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The collection of Gaelic Proverbs and Phrases, on 
which the present collection is based, was first published 
at Edinburgh in 1785. Some account of the compiler 
and the publication will be found at the end of this 
volume. Though small in bulk, and in several respects 
defective, Macintosh's collection was a valuable contri- 
bution to Celtic Literature. It was at that time, and 
has continued to be, the only collection of Celtic 
Proverbs gathered into a book, and translated for the 
benefit of the world. It had the stiU greater merit of 
being a genuine product of the past, the editor's share 
in the compilation of which consisted in simply giving 
as correctly as he could the words of sayings familiar to 
the people among whom he lived, rendering them into 
English, and occasionally illustrating them by an ex- 
planation, an anecdote, or a parallel. 

Macintosh contemplated a new edition some time 
before his death, which took place in 1808, and a new 
dedication, to Sir John Macgregor IMun^ay of Lanrick, 
was found among his papers. But the second edition, 
which did not appear till 1819, shows no other mark 
of his hand. The additions to the collection were 
probably found among his papers, but the new editor, 
Alexander Campbell (author of ' The Grampians Deso- 

late,' and other works), says nothing on the subject. A 
short memoir of Macintosh forms the Preface, and may 
fairly be characterised as a curiosity in Biography. 
The title-page says that the collection is 'Englished 
anew,' and the claim is well founded, much of the 
English being of a very novel kind. The ignorance 
of the elements of Gaelic displayed in some of the new 
translations is still more extraordinary, often so ludi- 
crous, as to make it matter of wonder and regret that 
Campbell ventured on the task.^ Macintosh's transla- 
tions are on the whole creditable, sometimes happy ; 
the new ones substituted for them are rarely changes 
for the better; much oftener they give nonsense for 
sense, and turgid commonplace for pithiness. A few 
specimens are given below.^ The spelling in the new 

^ It is with compunction that one .speaks thits of a man for 
whom both Burns and Scott had some regard, and to whom we 
are in that respect indebted not a little. Several of Scott's best 
songs, 'Jock of Hazeldean,' 'Pibroch of Donald Dhu,' 'MacGregor'.s 
Gathering,' ' ilacCrimmon's Lament,' ' Donald Caird's come again,' 
were written for 'Albyn's Anthology,' a collection of Scottish 
Songs and Music, edited by Campbell. 

^ ' A lion beagan 'us beagan,' is rendered Fill little and little ; 
' B'e sin seangan toirt greim a gearran,' Tiiat were the emmet's bite 
bewailiììg ; ' Cha ghille mur umhailt,' He is not a disobedient man- 
servant; 'Leintibh farsuin,' &c., Narrow shirts; 'Cha d' ith na 
coin an aimsir,' The dogs did not worry the wether; 'Dalt arain- 
eòma Mhic Philip,' MacQillip's oat-cake foster-child ; ' Gheibh 
bean bhaoth dliith gun cheannach, 's cha 'n fhaigh i inneach,' A 
wizard's wife ivill get retribution vnthout buying it, and she will 
not get a cure; ' Leigheas air leth a' losgadh. Burning is half cure; 
Leann dubh air mo chridhe, Black-beer at my heart ; ' Trod nam 
ban mu 'n scarbh,' The wife's scolding about the heron (This is 
one of the comparatively few mistranslations of Macintosh) ; 

edition is far worse than in the old, whicli, for the 
period when it appeared, may be considered very 

A more remarkable defect in both editions is the 
omission of many of the most familiar and popular 
proverbs and phrases, such as, An la a ch\ 's nach 
flcaic, Am fmr a hhios air dheireadh heiridh a' hhiast 
air, An gad air an robh 'n t-iasg. Am fear a hhios gun 
mhodh, saoilidh e, &c., Aisling caillich, &c., Gach dilcas 
gic dcircadh, Is trcasa tuath na tighearna, Saoilidh am 
fear a hhios 'n a thchnh, &c., Tarruing am hleidir' 
art, &c., &c. 

These various defects in both editions, and the com- 
parative rarity of the book, suggested the present 
edition. The whole original collection has been trans- 
lated anew, so far as that seemed necessary, and the 
additions to it, through the kind assistance of numerous 
friends, have trebled the number of proverbs and 
phrases given by Macintosh. The number in the first 
edition was 1305 , in the second, 1538 ; in this edition 
it exceeds 3900. 

The coming in of fresh materials from time to time, 
and the desire to make the collection as complete and 
correct as possible, have delayed the publication to a 
degree requiring some apology. Cha hhi luathas agus 
grinneas, a very Celtic sentiment, has perhaps been too 

'Tha 'n iiaill an agliaidh an tairbli,' Pride is in the hulVs front. 
One specimen of Campbell's grandiloquence may suffice. ' Cha 
'n ann do 'n ghuin an gàire,' is fairly rendered by Macin- 
tosh, Smiles are not companions of pain. Campbell's improved 
version is, The laugh is not excited by the sharp lancinating pain of 
a stitch. 

influentiaL But the alphabetical arrangement was 
decided on from the beginning, as the most useful 
and feasible; and some of the best additions came at 
the very last.^ 

It is fair also to state, that the most of these valu- 
able new materials were received without translations, 
in most cases without note or comment, and not always 
in the most legible handwriting. Nor will it be new 
to any one who has meddled with Proverbs to hear, 
that the most diverse interpretations of the same saying 
are sometimes given, by persons of the most competent 
qualifications as judges of Folk-Lore. This fact consoles 
one somewhat under the certainty that all the transla- 
tions and explanations will not please everybody. 

We have as yet no absolute standard of Gaelic ortho- 
graphy, and it is no disgrace, considering that William 
Shakespeare spelled his own great name in several 
ways, and that even Samuel Johnson's English spellings 
are not all followed now. Our Gaelic version of the 
Bible is generally accepted by all reasonable persons as 
our grammatical standard, but being a human produc- 
tion it cannot claim infallibility, and it was from the 
beginning too much regulated by deference to the 
practice of Irish grammarians, and a slight dread of 
anything too vernacular and simple. The latest edition 
of it, an admirable one,^ proves that it is possible to get 
three Gaelic scholars to agree in orthography. But 

^ There are still a good many Gaelic sayings which have 
never got into print. The present Editor will be glad to get 
any such. 

2 Pu;jii,,hed for the Edinburgh National Bible Society, 1880. 

Iilr. J. F. Campbell does not exaggerate when he 
questions, whether "there are ten men now living 
who would write a hundred lines of Gaelic offhand, and 
spell them in the same way". I have been very desirous 
to make this book in that respect as correct as possible, 
and in general accordance with the best authorities. 
But an occasional divergence from the canonical norm, 
and even varied spellings of the same word, have 
seemed to me not only excusable but desirable. The 
phrases in which these words occur belong to the 
simplest vernacular forms of speech, and ought to be so 
given as to represent faithfully the varieties of phrase 
and pronunciation found among Gaelic-speaking people. 
The greater part of the two thousand three hundred 
sayings here first collected were received in MS., mostly 
from good Gaelic scholars, who spelled sometimes in 
different ways. 

Among these varieties of spelling are heiil and hial, 
hreug and Iriag, feur and fiar, sgeul and sgial, ris and 
ritliist, &c. To adhere uniformly to any of these 
would sometimes spoil the rhyme or rhythm on which 
the charm of a proverb often depends. The only positive 
innovation in this volume, so far as I know, is a very small 
one, SCO for so, chosen because it more correctly repre- 
sents the sound sho, the common pronunciation of the 
word in the Highlands. For the same reason I have 
invariably substituted sid for sud, and dkaibh for dJioibh, 
the former being the pronunciation of Inverness-shire, 
which I naturally preferred to that of Argyllshire. The 
addition of the acute accent to such words as Mul and 
16m is not an innovation, having the sanction of such a 

Gaelic scholar as James Munro. It is difficult to see 
why /em and mdr should be always accented, and hml 
and I6m left without it. The use of accents might well 
be limited to ambiguous words, such as Ion, Ion, and 
1071, all of different sound and meaning. Except for 
this puq^ose, they are useless alike to those who 
know the language, and to those who do not. They 
are all the more confusing, when it is found that the 
Irish use of them entirely differs from ours, and that, 
with us, some people write rnor, and others vwr, the one 
sounding like mould, tlie other like more. Having 
adhered to the use of accents in tliis book, I have 
chosen the former of these, as representing what I 
consider the better pronunciation; and following the 
example of Munro, I have given the same accent to 
16m, donn, torn, &c. The words ccard, fearr, &c., I have 
purposely left without accent, because there are two pro- 
nunciations of them, equally correct. Some say kyard 
and fyarr, accented ceàrd and fearr ; others say hjaird 
and /are, spelled ceard and fearr. For the same reason 
the accent is omitted over fhein, when preceded by the 
first personal or possessive pronoun. It is a singular 
peculiarity of speech, in a part of the North Western 
Iliglilands and most of the Islands, that they say ay- 
hain (e-fhein), himself, but mee-hcen (mi-fhein), myself 
This curious variety may not be defensible, but the fact 
has been taken into consideration. 

In many cases the vowel in a word is sounded long 
or short, according to the apposition of the word, and, 
as in Greek, the presence or absence of the accent should 
mark this, e.g., Feill, where the e is long, Fcill-Brlyhde 

where it is short. This has generally been kei)t in 
view, but occasional slips will be found. 

In addition to some misplacings or omissions of 
accents, there are a few omissions of apostrophes, 
chiefly after the article a, contracted for an. Pro- 
bably they will never be noticed, except by some 
^■ery critical eyes. 

As to the matter of the book, I have followed, and I 
hope improved upon, the example of Macintosh, in 
giving such illustrative notes and comments as seemed 
necessary or suitable. In this respect my original 
intention, merely to give an improved translation, 
with a few additions, has been greatly changed, and 
I found at last that the collection could no more be 
called ' Macintosh's Collection '. He rightly included 
Famihar Phrases as well as Proverbs, and I have 
followed the example, giving a large number of ver- 
nacular phrases, which, though not proverbs, are house- 
hold Highland words, all the more worthy to be 
preserved, that the use of the Gaelic language in its 
native land is slowly but surely passing away. The 
venerable creature dies hard,^ but the process is going 
on, some of her heartless children doing their little best 
to hasten her end. I have included phrases and say- 
ings which may seem of small value, but if that be an 
error, it is on the safe side. Good Macintosh was not 
afraid to give some specimens of Gaelic maledictions, 
and a considerable number has been added in this 
volume. To very strait-laced people this may seem 

1 'S e 'm Lial a dli' obas mu dheireadh — Tlie mouth gives in last. 

objectionable; but it is an interesting peculiarity of 
these Gaelic imprecations, that they are neither coarse 
nor blasphemous. They never take the divine name in 
vain ; and though not commonplace, there is not one of 
them to be compared for a moment in malignity with 
the dreadful ingenuity of Ernulphus. 

I have taken all due pains to translate correctly, and, 
so far as possible, to preserve the pith of the original, 
which is sometimes as difficult with Proverbs as it is 
with Poetry, A good many sayings are given of which 
the meaning is ambiguous or obscure. I have not ex- 
cluded them on that account, as it sometimes happens 
that an old saying may have some recondite meaning, 
or local reference, which the words do not convey on 
the surface. That the interpretations I have given are 
always correct is too much to assume. In the case of 
some of the dubh-fhacail or dark sayings, I have 
thought it better to give no comment, than to offer an 
unsatisfactory guess. Comments or illustrations have 
been necessarily limited to such sayings as seemed most 
to require them, or to invite them. They might have 
been multij^lied indefinitely; but the line had to be 
drawn somewhere ; and it seemed not too much to take 
for granted, that the readers of this book would be of a 
class not requiring explanations of things comparatively 

The only improvement in the second edition of 
Macintosh, excepting in paper and print, was the in- 
creased number of parallel proverbs given in the notes, 
which greatly added to the interest of the book. That 
practice, of which Erasmus showed such a wonderful 

example in his Adagia, has been followed in this 
volume to an extent which to some may seem excessive, 
to others inadequate. It has added seriously to the 
labour and time spent on the work, but the labour has 
been a pleasant one, and the time has not been wasted, 
if the result be found to have increased the value of the 
collection, from the point of view of what may be called 
' Comparative Paroemiography '. Lest the array of 
languages sometimes cited might suggest an ostentation 
of learning, it is right to mention that my acquaint- 
ance with some of them is of a very slender kind, but 
that I have used all available means, and got help from 
more competent persons, to give the words in these 
languages correctly.^ A few errors will be found, but 
none of them, I believe, of importance. 

^ The principal -works that have been used in citing these 
parallel proverbs are, Erasnd Adacjia, 1646 ; Corpus Parcemio- 
graphoriim Grcecorum, Ed. Leutsch et Schneideivin, 1839-51 ; Rm/s 
English Proverbs, Ed. 1813 ; Fuller's Gnoviologia, 1817 ; HazliWs 
English Prov., 1869 ; Kelly's Scottish Prov., 1721 ; Famsay's Scot. 
Prov. (Works, Oliver & Co., n.d., Vol. III.) ; Henderson's Scot. 
Prov. (Ed. Donald), 1876 ; Hislop's Scot. Prov., 1862 ; Crcgeen's 
Manks Diet., 1835 ; Kelhj's Manx Diet., 1866 ; Bourke's Irish 
Grammar, 1867 ; R. McAdam's Irish Prov. in Ulster Arch. Journ., 
Vols. VT. and VII. ; Pughe' s Welsh Diet., (Ed. Pryse), 1 866 ; Myvirian 
Archaiology, Vol. III., 1807 ; Prov. et Dictons de la Basse-Bretagne, 
par L. F. Sauv^, Revue Celtiqiie, Vols. I., II., III. ; Pinedas 
Spanish Diet, 1740 ; Burke's Spanish Salt, 1877 ; Roux de Lincys 
Prov. Frangais, 1859 ; Me'ry's Hist. Generale des Prov. 1829 ; 
Giusti's Prov. Toscani, 1871 ; Castagna's Prov. Italiani, 1869 ; 
Bonifacio's Prov. Lomhardi, 1860 ; Diet, of Danish Proverbs (Dan- 
ish and French), 1759 ; Sandvoss's So Spricht das Volk, 1860 ; 
Sprichworter und Spruchreden von Deutschen, Leipzig, n.d. ; Bohn's 
Polyglot of Prov., 1857 ; Bohn's Handbook, of Prov., 1855 ; Kelly's 

The value of Proverbs, as condensed lessons of wis- 
dom, ' abridgements of knowledge/ as Mr. Disraeli calls 
them, has been recognised by the wisest of men, from 
Solomon to Aristotle, from Aristotle to Lacon, from 
Bacon to Benjamin Franklin. The interest attaching to 
them as an index of the character of a nation is equally 
great. They are an unintentional, and all the more 
truthful, revelation of a people's peculiarities, habits 
and ideas. In both these respects the proverbs em- 
braced in this collection are entitled to a high place 
in the unwritten Philosophy of nations. Some of 
them are common to various countries ; others of them 
are borrowed, gaining oftener than losing in their new 
form. But a large proportion of them is of native 
growth, as certainly as is the heather on Ben Nevis, or 
the lichen on Cape Wrath ; and as a reflex of the ways 
of thinking and feeling, the life and manners, the 
■wisdom or superstition, the wit or nonsense of the 
Celtic race in Scotland, they are interesting alike to the 
historian, the philologist, and the student of human 

