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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 GADELICA 

ORTHA NAN GAIDHEAL 




C ARMINA 
GADELIC A 

HYMNS AND INCANTATIONS 

WITH ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES ON WORDS, RITES, AND 
CUSTOMS, DYING AND OBSOLETE: ORALLY COLLECT- 
ED IN THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND 
AND TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH, BY 

ALEXANDER CARMICHAEL 

VOLUME II 




EDINBURGH 

PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR BY 

T. AND A. CONSTABLE, PRINTERS TO HER MAJESTY 

AND SOLD BY NORMAN MACLEOD 

25 GEORGE IV. BRIDGE 

1900 



Three hundred copies printed 






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 

Allt. 

122. Eolas na Ruaidh 

Faie, a Mhic 's a Chriosda 

123. Eolas na Ruaidh 

A ruadh ghaothar, atar, aogail 

124. Eolas na Ru 

A I'u eugail, aogail, atail 

125. Eolas at Cioch 

Eolas a rinn Gillecalum 

12G. Eolas an Deididh 

Ob a chuir Bride bhoidheacli 

127. Eolas na Budha 

Air bhuidhe, air dhuibhe 

128. Eolas sgiucha Feithe 

Rami a riiiii ban-naomh Bride 

129. Eolas sgocha Feith 

Paidir Moire a h-aou 

130. Eolas an t-Sniamh 

Char Bride inacb 

131. Eolas an t-Sniamh 

Chaidh Criosda ri croich 

132. Eolas an t-Sniamh 

Chaidh Criosd a mach 
VOL. II. 



INCANTATIONS 

Charm for Rose 3 

Behold, Son and Christ 

Charm for Rose 5 

Thou rose windy, swelling, deadly 

Charm for Rose 7 

Thou rose deathly, deadly, swollen 

Charm for swollen Breast 9 

The charm made by Gillecalum 

Toothache Charm 11 

The incantation put by lovely Bride 

Charm for Jaundice 13 

For the jaundice, for the spaul 

Charm for bursting Vein 15 

The rune made by the holy maiden 

Charm for bursting Vein 17 

Rosary of Mary, one 



Charm of the Sprain 

Bride went out 



19 



Charm for Sprain 19 

Christ went on the cross 



Charm for Sprain 

Christ went out 



21 



VI 

A IK. 

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



CONTENTS 



Fiith-Fith 

Fath fith 

Sian a Bheatha Bhuan 

Cuirim an seuu air do chom 

Sian a Bheatha Bhuan 

Cuirim sian a bheatha bhuan 

Sian Bride 

Sian a chuir Bride nam buadli 

Sian 

Sian a chuir Moir air a Mac 

Eolas Gradhaich 

C'lia'n eolas gradhach duit 

Eolas Gradhaidh 

Eolas gradhaidh dut 

Cronachduinn Suil 

Co a thilleas cronachduinn suil? 

Eolas a Bheum Shula 

Saltraim air an t-suil 

Cronaehdain Suil 

C^huruaich suil thu 

Uibe ri Shul 

Uibe gheal chuir Muire mhin 

Obi ri Shuil 

Cuirim an obi seo ri m' shul 

Eoir Beum Sula 

Ge be co rinn duit an t-suil 

Eolas 

Peadair us Seumas us Eoin 

INIallachd 

Thainig dithis a mach 



Fath Fith 23 

Fath fith 

Charm of the Lasting Life 27 

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 r 

Exorcism of the Eye 45 

I trample upon the eye 

Counteracting the Evil Eye 49 

An eye covered thee 

Spell 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. Eoasa Blieim Shuil 

Saltruighidh mis air an t-siiil 

149. Obi nan Sul 

Obi nan gem- shul 

150. Oba ri Shul 

f'liirim an oba seo li m' shuil 

151. Obari Sul 

Oba mlio-tchil 

152. Ob ri Shul 

Ob a chuir Moire mhor-gheal 

153. Eolas a Chronachaidh 

Buainidh mi a rhathair aigh 

154. Cunntas an t-Sleamhnain 

("nim an tainig an aon sleamhnan 

155. Am Fionn-Faoilidh 

Cuiream fionn-faoilidh umam 

156. Eolas Tnu 

Ge be co rinn duit an tnu 

157. An Dearg Chasachan 

Buainidh mi an dearg-chasachan 

158. An Eidheann-Mu-Chrann 

Buainidh mis 

159. Eolas an Torranain 

Buainidli mi an torranan 

160. An Torranan 

Buainidh mi an torranan 

161. Eolas an Torranain 

Buainidh mi an torranan 

162. An Earnaid Shith 

Buainidh mi an earnaid 



vn 
61 

63 

65 



Spell of the Evil Eye 

Trample I upon the eye 

Incantation for the Eye 

Incantation of the seeing eye 

Spell of the Eye 

I place this spell to mine eye 

Spell of the Eye 67 

The spell fair-white 

Spell of the Eye 69 

The spell tlie 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 ' tioun-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 Figwort 79 

I will pluck the figwort 

The Figwort 87 

I will pluck the figwort 

The Charm of the Figwort 91 

1 will cull the figwort 

The Fairy Wort 98 

Pluck will I the fairy wort 



viii CONTENTS 

AIR. 

163. EaiT Thalamhainn 

Buainidh mi an earr reidh 

164. An Earr-Thalamhainn 

Buainidh mi an earr reidli 

165. Achlasan Chaluim-Chille 

Buainidli mise m* achlasan 

166. Achlasan Chaluim.-Chille 

Buainidh mi mo choinneachan 

167. Achlasan Chaluim-Chille 

Achlasain Chaluim-chille 

168. Eala-Bhi, Eala-Bhi 

Eala-bhi, eala-bhi 

169. An Crithionn 

Mallachd ort a chrithinn 

170. Seamrag nam IJuadh 

A sheamarag nam huadh 

171. Seamarag nam Buadh 

A sheamarag nan duilleag 

172. Am Mothan 

Buainidh mi am motiian suairoe 

173. Am INIothan 

Buainidh mi am mothan 

174. Am Mothan 

Buainidh mis am mothan suairce 

175. Ceus-Chrann nam Buadh 

A cheus-chrann chaomh nam buadli 

176. Garbhag an t-Sleibh 

Garbhag an t-sleibh air mo shiubhal 

177. An Dearg-Bhasach 

Criosd ag imeachd le ostail 





PAOE 


The Yarrow 


95 


I will pluck tlie yarrow fair 




The Yarrow 


95 


I will pluck the yarrow fair 




Saint John's Wort 


97 


I will cull my plantlet 




St. Columba's Plant 


99 


I will pluck what I meet 




St. Columba s Plant 


101 


Plantlet of Columba 




Saint .John s Wort 


103 


Saint John's wort 




The Aspen 


105 


Malison be on thee, O aspen 




Shamrock of Luck 


107 



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. 
179. 
180. 
181. 
182. 
183. 
184. 
185. 
186. 
187. 
188. 
189. 
190. 
191. 
192. 



A Chloimh Chat 

Buaiuidh mi a chloimh chat 

A Chloimh Chat 

Buaiuidh mi fhin a chloimh chat 

Eolas a Bhun Deirg 

An ainm Athar caoimli 

Eolas Bun Deirg 

Ta mis a nis air leirg 

Eolas a Ghalar Fhual 

Eolas ta a^am air a ghalar fhual 

An Stringlein 

' Each 's an stringlein ' 

Sian Sionnaich 

Biodh sian a choin-choille 

Ora Cuithe 

Ciiiream tan a steacli 

Feith JNIhoiie 

Feith Mhoire 

An Eilid 

Bha Pe.adail us Pol a dol seachad 



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 12-5 

I have a charm for the gravel 



The Strangles 

' 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 

The Hind 

Peter and Paul were passing l)y 

Calum-cille, Peadail, agiis T'ol Columba, Peter, and Paul 

A day as I was going to Rome 



La domh 's mi dol dh' an Roinih 

Eolas a Mheirbhein 

Eolas a rinn Calum 

Eolas Chnamh Chir 

AIu dh' ith thu fiar nan naodh beann 

Eolas a Chrannachain 

Thig ua saor, thig 

An Eoir a chuir Moire 

Eoir a chuir Moir Oighe 



The Indigestion Spell 

The spell made of Columba 

Cud Chewing Charm 

If thou hast eaten the grass 

Charm of the Churn 

Come will the free^, come 

The Charm sent of INIary 

The charm sent of Mary Virgin 



127 



129 



131 



133 



137 



137 



139 



141 



143 



153 



CONTENTS 



193. Ulc a dhean mo Lochd 

Ulc a dhean mo lochd 

194. Frith Mhoire 

Dia faram, Dia fodhani 



The Wicked who would me 155 

The wicked who wouW do me harm 



Augury of INIary 

God over me, God under me 



1.59 



MEASGAIN 

195. Ciad Miarail Chriosd 

Chaidh Eosai us Mairi 

196. An Oigh agus an Leanabh 

Chunnaeas an Oigh a teachd 

197. Dia na Gile 

Dia na gile, Dia ua 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 mor hhi eadar 

201. Am Fear a Cheusadh 

Fhir a chruchadh air a cbribh 

202. An Coileach sin 

Sin d' uair labhair a bhean bhorb 

203. Manaidh 

Moch maduinu Luan 

204. Moch La Luan Casg 

Moch La Luan C'asg 

205. Manadh nan Eala 

Chuala mi guth binn nan eala 

206. Manaidh 

Chuala mi chuthaggun bhiadh 



MLSCELLANEOUS 

The first Miracle of Christ 163 

Joseph and Mary went 

The Virgin and Child 107 

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 109 

Columba tells us, that 

Mother's Consecration 171 

Be the great God between 

He who was Crucified 173 

Tliou who wert hanged upon the tree 

That Cock 177 

It was then spoke the angry 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 slilaiute 

208. Duaii nan Daol 

Trath bha Ti nan dul to cboill 

209. Diian nan Daol 

D uair b}ia Criosda fo choill 

210. Duan an Daoil 

A dhaolag, a dliaolag 

211. Taladh 

Eala bhan thu 

212. Ban-Tighearna Bhinn 

Co i bhaiu-tighearna bliinu 



The Incense 

111 the day of thv health 



187 



Poem of the Beetles 189 

When the Being- of glory 

Poem of the Beetles 193 

When Christ was under the wood 

Poem of the Beetle 193 

Little beetle, little lieetle 

Lullaby 195 

Thou white swan 

The Melodious Lady-Lord 203 

Who is she the melodious lady-lord 



213. Righinn nam Buadli 


Queen of Grace 


209 


Is niiu a has 


Smooth her hand 




2U. CiU-Moluag 


Killmoluag 


211 


Uill ! hill ! uill ! ! 


Uill ! hill ! uill ! ! 




215. Am Breid 


The Kertch 


213 


Mile failte dhut fo d' bhreid 


A thousand hails to thee 




216. Fuigheal 


Fragment 


217 


Mar a bha 


As it was 




Notes . 




221 


Names of the Reciters of 


THE Poems 


344 



IV 




UIBE 
INCANTATIONS 




UIJJE 



EOLAS NA RUAIDH 



[122] 



When this charm is applied, 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 aH'ected. The part is then spat upon and crossed three times in the names 



iVIC, a INIhic '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, 
Ciiir-s' an crion an t-at. 



Faic fein i, Rigliinn, 

'S tu a rug am Mac, 

Cuir-sa casgadh air a chich, « 

Cuir-sa crionadh air an at ; 

Cuir-sa casgadh air a cliich, 
Cuir-sa crionadh air an at. 

Faic thus i, losda, 

Is tu High nan dul, 

Cuir-sa casgadh air a cliich, 

Cuir-sa crionadh air an uth ; 

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

Chithim, thubhairt Criosda, 

Us nithim mar is fin, 

Bheirim fois dh' an chich, 

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




INCANTATIONS 



CHARISI FOR ROSE - 

of the three Persons of the Trinity, whether it be the breast of a woman or the 
tulder of a cow. The legend says that 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 INIother 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, 
Api)ease 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. 

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

A ruadl) ghaothar, aogar, iota, 
Fag a chioch agus am bac, 
Agus sin a mach, 

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



[123] 



Teich a bhradug 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. 



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, 
Diir an uth a mhairt, 
Fag an t-at 's an t-utha, 
Teich gu grunn na claiche. 

Cuirim ru ri clach, 
Cuirim clach ri lar, 
Cuirim bainne an uth, 
Cuirim sush 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, 
I^eave, 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 



[125] 



OLAS a rinn Gillecalum 
A till' aona bho na caillich, 
Air ruaidh, air cliniaidh, air chradh. 
Air at, air pat, air mam, 
Air dhair, air cliairr, air bhleoghan, 
Air tri corracha crith, 
Air tri corracha cnamli, 
Air tri corracha creothail, 
Na ob e do bhruid, 
Na diult e do mhne, 
Na tar e s an Domhnach. 
Eolas a rimi Fionn fial, 
Da dhearbh phiutliair, 
iVir riiaidli, air chruaidh, 
xVir at ciche. 



INCANTATIONS 



CHARM FOR SWOLLEN BREAST 

The charm made by Gillecalum, 
On the one cow of the carlin, 
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 tlvree ' 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 swellini>; of breast. 



VOL. ir. 



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, which are generally much impaired if not 
wholly 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 195 feet above the sea, at the foot of a hill 757 feet high, and 
nearly three miles in the moorland from the nearest townland. 

Tiie place is called ' C'uidh-airidh,' shieling fold, 
while the well is variously known as ' Tobar Chuidh- 

I] a chiiir Bride bhoidheach [Or 

Roinli ordag Mathar De, 
Air mliir, air lion, air chorcraich, 
Air clinoidh, air glioimh, air dheud. 

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



Dead 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 mhuir, air chuan, air chorsa. 
Air li, air honn, air liogradh. 




INCANTATIONS 11 



TOOTHACHE CHARM 

airidh,' well of the shieling fold, ' Tobar an deididh/ well of the toothache, 'Tobar 
na cnoidh,' well of the worm, and 'Tobar cnuinih fhiacail,' well of the tooth worm, 
from a belief that toothache is caused by a worm in the tooth. 

The general name of the well is ' Tobar Cliuidh-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 [prayer 

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 teetii of my head, 
Hell hard by my teeth, 
Tiie teeth of hell distressint;; me. 



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

Vauiants — 

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



12 



UIBE 



EOLAS NA BUDHA 



[127] 



TiiK 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 i)lough 
irons, evil spirits being unable to withst.md iron. All this was promptly done. 
The exorcist placed the plough irons in the fire, disj)laying much solicitude that 
they should be red-hot. The room w.'is darkened and the eyes of the pitient 
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 rej)Iaced the share in 
the fire and put the coulter in the water. Then pretend- 
ing to take tlie 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 arnacli, 

Air a ohalar-dhearg, air a glialar-shearg, 
Air a glialar-tholl, air a ghalar-lom, 
Air a glialar-dhonn, air a ghalar-blionn, 
'S an gacli galar a dh' fhaodadli 
A bhi an aorabh ba 
No an sgath gamhna. 




INCANTATIONS 13 



CHARM FOR JAUNDICE 

patient, loudly commandinir the demon to depart. The pirl screaTned in evident 
af^ony, 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, laying 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 sim)ile 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 expres- 
sion 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. 

Foil the jaundice, for the spaul, for the bloody flux, 
For the red disease, for the withering disease. 
For the hot disease, for the skin disease. 
For the brown disease, for the foot disease, 
And for every disease that might be 
In tiie constitution of cow 
Or adherino- to stirk. 



14 



UIBE 




EOLAS SGIITCHA FEITHE 



[128] 



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

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

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

Mar a shianuich Criosd sin, 
Gu 'n slanuicli Criosd seo, 
Agus na 's mo na seo, 
INIa 's e thoil a dheanamh. 



An t-eolas a rinn Calumcille, 
Air eorhiin a ghhnne, 
Do sgocha feithe, do leum cnamha — 
Tha thu tinn an diugh, bithidh thii 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, fur dislocation of bone — 

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



IG 



UIBE 




EOLAS SGOCHA FEITH 

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 boiin agus braigh, 

Eadar slan agus feart. 

Chaidh Criosd air as, 
Sgiuch a cas, 
Tliainig e bhan 
Shlanuich e cas, 
Mar a shlanuich e sin 
Gu'n slanuich e seo, 
^Vgus na 's mo na seo 
Ma 's e thoil a dhcananih. 



[129] 



INCANTATIONS 17 



CHARM FOR BURSTING VEIN 

RosAUY 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 

HAR Bride iiuich 
Maduinn iiiliocli, 
Le caraid each ; 
liliris each a chas, 
Le uiiiich och, 
Bha sid mu seach, 
Chiiir i cnanih ri cnainh, 
Chuir i feoil ri feoil, 
Chuir i feithe ri feithe, 
Chuir i cuisle ri cuisle, 
JNIar a leighis ise sin 
Gu 'n leiffhis niise seo. 



[130] 



EOLAS AN T-SNIAMH 

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



[181] 



]Mar a shlanaich sin 
Gu 'n 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 liis 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 
JNIay 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 wiiole 

May tiiis 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 

Maduiiin mocli, 

Fhuair e cas nan each 

Nan spruilleach bog ; 

Chuir e smior ri smior, 

("huir e smuais ri smuais, 
Chuir e cnaimh ri cnaiinh, 
Cliiiir e streabhon ri streabhoii, 
Chuir e feith ri feith, 

Chuir e fuil 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 ; 
jNIar a leighis Righ nam buadh sin 
Is dual gu'n 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. 



22 UIBE 



FATH-FITH [133] 

' Fath-fFth ' and ' fith-fath ' 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, some- 
times 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-ceall in Arasaig. The mother jiossessed so much 
of the n.iture 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. 
r5ut hair like the hair of a fawn grew on the part of the temple of tlie 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 iVom their surroundings — no one 
knew where was another or where lie 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 grej' 
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 tlie 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 trans- 
formed 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 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 light of the 



INCANTATIONS 



23 



FATH-FITH 

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. 

Ossian 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 the men and the hounds of the Feinne. 

In his Leab/iar Na Fcinitc Iain Campbell of Islay says that he liatl received 
fom-teen 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 
— Effric or Effie Mac Iain — lineally descended, she said, from Alexander Mac 
Iain, chief of the massacred Macdonulds of Glencoe. 

Effric Mac Iain was not tall, but she was very beautiful, intelligent, 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 of silver, circular, and beautifully chased, though much worn. 



'SANAS OlSEIN D'A MHATHAIR 

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

Bheir mi hoiriuu ho a liau. 
Eiridi niu 'n eirich griau ort. 

Blieir mi lioiriou lie a hau, 

Eho liir ir i-ibhag o, 

Na Lao hi ho a ro hau. 
Ma 's tu mo mhathair 's gur a fiadh thu. 
Siubhail sliabh mu 'u tig au teasach. 

Ma 's tu mo mhathair 's gur a fiadh thu, 
Faicill ort romh fhearaibh Fianua. 

Ma 's tu mo mhathair 's gur a fiadh thu. 
Faicill ort romh chonaibh Fiauna. 

Ma tlieid thu do ehoiribh doua, 
Faicill ort rumh ghniamh uau coim, 
Coiiaibh coiiacliar, conaibh coufhach, 
Us iad air mhire-chatha rem had. 



OSSIANS WARNING TO HIS MOTHER 

If thou be my mother and thou a deer, 

Arise ere the sun arises on thee. 



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

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

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

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



24 



UIBE 



Seachaiim Caoilte, seachaiuu Luath, 
Seachainii IJrucliag dhubh nam bruach, 
Seachaiun saigh an earbail dhuibli, 
Bran mac Buidheig, namh nam fiadli, 
Agus Geolaidh dian nan damh. 

Ma theid thu do ghleannaibh io^^al, 
Faicill ort romb chlanna Baoisge, 
(•lanna Baoisge 's an cuid con. 
Da cbiad diag a dh' aireanih fhear, 
A lann fein an laimh gaeb laoicb, 
A chu fein an deigh gach fir. 
Us iad air eil aig Leide mac Liaunaiu, 
Us fearan beag ri sgath creaige. 
Us da cbii dbiag air lothain aige. 
Us eagal air nach tig tbige. 



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 tlieir hounds. 

Twelve hundred of numbered men. 

His own blade in each hero's hand, 

His own hound after each man. 

And they on the thoiigof ' Lide ' son of ' Liannan, 

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. 




TH fith 
Ni mi ort, 
Le Muire na frithe, 
Le Bride na brot, 
Blio chire, blio ruta, 
Bho mhise, 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 tahiiha, 
Bho iasgaidh na mara. 
'S bho shiantaidh na ffailbhe. 



INCANTATIONS 



25 



Ma theid tlm do blieaniiail)h mora, 
Faicill ort romh (hlaima iMonia, 
Clanua Morna 's an cuid con, 
Da chiad diag a dli' aireanih fliear 
A laun fein au laimli gach laoich. 

Ma theid thu do blieannaibh arda, 
Faicill ort romh Chlaniia Gaisge, 
Claiina Gaisge 's an cuid con. 
Da chiad diag a dh' aireanili f hear, 
A lann fein an laimh gach laoich. 

Ma tlieid thu gu fairir frithe, 
Faicill ort romh Chlanna Frithir, 
Clanna Frithir 's an cuid con, 
Da chiad diag a dh' aireamh f hear, 
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 hens, 
Beware thou of the ' Gaisge ' Clan, 
Tlie '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, 
Heware 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 creepidfe of the earth, 

From the fishes of the sea. 

From the imps of the storm. 



vol,. II. 



26 UIBE 



SIAN A BHEATHA BHUAN [134] 

'Sian' or 'seun' is occult .igency, supernatural power used to ward away injury, 
and to protect invisibly. Belief in the charm was common, and examples of its 
efficacy are frequent!}' 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 IT^S. 
At Culloden the bullets showered upon him like 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 witli 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 17l.'>. But Clanranald took 
a lad away against the will of his mother, who lived at Staonabrig, 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 little 
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 Sheriffmuir 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. 



INCANTATIONS 27 



CHARM OF THE LASTING LIFE 

When 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.' 

Allan Macdonald of Clanranald was called ' Ailean Beag/ Little Allan, in contra- 
distinction 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 l6S9 Clanranald lived in France for several years. 
There he made the 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 SherifTmuir, when its 
owner was killed, the house was burnt to the gromul 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 pic- 
turesque on the monotonous far-reaching niachairs 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 Mac- 
donald 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. 



28 



UIBE 




SIAN A BHEATHA BHUAN 



UIRIM an seun air do chom, 
Agiis air do shealbliaclid, 
Seun Dhe nan dul 
Chum do thearmaid. 



An seun a chuir Bride nan iii 
Mu mhuineal min Dhorn-ghil. 

An seun a chuir Moire mu Mac, 

Eadar bonn agus brogliaid, 

Eadar cioch agus glun, 

Eadar cul agus broth, 

Eadar braigh agus bonn, 

Eadar sail agus folt. 

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

Cha reub lainn thu, 
Cha mhill muir thu, 
Cha teum mnai thu, 
Cha treaim duin thu. 

Brat Chriosda fein umad, 
Sgath Chriosda fein tharad, 
Bho mhuUach do chinn 
Gu buinn do chas. 



INCANTATIONS 29 



CHARM OF THE LASTING LIFE {continued) 

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 INIary 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 glave of INIichael 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. 

VOL. 11. E 



30 UIBE 



Ta seun De ort a nis, 

Cha teid gu brath ort ailis. [aimhleis 

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 Cumhachdan comhla. 

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

Diridh tu cirein nan stuchd 
Dionar tu a thaobh do chuil, 
Is tu an eala chiuin 's a bhlar, 
Cumhnar tu am measg nan ar, 
Seasaidh tu troimh choig ceud, 
Us bith t-eircirich an sas. 

Seun De umad ! 
Feun De tharad ! 



INCANTATIONS 31 

The charm of God is on thee now. 

Thou shalt never know disgrace. [calamity 

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 tliou 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 'r crodh luath, leathann, Ian, 
An creagan air an laigh an spreidh, 
Gu'n eirich iad beo slan. 

A nuas le buaidh 's le beannachd, 
A suas le luatlis 's le leannachd, 
Gun ghnu, gun tnu, gun fharmad, 
Gun suil bhig, gun suil mhoir, 
Gun suil ehoig an dearmaid. 

Sughaidh mise seo, sughadh feith farmaid 
Air ceannard an tighe 's air teaghlaich a bhaile, 
Gu'n 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 us teanndanam, 

Culionn cruaidh us 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 hoUying and a wan withering 
To their female sheep and to their male calves. 
For the nine and the nine score years. 



34 



UIBE 




SIAN BRIDE 



[136] 



IAN a chuir Bride nam buadh, 
IM'a mise, m'a cire, m'a buar, 
M'a capuill, m'a cathmhil, m'a cual, [camlial 
JMoch us anamach dol dachaidh us uaitli. 



Ga'n cumail bho chreagan, bho chleitean, 
Bho ladhara 's bho adhaircean a cheile, 
Bho iana na Creige Ruaidh, 
Us bho Luath na Feinne. 

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



Bho mhada-ruadh nan cuireid, 
Bho mhada-ulai a Mhaim, 
Bho thaghan tocaidh na tuide, 
'S bho mhaghan udail a mhais. 



Bho gach ceithir-chasach spuireach, 
Agus guireach da sgiath. 



INCANTATIONS 35 



ST. BRIDE'S CHARM 

The charm put by Bride tlie beneficent, 

On her goats, on her sheep, on her kine, 

On her horses, on her chargers, on her herds, [camel 

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 bfue 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 bear of uneasy hip. 



From every hoofed of four feet. 

And from every hatched of two wings. 




UIBE 



SIAN 



[137] 



IAN a chuir Moir air a Mac, 

Sian romh mharbhadh, sian romh lot, 

Sian eadar cioch agus 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, [a dh' 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' chumail o d' chul, 
Ga d' chumhn o d' 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. 

Mu's ruaig dhuit, oig, o thaobh do chuil, 

Buaidh na h-Oigh ga do chomhnadh dluth, [brog 

Sear no siar, siar no sear, 

Tuath no deas, deas no tuath. 



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, [of 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, [shoe 

East or west, west or east. 

North or south, south or north. 



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 complaint 

of madness. ' Duinidh gaol mile suil ach duisgidh 



HA'N eolas gradhach duit 
Uisge thraghadh tromh shop, 
Ach gradh an fhir [te] thig riut, 
Le blilaths a tharsainii 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 lad air teine crionaich. 
Us dean gu leir n' an luath. 

Crath an dearbh bliroUach 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 farmaid,' — Love will 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 Avarmth 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 (?) 

J^ift them on thy 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 vow, and warrant thee. 
That man [woman] will never leave thee. 



40 



UIBE 




EOLAS GRADHAIDH 



OLAS gradhaidh dut, 

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

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

Deannan beag a ghriosaieh 
An iochdar do bhadain, 
Dornan corr a ghruaigean, 
Ann an shiasaid mhaide. 



[139] 



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 
Us dean gu leir diubh luath ; 
Crath am brollach broth do leannain, 
An aghaidh gath gaoth tuath, 

Rach riiaig rath an alachd, 

Car nan coig cuart, 

'S bheirim brath us baraii duit 

Nach falbh am fear [bean] sin uat. 



INCANTATIONS 41 



LOVE CHARM 

A LOVE charm for thee, 
Water drawn through a straw, 
The warmth of him [her] thou lovest, 
AVith 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 fagots. 
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 
disturbance of the system. The countenance assumes an appearance grim, grue- 
some, and repulsive — 'greann, greisne, grannda.' 

This formula for removing the effects of the evil eye is handed down from 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 
i^\\ woollen thread, generally of the natural colour of the sheep, 

'O a thilleas cronachduinn suil ? 
Tillidh mise tha mi'n duil, 
Ann an ainm Righ nan dul. 
Tri seachd gairmeachdain co ceart, 
Labhair Criosd an dorusd na cathrach ; 
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; 
TilUdh 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, 
lAn t-ainvi] 
An ainm an Athar, a Mhic, 's an Spioraid Naoimh. Amen. 




INCANTATIONS 43 



THWARTING THE EVIL EYE 

is tied 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, niethiiiks, 
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 Father, 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, 
JNIar a shaltrais eal air burn, 
Mar a shaltrais each air uir, 
Mar a shaltrais earc air iuc, [earca-iucna 
Mar a shaltrais feachd nan dul, [Ti 

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 
Us nan ce agam air, 
Neart nan neamh 
Us 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 



EXORCISxM 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,' [Caledonian cattle 

As tramples the host of the elements, [Being 

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, 
vor. H. o 



46 UIBE 



Trian air na liana maiseach dhetli, 
'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, [Di 

An ainm nan Tri Numh, 
An ainm nan uile Run, 
Ao'us 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, [God 

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, 
fe)0 Runaich cridh thu, 
Smunaich miann thu. 

Ceathrar a rinn du-sa trasd. 

Fear agus bean, 

Mac agus murn ; 

Triuir cuiream riu ga'n casg, 

Athair, 

Mac, 

Spiorad Numb. 



[142] 



Cuueam tianuis chon Moire, 

Mathair-chobhair an t-sluaigh, 

Cuiream fianuis chon Bride, 

Muime Chriosda nam buadh, 

Cuiream fianuis chon Chaluim, 

Ostal oirthir us chuain, 

'S cuiream fianuis chon flathas, 

Chon gach naoimh us 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 moutli spoke thee, 
A heart envied thee, 
A mind desired thee. 

Four made thee thy cross, 

Man and wife, 

Youth and maid ; 

Three will I send to thwart them. 

Father, 

Son, 

Spirit Holy. 

I appeal to JNIary, 

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 tiiee harm. 
With evil eye. 
With evil Avish, 
With evil passion, 



50 UIBE 



Gun tilg thu diot gach olc, 

Gach mug, 

Gach gnug, 

Gach gruam, 

'S gu'm bith 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] 

I BE gheal chuir Muire mhin, 
A nail air allt, air muir, 's air tir, 
Air bhrig, 's air ghat fharmaid, [chat 

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. 

Ge be co rinn dut an t-suil, 
Gu'n laigh i air fein, 
Gii'n laigh i air a thur, 
Gu'n laigh i air a spreidh, 
Gu'n laigh i air a shult, 
Gu'n laigh i air a shaill, 
Gu'n laigh i air a chuid, 
Gu'n laigh i air a chlainn, 
Gu'n laigh i air a bhean, 
Gun laigh i air a loinn. 

Clomhaidh mise an t-suil, 

Somhaidh mise an t-suil, 

Imirichidh 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 53 



SPELL FOR EVIL EYE 

The fair spell that lovely IVIary sent, 

Over stream, over sea, over land. 

Against incantations, against withering glance, [cat 

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 ' leothair ' of the ground. 

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. H 



54 



UIBE 




OBI RI SHUIL 

UIRIM an obi seo ri m' shul, 
INlar 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 Bhride, 
Sil, a Phadra, righ nan reachd, 
Sil, a Chalum-chille chaoimh, 
Sil, a Chiarain naoimh nam feart. 



Air bhuadh larach air chruadh lamha, 
An cath tearmaid, an cath farmaid. 
Air gach mac da math da'n teid, 
Bith Mac De leis an treuin armachd. 



[144] 



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, 
Gu 'n curn i air fein, 
Gu n curn i air a thur, 
Gu 'n curn i air a spreidh, 
Air a chaillich mhungaicli, 
Air a chaillaich mhiongaich, 
Air a chaillaich mhangaich, 
'S air a chaillich gheur-luirg, 
A dh' eirich 's a mhaduinn, 
'S a suil na seilbh, 
'S a seilbh na seoin, 

Nar a leatha a buaile fein, 

Nar a leatha leth a deoin, 

A chuid nach ith na fithich di, 

Gu 'n 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, 

Gu'n ann a thogas e dhiot-s' a nis 

Gach cnid, gach tnu, gach farmad, 

O'n 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 earlin. 

On the sour- faced earlin. 

On the bounding earlin, 

On the sharp-shanked earlin, 

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 off" thee the envy, 
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

As Christ lifted the fruit. 

From the brandies 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] 

EADAIR us Seumas us Eoin, 
Triuir is binne beuis an gloir, 
Dh' eirich a dheanamh na h-eoir, 
llomh mhor dhorus na Cathrach, 
Ili fflun deas De a Mliic. 



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

Air na saighde siubhlach sibheideach. 

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

Athair, agus Mac, agus Spiorad Numh. 

Ceithir ghalara fichead an aorabh duine 's bruid, 
Dia da'n sgrid, Dia dan sgroid, Dia da n sgruid, 
A t' fhuil, a t' fheoil a d' ehnamha cubhra caoin, 
O'n la'n duigh 's gach la thig, gu'n tig la crich do shaogliail 



INCANTATIONS 59 



CHARM 

Peter and James and John, 
The three of sweetest virtues in glory, 
Wiio arose to make the charm, 
Before the great gate 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, 
JMan 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 thy day on earth be done. 



60 



UIBE 




MALLACHD [147] 

HAINIG dithis a mach 
A Cathrach Neobh, 
Fear agus bean, 
A dheanadh nan oisnean. 

