdar,' in South Uist. [Doubtful.] 

Ros, knowledge ; ' Ni bheU ros agam,' I have no knowledge ; ' Cha 
d'f huair mi ros air,' I did not get knowledge of him. A derivative, 
'rosal,' is said to mean a place of knowledge, a school, a college. 
There is a ' rosal ' in Mull said to be the site of a collegiate school 
attached to the abbey of lona. The name occurs as a place-name 
also in Caithness in the north of Scotland, and in the neighbour- 
hood of Eastbourne in the south of England. It is interesting to 
find that these places from time immemorial have been seats of 
learning. [Rosal, Rossal in the north and west is Norse 'hross- 
vollr,' horse-field.] 

Rutaidh, surly, butting, bumping, bumptious, ram-like ; from ' rut,' 
a ram. 

Ruth, desire, genesis, generation, procreation. 



Saighead-sith, fairy arrow. This is the name given by the people to 
the flint arrow-heads so much prized by antiquaries. Some of 
these are very small and well fashioned. They are said to have 
been thrown by fairies at the sons and daughters of men. The 
writer possesses one which was thrown at a girl at Lochmaddy. 
The girl went out at night to the peat-stack for a creel of peats. 
She was aware of something whizzing through the silent air, 
passing through her hair, grazing her ear, and falling at her feet. 
Stooping dowm in the bright moonlight, she picked up a fairy 
arrow. The girl never again went out at night. 

The people say that a fairy arrow, especially the arrow of the 
fairy queen, cannot be safeguarded against the wiles of the 
fairies. The writer can confirm this in his own experience, 
havhig unaccountably lost, despite all possible care, the smallest 



NOTES 347 

and most beautifully shaped and coloured arrow-head he has ever 
seen, and that within a few hours after getting it ! 

Samh, fat, rich, productive, flock, fold, herd, fish, cruive, odour ; 
' samh eisg,' fish odour ; ' samh trom eisg,' heavy odour of fish, 
that heavy odour from a great body of fish in the sea. Other 
meanings of ' samh ' are sorrel, garlic, clown, foul person. A place 
in Morvern is called ' Samh-airidh,' sorrel sheiling, from ' samh,' 
sorrel, and 'airidh,' sheiling. It is mentioned by Dr Norman 
Macleod in his playful song to his father's beadle : — 

' Chan eil cleireach 's an dutliaich There is no clerk in the country 

Co math riut air stiuradh — So good at the steering — 

An am tarruinn a curs air Duthaich When thou settest her course for the 

a Cheo Land of the Mist 

An sin canaidh gach maraich " is Tlien all seamen shout 'splendid thy 

ramhath do ghabhail," sailing,' 

A Ruaraidh bhig Shamhairidh, Little Rory of Savary, 

Ho hi ri, ho ro ! ' Ho hi ri, ho ro ! 

Samh, a god, a giant, a strong person. Derivatives are 'samhan,' 
a dog, a little giant ; ' samhanach,' a great giant, a monster ; 
'mharbhadh tu na samhanaich,' thou wouldst kill the giants. 

Samhainn, Samhuinn, Oidhche Shamhainn, Oidhche Skamhna, Hallowtide, 
Hallowmas, Hallowe'en. This is one of the seasons when 
innumerable mystic rites are practised. Supposed to be from 
' samh-f huin,' summei'-end. 

Sctni, probably some animal. 

Seackd, seven. Seven is one of the sacred numbers so frequently 
occurring in the poems, proverbs, and phrases of the people. 

' Seachd seachdaine gu brath Seven weeks till doom 

Eadar Casg is Inid.' Between Pasch and Shrove. 

* Da sheachd bliadhna aois cait : — Two seven years age of cat : — 

Seachd bliadhna aoibhinn, ait, Seven years lightsome, glad, 

Seachd bliadhna troma-cheannach. Seven years heavy-headed, 
Gola-cheannach, cadalach. Big-headed, sleepy. 

' Sannt nan seachd seann sagart. The greed of the seven old priests, 

Ann am fear gun mhac gun In the man without son, without 
nighean.' daughter. 

' Seachd bliadhna cuimhne na ba, Seven years the memory of the cow, 

Gu la bhratha cuirahne an eich.' Till doomsday the memory of the horse. 



348 



NOTES 



'Taigh seachd ceathail ur threabh- A house of seven couples newly set 

achais up, 

Taigh rath, sheilbh is shonachais.' A house of prosperity, possessions and 

joyousness. 



'Seachd bliadhna romh 'n bhrath, 
Thig muir thar Eirinn ri aon 

trath, 
'S thar He ghuirra, ghlais, 
Ach snamhaidh I Chaluimchleirich.' 



Seven years before the day of doom, 
The sea will come over Erin in one 

watch. 
And over Islay, green, grassy. 
But float will lona of Columba the cleric. 



' Tha gath a ghaoil cho guineach 
Ri sleagh nan seachd seang.' 



The dart of love is as piercing 
As the spear of the seven grooves. 



'Seachd,' seven, expresses perfection, completeness, as 'seachd 
sgith,' utterly tired, 'seachd searbh,' the height of bitterness, 
'seachd sath,' perfect satiation. Hence its use in the following 
phrases : — ' seachd beannachd ort,' seven blessings on you ; ' seachd 
mallachd ort,' seven cursings on you ; 'seachd seacharani seilg ort,' 
seven hunt wanderings on you, 'seachd gloir,' seven glories, 
'seachd deamhain,' seven devils, 'seachd sagairt,' seven priests, 
'seachd sitheach,' seven fairies. 

Many more examples of the number seven could be given, but 
the following will suffice. It was taken down in 1860, with much 
more old lore, from Kemieth Morrison, cottar, Trithion, Skye. 
Kenneth Morrison, old and blind, had much native intelligence 
and interesting lore. I love to think of his calm face, of his 
kindly smile, and of his warm welcome. 



' Seachd sgadain, 
Sath bradain ; 
Seachd bradain, 
Sath roin ; 
Seachd roin, 
Sath muc mhara bheag ; 
Seachd muca raara beag, 
Sath muc mhara mhor ; 
Seachd muca raara mor, 
Sath cionarain-cro ; [crothain 

Seachd cionarain-cro, [crothain 
Sath mial mhor a chuain. ' 



Seven herrings. 

Feast of salmon ; 

Seven salmon. 

Feast of seal ; 

Seven seals. 

Feast of little sow of ocean ; [whale 

Seven little sows of ocean. 

Feast of large sow of ocean ; 

Seven large sows of ocean. 

Feast of ' cionarain-cro ' ; 

Seven * cionarain-cro,' 

Feast of great beast of ocean. 



(I do not know what ' cionaran-cro ' is unless it be the 
'kracken,' nor what 'miol mhor a chuain' is urdess it be the great 
sperm-whale. 'Sow,' and 'sow of the sea,' is the ordinary term 
for the whale. 



NOTES 349 

' A Thi thug lonah gu tir Thou Being who didst bring Jonah to land 

A broin na muice le sith. From the belly of the sow with peace, 

Thoir gu cala mi fhin Bring Thou to a haven myself 
'S mo lod.' And ray load.) 

' A subsequent day was appointed for the coronation of Rienzi. 
Seven crowns of different leaves or metals were successively 
placed on his head by the most eminent of the Roman clergy ; 
they represented the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.' — Gibbon's 
Decline and Fall. 

Seachda siona, seven elements. The surface meaning of this expression 
is clear, the intended meaning obscure. (Vol. i. p. 6.) 'Sion,' 
'sian/ is an element. Thus construed, the 'seachda siona,' seven 
elements, would probably be fire, air, earth, water, snow, ice, and 
wind — pel haps lightning. 

' Latha nan seachd sian.' Day of the seven elements. 

' Oidhche nan seachd sian.' Night of the seven elements. 

— when all the elements are let loose. 
' Deireadh nan seachd sian ort.' The end of the seven elements be upon thee — 
a malediction. [' Sian ' here may mean storm, tempest.] 

Sealbh, means, possessions, luck. Providence. Sometimes the word is 
confined to corn, sometimes to flocks, and sometimes it includes 
the whole possessions. 

Seurcan, seircean, another name for ' meac-an-dogh,' burdock. The 
people held the burdock in high esteem, using an extract of the 
root in pulmonary complaints. 