In speaking of them as a representation of the senti- 
ments of a nation or people, it must be borne in mind 
that, though the Gaelic-speaking population of Scotland 
is now but a small part of the whole, their mother- 
tongue was up to the time of Malcolm III. (1057- 
1093) the vernacular speech of the greater part of tlie 
people of North Britain, not excepting their native king, 

Prov. of all Nations, 1859 ; BurcJcJiardt's Arabic Proverbs, 1830; 
Negris'' Mod. Greek Prov., 1831 ; iJisrudi's Philos. of Prov., in Cur. 
of Eng. Lit.; Trench on Proverbs, 3rd ed., 1854. 

whose name alone would have bewrayed him as such.^ 
These Gaelic proverbs, therefore, so far aS» they are 
truly ancient, must be regarded as not merely Highland 
but Scottish. Where they are found in identical terms 
in Gaelic and Broad Scotch or English, the presumption 
is, unless they are on the face of them modern, that the 
Gaelic is the original, instead of being a translation, 
that language having been the common speech, not 
only of the Scotia of the time, but of the Western 
Coast and Isles, and of Galloway, centuries before 
either of the other two had come into existence. To 
some people this statement may be surprising, but 
to all competent scholars it is the mere expression of 
a now well-established fact in our Scottish history.^ 

The growth of Proverbs, like that of Ballad Poetry, 
is one of the most singular phenomena in the history of 
Literature. They are universally admitted to embody 
a great deal of wit and wisdom, artistically expressed. 
They must have been composed by persons of no or- 
dinary ability ; and yet, with the exception of a small 
fraction out of many thousands, their authorship is 
utterly unknown. This undoubtedly has added to their 
mfluence, for the same reason that anonymous leading 
articles are so much more powerful than if they were 
signed. When to this are added the sanctions of an- 
tiquity and association, these old sayings seem to 
address us like impersonal oracles, the voices, not of 
individuals, but of many generations, like the ' ancestral 

1 ' Cahun Ceann-mor,' generally rendered ' Canmore,' Big-head 
Malcolm. See Note on ' Ceann mor air duine glic,' p. 78. 

2 See Skene's Celtic Scotland, Vol. I. 

voices ' heard by Kubla Khan. And yet it seems very 
probable that a great many of the best of them were 
composed by persons in humble life, poor in position 
and in culture, rich only in mother-wit. Many of 
them, doubtless, were composed by gentlemen and 
scholars, some by persons of high degree, at a time 
when Gaelic was familiar to all the Highland nobility, 
and when the intercourse between high and low was 
constant, free, and kindly. Among the aristocracy of 
intellect, the name of one may be specially mentioned, 
as a Celt by birth, to whom Gaelic was his mother- 
tongue, our greatest scholar, George Buchanan. The 
most of these proverbs, however, so far as native, came 
from thatched cottages, and not from baronial or aca- 
demic halls. They expressed the thoughts and feelings 
of hardy, frugal, healthy-minded and healthy-bodied 
men, who spent most of their time in the fields, in 
the woods, on the moors, and on the sea. So con- 
sidered, they do great credit to the people whose 
thoughts and manners they represent, proving that 
there was and is a civilisation in Celtic Scotland, much 
beyond the imagination even of such a brilliant Celt 
as Lord Macaulay. The Irish Book of Kells, and the 
Scottish Hunterston Brooch, reveal to the eye of the 
artist and the archaeologist a degree of artistic taste and 
skill among our Celtic ancestors, which modern art can 
imitate, but scarcely equal. Not less plainly do these 
old Gaelic sayings reflect a high moral standard, an 
intelligence shrewd and searching, a singular sense of 
propriety and grace, and, what may be considered one 
of the tests of intellectual rank and culture, a distinct 

sense of humour, never found among savages or clod- 

The special relations of Scotland to some of the con- 
tinental nations will account for the close similarity of 
some of these proverbs to foreign ones. A few of the 
Hebridean ones have a strong resemblance to some 
of the sayings of our ISTorse ancestors. Our old and 
intimate connection with France is well known. For 
many generations we sent soldiers and students to that 
country. Some Scottish priests are still educated at 
Douay, as in days of yore, and a Scots College was long 
maintained for their special benefit at Paris. From a 
very remote date they were in the habit of finding their 
way to Eome, as a verse by one of our oldest Gaelic 
poets, Murdoch the Scot, bears record (see Supplement, 
p. 391). There is still a Scottish College at Eome, and 
some Scottish students are regularly trained in the Pro- 
paganda College. A Scottish College was founded at 
Madrid in 1627, translated to Valladolid in 1771, where 
a considerable proportion of our Eoman Catholic clergy 
now complete their education. These facts will help to 
account for the similarity of many Gaelic Proverbs to 
French, Italian, and Spanish ones. Our old military 
connection with Denmark and the Netherlands will 
help in like manner to account for any borrowed from 
these countries and from Germany. The few survivors 
of our much-prized contribution to the ranks of Gus- 
tavus Adolphus very probably carried back with them 
to Sutherland more proverbs than dollars. 

The resemblance of our Gaelic proverbs to Irish ones, 
especially Ulster ones, is what might be expected. The 

only wonder is that the number of Irish ones hitherto 
given to the world is so small, and that those given 
are so remarkably deficient in that unpremeditated 
airy wit for which our Hibernian cousins are specially dis- 
tinguished The resemblance to Manx sayings is more 
remarkable. In that interesting island, with which our 
Celtic connection has for centuries been very slight, 
sayings are still found in words almost identical with 
ours, which must have originated in a prehistoric 
period, when the Isle of Man, the north of Ireland, the 
south-west of Scotland, and the Hebrides, spoke the 
same Gaelic tongue, and had constant intercourse. The 
resemblance between Gaelic and Welsh proverbs, as 
between the two languages, is very remote. Of the 
latter, unfortunately, the outside world has never been 
able to judge, our Cymric relatives not having thought 
it worth their while to give the benefit of their ancestral 
wisdom to anybody who did not understand their own 
beautiful language. A great deal of it is embodied in 
proverbs remarkable for brevity. 

These Gaelic proverbs give very little indication of 
those ferocious traits which ignorance or prejudice is 
apt to regard as specially characteristic of our Celtic 
ancestors. They express very few sentiments of which 
any muscular English Christian can disapprove. Burck- 
hardt makes a melancholy note on one of the Egyptian 
Proverbs, of which he has rendered several hundreds 
into English. He says it is the only one of them known 
to him expressing any faith in human nature. What a 
comment on the history of that people! Of these 
Gaelic sayings, on the contrary, almost the very op- 

posite can be said. Their view of human nature is 
keen but kindly, critical, but not contemptuous. The 
number of them that can be condemned, on the score of 
morals or of taste, is singularly small, more than can be 
said of the Proverbs of several great nations. They 
represent very much the character that is still found 
among our unadulterated Highland people, whicli un- 
doubtedly they contributed much to form. That char- 
acter is a mixture of diverse qualities, some admirable, 
some not so, but on the whole very respectable, seldom 
repulsive, oftener attractive, most rarely of all indicat- 
ing selfishness, stupidity, heartlessness, or treachery. 
These special faults have ever been regarded among 
Highlanders with antipathy, pity, contempt, and ab- 

In these Gaelic Proverbs there is plain and consistent 
inculcation of the virtues of Truthfulness. Honesty, 
Fidelity, Self-restraint, Self-esteem, Sense of Honour, 
Courage, Caution, in word and deed. Generosity, Hos- 
pitality, Courtesy, Peaceableness, Love of Kindred, 
Patience, Promptness, Industry, Providence. There are 
none to be found excusing or recommending Selfishness, 
Cunning, Time-serving, or any other form of vice or 
meanness. A salmon from the stream, a deer from the 
forest, a wand from the tcood, three thefts that no man 
ever blushed for, is the only saying expressive of any 
looseness of sentiment in regard to the rights of pro- 
perty, and it is not a very shocking one, coming as it 
does from times when the lifting of cattle was not con- 
sidered disgraceful even to men of high degree. / 
would give him a nighfs quarters, though he had a man's 

head under his arm, may sound ferocious, but it might 
still be used, simply as an emphatic expression of 
regard, by a person quite incapable of aiding or abetting 
a homicide. 

The specimens now to be given are selected almost 
exclusively from the purely native proverbs. 

PiELiGiON. — The Scottish Celts are naturally disposed 
to be religious, but not to speak much or familiarly of 
sacred things. There is a religion of old date indicated 
in some of these proverbs, the creed of which is very 
short and simple, but good so far as it goes. It combines 
the chief articles of the primitive Hebrew and Greek 
religion. It is distinctly a Necessitarian system, imply- 
ing a fixed belief that there is a Fate or Providence 
that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will. 
Here are some examples : — 

The fated will liappen. For whom ill is fatsd, him it will strike. 
No mail can avoid the spot, xchere birth or death is his lot. Where 
folk's fate is to go, ford or hill won't prevent. You cant give luck to 
a luckless man. IVlio is horn to be hanged cannot be drowned. The 
man of long life imll escape danger. He xvhose destiny is cast sits on 
a sharp cope. His hour was pursuing him. 

This belief in Fate is associated, as in the Augus- 
tinian and Galvinistic theology, with belief in an al- 
mighty and just God. The number of proverbs in 
which the divine name is mentioned is small, but they 
are good. Here are a few : — ■ 

All will be as God wills. What God has promised man cannot 
baulk. What God bestou-ed not won't be long enjoyed. Short-lived 
is all rule but the rule of God. All things have an end but the good- 
ness of God. When God teaches not man cannot. God comes in 
distress, and distress goes. Not less in God's sight is the end of tlte 

day than the beginning. Two days alike ill God to poor men doth 
not icill. 

The certainty that evil has its reward is distinctly 
taught in these proverbs : — 

Bo evil and icait the end. There is no hiding of evil hut not to 
do it. Wrong cannot rest, nor ill deed stand. Though there he 
delay, the evil-doer i$ not forgotten. As a man makes his bed, so 
must he lie. Wliat's got at the DeviVs head will he lost at his tail. 
Repentance won't cure mischief. Death-bed repentance is sowing 
seed at Martinmas. 

With much natural reverence for religion, our Celts 
have combined a wholesome spirit of inquiry and a 
freedom of criticism on the ministers of religion : — 

God has not said all thou hast said. It is not the priesfs first 
story that should be believed. It is his own child the priest baptizes 
first. The priest drank only what he had. The justice of the clergy 
to each other. The friendship of the clergy, scraping and scratching 
one another. Hard as is the factor's rule, no better is the minister's. 
Ifs a fine day when the fox preaches. 

There is no Gaelic proverb making any worse reflec- 
tion on the clerical character than the above. The 
proverbs of Italy and France specially abound in 
insinuations against priests and women. In both 
respects, the Gaelic ones form a contrast to them, which 
testifies equally to the character of the people, their 
priests, and their women. 

The Gaelic idea of the Devil is very different from 
Milton's. One of the commonest terms for that person- 
age is Muisean, literally, the mean rascal. 

Morals — General. 

Avoid the evil, and it will avoid thee. Love the good, and forgive 
the bad. Do good against the ill. Every creature hut man can bear 

well-being. He gets no ease who suffers not. Better wear than rust. 
A bad man makes his own fate. Pity him who makes a bad 
habit. Do what becomes you, and you'll see what pleases you. 
Going to ruin is silent work. Better the long clean road than the 
short dirty road. He thinks no evil who means no evil. Better the 
little bannock with a blessing than the big one with a curse. Good 
is not got without grief. A good name is sooner lost than won. It's 
easier to go down than to climb. One should salute with a clean 
hand. Good comes from sadiicss, and happiness from quietness. 

Self-respect and Sexse of Honour. 

As thou valuest thyself, others will esteem thee. He ivho lies in the 
mud will rise dirty. Pity him ivhose birthrigld is to cat dirt. A 
man's will is his kingdom. A man is king in his oivn house. Dead 
is the dependent. The dependent is timid. Wlien a man goes 
down, his own back is his support. A king's son is no nobler 
than his company. Were the wealth of the world yours, weigh it 
not against your shame. A man may survive distress, but not dis- 
grace. A man will die to save his honour. Honour is a tender 
thing. Honour can't bear patching. Honour is nobler than gold. 
Remember those you came from. Follow close the fame of your 
fathers. (This is Ossianic— Fingal to Oscar.) 

Truth, Justice, Fidelity. 

Truth is pleasing to God. Truth is better than gold. Better be 
poor than a liar. Whose word is no word, his luck is no luck. 
Woe to him that fears not to lie. Blister on the lying tongue, 
•padlock on the hemless mouth ! A lie has but one leg. A lie needs a 
prop. A lie can't last long. None lied that would not steal. The 
lying mouth will be s'nit. 

Counsel of the bell of Scone, touch not what is not thine own. Ill 
for him ivhose goods are another man's. The reaver's goods are ill to 
keep. The thief is brother to the hound. A mouthful of meat and a 
townfid of shame. He that hides the thief is worse. Put not your 
sickle without leave into another's corn. Don't put your spoon into 
kail that's not yours. Tlie wrongful should not be litigious. Don't 
lend the loan. The loan should be sent laughing home. 

He that promises must pay. A promise is a debt. Willing 
pays no debt. There is no greater fraud than promise unfulfilled. 

The betrayer is the murderer Let the knave he kept down ! 
Forsake not a friend in the fray. 


The weak shall not win. Assurance is two-thirds of success. The 
bashful ivon't be brave. Fear is ivorse than fighting. He that flees 
not ivill be fled from. Weak is the grasp of the downcast. Neither 
seek nor shun the fight. (This admirable saying is Ossianic.) Swift 
goes the rear that's pricked by fear. 


A man may live though not full. One may live on little, though 
not on nothing. Tighten your belt till you get food. Eat less and 
buy it. Only dogs eat to surfeit. Hunger -is a good cook. Hungry 
birds fight best. Big belly ivas never bountiful. A siveet mouth will 
send you to beggary. Take your thirst to the stream, as the dog 
does. I like not the drinking fellowship. The uneasy seat in the ale- 
house is best. Leave the fag-end of a fair. 

Industry, Punctuality, Promptness, Early rising. 

Better knot straws than do nothing. Will is a good worker. 
Better try than hope. Long sleeping makes hot roiviiig. Lazy is the 
ha.nd that ploughs not. Who won't plough when it is cold shall not 
reap when it is hot. He who neither icorks nor pushes, won't get food 
among the bushes. The diligent weak will beat the lazy strong. The 
silly body builds the dyke when the corn is eaten. Take the good 
day early. Get bait while the tide is out. Dry shoes won't get fish. 
The sea won't wait for a load. Keep the fair on its day. You 
can't to-day recall yesterday. Time wont wait, nor tide shoiv mercy. 
Tlie late watcher never overtook the early riser. Lively is the early 
riser. He that lies long in bed, will be all day hard bestead. Give 
your ' thank you ' to the cock. 