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



EOLAS A BHEIM SHUIL 



[148] 



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

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 talamhainn 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 

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

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 

Rev. Angus Macdonald, Killearnan, Black Isle. The reciter's name is given as 
'Anna Chaimbeul' — Ann Campbell. 

Trample I upon the eye, 

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

Power of wind I have over it. 

Power of sun 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 most able instrument to bear it. 

VOL. II. I 



62 UIBE 




OBI NAN SUL [149] 

BI nan geur shul, 
Obi nan reul-iul, 
Obi Re nan uile re, 
Obi Dhe nan dul, 

Obi Re nan uile re, 

Obi Dhe nan dul. 

Obi Bhride nan ciobh 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, [Che 

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 63 



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 tiie Virtue of all 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, [Ce 

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 Righ nan dul, 
Oba Pheadail, oba Phoil, 
Oba Sheumais, oba Eoin, 
Oba Chaluim-chille chaoimh, 

Oba I'hadra sar gach naoimh, 

Oba Bhride bhith nam ba, 

Oba INIhoire mhin nan agh, 

Oba tromla, oba treuid, 

Oba lomra, oba spreidh, 

Oba noUa, 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. 
Spell 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. 



66 



UIBE 




OBA RI SUL 

BA mho-ghil, 

A chuir Moir Oighe, 
Chon ighinn Derail, 
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. 



[151] 



INCANTATIONS 67 



SPELL OF THE EYE 

The spell fair-white, 
Sent of Mary Virgin, 
To tlie daughter of Dorail, 
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. 



68 UIBE 




OB RI SHUL [152] 

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

Ge be co leag ort an t-suil, 
Gu'm much i air fein, 
Gu'm much i air a thur, 
Gu'm 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 Naoimh, 



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, 
JMay 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 fulness. 
In the arteries of the heart, 
In the vitals of the navel. 

From the bosom of Father, 

From the bosom of Son, 

From the bosom of Holy Spirit. 



VOL. II. 



70 



UIBE 




EOLAS A CHRONACHAIDH 

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



Thainig Ard Righ nan aingeal 

Le ghradh 's le fhath os mo chionn. 

Thainig losa Criosda steach 
Le blioc, le blac, le barr, 
Le laoigh bhoirionn, le ais. 



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



[153] 



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

Gu'n robh agaibh fad nan seachd bliadhna 
Gun chall laogh, gun chall bainne, 
Gun chall maona no caomh charaid. 



INCANTATIONS 71 



SPELI. 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, without 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 ' — Count- 
ing of the Stye, ' Eolas an t-Sleamhiiain ' — Exorcism of the Stye, and ' Eoir an 
t-Sleamhnain ' — Charm of the Stye. 

When making the charm the exorcist holds some sharp-pointed instru- 
ment, 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 sj-stem of the patient. 

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



' Cum an tainig a dha an seo 
Gun a tri an seo ? ' 



Why came the two here 
Without the three here .■' 




'UIM an tainig an aon sleamhnan, [Com a thig 
Gun an da shleamhnan an seo ? 
C'uim an tainig an da shleamhnan, 
Gim na tri sleamhnain an seo ? 
C'uim 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 ? 
C'uim an tainig na sia sleamhnain, 
Gun na seachd sleamhnain an seo ? 
C'uim an tainig na seachd sleamhnain. 
Gun na h-ochd sleamhnain an seo ? 
C'uim an tainig na h-ochd sleamhnain, 
Gun na naodh sleamhnain an seo ? 
C'uim 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 : — 

' I'aidir a li-aon. Pater one, 

Paidir a dha, Pater two, 

Paidir a tri. Pater three, 

Paidir a ceithir, Pater four, 

Paidir a coig, Pater five, 

Paidir a sia. Pater six, 

Paidir a seaohd. Pater seven, 

Paidir a h-oelid, Pater eight, 

Paidir a naodli. Pater nine, 

Paidir a h-aon Pater one 

'S a h-ochd. And eight, 

Paidir Chriosda chaoimli Pater of Christ the kindly 

Ort an oidhehe nochd, Be upon thee to-night, 

Paidir Tri nan dul Pater of the Three of life 

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

Why came the one stye, [Why comes 

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 [155] 

UIREAM fionn-faoilidh umam, 
A tliraoghadh 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 us e, 
O, Criosd eadar mis us e ! 

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



EOLAS TNU 



[156] 



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

Maoldomhnuich is one of the 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,' Maolpadruig ' the ton- 
sured of Patrick,' Maolcalum ' the tonsured of Columba,' Maolmicheil ' the tonsured 
of Michael,' Maolbride 'the tonsured of Bride,' Maolmoire 'the tonsured of Mary.' 
Maoliosa, 'the tonsured of Jesus,' is the Malise and Malsie of Sir Walter Scott, and 

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

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 lived there and whose cell is still to be seen. The island is also called 
' Eilean nam fiadh/ isle of the deer, from the ancient Macneills 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 buaidli shlainte, air buaidh chairdeas 

Air buaidh thoilleachais, 
Air buaidh droch run, air buaidh droch shul, 

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

Air buaidli 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 seo gu ceann la 's bhadhna. 
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 tiie 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. 

VOL. II. L 



78 UIBE 



EOLAS AN TORRANAIN [159] 

The figwort is known as ' fai-ach dubh,' ' farach donn,' ' farum,' ' forum,' ' fothlus,' 
' fotlus,' ' lus nan cnapan,' ' his 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, scrofulous, ' lus nan clugan ' — 
plant of the clusters, ' lus an torranain ' — plant of the thunderer. Probably 
' tarrann,' ' torrann,' ' torranan,' 'larranan,' 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 bojoie, 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. Tjie 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 F'earachar, 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 Gaelic proverb 
says : — ' Bu dual da sin ' — that was hereditary to him ; and : — ' Sgoiltidh an dualchas 
a chreag ' — heredity will cleave the rock ; and again : — 'Theid dualchas an aghaidh 
nan creag ' — hei'edity will go against the rocks. John Beaton was a striking confir- 
mation 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 



INCANTATIONS 79 



THE CHARM OF THE FIG WORT 

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 
Cardinal 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 tiiese 
Beatons : — 

' Last uight there were four JMaries, 

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 
distinguished 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 have been lost. Some of the most beautiful sculptured stones in loua, Mull, 
Islay, and elsewhere, are over the tombs of Beatons. 

Several of the Beatons of Mull and Islaj' 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 Scot- 
land 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 ' Fearaehar 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 horseback 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 described 
the ' torranan,' its flower, leaf, stalk, and root, and its situation in Benmore, to his 
son and the writer, with marvellous fulness and accuracy, though he had not been 



80 UIBE 

to Benmore nor seen the ' torranan ' for many years previously. He said that there 
were only two plants of it in Uist, 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 axes 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 hill, 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 broad- 
cast 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 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 revolviuj;. 

The sun these shades of night disjiels, 
"The rock, its rugged breast dissolviug. 

Gives up to earth its Iiidden wells.' 



INCANTATIONS 81 

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 transfeiTcd by night to 
the island in the lake adjoining. After a time Torranan gave up the unequal con- 
test, 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 Cailigeo. 
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 ex- 
tension 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 archaeology of the Outer Hebrides owe much, said that the part of 
the church ascribed to Torranan might well belong to the 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 
covers an area of some few acres and is of no great depth. Cairns and crosses 
studded the many knolls 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. 



82 



UIBE 



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 ' Teampull 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 could 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 the 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 
"''^^'^/■''iv^^X ^^"-^ ^ disciple of Palladius, with whom he is confounded. 

'^UAINIDH mi an torranan, 
Le toradli mar us tir, 
Lus nan agh 's nan sonas e, 
Lus a bhainne mhi. 

IMar a dh' orduich Righ nan righ, 
IJrigh a chur an cich 's an carr, 
'S mar a dh' orduich Ti nan dul, 
Sugh a chur an uth 's an ar, 
Le bhochd, le blachd, le bladh, 
Le cobhan, le omhan, 's le ais, 
Le laoigh bhoirionn, bhreac, 
Gun laoigh fhirionn ac, 
Le al, le agh, le toradh, 
Le gradh, le baigh, le sonadh. 




INCANTATIONS 83 

' Ternaii was buried at Licouium or My Toren of Tulach, Fort-chirn, in Ne 
Felmada, and Druim Cliat 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 longaeh ' — ' Torranan lasting, deedful, over a wide ship- 
ful 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 gives milk of 
good quality and continuous but small in quantity. At present the blade of any 
grass or the leaf of any plant is given to the ' Gamhnach ' in offering. Probably it 
was permissible for pilgrims 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. This root seems to occur also in Dundee which is in gaelic ' Dun-dia ' 
— hill of god, and ' Dun-diaigh ' — hill of gods, while the river on which it stands is 
called ' Tath/ 'Tadh.' Were these rivers worshipped as gods.'' 

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

I WILL pluck the figwort, 

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, 



84 UIBE 



Gun fear mi-run, 

Gun bhean mi-shul, 

Gun ghnu, gun tnu, gun toirinn, 

Gun mliaghan masach, 

Gun chu fasaich, 

Gun scan foirinn [foirthir 

Dh' fhaighinn greim air a chugain 

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



INCANTATIONS 85 

Without man of evil wish, 

Without woman of evil eye, 

Without malice, without envy, without 'toirinn,' 

Without hipped bear, 

Without wilderness dog, [wolf 

Without 'scan foirinn,' 

Obtaining hold of the rich dainty 

Into which this shall go. 
Figwort of bright lights. 
Fruitage to place therein, 
AVith fruit, Avith grace, with joyance. 



VOL. II, M 



86 



UIBE 




AN TORRANAN 

UAINIDH mi an torranan, 
Le toradh mar us 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 buadhach 
Cur bhuadh anns an ni. 

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



[160] 



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



Ann an uth ure, 

Ann an uth arc. 

An uth gobhar, othasg, agus caora, 

Maoiseach, agus mart. 



INCANTATIONS 87 



THE I IGWORT 

I WILL pluck the figwort, 
With the fuhiess 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 blioc, le blac, 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 



[161] 



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 bhiiain 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 — [a los 

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 jju 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 JNIary enriching it to me, 

The great JNIary, 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 [162] 

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



Earnaid shith, earnaid shith, 
INIo niarach an neach dh' am bith, 
Ni bheil ni mu iadhadh grein, 
Nach bheil di-se le buaidh reidh. 



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, 

Gu'n teid mi dh' an f huar lie fo n talamh. 



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 off me every tale of scandal and flippancy. 

Ill-life, ill-love, ill-luck, 

Hatred, falsity, fraud and vexation, 

Till I go in the cold grave beneath the sod. 



VOL. II. 



94 



UIBE 




EARR THALAMHAINN [1C3] 



UAINIDH mi an earr reidh, 
Gu'm bu cheinide mo chruth, 
Gu'm bu bhlathaide mo bheuil, 
Gu'm bu gheinide mo ghuth. 
Biodh mo ghuth mar ghath na grein, 
liiodh mo bheuil mar ein nan subh. 

Gu'm bu h-eilean mi air muir, 
Gu'm bu tulach mi air tir, 
Gu'm bu reuil mi ri ra dorcha, 
Gu'm bu lorg mi dhuine cli, 
Leonaidh mi a chuile duine, 
Cha leoin duine mi. 



AN EARR-THALAMHAINN 



[164] 



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



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 I be an isle in the sea. 
May I be a hill on the shore. 
May I be a star in the dark time, 
May I be a staff to the weak, 
Wound can I every man. 
Wound can no man me. 



THE YARROW 

I WILL pluck the yarrow fail-, 
That more brave shall be my arm- 
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 



ACHI.ASAN CHALUIM-CHILLE 



[165] 



Saint John's wort is known by various names, all significant of the position of the 
plant in the minds of the people : — 'achlasan Chaluim-chille,' armpit package of 
Coliimba; 'caod Chaluim-cliille,' hail of Columba ; 'seun Chaluim-chille/ charm of 
Columba ; 'seud Chaluim-chille,' 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 jn-e-Christian terms to which are added the 
endearing names of Mary and Columba. 

Saint John's wort is one of the few plants still cherished by the people to ward 
away second-sight, enchantment, witciicraft, evil eye, and death, and to ensure 
peace and plenty in the 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 mo Righ, 
Chosga fuath nam fear fala, 
Chosffa meanm nam ban bith. 




[baoth 



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, 
Agus Moire Mathair los. 



INCANTATIONS 97 



SAINT JOHN'S WORT 

' Achlasau Chaluim-chille, Saint John's wort, Saint John's wort. 

Gun sireadh, gun iarraidh ! \V'ithout search, without seeking! 

Dheoin Dhia agus Chriosda Please God and Christ Jesu 

Am bliadhna cha'n fhaigheas has.' [fhaighim This year I shall not die. 

It is specially prized when found in the fold of the flocks, auguring peace and pro- 
sperity to the herds throughout the year. The person who discovers it says : — 
' Alia bhi, alia bhi. Saint John's wort, Saint John's wort. 

Mo niarach a neach dh'am bith, Happy those who have thee. 

An ti a glieobh an ero an ail, \V^hoso gets thee in the herd's fold, 

Cha bhi gu brath guu ni.' Shall never be without kine. 

There is a tradition among the people that Saint Coluniba 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. 



98 



UIBE 




ACHLASAN CHALUIM-CHILLE 



[166] 



UAINIDH mi mo choinneachan, 

Mar choinneamh ri mo naomh, [chomaidh 

Chasga fuath nam fear foille, 
Ajius boile nam ban baoth. 



Buainidh mi m' aclilasan, 
Mar achainidh ri m' Righ, 
Gur liom-sa buaidh an achlasain, 
Thar gach neacli 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 99 



ST. COLUMBA'S PLANT 

I AviLL 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 tlie leaf above. 
As ordained of the High King, 
In name of the Three of glory, 

And of Mai-y, Mother of Christ. 



100 



UIBE 




ACHLASAN CHALUIM-CHILLE [167] 

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 mhaora, 
Air shealbh iasga, 
Air shealbh bhliochd us bhuar, 
Air shealbh shliochd us shluagh. 
Air shealbh bhlar us 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 ' loi 



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 offish, 

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 



ALA-BHI, eala-bhi, 

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



[168] 
[bhuidhe 



INCANTATIONS 103 



SAINT JOHN'S WORT 

Saint John's wort, Saint John's Avort, 
JNIy 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 



[169] 



The people of Uist say '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 tlie 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 him]. Hence 



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

S na bhualtadh tarrann gun lann, 
'S bha 'n sparradh cheusda sin gle theanii- 
Bha 'n sparradli cheusda sin gle theann. 

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

Tobairt Firinn, Uan gun truaill, 
Us 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, 

Us mallaichte gach suil a chi. 

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



INCANTATIONS 105 



THE ASPEN 

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 cui'ses, are hurled at the aspen by 
the people. The reciter, a man of much natural intelligence, said that he always 
took off 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 



SEAMRAG 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, gun iarraidh ' — without searching, without seeking. When thus 
discovered the lucky shamrock is warmly cherished and preserved as an invincible 
talisman. 

' Seamarag nam 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 grain — 

Sonas slainte, 
Sonas chairde, 
Sonas taine, 
Sonas treuid, 
Sonas mhac, us 
Mhurn mhih-gheal, 
Sonas siocha, 
Sonas De ! 



Ceithin dhuilleagan na luirge dirich, 
Na luirge dirich a friamh nam meanglan ceud, 
A sheamarag gheallaidh La Fheill Moire, 
Buaidh us beannachd thu gach re. 



[coig 



INCANTATIONS 107 



SHAMROCK OF LUCK 

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

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 nio mhiann anns a bhas, 
Thu bhi fas air m' uaigh, 

B' e mo mhiann anns a bhas, 
Thu bhi fas air m' uaigh. 



[171] 



INCANTATIONS 109 



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. 



VOL. II. 



110 



UIBE 



AM MOTHAN 



[172] 



The ' mothan ' 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 ' mothan ' 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 
he becomes henceforth her bondsman, bound to her everlastingly in cords infinitely 
finer than the gossamer net of tlie 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 ruadh 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 

UAINIDH mi am mothan suairce, 

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

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




INCANTATIONS 111 



THE 'MOTHAN' 

" mothun " to red Roderick son of Ranald of Lews from the South-end (of Uist), and 
he on his journey to Lochmaddy 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 gu'n robh e ciontach ? 
Saoilidh mi fein nach robh e ceart dhuibh 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 bhith 's aodaich ! a 
ghraidhean mo chridhe agus a ghaoilean mo dhaoine, cha b' m'ra dhomh fhein dhol 
ga dhiultadh. Bhoinich e orm, agus bhochain e orm, agus bhoidich e orm, agus 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 beseeched to me, and he swelled to me, and he vowed to 
me, and he placed a thing in my hand, and oh ! King of the moon, and of the 
sun, and of the beautiful, 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 wiLi, pluck the gracious ' mothan,' [bog violet (?) 

As plucked the victorious King of the universe ; 
In name of Father and of Son and of Spirit everlasting, 
Bride, and Mary, and IMichael, 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 I^ord protecting me. 



112 



UIBE 




AIM MOTHAN 

UAINIDH mi am mothan, 
Luibh nail naodh alt, 
Biiainidh agus boinicliidh, 

Do Bhride bhorr 's dli' a Dalt. 

Buainidh mi am mothan, 

A dh' orduich Righ nam feart, 

Buainidh agus boinichidh. 

Do Mhoire mhor 's dh' a Mac. 

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



[173] 



INCANTATIONS 113 



THE 'MOTHAN' 

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 INIary 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 

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



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



[174] 



[buadhaire, 



CEUS-CHRANN NAM BUADH 



[175] 



A CHEUS-CHRANN chaomh nam buadh, 

A naomhaicli fuil naomh an Uain, 

Mac Moire min, Dalta Bride nam buar, 

Mac Moire mor, Mathair chobhair an t-sluaigh. 



Ni bheil tur, na tir, 

Ni bheil cith, na cuan, 

Ni bheil lod, na h, 

Ni bheil frith, na 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 AviLi. pluck the gracious ' mothan,' 

Plant most precious in the field, [beneficent, 

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-FLOAVER OF VIRTUES 

Thou passion-flower of virtues beloved, 
Sanctified by the holy blood of the Lamb, 
Son of INIary 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 tlie protection of the passion-flower of virtues. 



116 UIBE 




GARBHAG AN T-SLEIBH [17G] 



ARBHAG an t-sleibh air mo shiubhal, 
Cha 'n eirich domh beud no pudhar ; 
Cha mharbh garmaisg, cha dearg iubhar mi, 
Cha riab grianuisg no glaislig uidhir mi. 



AN DEARG-BHASACH [177] 

Criosd 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 

Chkist 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 bhiiar, air bhleoghann, 
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 palms into 
a basin. She places this basin under the urine of the cow or 
other animal aft'ected, and throws the urine into water, preferably 

N ainm Athar caoiinh, 
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-fhuil, 
Ruith a chur air t-fhual. 
[An t-ainm.'] 




INCANTATIONS 121 



INCANTATION OF THE RED WATER 

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 [181] 



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

Air bhliochd, air bhlachd, air bhlath, 
Air omhan agus ais, 
Air slaman agus slaig, 

Air im, air cais, air gruth. 



Air aghar agus agli, 
Air damhair agus dair, 
Air taghar agus tan. 

Air rathaich agus ruth. 

Naoi tobraiche Mhic-an-Lir, 
Cobhair ort a shil, 
Casg a chur airt-fhuil, 
Ruith a chur air t-fhual, 
A bho bhuar. dhuibh. 



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 FHUAL 

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



Mar a riiitheas abhuinn fhuar, 

Mar a mheileas muileann luath, 

Fhir a dh'orduich tir us muir, 

Casg air fhuil, ruith air fhual. 



[182] 



An ainm Athar, agus Mic, 

An ainm Spioraid Naoimh. 



INCANTATIONS 125 



THE GRAVEL CHARM 

I HAVE a charm for tlie 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. 

* Mocli Di-domhnaich ? ' 
Orsa Calum-cille. 

' Romh eirigh ghreine,' 
Thubhairt Criosd. 



[183] 



' Tri postachan aims 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 HORSE in strangles,' 
Quoth Columba. 

' 1 will turn it,' 
Said Christ. 

• On Sunday morning '. 
Quoth Columba. 

' Ere rise of sun," 
Said Christ. 

• Three pillars in the well. 
Quoth Colunibii. 

• I will lift them,' 
Said Christ. 

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

' Assuredly.' 
Said Christ. 



128 



UIBE 



SIAN SIONNAICH 



[184] 



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 illus- 
trating 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 

lODH sian a choin-choille, 
Mu chasaibh an t-sionnaich, 
Mu mhiann, 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 INIhoire mhin-ghil, mhaoth-ghil, 
Romh cliona, 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 

were growing in the neighbourhood. And he 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, secur- 
ing 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-grandfatherish 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, [wolf, 

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 INIary 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. 



130 



UIBE 




ORA CUITHE 

U I REAM tan a steach, 
Air bhearn nan speach, 
Air ghuth mairbh, 
Air ghuth tairbh, 
Air ghuth dair, 
Air ghuth na ba ceire, 
Cionnara, ceannara, cairr, 
Ckich mhor bhun sgonnaig 
Gun faothachadli, gun lomadli, 
Na taodaiche tromaidh 
Bhi slaodadh ri dronnaig bhur tairr, 
Go'n tig latha geal am mair'. 



[185] 



An t-Athair, am Mac, an Spiorad Naomh, 

D ar caomhnadh, d'ar comhnadh, 's d'ar tilleadh, 

Gu'n comhlaich mise na 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-moiTow. 

The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, 
Save you, and shield you, and tend you. 
Till 1 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 accui-ate 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 haughtiJj', proud that 
the cross was made of its wood, when all the trees of the forest 

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 fhuar. 

Feith Mhoire, 

Feith Mhoire ; 

Casa curra, 

Casa curra ; 

Feith Mhoire, 

Feith Mhoire; 
Casa curra fothaibh, 
Droohaid urra romliaibh. 




INCANTATIONS 133 



THE DITCH OF MARY 

— 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 mider 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 INIary, 

Ditch of Mary ; 

Heron legs, 

Heron legs ; 

Ditch of Mary. 

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

VOI-. II. s 



134 UIBE 



Chuir Muiril mirr ann, 
Chuir Uiril mil ann, 
Chuir Muirinn fion ann, 
'S chuir Micheal ann buadli 

Feith Mhoire, 

Feith INIhoire ; 

Casa curra, 

Casa curra ; 

Feith INIhoire, 

Feith Mhoire ; 
Casa curra fodhaibh, 
Drochaid urra romhaibh. 



INCANTATIONS 135 

Muriel 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 EILID [187] 

HA Peadail us Pol a dol seachad, 
Us 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 ehraoibh, 
Gu'n 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 [188] 



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 us 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 

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 mhir, 

Air a ghalar tolg, 

Air an tairbhein ; 

Air a ghalar chil, 
Air a ghalar mhil, 
Air a ghalar lioil. 
Air a ghalar dearg, 
Air a mhearchann ; 

Sgoiltidh mi an crailleach, 
Sgoiltidh mi an gailleach, 
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, 
Us seargaidh am mearchann. 



[189] 



INCANTATIONS 139 

THE INDIGESTION SPEI.L 

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 mdigestion (?); 

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

For the ' oil ' 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 Trinitj'. If the surfeit is from eat- 
ing too much grass or from drinking too much water, the cow or other animal 

U dh' ith thu fiar nan naodh beann, 
Nan naodh meall, nan naodh toman, 
Mu 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 sweUing must be sought for othenvise, and the 
appropriate incantation applied. 

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 



[191] 



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 liorizon ; but, if far away was he, not long 
was she in reaching him . — 



Gormshul. 'Ceum ann eudail Eoshain.' 



Gormul. 'Step on, beloved Ewen.' 



Lochiall. ' Ceum ami thu fhein, a chailleach, Lochiel. ' Step on thyself, carlin, 

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

a ghabhail, the step, 

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 froward woman was trying him severely, and he was 
anxious to be rid of her with the least delay of time and the 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. ' Ceum ami eudail Eoghain, 
'S a Rigb Goileam 's a Righ 

Geigean ! 
Is fhada fhein o'n latha sin ! ' 



Gormul. 'Step on, thou beloved Ewen, 

And oh ! King Goileam and King 

Geigean ! 
Long indeed since that day ! ' 



INCANTATIONS 143 



CHARM OF THE CHURN 

LocHiALL. ' Ceiim ami tliu f heiu, a chailleach, Lochiei,. ' Step ou thou thyself, carlin, 

'S ma 's a h-eudar an ceuni And if the step must be 

a g-hahhail, taken, 

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

Remembering that occult power could not operate across running water, Locliiel 
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 : — 
GoRMSHUL. ' Durachd mo chridhe dliut, Gormul. 'The wish of mine lieart to thee, 

A ghradh nam fear, a Lochiall." Thou best-beloved of men, Lochiei. 

LocHiALL. 'Durachd do chridhe, chailleach, Lochiei,. ' Tlie «isli 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 Lochiei pointed with 
his sword rent from top to base ! Gallant coin-tier though he was. Sir Ewen 
Cameron waited to show but scant courtesy to gi-eat Gormul of Moy. 

The influence of an evil spirit commanded by an evil mind is believed to retard 
or wholly to prevent butter from coming upon the 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 kindling 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 Macneill, 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 tlie 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 kindling 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 



144 



UIBE 



the dresser, and with a bound was back again cross-legged on the meal-girnel 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 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 live 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 house-wife came down in sore distress, saying — ' O Mary 



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 
Thigna 
Thig na 
Thig na 
Thig na 



saora, 

daora, 

caora, 

maora, 

faora, 

baora, 

gaora, 

caocha. 



INCANTATIONS 145 

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 ! Marj', fair 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 the 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. 

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 loma Ian na cruinne, 

Chiir a mhuighe na ruith ; 

Thig Calum caomh 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 nihor bhog a seo, 

Tha brigh gach te dhe'n chrodh a seo, 

Tha rud is foir na mil us beoir, [fearr (?) 

Tha bocan buidhe nodh a seo. 

Tha rud is fearr na choir a seo, 
Tha dorn an t-sagairt mhoir 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, [g"lp 

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 



Thig, 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 f hosgag a adhar, 

'S thig cailleag a chinn-duibh. 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thiff an Ion, thiff an smeol, 
'S thig an ceol as a bhruth ; 
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 mhaduidh, 's caisg do phathadh ; 

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. 

Us dioil tart do chuirp. 



INCANTATIONS 149 

Come, thou life ; (0 come, thou breath ; (?) 

Come, thou churn, come : 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou cuckoo ; come, 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 ; 

Coine, thou churn, come : 

Come, thou 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 cliurn, 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. 



150 UIBE 



Thig, a chuiiineag, thig ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
'S e Dia duileach a cliuir oirnn, 
'S cha'n ora caillich le luibb. 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Thig, a Mhuire mhin-ghil. 
Us dilimich mo chuid ; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig; 
Thig, a Bhride bhith-ghil, 
Us coistrig brigh mo chruidh. 

Thig, a cluiinneag, thig; 
Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 
Am niaistreadh rinn Moire, 
Air astradh a ghHnne, 
A lughdachadh a boinne, 
A mheudachadh a h-ime ; 
Blathach gu dorn, 
Im gu uileann ; 

Thig, a chuinneag, thig ; 

Tliig 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 carhn with plant. 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou fair-white Mary, 

And endow to me my means ; 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou churn, come ; 

Come, thou beauteous Bride, 

And bless the substance of my kine. 

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 EOIR A CHUm MOIRE 



[192] 



OIR a chuir Moir Oighe, 
Dh' an chaillich bha chomhnuidh, [Chro-chuile 
Air onlain a ghlinne. [eorrlain, airinn 

Air fireacha 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. 



[buara 



INCANTATIONS 153 



THE CHARM SENT OF MARY 

The charm sent of Mary Virgin, 
To the carlin who was dwelling [of Cro-chuile 

On the floor of the glen, [bottom, near 

On the crown of the ben — 

On the floor of the glen, 

On the crown of the ben. 

She put spell to saliva. 

To increase her butter. 

To decrease her milk, 

To make plentiful her food — [kine 

To increase her butter, 

To decrease her milk, 

To make plentiful her food. 



154 



UIBE 



ULC A DHEAN MO I.OCHD 



[193] 



This and other poems were obtained from Isabella Chisholm, a travelling tinker. 
Though oldj Isabella Chisholm was still tail 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, prayerful man ' — terms not usually applied to his class. Isabella 



LC a dhean mo lochd 
Gu'n gabli e n galar glue gloc, 
Guirneanach, gioirneanach, guairneach, 
Gaornanach, garnanach, gruam. 




Gum bu cruaidlie e na chlacli. 
Gum bu duibhe e na 'n gual, 
Gu'm bu luaithe e na 'n lach, 
Gum bu truime e na 'n luaidh. 



Gu'm bu gointe, gointe, geuire, gairblie, guiniche e, 
Nan cuilionn cruaidh cnea-chridheach, 
Gu'm bu gairge e na'n salann sion, sionn, searbh, sailte, 
Seachd seacbd uair. 



A turabal a null, 
A tarabal a nail, 
A treosdail a sios, 
A dreocliail a suas. 



INCANTATIONS 155 



THE WICKED WHO WOULD ME HARM 

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

The wicked who would do me harm 

May he take the [throat] disease, [glii<-" gl"c 

Globularly, spirally, circularly, 

Fluxy, pellety, horny-grim. 

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-quivering holly. 
Be it sourer than the sained, lustrous, bitter, salt salt, 
Seven seven times. 

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



156 UIBE 

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



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

Gearrach fhahi le ciidhe, le crutha, le cnaniha, 
Le gruthan, le sgumhan, le sgamha. 
Agus sgrudadh cuisil, ugan us arna, 
Dha mo luchd-tair agus tuaileis. 

An ainm Dliia nam feart 
A shiab uam gach olc, 
'S a dhion mi ie neart, 
Bho lion mo luchd-freachd 
Agus fuathachd. 



INCANTATIONS 157 

Drivelling outwards, 
Snivelling inwards, 
Oft hurrying out, 
Seldom coming in. 

A wisp the portion of each hand, 
A foot in the base of each pillar, 
A leg the prop of each jamb, 
A flux driving and dragging him. 

A dysentery of blood from heart, from form, from bones, 
From tiie 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. 



VOL. II. 



158 



UIBE 



FRITH MHOIRE 



[194] 



The 'frith,' augury, was a species of divination enabling the ' frithir,' augurer, to see 
into the unseen. Tliis divination was made to ascertain tiie 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 door- 
step 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 augurer 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. 

I A faram, Dia fodham, 

Dia roinham, Dia am dheoghainn, 
iMis air do shlighe Dhia, 

Tlius, a Dhia, air mo luirg. 

Frith rinn Muire da Mac, 
lobair Bride ri a glac, 
Am fac thu i, a Righ nan dul ? — 
Ursa Ricrh nan dul gu'm fac. 




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

Gu'm faic mi fein na bheil uam. 



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



INCANTATIONS 1.59 



AUGURY OF MARY 



Many men in the Highlands and Islands were famed augureis, 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. Progenitors of 
persons bearing this name were astrologers to the kings of Scotland. 

Gon over me, God under me, 
God before me, God beliind me, 
I on Thy path, O God, 

Thou, O God, in my stejis. 

The augury made of Mary to her Son, 

The offering made of Bride through her pahii, 

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 me, 
That shall never quench nor dim. 



V 




MEASGAIN 
MISCELLANEOUS 




162 



MEASGAIN 



CIAD MIARAIL CHRIOSD 



[195] 



This poem was obtained in 1891 from Malcolm Macraillan, crofter, Grimnis, 

Benbecula. Macmillan 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 

tHAIDH Eosai us Mairi, 
Chon aireamh a suas, 
'S cliaidh coin an geall caithream 
Ann an caille nan cuach. 

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

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




Us labhair Mairi ri Eosai, 
Le guth malda, miamh, 
' Tabhair miosan domh, Eosai, 
Go 'n caisg mi mo mhiann.' 



Us 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 

of the Canadian Dominion, and to Australia. These old people took great quantities 
of traditional Gaelic lore with them 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 iiumbeiing up, 

And the bh-ds began chorusing 

In the woods of the turtle-doves. 

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

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, 
Go 'n caisg mo Mhathair a rutli. 

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

An sin thuirt Eosai ri Mairi, 
'S e Ian aithreachais 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 W5 

Then it was that the Babe spoke, 
From out of her womb, 
' Bend ye down every beautiful bough, 
That 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.' 



\a)L. 11. 



166 



MEASGAIN 




AN OIGH AGUS AN LEANABH [196] 

HUNNACAS an Oigh a teachd, 
Criosda gu h-og na h-uchd, 
Ainghle a lubadh dhaibh umhlachd, 
High 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 



[197] 



DiA na gile, Dia na greine, 
Dia na cruinne, Dia nan reula, 
Dia nan dile, tir, us 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 us diuir a chur air chul, 
'S chaidh reul an iuil an aird gu much. 