Searrach, foal. There is much superstition connected with the foal, 
as also with the horse. If the first foal seen for the season is 
facing the beholder it denotes good luck ; if walking towards the 
beholder, coming luck ; if running towards the beholder, immediate 
luck. If the contrary, ill luck, ill news, death. The foal of an 
old mare is said to be more active than that of a young mare. 

' Nighean bantraich dha 'm bi crodh. The daughter of the widow of flocks, 

Mac muilleir dha 'm bi rain. The son of the miller of meal, 

Searrach seann laireadh air greigh. The foal of the old stud mare, 
Triuir is meanmnaich air bith.' Are the three most merry of heel. 

Seathau, La Fheill Sheathain, John, the Day of the Feast of St John. 

' Eoin ' is the Biblical form of John, and ' Iain ' the secular 



350 



NOTES 



form except in the popular lore, where the old form of 'Seathan' 
is retained. 



• La Samhna theirear gamhna ris na 

laoigh. 
La FheiU Sheathain theirear aighean 
riu na dheigh.' 

' La Fheill Sheathain is t-samhraidh 
Theid a chiithag dh'a taigh geamh- 
raidh.' 



On Hallow Day the calves are called 

stirks. 
On St John's Day they are called 

queys. 

On St John's Day in summer 
The cuckoo goes to her winter 
house. 



The cuckoo is said to leave rather earlier than St John's Day, 
and the more approximately correct form is — 



' La leth an t-samhraidh, 
Theid a chuthag dh'a taigh geamh- 
raidh.' 

' " Gug-gug," urs a chuthag, 
Air La buidhe Bealltain, 
" Gug-gug," urs i rithist. 
Air La leth an t-samhraidh,' 

' A Sheathain, a Sheathain chridhe, 
Is trie a bha mi 's tu mire, 
De mu bha cha b'ann aig an teine, 
Ach gle ard am braigh nam fireach.' 



On Midsummer Day, 
The cuckoo goes to her winter 
home. 

' Gug-gug,' said the cuckoo. 
On the yellow Day of Beltane, 
' Gug-gug,' said she again. 
On Midsummer Day. 

Thou John, thou John beloved. 
Oft wert thou and I dallying. 
And if we were it was not by the fire. 
But very high on the mountain crest. 



The surname Maclean, like many Gaelic surnames, is of ecclesi- 
astical origin, being an abbreviation of ' Mac gille Sheathain,' 
the son of the servant of St John. 

Seile, placenta, after-birth of a hind. Gaelic has different names for 
the placenta of different animals. 

Seillean mor, big bee, bumble bee. The first bumble bee seen in 
summer is secured and kept for luck. 

Seing, seang, roebuck; called also 'seang-f hiadh,' ' fiadh-seang," 
slender deer ; ' seang-bhoc,' ' boc-seang,' slender buck ; ' caol- 
bhoc,' ' boc-caol,' slim buck ; ' ruadh-bhoc,' ' boc-ruadh,' red 
buck. 

Sgarta falaich, sgairlc falaich, a rift, a rent, a cleft, a cave, a recess in 
a rock in which to hide or to shelter. 

Sgeimineach, sgeiminidh, beauteous, polished, lustrous, probably from 
'sgeimh,' beauty. 



NOTES 351 

Sgeo, haze, fog, vapour. 

' A ghealach gheal gun smal, gun The white moon without spot, without 
sgeo.' haze. 

'Tha'n sgeo a sgaoileadh thar nam The haze is spreading over the 

beann, hills, 

'S tha mis an ceo dha fionndrain, And I in a mist am missing thee, 

Cha till thu ghaoil dha ni'theasd a Love thou shalt not return hither to 

nail, rescue me, 

'S cha toill mi dhol dha d' ionnsuidh.' Nor may I win thither to thee. 

' Sgeo ' occurs in place-names. Sgeobost is variously called 
' Sgeabost,' ' Sgebost," ' Sgiabost,' ' Sgibost,' all forms of ' sgeo,' 
haze, and 'best,' Norse for house. ' Sgitheanach ' is from 'sgi,' a 
case of 'sgeo,' and the termination 'anach,' full of. Of old, Skye 
was known as ' Clar-Sgi,' Haze-land. The sea between Skye and 
Uist, now called the Little Minch, was known as 'Cuan-Sgi,' 
Haze-ocean. [These explanations are improbable.] 

Sgonn, sgonnag, a block, a little block, as 'sgonn cabair,' block of 
wood ; ' sgonn cloiche,' block of stone ; ' sgoim gille,' a block of 
a lad ; ' sgonn arain,' a block of bread. ' Sgonn,' ' sgonnan,' 
'sgonnag,' is the base of the couple imbedded in the wall of a 
house. Scottish ' bùgar.' ' Clach mhor bhun sgonnaig ' is the 
upright flag-stone at the base of the coujile as a partition to 
prevent cows injuring one another. In some places this upright 
stone is called ' stall,' a stall. 

Sgòlfì, sgiilh, shade, shelter, a concealment hut for sportsmen. 

'Sgoth,' a steep rock, an abrupt hill, a bank of cloud, an 
overhanging haze, a place-name in Uist and Harris. A form of 
' sgath,' and cognate with ' sgeo ' — 

' La sgothach air muir 's air tir, A cloudy day upon land and sea, 

Co nach comhnadh le mac mo righ ? ' Who woixld not aid the son of my king ? 

Sguan, slur, slander, gossip. 

Sgulanach, flippant, flippancy, evil speaking, a shallow person ; from 
'sgul,' 'sgulan.' 

Sian, soft music, soft sorrowful music, generally applied to the fairy 

music heard in the fairy knoll. 
Simi, seiin, a charm, incantation, magic enchantment. 

' Sonas nan seachd sian.' The joy of the seven spells. 

— possibly used in derision. 



352 NOTES 

Sic, sicean, siic, silcean, silean, a particle, a small grain, an infinitesimal 
quantity ; ' sicean sioil,' a small grain of seed. 

Sionn, siunn, siann, siannt, mysterious, probably akin to 'sian,' a charm. 

An island near Easdale, another near Appin, and another near 
Moidart, is called ' Sionna.' Islands near Lewis, a hill in Islay, 
a hill ill Ardnaraurchan, and a loch near Kilmun, are called 
' Siannt,' where ' siaimta ' means sained, sacred. ' Holy Loch ' in 
Corval is 'an Loch Siannta.' 
Sionn, light, brightness, lurid light ; hence the region of lurid light. 
' Domhnach sionnaich,' bright Sunday, ' teine sionnachain,' 
phosphorescence, the rainbow-like brightness seen in spindrift on 
a clear sunny day. ' Cur teine sionnachain 's an speur ' — sending 
phosphorescence into the sky. 
Silk, sithich, fairy, fairies ; ' siodha,' ' siodhach,' fay, fairy ; ' bean sith,' 
'sitheag,' female fairy, 'sitheach,' 'sifir,' 'sifire,' 'sifreach,' male 
fairy. The fairies entered largely into the lives and folklore of 
the Highland people. They lived in the green knolls and round 
hillocks, and only occasionally appeared to mortal eyes. 

In October 1871, the late J. F. Campbell of Islay and the 
vn'iter were storm-stayed in the precipitous island of Miunghlaidh, 
Barra. We occupied our time in listening to the folklore of the 
people by whom we were so kindly treated. One of these was 
Roderick MacNeill, known as ' Ruaraidh mac Dliomhuil,' Roderick 
the son of Donald, a famous story-teller and a man wondrously 
endowed mentally and physically. MacNeill was then ninety-two 
years of age. He had never been ill, and never had shoes on, 
and never had tasted tea. His chest was as round as a barrel, 
and measured forty-eight inches in circumference. He had been 
an extraordinary ' rocker ' after birds, moving about on precipices 
of eight hundred feet sheer down to the sea, where a goat or even 
a cat might hesitate to go. So powerful was the man that 
wherever his fingers could get insertion in the crevices of the 
rock he could move his body along the face of the precipice 
without any other support. 