Courtesy, Hospitality. — Highland courtesy and 
hospitality are so well known that a very few out of 
many sayings will suffice under these heads. 

He that is courteous will be courteous to all. The goodman's 
advice ought to be taken. Forwardness spoils manners. A dog goes 

b^ore his company. Courtesy never brolce man's crown. The rude 
jester is brother to the fool. 

He's a bad guest whom the house is the worse of. House with 
closed door can't be Icejit. Happy is that which is shared — pity him 
who fares alone. A thing is the bigger of being shared. The scarcer 
the food, the more bounty to share it. Welcome the coming, speed the 
parting guest. A feast is nothing without its conversation. The 
first story from the host, and tales till morning frmn the guest. 


Sense hides shame. Love hides ugliness. Woe to him who won't 
maintain his own poor one. Woe to him who vexes the weak. None 
ever did violence but suffered violence. Woe to him who would wish 
a ruined home to any one. 


Better weary foot than weary spirit. The day is loiiger than the 
brae, we'll be at the top yet. Patience overcomes trouble. Patience 
never hurt a man. Patience wins victory. Patience wears out stones. 


The heaviest ear of corn bends its head lowest. Sit lowly, and pay 

Silence, Caution, Woeds and Deeds, Appearances. 

It's a big word that the mouth can't hold. A word is big when 
it's lessened. It's good manners to be silent. Clwose thy sp)eech. Say 
little and say well. It's well tluit the teeth are before the tongue. 
Shut mouth incurs no debt. If you tell all you see, you'll tell what 
will shame you. If you hear a hueless tale, don't repeat it. Believe 
not the bad report till proved. A man's smile is not his ov:n. Not 
words prove, but deeds. The icorst cow lows loudest. Puffing icon't 
m-ake piping. Fulsome talk won't make kelp. The nodding of heads 
doesn't row the boat. A rotten stick is often nice to look at. The 
Devil is often attractive. A rich heart muy be under a poor coat. 
Good sword has often been in poor scabbard. 


It's difficult to give sense to a fool. Who won't take advice is 

worthless, who talces every advice is so. It's bad flesh that wonH take 
salt, worse is tiie body that won't take warning. As crooked as the 
fool' s furrow. 


TJie cloivn is known at morning — he breaks his shoe-tie. If you 
hit a dog or a clown, hit him vjell. Give the impudent felloiv an 
inch and he'll take an ell. He that is rude thinks his rudeness good 
manners. Don't provoke a barbarian. 

Women, Marriage. — I don't know any other Pro- 
verbs that speak of women so respectfully as the 
Gaelic ones do. They are not wanting in humour, 
but they never regard women as inferior creatures and 
mere causes of mischief, which is the point of view of 
the Proverbs of several great nations. 

Meal is finer than grain, women are finer than men. There was 
never good or ill, but ivomen had to do with. Modesty is the beauty 
of women. I like not pullets becoming cocks. Take no woman for 
a wife in whom you cannot find a flaw. Choose your wife as you 
wish your children to be. Take a bird from a clean nest. Choose the 
good mother's daughter, were the Devil her father. If you take a wife 
from Hell, she'll bring you home there. Wiien you see a well- 
bred woman, catch her, catch her ; if you don't do it, another will 
match her. Their own loill to all men, all their will to women. 
JVhat a woman knows not she'll conceal. Harsh is the praise that 
cannot be listened to ; dark are the dames that cannot be dallied with. 
JFhere a cow is, a woman will be, where a woman is, temptation 
u^ll be (This is attributed to St. Columba). A man's wife is his 
blessing or bane. If you wish to be praised, die; if you wish to 
be decried, marry. You are too merry, you ought to marry. Who 
speaks ill of his wife dishonours himself. True or false, it will injure 
a woman. Warm is the mother's breath. 


Pity those who have them, pity more those xvho haven't. Better 
no children than luckless children. The crow likes her greedy blue 
chick. A house without dog or cat or child, a house without mirth 
or smile. The motherless child has many faults. 


Better he unborn than untaught. TIHien the twig is tender, it is 
easiest bent. The child you teach not at your hnee, you won't teach at 
your ear (i.e., when grown up). The early learning is the pretty 
learning. A child is known by his manners. The child that's left 
to himself will put ids mother to shame. Ignorance is a heavy 
burden. Blind is the ignorant. He that knows is strong. 

Kindred, Fosterhood, Clannishness. 

Blood is hotter tlmn water. Blood is stronger than breeding. 
Blood will withstand the rocks. Flesh will warm to kin against 
a man^s will. All the water in the sea vjon't wash out our 
kindred. Bare is shoulder without brother, bare hearth with- 
out sister. Pity him who turns his hack on his people. Trews 
like to be among clothes, I like to he among my people. Throw 
reproach on your kinsman, it will rest on your family. The Clans 
of the Gael shoulder to shoulder ! Dear is a kinsman, but the pith of 
the heart is a foster-brother. Pity him luho has few foster-friends. 


Friendship is as it's kept. Friends are lost by calling often, and 
by calling seldom. It's poor friendship that needs to he con- 
stantly bought. Two crossing the ford are best near each other. 
A friend's eye is a good looking-glass. Better coldness of a friend 
tlmn warmth of an enemy. A silly friend is more troublesome than 
a icise enemy. A friend can't be helped without trouble. He is not 
my friend that hurts me. Pity him who has iveak friends. Don't 
say you know a man till you divide a spoil with him. 

Landlord and Tenant. — Some of these sayings are 
remarkable, and worthy of attention, all the more, that 
the people whose thoudits they express are naturally 
contented, quiet, tractable, averse to innovation, agita- 
tion, or violence. 

Tenantry are stronger than laird. (In its original sense this 
would be, Tribe is stronger than Chvf. See Skene's Celtic 
Scotland, Vol. Ill, chap. iv. and vi.) A farmer on his feet is 
taller than a gentleman on his knees. Woe to him that for- 

saJces the tenantry without winning the laird. An alder lord will 
twist an oak tenant. Ill for them that have a weak lord. He that 
quarrels with the gentry is a miserable man. It's easy to put him out 
whose own the house is not. Slipfery is the flagstone at the great house 
door. The yield of the land is according to the laird. But for fear 
of double rent, Tiree would yield a double crop. It's little we complain, 
though we suffer much. One teat of a cow is better than a quarter 
of oats. Tenant after tenant makes the lands dear. The sheep's jaw 
will put the plough on the shelf. Where there are no hoys in arms, 
there will be no armed men. 

Husbandry — Food. — There are a great many sayings 
under these heads. They belong to a time when the 
cultivation of the soil, though of a rude and primitive 
kind, supplied the chief source of living to the popula- 
tion, and was done with ploughs and not with spades, 
when the great majority of the peasantry had horses, 
cows, and sheep, of their own. Their food consisted 
chiefly of oatmeal cakes, porridge, and gruel, butter and 
cheese, occasionally fish, very rarely meat. One Gaelic 
word peculiarly indicates the dependence of the Gael 
on the soil — ' Teachd-an-tir,' the yield of the land, the 
most common term for living, sustenance. Scarcity of 
food, sometimes dearth, was not confined to the High- 
lands two centuries ago, but it was naturally more 
common in the remoter and least cultivated parts. 
One of the sayings very exactly expresses the Highland 
character in reference to food. A man can live on little, 
hut not on nothing. Moderation in meat and drink 
has always been a Highland characteristic. The use of 
whisky is comparatively modern. Among the sayings 
here collected it is only once mentioned by name, while 
references to ale and wine are numerous. 

Sayings that refer to prehistoric times. 

The number of sayings that refer to Fionn or Fingal, 
and the people of whom he was head, the Fcinne, whom 
we prefer not to call ' Fenians ' (see Note on ' Cha d' 
thug Fionn/ p. 100), is considerable; and there is no 
class of sayings more frequently quoted in the High- 
lands and referred to, since time immemorial. The 
Fingalian faiiylay , As stronrj as Citchullin, Like Ossian 
after the Fcinne, Conaris life among the devils, and 
many others, are still among the familiar phrases in 
every Celtic household in Scotland. Very curiously, 
not one of them is included in the Irish Proverbs 
hitherto published. This does not of course imply tliat 
they are unknown in Ireland. It would be inexplicable 
if they were not ; and Canon Bourke (who, it is to be 
hoped, will yet publisli the collection of Irish Proverbs 
of which he gave a specimen in his Grammar,) informs 
me that he has been familiar with some of them from 
his childhood. But it strengthens the belief that the 
whole story and poetry of Fionn and the Feinne have 
been more deeply implanted, and better preserved, 
whatever the reason be, among the Scottish than among 
the Irish Gael. 

Of Druidism, which some excessively knowing and 
critical writers, far in advance of the Venerable Bede, 
and even of Julius Cffisar, have treated as a mere myth, 
there are at least two curious relics among these Gaelic 
sayings : — As clever as Coivi the Druid. Though near 
the stone be to the ground, nearer is the help of Coivi (see 
Note, p. 1-13). Such sayings as ' Deiseal air gach m ' 
belong to the same period. 

Humorous Sayings. — The notion of most Sas- 
seuachs anent 'Scotch Wut' is derived at second- 
hand from our dear Elia and Sydney Smith, both of 
whom, though exquisitely clever and delightful, were 
quite fallible men. Any one who thinks the Scottish 
people inferior in huDiour to the English had better 
contrast the Proverbs of the one nation with those of 
the other. At the risk of being considered partial or 
parochial, the present editor has no hesitation in saying, 
that the Sassenach is incarnate prose compared with the 
Scot, that the Northern sayings greatly surpass the 
Southern in humour, felicity, and love of artistic form. 
He cannot claim for the Scottish Celts a greater sense 
of humour than is found among the Lowlanders, but he 
does claim for them a very delicate edge, with a cut 
not less severe. As for their being a melancholy 
people, there could be nothing more absurd imagined. 
One can be thoughtful, even pensive, and yet very fond 
of fun, in loco. Irony and satire, more than humour 
strictly so called, are characteristic of the Scottish Gael. 

Here follow some specimens : — 

Twenty-one captains over twenty soldiers. The birds live, though 
not all hawks. It's the bigger of that, as the wren said, lohen it dropped 
something in the sea. Big egg never came from wren. ' IFliere art 
thou, wren ' ? said the eagle: 'Far above thee,' said the ivren (on the 
eagle's back). Howling is natural to dogs. He's a fine man 
if you don't ash of him. The wren spreads his feet wide in his own 
house. The highivay is wide, and may be trod. Better a lobster than 
no husband. Better peace with a hen than strife. You would be a 
good messenger to send for death. The longest lay loill end at last. 
The old woman is the better of being warmed, but not of being burned. 
It would be thick water that would wash his face. Bold is the puppy in 
the lap of strength. He sat very awry when he did that. You were 
born far from the house of good manners. You were not in 

vjìien sense was being shared. Your grandmother's death is long 
in your memory. Better 'Heyday!' than 'Alas!' Pity 
him wlw would put you in the ship's bow ! It's a big beast tliat there 
isn't room for outside. An inch off a man's nose is a great deal. 
He is lucJcy to whom you would promise the gallows. Geese under- 
stand eacli other. ' There's meat aiid music here,' as the fox said 
when he ran away with tlie bagpipe. The fish in the sea liix us 
mortals be. You spoiled a divarf, and didn't make a man. Even a 
haggis will run down hill. Tivo loill have peace to-night, myself 
and the wliite horse, as the wife said wJien her husband died. LiJce 
tJie white horse at the mill-door, thinicing more than he said. Like the 
the old cow's tail, always last. It's not easy to put trews on a cat. 
You may be a good man, as Neil of the Mountain said to the cat, but 
you haven't the face of one. Pity your siveet mouth should ever go 
under ground. Women's patience — up to three. The sod is a good 
mother-in-law. The sea will settle xoiten it marries. 

Poetical sayings. — Among purely poetical and 
pretty sayings, the Gaelic ones take a liigh place. 
Here are a few examples, in addition to some already 

Blue are the hills that are far from us. Niglit is a good herd- 
man; she brings all creatures home. The tiaee prettiest dead, a child, 
a salmon, and a black-cock. The sea likes to be visited. Tiiy heart's 
desire to thy pulse ! There is no smoke in the lark's house. Black is 
the berry but sweet ; black is my lassie but bonnie. ' / tvill keep to 
my sweetheart,' said the girl, 'a mouth of silk, and a heart of hemp.' 
High is ilie stag's head on the mountain crags. Pretty is the mouse 
in the corn-plat. The ocean hides mucli. Like stone sent iqjhill is 
tlie long Spriììg evening, like stone running down glen is soft Autumn 

It now becomes me to mention those to whom I have 
been most indebted for their contributions to this col- 
lection, and their help in other ways. The largest and 
best collections were received from the Eev. J. G. 
Campbell of Tiree, and Mr. A. A. 'Carmichael, North 
Uist. Both came unasked, and were supplemented, as 

occasion required, by illustrations out of the rich 
of Gaelic Folk-lore, Poetry, and Tradition, which both 
these gentlemen are ever ready generously to communi- 
cate to those interested in them. Mr. Archibald Sin- 
clair, Glasgow, gave me a valuable collection made by 
his worthy father, a great part of which had been got 
from Mr. Carmichael. He also lent me a copy of the 
second edition of IMacintosh, which had belonged to the 
late Mr. Ewen IVIacLean, a good Gaelic scholar, who 
had contemplated a new edition, to be dedicated to his 
friend James Munro. I am indebted to it for several 
emendations, and two or three very good additional pro- 
verbs. To the Eev. J. W. Maclntyre, Kilmodan, I am in- 
debted for a copy of a good collection dated so long ago 
as 1769 by a certain Ewen MacDiarmid, which came into 
the possession of Mr. John Shaw, Kinloch Eannoch. 
From the Eev, M. MacPhail, Kilmartin, I received an 
excellent collection, made by himself in his native 
island, Lewis. To my dear old friend, the Eev. A. 
MacGregor, Inverness, I am indebted for several inte- 
resting illustrations, and some good sayings, recovered 
from memory, out of a large collection made by him 
long ago in the Isle of Skye, the MS. of which had 
unfortunately been lost. 

To the late Donald C MacPherson, of the Advocates' 
Library, a special tribute is due. He was a Lochaber 
man, steeped in Gaelic lore and sentiment, a scholar, 
chiefly self-taught, and a genius. He supplied me with 
a considerable number of proverbs found among the 
Gaelic MSS. of the Library, besides many fresh addi- 
tions and illustrations from his own remarkable 

memory. Some of his contributions to the Gael'^ are 
such as no other man could have given. Much as I 
have been assisted in this work by other friends, I 
received most help from him, and of a constant and 
ever ready kind. By his early death Gaelic Literature 
has sustained a great loss, and no one has more cause to 
lament it than I have. 