Dh'fhoillsich fearann, dh' f hoillsich fonn, 
Dh'fhoillsich doltrom agus struth, 
Leagadh bron us thogadh fonn, 
Chaidh ceol air bonn le clar us 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 j ust. 

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, 
Who ordained to us the King of promise. 

It was Mary 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, illumed the world. 

Illumed doldrum and current, 

Grief was laid and joy was raised. 

Music was set up with harp and pedal-harp. 



168 



MEASGAIN 




DIA NA GILE, DIA NA GREINE 



[198] 



lA na gile, Dia na greine, 

Dh' orduich dhuinne Mac na meine. 

INIuire mill gheal air a glun, 

Criosda Righ nan dul na h-uchd. 

Is mise an cleireach stucanach, 

Dol timcheall nan clach stacanach, 

Is leir dhomh tulach, is leir dhomh traigh, 

Is leir dhomh ainghlean air an t-snamh, 

Is leir dhomh calpa cuimir, cruinn, 

A tighinn air tir le cairdeas duinn. 



TEARUINTEACHD NAM FIAL 



[199] 



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 

Deir Calum-cille rninn, 
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, 
I behold mansions, I behold shores, 
I behold angels floating, 
I behold the shapely rounded column 
Coming landwards in friendship to us. 



SAFETY OF THE GENEROUS 

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

CoLUMBA 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 



[200] 




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 mor bhi eadar do dha shlinnein, 
Ga do chomhnadh a falbh 's a tilleadli, 
Mac Moire Oighe 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 

[ Thascail [Sh lain te. 



MISCELLANEOUS 171 



MOTHER'S CONSECRATION 

Probably tiiej' 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 coming, 
Be the Son of Mary Virgin near thine heart, 
And be the perfect Spirit upon thee pouring — 
Oh, the perfect Spirit upon thee pouring ! 

[Aodh lUna 

[Torrjuil [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 they 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. 

Cha 'n ioghnadh domh is mor mo lochd, 
Is mi an clab-goileam bochd bua'all, 

Ri m' oige gu 'n 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 ehre, gun chruth. 



[binn 



Shoillsicli fearann, shoillsich fonn, 
Shoillsich an trom fhairge ghlas, 

Shoillsich an cruinne ce gu leir, 

Ri linn Mhic De tigh'nn gu teach. 



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 na lathair trie. 



MISCELLANEOUS 173 



HE WHO WAS CRUCIFIED 

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

Thou wlio vvert lianged upon the tree, 

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

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. 

VOL. II. z 



174 MEASGAIN 

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

Gu'm biodh cuis ga cur air doigh 
Le seula Righ Mor nam feart 

Chair iad leis gu Teampull De, 
Far an robli a chleir a steach ; 

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

Thainig aingeal na dheigh : — 

' Eosai, ciod e 'n gleus a th' ort ? ' 

' Fhuair mi boirionnach bho 'n chleir, 
Cha dual domh fein a bhi ceart.' 

' Eosai, fuirich ri do cheil, 

Cha'n nodaidh dhuit beud a radh, 

Gur h-e th' 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 gual' 

Bha leanabh beo a briossr 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 laws 

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 ' 
' I got a woman from the clerics, 

It is not natural for me to be calm.' 

' Joseph, abide thou by tliy 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 

d' uair labhair a bhean bhorb— 

' Is iad na coirb a rinn mo chreach, 

Cuir am breiigaire sios fo lorg, 

'S bidh do bheatha nios dha m' theach. 

An coileach sin agad 's a phoit, 
Air a phronnadh clio broit ri cal, 
Cha teid am breugadair an sloe 
Go 'n 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, 
Us thainig mo Righ bho 'n chroibh. 



[202] 



An dream nach miannach le Dia 
Luchd nam breiig us luchd nam mionn 
B' annsa leis an urnuigh fhior 
Us li nan rosg a ruith gu teann. 



MISCELLANEOUS 177 



THAT COCK 

It was then spoke the angry woman — 
' It was the wicked who made my ruin, 
Drive the liar down beloAv 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 fisher 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 hand, 



OCH maduinn Luan, 
Chualas meaghal uan, 

Agus meigead eunaraig 
Seimh am shuidhe crom, 

Agus ciithag liath-ghorm, 
S gun am biadh am bhronn. 

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




Agus an clacliaran tionn 
Air barr a gharraidh toll, 

Searrach seann larach 
Spagail 's a chula rium. 



Dh" aithnich mi fein n' an deigh [d' an reir 
Nach eireadh a bhliadhna liom. 



MISCELLANEOUS 179 



OMENS 

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 boirionnaicli, The red hair of a woman, 

Fiasag liath fiorionnaich. The grey beard of a man, 

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

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

Early oh 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, [according to them 

That the year would not rise with me. 



180 



MEASGAIN 




MOCH LA LUAN CASG 



OCH La Luan Casg, 
Chunna mi air sal, 
Lach us eala bhan 

A snamh le cheile. 



Chuala mi Di-mart 
Eunarag nan trath, 
Meannanaich 's an ard 
'S a 'g eiffheach. 



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

Dh' aithnich mi air ball, 
Gu'n robh an imirig ann, 
Beannachd nach biodh ann 
An deigh sin. 



[204] 



Comraig Bhride bhith, 
Comraig INlhoire mhin, 
Comraig Mhicheil mhil, 
Dhomh fhi' 's dha m' eudail, 

Dhomh fhi' 's dha m' eudail. 



MISCELLANEOUS 181 



EARLY EASTER MONDAY 

Early on the 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 calHng. 

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. 



VOL n. 



182 



MEASGAIN 




MANADH NAN EALA [205] 

HUALA mi guth binn nan eala, 
Ann an dealachadh nan tratli, 
Glugalaich air sgiathaibh siubhlach. 
Cur nan cura dhiubh gu li-ard. 

Glirad sheas mi, cha d' rinn mi gluasad, 
Suil dli'an 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 — 
Chain mi mo chuid 's mo dhaona 
Bliadhn o'n Aona sin gu brath. 



Ma chi thu eala air Di-aona, 

Moch 's a mhaduinn fhaoilidh, agh, 
Bidii cinneas air do chuid 's do dhaona, 

Do bhuar cha chaochail a ghnath. [chlaonaich gu brath. 



MISCELLANEOUS 183 



OMEN OF THE SWANS 

I HEARD the sweet voice of the swans, 
At the parting of night and day, 
GurgUng 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, [decline for ever. 



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 anns 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 gharradh tuill, 
An eunarag 's mi 'm shuidhe cruinn, 
'S dh' aithnich mi fhe' nach teidheadh 
A bhliadhna liom. 



MISCELLANEOUS 185 



OMENS 

I HEAKD the cuckoo with no food in my stomach, 
I heard the stock-dove on tlie 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 fliaigheam, 

'S cha nar leat cuis. 

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

Do hith air failing, 
Do chruth air fhagail, 
Us tu na do thraill, 
Air do dha ghlun. 



[207] 



[phaigh 



MISCELLANEOUS i87 



THE INCENSE 

In the day of thy health 
Tliou 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 strengtii having failed. 
Thine aspect having gone. 
And thou a thrall. 

On thy two knees. 



188 MEASGAIN 



DUAN NAN DAOL [208] 

There are many curious legends and beliefs cuiTent 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 Sou passed here, when my children and 
I were searching for food, after the king's horse had passed.' 

Because of his ready officiousness 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. Consequently 
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 righting 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 Him. 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 Avent into the barn to bring out more grain 
to jjlace over Christ to hide Him more effectually. 
;In his absence the fowls attacked the heap of corn 
under which Christ was hidden. They were round 
the heap and over the heap — hens and ducks feed- 
ing as rapidly as they could. The ducks contented 

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

Ris an daol 's an dealan-de 




MISCELLANEOUS 189 



POEM OF THE BEETLES 

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 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 
anoint herself and preen her feathers; and finally, that she should have only one 
life and one joy in life — the joy of land. 

And because the duck contented herself with eating the corn without exposing 
the person of Christ, it was left to her and to her descendants ever more that she 
should be web-footed, and not be confined to laud ; 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 coUach thu ri tunnaig Thou art like a duck 

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

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

VOL. II. 2 B 



190 MEASGAIN 



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

' Cearr ! cearr ! cearr thu fhe," 
Os an cearr-dubhan feach, 
' A bhliadhna mhor chon an de 
Chaidh Mac De seach.' 



MISCELLANEOUS 191 

' 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 naimhdean air a dheigh, 

Is e thuirt faochaire na foill, 

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 



[210] 



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 ? 



MISCELLANEOUS 193 



POEM OF THE BEETLES 

When Christ was under the 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, 
Rememberest thou yesterday ? 
Little beetle, little beetle, 
Rememberest thou yesterday i 
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 omen. 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 calm, 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, 

Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

S truagh do charamh, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

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

'S t-fhuil a t' fhagail, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi I 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 venera- 
tion, 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 
child :— 

Thou white swan, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Sad thy condition, 
Hu hi ! lio ho ! 

Pitiful thy state, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

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

Thou white swan, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Far from thy friends, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Dame of thy converse, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 



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 ! 

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

Greas gu slaint e, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Mar is ail leat, 

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

Pian us 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 us slan thu, 
Hu hi ! ho ho 1 

Linn an aigh dhut, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 



MISCELLANEOUS 197 

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

Leech of gladness thou, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Sain my Httle 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 ! ho ho ! 

2 c 



198 MEASGAIN 

Anns gach aite, 

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



Furt us fas dha, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

Neart us 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 akiinn, 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

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

Bhi dha d' mhanran, 
Hu hi ! 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 him, 
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 ; 
Huhi! ho ho! 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 

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

Bhi dha d' naisdiu, 
Hu hi ! ho ho 1 

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 ainghlean thu, 
Huhi! ho ho! 

Ann am Paras ! 
Hu hi ! ho ho ! 
Hu hi ! hi ho ! 



MISCELLANEOUS 201 

Be sliielding 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 fining 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 BHINN 



[212] 



There were many religious houses throughout the Isles. Two of these were in 
Benbecula — one at ' Baile-mhanaich/ Monk's-town, and one at ' Baile-nan-cailleach,' 
Nuns'-town. These houses were attached to lona, and were ruled and occupied 
by members of the first families of the Western Isles. Probably tlieir insularity 
secured them from dissolution at the time of the Reformation, for these com- 
munities 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 found 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 them 
home to Nunton. The woman was an Irish princess and a nun, and the child an 
Irish prince, against 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, com- 
munication between Ireland and Scandinavia. 
Norsemen infested the east of Ireland and west 
of Scotland. There were plots and counter- 
plots and wars innumerable between invaders 

O i bhain-tighearna bhinn, 
x\n bun an tiiim, 
Am beul an tuim ? 




Cha'n alca, 
Cha lacha, 
Chan eala, 
S cha'n aonar i. 



[fhalc 



MISCELLANEOUS 203 



THE MELODIOUS LADY-LORD 

and invaded, the ends of the beam ascending 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 ' Cluantarbh,' Clontarf, 
the plain of the bull. 

The famous battle of Clontarf was fought on Good Friday, April 23rd, 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. This 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 beai-er. 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 raeetest 
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 ? 

Cha 'n 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, 
Am beul an tuim ? 

Cha bhainisg na cuigeil, 
Cha'n 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-haii-ed maid 

Of the flocks is she. 

2d 



206 MEASGAIN 

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

Bain-tighearna bhinn, 
Bhaindidh mhin, 

Ighinn rigli, 
Ogha righ, 
lar-ogh righ, 
lon-ogh righ, 
Dubh-ogh righ. 
Bean righ, 
Mathair righ, 
INIuime righ, 
I taladh righ, 

Us e fo breid aic. 

A Eirinn a shiubhail i, 
Gu Lochlann tha fiughair aic. 
An Trianaid bhi siubhal leath 
Chuile taobh a theid i — 
Chuile taobh 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-granddaughter 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 
Whithersoever she goes — 
Whithersoever she goes. 



208 



MEASGAIN 



RIGHINN NAM BUADH 



[213] 



/S min a has, 
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 brollach graidli-gheal a snamli na com 
]Mar chra-fhaoileag air bharr nan tonn. 

Is naomliar an oigli 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 na leirsinn mhoir di. 



Ta duibhre na h-oidhche dhi mar shoillse an lo, 
Ta an lo dhi a ghnath na sholas, 
Ta Moir oigh nan gras 's a h-uile h-ait, 
Le na seachd graidh g a comhnadh, 
Na seachd graidh 'g a comhnadh. 



MISCELLANEOUS 209 



QUEEN OF GRACE 

Smooth her hand, 

Fair her foot, 

Graceful her form, 

Winsome her voice, 

Gentle her speech, 

Stately her mien, 

Warm the look of her eye, 

INIild 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 the ben. 

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 teid seo ? 



Cill-moluag an Liosmor, 
Far an cinn na cnoimheagan ! 

Uill! hill! uill! O! 
Co chill an teid seo ? 

Cill-moluag an Liosmor, 
Loisealam na greine. 

Uill ! hill ! uill ! O ! 
Co chill an teid seo ? 



Cill-moluag an Liosmor, 
Boid nach dean e eiridh ! 

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 ceremonial the 



MISCELLANEOUS 



211 



KILLMOLUAG 

boys seized a third by the head and heels, and swaying him 
from side to side sang an eerie chant over him. 

First Boy Uiix ! hill ! uill ! O ! 

In what kill shall this go ? 

Second Boy In Killmoluag of Lismore, 
Where the maggots grow ! 

Uill ! hill ! uill ! O ! 

In what kill shall this go ? 

In Killmoluag of Lismore, 
Fairest 'neath the sun. 

Uill ! hill ! uill ! O ! 

In what kill shall this go ? 



In Killmoluag of Lismore, 
I vow he shall not rise ! 

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 breid/ 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 
' stiom/ 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 cuimir nan tri crun ' — the shapely 
coif of the three crowns. It is also spoken of in many songs. 

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 
[cairdeas Thee with the blessing of the clerics, [friendship 
[eibhinn It is I who would be joyous 
At seeing on thee thy kertch 
The first Sunday. 

Her hair in coils, curled, curved. 
And in clustered folds has my beloved. 
And though beautiful it seems withiu the snood. 
It would not look worse beneath the kertch. 



' Nar a faicear ort breid 
La feile no clachain, 
'S nar a faicear do chlann 

Dol gu teampuU baistidh.' 

' Na 'm faighinn dhomh fein 

Thu le beannachd na cleire, 

Gur a mis a bhitheadh reidh 

Ri bhi faicinn do bhreid 

An ceud Domhnach.' 



' A cul dualach, camlach, cuachach, 
Ann an sguaib aig m' eudail, 
'S ge boidheach e 's an stiom a suas 
Cha mheas an cuailean breid e.' 



'Gur a math thig breid ban 
Air a charamh beannach dhut, 
Agus staoise dh' an t-sioda mhin, 
'G a theannadh ort.' 



Well becomes tliee the white kertch. 
Placed pinnacle-wise. 
And cords of the fine silk 
Binding it upou thee. 




ILE failte dhut fo d' bhreid, 
Ri do re gu robh thu slan, 
I^uth us laithean dhut le sith, 

Do pharas le do ni bhi fas. 
An tus do chomh-ruith us tu og, 
An tus do lo iarr Ti nan dul, 
Cha churam dha nach toir e ceart 

Gach foil us feart a bhios na d' run. 



MISCELLANEOUS 213 



THE KERTCH 

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 
Peggie. She came from ' Sleibhte riabhach nam ban boidheach/ — brindled Sleat 
of the beautiful women, and well upheld 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, Lochalsh. Sir John was famed for his symmetry, bravery, and 
accomplishments. He inherited the musical talents of the Macleods of Rararsey, 
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 Highland 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 nearing 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 ^vriter. Sir John Macrae called this song, 'treas taladh na h-Alba,' 
— the third lullaby of Alban, and as sung by bright Peggie Robertson it merited 
praise. 

A THOUSAND hails to thee beneath thy kertch, 
During thy course mayest thou be whole, 
Strength and days be tliine 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. 
VOL. 11. 2 E 



214 MEASGAIN 



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. [gnaith 

Bi-sa fialaidh ach bi glic, 
Bi-sa misneachail ach stold, 
Bi-sa bruithneach ach bi balbh, 
Bi-sa caimeineach ach coir. 

Na dean criontaireachd an toirt, 
Na dean brosg ach na 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 ! 



MISCELLANEOUS 215 

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. [deed 

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. 
Do 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 tlia, 
Mar a bhitheas 
Gu brath, 
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 flow, 
O Thou Triune 
Of grace ! 
With the ebb. 
With the flow. 



NOTES 
ETC. 




NOTES 



Abhr, abhra, fat, rich, oily ; ' cloimh abhrais/ oiled wool, wool prepared for spinning ; 
' abhrta,' ' abhrtaeh,' ' abhrtadh,' a feast, festival, rich entertainment. 

Abhr, aw; prayer (?). A place at the base of ' Beinn Righ Coinnich ' — King 
Kenneth's Mount, or ' Beinn airidh Coinnich ' — Ben of Kenneth's shieling, in 
South Uist, is called ' Auratot,' ' Auratobhte,' prayer ruin. The spot is green 
and grassy, and contains the remains of an oratoiy, 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 Wòrterbiich. Perhaps merely 
a diphthongised form of 'or,' prayer, as in 'abhran,' 'oran.' 

Acair, anchor. The anchor 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 anchor, ' 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 en the side and set the stone on edge 
in honour of the occasion. There is a ' Srath Adhamhnain,' Strath Adamnan, 
in StrathfiUan. Near Strath of Adamnan is ' Beinn Chaluim,' mountain of 
Columba. Adamnan was the successor and biographer of Columba. 

Ai, sheep. ' Cuir a stigh an ai,' put in the sheep. Perhaps connected 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 eilean,' I see a swan on the loch of the island. ' Ai ' seems to 
mean white, whiteness ; perhaps akin to 'aigh,' beautiful. 

Aihheis, eibheis, an abyss, a place or person in ruins or unkempt. 

'Ged tha thu 'n diugh 'a d' aibheis fhuar, Though thou art to-day a ruin cold, 
Bha thu uair 'a d' aros righ.' Thou wert once the dwelling of a king. 

VOL. II. 2 F 



222 NOTES 

Aicil, a form of 'faicill/ circumspection. 

Aigne, the (bird) swift, 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. 
Ailhh, at, rock foundation, anything hard, solid, rigid, immovable. 
Ailinde, most beautiful. The people use many forms of this superlative, as ' ailne,' 

'ailindeach,' 'aildiche,' 'aluinnde,' and others. 
' Ailineachd mna na Greuige.' ITie beauteousuess of the woman of Greece (Helen). 

Aingeal, aigkeal, 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 Aingil,' 
' Cnoc Aingil,' 'Carn Aingil,' in Lochaber, Lismore, Islay, lona, Muckairn, Uist, 
Lews, 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 Choireil,' St. Cyril's Burial-ground. This is the 
only 'aingil' knoll 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 Earail,' 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 that during drought the brethren carried the tunic of the saint i-ound 
the knoll singing psalms and repeating prayers the while, whereupon copious 
rain fell. Pennant mentions that the people of lona rode sunwise round ' Cnoc 
Aingil ' 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 — 

'Blia 'n spor bhearnach, gheur, tliana. The jagged flint, sharp, thin. 

Am beul snaip air dheagh theaniiadh. Was iu tlie snap mouth well boiiud, 

Ged dhiult thu dhomh aingeal Though thou didst refuse me fire 

Ri ord. To the hammer. 

Na 'n tugadh tu aingeal Hadst thou given the fire 

Chuirinn cunnart air anam, I had placed his soul iu jeopardy, 

Ged chaillinn ris gearran Though I had lost by it a garrou 

'S a mhod.' Iu 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 



NOTES 223 

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 than graceful, on which he composed the following lines : — 

'AVhen 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.' 

Airil, 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, milk, milk preparation ; dainty, delicacy, nectar, ambrosia. 

Ais, wisdom. ' Ais na nina sithe,' the wisdom of the fairy woman. (See ' cnoc.') 

Alc,fhalc,Jalc. In some districts 'ale' is applied to the razorbill (alca Ionia), and 
in some to the guillemot (uria IroUe). The razorbill and the guillemot i-esemble 
one another closely, and at some distance can only be distinguished by 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 razorbill is shorter, 
more rounded, and more fin-rowed towards the point. The eggs, like the birds, 
resemble one another in shape, size, and markings. 

A crofter in Lews, a shrewd, sensible man, went under the name of ' Alcag,' 
Little ' Ale' He had come to Lews from Mull. Mackenzie of Lews 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 will allow me to make a rune 
upon you without retorting,' and proceeded : — 

' Tliainig thugainn, air nmir 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 Mull, and though far away 

B' olc an dream, daibh bu dual. Bad the breed, to them hereditary. 

Au Alcag a braigh a Chaolais The Little Ale from the head of the Sound 

C'aobaidli i fear a h-araich. Will peck at the hand of its rearing, 

Asgartach nan daoine baotha. The refuse of all ill men found, 

Aircleach, aoireach, mi-narach.' A needy, shameless satirist. 

To this Mackenzie's friend added : — 

' A phoit dhona gun ro-flieum, A^'retched pot of little wortli, 

B' fhearr a ceannach air an dieill, Better to have bought it in the market ; 

'S ge h-uallach foi' do cheum Though lightsome be thy step beneath it, 

Cha d' fliuair thu i reis gun toibheum.' Thou hast not got a span of it without reproach. 



224 NOTES 

Tlie man replied : — 

'Is cumhaidh do gach saoidh nach socrach, It behoves the man who is not secure, 
A bhith ua fhulangach, sar-fhaclach, To be enduring and choice-worded. 
Us buinidh a dli' fhear a bhios na aire And the man who is in straits 
A bhi 'n eisemeil fear dha chomhnadh. To defer to him who aids him. 

Is gilide am bord a chailc The board is the wliiter for the chalk, 

Cha mhiside a chruaidh a h' aghart. The steel is not the worse for being tempered, 

Eisemeil us tu 's an aire. Deference and thou in straits, 

Cha taiside do laoeh a tobhart.' Is not weakness in hero to give. 

Combats of this kind were frequent between chiefs and clansmen, probably to 
the advantage of both. 

Altaich, nurture, nourish, bring up. 

' Ach a Thi is mor gloir, But Thou Being of great glory, 

Altaich fein an siol og. Nurture Thou the young seed, 

Ta gun tagsa, gun sgor- Reft of prop, and of rock 

A cuil daibh.' Behind them. 

— St. Kilda song. 

Aiuadan-De, butterfly, God's fool. In some districts the term is 'amadan-leith/ 
grey fool. Sometimes applied to giddy, foolish children. 

Aon, Aona, Aoin, Aoine, Fast, Friday. (See ' Di.') 

Ama 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. 

Arrets, evil, wicked, demon. Cf. ' arracht,' spectre. 

Ath-aodach, athaodack, 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. 

Us 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 ' aodacli na caora,' the sheep's clothing, and afterwards man's 
clothing : — 

'Meal us caith an t-athaodach Enjoy and wear the second clothing, 

Sguiridh tathaich an tailear.' The tailor-visiting shall cease. 



NOTES 225 

B 

Badhar, placenta of cow. 

Bainisg, a female satirist, a songstress, a singing naiad ; from ' ban,' woman, and 
' eisg,' satirist. 

Baireackd, quarrelling, wrangling. 

Balg bannaig, bannock bag ; the sacred shrine in which the Host was carried ; tiie 
bag in which the Christmas gifts, the Easter gifts, and 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 curdle 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, off"ering, 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-f hortanach,' 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 
bannock has been cooked the mother takes up the 'clach bhannag,' bannock- 
stone, against which the cake was supported before the fire, and tenderly hands 
it to her daughters, in emblem of Christ. 

The ' dearnagan ' and the ' moilean ' are not perforated. The former is given 
to girls, and the latter, which is thicker, is given to boys. 



226 NOTES 

The first Monday after Christmas is called ' Diluain bannaig,' Monday of 
the bannock, while the first Monday of the New Year is ' Diluain sainnseil,' 
hansel Monday. 
Bansgal, an unmarried woman, a masculine woman, an aniazon ; a whale, leviathan. 

'a.d. 891. The fish Banscal thrown out of the sea of Alban. It was I95 feet 
long, 17 feet in circumference. Its paw was seven feet long. As likewise its 
nose, and the whole was white as a swan.' — De Rebus Albanicis. 

Barlnit, harrlait, check, hindrance, prevention, suppression. 

Beairdean, ordinarily 'boitean,' a pottle, a bottle, a buttle, a bundle of hay, straw, 
or reeds. 

Beall, beoll, fire, glowing fire, glowing embers — hence ' beollag,' bright little flame, 
a word common in Uist. CJ. Eng. ' bale-fire.' 

Bean-nigh, bean-nighidh, 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 the 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 the 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 dlia 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-oidhche bha gille-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 gu'm b' i a bhean-nighe a nigheadh agus a strulladh, a gul agus a gal. 

A leiueag bheag bhais na dorn 
A mialaran broin na beul. 

Chaidh gille-cas-fliuch gu fiath failidh air a cul agus rug e air nigheag 
na ghlac. "Leig as mi," orsa nigheag, "agus thoir cead mo choise dhomh 
agus gu'm bheil am fabhan dotha tha dluth dha t-fhiasaig chiaru chairtidh 
an anuar stad a chur air anail mo bhraghaid. Is mor gu'm annsa le m' shroin 
agus gu'm bu deoine le m' chridhe aile tuise cubhraidh ceathach nam beann." 
" Cha leig mi as thu," orsa gille-cas-fliuch, " gu'n geall thu dhomh mo thri ragha 
miann." " Cluinnim 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 Sgeir-rois dha thuiream." " Tha mi nigheadh na 
leine agus a seinn na duaine do Mhac 'ic Ailean Mor nan Eilean, agus cha teid e 



NOTES 227 

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 Mhic '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 fhraoich agus dh' orduich 
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 ' gille-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 fords. 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 iu her hand. 
Her plaintive dirge iu 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 wilt tell to me for whom thou art washing the shroud and crooning 
the dirge, that thou wilt give me my choice spouse, and that thou 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 Dun-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 coracle was con- 
structed in which Clanranald went from the island over the loch to the mainland, 
and he never again returned to Dun-buidhe iu the upland of Benbecula.' 

Beinn a c/ieo, mount of mist. The term occurs in the following old songs : — 

' Am beiun a cheo, Iu the mount of mist, 

'S siun ann n'ar dithis. And we two together, 
Challain cile, Callain cile, 

Na bho hi c' Na vo hi o. 



228 NOTES 

' Is truagh uach robh mi 's mo ghaol, Would were I and my true love, 

Muigh ri taobh beiiin a cheo. On the side of the mount of mist, 

Mo nigh'nn doun ho hu. My brown maid ho hu. 

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. 
Perhaps ' Beinn a ghlo ' in Perth is a localism for ' beinn a cheo,' mount of mist, 
or for ' beinn a sgeo,' mount of haze. 
Bcithir, adder, serpent, thunder-bolt, 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 ublial a gharaidh, Thou wert the apple tree of the garden, 

A chaoidh cha chiimich ni 's aillidh fo'n Never more so beauteous shall grow beneath 

ghrein, 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 ; 

Ach thilgdubh-dhoireannagheamhraidh. Hut the black tempest of winter threw 
A bheithir theintidh le srann as au speur, The levin bolt with a whirr from the sky, 
Us thuit au gallan ur riomhach. And the handsome fresh sapling fell. 

Us uile mhaise ghrad chrion air an fheur.' And all its beauty quickly witiiered on the grass. 

A family of two elderly brothers and a sister in Benbecula were known as ' Na 
Beithi'ich,' the thunder-bolts, from their frequently saying : ' Sgrios na beithreach 
ort !'• — The destructionof the thunder-bolt upon thee ! During a terrible thunder- 
storm, as the three were sitting round their fire, a thunder-bolt came crashing 
through the roof of their little cottage, filling the room with a glare of light and 
a smell of sulphur, 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, whence ' uisge beithe,' birch water, 
corrupted ' uisge beatha,' life water. 

Spruce was much used in olden times, and is often mentioned in the old 
songs and sayings of the people. 
' Beoir us brailis b'eol domli agad. Spruce and wort I know were thine. 

Mil us bainue 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 ga'n ol Though we were drinking them 

A gloineachan.' From glasses. 



NOTES 229 

Bialag, a person in front of another person on horseback. 

Biasl dubh, blast 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 tliem. 
They fish in the river, in the lake, and in the sea, and bi'ing the fish ashore as 
retrievers bring birds. 

* 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 luch. As a dog to a cat, as a cat to a mouse, 
Bidh bean mic gu mathair-cheile.' So is son's wife to mother-in-law. 

Bbine-bheul, ' 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 tlie 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. 

Bio/air, bioiiits, water-cress, water-plant, from ' bir,' ' bior,' water, and ' lus,' plant. The 
water-cress is also called ' dobhar-lus,' '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. 

Biunn, symmetrical, well-featured, beauteous. The word occurs in the following old 
chorus : — 

' Is binne liom a guth na'n smeorach More sweet to me her voice than mavis 

Air na lointibh ri la ciuin ; On the plains in summer time ; 
Ho mo leannan, he mo leannan, Ho my love, he my love, 

Is i mo leannan au te bhionu.' My love she is the beauteous maid. 

Possibly ' bionn ' is a form of ' fionn,' fair. 

Bilk-etilrom, light-element, the lift, the atmosphere, the heavens ; from ' bith,' life, 
globe, element, and ' eutrom,' light, buoyant, volatile. 

The nearest term to this known to me is ' bith-bi-aonach,' dewy-world, a 
term which occurs in a lament composed by 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 rehearsed the history and sang the song her fine features 
glowed with subdued animation and sympathy for the distressed maiden. 

' Tha mo ghradh 's a gharadh lios, [leanuau My lover is in the garden of flowers, 

De mu tha, cha'n ann le fios, But if he is it is not with knowledge, 

Marcraich an eich chruthaich glilais, 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. 
VOL. II. 2 G 



230 NOTES 

Bliochd, milk, whey, whey 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 manntì- 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. 

Buchuin, 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. 

Bochidn, the sea, the ocean. 

Bochnin, the ripple at the bow of a moving boat. 

Boisileag, palmful, a small palmful of water ; from ' bois,' ' has,' 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. 

Brdc, 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 ff.) 

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 the beginning of the thirteenth 
century, probably later, and reindeer moss grows on the Scottish 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 sian. On milk of deer beneath the sphere. 

Air bharr nan sliabh 's nan garbhlach.' 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 1 S69 the writer opened 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 Lapps and Lapp 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 : — 



NOTES 231 

'A nigheau righ nan roiseal 'lliou daughter of the king of the regions of 

soluis, light. 

An oidhche bhios oiruue do bhanais, On the night that thy wedding is 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 ciad bruicean taoghal Thou wilt get an hundred badgers dwellers in 

bruach, banks, 

Ciad dobhran doun, dualach allt, An hundred brown otters native of streams, 

Gheobh tu ciad damh alluidh nach Thou wilt get an hundred wild stags that will 

tig 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 and 

luath, swift, 

Ciad brae bruaill an t-samhraidh. An hundred reindeer intractable in summer, 

'S gheobh tu ciad maoilseach maol. And thou wilt get an hundred hummelled red 

ruadh, hinds, 

Nach teid am buabhall am Faoileach That will not go in stall in the \\'olfmonth of 

geamhraidh.' 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. 

Brdchd, putrescence, putrefaction, effervescence, fermentation. ' Braich,' malt ; 
' braicheadh,' malting; 'brachadh,' ' brachach,' ' brachag,' 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 ferojc, 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 leathann,' 
broad salmon, 'bradan bacach,' halting salmon, and ' bradan cearr' or ' gearr,' 
left-sided or broad salmon. 'Stirean' and ' stiorasg ' are modifications 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 dead bird when 
going to shoot, or to see a dead beast when going to hunt. (Vol. i. p. ,'ìiy.) 
Even sickly, weakly, maimed, or old persons were shunned when going to fish, 
shoot, or hunt, and men otherwise shrewd and sensible would turn iiome 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. 

Bnlth, fire, conflagration, everlasting, eternal, without end. ' Gu brath,' for ever ; 



232 NOTES 

' La Bhrath/ Day of Conflagration. The ' Clacha Brath ' of lona were put round, 
and as long as they continued to move the Day of Judgment would not come. 

Bràlh, 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, hreideachag, little woman of the kertch ; from 'breid,' kertch, 'breideach,' 
kertehed. 

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 
breuin ? ' — ' You do not like soured milk ? Our men prefer it sour, and the 
more sour the more they like it.' 

Throughout the Shetland Isles whey is soured and used as a beverage under 
the name of ' bland.' Cf. the ' koumiss ' of other countries. 

Brian, briain, angel, archangel, god, divinity, hence god of evil ; a term of exclama- 
tion. '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 
Rhys' Hibberl Lectures. 

Biianain, Breannan, 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 north. 
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-chara,' soul friend, Moluag in Lismore, 
and that 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 morning 
mass, Domhull 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. 



NOTES 233 

or of tell-tale child, not thinking that the eye of Brendan would see him, nor 
that the wrath of Brendan would be upon him for disturbing his rest and breaking 
his day. 