One of the many tales he told us was that of the origin of the 
fairies, which I condense : — 

The Proud Angel fomented a rebellion among the angels of 
heaven, where he had been a leading light. He declared that he 
would go and found a kingdom of his own. When going out 
at the door of heaven the Proud Angel brought 'dealanaich 



NOTES 353 

dheilgnich agus beithh- bheumnaich/ prickly lightning and biting 
lightning, out of the door-step with his heels. Many angels 
followed him — so many that at last the Son called out, ' Father ! 
Father ! the city is being emptied ! ' whereupon the Father 
ordered that the gates of heaven and of hell should be closed. 
This was instantly done ; and those who were in were in, and 
those who were out were out ; while the hosts who had left 
heaven and had not reached hell, flew into the holes of the earth 
' mar na famhlagan,' like the stormy petrels. 

These are the fairy folks — ever since doomed to live under 
the ground, and only jiermitted to emerge when and where the 
King permits. They are never allowed abroad on Thursday, 
that being Columba's Day, nor on Friday, that being the Son's 
Day, nor on Saturday, that being Mary's Day, nor on Sunday, 
that being the Lord's Day. 

' Dia eadar mi 's gach siodha, God be between me and every fairy, 

Gach mi-run 's gacli druidheachas, Every ill wish and every druidry. 

An diugh an Daorn air rauir 's air tir, To-day is Thursday on sea and land, 

M' earbs a Righ nach cluinn iad I trust in the King that they do not 
mi.' hear me. 

On certain nights when their 'bruthain,' bowers, are open 
and their lamps are lit, and the song and the dance are moving 
merrily, the fairies may be heard singing light-heartedly — 

' Chan ann a shiol Adhaimh sinn. Not of the seed of Adam are we, 

'S chan Abram ar n-athair. And Abraham is not our father, 

Ach shiol an ainghil uabharaich. But of the seed of the Proud Angel, 

Chaidh fhuadach a flathas.' Driven forth from heaven. 

Many things are named after the fairies, indicating the 
manner in which they dominated the minds of the people. 
' Breaca-sith,' fairy marks, livid spots appearing on the face of 
the dead or dying ; ' marcachd shith,' fairy riding, paralysis of 
the spine in animals, alleged to be brought on by the fairy 
mouse riding across the backs of the animals while lying down ; 
'piob shith,' fairy pipe, elfin Jiipe, generally found in under- 
ground houses; 'miaran na mna sithe,' the thimble of the fairy 
woman, foxglove ; ' lion na mna sithe," lint of the fairy woman, 
fairy flax, said to be beneficial in certain illnesses ; ' curachan na 
mna sithe,' coracle of the fairy woman, the shell of the blue 
valilla, are a few examples of things called after the little ' people 
of peace.' 

In place-names ' sith ' is very common. ' Gleann-sith,' Glen- 
VOL. II. Z 



354 NOTES 

shee, in Perthshire, is said to have been full of fairies. The 
screech of the steam whistle has frightened them underground. 
'Sithean a Bhealaich,' fairy knoll of the pass, is the name of 
a place at 'Bealach Rosgairt' (Fhrosgairt), Benmore, South Uist. 
Scarcely a district in the Highlands is without its ' sithean,' faiiy 
knoll, generally the greenest hillock in the place. ' Feadan 
dubh Chlanna Chatain,' the black chanter of the Clan Chattan, 
is said to have been given to a famous Macpherson piper by a 
fairy woman who loved him. The Mackays have a flag said to 
have been given to a Mackay by a fairy sweetheart. 

The famous fairy flag at Dunvegan is said to have been 
given to a Macleod of Macleod by a fairy woman. The Mac- 
Crimmons of Bororaig, the famous pipers of the Macleods of 
Macleod, had a chanter called 'Sionnsair airgid na nina sithe," 
the silver chanter of the fairy woman. 

As 'Iain Og,' young John MacCrimmon, was practising in 
' Slochd nam piobairean,' hollow of the pipers, at Bororaig, the 
lovely fairy queen came forth from the knoll, and said — 

' Thug do mhaise 's ceol do phioba. Thy beauty and the music of thy pipe, 

Leannan siodha air do thoir. Have brought a fairy sweetheart to thee, 

Sinim dhuit an sionnsair airgid, I hand thee now the silver chanter, 

A bhios binn gun cliearb fo d' That will be melodious ever under thy 

mheoir. fingers. 

The story of young John and his fsiiry sweetheart is very fine 
and highly poetic. 

A family in North Uist is known as * Dubh-sith,' Black fairy, 
from a tradition that the family have been familiar with the 
fairies in their fairy flights and secret migrations. 

Donald MacAlastair, aged seventy-nine, crofter, Druim-a- 
ghinnir, Arran, told me the following story on the 28th of 
August 1895:— 

' Bha na sifri a fuireach 's an torn agus bha nabuidh aca agus 
bhiodh an duine dol air cheilidh do thaigh nan sifri. Bha an duine 
a gabhaU beachd air doigh nan sifri agus a deanamh mar bhiodh 
iad a deanamh. 

' Thog na sifri turas orra gu dol a dh' Eiriini. agus thog an 
duine air gu fiilbh leo. Rug a chuile sifri riamh air geo-astair, 
agus chaidh e casa-gobhlach air a gheo-astair, agus a nunn cuan 
na h-Eire bha iad muin air mhuin a chuile glun diubh ann an 
tiota, agus a nunn cuan na h-Eire bha an duine as an deoghaidh 
casagobhlach air geo-astair mar aon do chacha. Dh' eubh sifri 



NOTES 355 

be.ag biteach, bronach, an robh iad uile deas agus dh'eubh cacha 
iiile gu'n robh, agus dh'eubh an sifii beag — 

" Mo righ air mo clieann, 
Dol thairis am dheann. 
Air chirean nan tonn, 
A dh' Eirinn." 

"Lean mise," orsa righ nan sifrean, agus a niach a bha iad nunn 
air muir a chuile mac mathar dhiubh casa-gobhlach air a gheo- 
astair. Cha robh fios aig MacCuga air thalanih ciamar a thilleadh 
e a thir a mhuinntiris a rithist aeh leum e air a gheo-astair mar 
a chunnaic e na sifrean a deanamh, agus dh' eubh e mar a 
chuala e iadsan a g'eubhach agus ann an tiota bha e air ais ann 
an Arainn. Ach fhuair e a leoir dhe na sifrich an turas sin fhein, 
agus cha d'flialbh e riamh tuilleadh leo.' 

'The fairies were dwelUng in the knoll, and they had a near 
neighbour who was wont to visit them in their home. The 
man used to observe the ways of the fairies and to do as they 
did. The fairies took a journey upon them to go to Ireland, and 
the man took upon him to go with them. Every single fairy 
caught a ragwort and went astride the ragwort, and they were 
pell-mell, every knee of them, across the Irish ocean in an 
instant, and across the Irish ocean was the man after them, 
astride a ragwort like one of the others. A little wee tin)' fairy 
shouted and asked were they all ready, and all the others replied 
that they were, and the little fairy called out — 

" My king at my head. 
Going across in my haste. 
On the crests of the waves. 
To Ireland." 

" Follow me," said the kmg of the fairies, and away they were 
across the Irish ocean, each mother's son of them astride his 
ragwort. Macuga (Cook) did not know on earth how he would 
return to his native land, but he leapt upon the ragwort as he 
saw the fairies do, and he called as he heard them call, and in 
an instant he was back in Arran. But he had got enough of the 
fairies on this trip itself, and he never went with them again.' 

The fairies were wont to take away infants and their mothers, 
and many precautions were taken to safeguard them till purification 
and baptism took place, when the fairy power became ineffective. 
Placing iron about the bed, burning leather in the room, giving 
mother and child the milk of a cow which had eaten of the 



356 NOTES 

'mothan,' and similar means were taken to ensure their safety. 
Sometimes the watching-women neglected these precautions, and 
the mother or child or both were spirited away to the fairy bower. 
Many stories are current on this subject. 

Sometimes the fairies helped human beings with their work, 
coming in at night to finish her spinning or her web for the house- 
wife, or to thresh his corn or fan his grain for tlie houseman. On 
such occasions they must not be molested nor interfered with, even 
in gratitude. If presented with a garment they will go away and 
work no more. This method of gettmg rid of them is sometimes 
resorted to, as it is not easy always to find work for them. 