Of others to whom I have been indebted for contri- 
butions of Proverbs are Mr. Donald McLaren, Loch 
Earn, Mrs. Mary MacKellar, Mr. Alex. Mackay, 
and Mr. Murdo MacLeod, of Edinburgh, both from 

Mr. Donald Mackinnon, M.A., Edinburgh, whose 
papers on Gaelic Proverbs in the Gael showed excep- 
tional knowledge of the subject, and power to deal 
with it, has given me valuable assistance in many ways. 
To the Ptev. Dr. Clerk of Kihnallie, and the Picv. Mr. 
Stewart of 'JSTether Lochaber,' I am much bound for 
kind help and suggestions. Of friends who helped me 
in regard to foreign proverbs, I have specially to thank 
Mr. A. L. Finlay, Dumfries, and Mr. J, A. Hjaltalin, 

In addition to the various sources above acknow- 
ledged, I found a considerable number of proverbs in 
the interesting columns of the Highlander, some in the 
Gael, and a few in the Dictionaries of Armstrong, the 
Highland Society, and MacAlpine. I carefully searched, 
and not in vain, in the pages of the Tcacliclaire Gaclach 

1 A well conducted Gaelic Magazine, wliich lasted longer than 
any of its predecessors — six years. Its stoppage in December 
1877 was much to be regretted. 

(1829 -SI), Teachdaire Ur GaidhhcalacJi (1835-36) Cuairt- 
ear nan Gleann (1840-43), and Fear-tathaicli nam Beann 
(1848), four Gaelic Periodicals, the best contributions to 
wliicli were made by Dr. JSTorman Mac Leod, to whose 
memory this book is dedicated. He was the Editor, the 
life and soul, of the Tcachdaire and the Cuairtear. Of 
all men that ever wrote Gaelic prose, he wrote the best 
and raciest, the language, not of mere propriety and 
elegance, but of natural genius, equally incomparable 
in moving laughter or tears. His Gaelic Dialogues, 
' Comhradh nan Cuoc,' and his answers to correspond- 
ents, are spiced with proverbial phrases and allusions, 
of which no one else could make such happy, some- 
times such crushing use. His command of them seemed 
inexhaustible ; his quiver never was emptied, and his 
arrows never missed. 

One other friend I must mention, who has given me 
neither proverbs nor explanations, but whose assistance, 
in the shape of stimulus and example, has been 
quite unique — Professor Blackie. His appreciation of 
Gaelic proverbs is as great and natural as his love of 
the Highlands; and if any living man specially deserved 
to have this book dedicated to him, as a mark of 
gratitude from a Highlander, on behalf of the people 
and language for whom he has done so much, that man 
is he. Buaidh 'us piseach air a chcaiin ! 

December, 1880. 


(1) As the use of accents in this book differs a little from that 
found in the Gaelic BiLle and Dictionaries, the following ex- 
planations seem necessary — 

A. The grave accent alone is nsed over this vowel, and indi- 
cates (1) the sound of the English words far, call ; — e.g., 
has, clàr; or (2) a diphthong (au) not recognized in 
English (except in the pronunciation sometimes heard of 
such words as Gow, as if it were Gauw,) nor in any Gaelic 
Grammar; — e.g., cam. 

E. The acute accent over E marks the sound of rein, tale ;— 

e.^.ffe'in, sge'ul. 
The grave accent over E marks the sound of maid, save ; — e.g., 

mèicd, sèimh. 

I. The grave accent alone is used over I, and marks the sound 
of tear, mere ; — e.g., tlr, mlr. 

0. The acute accent over marks (1) the sound of bold, mould ; 
— e.g., bo, mor. 

(2) As in the case of the diphthongal A, this accent is also 
used to mark a somewhat similar combination of and U, in 
such words as iCmi, dOnn. The vowel in these words is pronounced 
in some parts of the Highlands the same as in ho, bold, in other 
parts, with a diphthongal sound, the same as in down. The names 
of Iain L6m and Kob Doun are pronounced in Skye as if written 
Lowni and Dov:n. 

(3) The grave accent over O marks the sound of more, door, 
e.g., òg, sròn. According to all the Dictionaries and the Gaelic 
Bible, the words ho and mor, so far as acccents indicate pronun- 
ciation, are sounded the same as òg and sròn. That is certainly 
not the general pronunciation of Inverness-shire and the Hebrides. 

U. The grave accent alone is used over U, and marks the sound 
of cure, poor, e.g., ciùrr, sùll. 




A' bheairt sin nacli fliaighear acli cearr, 's e foigliidinn 
a's fhearr a dheanamh rithe. 

The loom thafs awry is best handled patiently. 

The word 'beairt' has various meanings, but in its primaty use 
seems to have been equivalent to the word ' loom,' which meant 
other tools or engines, as well as weaving looms. In the above 
proverb, however, the wea\dng loom seems to have been in view, 
and the meaning to be, that if it be found to be oiit of gear, it is 
better to handle it patiently than to try to put it right, at the risk 
of breaking the threads. ' What can't be cured must be endured ' 
expresses nearly the same idea, but not exactly. 

A' blieiun a 's àirde tha's an tir, 's ann oirre 's trice '^ 

'clii tliu 'n ceo. ^^ "-- 

The highest hill/ is oftcnest covered with clouds. 

So is it with tlwse who tower above the common level of 

A' bheist a 's mo ag itlie' na beist' a 's luglia,'s a' bheist 
a 's higba 'deanamli mar a dh'fliaodas i. 

The higger beast eating the lesser ^e, and the lesser 
h-cop^^ doing as it may. 

It is interesting to find Modem Science anticipated in an old 
Gaelic story. This graphic expression of a great physical and 
moral truth occurs in a description of ocean life, common to 
several of those West Highland Tales, on the collection and edit- 
ing of which Mr. J. F. Campbell has bestowed so much generous 
care. See Vol. II., pp. 201, 210. 

A blii gu dàna modhail, sin lagh na cùirte. 
To be bold and courteous is the court ride. 
This is a good description of the manner best suited for secur- 
ing attention in courts of all kinds 

A' bho a 's mios' a th' anns a' bhuaile, 's i 's cruaidhe 

The worst coio in the fold lows the loudest. 
A I. — A' bho a 's higha feuin, 's i 's mo geura. 
See also 'Cha 'n i 'bliò', and ' Geiim mor '. 

A' buain nan àirneagan searbha, 's a' saltairt air na 

Pliixkimj the hitter sloes, and tramjAinrj on the honcij- 

A! call Ian na leidhe air imlicli a màis. 

Losing the ladle-full lieking its outside. 

A'callnamboiteina'cruinneachadh nan sop. 

Losing the bundles gathering the tvisps. 

See ' A' sgaoileadli nan sguab.' 

A' caoidh nam buideal falanih. 

Bewailing the eriipty casks. 

A chailleach, an gabh thu 'n rigli ? Cha gliabh, 's nach 
gabh e mi. 

Crone, tvill you have thekingi I luon't as he vjon't have 

There is a hunioroiis philosophy in this. 

A' chaor' a theid anns a' chreig clia 'n 'eil aic' ach 
tighinn aisde mar a dli' fhaodas i. 

The sheep that gets into the rock must get out as lest 
site can. 

A! cliiad sgeul air fear an tighe, 's gach sgeul gulath' 
air an aoidh. 

Tlie first story from the host, and tales till morning from 
the guest. 

This is one of the sayings most purely characteristic of the old 
manners and customs of the Highlands, carrying one back with- 
out ditficiilty to the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, traces of 
which survive in some of the Gaelic Tales. 

A' clilacli nach tachair ri m' chois cha chiùrr i mi. 
The stone that doesn't meet my foot wont hurt me. 
See ' An rud nach laidh '. 
The stane that Lies not in yir gait breaks not yir taes. — Scot. P. 

A' chore 'an ionad a' chuinnseir. 
The knife in the place of the sioord. 

A chuid de Phàras da ! 

His share of Paradise to him I 

Al. 'de Fhlaitheanas,' of Heaven. The worclF., still in com- 
mon use as the Gaelic for Heaven, has been interpreted by good 
authorities (Armstrong, Highl. Soc. Diet., &c.) as Flath-iìinis, 
the Isle of Heroes, an etymology which is both poetical and prob- 
able. A simpler and more scientific etymology (Ebel's Celt. Stud., 
p. 116) makes it Flaithemnas, or Flaitheamhnas, sovereignty, 
dignity, glory. In Bedell's Irish Bible, ' Flaitheamhnas',' and 
' Flaitheasa ' are used in the Old Test, to denote Heaven and 
Heavens ; but ' Neamh ' and ' Neamhdha ' more commonly. In 
the New Test. 'Neamh' only is used for the singular. In our 
Gaelic Bible the latter alone is used in both sing, and plur. 

A' chuid nacli gabli na leanaban gabhaidh an t-sean- 
bhean fhein. 

W7iat the children won't take the old woman will. 

A' chùil a bhios fosgailte thèid na coin innte. 
The dogs will go into the corner that's open. 

A' chuirm a's luaithe 'bhios ullamh, suidheamaid uile 
g'a gabhail. 

The feast that's soonest rcaAy let us all sit down to. 

A! chuiseag ruadh a dh' fhàsas 's an òtraich, 's i 's àirde 
'thogas a ceann. 

The red ivccd from the dunghill lifts its head the highest. 

The proudest nettle grows on a midden. — Scot. 

A chur a riiith na cubhaig. 

Sending him to chase the cuckoo. 

Literally a ' gowk's errand '. 

A' cromadh air na beaga. 

Stooping to the little. 

A! ciinntas shlat gun aodach.. 
Counting yards without cloth. 

A' cur a' bhodaich as a thigh fhein. 
Putting the old man out of his own house. 

A' cur an eich 's e 'n a fhallus. 
Urging on the sweating horse. 

A! cur na snathaid air a' choltar. 
Putting the needle on the coulter. 

A' cur slinaim air na suip. 
Knotting straws. 

A' deanamh cuain mlioir de chaolas ciimhang, 
-X Making a great ocean of a narrow strait. 

J'hS/^''^ ^ i- A dh-aindeoin c6 'theireadh e ! 
A;Ao »»tSc C7\» • I Gainsay who dare ! 
JUu(cL^ I The Clanranald motto. 

^*^ ^ A' dol 's na h-eacliaibli deiridli. 

Going among the hindmost horses. 

Said of persons wlien their failing powers disqualify them for 
leading places, as in a team of horses. 

A' ghaotli 'g iarraidh nam port. 
The wind seeking harhours. 
Said of an vmsteady wind. 

Cor-C'VM 0^ / A' h-^ùle cii air a' chù choiraheach. 
T^A / All the dogs down on the strange dog. 
c tz.^^cji_ / Al. Gach olc' an tòin a' choimhich. 

CU>^ I A' h - nile fear a tlieid a dliolaidh, gheabli e dolar 
/ Mhac-Aoidh. 

Every man that's down in hick will get a dollar from 

This refers to the enlisting for the Highland regiment raised 
by Lord Reay for service under the King of Denmark (1626-29), 
and Gusta\ Adolphus (1629-32), in which the Scots so greatly 
distinguished themselves. 

A'h-iiile latlia sona dhut. 
Gun latli' idir dona dhut ! 
Eccry day goodluck to thee, 
And no day of sorrow he I 

A' h-uile ni thun a' bheòil. 
Everything to the mouth. 

This is primarily true of infants, but has a much \\-ider appli- 

A' h-uil^ rud a tlieid 's an lion 's iasg e. 
Allkis fisTi) thcdl/ocs into the netyA 

A lei?geul sin dhaibli fladin. 
It's theirs to excuse that. 

A lion beagan 'us beagan, mar a dli' ith an cat an 

Little hy little, as the cat ate the hemvg. 

Little and little the cat eats the stickle. — Eng. P. 

A reir do mheas ort fhein, nieasaidh each tliu. ^ 

As ihmt vainest thyself others will esteem thee. / Tkvu. Cu\x 

Autant vaut riiomnie comme il s'estime. — Fr. \ C^T^^^ 

Him who makes chaff of himself the cows will eat. — Aràl).\ ^^^ 

Wer nichts aus sich macht, ist nichts. — Germ. 'X 

A' ruitli fear-an-tighe 'n a tliigli fhein. 
Taking the goodman's right in his own house. 

A' ruith na seiche air a bruaich. 

Keeping to the edge of the hide. 

Applied to persons in straitened circumstances. A man with 
plenty of hides would help himself out of the hest part ; a poor 
man would need to begin at the outside. 

A' sgaoileadh nan sguab 's a' trusadh nan siobliag. 
Scattering the sheaves and gathering the straws. 

A shalachar fhein leis gach rudha. 
To every headland it's own foul ground. 

A's t-Earrach'n uair a bhios a' chaora caol, bidh am 
maorach reamhar. 

In Spring when the sheep is lean the shellfish is fat. 

A thoil fhein do gach duine, 's an toil uile do na 
mnathan. X. 

Their will to all men, and all their will to the women. 
Nought's to be had at woman's hand, 

Unless ye gie her a' the plea. — Scot. Song. 
Ce que femme veut Dieu le veut. — Fr. P. 

Abair rium mu'n abair mi riut. 
Speak to me ere I speak to thee. 

Abhsadh a' chromain-luch. 
Shortening sail kite-fashion. 

A Hebridean phrase, applied to awkward handling of a sail — 
letting it down too suddenly, like the descent of a kite. 

Adharc na bà maoile 's duilich a toirt dith. 
It's hard to take the horn off the hornless cow. 

O^t^ C^^ v&(i( (?Qci.LÌ9l^ai^ 

Adharc 'n a ch]iathaicli ! 

A horn in his side ! 

Al. An dimaidh a' d' chliatliaich ! The mischief in your side ! 

These are forms of malediction, undonbtedly of native origin. 
Those which are so are generally less offensive in expression than 
those of more ' civilised ' nations. 

Ag itheaclh na cruaiche fo 'n t-sioman. 

Eating the stack under the rope. 

Aicheadh na caillich air an sgillinn — nacli e sgillinn 
idir a bh'ann ach da bhonn-a-sia. 

2'he old wife's denial of the penny — it loas not a penny 
hut tico half-pence. 

Aig bainnsean 's aig tòrraidheau aithnichear càirdean 
'us eòlaich. 

At weddings and at funerals relatives and friends are 

At marriac;es and Inirials, friends and kinsfolk be known. — 
The Booke of Merry liiddles, 1629. 

Aig deireadh a' chluiclie chitear co 'bhuinigeas. 
At the end of the game the v:inner is seen. 
Al fin del giuoco si vede chi guadagna. — Ital. 

Air a làimli fhein, mar a bha 'n ceard 's a' chaonnaig. 

For his own hand, as the smith was in the fight. 