No sooner had Domhull Dubli called his horses to go on than a ' ceo drao,' 
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 me the mist. 

The fog lifted, but instead of his stout, steady, short-eared, long-maned, long- 
tailed gaiTons, he had but slim, frail, long-eared, short-maned, short-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 
transformation, and was sorely 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 Bhriauaiu ! Brendan ! O Brendan ! 

A dheoin Dhia 's a mhianu dhaoine. With God's will and men's wish, 

Tog dhiom an ceo.' Lift from me the fog. 

The fog cleared away, but instead of the asses and the distaff he had now long- 
eared, raaneless, 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 ! Brendan ! 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 dliiom 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 found 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 



234 NOTES 

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. 
Dark-haired one, dark-haired one. 
Though poor, poor we be. 
No rich old man could please me 
Like thee, love, like thee.' 

The comely young wife of Domhull Dubh ran to the priest, and besought 
him for the sake of the Holy Mother, 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 his agony,' said the priest, ' till he 
shows by his good deeds contrition for his evil ways.' But the good priest came 
notwithstanding, 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, Brendan saw Black Donald, 

Is faide an la an diugh na 'n de. Longer is to-day than (was) yesterday, 

Ge mor 's ga 'n cunnta tu How many soever thou wouldst count of thy 

dha d' ni flocks. 

Is beag am pris an tigh Mhic De. Small is their price in the house of God's Son. 

Cha dean mis, no ciob, no uan, No goat, no sheep, no lamb, 

Cha dean curachd, buain, no feur, No sowing, no reaping, no grass, 

Cha dean marc, no earc, no buar. No horse, no cow, no cattle, 

Dhusa buanachd la an eug. Shall avail thee on the day of death. 

Tha suil Bhrianain ort am muig, The eye of Brendan is on thee in frown, 

Tha chruth a dubhradh ort 's an neul. His form is darkening on thee in the cloud, 

Tha chlaidhe geur a chon do sgruid. His sword is sharp to scourge thee, 

Ann an taigh na diumb 's ua pein. In the house of wrath and paiu. 

Treig a dhaolaire do chealg. Forsake, thou grub, thy deception, 

Treig do mhearrachain us do bhreuig, Forsake thine errors and thine evil ways. 

An teampuU De dean-sa t-earb In the temple of God place thou thy reliance. 

An deachu fial 's an uasgu deirc. In liberal tithes and in free alms. 

Threig an t-aithreachan a chearb. The penitent forsook his errors, 

Thill chon tearmad teach Mhic He sought the protection of the house of God's 

De, Son, 

Air altair feiu thug deirc dha ainni. On His own altar he gave alms to His name, 

'S bha ait us aoibh air ainghle And there was joy and delight on the angels of 

neamh.' heaven. 



NOTES 235 

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 Catholic 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 our 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. 

Bun-dearg, red swelling ; ' burn dearg,' red water ; 'galar dearg,' red disease ; 'earna 
dhearg,' ' earnach dhearg,' red murrain ; ' eai-na 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 (druscra rotundo folio). Wherever 
sundew prevails red pleura is common. A place in South Uist is known as ' Bogach 
na fala,' marsh of blood, from the prevalence of sundew and its deadly effects. 

Bun-feann, hun-feam, bun-feaman, rump-tail, root of the rump. A wolf was destroy- 
ing 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 cliaim. One-eyed Gillchrist, 

Co dhruid an toll .' ' Who closed the hole.^ 
The other answered : — 

' Ma bhriseas am bun-feann, If the rump-tail should break, 

Bith fios sin aig do sgall.' Thy skull shall know that. 

Burn, water. In Scots and English the Gaelic ' burn ' means a river, and occurs 
as a river-name, as do also the Gaelic ' uisg,' ' abhuinn,' and ' alan,' in Esk, 
Avon, Allan, and other forms. 

' Burn ' is used in the following lullaby : — * 

'Brochan buirn, buirn, buirn. Porridge of water, water, water, 

Brochaii buirn gheobh mo leanabh. Porridge of water shall my child get, 

D uair a bheireas au crodh-laoigh When the bearing kine shall calve 

Gheobh mo ghaol brochan bainne.' My darling shall get porridge of milk. 



236 NOTES 



Cailleach, a woman, a single woman, an old woman, a carlin, a woman without off- 
spring, 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 
applied 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 keeping down vegetation, to the detri- 
ment 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' fliag e mhau mi, dli' f hag e 'n ard mi. It escaped me below, it escaped me above, 

Dh'fhag e eadar mo dha lamh mi. It escaped me between my two hands, 

Dh' fhag e bial mi, dh' f hag e cul mi. It escaped me before, it escaped me behind, 

Dh' fha e eadar mo dha shul mi. It escaped me between my two eyes. 

Dh' fhag e shios mi, dh' fliag e sliuas mi, It escaped me down, it escaped me up, 

Dh" fhag e eadar mo dha chluas mi. It escaped me between my two ears, 

Dh' fhag e thall mi, dh' fhag e blios mi, It escaped me thither, it escaped me hither, 

Dh' fhag 6 eadar mo dha chos mi. It escaped me between my two feet. 

Thilg mi 'n slacan druidh donai I threw my druidic evil wand 

Am bun preis crin cruaidh conuis. Into the base of a withered hard whin bush. 

Far nach fas fionn na foinuidh, Where shall not grow 'iionn'nor 'foinnidh,' 

Ach fracau 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 sanctuaiy, is a term of frequent occurrence among the people, as 
— 'caim Dhe,' the sanctuary of God; 'cairn Chriosd,' the encompassing of 
Christ; 'caim Mhoire mnin,' the encircling of the fair 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 



f 



NOTES 237 

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 
rolHng down towards them, and to satisfy liira 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 youtli told the maiden that this was only a small part 
of what he could do for her ; and, pressing his suit the harder, asked her to 
meet him again. 

But through her long downcast eyelashes the girl thought tliat she could 
discern what seemed like hoofs instead of feet, with 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 priest, 'and we must meet him stoutly. I myself will go with 
thee and with thy daughter, and I will bring the Book, and we will make the 
blessed sanctuarj-.' 

They went, and the priest took the Book, and made the ' cairn ' in Name of 
the Sacred Three, and of the sanctified saints, and of the sinless 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 the blessed ' caim.' 
Then the big cock crowed, and the young man, defeated, fled with a roar, 
flames of forkling fire more deadly than the fongs of the serpent issuing from 
his ears, eyes, nostrils, and heels, and showing his form anew. 

The affrighted 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 Mhic 
Mhoire mhin bhi eadar sinne 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. 
VOL. II. 2 H 



238 NOTES 

There is a place of burial called 'Cambar' in the island of St. Kilda, 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 Chalum-chille an Saniida, Oh ! Columba in Sannda, 

Nar leig mo laog^h an Chambar ! ' Allow not my love to Cambar. 

There is a dedication to Columba in Sannda, North Uist, in which three 
chiefs of the Macdonaldsof the Isles are buried, including ' Gilleaspa Dubh,' Black 
Archibald, who murdered his two brothers to clear his own path to the chiefship. 

Cahneineach, caimineach, saving, economical ; from ' caimein,' ' caimin,' small. 

Caimhleachadh, cumgleachadh, restraining, confining, hemming in, entrapping ; 
'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. 

Caiii, white, clear, bright, fair, pure. 

Cairhre. 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 abhuinn dubh a bhais,' across the black river of death ; the coin to 
pay ' duals 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 u]) in the 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 beauti- 
fully formed. The people gave the candlestick to the highly popular General 



NOTES 239 

Campbell of Lochnell. What became 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 Museum allowed the writer to examine 
candlesticks in their possession, some of which had been found in graves, but 
they did not know whether the candlestick of St. Moluag was among them. 

Cairo, flesh, a person. 

Cairde, convenient, suitable, appropriate ; as being of kin. 

Catsean-uchd , 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 fi-om the flesh. It is carried by the carollers 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 creatm'es, 
during the year. 

Two such strips were placed face to face to form a bag. Probably this was 
the ' uilm,' the sacred bag for alms. (Vol. i. p. 126 fi'.) 

Cailliris, wake, watch, harass ; the labour required of a crofter holding under a 
tacksman. 

Throughout the Highlands and Islands the chiefs and proprietors generally 
rented out large tracts of land to relatives, connections, and friends. These 
were called 'fir gabhail,' gavelkind men, ' fir bade,' 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 under the tacksman was infinitely harder. This 
wrung from the hearts of the people many sayings, as, ' Gille ghille is measa na'n 
diobhal ' — The servant of the servant is worse than the devil. 

' Is don an gabhalacli, Bad is the tenancy, 

Ach tha don an donuis But the evihiess of the evil one 

Anns au 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. 



240 NOTES 

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. 2.98 f.) 

Calum-cille, St. Columba, was probably the greatest man that Ireland ever pro- 
duced. 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 Caimiore. He is 
still virtually the patron saint of the Highlands, and is held in the highest 
venei-ation. Thursday of the second week of June is sacred to Columba, 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. l62, l63.) 

St. Columba's Ijanner, the ' breac-beannach,' speckled banner, was intrusted 
to the keeping of the Abbey of Arbroath. At the dissolution of the abbey 
this precious relic was lost, and no trace of it can now be found. 

Caoibean, the five or six inches of warp uncrossed by the weft at the beginning of 
the web ; ' caob,' a piece. 

Caoiiieag, caointeag, caoiiieackag, caointeacluig, cauidheag, weeper, 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 hill, in the glen, and in the corrie, by the lake, by the stream, and 
by the water-fall. Her mourning and weeping cause much trepidation to night- 
farers, and much anxiety to parents whose sons are in the wars. When a 
mournful cry is heard, and the remark is made, ' Co tha sid ? ' — Who is that .'' the 
answer invariably 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 vallev of the dark shadow of death : — 



NOTES 241 

' Tha caoineachag bheag a bhroin, Little ' caoineachag ' of the sorrow 

A dortadh deoir a sula^ Is pouring the tears of her eyes, 

A gul 's a caoidh cor Clann-doniluiill, AV'eepiug and nailing the fate of Clandonald. 

Fath mo leoin ! nach d' eisd an cumha.' Alas my grief! that ye did not heed her cries. 

' Tha caoidh us caoineadh am beinn a cheo, There is gloom and grief in the mount of mist, 

Tha gul us glaodhaich am beinn a There is weeping and calling in the mount of 

cheo, mist, 

Tha bur us baoghal, tha murt us There is death and danger, there is maul and 

maoghal, murder, 

Tha fuil ga taomadh am beinn a cheo.' TJiere is blood spilling in the mount of mist. 

Caor, red, red berries, 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 applied 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. 

' Lair dhubh bhreabacli, 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-ruuning. 

**** **** 

' Lan an duirn de chaora dearga A handful of red I'owan berries 

Chum a teanacsa, To safeguard her, 

'Sina ruith.' And she a-runuing. 

Caorraim, caorrinui, rowan, mountain ash. 

The rowan was sacred, and used in many forms about the homestead. 
' Failean caorruinn,' a rowan sucker, or ' fleasg 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 fagots 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 chaorrainu sin 's an dorus. Thou rowan tree before the door, 

ITieid thu fotham-sa dh'an chill. Thou shalt go under 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. 

Can; cain; 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. 



242 NOTES 

'Is fearr a bbi dubh na bhi donn. Better be black tban be brown. 

Is fearr a bhi doim na bhi ban. Better be brow n than be fair. 

Is fearr a bhi ban na bhi ruadb. 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 charr.' But that 'tis better to be there than the 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 hair of animals. 

Cathadh, cleaning corn in the barn with two open doors opposite each other to cause 
a draught. If the corn is winnowed outside, ' fasgnadh ' is the word used. 

Cathadli, cabha, cabhnadh, snow, snow-wreath, snow-drift, ' cabha-lair,' ground-drift ; 
'cabha-sian,' a visible storm of rain, a white sheet of rain ; ' cabha-niara,' sea-drift. 

Calhii, calhud/i, an offensive smell, especially from fish newly salted, or from skate 
when becoming ' high.' 

Ce, the world, sphere. 

Ce, spouse, companion, friend, devotee. 'Thu thoir dhomh-sa mo ragha ce ' — You 
to give me my choice spouse. A form of ' ceile,' spouse, partner. 

Ce, Keith, St. Keith. 

Ceabhar, 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 
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 au uisge ruith 's an eas, By the water in the water-fall. 

Air an adbar 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 am 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 coinnianded 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. 



NOTES 243 

Ceacharra, obstreperous, unmanageable ; ' duine ceacharra,' headstrong man. 

Ceal, same, similar, similar colour, hue. 

Ceai, cliff, ridge ; ' na cealaichean,' ridge of cliffs. 

Ceal, end, finish, complete. ' Cuir ceal air,' put an end to it. 

Cearr-dubJian, the sacred beetle, the wrong or left-sided little black one. ' Cearradan,' 
' cearrdaman,' ' cearraman,' ' cearran,' ' cearnabhan,' ' ceard-dubhan,' seem to be 
forms of the ' cearr-dublian.' It is also called ' cearr-fhiollan,' ' ceard-fhiollan,' 
' cearrallan,' left-sided insect. Possibly the name should be ' gearr-dubhan,' 
' gearr-daolan,' thick-set black one, broad little beetle. (Vol. ii. p. 188 /f.) 

'Co ard 's gu'n seol an cearr-dubhan. However high the beetle soars. 

Is auu 's a ghlar a tliuiteas e.' It is in the iilth it falls. 

Ceasg, floss; an animal with long, flossy hair or wool, a sheep ; a supernatural creature 
of great beauty, half-woman lialf-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 creaige He took with him behind the rock 

Chaora cheigeach an robh bhrigh.' The shaggy sheep of substance. 

' Dhannsadh ua gobhair cheigeach , Dance would the shaggy goats, 
Mheigeach, bhailgean, Bleatful, spotted, 

Dhannsadh 's ua minn bheaga. Dance would the little kids, 
'S bheiceadh ri na cailbhean.' And curtsey to the wattles. 

Cciteiii, 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, .-i 
day of good omen for the people. In order to appease any evil spirits that might 
be hovering about in the air above or larking 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 offering to the night spirits were neglected, some mishap would occur. 
' A chiad Diluain dh'an gheamhraidh f Imar The first Jlonday of the cold winter 
Is daor a phaigh mi duais nan sealg — Dearly did I pay tlie reward of the chase — 

Fear buidhe, ban, bu ro-ghlan snuadh The yellow-haired man of brightest hue 

Air taobh na beinne fuar 's e marbh. ' On the side of the mountain cold and dead. 



244 NOTES 

Ceus-chrann, ceus-chrannd, passion-flower, crucifying tree ; from ' ceus/ crucify, and 
' crann,' 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. 

Cio6, 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 surprising, indeed, to find that there were such flocks of sheep, considering 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 
Highlanders 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, 

Is mor do thromad am measg dhaona. Great is thy weight among men, 

Gloir dh'an Mhac thu thighinn a Praise to the Son that thou hast come to 

dh'Alba, Alban, 

Clia phaigh sinne marg air shealbh We shall not pay a mark for our sheep flocks. 

chaora.' 

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. 
Cioh, club-rush, flaky peat. 

Ciosan, 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, with 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 ' niaois,' 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 



NOTES 245 

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, cire, ciridh, sheep, a cud-chewing animal ; in use in the Outer Hebrides, and 

in the Isle of Man. 
Cii; 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 ladj', probably of rank. Bride is frequently represented 

combing her golden hair, sometimes with a comb of gold and sometimes with a 

comb of silver. 

Cith, cithe, cuitlie, cuidhe, a mass, a quantit}', 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. 

Citheal, cidheal, cibheal, ciall, giall, jaw, jaw-bone. 

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 ' siant,' sained, as, they say, he lies dormant 
during winter. Ornithologists are not agreed on this point. It has not been 
the privilege of the writer 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. By 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 with the falling snow, others died, while some lived for several days. 
Donald Macmurdoch is a most intelligent man, and a very observant naturalist. 

Donald MaccoU, foxhunter, 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 warmth of the sun showed 
signs of reviving life. Boys and girls took home many of the dormant birds 
and brought them to life before their home fires. People from distant places 
came to see the strange phenomenon. Donald MaccoU visited the place several 
times, and he was an entirely trustworthy man and a minute observer. 
VOL. II. 2 I 



246 NOTES 

C/ar, clarsach, 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 aoua phuirt, Tlie piper of the cue tune, 

'S clarsair an t-seana phuirt.' And the harper of the old tune. 

'Cha'n eil teud am chlarsaich, Tliere is not a chord in my harp, 

Bho 'u a dh' fhag mo run mi.' Since my lover has left me. 

' Dheanadh Eoghan clarsaichean Eoghau would make harps 

Na'n cuireadh cacha ceol annt.' If others would put melody in them. 

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 Torr- 
loisg, 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 
place near Beauly is called ' Ceann a chlarsair,' the headland of the 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,' the well of the harpers. It is likely 
that the harpers in Lismore were attached to the church of St. Moluag, the 
cathedral of the see of Argyll and the Isles, and built during the episcopate of 
Bishop Carmichael, generally called an ' t-Easbuig Ban,' the fair-haired bishop. 

' Cadal a chlarsair The sleep of the harper 

Seachd raidhean gun fhaireach.' 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 bheil na puirt Where may be the tunes 

Nach ursgeil an clarsair .'' ' The harper will uot recall ? 

The last harper of note in the Highlands was Roderick Morrison, harper to Mac- 
leod of Macleod. He was a man of good family and education, and was known as 
a celebrated musician, not only throughout 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 Klellr, a rock, a cliff, an eminence. ' Cleit' 
often occurs as a prefix and as a suffix in place-names. ' Ormacleit,' Onn'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 ; ' Cleite 



NOTES 247 

Gadaig/ cliff of ' Gadag/ St. Kilda. This term occurs in the ' Banais loirteach,' 
St. Kilda Wedding :— 

' Is truatfli nach roMi mi 's giullachan Would were I and manikin 

Air nmllach Cleite Gadaig, On crest of Cleite Gadaig, 

Acuinn air a sunnaradh. His harness well established. 

Us mise bhi gu h-aird oirr.' And I right in charge of it. 

' Cleite na comhla,' bar of the door ; ' cleit/ a hut, store, the name in St. 
Kilda for the small structures in which the people store birds, peats, and 
provender. 

Clialk, stockade, wattle, creel, panier, hurdle, hamper, harrow. 

In olden times ' cliath ' included a strong stockade, constructed of wood or 
wattle, to safeguard ' raeanbh chro,' 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-chat , 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 boyne to safeguard the milk against 
unseen powers. The triple cord symbolised the Trinity, and the circle eternity. 

Clom/i, 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 in. 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 Highlands 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 Leothsach,' the Lews 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 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 



248 NOTES 

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 quality, 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 peace- 
ably 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 quarrel- 
some 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 world by happy stealth, 
A skiiF 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 poetrj', — ' 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 

C'ha robh mi fein air a chnoc, I myself was not on the hillock, 

Na'n d'fhuair mise mo chuid fhein Had I received mine own share 

Cha robhas anns an teiu s' a nochd. ' I would not be in this strait to-night. 

' Cnoc ' in the text (vol. i. page 6) implies wisdom, good sense, intelligence. 
I came to know this in a curious manner, after I had despaired of getting at 
the true meaning. 

Lachlan Macdonald, crofter, Benbecula, a man of great natural intelligence, 
ability and industrj', 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-c[ueen of wisdom dwelt 

Au Griauan Aluinn una chroinn. In Beauteous Bower of the single tree, 

Far am faiceadh i 'u saoghal uile. Where she could see the whole world, 

'S far nach faiceadh fuidir a loinn.' And where no fool could her beauty see. 

' 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, 



NOTES 249 

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 alread)'. 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 fairy-land 
appeared, 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 iridescent 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 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 
hands 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 queen 
must have given to her a goodly portion from the beautiful cup of the lovely 
Mary of grace." ' 

Coibhi, Coibhe, Coivi, the 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. 

Coich, coc, coch, cochul, a case, seed-vessel, husk, sheath, shrine, screen. ' Coich 
anama,' soul-shrine ; ' coich na cno,' the sheath of the 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 ; ' fuamhaire mor nan coig ceann, nan coig meall agus nan coig muineal,' 
the big giant of the 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 the ground for a ball, he swings round on his heel 
five times. 

'Tha coig coigeamh an Eirinn agus coig coigeamh an Sratheirinn, ach is fearr 
aon choigeamh Eirinn na coig coigeamh Sratheirinn ' — There are five-fifths in 



250 NOTES 

Erin and five-fifths in Stratherin (Stratheam), but better is one-fifth of Erin 
than the five-fifths of Stratherin. 

Coitchionn, coilciim, cailciiui, general, communal, a common grazing. In the island 
of Tiree ' caitcinn ' is the form of the term. Possibly the Cathkin 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 us conair Moire,' image and rosary of Mary ; ' Conair meangain,' 
a plant mentioned in the ' Muilearteach.' 

Conal, coiiali, love, friendship, the guardian spirit of childhood, 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 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 blatiis us conail, Found for him were warmth and love, 

Oidhche nan seachd sian. On the night of the seven elements, 

Fhuair Conal dha-san creagan, Coual found for him a bower, 

Fo'n do ghabh e dian.' Whereunder he was sheltered. 

Conal, conail, fruitage, fruitfulness, endowment, corn, ear of corn. 

Cormag, Carmag, Cormac, St. Cormac. There were several saints of this name, the 
most celebrated being the learned Cormac, king of Munster, who wrote a Gaelic 
Glossary much prized by Celtic scholars. Probably the Cormac of these poems 
was the friend and successor of Columba. 

Corrachd, a promise, a very sacred promise, a death promise, entreaty. 'Coraidheachta,' 
supplications, in Chronicon Scoloritm (Rolls Series). 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 3'oung man was ' lifted,' and when moving with the ' hosts ' in the 
sky above the girl's home, he was heard to sing ; — 

' Mliorag bheag an cum thu rium catli ? Morag wilt thou hold the war with me .'' 

Bheil thu nochd air son na corrachd ? Wilt thou to-night keep thy promise ? 

Mhorag bheag an cum thu rium cath.'' Morag wilt thou hold the war with me.' 

Gu bheil an gath dha d' ionusuidh. And that the dart is towards thee. 

' Bheil thu nochd air son na corrachd .' Art thou this night for the promise ì 

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 A' ionusuidh. And that the arrow is fast towards thee. 

Crà, blood; hence red. ' Cra-dhearg,' blood-red ; ' cra-dhubh,' dark red ; ' cra-gheal,' 
light red. ' Cra ' enters into place and animal names, as, ' Cra-re,' red rock, and 
' Cra-leacainn,' red slope, place-names on Lochfyne ; ' cra-rionnach,' red mackerel, 
tunny fish ; ' cra-chluasach,' red-eared ; ' cra-chu,' red dog, the fox ; ' cra- 
fhaoileag,' red gull, the black-headed gull generally called 'ceann-dubh' and 



NOTES 251 

' ceann-dubhan,' black-headed; 'cra-ghiadh,' red goose, shell-drake. This 
beautiful bird is common in the Outer Isles — Uist being known as ' Uidhist nan 
cra-ghiadh,' Uist of the shell-drakes. 

John Macdonald, ' Ian Loni,' poet-laureate to Charles ii., says : — 

' Del gu uidh chuain f hiadhaich. Going the way of the ocean wild. 

Mar bu chubhaidh dhuiun iarraidh. Pleasantly as we could desire, 

Gu Uidhist bheag riabhach To brindled little Uist 

Nan cra-ghiadh.' Of the shell-drakes. 

And again Alexander Macdonald, ' Mac Mhaighstir Alastair,' poet-laureate to 

Prince Charlie, says : — 

' Cuiribh fothaibh an rudh ud, Place behind you yonder point, 

Le fallus mhailghean a struthadh, With the sweat of eyebrows pouring, 

'S togaibh siuil rithe bho Uidhist And lift sails to her from Uist 

Nan cra-ghiadh.' Of the sheU-drakes. 

Crean, crion, quake, tremble, suffer, upheave, tear up, excavate. 

Creodach, paralysis of the limbs in horses. 

Creubh, person, body, corpse. When Macdonald of the Isles died in Edinburgh his 
wraith appeared to his people at Duntulm the following night, and said : — 

' Bha mi 'n Duneidean an de, I was in Edinburgh yestreen, 

Tlia mi 'm thalla fein an nochd, I am in mine own hall to-night, 

'S meud a ghoinebhein anns a ghrein. And as much as the mote in the sun, 

Cha 'n eil ann mo chreubh a loehd.' 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 things he would 
receive in atonement, and among them the girdle — 

' Gheobh tu siud us ceud crios. Thou wilt get that and an hundred girdles, 

Cha teid slios mu'n teid iad aog. Nor loin round which they go shall die, 

Leighisidh iad leatrom us sgios — • They will relieve burden and lassitude — 

Seudan riomhach nam ban saor.' The lustrous jewels of the free 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 chno,' 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. Rock 
underlying peat-moss is corroded, while that under glacial deposit is perfectly 
preserved and highly polished, the striae speaking as clearly as do Egyptian 
cylinders. 



252 NOTES 

Crilhionn, crithinn, 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 ' caol- 
dubh,' black willow, and aspen. Tradition says that the white willow was trans- 
formed into black willow 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 meinig a thachair auu au eilean Alas, to fall upon an isle 

Far nach beirear earba. Where liiud is never boru. 

Gun dad ann acb seileach salach. Where nothiug is but willow vUe, 

'S crithionn grad an tairmisg.' And aspen worthless, forsworn. 

Cro, cot, 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 : — 

' Clia teid mi do chro uan gobhar, I will not go to the fold of the goats, 

Cha teid mi do chro nau uau, I will not go to the fold of the lambs, 

Cha teid mi do chro nan caorach, I will not go to the fold of the sheep, 

Bho dh' fhalbh mo ghaol uam.' Since my lover is gone from me. 

Cro, 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 Eirinn,' John, son of the king 
of Ireland, — says : — 
' Cha tugainn dh' an Mhoire mhin thu, I would not give thee to the gentle Mary, 

Cha tugaiun a dh' losa Criosd thu, 1 would not give thee to Jesus Christ, 

Cha tugainn dh' an Chro Naoimh thu.' I would not give thee to the Holy Heart. 

A well at Drimmore, in South Uist, is called 'Tobar Cro Naomh,' Well of the 
Holy Heart. All who drank of its refreshing and curative waters placed a votive 
offering in the cairn beside the well. Another well of the same name is in Sannd, 
in North Uist. This one, however, cannot be located, the extensive and once 
populous district being now almost uninhabited. 

A ruin at Gauslan, in Lews, 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. 



NOTES 253 

'Crothadh/ enclosing ; 'crothadli uan,' enclosing lambs; ' crothadii arbhair/ 
enclosing corn, ingathering crop. 

Crodh-mara, sea-cows. ' Cra-chluasach,' crimson-eared, and 'corc-chliiasacli,' piirjile- 
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 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 cuan Canach, A low is heard in the sea of Cauna, 

Bo a Tiriodh, bo a Barraidli, A cow from Tiree, a cow from Barra, 

Bo a He, 's bo a Arraiii, A cow from Islay, a cow from Arran, 

'S a Cinntire mhin a bharraich. And from green Kintyre of biixhes. 

Caillear, caillear, caillear Cuachag, Lost, lost, lost will be 'Cuachag,' 

Caillear Gumag, caillear Guamag, Lost will be ' Gumag,' lost will be ' Guamag,' 

Caillear Guileag, caillear Guailliouu, Lost will be 'Guileag,' lost will be 'Guaillionn,' 

'S caillear Cruinneag dhonu na buaile. And brown ' Cruiuneag ' of the cattle-fold. 

Tlieid mi, theid mi, theid mi Mbuilc, I will go, I will go, I will go to Mull, 

Tbeid mi dh' Eire nam fear fuileach, I will go to Eiriii of the bloody men, 

Tlieid mi Mhaunaiu bheag nan culaidh, I will go to little Man of the wherries, 

'S theid mi ceum dh'an Fhraing 's clia And I will go to France and no 
chunnart. mishap. 

Caillear, caillear, caillear Gorag, Lost, lost, lost will be 'Gorag,' 

Caillear Dubliag, caillear Dotliag, Lost will be ' Dubhag,' lost will be 'Dothag,' 

Caillear Muileag, caillear Moileag, Lost will be ' Muileag,' lost will be ' Moileag,' 

'S caillear Muirneag dhonu an or-fhuilt.' And brown 'Muirneag' of the golden hair. 

Crub, criiba, pi. criibanan, crubachaii, 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. Kikla 
or in the old sheiling bothies of Lews. 

Cruit, harp. Gaelic, 'croit,' 'cruit'; Irish, ' crot,' ' croit ' ; Welsh, 'crwth.' Pro- 
bably the name is from ' crot,' curve. ' Cruit ' and ' clar,' or ' clarsach,' are now 
used synonymously, but the names meant two different instruments. Probably 
'cruit' was applied to the small harp used by ladies, and 'clar,' or 'clarsach,' to 
the large pedal harp used by men. 

' Cuir do cheann a nail na mo dhail. Place thine iiead near me hither, 

'S gu'n seinninn dhut clar us cruit.' That I may play thee pedal harp 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 
VOL, II, 2 K 



254 NOTES 

harper, or the glen of the kingfisher. (' Cruitein,' crouched one ; ' biora cruitein,' 
water crouched one ; and ' bior an iasgair/ fisher point, are the Gaelic names of 
the beautiful kingfisher.) In Colonsey there is a place called ' Lag a chruitear,' 
hollow of the harper; and in Loch Roag, Lews, a place called 'An Cruitear,' 
the harper. 

Cruth, form, feature, symmetry. The old Highlanders placed much value upon form, 
not only in woman but in man. They said that the father gave form, tlie 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, 

Uirigliill mhaith us deagh labhraidh. ' Good speech and good delivery. 

Cruthach, placenta of mare. 

Citanal, flocks, cattle, horses, sheep, 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 time. (Vol. i. p. 200 §.) 

Cuarlachadh, circuiting, encompassing, surrounding, making a sanctuary. ' Cuar- 
tachadh a chlaidh,' circuiting the burying-ground; ' cuartachadh 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 ' del 
deiseil a chlaidh,' going sunwise round the burial-groun'd, 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 baile,' 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 tiie 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 improvements are rapidly progressing. 



NOTES 255 

Cuat, a lover, a sweetheart, a bosom friend. The word is common in the Western 

Isles. 
Cu^Jasach, cu-fasaich, wolf, lit. wilderness dog. 
Cugallach, precarious, unstable, uncertain. 

' Is cugallach an t-sealg, Precarious is the hunting. 

Is cearbadach an t-iasg, [amalacli Unreliable the fishing, 

Cuir do mhuinighiu anus au talamh, Place thy trustauce in the land, 

Cha d' fhag e fear falamh rianih.' 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 secondarily — a landsman of choice and a 
seaman of necessity. Nevertheless, when the Celt does take to the sea, pro- 
bably he is unexcelled as a boatman, as a mariner, or as a navigator. It is 
computed that two-thirds of 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 the 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 man}' 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 com- 
pulsion, and recently when driven from the land. The sea of the 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. 

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; 'cu-coille,' ' coille-chu,' wood dog; ' madadh-mor,' 'mor-mhadadh,' 
big dog ; ' blad,' mouth ; ' bladair,' mouther. 

In 1427, Parliament passed an Act calling upon all barons to exterminate 
the wolf. It was not, however, till 1743 that the wolf became extinct in 



256 NOTES 

Scotland. This was effected near Fi-ghiuthais by a farmer of the name of 
Macqueen of Poll a chrocain. 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' Dhomballan gradhach fein.' For mine own little Donald beloved. 

Cuileagan, feast, feast in 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, applied 
in the Barra Isles to the sea, from which the people derive most of their liveli- 
hood. ' Cuilidh mhic Ciaran,' the treasury of the son of Ciaran in * Eileacha 
Naomh,' Holy Isles. 

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 Lews speak of the last ' cro-leapa ' being buried with the last body 
carried in it. 
Cuilhe, fold, cattlefold, enclosure, cattle enclosure, a stronghold. 

' Cha teid mi dh'an Chuithe C'hreagach, I will not go to ' Cuithe Creagach,' 

Is beag mo cheist air Anndra, But little is my love for Andrew, 

B'annsa liom am fleasgacli fearail, Rather would I the mauly youth, 

Na fear breac le seann-chrodh.' Tlian 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 Middlequarter, North Uist. 'Cuithe Fhraing,' 
Quiranig, 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. 
Culail, culaist, back place, back wing to a dwelling. The ' culaist ' and the ' cul- 

taigh ' are synonymous terms in Lews, where this adjunct to the dwelling is 



NOTES 257 

frequent. It is used for keeping farm produce, farm gear, fishing gear, or for 
sleeping, and often for all these purposes. 

Curach, corach, curachan, coracle, little coracle. The coracle is a boat whose frame- 
work, called ' cranna-dhail,' 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-tumed boat, covered, like the surrounding machar, with short green 
grass. This ridge is called ' An Curach,' the coracle. 