'Bean chaol a chota uaine 's na gruaige buidhe,' the slender 
woman of the green kirtle and the yellow hair, is wise of head 
and deft of hand. She can convert the white water of the rill 
into rich red wine, and the threads of the spider into a tartan 
plaid. From the stalk of the fairy reed she can bring the music 
of the lull of repose and peace, however active the brain and lithe 
the limb ; and she can rouse to mirth and merriment, and to the 
dance, men and women, however dolorous their condition. From 
the bower in the green hillock could be heard the pipe and the 
song and the voice of laughter as they 'sett' and reeled in the 
mazes of the dance. Sometimes a man seeing the wonderful light 
and hearing the merry music, would be tempted to go in and join 
them, but woe to him if he omitted to leave a piece of u-on at 
the door of the bower on entering, for the cunning fairies would 
close the door, and the man would find no egress. There he 
would dance for j'ears, but to him the years were as one day — 
while his wife and family mourned him as dead. ' But faith is 
dead, and such things do not happen now' — so said my courteous 
informant. 

Sleabhag, sleibheag, spleacan, spleicean, mattock. This small mattock 
is used in digging up carrots and the roots of native plants used 
by the people in dyeing and tanning. 

Sleamknan, stye, inflamed tumour on the eyelid. It is various^ 
called 'sleamhnan,' 'sleamhran,' ' sleamhnagan,' 'sleamhragan,' 
'leamhnan,' 'leamhran,' 'leamhranan,' 'leamhnadan,' 'neamhnad,' 
and ' neonad.' 

Sleamhnanachd, leamhnanachd, exorcism of the stye, removing the stye 
by occult power. 



NOTES 357 

Sliom, buttercup. The buttercup was used as a poultice for swelling, 
especially swelling in the sole of the foot. 

Another name for the buttercup is 'carrs.' 

' Tha'n carrsa fo'n ghobhair glilais. The buttercup is under the grey goat, 
'S cha tig bailc am bliadhn oirre.' And no cusp shall come this year upon it. 

The buttercup was believed to possess magical as well as 
medicinal powers. 

Sliosrach, slope, declivity; from 'slios,' a slope. 

Slisneach, a plant like the 'slan-lus,' 'sla-lus,' 'la-lus,' self-heal and 
ribwort. 

Sluagh, 'the host,' the spirit-world. The 'hosts' are the spirits of 
mortals who have died. The people have many curious stories 
on this subject. According to one informant, the spirits fly about 
' 'nan sgrioslaich mhor, a sios agus a suas air uachdar an domhain 
mar na truidean ' — in great clouds, up and down the face of the 
world like the starlings, and come back to the scenes of their 
earthly transgressions. No soul of them is without the clouds 
of earth, dimming the brightness of the works of God, nor can 
any win heaven till satisfaction is made for the sins of earth. 
In bad nights, the hosts shelter themselves, ' fo sgath chuiseaga 
bheaga ruadha agus bhuaghallain bheaga bhuidhe ' — behind little 
russet docken stems and little yellow ragwort stalks. They fight 
battles in the air as men do on the earth. They may be heard 
and seen on clear frosty nights, advancing and retreating, 
retreating and advancing, against one another. After a battle, 
as I was told in Barra, their crimson blood may be seen staining 
rocks and stones. (' Full nan sluagh,' the blood of the hosts, is 
the beautiful red ' crotal ' of the rocks melted by the frost.) 
These spirits used to kill cats and dogs, sheej) and cattle, with 
their unerring venomous darts. They commanded men to follow 
them, and men obeyed, having no alternative. 

It was these men of earth who slew and maimed at the bidding 
of their spirit-masters, who in return ill-treated them in a most 
pitiless manner. ' Bhiodh iad 'gan loireadh agus 'gan loineadh 
agus 'gan luidreadh anns gach lod, lud agus Ion ' — They would 
be rolling and dragging and trouncing them in mud and mire 
and pools. 'There is less faith now, and people see less, for 
VOL. II. Z 2 



358 NOTES 

seeing is of faith. God grant to thee and to me, my dear, the 
faith of the gi-eat Son of the lovely Mary.' This is the substance 
of a graphic account of the 'sluagh,' given me in Uist by a bright 
old woman, endowed with many natural gifts and possessed of 
much old lore. There are men to whom the spirits are partial, 
and who have been carried off by them more than once. A man 
in Benbecula was taken up several times. His friends assured 
me that night became a terror to this man, and that ultimately 
he would on no account cross the threshold after dusk. He died, 
they said, from the extreme exhaustion consequent on these 
excursions. When the spirits flew past his house, the man would 
wince as if undergoing a great mental struggle, and fighting 
against forces unseen of those around him. A man in Lismore 
suffered under jirecisely similar conditions. More than once he 
disappeared mysteriously from the midst of his companions, and as 
mysteriously reappeared utterly exhausted and prostrate. He 
was under vows not to reveal what had occurred on these aerial 
travels. 

I took down several stories of persons who went with the 
' hosts.' Here is one of the stories of the ' hosts ' summarised : — 
The beautiful daughter of a king of France was taken up by the 
'hosts,' and carried about in the air, over lands and seas, 
continents and islands, till they came to the little island of 
Heistamal, behind Creagorry, in Benbecula, where they laid her 
down in such an injured state that she died from the hard 
treatment ; not, however, till she had told about the lands to 
which she had been carried, and of the great hardships she had 
endured while travelling through space. The people of the island 
buried the princess where she was found. 

The 'sluagh' are supposed to come from the west; and 
therefore, when a person is dying, the door and the windows on 
the west side of the house are secured to keep out the malicious 
spirits. In Ross-shire, the door and windows of a house in which 
a person is dying are opened, in order that the liberated soul 
may escape to heaven. In Killtarlity, when children are being 
brought into the world, locks of chests and of doors are opened, 
this being sujiposed, according to traditional belief, to facilitate 
childbirth. 

Smeoim, arrow-head, arrow-point, the destructive end of the arrow. 
[The dictionaries make 'smeoirn' the butt end.] 



NOTES 359 

•Mis an gaisgeach gun ghioraig — am bas, I am the hero without panic — death, 

Leis an coingeis an slan no'ra To whom is indifferent tlie whole or 

breoit, the frail, 

A thilgeas an gath nach teid cama no Who will throw the dart that will not 

cearr, bend nor stray, 

Co cinnteach ri earr na smeoirn.' As cert;iin as the end of the arrow- 
[gais head. [point 

' Bogha dh'iubhar Easragain, Bow of the yew of Easragan, 

Ite firein Locha Treig, Feather of the eagle of Loch Treig, 

Ceir bhuidhe Bhaile nan gaillean. The yellow wax of Baile-nan-gaillean, 

Smeoirn o"n cheard MacPheidirean.' Arrow-head from the craftsman Mac- 



Pheidirean. 



Another version says :- 



' Bogh a dh'iubhar Easragain, Bow of the yew of Easragan, 

Sioda na Gaillbhinn, Silk of Gallvinn, 

Saighead a bheithe an Doire-dhuinn, Arrow of the birch of Doire-donn, 

Ite firein Loch Treige.' Feather of the eagle of Loch Treig. 

' Doire-donn,' brown grove, is in Glenorchy. 

' Easragan ' is in Airdchattan, near the priory where Bruce held 
his first parliament, at which meeting Gaelic was the language 
used. 

Margaret Campbell, daughter of Colin Campbell of Inver 
Easragan, was the wife of John Macaulaj-, minister of Lisraore, 
and the paternal grandmother of Lord Macaulay. She was much 
beloved in Lismore, and her husband the reverse. Old men in 
the island described John Macaulay as : — ' Duine rag, danarra, 
ceannlaidir, ceannsgallach — a huile duine cearr, ach esan a mhain 
ceart ' — A man obstinate, opinionative, dogmatic, domineering — 
all men wrong, he alone right. A fellow-student said of Lord 
Macaulay : — ' I wish I were as cocksure of anything as Tom 
Macaulay is of everything.' The infallibility would seem to have 
been inherited. 

Loch Treig is in Lochaber. ' BaOe nan gaillean,' ' Baile nan 
gaOlbhinn,' is said to be Dun-chaillionn — Dunkeld, famed for 
honey, beeswax, and silk. ' Clann Pheidirean ' (Patersons) had 
their forge at Creagan Corrach, Fearrlochan, in Benderloch, about 
seven miles across Glensalach from Easragan. They were famous 
armourers, their swords being celebrated for their high finish and 
excellence. The native home of the ' MacPheidireans ' was on the 
north side of Lochfyne, where they had been numerous. 