This seems to be the original of the Scottish proverb, ' For 
liis ain hand, as Henry Wynd fought,' referred to by Sir Walter 
Scott in the Fair Maid of Perth, ch. xxxiv. The word ' ceard,' 
now applied only to tinkers, was originally applied to artificers in 
all kinds of metals, gold, silver, iron, &c. ; and the word ' ceard- 
ach ' still means a smithy. 

Air an dorus air an tig amliarus a steach, tlieid gràdli 
a mach. 

Where doiibt comes in love goes out. 

Hvor Mistanke gaaer ind, gaaer Kja^rlighed ud. — Dan. 

Air cheart lomaidh, 's air eiginn. 

Vei-y lardy and vAth difficulty. 

Air do shlàinte, 'gboistidli ùir, sop air sùil an t-sean 
ghoistidh ! 

Here's thy health my nevj gossij), farnrcll the old one ! 

' Sop air sùil' is a cv.r'.ous expression, literally 'a wisp on the 
eye '. The meaning is that the old friend is to be hidden away, 
out of sight, out of mind. 

Air fliad 's fje'n teid thu 'mach, na toir droch sgeiil 
dliachaidli ort fliein. 

Hoivever far you go abroad, bring home no ill tale of 

Air ghaol an leinibh, pògar a' blianaltrum. 

The iiurse is hissed for the sake of the child. 

' Kissing the child for the sake of the nurse ' is the more com- 
mon English phrase, but there is a German saying identical with 
the above. 

Air ghlainead an tobair, bidh salacliar ann. 

Be the fountain cer so clean, some dÀrt in it toill he seen. 

Air mhèud 's a their na slòigh, cha ghlòir a dhearblias 
acb gniomh. 

For all the ivorld can say, not words hut deeds are 

Al. Bial a labhras, ach gniomh a dhearblias. 

Gwell es eun oberer evit kant lavarer. — Breton. 

I fatti son maschi, le parole femmine. — Ital. 

Obras son amores, que no buenas razones. — S'pan. 

Worte sind gut, wenn Werke folgen. — Germ. 

Air mhèud 's ge 'm faigh thu gu math, 's lughaid 
a gheabh thu gu h-olc. 

The more you find of good, the less you'll get of ill. 

Air son mo chuid-sa de 'n ghràn, leigidh mi 'n àth 
'n a teine. 

For my share of the grain, the kiln may go on fire. 
For my peck of malt, set the kiln on fire. — Cheshire, &c. 

Aireamh na h-Aoine air caoraich a bhail' ud thall ! 

Friday s numbering on the neighbouring sheep ! 

' Aireamh na h- Aoin' ort ! ' is simply another form of ' Bad 
luck to you ! ' On the supposed unluckiness of Friday, see 
App. I. 

Aisigidh leannanachd an tochradh. 
Siveetheartiiig brings the tocher. 

Aisling caillich mar a dùrachd. 
An old tvife's dream as her desire. 

"O Ti hxev f] yprjà 's rbv vovv rrjs, ro'/3Ae7re s to oveipov ttjs. — 
Mod. Gr. 


Aiteamh na gaoithe tuatli, sneaclid 'us reodhadh anns 
an uair. 

After thaw luith northern blast, snow and frost fol- 
low fast. 

Aithne an Leodliasaich nihoir air an Leixlhasacli 

The 'big Levns man's recognition of the other Lewis 

The big man is supposed to say, ' Tha aithne gun chuimhu' 
agam ort,' 1 recognise, but don't remember you. 

Aithneachadh bo badhail, no fàilt a' chruidh. 

The ivandering coio's vjelcome, or the kines salute. 

Macintosh's explanation of this saying is, that when a strange 
beast joins a herd the rest attack it. An ingenious commentator 
suggests as the jjroper reading, ' Aithnichidh bo a badhail,' A 
cow knows her own stall, which makes good sense. But the noun 
' badhail ' is Irish ; ' buabhail ' is our word for stall. 

Aithnichear air a' bheagan ciamar a bhiodh am nioraii. 
Froi/i the little mag be seen what the big miglU have 

Aithnichear am balach 's a'mhaduinn — bristidh e 
barrall a bhròige. 

The eloivn is known at morning — he breaks his shoe-tie. 

This is a curious illustration of the general amenity of man- 
ners characteristic of the Celts. The 'balach' is a combination of 
'bully' and 'snob,' and it is meant that he is so rude and impatient 
that he can't even tie his shoe without showing his roughness. 

Curiously enough, a word expressing much the same thmg 
in modern Greek is ^Xdxos. 

Aithnichear an leomhan air sgrlob de 'ionga. 
The lion is knoivn by a scratch of his claiv. 
Ex ungue leoneni.— iaJ. P. Dall' unghia si conosce il 
leone. — Ital. A I'ongle on connait le lion. — Fr. 

Aithnichear fear doimeig air fàire. 

The slattern's husband can be knoivn cfar. 

The Ulster version is, ' Aithnighear fear na cuaròige air 
fàithche a measg chàich'. A South Uist saying is, ' Is luath fear na 
droch mhna air a' mhachair Uibhistich ' — iSwift goes the bad 
wife's husband on the Uist plain. 


Aithnichear leanabh air a bheusaibh. 

A child is known hy his manners. 

Even a child is known by Lis doings. — Prov. xx. 11. 

Aithnichear searrach sean làire ann an greigh. 
An old mares foal is hioivn in a herd. 
Supposed, wlietlier truly or not, to be more lively than others. 
See ' Mac bantraich '. 

Aithnichidh an truaighe a daoiue fheiu. 
Misery knows its oivn pco])le. 

Aithnichidh na leth-chiallaich a cheile. 
Half-wits recognise each other. 

This is a touching fact, of which observant persons must have 
seen many instances. 

Albainn bheadarrach ! 
Beloved Scotland ! 

' Beadarrach ' is perhaps oftener used to menn playful, but the 
above appears to be an expression of simple affection. 

Am biadh a dh' ithear anns a' chùil, thig e thun an 

The food that's eaten %n the corner %oill come to the 
1 I earth. 

Am biadh a theachdas os cionn gach bidh — snaois- 

The food that can go on the top of all food — snnff. 

The once general use of snuff has given place, in the High- 
lands as elsewhere, to smoking. A snuif-muU is now rarely to be 

'Am bial a' phoca tha 'n caomhnadh. 
The saving is at the mouth of the hag. 
See ' Am fear nach dean bail.' 

Am boUa air an sgillinn, 's gun an sgillinn ann. 

The loll at a penny, and no penny to huy it. 

The Scotch boll is a measure of grain, sixteen j^ecks. There 
is a Danish saying, ' When it rains jporridge, the beggar has no 

Am breid 'g a thomhas air an toll. 
Measuring the patch on the hole. 


Am brògach beacf 's an cuaranach mor. 
The hoy with shoes, the man with socks. 

Brou.ffht tip to -wear shoes, and reduced when c^rown to -wear- 
iiig the ' cuaran,' (Welsh, ' cwaran ') a kind of sock, made of un- 
tanned leather — the ancient foot-gear, which every man made for 

Am bronnach Geamhraidli, 's an seanjr Earraich. 
Squabby in Winter, and shinny in Spring. 
The reference is to young cattle. 

Am fac thu rud 's a chùl riut ? 

Saw you aught u-ith its back to you ? 

This was reckoned a bad omen. See ' Chuala mi 'chubhag '. 

Am facal a tbig a Ifrinn 's e gbeabb, ma 's e 's mo 

The u-ord that comes from II ell, vAll get if it bid vjcll. 

The howlet was screamin', while Johnnie cried, ' Women 
Wad marrv auld Xick, if he'd keep them aye braw ! ' 

H. M'Ncin. 

Am fear a bbios a bbarra-mbanadh a macb, suidh- 
idb e air fail cborraicb. 

He tvhose destiny is cast sits on a sharp cope. 

There is something very awful in this saying, reminding of 
that of the Psalmist, ' Their foot shall slide in due time '. The 
belief in Fate, expressed by such words as dan, manadh, sona, 
&c., was as strong in the Celts, as many of these proverbs show, 
as in any ancient Greek, or modeni Islamite. 

The word fùl is found in the Scottish ' fail dyke '. 

Am fear a bbios a' riaracbadb na maraig' bidh an 
ceann reambar aige fbein. 

TJic man that divides the pudding tvill have the thick 
end to himself 

Puddings, in the sense familiar to John Bull, were not kno-mi 
to the hardy Celts. But several kinds of pudding, more akin 
to the sausage, in which oatmeal and suet, l>lood, and various 
other savoury ingredients, formed the chief elements, were, and 
still are, well knoMTi. lioth in the Highlands and Lowlands of 
Scotland. To such dainties reference is made in the well-known 
song, ' The barrin' o' the door' — 

' An' first they ate the white puddin's. 
An' then they ate the Ijlack.' 


Am fear a bhios air deireadh bidli na coin com- 
aidli ris. 

He that comes last will have the dogs as messmates. 
Chi tardi arriva mal allogia. — Ital. 

Am fear a bhios air dheireadh beiridh a' bhiast air. 
Hivi that's last the beast ivill catch. 

This saying seems to have originated in a children's game, but 
like many such things it has a serious moral. 
' Deil tak the hiumost ' conveys the same idea. 

Am fear a bhios air thoiseach theid a stobadh aims an 

He that goes first ivill get stuck in the mud. 

Am fear a bhios an diugh 'an uachdar, car mu char 
a nuas e 'màireach. 

He that's uppermost to dag, turn over turn he's down 

This refers, of course, to the wheel of Fortune. 

Am fear a bhitheas ann, nitear cLann ris. 
Such a man as there is, children ivill he got hy. 
This is susceptible of more than one interpretation. See 'Am 
fear nach teid '. 

Am fear a bhios beudach e fhein cha sguir e 
'dh' eigneachadh chàich. 

He that is guilt g himself will always he iirging others. 
See • Miann au droch dhuine '. 

Am fear a bhios carach 's a' bhaile so bidh e carach 
's a' bhair ud thall. 

He who is tricky in this farm will he tricky yonder. 

Am fear a bhios fad aig an aiseag gheabh e thairis 

He that waits long at the ferry will get over some 

Tout vient à point, à qui sait attendre.— i^r. 

Chi aspettar puote, ha ciò che vuole. — Ital. 

Am fear a bhios fearg air a ghnà 's coltach a ghnè ris 
an dris. 

He tvho is always angry is of nature like the hramhle. 


Am fear a bhios facia gun èirigh bidli e 'n a lèum 
fad an latlia. 

He who lies long in led will he all day hard bestead. 
Uomo lento non ha mai tempo. — Ital. 

Am fear a bhios gun eacli gun eatliar, 's eudar dha 

He who lias neither horse nor boat must go on foot. 

Am fear a bhios gun mhodh, saoilidh e gur modh am 

He that is rude thinks his rudeness good manners. 

Am fear a bhios modhail, bidh e niodhail ris a' h-uile 

He that is courteous will he courteous to all. 

This shows a knowledge of true courtesy, and of the highest 

Am fear a bhios 'n a thàmh cuiridh e 'n cat 's an teine. 
The idle man will put the eat in the Jlre. 

Am fear a bhios 's an fheithe, cuiridh a' h-uile fear a 
chas air. 

Every foot will tread on him ivho is in the miid. 
Wer am Boden liegt, iiber den lauft Jedermann. — Germ. 

Am fear a bhios trie anns a' mhuileann, leanaidh an 
sadach ris. 

He that's often in the mill tvill he dusty. 
Chi va al mulino, s' infarina. — Ital. 
Am fear a bhrathas 's e 'mharblias. 
He that betrays is the murderer. 

Am fear a bhuaileadh mo chù bhuaileadh e mi fhein. 
He that would strike my dog vjould strike me. 

Am fear a cheanglas 's e 'shiubhlas. 
He that ties best travels best. 

He that fastens his knapsack or bundle most carefully will go 
with least interruption — so of all human aflairs. 
See ' Ceangail teann '. 
Fast bind, fast find. — Engl. 
Quien bien ata, bien desata.— Span. 


Am fear a clieannaiclieas am fath-each, ceannaichidh e 
an t-atli eacli. 

He that hiiys an old hack will have to huy another 


Al. Ceannaich sean rud, 's bi gun aon rud. — Biiy an old tiling, 
and have nothing. 

Am fear a chuireadli a cliorrag 'am sliùil, cliuir- 
iiiu mo ghlim 'n a chliabh. 

Who would -put his finger in my eye, 1 woidd put my 
knee on Ms chest. 

This looks as if the Trans-Atlantic practice of ' ganging ' had 
been at one time known in the Highlands. If it were so, it must 
have been very long ago. 

Am fear a dh'imich an cruinne cha d'fhiosraich co 
dliiubh b'fliearr luathas no maille ; ach thug e 'n t-urram 
do dli-fhear na moch-eirigh. 

He who went round tlce globe coukVnt tell which teas 
best, sjKcd or slowness ; hut he gave the pcdm to the early 

Am fear a dh' itheas a sheanmhair, faodaidli e 
'h-eanraich òl. 

He that eats his grandmother may sup her hroth. 

When Farquhar the Leech had tasted the 'bree' of the serpent, 
his master, who knew that his apprentice now had his eyes opened 
to see the secrets of natui-e, and his ears to understand the lan- 
guage of birds, threw the pan at him in wrath, crying, ' Ma 
dW Ò1 thu an sùgh, ith an fheòil ' ; If you have supped the juice, 
eat the flesh ! See Campbell's IF. H. Tales, II., 262. 

Al. Ge b'e 'dhith an fheòil, òladh e 'm brochan. 

An te d'ith an fheòil, òladhse am brot. — Irish. 

As good eat the devil as the broth he is boiled in. — Engl. 

Chi ha mangiato il diavolo, mangia anche le corna. — Ital. 
' Seanmhair ' is also a playful term applied to a pig in some parts 
of the Highlands. 

Am fear a dli' itlieas an t-im togadh e 'n tota. 
He that's to eat the butter, let him build the walls. 

The meaning here is, that the man who is to reap the profit 
shouLl erect the necessary buildings. Butter a)3pears, from 
several of the old sayings, to have been one of the chief products 
of the primitive Highkxnds. A keg of butter, containing about 2 


cwt., in good preservation, found in May, 1879, at some depth in 
a peat-moss, in Kiiij^'airlocli, is now preserved in the Museum of 
the Scot. Soc. of Antic^uaries. Ihe keg was hollowed out of a 
solid piece of tree. Several such have been found in IrLih bogs. 
See Ulster Journ. of Arch., Vol. VII., p. 288. 

Am fear a dh' itheas an ceann dathadh e 'ui bus. 
He that eats the (sheep's) head let him singe it himself. 

Am fear a glieabh ainm na moch-eirigli, faodaidh e 
laidhe anmoch. 

He that gets the name of early rising may lie in ted late. 
Acquista buona fama, e mettiti à dormire. — Ital. 
Cobra buena iama, y echate a dormir. — Spcm. 
Get the word o' soon risin', an' ye may lie in bed a' day.— Scof. 

Am fear a gheallas 's e 'dh'iocas. 