The coracle is often mentioned in old songs : — 

' Clia 'n fhaic 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 call Uist 'Tir a mhurain,' the land of the 
bent-grass, and the people ' Muranaich/ bent-grass people. Even the people 
on the east side, where there is no bent, apply the name to those on the west, 
where this grass grov/s.) 

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. 

' The fairy woman of the green kirtle, and of the lovely locks of gold, could 
steer her little fair blue coracle adroitly 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.' 

Currackd sagairl, possibly monkshood, usually called 'currachd manaich.' 

Curran cruaidh, hemlock, lit. hard carrot. In Uist the hemlock is called ' curran 
cruaidh'; in Lochaber, ' mungach mear'; in Harris, ' de-theodha ' ; and in 
Lismore, 'ith-teodha.' 

In his Gaelic Names 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 burning 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 sound 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 



258 NOTES 

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 silver 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-seaug, sitheach-seang ! Slender-fay, sleuder-fay ! 

Siubhal-bheann, siubhal-bheann ! Mountaiu-traveller, mountain-traveller ! 

Dubh-sith, dubh-sith ! Black-fairy, black-fairy ! 

C'uile-rath, cuile-rath ! Lucky-treasure, lucky-treasure ! 

Cu-gorm, cu-gorm ! Grey-hound, grey-hound ! 

Sireadh-tliall, sireadh-thall I ' Seek-beyond, seek-beyoud ! 

When the dogs were thus recalled they rushed out, the men 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 hunting 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 High na gile 's na greine 's nan 
corracha 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 

Dailginn, 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 oflicious- 
ness in helping to betray Christ. (Vol. ii. p. 188 fi'.) 



NOTES 259 

Deahhadh (dea'adh), dry, dried up. 

' Tlia'n lir a deabhadh.' The water is drying. 

Dealan-De, butterfly, golden butterfly ; lit. fire of God — 'dealan,' fire, flame, light- 
ning ; 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 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. 

Dearg, an impression ; hence, a wound ; ' deargadh,' ploughing. ' Cha d'f huair 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. 

Z)ear*/iM/, 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, Godward, a place of safety, a point in ' tig ' where the 
boy within is secure and cannot be touched, from ' deas,' sunward, and 'de,' god. 

Dear, dcoir, 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 Dewer, 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 office, due obedience was given to him 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. 



260 NOTES 

The estate was of considerable extent, but is now reduced to a small piece of 
land through the fraud of ' Domhull Dubh nan Ard,' Black Donald of Airds. 
Sir Donald Campbell of Airds, Appin, 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 of Airds 
was a man of great ability, but utterly unscrupulous as to the means whereby to 
attain his ends. His conduct towards Baron Livingstone of Bachuill, Baron 
Carmicliael of Sguran, and other small proprietors in his neighbourhood, shows 
him to have been a man of extraordinary stratagem, duplicity, and rapacity. 

Dr. David Living.stone was descended from these Barons Livingstone of 
Lismore. The great traveller resembled his kinsmen and clansmen in Lismore 
in a remarkable manner, physically, mentally, and morally. The present vener- 
able Baron Alexander Livingstone of Bachuill has been taken for his famous 
namesake. The Baron 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 the Priory of 
Airdchattan. They were big powerful men. One of them is still spoken of 
as ' An Deora mor,' the big almoner, and ' Deora mor Bhail-an-deor,' the big 
almoner of the townland of the almoner. 

Robert Burns 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 sheannachain,' strolling satirists. 

Here again heredity asserts itself, several of these Campbells of Bail-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 sculp- 
ture in the Highlands. One of these was in ' Innis-draoinich,' Lochawe, a few 
miles from Glenlonain, the iiome of the Ruskins. ' Innis draoinich' nii'ans 



NOTES 261 

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,' beauti- 
ful isle. There had been a house of Cistercian nun-sisters here, and an ancient 
burying-ground. There are ancient sculptured stones here, probably une.xcelled 
for beauty of design and of execution. Jewellery in gold and silver from 
designs on these ancient Celtic sculpturings is used by royalty. 

' Ciorsdan Dhughuill fhigheadair,' Christina, daughter of Dugald the weaver, 
was the last of the Ruskins of Glenlonain. Her father was Dugald Maccalman, 
and her mother 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 tliem 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 Reminisceiices of a Highland Parish, and the mother was Margaret 
Carmichael, Lismore, sister of Captain Dugald Carmichael, of the 72nd High- 
landers, ' 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 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 'u toisichear Di-luain, That which is begun on Monday, 

Bithidh e luath, uo bithidh e mall.' It will be quick or it will be slow. 

They also avoid finishing 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 the maiden. 

(The ' maiden ' is the last sheaf of corn cut for the season, and is dressed and 
decorated with flowers and ])laced in the best room in the house till spring, when 
it is given to the horses in their first fiaring 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 Satluirna inu thuath. The expedition of Saturday to the uortli, 

Imirich Luan mu dheas, llie expedition of Monday to the south, 

Ge nach bitheadh agam ach an t-uau, Tliough I should only have the lamb, 

'S ann Di-luain a dh' fhalbhainn leis.' It is on Monday I would go witli it. 

North and south represent respectively unlucky and lucky. 
VOL. II. 2 L 



262 NOTES 

' Di-mairt,' Tuesday, Mar's day, is a lucky day to begin cutting com, or doing 
any work requiring a sharp instrument. ' Mart gu gearradh,' Tuesday for cutting. 
In Uist marriages 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 principal fast. Wednesday was 
considered a lucky day. 

' Clia robli Ciadaoiu riamh gun ghrian. Never was Wednesday without sun, 

Clia robh geamhradh riamh gun smal, Never was winter without gloom, 

Cha robh Nollaig Mhor guu fheoil. Never was New Year without flesh, 

Cha robh bean da deoin guu mhac' 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 beloved Columba, 
Thursday was propitious for all good work, especially for work connected with 
sheep, cattle, and wool-working. It is a good day to be born, to die, and to go 
forth to battle : — 

' La gu breith, la gu bas. Day to bear, day to die, 

La chur gais chon a meirgh.' 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 averse 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 Mhuime ri mo Shlan'ear, His Foster-mother said to my Redeemer, 

Nach e'n Aona bha ga'n aireamh, Tliat it was not the Friday they were counted, 

Ach an Luan an tus au raithe. But the Monday at tlie begiuning of the quarter, 

No an Domhnach, La na Sabaid.' Or the Lord's Day, the Day of the Sabbath. 

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 loisgte ' — 
There is some one here to-day who will not see these peats burnt. All feel 
more than they say. 

No burial occurs on a Friday, nor any other work necessitating the use of 
iron. Even the fairies were not allowed to appear on Friday : — 

' Luchd uau trusganan uaine. The tribe of the green mantles, 

'S nau tulachau cluauach reidh. And of the hillocks reposeful and smooth, 

Beannachd uau siou 's uan siubhal The blessing of the spell (?) and of the 

dhaibh — travelling be theirs — 

An diugh .111 .\ona 's cha chluinu iad siuu.' To-day is Friday and thej' cannot hear us. 



NOTES 263 

There are many sayings about Friday : — 

' An Aona an aghaidh ua 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 an Aoua na bhial e.' If the Friday gets it in its mouth, f.c. it 

will rain. 

Till recently no iron was used in the harrow for harrowing the corn, nor in 
the dibble with which the potatoes were planted. It is 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 Friday. 

' Di-sathuirn,' Saturday, Saturn's day, is never praised except by implication : — 

' Sathurna gun athadh, gun iasad, gun _ Saturday without reproach, without bor- 
fhiachan, rowing, without debts, 

Deireadh seachdain gasda, geal, grianach.' End of a week gladsome, bright, sunshiny. 

'Gealach Sathurna foghar An autumn Saturday moon 

Gabhaidh an caothach seachd uairean.' ^Vill take (give i) madness seven times, i.e. 

madness will be seven times worse. 

' Is leoir gealach ur Shathuru 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 gun It will be seven Saturdays before it is 

bhuain.' reaped. 

'Deireadh nan seachd Sathurn ort ! ' The end of the seven Saturdays upon tliee ! 

' Sonas nan seachd Sathurn ort 1 ' 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 
bom : — 

' 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, Tlie \Vednesday is false. 

An Daorn dalach. The Thursday dilatory. 



264 



NOTES 



An Aona mi-bhuadha. 
An Satliurna mi-ghradhach, 
Leig dhiot sgriob na truaighe ; 
Cha dual dut falbh am maireach- 
Au Domhuach gu fois taniha.' 

Another version says : — 
' Domhnach eirig dh' an Re, 
Diluan na eirich mochj 
Dimairt ar agus eug, 
Diciadain creuchd us croch, 
Diardaoin daoch agus lochd, 
Diaoin ire na di-bhuaidh, 
Cha dual dut falbh a nochd.' 



Friday is unlucky, 

Saturday is unloving, 

Give up thy journey of misery ; 

Unseemly for thee to go to-morrow- 

The Lord's Day is for peaceful rest. 

Sunday tribute to the King, 
Monday arise not early, 
Tuesday is war and death, 
Wednesday is wounds and blood, 
'lliursday is hateful and evil, 
Friday of dire ill-deed, 
Ill-timed to leave to-night. 



Much more folklore on the days of the week might be added. 
Di-baigh, dim-baigh, loveless, merciless ; from ' di,' want of, and ' bagh,' love, mercy. 
Di-bith, dim-bith, lifeless, luckless ; from 'di,' want of, and 'bith,' life. 

Ddchaidh, comparative of ' dogh," ' doigh,' trust ; hence more trustful, more hopeful, 
more likely. 

Doilisg, vexation, annoyance, grief, state of death. 

Domhnach Ceusda, Easter Sunday, Crucifying Sunday; from 'Domhnach,' Lord's 
day, and ' ceus,' crucify. 

The people say that the sun dances on this day in joy for a risen Saviour. 
Old Barbara Macphie at Dreirasdale 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 ais-eirigh 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 makes the small blade of grass to 
grow is the same God who makes the large, massive sun to move.' 

Dortian, a handful, a glove without separate fingers. 'Dornag,' 'doirneag,' a 
round 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 
liandful, and there are twenty-four handfuls in the ' raoid,' sheaf. 



NOTES 265 

Doni-ghcal, 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 unsurpassed. 

Drabhachd, debauchery, indelicacy of speech ; from 'dràbh,' dark, black, smut. 

Dris, driiis, 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 spirits. 

It is spoken of as 'an druise beannaichte ' — 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 draigliionn. Better the bramble than the black-thorn. 

Is fearr an draighioun ua 'u donas.' Better the black -thorn than the devil. 

'Am fear a readhadh 's an druise domh, He who would go in the bramble for me, 

Readhainn '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 of children. 



E 

Eala, eal, ai, 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 animalculae 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 



266 



NOTES 



see several 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. 
Guile gi, guile gi ! 
'S mi fein gle glieal. 
Guile go, guile go ! 
Turas mo dhunaidh. 
Guile, guile ! guile, guile ! 
Thug mi a dh' Eirinn, 
Guile go, guile go ! 
Spuileadh mo chulaidh. 
Guile gi, guile gi ! 
Struilleadh mo leiue. 
Guile, guile, guile go ! 
Ruisgeadh mo bhothan. 
Guile gi, guile gi ! 
Lotadh mo cheile, [cheud gliaol 
Guile go, guUe 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 mliathair cha 'n eirich. 
Guile go, guile go ! 
Sgeula mo mhulaid. 
Guile gi, guile gi ! 
Thug mi a dh' Eirinn. 
Guile, guile ! guile, guile ! 
GuUe gi ! guile gi ! 
GuUe, guile ! guUe, guile ! 
GuUe go ! guile go ! ' 

Another version is : — 

'Gu bhi gi, 
Gu bhi go. 
Mo thuras dubh. 
Mo thuras dubh, 
Mo thuras dubh. 
Mar dhealaich sinn ! 



My feet so black. 

And myself so white, 

Journey of ruin, 

'Iliat took me to Erin, 

Uobbed was my robe. 

Spoiled was my shirt. 

Bared was my bower. 

Torn was my spouse, [first love 

Wounded my sister. 

Maiden of joy, 

Yea, and wounded my brother. 

And my mother may not rise. 

Tale of my sorrow, 

Thaf took me to Eire. 



Gu vi gi, 

Gu vi go, 

My black journey. 

My black journey. 

My black journey. 

How we parted ! 



NOTES 267 

Mo thuras dubh My black jouruey 

A thug mi dh' Eire, I took to Erin, 

Mo chruaidh leir. My hard pain, 

Mar dhealaich sinu ! How we parted ! 

Gu bhi gi, gu bhi go ! Gu vi gi, gu vi go ! 

Guth ua h-eala, guth au eoiu. Voice of the swan, voice of the bird, 

Gu bhi gi, gu bhi go ! Gu vi gi, gu vi go ! 

Gu na h-eala air au loin." Voice of the swan on the lake. 

Probably the mention of Ireland is in reference to the story of ' The Children 
of Lir,' one of the three great ' Sorrows of Story-telling.' 

Although the singing of the swan is not generally acknowledged by ornitho- 
logists, it is a widesjjread 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. 
CJ. MullenhofTs Altertumskimde, where an interesting account is given of the 
song of the swan. 

There are many references in Gaelic poetry to the song of the swan : — 

* Bithidh mi tuillidh gu tursach deurach, I shall henceforth be sorrowful, tearful, 

Mar eala bhau an deigh a reubadh. Like to the white swan after she is wounded, 

Guileag bhais aic air lochau feurach, Singing her death dirge on a reedy lake, 

'S each uUe an deigh a treigsiuu.' When all the others have forsaken her. 

This is true to nature. 

' Is biun na h-eoin au coir na mara. Sweet are the birds beside the sea, 

Is binu ua h-eala tha air an Ion, Sweet are the swans upon the lake, 

Is binne leam-sa guth mo leauuaiii Sweeter to me the voice of my love 

D uair a theanueas i ri ceol.' Wheu 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 mo ghruag a ghearradh, I must needs tonsure my hair. 

Us m'aithreachas a dhubladh, And double my repentance. 

Mo bhoid gu gramail thoir dh' au 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 
Aue year to be Johau 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 a corruption of ' al,' ' ala,' a stone. There are stones so called 
in Lisraore, lona, Crinan, Fortrose, and elsewhere. That in Lismore is near the 



268 NOTES 

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,' 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 sunwise round it and placed upon it before burial. All the stones 
known to me called ' eala ' were places of sanctuary. Possibly ' Eileacha Naomh,' 
Holy Isles, may be ' Ealacha Naomh,' Holy Sanctuaries. 

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 dachiiidh is fearr.' Tlie best homestead. 

' Mo bhruthain blieag fciii Mine own little bower 

'S a shuil 's a ghreiii, With its eye in tbe sun. 

Us teanipull De And the temple of God 
'S a cheaun 's au ear.' With its head in the east. 

Eararadh, seeking, searching. 'Air ciriridh,' 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 cliuile te cho togarrach Each damsel is so blithely 

'S i bogadh ris ua beiririch Bowing to the ' beiriricli,' 

'S gu'n dannsadb i cho sodanach And she would dance as lightly, 
'S ge d' bhiodli i pronnadh eiririch. As if tramping parched corn. 

' 'S e DomhuU, 's e Domhull, 'Twas Donald, 'twas Donald, 

'S e Domhull a rinn a bhaiiais ! 'Twas Donald made the wedding ! 

'S e Domhull, 's e Domhull, 'Twas Donald, 'twas Donald 

A rinn a bhauais aiumeil ! ' 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. Occa- 
sionally it was made of tartan, but generally of ' ioraairt.' 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. 



NOTES 



269 



' Is ioma maighdean sparasach, 
Dha math dh' an tig an earasaid, 
Eadar Baile-mhanaich's C'aolas Bharr 

An deigh ort ; 
Tha tighinn fotliam, fotham, fotliam, 
Tha tigliinn fotliam, fotham, fotham, 
Tlia tigliinn fotham, fotham, fotham, 

Tha tigliinn fotham eirigli. 



There is many a haughty maiden. 
To whom becomes the ' earasaid,' 
From Monkstowu to Barra Sound 

In love of thee, 
I must arise, arise, arise, 
I must arise, arise, arise, 
I must arise, arise, arise, 

I must arise and wield the claymore. 



Tha cuid 's an Fhraiug 's an Eadailt dhiubh. There are some in France and Italy, 

Tha cuid an Eilean Bheagram dhiubh. There are some in Isle of Beagram, 

'S cha'n eil la teagais nach hi 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 iuc,' notched cow, from ' earc,' a 
cow, and ' iuc,' a notch, possibly applied to the Caledonian cattle. 

Earuach, arnach, red-water in cattle, red pleura, bloody flux. 

Earrlait, rich soil, ground manured one year and productive the next, productive 
animals, prosperous undertaking. 

Eid/iion, iad/iaiii, eidh-shlat, iadh-sidat, and cid/iion mu chrann, ivy. ' ladh-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 neighbour- 
hood for ivy, woodbine, and mountain ash. These, sometimes separately and 
sometimes combined, he twined into a three-phed ' cuach,' ring, which he placed 
over the lintel of his cow-house and under the vessels in his milk-house, to safe- 
guard 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 gorm-shuil cliaon. But on Goll was her lovely blue eye, 



B'e fath a h-aislig e 's an oidhehe, 
'S fath a broin an cos nan coiUteau. 



He was the subject of her dreams by night, 
And the cause of her sighs in the depths of 
the woods. 



A Dhuarain c'uim a sheas ! 

A Ghoill c'uim a thuit ! 

A Dhuarain c'uim an cualas riamh 

Luaidh air do shiiochd ! 
Fhuaradh an ailleag, 's i bronacli, 
Us beo eha bhuainte bho a gaol i, 
A beul r'a bheul, a h-uchd r'a uchd, 
A ruighe geal 'g a iadhadli 

Mar iadh-shlat mu stoc aosda.' 



Uuarau, why didst thou stand . 
Goll, why didst thou fall ! 
Duaran, why was ever heard 

Mention of thy race ! 
The lovely damsel was found, and she in grief. 
And living \rould not be torn from her lover. 
Her lips to his lips, her breast to his breast. 
And her white arm twining round him 

As the twining-waud around the aged tree. 

This fragment was taken down in I860 from Kenneth Morrison, Trithion, 
Minginis, Skye. Kenneth Morrison was then blind and old, but he reinem- 
VOL. II. 2 M 



X' 



270 NOTES 

bered many beautiful and rare old poems with more or less completeness. 
These he heard when a boy at the ' ceilidh/ of which 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 giullain ' is a puny boy ; ' eigire bodaich,' a miserly carle ; ' eigire 
truagh duine,' a mean, miserable man. 'Teom eigir ' is a small dole j '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 gu'n toireadh e 
tiodhlac toighe agus nasga deirce. Fiiuair 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 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 oblation of Aigir ! ' 

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 condi- 
tions 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 



NOTES 271 

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 much more had been in verse, but the fragment that follows is 
all that the narrator could remember in the original form : — 
' D'uair blia an fliairge mhor What time tlie great sea 

Na coille choinnich ghlais, ^Vas a grey mossy wood, [foggy 

Bha mis am mhuirueig oig, I was a joyous little maiden, 

Bu bhiadh miamli maidne dhomh My wholesome morning meal 

Duileasg Lice a Eigir, The dulse of the Rock of Agir 

Agus creamh an Sgoth, And the wild garlic of ' Sgoth/ 

Uisge Loch-a-Clieanu-dubhain, The water of ' Loch-a-Cheanu-dubliain,' 

Us iasg an lonnaire-mlioir. And the fish of ' lounaire-mor,' 

B' iad siud mo ragha beath-sa Those would be my choice sustenance 

Am fad 's a bhithinu beo. As long as I would live. 

C'huirinn mo naoi imirean luracli lin I would sow my nine lovely rigs of lint 

An gleauuan griun Chorradail, In the Uttle trim glen of Corradale, 

Us thogainn mo chrioslachan chno And I would lift my skirtful of nuts 

Eadar dha Thorarnis.' Between the two Toraruises. 

All the places mentioned are in South Uist. Corradale is a deep green 
glen between Hecla and Benmore facing the Minch. There are several under- 
ground 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 gentlemen 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 



272 NOTES 

all ends of the earth — many of them to die moral and physical deaths in the 
slums of Glasgow and other cities — in order to add their land to the already 
extensive lands of tacksmen, one of these being the parish minister. 

Toramis, 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 here. 

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 186,9 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 mor m'a meadhon.' Willi 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 Lews, 'eolas' in Uist. 

Eolas, coilse, eoisle, a spell, charm, incantation, magic, exorcism, knowledge. 

Eorla'm, earlain, 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. 

Euiiarag, 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 
Meannanaich, p. 306.) 



NOTES 273 

F 

Fabhradh,sv,ÌT\, ■whirl, eddy. 'Fabhradh nimheil na gaoithe 'n ear'^the venomous 

swirl of the east wind. 
Fad-buinn, 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 ' starsach.' 
Fadhdach, black, blackness, confusion ; cf. ' fadiibhag,' ' fadhtag,' cuttle-fish. 
Fad-seilhh, possession sod, infeftment ; the sod or handful of earth given by the 

seller to the buyer of land. 
Faiteagaii, meadows, little lawns ; from ' fal,' sod, turf. ' Fal ' enters into many com- 
binations, as ' foid-fail,' the sod laid on the top of the wall of a thatched house ; 

'garradh-fail,' turf-dyke, fail-dyke ; ' fal,' divots, in some places 'sgrath.' 
Fairig, dead bird, dead fish, dead seal or dead whale, any creature found dead on 

the sea or shore. 
Fainr,far-thir, probably ' oirthir,' border, coast. 
Falachfidnn, land hiding ; from ' falach,' hiding, and ' fuinn,' oblique of ' fonn,' land. 

'Thainig ceo draogh air na fearaibh, agus rinn iad falach fuinn' — Magic mist 

came upon the men, and they made land hiding. 

Falc, flood, flooding, bathe, dip. 

' Tobar Tiobartaiu nam buadh The well of Tiobartain of efficacy 

A chasgas gach falc us fual. To (juell flood and gravel, 

Au eilean iomartach a chuain In remotest isle of the ocean. 

Am fior iomal an domhain mhoir.' On the very verge of the great domain. 

'Tiobartan ' is on the west side and in the south end of South Uist. Accord- 
ing 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 maehair, near 
the sea, and is now filled up with drift .sand. The term ' Tobar Tiobartain ' 
or ' Tobar Tibirt ' is curious as showing a duplication of words. ' Tibir ' means a 
well, and is a form of ' tobar.' ' Tobar Tiobartain ' might mean ' well of wells.' 
There is ' Aber Tibirt ' at the head of Loch Tiacais in Morven. 

' 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, JaUuing, garment, mantle, robe. 

' Faodaidh luchd nam falluinne dearga. The tribe of the red robes [deer] 

Gun aiftalg a bhi fuilteach.' Need not have their hair bloody. 



274 NOTES 

The robe was asseverated upon — 

' Air m' fhalluinn fhein tha.' Upon mine own robe it is. 

' A iiighean doun nam meal-shuilean. Brown maiden of the liquid eyes. 

Air m' fhalluinn thug mi speis dhut.' By my robe I gave thee love. 

Famh-hhual, 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 aspirated ' 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-thalamhan,' 
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 in habitats. The land- 
mole abides under the earth, living upon earth-plants, earth-roots, and earth- 
insects, and moving about under the 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 Mine Riiaraid/i, 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 him from townland. 

Do mhoinich no choille. To moorland nor woodland, 

Mu'u tig an labh-alan Lest the water-mole should come 

'S gun suath i ris.' And rub on 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 
bun-owing 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 chladaich. ' As crooked as the black whelk of the strand. 
— morally oblique. 

' Fait faochaidh iionn. Hair curving fair, 

Cama lubaidh donn.' Curly winding brown. 

Faoigk,faigh,foigh, thig, thigging, genteel begging. 

' Cha'n fhaoigh e.' It is not a thigging. 

The wool for the web had not been obtained by ' thigging,' which was a common 



NOTES 275 

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 :— 

' Cha 'n i mhuc is fearr It is not the best pig 

A gheobh fear na faoighe." That the man of the thigging gets. 

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 beautiful 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. 

Faoillcach, Faoilteach, Faoillheachd, 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. 

Seachdaiu Caillich, A week of ' Cailleach,' [a few semi-calm days. 

Tri la Sgyabaig, Three days of ' Sguabag,' [the soughing blast which ushers 

Suas an t-earrach ! ' Up with tlie Spring ! in the spring. 

These lines personify the weather under the names of animals and other figures. 
Here we see myths in the making. 

'Tri la luchar 's an Fhaoilleach, Three days of Dog-days in M'olf-month, 

Tri la Faoilleach 's an luchar.' Three days of Wolf-month in Dog-days. 

' Thubhairt an Gearran ris an Fhaoilleach, The ' Gearran ' said to the ' Faoilleach,' 

"C'ait, a ghaoil, an gamhuinn bochd .'^ " ' Where, love, the lean stirk?' 

"Fhir a chuir mi chon an t-saogliail, 'Thou who didst send me into the world, 

Chuir mi mhaodal air an stochd." I placed his paunch upon the stake.' 

" Och mo leireadh," ors an Ceitein. ' O ! my grief,' said the 'Ceitein,' 

"'S truagh an eirig a thig ort, 'Great the ransom upon thee, 

Na 'u d' f huair mise bogadh ehluas dhetli. Had I at all got hold of his ears, 
Chuir mi suas e ris a chnoc." ' I would have sent him up the hill.' 

The people disliked heat in the ' Faoilleach,' deeming it unnatural. 
' Faoilleach, Faoilleach, crodh air ' Faoilleach/ ' Faoilleach,' cattle fleeing from 
teas, heat, 

Caoidh us caoiueadh dheanadh mis. Weeping and wailing I would make to it, 
Faoilleach, Faoilleach, crodh am 'Faoilleach,' 'Faoilleach,' cattle fleeing to 

preas, bushes, 

Gaire caomha dlieanaiuM ris.' Laughter and hail I would make to it. 



276 NOTES 

The ' Gobag/ voracious one, began the day before the ' Faoilleach/ and is on this 
account called the mother of the ' Faoilleach ' : — 

' Gobag, Gobag-, mathair Faoillich ' Gobag ' ! ' Gobag ' ! mother of the M'olf-month 
fuair, cold, 

A mharbh a chaor agus a chaol-uan, That didst kill the sheep and the lean lamb, 

A mharbh a ghobhar ghlas ri dha. That didst kill the grey goat in two watches, 

Agus an gambuinn 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-chitdl, fairchil, 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' fhaide do shleagh na slat shiuil. Longer thy spear than the yard of the sail, 

Bu bhinne na farch-chiuil do gliuth. Sweeter than the lyre of melody thy voice, 

Snamhaiche cbo fatli ri Fraoch A swimmer as swift as Fraoch 
Cha do shin a tliaobh ri sruth.' 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, fdth, 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 'ra faic 
mi fath dhiubh ' — Nor see I a view of them. Probably cognate with 'faire,' 
' faireadh,' 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 mathair a tighinn uaithe. The mother coming from him. 

This is a riddle the answer to which is ' night and day.' 

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. 



NOTES 277 

Feun, the arm, the hand, the hollow of the palm. 

Fideag, flute, whistle, whistling. 

' Co shinneas an f Iiideag airgid — Who will play the silver flute — 

Mac mo righ air tir an Albain ! ' The son of my king ashore in Alban ! 

Fiudliag, fiodhagach, 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 that she would perform 
for him whatever service he demanded. Never thinking that she could accom- 
plish 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 tlie rogue ! 

The ' beast ' would then change the measure of her song, and sing — 

'Gach fiodli 's a choill ach iiodhagach. Any tree in the forest save the wild fig-tree, 

Gach fiodh 's a choill ach fiodhagach. Any tree in the forest save the wild fig-tree, 

Gach fiodli 's a choill ach crithionn crainii, Any tree in the forest save the aspen tree, 

Druidhinn dreaiig, iudhar cam us fiod- The thorn of pain, the crooked yew, and 

hagach.' tlie wild fig-tree. 

Fiolan,^fiollan, feailan, a fly, a worm, an insect, an animal, a parasite, the bot fly. 

It is difficult to determine the precise meaning attached to ' fiolan ' in these 
incantations. Probably 'fiolan fionn ' is the gadfly; 'fiolan donn,' the ear- 
wig; ' 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,' gadfly, 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 us sithionn,' between skin and flesh, 
causing intense pain and suff"ering. 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. 

VOL. II. 2 N 



278 NOTES 

Similar insect pests are common in South America, Africa, and India, caus- 
ing much trouble, sometimes resulting in permanent injuries to natives and 
Europeans. 

Fioii, wine. Wine is frequently mentioned in old Gaelic lore, whisky never. The 
following lines occur in a song taken down in Miunghlaidh, one of the islands 
of Barra, in the summer of 1 865 : — 

' Is e mac Aoidh an duine treubhacli, 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 fhraoicli. And wine from the heather-top, 
Na 'm b' fheudar.' If it were necessary. 

Fionn-Jaoilidh, a plant, the English name of which I do not know. 

Fitheach, biadhtach, 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 simply look at the injured one, 
and tlien sail away as silently and as variously as the}' 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 aiaje.' 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 brings 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 bhiadlitaich, Tliou 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. 



NOTES 279 

The boy promptly replied : — 

' Ma 's a tusa Mag-omhnuill, If thou be the Macdoiiald, 

Gu 'n deau an Domhnach a dliiol dhut, May the Lord make thee recompense, 

Ca 'n cualas riamh fear dha d' chinneadh Where was ever heard a mpn of thy name 

Ag aoireadh gille ma dhiasan ? ' Satirising a boy for ears of corn ? 

(When the Lord of the Isles is meant, and then only, the name ' Macdhomh- 
nuiir is pronounced ' Mag-omhnuill.') 

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, North List. 
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 direc- 
tions. "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 congeners the crows would have done, 
but like a gang of thieves taken by surprise, all in different directions, and in 
various ways, 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.' 
FdHos, farlus, fairleus, the smoke-hole in the ridge of a house for the egress of 
smoke and the ingress of light, from ' fair,' horizon, and ' leus,' light. 



280 NOTES 

Flathas, heaven, an abbreviated form of 'flathanas,' 'flaitheamhnas.' Sometimes 
taken to be ' flaithinnis,' isle of the noble ; from ' flath,' 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. 

Fd, brink ; ' fo a bhais,' brink of death. 

Foirich, fuiriche, lump, mallet, pestle, the stone used in crushing the corn in the 

' pollag,' corn mortar. 
Foirinn, border land, debatable land, land held in dispute and therefore watched. 
Foiriridh, foirireadh, keen observation, anxious waiting, wake, watching the corpse. 

Forach, forch, foirch, Joiriche, a projection, a swelling, a rock, a reef in the sea, 
ordinarily 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 tiien rush along I'oaring 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 Marj', endearingly 
applied to the skylark. 

'Tha fosgag bheaf? a cheileir ghrinn The little lark of melodious trill 

Os cionu mo chinn ri orau ; Is over my head singiiijif ; 

Cha dhuisg i dhomh-sa solas binn But she will not awaken in me joy of music, 

'S mo cliridhe tian an dolas.' And that my heart is sick in sorrow. 

Fosgian, a porch ; ' fosglan air an fhosglan,' an opening on the opening — porch : 
'am fosg,' the space above us; 'anns an fhosg,' in space. 

Freigk, fraigh, fragh, wall, partition, division, shelf ' Crog fraigh,' hand shadow, 
shadow pictures thrown on the wall. 

' Is duilich bauas taifthe Difficult it is housewifery 

Dheauamh air fraighibh falamh.' To make upon empty walls. 

Frld, Jrkle, 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 



NOTES 281 

mouths awaiting it. 'Macmhuirich Mor' of Staoligeany 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 hiaidli, Hush, thou dearie, hush, thou pet, 

Uist a cliuilean nan cas luath, Hush, thou darling of the rapid feet, 

D uair a shuidhichear clar Mliicmhuiricli, When Macvuiricli's board is set, 
Gheobh mo luran iodh us uachd.' My darliug; «ill 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 witli the switch he had, saying, ' Gabh 
ealla ris, a mhuirneag, is ioma bial feumach tlia 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 ' Mac- 
mhuirich 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, 159.) 

Frith, small, diminutive, infinitesimal — generally a prefix. ' Frith-ghaol,' small love, 
' frith-ghaoth,' weak wind, ' frith-cheol,' low music, ' frith-cheol min nan sitheach 
seang,' the soft music of the slender fairies. ' Frith-iasg,' small fish— generally 
applied to garvies, matties, and to immature fish ; ' traigh frith-eisg,' strand of 
small fish, implying sand-eels ; ' frith-thraigh,' small ebb ; ' frith-rathad,' foot- 
path, in contradistinction to 'rathad mor,' high-road; 'frith-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.' 

Immediately before the battle of Killiecrankie Sir Donald Macdonald mixed 
some meal and water in the heel of his shoe. Of this he afterwards said — 
' Is math an cocair an t-acras ; A good cook is hunger ; 

Is meinig a dhean tarcuis air biadli. AV'oe to him who would despise food. 