Smeola, the poetic name of the 'smeor,' 'smeorach,' thrush, mavis. 



360 NOTES 

Snaoih, snaodh, snaogh, leader, cliief, king. The people say that all 
creatures have a ' ceann-snaoth,' head-chief. A certain fish is 
' ceann-snaoth nan iasg,' the head-chief of the fish ; a certain bird 
is 'ceann-snaoth nan ian,' the head-chief of the birds; a certain 
cow or bull, ' ceaim-snaoth nan ni,' the head-chief of the nowt ; a 
certain horse, 'ceann-snaoth nan each,' the head-chief of the 
steeds ; and a certain deer, ' ceann-snaoth nam fiadh,' head-chief 
of the deer. 

A townland in South Uist is called ' Snaothaisbhal.' The 
place stands prominently on the bank of the river Hough, which 
is here crowded with salmon like sheep in a pen. These salmon 
may be seen moving about in the shallow water, guided in their 
movements by a leader. Hence, according to local etymology, 
the name of the farm — the fell of the leadership. 

On the low-lying townland of Hough-beag on the opposite side 
of the river are the ruins of the house of Neill MacEachain, father 
of Marshal Macdonald, Duke of Tarentum. MacEachain was the 
patronymic of this sept of the Macdonalds. After his escape to 
France with Prince Charlie, Neill MacEachain reverted to his 
clan-name of Macdonald. 

When Marshal Macdonald visited Britain in 182.5 he went to 
see his relatives, then as now numerous in South Uist. On 
coming in sight of the river Hough, he raised his arm and 
exclaimed, ' That's the river Hough ! I know it from my father's 
description. Many a salmon my father killed there.' Marshal 
Macdonald treated his numerous relatives with kindly con- 
sideration, bestowing money on the more distant and annuities 
on the more near. He carried away potatoes from his father's 
garden, and earth and stones from his father's house. He 
cultivated the potatoes in his own garden in France, and at his 
death the earth and stones were, at his request, placed over his 
heart and buried with him. 

Soir, sear, east, eastern. 

' Soir is siar an deigh nan con.' East and west after the hounds. 

A farm in North Uist, now a lop-sided island, is called 'Bailesear,' 
easter -townland. The other side, which was called 'Bailesiar,' 
wester-townland, lies submerged under the Atlantic. The ruins 
of the houses of the submerged townland are occasionally seen 
under favourable conditions of tide and atmosphere. 



NOTES 361 

Sola, soladh, food, broken food — whelks, cockles, limpets, mussels, 
and other sliell-fish broken and thrown into the sea to attract fish. 
The Lady Amie, wife of John, Lord of the Isles, sent men round 
the islands to make hollows in the rocks in which the people 
might break shell-fish and jirepare bait. Such pits are called 
'toll solaidh,' bait holes. These mortars resemble cup cuttings, 
for which antiquarians have mistaken them. 

Somh, somha, convert, convince, controvert, overturn, upset, render of 
no avail ; cf. 'soim,' Windisch's W'òrterbuch. 

Soplachan, wisp, tuft, sustenance ; a handful of corn in the ear given to 
a weak animal; from 'sop,' wisp. Sometimes the 'soplachan' is 
suspended from a stake beside the animal, sometimes from the neck 
of the animal to enable it to nibble at the wisp while h'ing down. 
Mrs Clark, Torr-an-damh, makes effective use of this term : — 

' Is tu mo Shoplachan broUaich, Thou art the Sustenance of my breast, 

Is tu mo Charaide soghar. Thou art ray bounteous Friend, 

Is tu mo Brathair is sine. Thou art my eider Brother, 

Trie is minic dha m' chomhnadh." Oft and oft befriending me. 

Sorchar, sorachar, brightness, a clear man, from 'sorch,' clear, and 
'fear,' a man, the reverse of 'dorchar,' 'dorachar,' darkness, 
a dark man. The initials d and .? are often in opjiosition, as 
'dorch,' dark, 'sorch,' clear; 'doilleir,' obscure, 'soilleir,' light; 
'dolas,' grief, 'solas,' joy; 'doirbh,' difficult, 'soirbh,' easy; 
'dubhailc,' vice, 'subhailc,' virtue; 'duathar,' darkness, 'suathar,' 
lightness; 'dolair,' withhold, 'solair,' provide; 'dochair,' wrong, 
'sochair,' right. 

'Sorchar' may mean Christ, 'the Light of the World,' or 
Michael, 'the Light of the Mountains' (vol. i. p. 66). A belief 
prevails among Highlanders that every person is attended by an 
angel of light or by an angel of darkness — by a good or by a bad 
angel ; that during sleep the soul of the good accompanied by 
the angel of light ascends to the gates of heaven there to foresee 
the bliss awaiting the good and brave ; and that the soul of the 
bad accompanied by the bad angel descends to the gates of hell, 
there to listen to the wailing of those who had followed evil 
courses and wicked ways. 

There is a story told of a man whose soul returned after 
wandering through the regions of time and space. The soul 
alighted on the face of the man, in the form of a bee or a 
butterfly, and was about to enter its home in the body through 



362 NOTES 

the pathway of the mouth when a neighbour killed it. One 
version of the story says that the body of the man died when 
his soul was killed ; another version says that the body of the man 
lingered long in the land after the soul was dead, busying itself 
up and down the earth, carrying the substance of the dead soul 
in its left and the shadow of its withered heart in its right hand. 

Probably this is not the only instance of the body existing 
after the soul is dead. 

Speach, a stone, a doorstep, a flat stone in a byre door, a certam stone 
in a byre drain. 'Speach na bathcha,' the doorstep of the byre. 
Dim. 'speachag.' 'Tilg speachag air a bhoin,' throw a stone 
at the cow. A form of 'spitheag,' a little stone. 

Speach, a claw, a hoof, an animal, perhaps akin to 'speir,' a shank. 

' Cuir a staigh an speach.' Send in the cattle. 

' Cuir a mach na speich.' Send out the herds. 

The word occurs in the following song : — 

' Thaine na Cait oirnn, The Cats have come upon us, 

Thaine na Cait oirnn. The Cats have come upon us, 

Thaine na Cait oirnn. The Cats have come upon us, 

Thainig iad oirnne ! They have come upon us ! 

A bhristeadh a steach, To break in upon us, 

A thogail nan creach, To lift the spoil, 

.\ spuilleadh nan speach. To steal the kine, 

A struilleadh nan each. To strike the steeds, 

A rusgadh nam meach. To strip the meads, 

Thainig iad oirnne ! ' They have come upon us ! 

Spisniche, prop, pillar, colunni, support. 

Srabh, strahh, falling water. 'Srabh uisge,' water pouring as from the 
roof of a house. 

Srol, strol, satin, gauze, gossamer, filament. ' Srol ' was used for 
carpets, flags, banners, dresses, winding-sheets, and other purposes. 
The word occurs in many old songs and sayings. A song taken 
down in the island of Miunghlaidh, Barra, says : — 

• Siud mar dh' orduichinn-se dhusa — That is what I would ordain for thee— 
Nighean righ le corr 's le cusbar. The daughter of a king with worth and 

gear, 
Le sioda, le srol, le susban. With silk, with satin, with substance, 

Le or righ, le or cusbann.' With king's gold, and with foreign gold. 

The following lines were sung in Miunghlaidh by a cottar girl, 
whose white teeth, red lips, blue eyes, fair hair, Celtic features, 



NOTES 363 

lithe form, and graceful movements would have done for Minerva. 
They are said to have been composed by a woman in Barra, who 
had been lifted by the 'hosts,' and carried about in the air, 
visiting many places and seeing many scenes, among tliem her 
brother's funeral : — 
' Bha mi anns 's gun chach ga m' I was there but others not seeing 

fhaicinn, me, 

Treis dha m' chas dhomh, treis dha A while on my foot, a while on my 

m' each dhomh, horse, 

'S O ! treis am strol uain am And oh ! a v/hile in my green satin 

pasgadh.' folded. 