He that jyomises iniLstpay. 

Promise is debt. — Enrjl. 

Zusagen macht Schuld. — Germ. 

Belofte maakt schuld, en schuld maakt belofte. — Dutch. 

Qiden promete, en deuda se mete. — tipan. 

Am fear a ghleidheas a chuid gleidliidh e 'cluiirdean. 
He that keeps his means will keep his friends. 
See Timon of Athens. 

Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e 'charaid. 
Who keeps his tongue vnll keep Ids friend. 
Better lose a jest than a friend. — Engl. 
Better tine joke than friend. — Scot. 
Gjem din Muud og gjem din Ven. — Dan. 

Am fear a ghoideadh an t-ubh-circe, glioideadh e 'n 

Who would steal the hen egg v:oidd steal the goose egg. 

Am fear a ghoideas an t-snàthad bheag, goididh e 'n 
t-snàthad mhdr. 

He that steals the little needle vnll steal the hig one. 

Am fear a ghoideadh an t-snàthad, ghoideadh e 'm 

He icho steals the needle would steal the thimhle. 
He that steals a preen will steal a better thing. — Scot. 
He who steals an egg would steal an ox, — En<jl. 


Am fear a labhras olc mu 'mhnaoi, tha e 'cur ml- 
cliliù air fhein. 

Who speaks ill of his wife dishonours himself 

Quien a su muger no honra, a si mismo deshonra. — Span. 

Am fear a laidheas 's a'pholl togaidh e 'n làtliach. 

He who lies in the mud loill rise dirty. 

Gin ye fa' doon i' the dub, ye'll rise iip fylt wi' glaur. — Scot. 

Am fear a mliarbhadh a mliàtliair a chiauamli, blieiv- 
eadh e beò a nis i. 

The man that would have killed his mother a little 
ar/o woidd bring her alive now. 

Said when a good day appears after a heavy storm, or in any 
similar circumstances. 

Am fear a ni diorras, is iomadh a ni dlorras ris. 
He that is obstinate loill often meet his match. 

Am fear a ni 'obair 'n a thràth, bidh e 'n a leth 

He that does his turn in time sits half idle. — Seot. 

Am fear a phòsas air son earrais tha e 'reic a 

Who wives for dotver resigns his power. 
Argentum accepi, dote imperium vendidi. — Plautus. 
Qui prend une femme pour sa dot, 
A la liberte tourne le dos. — Fr. 

Am fear a pbòsas bean pòsaidh e dragh. 

He that marries a vnfe marries trouble. 

Have wife, have strife. — Engl. 

Qui femme a, noise a. — Fr. 

I have found no Gaelic proverb expressing anything more un- 
favourable to marriage and to women than this one ; which is 
more than can be said for any of the greater nations of Europe. 

Am fear a ruitheas an eathar shalach, tlieid e air sgeir- 
mhara uair-eigin. 

He that sails afoul-bottomed boat will some day run 
on a rock. 

This saying smells strongly of the Hebridean sea. 

Am fear a's f haide 'bha beò riamh, f huair e 'm bàs. 
He who lived longest died at la hi. 


Am fear a's fhaide 'cliaidh o'n tigh, 's e'n ceòl 'bu 
bliiime cliual e riainli ' tiugainn dachaidli '. 

To him that farthest ivcnt aioay the sweetest music 
he ever heard was 'come home'. 

East or West, home (hame) is best. — Engl, and Scot. 

Ost nnd West, daheim das Best. — Germ. 

Oost, West, t' hiiis heat— Dutch. 

These are all characteristically brief and plain. More tender 
and poetical are the Italian, ' Casa niia, casa niia, per piccina que 
tu sia, tu mi senibri ima badia,' and ' Casa mia, mamma niia '. 

Am fear a 's fliaide 'chaidh riamli o'n tigh, bha cho 
fad aige ri tighiun dachaidli. 

The 'man that went farthest from home had as far to 
come back. 

Am fear a 's fhaide saoghal 's e 's mo a chi. 

He that lives longest sees most. 

Am fear a'sfhearr achiiireas 's e 's fhearr a bhuaineas. 

Jle who sows best reaps best. 

Chi nial semina mal raccoglie. — Ital. 

Quien bien siembra, bien coge. — Span. 

Am fear a 's fliche, rachadh e do 'n allt. 

Let him that is wettest go to the hern. 

It is said that a young wife having made this response to her 
husband, who asked for some water on coming home wet, he went 
and fetched a bucketful, which he straightway emptied over her 
head, adding, ' Co's fliche a nis Ì ' ' Who is wettest now ? ' There 
is a Breton story exactly to the same effect. 

Am fear a 's hiaithe làmh 's e 's fhearr cuid. 

Quickest hand gets biggest share. 

See ' Ge b'e 's luaithe làmh,' ' Bidh a' chuid a 's miosa,' &c. 

Am fear a 's lugha toinisg 's e 's àirde mòthar. 
The man of least sense makes most noise. 
A fool also is full of words. — Eccles. x. 14. 

Am fear a 's luime 's e a's luaithe. 
He thrd is barest runs best. 

Let us lay aside every weight, . . . and mn with patience 
the race that is set before us. — Heb. xii. 1. 

A sillerless man gangs fast through the market. — Soot. 

Am fear a's mo a gheallas, 's e a 's higha 'choimli- 

He that loromises most will perform least. 


Am fear a 's treas' 'an uachdar, 's am fear a 's luaith' 
air tlioiseach. 

The strongest above, and the swiftest in front. 

Am fear a th' amis a' chùil biodh a shùil air an teine. 

He that's in the eorner let him, watch the fire. 

This is a pleasant reminiscence of the old Highland life, calling 
np a picture of a cosy gathering round the central peat fire, when 
stories were told, riddles proposed, or songs sung. The person in 
the corner, where a heap of peats was piled, was hound to keep 
his eye on the fire, and throw on peats when required. 

Am fear a tlieid a dh'iarraidh an iasaid tlieid e dh'iarr- 
aidh a'bhròin. 

He that goes a-horrowing goes a-sorroicing. — Eng. 

Argent eniprunte porte tristesse. — Fr. 

Borgen maakt zorgen. — Dutch. 

Debts make the cheeks black. — Arab. 

Am fear a tlieid a gliuà a macli le 'lion, glieabh e 
iasg uair-eigin. 

He that goes out regularly with his net will get fish 

The word in Macintosh was ' eun ' not ' iasg,' but the latter is 
the more common form of the saying, the use of nets for catching 
birds having long ago ceased in the Highlands. 

Am fear a tlieid a mach air na li-uaislean, is duine 
truagli 'am measg cliàich e. 

He that quarrels tvith the gentry is a miscrahle man. 
A very Celtic sentiment, and painfully true. 

Am fear a tlieid do 'n tigh mhor gun ghnotliacli 
bheir e gnotliach as. 

He that goes without business to the great house will get 
something there to do. 

AL, 'Am fear nach toir gnothach a mach, bheir e gnothach 
dhachaidh', and ' Am fear nach toir gnothach do"n bhaile mhor 
bheir e gnothach as '. 

Am fear a theid 's an dris, fimridh e tighinn aisde 
mar a dh'fliaodas e. 

He that goes among the briers must eome out as best he can. 

Am fear a tlieid 's an droigheann domh, theid mi 's 
an dris da. 

Who goes throxigh the thorns for me, Til go through the 
briers for him. 



Am fear a thi<i anmocli Disathurna, 

'S a dh'fhalbhas moch Diluain ; 
B'fhearr learn air sou a chuideachaidli. 

An duine sin a dli'flmireacli bhuam. 
Who comes late on Saturday night, 

A nd early on Ifonday goes away, 
For any help T get from him, 

I'd rather like hivi at home to stay. 

Am fear a thig gim chuireadh suidhidli e gun iarraidli. 
He that comes unhidden tuill sit down unasked. 

Am fear a thug buaidli air fhein tliug e buaidh air 

He that conquers himself conquers an enemy. 

He that ruletli liis spirit is better than he that taketh a city.— 
Prov. xvi. 32. 

Iracuncliam qui vincit hosteni superat maximum. — P. Sijrus. 

Wer seinen Zorn bezwingt, hat einen Feiud besiegt. — Germ. 

Am fear aig am beil, cumadli e, 's am fear o 'in bi, 
tarruingeadh e. 

He who has, let him hold, he ivho nrmts let him 2nd I. 
The good old rule, the simple plan, 
That they should take who have the power, 
Ami they should keep who can. — Wordsivorth. 

Am fear aig am bi an Ròimh, bidh an Eòimli aige ri 
cLuiuail suas. 

He that has Rome must keep Rome vp. 

Am fear aig am bi im gheabh e un. 

He that has butter vAll get more. 

He that hath, to him shall be given. — Mark v. 25. 

Am fear aig am bi maighstir bidh fios aig' air. 
He that has a master will know it. 

Am fear air am bi an uireasbhuidh biodli an 

The man that wants must take the trouhle. 

Am fear air am bi an t-anrath, 
Chan ann a's t-Samhradh a's fhas' e. 
He whose portion is distress. 
In Summer finds its weight no less. 


Am fear air am bi bial bidli sporan. 
He that has a mouth ivill also have a purse. 
This seems to mean that the power of asking and of keeping 
go together. 

Am fear air nach d'thainig thig. 

He that has escaped misfortune ivill meet it yet. 

Am fear d'an dan a'chroicli, cha teid gu bràtli a bhà- 

Who is horn to he hanged ivill never he drowned. 

Al. Cha mheall an t-uisg' a chroich. 

The -water will never waur the widdie.— iScoi. 

I have great comfort from this fellow : methinks he hath no 
drowning mark upon him : his complexion is perfect gallows.— 
The Tempest, Act I., sc. 1. 

Chi è nato per la forca mai s' anneghera.— /<«?. 

Wer hangen soil ersaust nicht. — Germ. 

Die geboren is om te hangen, behoeft geen vrees te hebben van 
verdrinken. — Dutch. 

Han drukner ikke der hsenges skal, uden Vandet gaaer over 
Galgen. — Uan. 

Am fear d'an dan an donas 's ann da a bheanas. 
For whom ill is fated him it strikes. 

Am fear falamh, 's e gun ni, 

Suidliidh f ada shios bho chàch ; 

Air mhèud nam beus a bhios 'n a cliorp, 

'S ioma locbd a gbeabhar dha. 

He that is poor and hare 

Must not sit his hetters near ; 

Be his virtues e'er so rare, 

Many ivill his faults afipcar. 
Al. ' Suidheadh e ' in line 2, and ' na ceUle ' in line 3. 
See James ii. 2, 3. 

Am fear leis am fuar, fuaigheadb e. 

He that's cold let him sew (make clothes). 

Am fear leis nach lèir a leas, 's mor' de cbeill a 
chailleas e. 

He that does not see his good loses much the use of sense. 

Am fear nach bi 'n aodann na creige, cha bin eagal 
air gu'n tnit e. 

He that is not in the face of the rock will not he afraid 
of falling. 


Am fear nach bi olc 'n a aire, cha smaoinich e olc 
fir eile. 

He wlio means no evil thinhs no evil. 

Am fear nach biath a chù cha stuig. 

Who dues not feed his dog will not set him on. 

Am fear nach chiinn gu math, cha toir e freagairt 

He that hears hadli/ vnll answer ladhj. 

Al. ' frean;raidh e gu nnmhail.' 

Eu dov Horer gicir en galen Svarer. — Dan. 

Am fear nach cluinn ceart cha'n innis ach cearbach. 

He that does not hear ivell will report hadly. 

Am fear nach cuir a chuid 'an cunnart, cha dean e 
call no buinnig. 

He who hazards not v)ill neither lose nor win. 

Navight venture naught have. — Engl. 

Chi non s' arrischia non guadagna. — Ital. 

Quien no se aventura, no ha ventura. — Span. 

Am fear nach cuir a shnaim, caillidh e 'chiad ghreim. 

He that doesn't knot his thread will lose his first stitch. 

Said to have been communicated for a consideration by a 
tailor to his apprentice, as the most vahiable secret in the trade. 

There is a legend that the Devil once took to learning the trade 
of tailor, but quite failed, because he could never put a knot on 
his thread. This may have suggested the title of the popular air, 
' The Deil amang the Tailors '. 

Am fear nach cuir 's a Mhàrt cha bhuain e a' s' 

He that doesn't soto in March will not reap in Autumn. 

Am fear nach cuir ri latha fuar, cha bhuain ri latha 

IVlio wont sow when it is cold shall not reap when 
it is hot. 

Per con. 'S f hearr curachd anmoch na 'bhi gun churachd idir. 
Better soio late than not sow at all. 

Am fear nach cum cuireadh e mach. 

He that cannot keep) let him deliver. 

Am fear nach cimntadh rium cha chunntainn ris. 

I'll keep no reckoning with him that keeps no reckon 
ing vnth me. 

The saying of the Gohlia Crom, Harry Wynd, at the combat 


on the Inch of Perth. The story goes that Harry, having killed 
his man, sat down to rest. The chief of the Clan Chattan came 
up, and demanded the reason. Harry said he had fulfilled his 
bargain, and earned his money. ' Him that serves me without 
counting his hours,' said the chief, 'I reward without reckoning 
wages '. Whereupon Harry made the above reply, rose up, and 
resumed the tight. — See Fair Maid of Perth, ch. xxxiv. 

Am fear nach dean bail air bial a' bhuilg, ui an t-iochd- 
ar bail air fhein. 

If you dont spare the mouth of the hag, the hottom will 
spare itself 

Better spare at brim than at bottom. — Engl, and Scot. 

Bedre at spare paa Bredden, end paa Bunden. — L)an. 

Am fear nacli dean Nollaig le 'dlieòin, ni e Cùisg a 

He vjho wont keep Cliristmas must keep Easter. 

The Church of Rome requires communion at least once a year, 
and that at Easter. He who omits it at Christmas can't avoid 
it then. Another proverb, however, throws a diti'erent light on 
this one : Am fear nach dean Nollaig shùnndach, ni e' Chàisg gu 
tùrsach dèurach. — He ruho hasn't a merry Christmas will have a sad 
and tearful Easter, i.e., he whose family circumstances prevent him 
from enjoying Christmas will have greater grief before Easter. 

Am fear nach dean obair no gniomh, 

Cha'n fhaigh e biadh feadh nam preas. 

He that neither ivorks nor pushes. 

Won't find food among the hushes. 
Am fear nach dean toil a' Phàpa, fàgadh e an Eoimh. 
He that wont obey the Pope, let him leave Rome. 
Qui veut vivre à Kome ne doit pas se quereller avec le 
Pape. — Fr. 

Am fear nach do chleachd an claidheamh, fàgaidh e 
air a thom e. 

He that's not used to the sivord will leave it where he sat. 

Am fear nach do thàr gu 'bhogha, thàr gu chlaidheamh. 

He that did not get at his how got at his sword. 