Fuarag eorn a sail mo bhroige A mixture of barley-meal in the heel of my slioe 

Biadh a b' fhearr a flmair mi riamh.' Was the best food that I ever got. 



282 NOTES 

Sir Donald Macdonald was a man of noble presence and character. He is 
one of the few Jacobite Highlanders to whom Lord Macaulay allows a virtue. 
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. 
Fuldir, fool, lout, clown ; akin to 'fuidse,' coward, also to ' buidir,' a witling. 
Fiiil, 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 daraidi. They placed thy head on a block of oak. 

Us dhoirt iad t-fhuil gu lar ; And they poured thy blood to the ground ; 

Na'n rohh agam-s' an sin copan Had I there a cup in my hand, 

Dh' olainn dhith mo shath.' 1 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, Crossbost, Lews. He was drowned on 
the way to his marriage. Ann Campbell composed a beautiful lament for her 
lover, in which she says : — 
'Is truagh, a Righ! nach mi bha lamh riut, ^Vould, O King ! that I were near thee, 
Ge b'e eilb na ob an traigh thu, On whatever bank or creek thou art stranded, 

Dh'olainn deoch ge b'oil le each e, I would drink a drink, gainsay it who would, 

Cha b'ann a dh'fliion dearg na Spainue Not of the rich red wine of Spain, 

Fuil do chuim a ghraidh a b'f hearr liom, The blood of thy body, love, would I prefer. 
An fhuil tha nuas o lag do Tlie blood that comes down from the 

bhraghaid.' 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 Carnish in I601 : — 

'Bha fuil do chuirp chubhraidh The blood of thy fragrant body 

A drudhadh thromh t-anart, Was soaking through thy linen, 

Bha mi fein ga sughadli I myself was sucking it 

Go'n do thuch air m'anail.' Till my breath became hoarse. 

Another song says : — 

'Chasg mi do chreuchd, I stanched thy wounds, 

'S iad gu leir ro lionmhor. And they all too numerous, 

'S dh'ol mi d' fhuil chra, And I drank of thy red blood, 

'S i na b'f hearr na'm iion liom.' 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. 
Fiiradh, furaradh, fuirireadh, parching corn, a mode of drying grain to make the 
cakes for Christmas and other festivals. ' Min fhuiriridh,' parched-corn meal. 



NOTES 283 

G 

Gàis, gties, wisdom. 

Gdis, spear, lance, spear-haft, flag-staff; 'gaise na brataich,' staff of the banner. 
Gdis, plenty, abundance, food ; probably ' geis," milk, milk produce, gestation. 
Gahiisg — 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 sileadli deoir a sula.' Sliedding the tears of her eyes. 

' Gainisg,' sedge, is the long coarse grass among which the naiad weeps and 
moans. 

Galar-honn, bruised soles, a disease in the hoof of cattle caused by walking over 
hard, I'ough, 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 t-slcibh, club-moss. The club-moss was used for fixing dyes, for strength- 
ening 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. 

Garman, 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. 

Us Aonghas dubh a del gu bas, And black Angus going to death, 

Cha dean e posadh no baisteadh. He will perform no marriage nor baptism, 

'.S cha mho gheoldi thu dad lilio cliach.' Nor shalt thou get aught from 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?' The ruling 
jiassion 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. 

Us dealaichidh an saoghal ruiun. And the world shall part from us, 

Ach leanaidh am breabadair ris a gharman. But the weaver shall cleave to his beam. 

Us leanaidh an t-armadh ris an t-slinn.' And the dressing shall cleave to the sleay. 

Gas, stalk, stem, column, a sapling, a stripling, a youth. 

' Na gasain ura, siol nam fiurau The fresh youths, offspring of the dauntless, 

Bha n'au diulnaich 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 



284 NOTES 

in Argyll. ' Gearr-chu,' squat dog, the wolf; ' gearr,' ' gearr-fhiadh,' squat 
deer, the hare; 'gearra-breac,' 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 chuthaig, thig an t-snag. The cuckoo will come, the night-jar will come, 

Thig a cliuile h-ian g'a nead. Every bird will come to its nest, 

Thig a ghearr as a cliuan. 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 descrijitive. ' 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-datli,' war-colour ; ' cath-dath 
rioghail,' regal war-colour. The ' cota-gearr ' is mentioned in a song taken down 
from an old woman in Uist in 1866. She said that the song had been composed 
to one of the gallant Clanranalds by a lady, after the battle of Auldearn. 

' 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 the short coats, 

Liom a b'aithghearr bhur ceilidh, To me short you stay, 

Luclid nan cotaiche gearra. Men of the short coats. 

Chit an dearrsa la greiue. Gleaming in the sunny day. 

Thug sibh mionnan a Bhiobuill, Ve gave your Bible oatli, 

Dol a sios gu Allt-eire, Going down to Auldearn, 

Nach de'adh claidhe a dhubladh That no sword should be sheathed 

Gu 'n an cruinte High Searlacli.' Till crowned was King Charles. 

The battle of Auldearn was fought, in May l645, between the troops of the 
Commonwealth under General Hurry and the Loyalist Highlanders under Mont- 
rose. 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 surname 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.' 
Perhaps 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 — 

'Cha'nfhaigh Mac Iain Ghiorr The son of John Gearr from Mull shall not 

a Muil thu, get thee, 

Ogha Ciaraig, iar-ogha Granddaughter of Ciarag, great-granddaughter 
Cruinneig. ' of Cruinneag. 



NOTES 285 

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 Ghiorr began to decline after he took the widow's only cow, till 
at last he met the fate he had long merited. 

Gcas, gis, geis, spell, enchantment, exorcism, sorceiy ; 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, liigh Geigeaii, 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 with soot. When the man had been made as formidable and hideous 
as possible, a sword, scythe, or sickle was placed in his hand as an emblem of 
office. 

This ceremony was described to me by Mr. Donald Mackay, minister of 
Cross, Lews. He said he had seen it in the first decade of the century in his native 
parish of Creich, Sutherland. I have failed to find any trace of the ceremony 
further south. 

A rhyme common among boys at play says : — 

'Thaiiie mi o chri-chas, I came from small peril, 

Thaiue mi o chruai-chas, I came from fjreat peril, 

Thaiue mi o Ghigeau, I came from Geigean, 

Thaiue mi o Ghuaigean, I came from Guaigean, 

'S thig mi uat-s' ma dh'fhaodas mi. And I will come from thee if I can. 

' Gigean ' and ' Guaigean ' are probably forms of ' Geigean.' 

Geil, a form of 'goil,' 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 junction 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, indica- 
tive of the artistic eye and the skilful hand of the builders. 

The old ruin is called ' Caisteal nan Geimhlean,' Anglicised Geylan 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 
VOL. II. 2 O 



286 



NOTES 



base of the old keep is a phenomenal number of clear crystal springs, boiling 
and bubbling 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, fatli ar solais.' Fount of our health, source of our joy. 

Gcis, geisnean, gestation, gestators, gestating animals ; milk, milk 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 nursing her child heard 
a fairy mother singing the song to her changeling in the fairy bower beneath 
the knoll : — 



' Cas a mliog-a luii'ean, 
A luirean, a luirean, 
Cas a mhog-a luirean. 
Air ular aig m' eudail. 

Chuirinn ann an creadhail thu, 
Bhithinn fliiu a feitheamli ort. 
Is ioma te bliiodh aighearach 
Na'm bu leatha fhein thu. 
Cas a mhog-a luirean, etc. 

Thogainn air mo ghualain thu 
Shiubhlainn eutrom uallach leat, 
'S mis an te bhiodh uaibhireach, 

A cuallach leat iia spreidhe. 
Cas a mhog-a luirean, etc. 

Bheirinu bin us brailis dhut, 
Bheirinn fin na cailis dhut, 
Bheiriun mire meala dhut. 

Us bainne geal nan geisneau. 
Cas a mhog-a luirean, etc' 



Lilting on the light foot, 
Tlie liglit foot, the light foot. 
Lilting on the light foot, 
My dearie trips the floor. 

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 shoulder, 
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 gi\e 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. 



■ Geis' 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, 
Ciiir 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 au 

tulaich. 
Am buaile an tulaich, am buaile an 

tulaich. 
Am bi gruain, us gruithim, us 

geis O ! ' 



^V'ould that I and my baby were, 
W^ould that I and my baby were, 
AV^ouId that I and my l)aby were. 
Under tlie shade of the trees O 1 

In the fold of the hill, in the fold of the 

hill. 
In the fold of the hill, in the fold of the 

hill. 
In the fold of the hill, in the fold of the 

hill, 
Of 'gruain,' and crowdie, and of 

milk O ! 



NOTES 287 

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 us grian As long as moon and sun shall last 

Cha bhi fear na fialaciid falamh.' The generous man shall ne'er be empty. 

Gith, 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. 

Gla'mtic, glaistis, 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 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 tlie ' 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 Locli- 
aber while the sun shone by day or the moon b}' night. When the ' glaistic ' 
stretclied out her lovely little hand and placed it on the coulter to give the 
required assni-ance, 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 there 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 roiimeach daibh. Growth like the fern to them, 

Crion mar an luachair daibli, Wasting like tlie rushes to them, 

'S diombuan mar cheo nam beann.' And uulasting as the mist of the hill. 

The descendants of Big Kennedy of Lianachan say that the curse is still 
upon them. 

G/as, water. The word is now rare in tlie simple form, but is common in compounds, 
as — Douglas, Duglas, from ' dubh,' black, and ' glas,' water ; Conglas, ' con,' fierce, 
and 'glas'; Glasdrum, 'glas,' and 'druim,' ridge; 'an t-uisge glaiseach,' the 
river Glas, in Strathglass. 

Glugalaich, ghiginic/i, gu]ping, gurgling, full of gulping ; from 'glug,' gulp. 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 gamhua glugach, Tlie gulping of tlie gulping stirks, 

Glugalaich nan gruaigean, Tlie gulping of tlie hairy ones, 

Glugalaich nan gamlina glugach. The gulping of the gulping stirks, 
Muigh ri niullach Ruai-bhall.' Out the face of Ruaival. 



288 NOTES 

Glun, knee — 

'Chaidli Muire mhin g-heal 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 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. 

Gobhar, 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 bhau In the faces of women 

Gu mealladli 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, Tlie desire of the sheep, heat, 

Miann gobhar, gaoth The 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, Goiridh, 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 very 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 crowned 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-snaodh,' leader, trails behind him or carries over him a dried bull-hide 
which his followers strike with 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 that 
they — the good guisers — have come, that they have never been here before, and 
that they are come now, not to beg nor to borrow, not to buy nor to steal, 
but to bless the house, tiie houseman, the housewoman, the household, and the 
farm and plenishing. 



NOTES 289 

In the Outer Isles the walls of the houses are very 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 
light round. The roof is raised from the inner facing of the wall, the rest 
being laid over with turf and green grass, where pet sheep or lambs often 
graze, and occasionally — when 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 the 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 round 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, us barlag, us greauudag, A rag, and a tatter, and a tunic. 

Us seann chraiciun brathain. And an ancient quern skin, 

Agus claidhe air a leis. And a glave upon his hip, 

Claidhe air a leis ! ' A glave upon his hip ! 

Gnos, gnosadh, profane swearing, swearing by God, by Christ, or by any of the 
host of heaven. 

Gruagach, 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 found 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, Lews, Sutherland, Ross, at Culloden, 
Cawdor, Lochaber, and in various other places. All these oblation stones 



290 NOTES 

are erratic 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 rune — 
' 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' could 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 admonish an unseen 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 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 
' creataireau,' creatures, crooning a lullaby the while, and striding to and fro. 
The following is a fragment of one of her songs : — 

' Ho, hi, lio ! mach ua boidhean. Ho, hi, ho ! out the kiue, 

Boidheau boidheach brogach beannach, Pretty cattle hoofed and horned. 

Ho, hi, ho ! mach na boidhean. Ho, hi, ho ! out the kiue. 

Crodh Mhicugain, crodh Mhiceauuain, Cowsof Macugan, cowsof Mackinnon, [Cook 
Crodh Mhicf hearachair mhoir a Bheaunaiu, Cows of i)ig Macfarquhar of the Bennan, 

Ho, hi, ho ! mach na boidhean. Ho, hi, ho ! out the kiue. 

Corp us earn air graisg na Beurla, Corpse and cairn to the rabble English, 

Mharbh iad orm mo cheile falaich. They have killed my hidden lover, 

Ho, hi, ho ! mach na boidheau. Ho, lii, ho ! out the kiue. 

Ruisg iad mi gu ruig mo leine. They have stripped me to my sliift, 

Struill agus streuill mo leannau. They have clubbed and torn my lover. 

Ho, hi, ho ! mach na boidheau. Ho, hi, ho ! out the kine. 

Oidhch an Arrain, oidhch au lie, A night in Arran, a night in Islay, 

'S an Cinutire ghuirm a bharraich. And in green Kintyre of birches. 

Ho, hi, ho ! mach ua boidhean.' Ho, hi, ho ! out the kiue. 



NOTES 291 

The people of Bennan were so pleased with the tender care the 'gruagaeh' 
took of their com and cattle tiiat 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 ' gruagaeh ' 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 Benbuidhe 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 'gruagaeh' 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 overturned her into the sea. The people of Bennan 
mourned the 'gruagaeh' long and loudly, and bewailed their own otiiciousness. 

'Gruagaeh' is now applied to a maiden, and occasionally, in derision, to 
a man with long hair. But that it was not always so is evidenced by these lines 
from an old ballad : — 

'Ingheau oighre Bhaile-cliath, Daughter am I of the heir of Dubliu, 

Cha cheilinu, a thriath uan lann, I will not conceal, thou chief of spear.-i. 

Do ghruagacli Eilean uau eun To the 'gruagaeh ' of the Isle of birds 

Is ann a rug mi fein mo chlaun.' I myself bore my children. 

' Gruagaeh ' is also the name of a famous swordsman and athlete in the old 
tales. 

Griiaigcan, a seaweed, lit. little hairy one (alalia esculenla). This seaweed contains 
saccharine and iodine, and is eaten raw. ' Miorcan ' in Lews. 

Gruithim, crowdie, granulated curds and butter mixed ; ' gruth,' curds, and ' ini,' 
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 '11 crowdie a' my meal away.' 

Gual, grief, consumed by grief as by fire : — 

' Mo chridh ga ghualadh 's ga losgadh.' My heart cousuming aud buruing. 

— Barm h'ong. 
'Mi ga m' ghualadh 's mi ga m' losgadh I consuming and bui-niug 

Bhi g' a faicinn air a thoisgeal.' To be seeing her on tliy right hand. 

Gual, guala, giialain, shoulder: ' erois air gach guala dheis,' a cross on every right 
shoulder ; ' crois gheal air gach guala dheis,' a white cross on every right 
shoulder; 'crois dhearg air gach guala dheis,' 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. 228.) 

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 physi- 
cally. 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. 



292 NOTES 

Giiim, cuhn, conspiracy, revolt, rebellion. ' Tha iad a deanamh guim an aghaidii a 
mhaoir' — They are making a conspiracy against the ground-officer. 

Gul, 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 the 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. 220.) 

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 funeral procession left 
the house the woman set up a plaintive cadence. At first her voice was low and 
tremidous, 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, lii, ho ! Ho, ro, hi, ho ! 

Dh' fhalbh na Sasunnaich, The Saxoii 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 wlien they 

iad.' shall return. 

A Lochaber woman in Glasgow was taken to see Ekhaid 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 ? 



I 

Ichd, ichd, Ic, a frame put under a bee-hive. 

lodh, corn, food. ' lodh ' is obsolete as a simple term, but current in compounds, as 
' iodhlann,' corn enclosure, stackyard, from ' iodh,' corn, and ' lann,' an enclosure ; 
'iodhlan,' a small strip of land under corn. The words 'iodhlach' and 'iodh- 
lachadh ' are applied in Skye to all handling of corn, from cutting to stacking. 
' Tireadh,' ' tiriodh,' drying corn on a kiln. 

Tiree, 'Tir-iodh,' coniland, was the grange of the religious community of 
lona, as Trotarnis was the grange of the Macdonalds of the Isles, and as Lis- 
more 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, 



NOTES 293 

fertile island, which is spoken of as 'Tir iosal an eorna ' — low land of barley. 
Other popular sayings about Tiree are : — 

' Tir na mine niiue. The laud 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. 

' Bheireadh Tir-iodh an da bharr Tiree would give the two crops 

Mur bhi eagal an da mhail.' AVere it not tlie 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 : — 

' D uair bhitheas mi 'n Tiriodh is Gordanach mi. When I am in Tiriodh I am a Gordon, 
D uair bhitheas mi 'n Asaint is Leodach mi, When I am in Assynt I am a Macleod, 
D uair bhitlieas mi'n Cataibh is Sutharlach mi. When I am in Cataibh I am a Sutherland, 
D uair 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, iola, 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 contradistinction to ' maghar,' moving 
about. In Shetland, ' iola,' ' eila,' means fishing with a feather, whether moving 
or stationary. 

' Iola ' 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-geo- 
ghamhna,' 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 mhic Iain Bhruis, Little Patrick, son of John Bruce, 

Nach robh thu anu an lolagaig ! ' AV'ouId thou wert in lolagag ! 

The island of Rockal, perhaps the mythic submerged ' Rocabarraidh ' of the 
Barra people, is called ' Iola nam miola mora,' the fishing-bank of the great 
creatures ; ' Iola nam muca mara,' the fishing-bank of the sea-pigs, whales. 
Iind, Shrove, Shrove Tuesday. 

' A chiad Di-mairt dh'an t-solus ur The first Tuesday of the new moon, 

Di-mairt Inid, Tuesday of Shrove, 

Seachd seachdainean o breith gu has Seven weeks from birth to death, 

Eadar Casg us Inid.' Between Easter and Slirove. 

Isean. In some places ' isean' is applied 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 
Lews, 'isean eich,' the young of the horse. 
lT(chd, iuc, nook, angle, recess, slit, scalloj), fissure. ' Earc iuchd,' slit-eared cows, 
ordinarily called 'tore chluasach,' notch-eared, or 'crodh mara,' sea-cows. A 
VOL. II. 2 P 



294 NOTES 

cliff in Benderloch is called ' Creag-niuchd/ evidently a corruption of ' creag an 
iuchd,'rock of the angle or recess, a descriptive name. 
Ifichd, ITic, was the name of one of the four children of Tuirinn. The name is 
mentioned in the touching lament of their father, who died waiting and watch- 
ing for them when the ill stepmother had put them under druidism in the form 
of swans. 
'A chleirich a chladliaich an uaigh, Thou cleric who didst dig the grave, 

Cuir lachaidh us Conn cruaidh ri mo thaobh Put lachaidh and Conn hard by my side, 
Cuir luchd mo ghraidh eadar mo dha lamh, Place luchd of my love between my two arms, 
'S a chleirich aigh cairich rium Aodh.' And gracious cleric lay close to me Aodh. 



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 ; cf., 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 
wild waves of the sea with the same easy grace that the pheasant manages its 
tail among the rough branches of the trees, and the 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 nightin- 
gale, 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 end. 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 Hams, 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 



NOTES 295 

delight 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 S.Srd September 1887, seven of these graceful 
birds which had been drowned on one set of lines in 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 druidheachd,' 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, while their kinsmen and clansmen are grubbing 
in the ground 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 Macleod of 
Bearnarey, knighted on the field of Worcester : — 

Clann Ic Anudaidh ! Clan Mac Andy ! 

Clann Ic Anndaidh ! Clan Mac Andy ! 

Finidh fanntaidh ! Weakly clansmen ! 

Finidh fanntaidh ! Weakly clansmen ! 

Bhioch ! bhoch ! bhuch ! Vioch ! voch ! vuch ! 

Ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ! Uv-nv ! uv-uv ! uv-uv ! 

0!U!0!U! 0!U!0!U! 

U!0!U!0! U!0!U!0! 

Ur ! ur ! ah ! Ur ! ur ! ah ! 

Clann Ic Anndaidh ! Clan Mac Andy ! 

Clann Ic Anndaidh ! Clan Mac Andj' ! 

Daoine sanudaidh ! Greedy clansmen ! 

Daoine sanndaidh ! Greedy clansmen ! 

Bhioch ! bhoch ! bhuch ! Vioch ! voch ! vuch ! 

Ubh-ubli ! ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ! Uv-uv ! uv-uv ! uv-uv ! 

U!0!U!0! U!0!U!0! 

0!U!0!U! 0!U!0!U 

Our O ! Our a ! Our O ! our a ! 



296 



NOTES 



Claun Ic Anndaidh ! 

Clann Ic Anndaidh ! 

Gabh cabhraich ? 

Gabh cabhraich ? 

Bhioch ! bhoch ! bhiich ! 

Ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ! ubh-ubh ' 

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! 

Na h' Eoin Bhuchfhuinn, 

Thig bho'n bhochfhuinn, 
Dh' eubhas gu binn, 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 

Bhochfhuiun a bhuth ! 

De chuir thu'ii traigh an diugh? 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhutli ! 
Bhiochfhuinn ! bhochfhuinn ! lihach- 
fhuinn bhuth ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 

Gaol us gradh us cairdeas dut, 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 
Bhiochfhuinn ! bhochfhuinn ! bhach- 
fhuinn bhuth ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 

Gaoth air fiar, fiath air muir, 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 

Bhochflminn a bhutli ! 
Bhiochfhuinn ! bhochfhuinn ! bhach- 
fhuinn bhuth ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 

Na h' Eoin Bhuchfhuinn, 

Thig bho'n bhochfhuinn, 
Dh' eubhas gu binn, 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 

Bhochfhuinn a bhuth ! 



Clan Mac Andy 
Clan Mac Andy ! 
Take sowens ? 
Take sowens ? 
Vioch ! voch ! vuch ! 

Uv ! uv ! uv ! 

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 ! 

Ye Birds of ' Buchuinn/ 

That come from ' bochuinn/ 
Calling sweetly, 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

What sent ye to the strand to-day ? 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bochuinn a vu ! 
Biochuinn ! bochuinn ! bachuinn 
vu, 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

Love and affection and friendship for thee, 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bochuinn a vu ! 
Biochuinn ! bochuinn ! bachuinn 
vu, 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

Wind on lea, calm on sea, 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bochuinn a vu ! 
Biochuinn ! bochuinn ! bachuinn 
vu, 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

The Birds of ' Buchuinn,' 

niat come from ' bochuinn,' 
Calling sweetly, 

Bochuinn a vu ! 

Bochuinn a vu ! 



NOTES 297 

Lacha Mlioirc, 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. 

Tlie 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 Sep- 
tember. 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 match- 
less speed. The people maintain that Mary's duck is the swiftest bird in the 
' ealtain,' ' ealt nan ian,' bird-world, world of the birds. 

Lacha shilh, teal, elf-duck; from 'lach,' duck, and 'sith/ elf; also ' crion-lach,' tit- 
duck ; ' crann-lach,' dwarf-duck ; and ' lach eigir,' Aigir's duck. 

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 animalculje brought up by the swans. 
Occasionally 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, iabmir, lanner, falcon, peregrine falcon ; founded on ' lann,' a blade, a 
spear, a lance. 

Men singed their beards, and failing beards, their hair, to sain them from 
birds of prey. Possibly this was in imitation of the three young men who went 
through the fiery 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 clamhau 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 Macmurdoch, crofter, 
Bailemeadhonaeh, 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 



298 NOTES 

they hurriedly rose. But instead of making for the sea-chffs below, they ascended 
in a confused mass, shooting up in leaps and bounds, after the manner of the lark. 

' I knew by the trepidation of the pigeons that an enemy was near, and look- 
ing 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 the while, and swooping off 
as before on nearing 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, splash- 
ing my feet with blood and displacing embedded pebbles in the hard road with 
its sharp beak. 

' The 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 the spinal cord. 
Had the powerful 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 ' DomhuU 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. 
' Laogk na ba air hraigh no heinge ' (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 in 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 own, 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 



NOTES 299 

Scottish Church after the Reformation. These men were bishops in name only, 
not in power, and their revenues 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, Ha, liu. III, water, liquid, lye, lustre. There are several forms of this root and of its 
derivatives — ' lir,' ' linne,' ' lu,' ' 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-Foghail sin, 's Loch-Foghail, Loch Poyle there, and Loch Foyle, 

Loch is doimhne fo 'u domhain. Loch the deepest in the world, 

Ach tha seachd doimhne Loch Foghail But there are seven depths of Loch Foyle 

An lochan 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.' 

Liafh 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. 

Liohk, love, attachment. 

' Gu robh Iain Mac Gilliosa John the son of Gillies 

Uair us uairigin a liobh rium. Was time and times endearing- me, 

Ach o 'u thain an t-Iarl a He 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. 

Lion, lint. There are several kinds of lint, and it is uncertain which is meant. 
Probably, however, the Hnum, flax of commerce, was the lint used by the old 
people for occult purposes. 



300 NOTES 

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 result 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 appropriate to bind the ' cuach," coil, made of the 
different plants. The people say that the hands and feet of Christ were bomid 
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 oft'ence 
as he who would sin against the Holy Ghost: — 
' Meirle lin agus meirle frois. Theft of lint and theft of seed, 

Damlieirle bhonach faighear sith nafois. Two thefts from which no peace nor relief can be, 
Gu'u tig au saoghal gearr gu crich Till the broad world comes to an end 

('ha'n fhaigli meirleach an lin clos.' Tlie thief of lint shall get no respite. 

Some say that the thefts so condemned are the theft of salt and the theft of 
fish from a net : — 
' Meirle salainn agus meirle lin. Theft of salt and theft of net, 

Meirle bho uach faighear sith, Tliefts from which there is no peace, 

Go 'u tig an saoghal ciar gu crich Till the grey world shall come to an end 

Bitli 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. 
Lilheadh, Ugheadh, flow, overflow, flood, flooded ; from ' li,' water : — 

' Tlia mo chasan a call au coiseachd. My limbs have lost their walking, 

Tha mo cheuman a fas faim. 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, liuthail, 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 



NOTES 



301 



waulking, the ' loireag ' would come and render the web as thin as before, and 
all the work of the women of no avail. 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 Benmore, there 
is no person there whom she can frighten or dismay unless the big sheep. The 
' loireag ' is a plaintive little thing, stubborn 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 Ben- 
more, 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 bhoirionu, 
Laoigh bhreaca bhoiriouu, 
Laoigh bhreaca bhoirionu, 
Doinniou auns an damhuir ! 

Bhodaich bhig a bhun a Choire, 
Bhodaich bhig a bhun a Choire, 
Bliodaicli bhig a bhun a Choire, 
Coradal us Craigeo ! 

Laoigh bhreaca bhoirionn. 

Bhodaich bhig a chota ghioire, 

Bhodaich bhig a chota ghioire, 

Bhodaich bliig a cliota ghioire, 

Circedal us Cragabhig. 

Laoigh bhreaca bhoirionn. 

VOL. II. 



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 tartan coat. 

Little carle of tartan coat. 

Little carle of tartan coat, 

Circidale and Cragawg ! 

Calves flecked female. 



2q 



302 NOTES 

Bhodaich bhig a bhun a Bhealaich, Little carle of the foot of the Pass, 

Bhodaich bhig a bhun a Bhealaich, Little carle of the foot of the Pass, 

Bhodaich bhig a bhun a Bhealaich, Little carle of the foot of the Pass, 

Treise dha do lamhaich ! Strength I wish thine hand ! 

Mealam dhut do shlaiute ! Health I pray be thine ! 
Laoigh bhreaca bhoirionn.' Calves flecked female. 

' Loireag ' occurs in the following lampoon. The places mentioned are four 
farms in North Uist adjoining one another. 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 seagulls of the Port of ships, 

Famhlagan Bhaile mhic Conain, The stormy petrels of the town of Couau's son, 

Loireagan Bhaile mhic Phail.' 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 feuma.' 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 gionnaich 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, which 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 fheoir,' little beast of the grass, ' dallag fheoir," 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 to be caused by 
the fairy mouse. The shrew, preferably a live one, is carried sunwise across the 
loin of the animal aff'ected, in name of Father, Son, and Spirit. But, like its 



NOTES 303 

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 bhi 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. 

Liicha s/tit/i, fairy mouse, lesser shrew. It is also called ' beothachan feoir,' little 
life of the grass ; ' fionnag feoir,' little beast of the grass ; and ' feoiineachan,' 
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, 
bemg 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 ' raagh,' 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 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 stunted 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 coilchinn,' dwarf oats, ' eorna 
coilchinn,' meagre here, ' seagal coilchinn,' stunted rye. 



304 NOTES 

Mac-ltr, Mac-an-Iir, son of se.a, 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 ' I,ear,' the sea. 

The stories of ' The Children of Lir,' ' The Children of Uisne,' and ' The 
Children of Tuirinn ' are called ' Tri Broin nan Sgeulachd,' the three soitows 
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 Lochlann, struck on this reef, when Lear himself and all on board were lost. 

Probably ' Lir,' ' Lear,' is the Lear of Shakespeare. 

Mac-tir, wolf. In the time of Athelstan an hospital was put up at Flaxton in 
Yorkshire to protect and nurse travellers who might have suffered from the 
ravages of wolves and other wild animals. 

Maighdean na luimie, mxiirghin na tuinnc, maid of the wave, conception of the sea, 
ordinarily called ' maighdean mliara,' 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. Colin Campbell, crofter, 
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 
f)ut 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 daj's 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 



NOTES 305 

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 creature exactly like it some years 
previously, while making kelp at Airdmaoilean, 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 featui'es as well as in temperament. 
He had 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 duchadh, 
Grimnis, Benbecula. Before putting on her stockings, one of the women went 
to the lower end of the reef to wash her feet. While doing 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 j-ears 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 Clanranaki, 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, marndn, milk, cream, and their products; 'mart math marruineach,' a 
good productive cow. 

Martain, La F/ieill Maiiai/i, 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 1 5th July. The other is ' Martain an Tuir,' Martin of Tours, to whom 



306 NOTES 

St. Ninian's church at Whithorn was dedicated. His feast is on the 11th 
November, a term-day in Scotland. 

Malhan, inaghan, bear ; ' mag-ghamhainn/ handed stirk ; from ' mag/ liand, and 
' gamhainn,' stirk. 

The bear was common in Scotland down to 1545, probably later. It is men- 
tioned in the following lines addressed by one bard to another : — 

' Is tu am niaghan, 's tu am mastic. Thou art tlie bear, tliou art tlie mastiff, 

'S madadh-alla an reubain, And thou the wild wolf of rapine, 

Is tu sionnach sion nan cuireid, Tliou art the fox of foxine wiles, 

'S taghan dubh na deisdin.' And the martin black detestable. 

Meahh, Mcve, 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 braver}'. (Vol. i. p. 8.) 

Meang, whey. ' Fionna-mhiong,' the thicker whey pressed out of the curds, 
literallj' white whey, from ' fionn,' fair, and ' meang,' ' miog, ' whey. 

Meaimanaich, 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. 180.) 

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. From 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 with ' bogha- 
mucag,' ' butha-mucag,' blue hyacinth, of great luxuriance and richness of 
colouring. 

There is a small lake in Barra called ' Loch 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 the I.sles. 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 



NOTES 307 

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. 290.) 

Miamh, substance, fat. Generally an adjective. 

' Is miann leis a chleireach a mhias mhiamli Desired by the cleric is the rich dish on 
a bliitheas air bord an t-sagairt. ' tlie 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. 

(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 ua haaf. To the sound of the ' haaf,' 

Is uaigueach mo ghean.' Lonesome is my mood.) 

Mile, meirc, sweet, sweetness ; from ' mil,' honey. 

Milcein, meilccin, solid warm white whey ; from ' mil,' honey, sweetness. 

Mileur, milereach (alva marina), sea-grass, sweet grass ; from ' mil,' sweet, and ' feur,' 
grass. This grass is known by different names in different districts as ' mileurach,' 
' milseanaeh,' ' misleanach,' ' mineurach,' and other forms. 

The root of this grass is sweetish, and much relished by the barnacles, gre)'- 
lags, and other geese. Dried and cured, the grass is used in the Isles for bedding, 
and in the South for upholstery. 

Mis, miseach, misieach, maoisleach, maoilseach, goat, doe. Primarily the doe in the 
first year. 

Mnatha Greuig, Greek woman, Penelope, the type of tactfulness. (Vol. i. p. S.) 

' Minealas ua mnatha sitli Tlie softuess of the fairy womau, 

Finealas na mnatha Greuig.' The fineness of the Greek womau. 

Mnatha-siihe, fairy woman. This is Fann, queen of the elfin world, queen of the 
Celtic other-world. The reference (vol. i. p. 8) is to her connection with 
Cuchulainn in the old Gaelic saga, 'Serglige Cuchulainn.' She typifies skill. 

Mogais, mogan, foot cylinder, from ' mog,' a cylinder, and ' cas,' a foot, foot-gear reach- 
ing the knee, and resembling in form as in name the mocassin of the Indians. 

Mogan ; in Uist, spirits distilled from oats. 

Moilean, moillean, a small, thick round cake, a dumpling ; such as that made for 



308 NOTES 

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 instructive. 