' Strol ' is mentioned in a song said to have been composed by 
a girl in Barra, whose relatives were massacred ))y the Norsemen, 
and she herself carried away captive : — 

' Tha m' athair 's mo mhathair My father and my mother 

Air an caramh 's a chro, ['s an fhoid Are laid in the bier, [sod 

'S tha mo phiutliar 's mo bhrathair And my sister and my brother 

Air am fagail 's an strol.' Are left in the shroud. 

The word occurs also in ' Bron Binn,' one of several Arthurian 
ballads current in the isle : — 
' Strol is sioda fo a da bhonn.' Satin and silk under her two soles. 

Slapag, Scots 'stappack,' a mixture of meal and cream, or of milk, or 
of cold water. An old lullaby (c/! p. 239) says : — 

' Stapag bhuirn, stapag bhainne, A stappack of water, a stappack of 

milk, 
Stapag bhuirn gheobh mo leanu, A stappack of water will my child get, 

'N uair a bheireas an crodh laoigli When the calving cows shall bear 

Gheobh mo ghaol stapag bhainne. ' My love will get a stappack of milk. 

The north end of the island of Skye is called Trotarnis, 
Trondarnais, Thrond's peninsula. The district is fertile and was 
once abundant in corn. It was the granary of the Macdonalds 
of the Isles, whose land it was. Tlie Macleods of Duirinish 
facetiously called the district of Trotarnis, ' Dutliaich nan stapag,' 
the country of the stappacks ; ' Am fearann stajiagach,' the land 
of the stappacks. The Macdonalds retorted, calling Duirinish 
' Duthaich nam mogais,' ' Duthaich nam mogan,' the country of 
the footless stockings ; ' Am fearann mogasach,' and ' Am fearann 
moganach,' the land of the footless stockings. 

Staing, stance, site, situation, moat, ditch, fort, stronghold, an 
impregnable position, a sacred enclosure, a sacred ring ; gap in 
a wall, rock, or mountain ; distress, difficulty. 



364 NOTES 

It occurs ill place-names, as Staiiig at the foot of Ben-Ledi. 
Is-staing, a place-name in Killtarlity, is shortened from Inis-staing, 
meadow of the ' stang.' 

Stear, sliarr, steair, a pole like the butt of a salmon-rod, used in 
killing birds. The 'steairear,' 'stearair,' pole-man, sits on the 
edge of the cliff, his legs overhanging the Atlantic several hundred 
feet below. As the bird flies within reach overhead the man 
strikes it with the pole. The stunned bird tumbles down behind 
and is thrappled by a dog, and laid with the others. 

The bird that thus flies overhead is the puffin, in St KOda 
called "^buite,' and in Miunghlaidh 'buigire.' A day with a strong 
inland wind is selected for this work. 'Steaireadh' is eminently 
dangerous, a slight swerve, a false stroke, causing destruction. 

Steill, shelf, bracket. 

' Thoir an gunna thar na steill.' Take the gun off the bracket. 

' Cuir an cuman air an steill.* Place the pail upon the shelf. 

Stic, imp, demon. ' Droch stic,' evil imp ; ' stic an donais,' imp of the 
devil ; ' stic an deamhain mhoir,' imp of the great demon ; ' stic 
taighe,' house imp ; ' stic starsaich,' doorstep imp, generally 
applied to a quarrelsome woman, occasionally to a quarrelsome 
man. 

Stiom, snood. The snood was a narrow white band of silk, satin, 
linen, or wool worn round the head of maidens. The snood was 
the badge of the maiden as the kertch was that of the matron. 
Frequent mention is made of the snood and the kertch, and 
sometimes of the substitution of the latter for the former. 

' Laighinn sumhail an luib do I would lie slenderly in the folds of thy 

bhreacain, plaid, 

Thigeamaid am maireach We would on the morrow come home 

dhachaidh, again, 

Chuirinn stiora mo chinn am I would put the snood of my head in 

pasgadh, folds, 

'S chairinn am breid ban 's an And I would arrange the white coif in 

fhasan.' fashion. 

Sliomach, snooded ; 'stiomag,' a maiden, in contradistinction to 
' breideag,' a wife. 

Slreajon, sreafan, slreahfion, sirealkan, streadhon, fringe, frill, fragment, 
beard, thin beard. 
• Streafon stiallach a ghille ruaidh.' The ragged beard of the red fellow. 



NOTES 365 

Streajon, tallow, thin tallow. 'Streafon na caora,' tallow of the sheep. 
' Streafon glas na caora duibhe.' The watery tallow of the black sheep. 

Streajon, filament, film, the film that covers the bone ; membrane, 
the membrane covering the calf and other animals in utero ; 
carpet. The term occurs in an Arthurian ballad obtained in 
Uist in 1865:— 

• Chunnas an righinn a sheinn an ceol, I saw the damsel who sang the melody. 

An cathair dh' an or a sbiigh, In a chair of gold within, 

Streafon sioda fo da bhonn, A carpet of silk beneath her two soles, 
Bheannaich mi fein ga gnuis I myself blessed her pure counten- 

ghlain.' ance. 

Sinnglein, slringleir, strangles, a disease which affects, but is not 
confined to, horses. Although neither so dangerous nor so 
disagreeable as glanders, strangles is infectious and odorous. 
The people say that strangles was rare and glanders unknown in 
the Highlands before the introduction of Lowland horses. 
Highland horses, cattle, and sheep being hardier, are less liable 
to disease than the softer Lowland breeds. 

Strfian, stndhan, strudhan, is the name applied to the cake made on 
St Michael's Eve and eaten on St Michael's Day. 

Sruban = merenda (afternoon meal) — Windisch's JViirterbuch. 
Sruan, five-cornered shortbread cake — (M'Alpine). 

Suaircein, the name of a bird. 

SfiM, sHÌlke, soot. (Vol. i. page '28ijf.) 

Eggs set are marked with soot to distinguish them from eggs 
which may be intruded. Should a stray egg become mixed with 
the setting it is later in being hatched, and the chicken is called 
'isean deire linn,' chick after brood. Such an occurrence is a 
bad omen for the eldest daughter of the family, and a sign that 
she will not be married, or if married that she will be childless. 
The girl concerned examines the nest daily to see that no such 
egg is intruded. 

In some places girls used to make bannocks of soot and salt, 
and place them under their pillows on Hallow Eve, that they 
might dream of their lovers. 

Suil, droch shuil, eye, evil eye. When a person admires or covets a 
thing, the owner says, ' Fluich do shuil ma lean e rithe ' — Wet 
your eye lest it sticks to it, i.e. in case you have the evil eye, and 
the thing becomes yours or dwindles away. 



366 NOTES 

Snì, suit, fat, fatness, condition, good condition ; derivatives of ' siil ' 
— ' sultan ' and ' sultag.' The first is applied to a fat little boy 
or male beast, the last to a fat little girl or female beast. 
A Gaelic conundrum says — 

' Mug dhubh 's a choill, A black sow in the copse, 

Gun sul, gun saill. Without fat, without bhibber. 

Gun ghuth, gun chainn, Without voice, without speech, 

Gun friodhan crain. Without bristle of pig, 

Gun hiibhean caim. Without curved joint. 

Gun cheann cnaimhe. Without end of bone. 

Seilicheag.' Snail. 

This description is not wholly accurate, the black snail being not 
only fat but nutritious. In Cornwall and elsewhere it is used in 
consumption, and with good results. 

Probably the badger is the animal meant. (Vol. i. p. 314.) 
The flesh of the badger was eaten and prized in olden times. In 
her beautiful lament at leaving Alban, Deirdire says — 

' lasg is sieng is saill bruic Fish and venison and flesh of badger, 

Fa hi mo chuid an glend Laigh.' These were my food in Glen Laigh. 

The harvest moon is variously called 'gealach gheal an 
abuchaidh,' the ripening white moon; 'gealach fin na Feill 
Micheil,' the fair moon of the Michael Feast ; and ' gealach 
bhuidhe nam broc,' the yellow moon of the badgers. The badger 
is then in best condition, before he retires to his winter retreat. 
When the badger emerges in spring, he is thin and emaciated. 
He never comes out in winter, unless upon a rare occasion when 
a dry sunny day may tempt him out to air his hay bedding. The 
intelligence with which the badger brings out his bedding, shakes 
it in the sun, airs it in the wind, and carries it back again to his 
home, is interesting and instructive. 