This alludes to a sudden attack followed by confusion, and 
probable panic, as is suggested by another saying, 

Am fear nach fhanadh ri 'bhogha, cha'n fhanadh ri 

He tvlio ivouldn't wait for his how wouldn't wait for 
his sword. 


A still deeper stage of cowardice is indicated in the saying, 
Am fear nach d' fhuair toll, dh' iarr e dorus. 
He that couldn't find a hole sought a door. 

Am fear nach 'eil math air aoidheachd na h-oidhche 
'thoirt seachad, tha e math air saodachadh an rathaid. 

He that is not good at giving a led is good at showing 
the road. 

See ' Easgaidh mu'n rathad rnhor'.' 

He that's ill o' his harboury is guid at the way-kenning. — Scot. 

Am fear nach eisd ris na 's olc leis, cha'n fhaic e na 
's ait leis. 

He xcho won't listen to what he dislikes tvon't sec what 
he likes. 

Am fear nach fhosgail a sporan fosglaidh e 'bhial. 

The man vjho wont ojjcn his purse ivill open his mouth. 

Words cost nothing. — See James ii. 15. 

Am fear nach freagair 'athair no 'mhàthair, freag- 
raidh e ni 's tàire, craicionn an laoigh. 

He that vjont listen to father or mother ivill listen to a 
meaner thing, the calf's skin. 

Macintosh interprets this as referring to ' ne'er-do-weels ' who 
enlist and follow the drum. But drum-heads are not made of 
calf -skin. 

Am fear nach gabh comhairle gabhaidh e cam-lorg. 

He ivho wont take counsel ivill take a round-about icay. 

The Irish version of this substitutes ' còmhrag ' for ' cam-lorg,' 
which makes good sense. ' Cam-lorg ' also means a crooked stick, 
and the proverb may be rendered accordingly. 

Am fear nach gabh 'n uair a gheabh, cha'n fliaigh 
'n uair is àilL 

He that ivill not ivlien he may, ivhcn he tvills he shall 
have nay. — Eng. 

Am fear nach gleidh na h-airm 's an t-sith, cha bhi 
iad aig 'an am a' chogaidh. 

He that keeps not his arms in time of peace will have 
none in time of ivar. 

This is a sound maxim of State policy. 

Weapons bode peace. — Scot. 

One sword keeps another in the sheath. - Engl., Germ., Dan. 

L'armi portan pace.— /?aZ. 


Am fear nach gutli a ghuth, cha rath a rath. 
IFhose tcord is no word his luck is no luck. 
This is one of the testimonies to the value of truthfulness, in 
M'hich these Gaelic proverbs are not \vanting. 

Am fear nach marcaich ach anmoch caillidh e a spuir. 

He ivJio rides hut late will lose his spurs. 

Seldom ride, tine the spurs.— Scoi. 

Am fear nach mèudaich an earn, gu mèudaich e 
'chroich ! 

JVJio tvont add to the cairn, may he add to thefjihhct! 

It was an ancient Celtic custom to erect a cairn, or pile of 
stones, as a memorial of the good fame or infamy of the person 
buried beneath it. In either case it was considered the duty of 
every passer-by to add a stone to the cairn. The above proverb 
seems to refer specially to the case of a criminal's caini. The term 
' fear air chàm,' a man on a cairn, is still known in Gaelic as 
signifying an outlaw, or person whose life is forfeited to public 
justice. Sayings having a similar reference are, ' B'fhearr leam e 
'bhi fo chàrn chlach,' I should rather he were iinder a cairn of 
stones ; ' 'S oil leam nach robh do luath fo chàrn,' I'm sorry 
your ashes are not under a cairn ; and the Welsh, ' Cam ar 
dy ben ! ' (or ' wyneb '). — A cairn on thy head (or face) ! 

A common saying, on the other hand, referring to cairns 
erected in testimony of respect, is ' Cuiridh mi clach 'ad chàrn.' 
I'll add a stone to your cairn. 

See Smith's Galic Antiquities, pp. 49-53, and Eowlands' Mona 
Antiqua, p. 49. 

Am fear nach misnich cha bhuannaich. 

Who won't venture shall not ivin. 

Fortuna favet fortibus. — Led. 

Faint heart never won fair lady. — Eng. and Scot. 

Le couard n'aura belle amie. — Fr. 

A los osados ayuda la fortuna. — Span. 

Am fear nach seall roimhe seallaidh e na 'dheigh. 
He that toont look before him must look hchind him.. 

Am fear nach teagaisg Dia cha teagaisg duine. 
WJiom God teaches not man cannot. 

Am fear nach teich teichear roimhe. 
He that flees not will be fled from.. 

Am fear nach teid e fhein gu 'mhnaoi, tuigeadh e gu'n 
teid fear eile. 

He that visits not his wife, wot he that another xvill. 


Am fear nacli toir an air' air a' bheagan, clia'n airidh 
air a' mhoran. 

He tlmt is not careful of the little is not worthy of 

He that is faithful iu that wliich is least is faithful also in 
much. — Luke xvii. 10. 

Die 't klein versmaad, is 't groot niet waard. — Dutch. 

Am fear nach toir an aire dha fliein, bidh each a 
fanaid air. 

He that cares not for himself tvill he made a 
mock of. 

Am fear nach treabli ai^i a' bhaile cha treabh e as. 

He tluct aont jylough at home tvon't plough abroad. 

Am fear nach treabh air muir cha treabh e air tir. 

He that vjill not ■plough at sea, neither will lie i^lough 
on land. 

This does not bear out the opinion of some who have repre- 
sented the Highlander as essentially averse to sea-faring. 

Am fear 'tha grad gu gealladh, 's trie leis mealladh. 
Quick to piromise often deceives. 

Am fiar a thig a mach 's a' Mhàrt, theid e 's tigh 's a' 

The grass that covies out in March shrinks away in 

Cito maturum, cito putridum. — Lat. 

Presto niaturo, presto marzo. — Hal. 

Soon ripe, soon rotten. — Eng. 

Am fitheach a' cur a mach a theanga leis an teas. 

The raven putting out his tongue for heat. 

Am fitheach a dh'eireas moch, 's ann leis a bhios sail 
a' bheothaich a tha 's a' pholl. 

The raven that rises early gets the eye of the heast in 
the hog. 

Am foinne mu 'n iath a' ghlac, 
Is niarachd mac air am bi ; 
Am foinne mu 'n iath a' bhrog, 
Is niarachd bean òg air am bi. 
Wart on palm is luck to lad, 
Wart on in-stcp luck to lass. 


Am mac air an spàrr 's an t-atliair gun bhreith. 

The son on tlie roost and the father unborn. 

This is one of many ingenious Gaelic riddles, and means the 
smoke of a lire which has not yet kindled. It is applied as a 
proverb to the case of anything loudly heralded before it has 
come into existence. 

Am mios buidh. 

The yellow month — July. 

Am mios dubli. 

The Hack month — Novcmhcr. 

Am mios raarbh. 

The dead month — December to January. 

Am port a's fhearr a gliabli Euairidh riamh gliabb- 
teadh seirbhe dbetb. 

The best tune Rory ever played might tire one. 

Al. Fàsar sgitli de'u cheòl a 's binne. 

Roderick Morrison, called Ruairidh Dall, Blind Rory, a cele- 
brated harper, and bard to MacLeod of MacLeod. See App. IL 

Amadan an da fbicbead bliadbna cba bbi e ciall- 
ach ri 'bbeò. 

The fool of forty ivill never he vjise. 

Quien a veinte no es galan, ni a treinta tiene fuerza, ni a qua- 
renta riqueza, ni a cincueuta esperieucia, ni sera galan, ni fuerte, 
ni rico, ni prudente. — Upan. 

Amadan na mi-tboirt, bbiodb meas duine gblic air 
nam biodb e'n a tbosd. 

The poor fool woidd loass for a wise man if he held 
his toni/'ue. 

Al. Saoilidh iad gu 'm beil e glic, ma bliios e trie 'n a thosd. 

Doeth dyn tra tawo — Wise is man while silent. — JVelsh. 

Even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise. — 
Prov. xvii. 28. 

A wise look may secure a fool, if he talk not. — Eug. 

Nichts sieht einem gescheidten Mann ahnlicher, als ein Narr 
der das Maul halt. — Germ. 

El bobo, si es callado, por sesudo es reputado. — Spaii. 

Narren er andre Folk liig saa lainge lian tier. — Uun. 

Amaisidb an dall a bbial. 
The blind can hit his mouth. 

Amas rogliainn. 

Chance choice. 


Amhairc romhad mu 'n toir tliu do Idiim. 
Loolc before you leap. 

Amharus a' mlieirlicli air Ailein. 
The thief s suspicion of honest Allan. 

Amlilaireachd Chlann-Mhic-Philip. 

The rude absurd 'play of the MacKillops. 

The wortl ' Anihlaireachd ' is very difficult to translate, and 
proliably nobody will be satisfied with the translation, least of 
all the ]\IacKillops. The saying is given for what it is worth, 
which is perhaps little. Other clans, still more notable than the 
MacKillops, are characterised in sayings which the editor has 
thought proper to give, such as they are. 

An car a bliios 's a' mhathair, 's gnà leis a blii 's an 

The tioist of the mother is natural to the daughter. 

An car a bliios 's an t-seana mliaide 's duilich a thoirt 

The crooh in the old stick is ill to tahe out. 

An car a nitear a dh-aindeoin bidh e cam air no car- 

What is done uiiwillinyly will be done xcith a tu-ist or 

An ceann 's na casan a' chuid a 's fhasa 'roinn ; bidh 
an ceann aig fear an tighe, 's na casan aig a' chloinn. 

The head and trotters are the easiest shared ; the head 
to the goodman, tlie trotters to tJie bairns. 

An ciad latha de'n ghaoith deas, 

An dara latha de'n ghaoith niar, 

An treas latha de'n ghaoith tuath, 

S' a' ghaoth near gach uair 'us ial. 

First day south wind. 

Second day vjest vnnd, 

Third, day north vnnd.. 

East wind, alvja.ys. 

This is meant to indicate the order in which the wind generally 
goes round the compass on the West coast in Summer, when it 
blows oftenest from the East. 

An ciad Mhàrt, leig seachad ; an dara ]\fàrt, ma 's 
cudar ; an treas Mart, ged nach rachadh clach ceann-a- 


mheòir an aghaidh na gaoitlie tuath, cuir an siol 's an 

The first Tuesday let pass ; the second if need he ; the 
third, though you couldn't send a stone a nad's breadth 
against the north toind, sotv your seed. 

Al. 'ged nacli cuireadh tu dòirneag.' 

Other proverbs, such as ' Cuir do shiol 's a Mhàrt,' indicate 
that the month of March was formerly considered the right time 
for sowing in the Highlands. The third week of March, Old 
Style, would be the hrst week of April, New Style, which would 
now be considered too early. The reason for naming Tuesday 
seems to be, that Monday was considered an unlucky day for 
beginning any work of importance. 

An cleachdadh a bh'aig ISTial, bha e riamh ris. 

The hah it Neil had he always stuck to. 

lann eo, lann e vo — John he is, John he will be. — Breton. 

An cleachdadh a bhios aig duin' a's tigh, bidli e aig' 
air cheilidh. 

As his liabits are at home, so they are with strangers. 

' An cnocan, an cnocan,' ars' a' chailleach gu letxlach, 
* far an do chaill mi mo Ghàidhlig, 's nach d' f huair mi 
mo Blièurla'. 

' The hilloch, the hillock,' said the old woman, lisping, 
' where I lost my Gaelic, and did not find my English! 

This is given as a known saying in one of Dr. Macleod's racy 
contributions to the Teachdaire Gaidhealach. No man had a 
keener appreciation of the absurd conceit which leads some weak- 
minded Celts to aflect ignorance of their mother-tongue after a 
few months' absence in the Lowlands, from which they bring 
home a kind of English so fine as to be unintelligible. 

An co'dhalta nach dearbh 'àite, 's mairg a dh' àraich 
dviine riamh. 

The foster-child that proves it not, pity him that reared. 

The closeness of relationship established by fosterage among 
the Celts is almost without parallel ; and the sayings and stories 
illustrative of this are numerous. ' Comh-dhaltas gu ciad, 'us 
càirdeas gu fichead.'— Fostership to a hundred, blood-relation to 
twenty degrees, is perhaps the strongest expression of Highland 
feeling on this point. 

'An coinneamh roghainn. 

Facing choice. 

Prepared for any alternative. 


All crann roinili 'n damli. 

The. 'ploagli he fore, the ox. 

The cart before the horse. 

An croii a bhios 's an aodann cha'n f baodar a clileitb. 

The fault tJuit's in the face cannot he concealed. 

An dall air muin a' cbrùbaicb. 
Tlie blind on the hack of the criiople. 

'An d^igh cogaidh tbig sltb. 
After war comes peace. 
'An deigb gaoitbe tbig uisge. 
After icind comes rain. 
'An deireadb an latba is matb na b-eòlaicb. 
At the close of the, day acquainfavcrs are good. 
At the end of a day's journey, or of life, it is good to get among 

An dubban an agbaidb a cbrocain. 
The hook against the crook. 

An duine 's miosa càradb, an duine gun cbinneadb 
'tbaobb atbar no matbar. 

The man oficorst condition, he who has no kin h7j father 
or mother. 

An Fbèinn air a b-uilinn. 

The Fcinn on its elhoiv. 

The ' Feinn ' {i.e., Fionn or Finpal and his men) were laid 
spell-bound, 'fo gheasaibh,' in a cave which no man knew 
of. At the mouth of the cave hung a horn, ' diidach,' which if 
any man ever should come and blow three times, the spell would 
be broken, and the Feinn would rise alive and well. A hunter 
one day, wandering in the mist, came on this cave, saw the horn, 
and knew what it meant. He looked in and saw the Feinn lying 
asleep all round the cave. He lifted the horn and blew one blast. 
He looked in again, and saw that the Feinn had wakened, but lay 
.«till with their eyes staring, like those of dead men. He took the 
horn again, blew another blast, and instantly the Feinn all moved, 
each resting on his elbow. Terrified at their aspect, the hunter 
turned and fled homewards. He told what he had seen, and 
accompanied by friends, went to search for the cave. They 
could not find it, it has never again been found ; and so, there 
still sit, each resting on his elbow, waiting for the final blast to 
rouse them into life, the spell-bound heroes of the old Celtic 
world !— See Gael, Vol II., p. 241. 

Another version of this fine legend lays the scene in the heart of 


that beautiful hill called Tomnahiurich near Inverness. A man 
found himself one evening at tlie entrance of a cave leading into 
the bowels of the hill. He entered, and saw the Feinn lying all 
around. From the roof of the cave hiing a chain that would 
ring when shalcen — 'Slabhruidh — eisdeachd' audience-chain. He 
shook it, and it sounded a ringing peal, at which the sleeping 
heroes awoke, and turned their great cold eyes on the man. The 
poor creature instantly took to his heels, and rushed out of the 
cave and down the hill, hearing behind him. amid the howling of 
wakened deerhounds, a voice that cried, 'A dhuine dhona ghòraicli, 
is miosa 'dh' f hag na 'fhuair tlui ' ! Thou wretched foolish man, 
that worse left than thou Ibundest ! 