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 the ' 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 serpi/llifo/id) or the bog-\'iolet. 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 wise men. 

The ' mothan ' also ensures the safety of a person carrying it or drinking the 
milk of a cow which has eaten it. 

Donald Maccuithean, cottar, Fearann-an-lethe, Skye, 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 nurslings. 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 remained 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 liarp, 

'S a chuir am bruth a dh'aoua-cheann." And put the bower in ruins. 



NOTES 309 

To this another voice replied : — 

' " Cha'u urra mi fhi g'a chur a dhi, I cannot myself put him to death, 

Cha'n urra mi fhi g'a chearbadh, I cannot myself undo him, 

Cha'n urra mi foil a dhol n' a choir, I cannot go stealthily near him. 

Us bainne iia bo a dh'ith am mothan And tlie milk of the cow that ate the ' mothaii ' 

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.' 

Dun ' Gharsain ' or Ghaisin is at Tobht Ardair in Bracadale, Skye, and is the 
site of a concentric fort destroyed by the stranger. Near it are ' Dun Beag,' 
the Little Fort, and 'Dun Mor,' the Big Fort, the latter 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.' 

Miiire, 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-ghluip, 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 
' Moirean,' 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 islet a few square yards in extent 
and a few feet higli, often washed over by the Atlantic waves. 

All these places contain ruins evidently very old, and of ecclesiastical origin. 
Those on Aird Mhaoilean adjoin the remains of a circular fort. It is not un- 
common 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. 

Mttnn, Munna, Muinig, Mumiigean, Mungan, St. Munn, St. Mungo. Probably the 
' mungan,' fairy flax {linum cathaHicum) is called after St. Mango. This plant 

VOL. IL 2 R 



310 NOTES 

was largely used for medicinal purposes. The common name for it in Gaelic 
is ' lion na mnatha sithe/ flax of the fairy woman. 

Miir, liiibhre, 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, ' muir- 
neach,' precious, endearing, prepossessing. 'Muirneag' is the name of a 
hill in Lews. It is mentioned in the ' Imirich Cuain,' Ocean Flitting, an 
emigrant song by John Macrae, a minister of Lews. 

'Murn,' maiden, occurs in Irish 'mo mhuirnin,' my little darling. Anglicised 
' mavourneen.' 

Mulhairn, little mother, dear little mother. Other Uist forms are ' mathairne,' 
' mathairneag,' ' mathaireag.' C/. O. Ir. 'mathairnet.' 



N 

Naoi, naodh, nine. The number nine often occurs in these and other Celtic com- 
positions, — three, seven, nine, and occasionally five, being the mystic numbers. 
The following are some examples of the use of nine : — 

' Au aium Airil 's nan aiugheal naodh.' In name of Ariel and the angels nine. 

' Naodh coiiair, us naodh conacliair, Nine paths and nine shouts. 

Us naodha ban seauga sith.' And nine slender fairy women. 

' Bi-sa taingeil leis an aon te Be thou thankful with the one (duck) 

Ge do robh an naodh air an t-snamh.' Though there should be niue on the swim. 

'Chaidh Moire thar na naodh maranan Mary weut over the niue waves 

A bhuain an torranain.' To pluck the figwort. 

' Naoi tobraiche 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 nines of first- 
begotten sons, these being in the estimation of the people the most sacred and 
enduring. 

In the Glenlonain cross, which is evidently pre-Christian, tiiere 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.' 



NOTES 311 

Oscar threatened to send the ' spear of the nine enchantments ' through 
Cairbre. 

In a story of great dramatic power deahng with an old behef that seals were 
metamorphosed human beings, the number nine occurs. 

A boat from Uist was ' doraghadh/ ' dorathach,' hand-line fishing, at Cousmal 
when a sudden storm arose and drove it, according to one version, to Lews, 
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 ! logjaiu ! logain ! logain ! logain ! 

logain a thainig a nail logain who came hither 
Air bharr nau naodh caogada tonu, On the crest of the nine fifty waves, 

Fliir a bhrist fiacla nio chinn 'I'liou man who didst break tlie 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 bitliidh dhuit Though I gave thee food, 

Im, us cais, us 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 dai-t through my 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 metamorphosed seals, had been visiting the 
homes and graves of their submerged fatherland 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. Killinn 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 : — 



312 NOTES 

' Nao naodhanaii a deothal chioch. Nine nines suclving the breast, 

Nao uaodlianan cliabastach cli, Nine nines unsteady, weak, 

Nao naodhanau urra-chasacli luth. Nine nines footful, swift, 

Nao naodhanau murra-cliasach dluth. Nine nines able and strong, 

Nao naodhanan lasgarrach donn, Nine nines strapping, brown, 

Nao naodhanau cosgarrach conn. Nine nines victorious, subduing, 

Nao naodhanan coidheanach ciar. Nine nines bonneted, drab, 

Nao naodhanan roibeanach liath, Nine nines beardy, grey, 

Nao naodhanan ri uchd-bualaidh bais. Nine nines on the breast-beating death, 

'S bu dorra liom na nao naodhana And worse to me were these miserable nine 

truagh nines 

No gach nao naodha mi-bhuan a Than all the other short-lived nine nines that 
bha.' were. 

Nathair, serpent, adder. Several terms are applied to the serpent, as ' nathair,' 
serpent; ' nimhii-,' venom ; ' beithir,' lightning ; 'righinn,' queen ; and'nigliean 
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 ' ruain,' hue, coloured spot. 

The serpent is now small and rare, though once large and numerous, in the 
Highlands. One was killed at Bailemonaidh, in Islay, in the early years of the 
century, measuring nine feet in length and eighteen inches in circumference. 
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 dis- 
tended 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. 



NOTES 313 

There are many sayings dealing with the serpent : — 

' Tlia e auu au grath nà nathrach dhuit.' lie is in the spirit of the serpent towards tliee. 

'Tha nimh na nathrach aig dhuit.' Tlie venom of the serpent he has towards thee. 

' C'ho carraeh 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 dh'f heumadh The sheath of the serpent badly wouldst thou 
tu.' need. 

'Nead ri beiil an uisge,' a nest by the mouth of the water (vol. i. p. 318). 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 unknown in other parts 
of Britain. 

During development the black-throated diver and the great northern diver are 
similar, although in maturity dissimilar. In course of incubation nature provides 
birds with great heat, rendering them liable to great thirst. To obviate absence 
from the eggs and retardation of hatching, the black-throated diver makes her 
nest near water, generally on the 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 ! di-ink ! 

An loch a traghadh ! The loch is drying ! 

Deoch ! deoch ! deoch ! Drink ! drink ! drink ! 

An loch a traghadh ! The loch is drying ! 

Burn ! burn ! burn ! Water ! water ! water ! 

Mo hith 'm fhagail ! My strength failing me ! 

Burn ! burn ! burn ! AVater ! water ! water ! 

Mo luth 'm fhagail ! ' My strength failing 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 ! llain ! rain ! rain ! 

Au 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 threigsinu.' My strength 's failing me ! 

When the reverse occurs, and the risen lake submerges the nest, the cries of 



314 NOTES 

the hapless bird, flying hither and thither, are extremely distressing, and strik- 
ingly like the unavailing cries of a human mother. The people have rendered 
these cries into the following words : — 

' Mo chreacli ! mo chreach ! My sorrow ! my sorrow ! 

M' eoin us m' uibhean My chicks and my eggs. 

Mo chreach ! mo clireach ! My sorrow ! my sorrow ! 

M' eoin us m' uibhean My chicks and my eggs. 

Mo dhith ! mo dhith ! My grief ! my grief ! 

Mo linn 's an tuilinn My brood in the flood. 

Mo dliitli ! mo dhith ! My grief ! my grief ! 

Mo linn 's an tuilinn.' My brood in the flood. 

M' urragan ! My chicks ! 

M' ulagan ! My gifts ! 

M' eoin ! My birds ! 

M' uibhean ! My eggs ! 

M' ulaidh ! My treasures ! 

M' eislean ! ' My troubles ! 

Neamh, heaven. Old people pronounce this word ' neamh,' ' neomh/ ' neoph,' 

' neob,' ' nof,' ' nef,' and other forms ; cognate with ' neul,' ' nebula,' a cloud. 
Ni, neat, nowt, cattle, extended to flocks and herds of all kinds. 

Nd, jwd, nndh, nòdadh, knowledge, intelligence, information ; ' Ni bheil nodh agam 
air,' I have no knowledge of him. 



o 

Ob, òba, nhi, 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 ; hesin at, 
horse-driving ; eija hcstiim, horse-driving, horse-battle. 

In Norway the horse-fight took place in August, on Lovisae 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. 



NOTES 315 

A plain near Loch Snizort, a plain near Glendale, and a plain in Minginis, 
Skye, are called ' odaig/ racecourse, horse racecourse. 

The last great ' oda ' occurred 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 2oth 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 singularly 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; 'ramh oda,' 'oda ramh,' oar-race. In the Ancient Irish 
Annuls Ennis is called ' Inis Cluan ramh fhoda,' pasture-meadow of the long 
rowing. Probably the Irish ' fhoda,' long, is the Alban ' oda,' race. The fh in 
' fhoda ' is silent. If this suggestion be correct, the rendering should be : 
pasture-meadow of the oar-racing — boat-racing. 

Odharan, Odhran, Odran, Oran, Oran, St. Oran ; also the name of St. Patrick's charioteer. 

There are several places named after Oran, as ' Oransey,' the island of Oran ; 
' Tiroran,' the laud 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 Odhran rau 
dheighinn mathas neamh agus mi-mhathas ifrinn, suamhnas nan saoi agus 
duamhnas nan daoi. Thubhairt Odharan gu 'n cuireadh easan a chuis gu 
deuchain ann an ionad nan seasamh bonn agus gu'n 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 uaigh agus lionadh an uaigh thairis air. 

' An ceann nan tri la agus nan tri oidhche thubhairt Calum-cille gu'n 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 tlieireas, 
Ni bheil irionn mar a tlmbliras, 
Ni bheil saoi suthanu sona, 
Ni bheil daoi dona duthanu." 



316 NOTES 

An uair a chuala Calum-cille cainnt agus briathran Odhrain dh'eubh e : — 

" Uir ! uir air suil Odhrain, 
Mu'n duisg e 'n corr carmaisg, 
Dh' fhios oi'm a tlioir dh'an chuideachd, 
Dli' fliios toi'm a tlioir dha bhraithi'aidh." 

' Chaireadh an uir a rithist air Odhran agus thiodhlaiceadh e. 

' Ghuii Calum-cille gu tursach trom, agus shil na deoir gu frasach fial ri linn 
Odhrain chaoirah, cheanail, 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 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 liell 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 he given to the faith. 
Lest offence shouhl be given to his brethren." 

The earth was again placed upon Oran, and he was buried permanently. 

'Columba wept sorrowfully, heavily, and shed the tears showeringly, gener- 
ously, 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- 



NOTES 317 

builder had placed his own wife beneath the foundation. It is said that when 
building the manse of Killtarlity the masons 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 baobli a g;uidhe A wicked woman will get her wish 

Ge nach faigh a h-anam trocair.' Though her soul may not see salvation. 

A man known as 'Lachlann Og,' ' Lachlann Ogi,' young Lachlan, was in the 
army in Ireland. He eloped with a young 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 and hillocks — summer 
and winter. In his wanderings the hapless 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 luck, 

Cha tig mac an deigh athar. Nor son shall succeed father. 

Air taigh Bhunatha gu brath.' In Bunawe House ever. 

A variant on this is : — 

'Taigh mor Pholl nan cnamh, Big house of the Pool of bones, 

Taigh gun sonas gun agh, Housewithoutjoyauce without prosperity. 

Far nach cluinnear guth coilich. Where voice of cock shall not be heard, 

No ruch leinibh gu brath.' Nor suck of child ever. 

(In a deep 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. 

Omhan, whey whisked into froth, especially the richer whey pressed out of the curds. 

Or, ortka, prayer, rhymed prayer, hymn, supplication, petition, incantation ; pi. 
'or,' 'ora,' 'orthachan,' 'orrachan.' ' Domhull beag nan or,' Little Donald of 
the supplications. 

VOL. II. 2 S - 



318 NOTES 

The word following gives the purpose of the petition as 'ora 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 drown 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 
Tobermoiy. 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 uninjured. 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 Floiida and 
the Spanish Armada. 

'Or' and ' ob ' are used indiscriminatelj', 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 incantations. The community collected their herds there to sain and lus- 
trate them, from the ' cear,' blood one, or the ' cearb,' killing one. 

A tombstone in St. Orau's, lona, bears the inscription, ' Or Domail Fatric,' 
in modern Gaelic ' or do Maolphatric,' a prayer for Maolpatric. Another has 
the inscription, 'orar anmin Eogain,' 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. 



Peadair, Peter. ' La Pheadair,' the Feast Day of Peter, the 29th June. This is a 
great 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 tliem. 

If the wind be from the west on the first of the year, the fishermen consider 
it a good omen for their calling. 



NOTES 319 

' Gaoth an iar iasg us aran ; Wind froni the west, fisli aud bread ; 

Gaoth a tuath fuachd us feanuadh ; Wind from the north, cold aud flaying [fainting] ; 

Gaoth an ear sueachd air beannaibh ; \\'ind from the east, snow on the hills ; 

Gaoth a deas meas air crannaibh.' Wind from the south, fruit on trees. 

Pliadack, plealach, 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 up 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.' 

Puhall beannach, 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 

Rackd, 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 chords having become enlarged through 
emotion, failed in their functions. ' Rachd feirge,' fit of passion. 

Rachd, strength, toughness, emulation — 

' Bhrist 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. 

Rail, noble, very noble. ' Rigean ran,' noble queen. 

Ralìì, 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, 
Uirighil nihaith us deagh labhraidh. ' Good speech and good oratory. 
' Gruag ruadh boirionnaich. The red hair of a woman, 
Fiasag liath firionnaich. The grey beard of a man, 
Ruth agus ratli 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 surround- 
ings. How the wheatear obtains the filaments of hair occasionally found 



320 NOTES 

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 invokes peace and prosperity 
upon the dwelHng 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 f heart, guu fheum.' Luck without seed, without efficacy, without 
1 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, chiefly by sailors, as a talisman 
against 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 Lochawe, who wrested Caisteal Caol-chuirn, Kilchurn 
Castle, from the Macgregors, was known as ' Donnachadh Dubh a churraichd,' 
Black Duncan of the cowl, because he had a caul on his head when bom. 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. 

Reileach, 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 while. When the 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. Cyril was bishop of Antioch in the eighth century. 

There is a burial-ground in Lochaber, another on Lochetive, and another on 



NOTES 321 

LochawTj dedicated to this saint. Cill C'haorail in Brae Lochaber is 686 feet 
above sea-level ; that on Lochetive is not so high, being only 105 feet above the 
sea ; while that on Lochawe 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 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. 

1Ì0, 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. 

Ròs, knowledge ; ' Ni bheil ros agani,' I have no knowledge ; ' Cha d'fhuair 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 neigh- 
bourhood of Eastbourne in the south of England. It is interesting to find 
that these places from time immemorial have been seats of learning. 

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 throwri by fairies at the sons and 
daughters of men. Tlie writer possesses one which was thrown at a girl at Loch- 
maddy. 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 down in the bright 
moonlight, she picked up a fairy arrow. The girl never again went out at night. 
Tlie people say that a fairy arrow, especially the arrow of the fairy queen, 
cannot be safeguarded against the wiles of the iairies. The writer can confirm 
this in his own experience, having unaccountably lost, despite all possible care, 
the smallest and most beautifully shaped and coloured arrow-head he has ever 
seen, and that within a few hours after getting it ! 

Sa7nh, fat, rich, productive, flock, fold, herd, fish, cruive, odour; ' samh eisg,' fish 



322 



NOTES 



odour; 'samh trom eisg,' heavy odour of fish, that heavy odour from a great 
body offish in the sea. Other meanings of 'samh ' are sorrel, garlic, clown, foul 
person. A place in Morvern is called ' Samh-airidh,' rich sheiling, from 'samh/ 
rich, and 'airidh,' sheiling. It is mentioned by Dr. Norman Macleod in his 
playful song to his father's beadle : — 

' Cha'n ell cleireach 's an duthaich There is no clerk in tlie country 

Co math riiit air stiuradh — fSo good at the steering — 

An am tarruinn a curs air Duthaich a AVhen thou settest her course for the Isle 

Cheo of the Mist 

An sin canaidh gach maraich " is ramhath Then all seamen shout 'splendid thy 

do ghabhail," sailing,' 

A Ruaraidh bhig Shamhairidli, Little Rory of Savary, 

Ho hi ri, ho ro ! ' Ho hi ri, ho ro ! 

Sa7nh, a god, a giant, a strong person. Derivatives are ' samhan,' a dog, a little 
giant; ' samhanach,' a great giant, a monster; 'mharbhadhtu na samhanaich,' 
thou wouldst kill the giants. 

Samhainn, Samhuinn, Oidhchc Shamha'mn, Oidhche Shainhna, Hallowtide, Hallowmas, 
Hallowe'en. This is one of the seasons when innumerable mystic rites are 
practised. 

Scan, probably some animal. ' Scanaport,' Port of the ' Scan,' is a place at the 

junction of the river Ness with Loch Ness. 
Seachd, seven. Seven is one of the sacred numbers so frequently occurring in the 

poems, proverbs, and phrases of the peoj)le. 



' Seachd seachdaine gu brath 
Eadar Casg us Inid.' 

' Da sheachd bliadhna aois cait ; — 
Seachd bliadhna aoibhinn, ait, 
Seachd bliadhna troma-cheannacli, 
Gola-cheanuach, cadalach. 

' Sanut nan seachd seaun sagart, 
Ann am fear gun mhac gun nighean. ' 

' Seachd bliadhna cuimlme na ba, 
Gu la-bhratha cuimlme an eich.' 

' Taigh seachd ceathail ur threabhachais 
Taigh rath, sheilbli us shonachais.' 

■ Seachd bliadhna romh 'n bhrath, 
Thig muir thar Eirinn ri aon trath, 
'S thar He ghuirm, ghlais, 
Ach snamhaidh I Chaluim chleirich.' 

' ITia gath a ghaoil cho guiueach 
Ri sleagh nan seachd seang.' 



Seven weeks till doom 
Between Pasch and Shrove. 

Two seven years age of cat : — 
Seven years lightsome, glad, 
Seven years heav}'-headed, 
Big-headed, sleepy. 

The greed of the seven old priests. 

In the man without son, without daughter. 

Seven years the memory of the cow. 
Till doomsday the memory of the horse. 

A house of seven couples newly set up, 
A house of prospei-ity, possessions and joy- 
ousness. 

Seven years before the day of doom. 

The sea will come over Erin in one watch, 

\i\A over Islay, green, grassy. 

But iloat will lona of Columba the cleric. 

The dart of love is as piercing 
As the spear of the seven grooves. 



NOTES 323 

' 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 blesshigs 
on you ; ' seachd mallachd ort,' seven cursings on you ; ' seachd seacharain seilg 
ort/ seven hunt wanderings on you, ' seachd gloir,' seven glories, ' seachd 
deamhain,' seven devils, 'seachd sagart,' 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 I860, with much more old lore, from 
Kenneth 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, Seven herrings, 

Sath bradain ; Feast of salmon ; 

Seachd bradain. Seven salmon, 

Sath roin ; Feast of seal ; 

Seachd roin. Seven seals, 

Sath muc mhara bheag ; Feast of little sow of ocean ; [whale 

Seachd muca mara beag. Seven little sows of ocean, 

Sath muc mliara mhor ; Feast of large sow of ocean ; 

Seachd muca mara mor. Seven large sows of ocean, 

Sath cionaraiu-cro ; [crothain Feast of ' cionarain-cro ' ; 

Seachd cionarain-cro, [crothain Seven 'cionarain-cro,' 

Sath mial mhor a chuain.' 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 unless it be the great sperm-whale. 'Sow,' and 
' sow of the sea,' is the ordinary term for the whale. 

'A Thi thug loiiah 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 my 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 — perhaps lightning. 

• Latha nan seachd siau. ' 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. 



324 NOTES 

Sealbh, means, possessions, luck. Providence. Sometimes the word is confined to corn, 
sometimes to flocks, and sometimes it includes the whole possessions. 

Searcan, seircean, another name for ' meac-an-dogh,' burdock. The people held 
the burdock in high esteem, using an extract of the root in pulmonary com- 
plaints. 

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. 

'Nigliean bantraich dha'm bith crodh, The daup^hter of the widow of flocks, 

Mac muillear dha 'm bith min. The son of the miller of meal, 

Searrach seann laireadh air greigh. The foal of the old mare of troops, 
Triuir is meanmnaich air bith.' Are the three most merry of heel. 

Sealhan, La Fheill Sheathain, John, the Day of the Feast of St. John. 

' Eoin ' is the Biblical form of John, and ' Iain ' the secular form except in the 
popular lore, where the old form of ' Seathan' is retained. 

' La Samhna theirear gamhna ris na laoigh. On Hallow Day the calves are called stirks, 
La Fheill Sheathain theirear aighean riu On St. John's Day they are called queys. 
na dheigh.' 

' La Fheill Sheathain is t-samhraidh On St. John's Day in summer 

Theid a chuthag dh'a taigh geamhraidh.' 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. On Midsummer Day 
Theid a chuthag dh'a taigh geamhraidh.' The cuckoo goes to her winter home. 

' "Gug-gug," urs a chuthag, 'Gug-gug,' said the cuckoo. 

Air La buidhe Bealltain, On tlie yellow day of Beltane, 

"Gug-gug," urs i rithist 'Gug-gug,' said she again. 

Air La leth an t-samhraidh.' On Midsummer Day. 

' A Sheathain, a Sheathain chridhe. Thou John, thou John beloved. 

Is trie a bha mi 's tu mire. Oft wert thou and I dallying, 

De mu bha cha b 'ann aig an teine. And if we were it was not by the fire, 

Ach gle ard am braigh nam fireach.' But very high on the mountain crest. 

The surname Maclean, like many Gaelic surnames, is of ecclesiastical 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. 



NOTES 325 

Seing, seang, roebuck ; called also ' seang-fliiadh/ ' fiadh-seang,' slender deer ; 
' seang-bhoc',' ■ boc-seang,' slender buck; ' caol-bhoc,' 'boc-caol/ slim buck ; 
'ruadh-bhoc/ ' boc-ruadli/ red buck. 

Sgarta falaich, sgairte 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. 

Sgeo, haze, fog, vapour. 

' A ghealach glieal gun smal, gun sgeo.' The white moou without spot, without haze. 

' Tha'n sgeo a sgaoileadh thar nam beanu, Tlie haze is spreading over the hills, 

'S tha mis an ceo dha d'ionudrain. And I in a mist am missing thee, 

Cha till thu ghaoil dha m'theasd a nail. Love thou shalt not return hither to rescue me, 

'S cha toill mi dhol dha d' iounsuidh.' 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 'bost,' 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. The etymology of Glasgow is frequently debated. The meaning 
seems simple, and gives a choice of two cognate roots for the last syllable. 
' Glas ' means water, ' sgeo ' means haze, ' ceo ' means mist, and in such a 
position would aspirate, becoming ' cheo." Much as the Clyde merits the name 
of the 'foggy water' in our day, it merited it much more in ancient times, when 
the river spread on either side far beyond its present boundary, the shallow» 
swampy, sluggish stream generating vapour in gi-eat quantity. Therefore the 
name 'glas-sgeo,' haze-water, or 'glas-cheo,' fog-water, seems eminently appro- 
priate as well as probable. I am indebted for this suggestion to my eldest son. 

Sgonn, sgonnag, a block, a little block, as ' sgonn cabair,' block of wood ; ' sgonn 
cloiche,' block of stone ; ' sgonn 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 'biigar.' ' Clach mhor bhun sgonnaig' is the 
upright flag-stone at the base of the couple as a partition to prevent cows 
injuring one another. In some places this upright stone is called 'stall,' a stall. 

Sgutk, sgàth, 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 ? ' ^Vho would not aid the son of my king ? 

Sguan, slur, slander, gossip. 

Sgttlanack, flippant, flippancy, evil speaking, a shallow person; from 'sgul,' 'sgulan.' 

VOL. IL 2 T 



326 NOTES 

Sian, soft music, soft sorrowful music, generally applied to the fairy music heard in 
the fairy knoll. 

Sian, seun, a charm, incantation, magic enchantment. 

' Sonas nan seachd sian.' The joy of the seveu spells 

— possibly used in derision. 

Sic, sicean, silc, silcean, silean, a particle, a small grain, an infinitesimal quantity ; 
' sicean sioil,' a small grain of seed. 

Sionn, sitinn, 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 Lews, a hill in Islay, a hill in Ardnamurchan, 
and a loch near Kilmun, are called ' Siannt,' but it is doubtful if the name is 
connected with this root. 

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. 

Sith, 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 writer 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 Dhomhuil,' 
Roderick the son of Donald, a famous storyteller 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, movijig 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 dheilgnich agus beithir 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 ! ' 



NOTES 327 

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 femhlagan,' like the stormy petrels. 

These are the fairy folks — ever since doomed to live under the ground, and 
only permitted 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 gach druidheaclias, Every ill wish and every druidry. 

An diugh an Daorn air muir 's air tir. To-day is Thursday on sea and land, 
M' earbs a Righ nach cluinu iad mi.' I trust in the King that they do not 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 — 

' Cha 'n anu a shiol Adhamh sinn. Not of the seed of Adam are we, 

'S cha 'n 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,' faii-y pipe, elfin pipe, 
generally found in underground 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,' Glenshee, 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/ fairy knoll, generally 
the greenest hillock in the place. ' Feadan dubh Chlami a 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 Maccrimmons of Bororaig, the famous pipers of 
the Macleods of Macleod, had a chanter called ' Sionnsair airgid na mna sithe,' 
the silver chanter of the fairy woman. 



328 NOTES 

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 pliioba, Thy beauty and the music of thy pipe, 

Leanuau siodha air do thoir, Have brought a fairy sweetheart to thee, 

Sinini dhuit an sionnsair airgid, I hand thee now the silver chauter, 

A bhios biun gun chearb fo d' mheoir. That will be melodious ever under thy 

fingers. 

The story of young John and his fairy sweetheart is very fine and highly 
poetic. 

A family in North Uist is known as ' Dubh-sith,' Black fairj', from a tradition 
that the family have been familiar with the fairies in their faiiy flights and 
secret migrations. 

Donald Macalastair, aged seventy-nine, crofter, Druim-a-ghimiir, 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 gabhail beachd air doigh nan 
sifri agus a deanamh mar bhiodh iad a deanamh. 

'Thog na sifri turas orra gu dol a dh' Eirinn, agus thog an duine air gu falbh 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 casa- 
gobhlach air geo-astair mar aon do chacha. Dh' eubh sifri beag biteach, bronach, 
an robh iad uile deas agus dh'eubh cacha uile gu'n robh, agus dh'eubh an sifri 
beag— 

" Mo righ air mo cheanu, 
Dol thairis am dheann, 
Air chirean nan tonn, 
A dh' Eirinn." 

" Lean mise," orsa righ nan sifrean, agus a mach a bha iad nunn air muir a chuile 
mac mathair dliiubh casa-gobhlacli air a gheo-astair. Cha robh fios aig Macuga 
air thalamh 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 An-ain. Ach flmair e 
a leoir dhe na sifrich an turas sin f hein, agus cha d'flialbh e riamh tuilleadh leo.' 
' The fairies were dwelling 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 tiny fairy 



NOTES 329 

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 king 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 '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 housewife, or to thresh his corn 
or fan his grain for the 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 getting rid of them is sometimes 
resorted to, as it is not easy always to find work for them. 

' Bean chad 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 fiiiry 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 iron 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 years, 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, spieiccan, mattock. This small mattock is used in digging 
up carrots and the roots of native plants used by the people in dyeing and tanning. 



330 NOTES 

Sleamhnan, stye, inflamed tumour on the eyelid. It is variously called ' sleamhnan/ 
'slearahran/ 'sleamhnagan,' ' sleamhragan/ 'leamhnan,' 'leamhran,' 'leamh- 
ranan/ ' leamhnadan,' ' neamhnad/ and 'neonad.' 

Shmnhnanachd, leamhnanachd, exorcism of the stye, removing the stye by occult 
power. 

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 glais. The buttercup is uuder 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. 

Slisneack, a plant like the 'slan-lus,' ' sla-lus,' 'la-lus,' self-heal and ribwort. 

Slitagh, ' hosts,' the spirit-world. The ' hosts ' are the spirits of mortjils who have 
died. The people have many curious stories on this subject. According 
to one informant, the spirits fly about ' n'an 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 bhua-ghallain 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. ' Fuil 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, sheep 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 ga'n loireadh agus ga'n loineadh agus ga'n 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 seeing is of faith. God 
grant to thee and to me, my dear, the faith of the great Son of the lovely 
Mary.' This is the substance of a graphic accomit 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 
caiTÌed off by them more than once. A man in Benbecula was taken up several 



NOTES 331 

times. His friends assured me that night became a terror to this man, and tliat 
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 precisely similar conditions. More than once he dis- 
appeared 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 Killtcirlity, when children are being brought into the 
world, locks of chests and of doors are opened, this being supposed, according 
to traditional belief, to facilitate childbirth. 

Smeoim, arrow-head, arrow-point, the destructive end of the arrow. The ' smeoirn ' 
is mentioned in several Gaelic tales and poems. 

' Mis an gaisgeach guu ghioraig — am has, I am the hero without panic — death, 

Leis an coingeis an slau uo'm breoit, To wliom is indifferent the whole or the frail, 

A thilgeas an gath nach teid eama no Who will throw the dart that will not bend 

cearr, nor stray, 

Co cinuteach ri earr na smeoirn." [gais Ascertain as the end of the arrow-head, [point 

' Bogha dh'iubhar Easragain, Bow of the yew of Easragan, 

Ite fireiu Loch Treige, Feather of the eagle of Loch Treig, 

Ceir bhuidhe Bhaile nan gailleau. The yellow wa.x of Baile-nan-gaillean, 

Smeoirn o'n cheard Macpheaidirean.' Arrow-head from the artisan Macpheaidirean. 

Another version says : — 

' Bogh a dh'iuthar 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. 



332 NOTES 

' Easragan ' is in Airdchattaii, near the priory where Bruce held his first 
parUament, at whicli meeting Gaehe was the language used. 

Margaret Campbell, daughter of Colin Campbell of Inver Easragan, was the 
wife of John Macaulay, minister of Lismore, 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, ceann- 
laidir, ceannsgallach — a chuile duine eearr, 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. 'Baile nan gaillean,' ' Baile nan gaillbhinn,' is 
said to be Dun-chaillionn — Dunkeld, famed for honey, beeswax, and silk. 
' Clann-pheaidirean ' (Patersons) had their forge at Creagan Corrach, Fearr- 
lochan, 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 ' Macpheaidirein * was on the 
north side of Lochfyne, where they had been numerous. 
Stneola, the poetic name of the ' smeor,' ' smeorach,' thrush, mavis. 
Snaolh, snaodh, snaogh, leader, chief, 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 iaii,' the head- 
chief of the birds ; a certain cow or bull, ' ceann-snaoth nan ni,' the head-chief 
of the nowt ; a certain horse, ' ceami-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 pro- 
minently 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 b}' a leader. Hence the name of the farm 
—the fell of the leadersiiip. 

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 Mac- 
donalds. After his escape to France with Prince Charlie, Neill Maceachain 
reverted to his clan-name of Macdonald. 

When Marshal Macdonald visited Britain in 1S25 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 consideration, bestowing 
money on the more distiint 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 



NOTES 333 

death the earth and stones were, at his request, placed over his heart and buried 
with him. 

Soir, sear, east, eastern. 

'Soir us 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. 

Sola, soladh, food, broken food — whelks, cockles, limpets, mussels, and other shell-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 prepare 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 Wòrterbuch. 

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 lying down. Mrs. Clark, Torr-an-damh, makes effective use 
of this term : — 

' Is tu mo Shoplachan brollaich. Thou art the Sustenance of my breast. 

Is tu mo Charaide soghar. Thou art my bounteous Frieud, 

Is tu mo Brathair is siune. Thou art my elder Brother, 

Trie us 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 s are 
often in opposition, as 'dorch,' dark, 'sorch,' clear; 'doilleir,' obscure, 'soilleir,' 
light; 'dolas,' grief, 'solas,' joy; ' doirbh,' difficult, 'soirbh,' easy; 'dubhaile,' 
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 await- 
ing 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 
VOL. II. 2 u 



334 NOTES 

form of a bee or a butterfly, and was about to enter its home in the body through 
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 certain 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, 

Tliaine na Cait oirnn. The Cats have come upon us, 

Tliaine na Cait oirnn, Tlie Cats have come upon us, 

Thainig iad oirnne ! They have come upon us ! 

A bhristeadh a steach. To break in upon us, 

A thogail uan creach. To lift the spoil, 

A spuilleadh nau speach. To steal the kine, 

A struilleadh nau each. To strike tlie steeds, 

A rusgadh nam meach. To strip the meads, 

Thainig iad oirnne ! ' They have come upon us ! 