The badger is now rare in Scotland, being only seen occasion- 
ally in the Highlands and on the Border. 

From the fact that all grazing animals are then in best 
condition, October is called 'mios sultain,' month of fatness. 



Tachar, tacar, heap, quantity, fruitage. ' Fhuair thu tachar eisg ' — 
Thou hast got a heap of fish. ' Fhuair mi tachar ian ' — I got a 
number of birds. 

Tachradh, produce, substance ; from ' tachar,' quantity. 



NOTES 367 

Tàckran, tàcharan, a. kelpie, a water-sprite, a dwarf — one of the many 
supernatural beings with which the Gaidlieal peopled the 
glens and woods, streams and lakes. 

A place in Islay is called ' Clachan an tacharain,' the ford of 
the kelpie ; and one in Perth is called ' Poll an tacharain,' the 
pool of the kelpie. 

The term occurs in the touching lament of a Kintail woman 
whose husband was slain by Donald Macdonald, known as 
' Domhull odhar,' dun Donald, ' an tacharan,' the dwarf, and 
FiiJay Macrae, known as ' Fionnladh dubh nam fiadli,' black 
Finlay of the deer : — 

' Is olc a fhuaradh Taciiaran 111 have done the Dwarf 

Is Fionnladh dubh nam fiadh — And black Finlay of the deer — 

A dh' fhag mo ghaol an cadha cumhan. They left my love in narrow pass, 

Far nach eirich grian. Where no sunshine shall appear. 

' Dh' fhag lad mo thaigh mor gun tugha. They reft ray big house of its thatch. 

Mo shabhal tur gun dion. My barn made wholly bare. 

An dubhra trath 's t-anaraoch ann. In the gloomy winter night-watch, 

'S mo chlann air bheag dh'an bhiadli.' And my children on little fare. 

Their neighbours alleged that the people of Corrsabal, in 
Islay, wished to secure as a man-servant — 

' Bolanach do gheinneanach, A sturdy stumpy of a fellow. 

Do bhalach math laidir, A youth of exceeding strength, 

Dheanadh gniamh ceatharnaich. Who would do the work of a hero, 

'S nach itheadh ach biadh tacharain.' Nor eat but the food of a dwarf. 

'Tachran cuthaig,' 'tachan cuthaig,' the page of the cuckoo — 
generally the meadow-pipit. When the cuckoo sings, the pipit 
emits a hissing sound resembling 'tach! tach ! tach ! ' This 
may have originated the name in this case. 

Taghan, polecat, foumart. The polecat is detested for its destructive- 
ness and evil odour. It is now nearly extinct in the Highlands. 

Tail, taileadh, sail, saileadh, cause, sake of, on account of. ' Fhuair 
mise trod air taileadh do ghnothaich ' — I got a scolding on 
account of thy business. ' Tha mi air taileadh mo ghnothaich 
fhein ' — I am after my own business. 

Taimhlisg, traduce, contemn. ' Is tu an taimhlisg ' ; this might mean 
a traducing person or one worthy of being traduced. 

Tairbhein, teirbhein, tailbhein, ieilbhein, surfeit ; also a bloody flux in 
cattle ; possibly from ' dairb ' or ' deirb,' water-insect, spider, 
which when swallowed is supposed to cause bleeding. 



368 NOTES 

Talmaick, honour, obeisance ; from 'talm,' to obey, to honour. 

Tarhh hoidhre, a monster, a demon, a god capable of changing himself 
into many forms — a man, a bull, a horse, or other animal with 
supernatural powers. 

Tarman, torman, ptarmigan, preferably ' tarmigan,' murmur-bird ; from 
'tarm,' or 'torm,' murmur, and Man,' bird. Derivatives — 'tarmach,' 
'tormach,' 'tarmachan,' 'tormachan,' murmuring bird. 

The tarmigan is ruddy, mottled grey in summer, changing to 
pure snow-white in winter. It confines itself to the summits of 
high hills, never coming down to the glens except under severe 
pressure of continued snow. Like a true patriot it contests its 
country inch by inch against the invading enemy and, if defeated, 
is never discomfited. 

To the uninitiated the tarmigan is indistinguishable from its 
habitat. In 1877 the writer went up to examine the beach-like 
shingly appearance of the summit of a hUl in Harris. On the top 
of the mountain my companion drew my attention to tarmigans 
among the stones before us. I could hear the murmur, but could 
not see the birds, nor differentiate between them and the shingle 
before us, till they began to move, then to run, and ultimately to 
ly. The atmosphere was clear, the sun was bright, and not a 
breath of air on the hill nor a speck of cloud in the sky, but my 
companion said that a snowstorm was coming on. He insisted on 
immediate descent, and, incredulous, I reluctantly followed. In 
less than an hour the bright sun began to disappear, and the sky 
began to darken and blacken, and in less than another hour a 
raging storm of snow was on, lasting three days and three nights 
without intermission. 

My companion said that he knew by the peculiar plaint and 
mode of flight of the tarmigans that a snowstorm was approaching. 

Tarmach-de, tarmachan-de, the white butterfly, rarely the white-and- 
black butterfly. 

Teanga, tongue, voice, speech, oratory. 'Teanga Chaluim-chille,' the 
oratory of Columba (vol. i. j). 56). Columba had a powerful voice 
'clearly heard at fifteen hundred paces.' It is said that he could 
be heard in Mull when preachmg in lona, more than a mile across 
the sea. Probably the famous Dr Macdonald, Ferintosh, 'the 
Apostle of the North,' was the greatest Gaelic orator since 
Columba, to whom he has been likened. Dr Macdonald and the 



NOTES 369 

late Sir John A. Macdonald, Premier of Canada, another orator 

of renown, were sons of two crofter brothers evicted from 

Sutherlandshire. 
Teanacsa, avert, safeguard, ward away. 'Teanacsa gorta," avert 

famine ; ' teanacsa dosgain,' ward away misfortune from cattle, 

protect from danger, distress, or difficulty. 
Teasdam, I preserve, secure, keep, help, assist. 
Teilg, teilig, a chord, string of a lyre, of a harp, or other stringed 

instrument. 
Teilin, leilinn, a musical instrument, a stringed instrument. Welsh 

'telu,' a harp. 
Teine, fire. (Vol. i. p. 174.) 

' Cha loisg teine, grian, no gealach mi.' No fire, no sun, no moon, shall burn me. 
SimOar immunity from fire is mentioned in an Arthurian 

ballad taken down in Uist : — 

' Cha loisg teine 's cha dearg arm air an No fire shall burn, no arm can hurt 

fhear, the man, 

Ach a chlaidhe geal glan fein.' But his own white sword of light 

— therefore while he slept his enemy killed him with his own 
sword. 
Tein-eigin, neid-fire, need-fire, forced fire, fire produced by the friction 
of wood or iron against wood. 

The fire of purification was kindled from the neid-fire, while 
the domestic fire on the hearth was rekindled from the purification 
fire on the knoll. Among other names, the purification fire was 
called 'Teine Bheuil,' fire of Beul, and 'Teine mor Bheuil,' great 
fire of Beul. The fire of Beul was divided into two fires between 
which people and cattle rushed australly for purposes of ])urification. 
The ordeal was trying, as may be inferred from phrases still 
current. 'Is teodha so na teine teodha BheuU' — Hotter is this 
than the hot fire of Beul. Replymg to his grandchild, an old 
man in Lewis said : — ' A Mhoire ! mhicean, bu dhurra dhomh-sa 
sin a dheana dhusa na dhol eadar dha theine mhor Bheuil ' — 
Mary ! sonnie, it were worse for me to do that for thee than to 
go between the two great fires of Beul. 

The neid-fire was resorted to in imminent or actual calamity 
upon the first day of the quarter, and to ensure success in great 
or important events. 

The writer conversed with several persons who saw the neid- 
VOL. n. 2 A 



370 NOTES 

fire made, and who joined in the ceremony. As mentioned 
elsewhere, a woman in Arran said that her father, and the other 
men of the towiJand, made the neid-fire on the knoll on ' La 
buidhe Bealltain ' — Yellow Day of Beltane. They fed the fire 
from ' cuaile mor conaidh caoin ' — great bundles of sacred faggots 
brought to the knoll on Beltane Eve. When the sacred fire 
became kindled, the people rushed home and brought their herds 
and drove them through and round the fire of purification, to sain 
them from the 'bana bhuitseach mhor Nic Creafain,' — the great 
arch witch daughter Crauford, Mac Creafain, now Cra\vford. 

That was in the second decade of the nineteenth century. 

John Macphail, Middlequarter, North Uist, said that the last 
occasion on which the neid-fire was made in North Uist was 
' bliadhna an t-sneachda bhuidhe ' — the year of the yellow snow 
— 1829 (.''). The snow lay so deep and remained so long on the 
ground, that it became yellow. Some suggest that the snow was 
originally yeUow^, as snow is occasionally red. This extraordinary 
continuance of snow caused much want and suffering throughout 
the Isles. 

The people of North Uist extinguished their own fires and 
generated a purification fire at Sail Dharaich, Sollas. The fire 
was produced from an oak log by rapidly boring with an auger. 
This was accomplished by the exertions of 'naoi naoinear ciad 
ginealach mac ' — the nine nines of first-begotten sons. From the 
neid-fire produced on the knoll the people of the parish obtained 
fire for their dwellings. Many cults and ceremonies were 
observed on the occasion, cults and ceremonies in which Pagan 
and Christian beliefs mtermingled. 

' Sail Dharaich,' Oak Log, obtained its name from the log of 
oak for the neid-fire being there. A fragment of this log riddled 
with auger holes marks a grave in 'Cladh Sgealoir,' the burying- 
ground of ' Sgealoir,' in the neighbourhood. 

Mr Alexander Mackay, Edinburgh, a native of Reay, Sutherland, 
says : — ' My father was the skipper of a fishing crew. Before 
beginning operations for the season, the crew of the boat met at 
night in our house to settle accounts for the past, and to plan 
operations for the new season. My mother and the rest of us 
were sent to bed. I lay in the kitchen, and was listening and 
watching, though they thought I was asleep. After the men had 
settled their past affairs and future plans, they put out the fire on 
the hearth, not a spark being allowed to live. They then rubbed 



NOTES 371 

two pieces of wood one against another so rapidly as to produce 
fire, the men joining in one after the other, and working with 
the utmost energy and never allowing the friction to relax. 
From this friction-fire they rekindled the fire on the health, from 
which all the men present carried away a kindling to their own 
homes. 

'Whether their success was due to their skill, their industry, 
their perseverance, or to the neid-fire, I do not know, but I know 
that they were much the most successful crew in the place. 
They met on Saturday, and went to church on Sunday like the 
good men and the good Christians they were — a little of their 
Pagan faith mingling with their Christian belief. I have reason 
to believe that other crews in the place as well as my father's 
crew practised the neid-fire.' 

A man at Helmsdale, Sutherland, saw the 'tein-eigin' made 
in his boyhood. 

The neid-fire was made in North Dist about the year 1829, in 
Arran about 1820, in Helmsdale about 1818, in Reay about 1830. 

Tciric, hake, herring hake, herring eke or eek. A triangular frame 
with spikes upon which herrings are hung up to dry in the smoke 
within or in the sun without. 

Tewn, dole, gift, bribe, alms. 'Teom eisg,' dole of fish ; 'teom deora,' 
alms of poor ; ' teom an t-sionnaich,' bribe of the fox ; ' co toinnte 
ri teom an t-sionnaich,' as twisted as the gift of the fox ; ' teom 
Aegir,' dole of Aigir, a miserly dole. 

Tfom, cunning, skilful, expert. 

Tiiir, tiuir, tuthhair, tear, teorr, mark, stamp, impress, the mark of the 
sea upon the shore, the refuse left by the tide upon the beach. 

• Is truagh, a Righ ! nach mi bha lamb Would, O King ! that I were anear 

riut thee, 

Ge b'e eilb na ob an traigh thu. On whatever sandbank or creek thou 

Ged a b'ann an tiur an lain e.' art stranded. 

Even were it in the impress of the tide. 

Todh, todha, rope, a particular kind of rope, tow; 'todha na croiche," 
rope of the gallows. 'Biodh gach fear a deanamh todha dha 
f hein ' — Let every man be making a (hanging) rope for himself. 

Tore, a cleft, a notch, a scallop, an indentation ; also a monarch's 
necklace. 



372 NOTES 

Torcan, dim. of 'tore,' a cleft. 

Tore an, a species of bere, a bi-forked carrot, the carduus henedictus. 

' Ladies bathing themselves in a decoction of the " turcan " 

shall only bear sons." — Kilkenny Arch. Soc. Jour., vol. v. p. 306 ^. 
Trasd, probably the same as Ir. ' trost,' a trip or fall ; onrush ; a 

thrust (vol. ii. p. 48). 
Treann, to cut, to lop, to trim, to shape. 
Tri, tiur, tear, three, an especially sacred number as representing the 

Trinity. 

' Tri maighdeana beaga caomh, Three lovely little maidens, 

Rugadh 's an aon oidhche ri Crlosd.' Born the same night with Christ. 

The three maidens are Faith, Hope, and Charity. (Vol. ii. 

p. 56.) 
Tri cnamhan seann duine, three bones of an old man (vol. ii. p. 38). 

This may mean the southernwood, which is called ' lus an t-seann 

duine,' the plant of the old man ; but more probably the phrase 

is to be taken literally. 
Triall, the procession of people and herds to the summer sheiling 

(vol. i. p. 190). 
Trithean, Trilhion, Triune, Trinity, three-one, three in one ; from ' tri,' 

three, and 'aon,' one. This form of the word is not now used in 

writing or in speaking, but it occurs in place-names at Loch 

Harport and at Glendale, in the island of Skye, in the island of 

Lismore, and possibly elsewhere. 
Tuillis, overloading the stomach, especially with liquids. Akin to 

'teilbhein.' 
Tul, fire, hearth, heap ; the stem of 'tulach,' a heap, a knoll, a house. 
Tulach, knoll, hillock, house, ruins. 



u 

Udail, oscillate, oscillation; 'udalan' a swivel. 

Uilm, uilim, coffer, treasury, offertory, a bag for alms ; akin to ' ulaidh,' 

treasure .'' 
Uinicinn, lamb-skin ; from ' uan,' lamb, ' cionn,' skin. 



NOTES 373 

Uratsg, a monster, half-human, halt-goat, with abnormally long hair, 
long teeth, and long claws, frequenting glens, corries, reedy lakes, 
and sylvan streams ; an unkempt, untidy man. 

A glen in Killninver, Argyll, is called ' Gleann-uraisg,' 
' Gleann na h-uraisg,' glen of 'uraisg,' glen of the 'uraisg.' 
Many stories are told of the ' uraisg ' possessing this glen, the 
appearance, the action, and the speech of this supernatural 
creature being graphically described. The ' uraisg ' is not 
unfriendly to the friendly beyond showing them scenes, and 
telling them of events above the world, upon the world, and 
below the world, that fill them with terror. Strong men avoid 
the glen of the ' uraisg ' at night. 

In the Coolin Hills, Skye, there is a place called ' Coire nan 
uraisg,' corrie of the 'uraisgs,' and adjoining it another place 
called • Bealach Coire nan uraisg,' the pass of the corrie of the 
'uraisgs.' 

Usga, usgar, holy, sacred, precious, jewels. 

' Siud mar dh' orduichinn-sa dhusa, That is what I would ordain to thee, 
Nighean righ le or 's le usga." The daughter of a king, with gold 

and gems. 




VOL. II. 



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SOIRIDH 

A BHEAN-SHITH AGUS AN SEALGAIR 

Soiridh slan a shealgair dhuiiiii, soii-idh slan gu bratha 
leat an taobh a tha anii a sliruth nam beann agus an taobh 
tha thall an abhuinn, an la a chi agus nach faic, an la 
shealgas tu fiadh nam fireach agus an la, a chiall, nach 
iomair gin. 



FAREWELL 

THE FAIRY AND THE HUNTER 

Fare thee well, brown hunter of the hill, farewell to 
thee for ever on this side of the mountain stream and 
the side beyond the river, the day I see thee and the 
day I see thee not, the day thou huntest the forest deer 
and the day, beloved one, thou huntest none. 

ALEXANDER CARMICHAEL.