Spisniche, prop, pillar, column, support. 

SrSbh, stràbk, falling water. ' Srabh uisge,' water pouring as from the roof of a 
house. 

Srol, strol, silk, satin, gauze, gossamer, filament. ' Srol ' was used for carpets, 
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 cusbaun.' 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, lithe form, and graceful move- 
ments 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 



NOTES 335 

the air, visiting many places and seeing many scenes, among them her brother's 
funeral : — 

' Bha mi anus 's gun cbach ga m' f baicinn, I was there but others not seeing rue, 

Treis dba m' chas dhomb, treis dba m' each A while on my foot, a while on my horse, 

dbomh, 

'S O ! treis am strol uain am pasgadh.' And oh ! a while in my green satin folded. 

' Strol ' is mentioned in a song said to have been composed by a girl in 
Barra, whose relatives were massacred by the Norsemen, and she herself carried 
away captive :— 

' Tha m' athair 's mo mhatbair My father and my mother 

Air an caramh 's a cbro, ['s an fhoid Are laid in the bier, [sod 

'S tlia mo phiuthar '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 us sioda fo a da bbonn.' Silk and satin under her two soles. 

Stapag, Scots 'stappack,' a mixture of meal and cream, or of milk, or of cold water. 
An old lullaby 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, 

D uair a bbeireas an crodh dair When the calving cows shall bear 

Gheobh mo ghradh stapag bhainne.' My love will get a stappack of milk. 

The north end of the island of Skye is called Trotarnis, the peninsula of 
'Trota,' 'Troda.' The district is fertile and was once abundant in corn. It was 
the granary of the Macdonalds of the Isles, whose land it was. The Macleods of 
Duirnish focetiously called the district of Trotarnis, ' Duthaich nan stapag,' the 
country of the stappacks ; ' Am fearann stapagach,' the land of the stappacks. 
The Macdonalds retorted, calling Duirnish ' Duthaich nam mogais,' ' Duthaich 
nam mogan,' the country of the footless stockings ; ' Am fearam mogasach,' and 
' Am fearann moganach,' the land of the footless stockings. 

Slaiiig, 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. 

It occurs in place-names, as Staing at the foot of Ben-Ledi. Is-staing, a 
place-name in Killtarlity, may be borrowed from old French estaiig. 

Slcar, slearr, 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 over- 
head 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. Kilda called ' buite,' and 



336 NOTES 

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. 

'Their an gunna thar na steUl.' Take the gun off the bracket. 

' Cuir an cunian 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. 

Sliom, 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. 

' Laighainn sumhail an luib do bhreacain, I would lie slenderly in the folds of thy plaid, 

Thigeamaid am maireach dhachaidh. We would on the morrow come home again, 

Chuirinn stiom mo chinn am pasgadh, I would put the snood of my head in folds, 

'S chairinn am breid ban 's an fhasan.' And I would arrange the white coif in fashion. 

Stiomach, snooded ; 'stiomag,' a maiden, in contradistinction to 'breideag,' a wife. 

Slreafon, sreafan, streabhon, strealhan, streadhon, fringe, friU, fragment, beard, thin 
beard. 
' Streafon stiallach a ghille ruaidh.' The ragged beard of the red fellow. 

Slreafon, tallow, thin tallow. ' Streafon na caora,' tallow of the sheep. 

' Streafon glas na caora duibhe.' The watery tallow of the black sheep. 

Streafon, 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 1 865 : — • 

' Chuunas an righinn a sheinn an ceol, I saw the damsel who saug the melody. 

An cathair dh' an or a staigh, In a chair of gold within, 

Streafon sioda fo da bhonn, A carpet of silk beneath her two soles, 

Bheanuaich mi fein ga gnuis ghlain.' I myself blessed her pure countenance. 

Siri/iglein, slriiigleir, 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 un- 
known 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. 

Strùan, slrTdhan, striidhan, is the name applied to the cake made on St. Michael's Eve 
and eaten on St. Michael's Day. 

Struban=merenda (afternoon meal) — VVindisch's Worierbuch. 
Strauan= strubhan — Cormac's Glossary. 



NOTES 337 

Siiairceiìi, the name of a bird. 

Suidhe, soot. (Vol. i. page 288/'.) 

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 con- 
cerned examines the nest daily to see that no such egg is obtruded. 

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. 

Stiil, dwell 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. 

Sul, suit, fat, fatness, condition, good condition ; derivatives of ' sul ' — ' 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 — 

' Muc dhubh 's a choill, A black sow in the copse, 

Gun sul, gun saill. Without fat, without blubber. 

Gun ghuth, gun chainu. Without voice, without speech, 

Gun friodhan craiu. Without bristle of pig, 

Gun luibheau caim. Without curved joint, 

Gun cheann cnaimhe. Without end of bone. 

SeiHcheag. ' 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. 318.) 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 Laigli. 

The hai-vest 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. 



338 NOTES 

The badger is now rare in Scotland, being only seen occasionally 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. 



T 

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. 

Tachradli, produce, substance ; from ' tachar,' quantity. 

Tachran, tacharan, a kelpie, a water-sprite, a dwarf — one of the many supernatural 
beings with which the Highlanders peopled their 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 bj' Donald Macdonald, known as 'Domhull odhar,' dun Donald, 'an 
tacharan,' the dwarf, and Finlay Macrae, known as ' Fionnladh dubh nam 
fiadh,' black Finlay of the deer : — 

' Is olc a fhuaradh Tacharan 111 have done the Dwarf 

Us Fionnladh dubh nam fiadh — And black Finlay of the deer — 

A dh' fhag mo ghaol an cadha cumhan, They left my lo\'e in narrow pass. 

Far naeli eirich grian. \V'liere no sunshine shall appear. 

'Dh' fhag- iad mo thaigh mor gun tubha, They reft my big house of its thatch. 

Mo shabhal tur gun dion. My barn made wholly bare. 

An dubhra trath 's t-anamoch aun. In tlie gloomy winter night-watch, 

'S mo chlann air blieag dh'an bliiadh.' And my children without 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 e.\ceeding 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 resem- 
bling ' tach ! tach ! tach ! ' This may have originated the name in this case. 

Taghan, polecat, foumart. The polecat is detested for its destructiveness and evil 
odour. It is now nearly extinct in the Highlands. 

Tail, taileadk, 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 f hein '—I am after my own business. 



NOTES 339 

Taimhlisg, traduce, contemn. ' Is tu an taimhlisg ' ; this might mean a traducing 
person or one worthy of being traduced. 

Tairbhein, leirhkein, tailbhein, leilbhein, surfeit ; also a bloody flux in cattle ; possibly 
from ' dairb ' or ' deirb/ water-insect, spider, which when swallowed is supposed 
to cause bleeding. 

Talmaich, honour, obeisance ; from ' talm,' to obey, to honour. 

Tarbh buidhie, 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. 

Tamian, torman, ptarmigan, preferably ' tarmigan,' murmur-bird ; from ' tarni," or 
' torm,' murmur, and 'ian,' bird. Derivatives — ' tarmach,' 'tormach,' ' tarmachan,' 
' tormachan,' murmuring bird. 

The tarmigan is ruddj', mottled grey in summer, changing to pure snow-white 
in winter. It confines itself to the summits of liigh 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 undistinguishable from its habitat. In 
1877, the writer went up to examine the beach-like shingly appearance of the 
summit of a hill 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 fly. 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. p. 56). Columba had a powerful voice ' clearly heard at fifteen 
hundred paces.' It is said that he could be heard in Mull when preaching in 
lona, more than a mile across the sea. Probably the famous Dr. Macdonald, 
Ferrintosh, 'the Apostle of the North,' was the greatest Gaelic orator since 
Columba, to whom he has been likened. Dr. Macdonald and the late Sir 
John A. Macdonald, Premier of Canada, another orator of renown, were sons 
of two crofter brothers evicted from Sutherlandshire. 



340 NOTES 

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, teilinn, a musical instrument, a stringed instrument. Welsh ' telu/ a harp. 
Teiiie, fire. (Vol. i. p. 174.) 

' Cha loisg teine, grian, no gealach mi.' No fire, no sun, no moon, shall burn me. 

Similar immunity from fire is mentioned in an Arthurian ballad taken down 

in Uist : — 

' Cha loisg teiue 's cha dearg arm air an No fire shall buru, no arm can hurt the 
fliear, 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 re-k^ndled 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 purifica- 
tion. The ordeal was trying, as may be inferred from phrases still current. ' Is 
teodha so na teine teodha Bheuil ' — Hotter is this than the hot fire of Beul. 
Replying to his grandchild, an old man in Lews 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-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 townland, 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 fagots 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 
Mac Creafain ' — the great arch witch Mac Crauford, now Crawford. 

That was in the second decade of this 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 



NOTES 341 

bhuidhe ' — the year of the yellow snow — 18'29(?). The snow lay so deep and 
remained so long on the ground, that it became yellow. Some suggest that the 
snow was originally yellow, 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 puri- 
fication 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 intermingled. 

' 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 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 hearth, from which all tlie men present carried 
away a kindling to their own homes. 

' Whether their success was due to their skill, their industry, their persever- 
ance, 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 Uist about the year 182P, in Arran about 
1820, in Helmsdale about 1818, in Reay about 18.30. 

'I'ciric, 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. 

Tc'im, 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 
VOL. II. 2 X 



342 NOTES 

t-sionnaich/ as twisted as the gift of the fox ; ' teem Aegir/ dole of Aigir, a 
miserly dole. 

Team, cunning, skilful, expert. 

Tiur, tiuir, tiubhir, tear, leorr, mark, stamp, impress, the mark of the sea upon the 
shore, the refuse left by the tide upon the beach. 

' Is truiigh, a Righ ! uacli mi bha lamli riut Would, O Kiug ! that I were anear thee, 
Ge b'eeilb na ob an traigh tliu. On whatever saudbauk or creek thou art 

Ged a b'ann an tiur an lain e. ' 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 fliein '— Let every man be 
making a (hanging) rope for himself. 

Tore, a cleft, a notch, a scallop, an indentation ; also a monarch's necklace. 

Torcan, dim. of ' tore,' a cleft. 

Torcan,ii species of bere, a bi-forked carrot, the cardion'ts benedidus. 

'Ladies bathing themselves in a decoction of the " turcan " shall only bear 
sons.' — Kilkenny Arch. Soc. Jour., vol. \'. p. S06 (f'. 

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 Criosd.' 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 literallj'. 

Triall, the procession of people and herds to the summer sheiling (vol. i. p. 190). 

Trilhean, Trithion, Tiiiine, 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.' 

Till, fire, hearth, heap ; the stem of ' tullach,' a heap, a knoll, a house : possibly a 
form of ' teallach,' hearth, forge. 

Tiilach, knoll, hillock, house, ruins. 



NOTES 343 



U 

Udail, oscillate, oscillation ; ' iidalan ' a swivel. 

Uilm, uilim, coffer, treasury, offertory, a bag for alms; akin to ' ulaidh,' treasure. 

Umicinn, lamb-skin ; from ' uan,' lamb, ' cionn,' skin. 

Uraisg, a monster, half-human, half-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 super- 
natural 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' orduichiuu-sa dhusa, That is what 1 would ordain to thee, 

Nighean righ le or 's le usga.' The daughter of a king, with gold and gems. 




NAMES OF THOSE FROM WHOSE RECITATION 
THE POEMS HAVE BEEN RECORDED 



Poem. 
1, 8, Sii 



Name. 
Ann Macdonald . 



2, 201, 202 Mary Macrae i . 

3, 9, 68 Duncan Maclellan 
i, 38, 41 Mary Macdonald 

5, 6, 7 Donald Munro Mor- 

rison - 

10 Raonaid Macpherson . 

11 A. B 

12 Catrine Macintyre 

13 Matili Campbell'' 

14 Mary Ferguson . 

15 John Cameron ■'' . 

16 FionnaghalMacdougal'' 

17 John Fraser" 

18, 43, 44 IsEBEAL Mackintosh'^ . 

19 GiLLEONAIN MaCNEILL'' 

20,152,154 Catrine Mackintosh '" 

21 Janet Macvuirich ^i . 

22 Raonaid Maclean '" 

23 Mary Macinnes . 



Occupation. Residence. 

Crofter's daughter Boshunntain 

Bhile 
Dairy-woman Taobh-tuatli 

Crofter . Carnan 

Crofter's daughter Boshunntain 

Mhor 
Physician . Edinburgh. 



Cottar 
Light-keeper 

Crofter's wife 

Crofter's wife 

Cottar 

Crofter 

Cottar 

Street Porter 

Crofter's wife 

Cottar 

Cottar 

Crofter's daughter 

Crofter's wife 

Cottar 



1 From Kiutail. - From Harris. 

^ The lighthouse stands where of old tlie monas- 
tery stood. * JV^e Morrison — from S. Uist. 

* The Camerons came to Barra as 'leine-chneis,' 
with Jane, daughter of Cameron of Fassifeam, and 
sister to Colonel John Cameron, of whom Scott, 
Byron, and others have sung in und^'ing verse. 

^ Her people came from Morar. 

" Had been gamekeeper in Lochaber, and had 



South Haccleit 
Isl. of Heisgeir 
nam Manach ^ 
Isl. of Bearnarey 
Island of Papey 
Obbe 
Borodh 
Glen 

Frederick Street 
lonnaruay 
Bailevicneill 
Staoligearry 
lochdar 
Bailemartain 
South Haccleit 



District. 
Lochaber. 

Harris. 
.South Uist. 
Lochaber. 



Benbecula. 
North Uist. 

Barra. 

Barra. 

Harris. 

Barra. 

Barra. 

Edinburgh. 

Lochaber. 

Barra. 

South Uist. 

South Uist. 

North Uist. 

Benbecula. 



been an eminently handsome man and a powerful 
athlete. * Nee Kennedy, Lianachan. 

^ Gilladhamhnaiu — Adamnan — a frequent name 
in the family of the Macneills of Barra, to whom 
this fine man was of near descent. 

1" She possessed much occult lore. 

" Rendered Currie. 

1* N^c Ferguson — a woman of much natural intel- 
ligence, with a good knowledge of botany. 



NAMES OF RECITERS 



345 



Poem. 

24,71 

25, 77, 79 

26,37 

27, l64 

28 

2!) 

30 

31, 16.-, 

32 

33, 40, 111 

34,185,186 

35, S6, 70 

42 

45 

46, 1 1 4 

47, 48 
4.9 

50 
5] 

52, 61 
53 

54, 98 

55, 56, 57 
58 

59 
60 
6l 



Name. 
Janet Campbell ^ 
Janet Maciosaig - 
GilleaspuigMacvuirich 
Ann Maciosaig ^ . 
John Macdonald 
Donald Maccormaio . 
Mary Macmillan 
MoR Macicsaig . 
Patruig Smith ' . 
Cairistine Macinnes " . 
John Macinnes" . 
Donald Macdonald 
Mary M.\cinnes . 

C.\TRINE MaCCUITIIEAN "^ 

AoNAs Mackintosh 

ISEBEAL GaLBRAITII 

Allan Macphie . 
Roderick Maccormaig '■' 
Soracha Macphie 
Donald Macdonald . 
Mary Maciosaig . 
Neill Macneill . 
Angus Gunn ^" . 
Roderick Macneill 
John Macdiarmaid 

ClORSDAI GiLLIE.S 

Donald Maciain ^' 



Occupation. 
Nurse 

Crofter's wife 
■ Shoemaker 
Cottar's wife 
Shepherd . 
Crofter 

Crofter's daughter 
Crofter's wife 
Crofter 
Cottar 
Crofter 
Crofter 
Cottar 
Cottar 
Crofter 
Crofter's wife 
Tailor 
Crofter 
Tailor's wile 
Crofter 
Crofter's wife 
Herdsman 
Cottar 
Cottar 
Crofter 
Crofter 
R. C. Catechist . 



Residence. 
Loch Sgiport 
Staonabrig 
Airduamoine 
Ceannlangavat . 
Keapach 
Killpheadair 
Lianacuith 
Staonabrig 
Leth-meanach . 
South Haccleit 
Staoligearry 
Grimnis 
Taighearry 
Clachan-a-ghluip 
Dungaineacha . 
Sgalary 
Staonabrig 
Dungaineacha . 
Staonabrig 
Staonabrig 
Staonabrig 
Eoiligean-y 
Dail-fo-thuath . 
Miunghlaidh 
Island of Scalpey 
Dungaineacha . 
Isl. of Eirisge)' 



District. 
South Uist. 
South Uist. 
South Uist. 
South Uist. 
Lochaber. 
South Uist. 
South Uist. 
South Uist. 
South Uist. 
Benbecula. 
South Uist. 
Benbecula. 
North Uist. 
Nortli Uist. 
Benbecula. 
Barra. 
South Uist. 
Benbecula. 
South Uist. 
South Uist. 
South Uist. 
Barra. 
Lews. 
Barra. 
Harris. 
Benbecula. 
South Uist. 



' Niic Mackinnon — from Skye. 

- N^e Macvuirich — descended from the famous 
Maovaiirichs, hereditary poets and historians to tlie 
Clanranalds. 

' Had many beautiful old hymns taught liim 
when young by his father. 

■* N^e JIacIellan. 

■'' A famous story-teller and ballad-reciter witli 
wtinm died much old lore. 

" She had an immense amount of old lore, runes, 
and stories of great literarj' interest. 

- Several volumes of old lore, mostly heroic tales, 
died with this nice, intelligent man. 



^ Her people were noted old-Iorists. Her uncle, 
Ruaraidh Ruadh Maccuithean, was story-teller to 
Lord Macdonald, from whom he had free lands for 
iiis services. 

" Had many beautiful old hymns, all of which, 
save this, died with him. 

1" He had much religious and mythological lore of 
great interest. 

" Rendered Johnson — descended from Ranald 
Maciain who escaped from the massacre of Glencoe, 
This extremely interesting man was empowered to 
administer baptism and perform other rites of the 
Church in cases of necessity and in the absence of 
the priest. 



346 



NAMES OF RECITERS 



Poem. 


Name. 


Occupation. 


Residence. 


District. 


62, 78 


EoGHAN Wilson . 


Crofter 


Grimnis . 


Benbecula. 


63 


Alexander Macdonald 


Shoemaker 


Bailanloch 


North Uist. 


64. 


GiLLEASPUiG MacKinnon 


1 Shoemaker 


Earsary . 


Barra. 


6,5 


Patruig Morri.son 


Crofter 


Baile nam Man- 
acli 


Benbecula. 


66 


Neill Morrison 


Bard-Sheplierd . 


Island of Papey 


Harris. 


67 


Ann Morrison- . 


Mason's wife 


Trunisgearry . 


North Uist. 


69, 187 


Fionnladh Maccormah; 


Cowherd 


Grogearry 


South Uist. 


72 


George Gunn " . 


PeasantproprietorSt. Ola 


Orkney. 


7a, 90 


Donald Wil.son ■* 


Crofter 


Airdmor . 


South Uist. 


74 


Fionnaghal Macneiven 


'' Crofter's wife 


South Hacck-it 


Benbecula. 


7.Ì 


Ale.xander Macdonald' 


' Crofter 


Borodh 


Barra. 


76, 115 


Mor Gillies 


Cottar 


Moor of Aird . 


Benbecula 


80, 139 


John Pearson 


Ex-soldier, U.S. 


Ceanntangaval . 


Barra. 


81 


Roderick Macdonald . 


Fanner 


Saighidnis 


North Uist. 


82 


Mary Maclellan ' 


Crofter's wife 


Hougearry 


North Uist. 


83 


Catrine Macdonald 


Crofter's wife 


Smiorasary 


Glenuig. 


84 


Gilleaspuig Morrison 


Crofter 


Staonabrig 


South Uist. 


85 


Patruig Smith 


Crofter 


Staonabrig 


South Uist. 


86 


Fionnaghal Macinne.s "* 


Crofter's wife 


Buaile-dhubh . 


South Uist. 


87, 157 


Catrine Macpharlan " 


Soldier's wife 


Ceanntangaval . 


Barra. 


88, 107 


Lachlan Macdonald . 


Crofter 


Grimnis . 


Benbecula. 


89 


AoNAs Macdonald 


Crofter 


Gearrynamoine 


South Uist. 


91 


Neill Campbell . 


Crofter 


Miunghlaidh 


Barra. 


92 


Two crofter women in 


a crofter's house 


Breuvaig . 


Barra. 


93, 95 


Mairiread Macrae 


Crofter's wife 


Tiobartan 


South Uist. 


94, 146,163 Mary Stewart 1" 


Dairy-woman 


Malacleit 


North Uist. 


96 


Roderick Maclachlan 


Gardener . 


Buaile nam bo- 
dach 


Barra. 


97 


Catrine Macleod 


Shepherd's wife 


Isl. of Heillisey 


Barra. 


99 


Cairistine Macdonald 11 


Crofter's wife 


Earsarey . 


Barra. 


100, 127, 


AoNAs Mace.\chain 


Cattleherd 


Staonabrig 


South Uist. 


189 










1 This inte 


lligent man dictated to me the names of minded man 


resembled, when spea 


iking, the cele- 



thirty-seven consecutive generations of the Macneills 
of Barra. ' JN'ee Ross— from Skye. 

5 Evicted from KiUdonnan, Sutherland. 

* Aged 101. 6 Nde Beaton. 

• Mr. Campbell of Islay said that this noble- 



brated French preacher, Mirabeau. 

' Nic Macdonald. ' Niie Macdonald. 

^ N^e Pearson — a remarkable genealogist. 
'" From Skye— she knew many occult runes and 
occult arts. " iVtfc Macneill. 



NAMES OF RECITERS 



347 



Poem. 


Name. 


Occupation. 


Residence. 


District. 


101 


Donald M.'ìcdonai.d . 


Cattleherd 


. Baile nan Cail- 
leach 


Benbecula. 


102 


SOMERLED MaCDONALI) . 


Cattleherd 


. Balranald 


North Uist. 


103 


AoNAs Macdougal 


Cattleherd 


. Lianacleit 


Benbecula. 


104 


Donald Macinnes 


Crofter 


Baile-gharbhath 


South Uist. 


10 J 


Murdoch Maccuis 


Cattleherd 


Grimnis . 


North Uist. 


10(j 


Donald (.') Maclean ^ . 


Farmer. 






lOS 


Malcolm Macphersox . 


Shepherd . 


■Bagh nam 
faoilean 


South Uist. 


109 


Mary M.\cdonald 


Weaver 


Locheuphort 


North Uist. 


110 


Mary Wilson 


Weaver 


Tolarum . 


Benbecula. 


112 


Donald Macintyue - . 


R. C. Catechist 


. Aird 


Benbecula. 


113, 134, 


Duncan Cameron '■' 


Policeman . 


. Lochaluinn 


Morvern. 


207 










116, 129, 


Fionnaghal Macleod . 


Cottar 


. Isl. of Bailesear 


North Uist. 


160 










117 


AoNAS Maclellan 


Cooper 


. South Haccleit 


Benbecula. 


118 


John Maccormaig 


Crofter 


Tolarum . 


Benbecula. 


119 


Malcolm Macleod 


Shipmaster 


Lochmaddy 


North Uist. 


120, 201, 

202 
121 


Ale.xander M.\theson ^ 


Shipmaster 


Doirnie 


Lochalsh. 


Gilleaspuig Maclellan 


^ Shipmaster 


. N. Lochboisdale 


South Uist. 


122 


Una Macdonald 


Herdsman's mother Island of Fuidhey Barra. 


123 


Ann Macleod 


Crofter's wife 


Island of Scarp 


Harris. 


124 


Catrine Maccuithean 


Cottar 


Fearann an leatha Skye. 


125 


Mairiread Macdonald 


Cottar 


. Gearryiain 


North Uist. 


126 


Mairiread M.\cdonald 


Cottar 


Hougearry 


North Uist. 


128, 143, 


Donald Macpherson . 


Shoemaker 


Grimnis . 


Benbecula. 


151 










130, 137 


Dl'gal Macaulav'-' 


Cottar 


. South Haccleit 


Benbecula. 



1 Native of Small Isles ; home from Canada. 

2 A famous reciter and story-teller, with whom 
many tales and ballads died. Upon one occasion, 
after teaching him the Catechism to be taught 
to others, the genial Father James Macgrigor said : 
'Thugamaid a nis treis air Oisean, a Dhomhuill.' 
' M'anamsa Dhia is e b'annsa leinn I ' — ' Let us now 
give a while at Ossian, Donald.' "Upon my soul, O 
God, but that were preferable to iis,' said DonaM, 
ilrawing a long sigh of relief, 



•^ IMucli traditional lore of great excellence died 
with this highly intelligent lorist. 

^ He made a large collection of valuable old lore, 
but lent and never recovered the manuscripts. 

^ Had much topographical lore of great interest 
and value. 

'' He very kindly showed me the rites for curing 
the sprain and the red pleura and for counteractinf; 
the evil eve. 



348 



NAMES OF RECITERS 



Poem 




Name. 


Occupation. 


131 




Mary (?) Mackenzie . 


Crofter's wife 


132 




Mary Macdonalu 


Shepherd's wife . 


133 




OlGHRIG MaCIAIN^ 


Crofter's wife 


135, 


159, 


Fionnaghal Maci.eod - 


Cottar 


188 






136 




Mary Macvuirich 


Crofter's wife 


138 




AoNAs Macvuirich 


Crofter 


140 




Barbara Macdonai.d . 


Crofter's wife 


141, 


142, 


Isebeal Chisholm •' 


Tinker 


193 






144, 


145 


Mairead Mackintosh . 


Tailor's wife 


147 




AoDH Macintyre 


Crofter 


148 




Ann Campbell.^ 




149 




Mor Macphie 


Crofter's daughter 


150 




R AON AID Stewart 


Cottar 


153 




Mor Maclellan . 


Crofter's wife 


155 




Peigidh Maclean 


Cottar 


156 




Nic-al-domhnaich 


Cottar 


158 




Mary Mackinnon 


Shepherd's wife 


161 




Mairiread Morrison . 


Cottar 


162 




GoRMUL Mackinnon (?)'' 


Servant woman . 


166 




Ann Macphie 


Crofter's daugliter 


167 




Slaine ; WIFE ok 


Shepherd . 


168 




Ciorsdai Macleod " 


Cottar 


169 




Neill Macdonald 


Mason 


170 




Mairiread Macpherson 


Shepherd's wife . 


171 




TORMAD MaCPHAIRC 


Cottar 


172, 


173, 
5 


Cairistine Macvicar ** 


Cottar 


1 1 
174 


Mary Stewart . 


Crofter's wife 



Residence. District. 

Isl. of Bearnarey Lews. 

Caim . . Arasaig. 

Locheuphort . North Uist. 
Clachan-reamhar South Uist. 

S. Lochboisdale South Uist. 

S. Lochboisdale South Uist. 

Culburnie Aird, 

Beauly. 

Lochmaddy ^ North Uist. 

South Boisdale South Uist. 

Isl. of Eirisgey South Uist. 

Baile-gharbhath South Uist. 

Isl. of Bailesear North Uist. 

South Boisdale South Uist. 

Trumsgearry . North Uist. 

Bail-a-phuill Tiree. 

Isl. of Sanntrey Barra. 

Moorof Grimnis Benbecula. 

Lochmaddy North Uist. 

Caman . . South Uist. 

Isl. of \'attersey Harra. 
Island of St. Kilda. 

Tolarum . Benbecula. 

Isl. of Fuidhey Benbecula. 

Isl. of Bearnarey Harris. 

Moor of Aird . Benbecula. 

Isl. of Grimisey North Uist. 



^ Oighi'ig Maciaiii was lineally descended from 
Alexander Maciain, the massacred chief of Glencoe. 

- Her people came from Lews. She was full of 
occult lore and old beliefs of many kinds. 

'■' She knew innumerable incantations and incan- 
tation formula; of great interest. 

* Temporarily. 



^ Copied from an old manuscript by the Rev. 
Angus Macdonald, Killearnan. 

« From Skye. 

' She had much lore about the ' sluagh,' hosts, 
the fairies, and the second sight, which she told 
realistically. 

' She was full of plant lore and plant beliefs. 



NAMES OF RFXITERS 



349 



Poem. 


Xaiiir. 


Occupation. 


KcsÌLloncc. 


District. 


17(i 


MoR Macclixn . 


Cottar 


Isl. of Tarransey 


Harris. 


177 


BoRGAClI MaCLEOI) 


Servant-maid 


Isl. of Eithisey . 


Harris. 


178 


John Beaton i 


Shepherd . 


Aird nan laogli 


South Uist. 


179 


AoNAs Maci.eod . 


Gamekeepei- 


Ceann Reusart . 


Lews. 


180 


Ranalij Mac'1>hie 


Blacksmith 


lochdar 


South Uist. 


181 


Donald John Mackenzie 


; Gamekeeper 


Abhuinn-suidhc 


Harris. 


182 


DoNAi.n Macphie - 


Crofter 


Carnan 


South Uist. 


183 3 










184 


Donald Maccoll^ 


Foxhunter 


Glencrearan 


Appin. 


190 


GlLLEASPUU; MaCVL'IRII 11 


Crofter 


S. Lochboisdale 


South Uist. 


191 


Mary Maclellan 


Crofter's wife 


South Haccleit 


Benbecula. 


192 


EoiN Macdonald "' 


Tailor 


Gearrynamoine 


South Uist. 


194 


Catrine Mackintosh " 


Cottar 


Bailanloch 


North Uist. 


195 


Malcolm Macmillan 


Crofter 


Grimnis 


Benbecula. 


196 


Mary Macdonald 


Crofter's clau<jliter 


■ Miiinghlaidli . 


Barra. 


197 


OighrigMaccriomthain 


i" Cottar 


Island of St. Kilda. 


198 


Ann Macvcirich 


Crofter's daughte 


r lochdar 


South Uist. 


199 


John Cane * 


Roadman . 


Corstorphine 


Edinburgh. 


200 


Mairiread Macleod . 


Crofter's wife 


South Haccleit 


Benbecula. 


203 


Ceit Macinnes . 


Cottar 


Creag 


Arasaig. 


204 


Eachun Macphie 


Crofter 


Eilean Cuithe 
nam fiadh 


South Uist. 


205, 21ii 
2KÌ 


;, Malcolm Maclellan . 


Crofter 


Grimnis . 


Benbecula. 


206 


Isebeal Macurigor 


Cottar 


Bailegarbh 


Lisniore. 


208 


AoNAs Iain Macrury . 


Calf-herd . 


Scolpaig . 


North Uist. 


209 


MoR Mackay " . 


Cottar 


Isl. of Heisgeir 


North Uist. 



210 



.■\\nie Mackay 



nan Cailleach 
Crofter's daughter Melness . 



Sutherland 



' From Skye. A born botanist and an extiemely 
interesting man— descended from the famous phy- 
sicians. 

■- A famous story-teller from whom volumes of 
folklore could have been filled. 

^ Taken dowu from an old man, name omitted, 
by the Rev. John G. t'ampbell, Tiree. 

* He had iumimerable interesting and instructive 
stories about foxes and other wild animals, among 
which he had lived most of his long life of nearly 
one hundred years. 

VOX. II. 



" He had many interesting stories of birds and of 
bird-lore. 

'' She had many cuiious stories of ' frithean agus 
frithirean,' auguries and augurers, and of the *da 
shealladh,' two-sights — stories that would have 
interested psychologists. 

" She had some beautiful St. Kilda songs, but the 
peojile of St. Kilda deprecated all secular music, 
poetry, and old lore. ' From Derry. 

^ Her isolated little cot stood among the green 
grassy mounds of the ruined nunnery. 

2 V 



350 



NAMES OF RECITERS 



Poem. Name. Occupation. Residence. District. 

211 John EoGHAN Mac RUR Y 1 I'armer . . Grimnis . Benbecula. 

214 Peigidh Macaulay 2 . ( Tofter's wife . Houglimor . South Uist. 

215 Alexander Macneill" Fish Salter . Ceanntangaval . Barra. 

216 John Stewart'' . . Merchant . Bachuill . Lismore. 



' A higlily intelligent man, for whose knowledge 
of old lore I am greatly indebted in this work. 

- Nic Robertson — a bright, beautiful woman, who 
possessed many beautiful songs and airs, which died 
with her. 

' Mr. Iain Canijibell of Islay and, for him, the 
distinguished scholar Mr. Hector Maclean, Islay, 
took down many tales from this reciter. I wrote 
down many more, but all three of us made little 
impression upon the old man's abundant lore. I 
noted from him the names and characters of several 



score of long heroic tales, any or all of which he 
was ready to dictate to me. Amongst them was 
a very long, complete, and wondrously fine version 
of Deirdire. Alexander Macneill said that the 
version of this tale which I had alreadj- taken down 
from his brother Iain Donn was only a fragment. 
Yet this fragment of the story of Deirdire has 
been pronounced by critics equal to any ancient 
or modern classic. 

•* I am indebted to Mr. Stewart for much valuable 
information regarding Lismore — still an island of 
much interest, and anciently of much importance. 





E D 1 N B U K (i H 
AND A. CONSTABLE 
Printers to Her Majestj- 
1900