An gad air an robh 'n t-iasg. 
The lolthe on which the fish was. 

An gad a 's faisge do 'n sgòrnan, 's e 's coir a ghear- 
radh an toiseach. 

The vnthe next the imndpipe shovld he cut first. 
Before hemp was used in this country the commonest kind of 
rope was made of twisted twigs of osier or birch, as it was 
in the days of Samson and the Philistines. When a criminal 
was hanged with one of these rude ropes (whence the Scottish 
term ' widdie,' = ' withy '), any one wishing to save his life 
would cut the withe round his throat, or if a horse fell and 
was in danger of being stiangled by his harness, the same rule 
woiild follow. — See Note by R. MacAdam, on Irish proverb 
' Gearr an gad is foisge do 'n sgòrnach '. — Ulster Journal of 
Archceol., Voh VI., p. "178. Lord Bacon, in his Essays ('Of 
Custom ') says he remembers that " an Irish rebel condemned put 
up a petition to the deputy that he might be hanged in a wyth, and 
not in an halter, because it had been so used with former rebels." 

An gog mor 's an t-iibh beag. 
Loud cackle, little egg. 
Great cry and little wool. — Eng. 
Grand vanteur, petit faiseur.— .^r. 

An gran a's luaith' a theid do'n mliuileann, 's e 's 
luaith' a thig as. 

The grain that soonest goes to mill, v.nll come soonest out. 
Ante molam primus qui venit non molat imus. — Lat. 
Chi primo arriva al molino primo macina. — Ital. 
Quien primero viene primero nmele. — Span. 
Hvo der kommer forst til Molle faaer forst malet. — Dan. 
Qui premier arrive au moulin premier doit mouldre.— i^r. 

An Inid, an ciad Mhàrt de'n t-solus Earraich. 
Shrove-tide, the first Tuesday of the Sjoring moon. 


An Inid bheadaidh, thig an latlia romh 'n oidliche. 

The forward Shrovc-tide, day comes before the nirjht. 

This means that the Feast comes before the Vigil. 

An inisg 'g a cur, 's a bun aig a' bhaile. 

The reproach getting spread, and its root at home. 

An la a clii 's nach f haic. 

Every day — present or absent. 

This is one of the most frequently used of familiar sayings — 
usually added to a farewell, e.g. 'Beannachd leat, an la 'chi 's nach 
fliaic,' or 'a h-uile latha'. Curiously enough, this favourite phrase 
was not included in either edition of Macintosh. 

An lagh a rinn Soianili fuiligeadh e leis. 

Solomon should suffer by his oivn la w. 

An la 'bliios sinn ri orach, biomaid ri orach; ach an 
la 'bhios sinn ri maorach biomaid ri niaorach. 

When ?i'e are after gold, let us be at it ; but when we 
are after shell-fish, let us be at it. 

The chiefs of the Macleods and of the ^lacdonalds each kept 
a fool, and laid a bet which of the two was the greater fool. Both 
were ordered to go to the shore and gather shell-fish. A piece of 
gold was placed where it would attract their notice. " Look here," 
said the Macdonald fool to his companion, " here's gold ". " Yes, 
yes," said the other, " when we are after gold, let us be," &c. It 
is a question, from the point of view of the highest wisdom, which 
of the two was the greater fool. 

An liimh a blieir 's i a gheabh. 

2Vtc hand that gives is the hand that gets. 

The liberal soul shall be made fat. — Prov. vi. 25. 

'An làrach nam bonn. 

On the spot. 

Literally ' in the print of the soles'. 

An leanabh a dli'fhàgar dha f hèin cuiridh e 'mhàthair 
gu nàire. 

The child that's left to himself ivill put his mother to 

An leanabh nach foghluim thu ri d' ghlùn, cha'u 
fhoghluim thu ri d' chluais. 

The child ivhom you teach not at your hnee, you wont 
teach at your ear. 

Al. Am fear nach lùb ri glùn cha lùb ri uilinn. 

Betwixt three and thirteen thraw the woodie while it's green. 

This wise Scottish maxim is now substantially embodied in 


an Act of Parliament (35 & 36 Vict, c. 62), Sect. 69 of which 
enacts that " It sliall be the duty of every parent to provide ele- 
mentary education in readinrf, writing, and arithmetic, for his 
children between five and thirteen years of age ". 

An lionn a ni duine dha fhein, òladh e a leòr dheth. 

The ale a man makes for himself let him have his 
fill of 

The use and brewing of ale in the Highlands in former 
times, before any stronger drink was common, is indicated by 
several proverbs. The application of this proverb, and of the 
next, is very much the same as that in reference to a man's choice 
of a bed to lie on. 

An lionn a rinn tliu a d' dhèoin, òlaidh tu a d' dhain- 
deoin deth. 

The ale you made willingly youll drink ayainst your 

An lon-dubh, an lon-dubh spàgacli ! thug mise dlia 
coille fhasgach flieuracli, 's thug esan dhonili an mon- 
adh dubh fàsach. 

The blackbird ! the spraioliny blackbird ! I gave him a 
sheltered grassy wood, and he gave me the black desolate 

Supposed by some (Note in the second edition of Macintosh) 
to refer either to the Roman or to the Scandinavian invader. It 
i;eenis more applicable to some recent invaders, but the meaning 
is obscure. 

An luibh nach fhaighear, cha'n i 'choibhreas. 

The herb that can't be found can never heal a woimd. 

An naigheachd a 's mo am bliadhna 's i 's lugha an 

The greatest news this year will be least the next. 

An neach a gheilleas do ghiseagan geilleadh giseagan 

Him that yields to spells, let spells yield to. 

Al. — Na geill do ghis, 's cha gheill gis dhut. 

He that follows freets, freets will follow him. — Scot. 

An neach a shineas a làmh sìneadh e 'clias. 

JFe thai stretches his hand must stretch his foot. 

There are two interpretations of this : the one is, that he that 
• lifts ' had better run ; the other, that the too liberal may some 
day need to go dunning or begging. 


An near-h a's tàire 'bhios a' s 'tigh, 's ann Icis a's àirde 

The meanest person in tlic house hrogs most of his 

' We hounds slew the hare,' quo' the blear-eyed messan. — Scot. 

An neacli nacli cinn 'n a chadal, cha cliinn e 'n a 

He that groivs 7iot in his sleep luill not grow when he's 

An ni 'clii na big 's e 'ni na big. 

What the little ones see, the little ones do. 

An ni 'chluinneas na big, 's e 'chanas na big. 

What the little ones hear, the little ones say. 

As the old cock crows, so crows the young. — Eng. 

Wie die Alten singen, so zwitschern audi die Jungen. — Germ. 

Som de Gamle synge, saa tviddre de Unge. — Dan. 

An ni 'chuir na maoir a dh-Ifrinn, farraid an ni a 
b'fhearr a b'aithne dhaibh. 

Wlmt sent the oj/icers to hell, aslcing what they knew 
fvll well. 

The ]\Iaor (a name generally applied to bailiffs and other 
inferior civil othcers) Avas, and perhaps still is, a person invete- 
rately disagreeable to the Celtic mind. 

An ni a chum an eidheann o na gobbair. 

What kept the goats from the ivy. 

The inaccessibility of the rock or wall. Goats are said to be 
very fond of ivy. 

An ni a gbeall Dia, cha mheall duine. 
What God has promised mail cannot haulh. 

What God will, no frost can kill. — Eng. 

Wham God will help nane can hender. — Hcot. 

L'homme propose, et Dieu dispose.— i^r. 

El homl)re propone, y Dios dispone. — Span. 

Mennesket spaaer, Gud raa'er. — Dan. 

An ni a tha'n dan tachraidh e. 

The fated ivill happen. 
Che sarà, sarà.— Itoi. 
Det kommer vel der skee skal. — Dan. 

An ni a thig leis a' ghaoith, falbhaidh c Icis an nisgc. 
What comes roith the loind vnll go vnth the rain. 
Lightly come, lightly go. — Eng. 


Come wi' the wind and gang wi' the water. — Scot. 

Ligt gekomen, ligt gegaan.— ì)ì6<c/ì,. 

Cha daink lesh y gheay, nach ragh lesh yn ushte. — Manx. 

An ni nacli cluiiin tliu 'n diugli, clia'n aithris thu 

What you do not hear to-day, you will not report to- 

Al. Miir cluinneadh tu sin, cha'n abradh tu e. 

An ni nacli 'eil caillte gheabhar e. 

What is not lost can be got. 

An ni nach fios do na mnathan ceilidh iad. 
What the uwmen don't knoiv they II coneccd. 
Women conceal all that they know not. — Eng. 
I well believe 
Thou wilt not utter what thou dost not know, — 
And so far will I trust thee, gentle Kate. 

Henry IV., Part I. 
A ni nach gabh nighe, cha ghabh e fàsgadh. 
What will not wash will not luring. 

A ni 'ni subhach an darna h-aba ni 3 dubhach an 
t-ab' eile, 

Whcd makes one ahhot glad, makes another abbot sad. 
Ce qui nuit à I'nn, duit à Tautre. — Fr. 
Non piause mai uno che non ridesse un altro. — Ital. 

An obair a thòisicheas Diluain, bidh i luatli no bidh i 

Tlie ivorJc that begins on Monday icill be either quick or 

Monday, being the first free day of the week, gives a good 
chance for getting on with work, but if one relies too much on 
having abundance of time, the work will probably be put off. 

An oidhch' a mharbhar am mult, agus an oidhcli' a 
theirigeas e. 

The night the ivedder is killed, and the night if s finished. 

The suggestion is that the repast should be liberal on both 

An òrdag 'an aghaidh na glaice. 
The thumb against the palm. 

An ràmh a's faisg' iomair. 

Pidl the oar that's nearest. 



An ran mor agus an gal tioram. 
Great cry and weeping dry. 

An rathad facia glan, 's an rathad goirid salacli. 
The long dean road, and the short dirty road. 
Short cuts often lead into mire. So is it also with those who 
hasten to ' get on ' in the world. 

An nid a bhios 'n ad bhroinn, cha blii e 'n ad 

What's in yir tvame's no in yir testament. — Scot. 
Fat housekeepers make lean executors. — Eng. 
Fette Kijche, magere Erbschaft. — Germ. 
Grand chère, petit testament. — Fr. 
Grassa cucina, magro testamento. — Ital. 

An rud a chinneas 's a' chnàimh cha tig e as an fheòil. 
iV hat's hred in the hane will bide in the flesh. — Scot. 
An rud fhàsas 's a chnàimh, ni feadar a dhlbirt as a 
bh-fheùil. — Ir. 

Wat in 't gebeente gegroeid is, wil uit het vleesch niet. — Dutch. 

An md a cbuir an earb air an loch — an eigin. 
What made the roe take the loch — necessity. 

An rud a chuireas dnme 's e 'bhuaineas e, mar a thuirt 
an òinseach a bha 'cur na mine. 

Wlud man soivs that will he reap, as the silly woman 
said- when she sowed meal. 

An rud a chuireas e 'n a cheann cuiridh e 'n a chasan e. 
What he puts into his head goes to his feet. 

An rud a dh'fhalbhas cha'n e a dh'flioghnas. 
That which goes won't suffice. 

An rud a gheabhar aig ceann an Deamhain, cailleir 
e aig 'earball. 

What is got at the Devil's head vnll he lost at his tail. 

What's gotten ower the Deil's back is spent below his 
belly. — Scot. 

Male partum, male disperit.— Pkwf. Ill gotten, ill spent.— Ejigr. 

Hvad man med Synd faaer, det med Sorg gaaer. — Dan. 

An rud a ni e le 'chrògan, millidh e le 'spògan, coltach 
ri d' sheana-bhrògan Gàidhealach. 

What he does vnth his hands he spoils tvith his feet, 
like your old Highland brogues. 


An rud a ni math do bhàillidh Dliiùra, clia dean e 
cron do'n Eùsgan Mac-Phàil. 

What's good for the Jtira factor will do no harm to 
Fleecy M'Phail. 

There was a small Jura farmer of the name of M'Phail, nick- 
named 'Rùsgan,' whom the factor liked, but took pleasure in 
chaffing. One day when R. came to pay his rent, the factor 
helped himself from the bottle which always stood on the table, 
and said to R. : 'I think you are better without this,' to which 
R replied as above, and proceeded to help himself. This saying, 
trivial as was its origin, has survived for two centuries. 

An rud a nitear gu math chitear a bhiiil. 
What is done well, its effect will tell. 

An md a nitear 's a'chùil, thig e dh'ionnsuidh an teine. 
What's done in the corner will come to the hearth. 

An rud a's eudar 's eudar e. 
What must he must. 

An rud a their a h-uile duine bithidh e fior. 
What evcryhody says must he true. 

There is no proverb of such general acceptance as this with 
so little truth in it. 

An rud anns an tèid dàil thèid dearmad. 
Delay hrings neglect. 

An rud nach bi air an t-slinnein bidh e air an 

What is not on the shotdder ivill he on the loin. 

An rud nach binn le duine cha chhiinn duine. 
What is not ^pleasant to his ear a man will not hear. 

An rud nach cluinn chias cha ghkiais cridhe. 
What the ear hears not, the heart moves not. 
Faith cometh by hearing.— St. Paul. 

An rud nach do bhuilich Dia cha'n fliad a mheall- 
ar e. 

What God hestoivcd not won't he long enjoyed. 
Ill-won gear winna enrich the third heir.— Scof. 
Unrecht Gut thut nicht gut. — Germ. 

An rud nach laidh ann ad rod, cha bhrist e do hirg. 
What doesn't lie in your way won't hreaJc your leg. 


An rud nach tig 's nach d'tliàiuig dhachaidh, grùthan 
na h-earba gun bhrachadh. 

What never came nor icill come home, the roes liver 

An niitli air an ruaig, 's an maig air an ruith. 
The chase retreating, and tlie rout running. 

'An run nam biodag dh' a cheile. At daggers draicing. 

An saoghal a' dol ma seach, 's an t-each air muin a 

The v:orld going vpside down, the horse mounted on the 

An sean-fhacal gu fadafior, cliabhriagaicliearausean- 

Tiie old saying long proved true shall never he helied. 

Pareceme, Sancho, que no liay refran que no sea verdadero. — 
Don Quixote. 

An seaiTacli 'bu choir a blii 's an lair 's ami a dh'fhàs 
e 'n a ghearran. 

TJiefoal that should have been in the mare grew into a 

Said of an over-presumptuous youth. 

'An sinead 's 'an donad, mar a bha cuilein a' mhadaidli- 

The older the v:orse, lihe the fox's tchelp. 

Al. — Piseach cuilean a nihadaidh-ruaidh, mar a's sin' e 's anu 
a 's miosa. 

An sneachd nach tig mu Shamhuinn thig gu reamhar 
mu Fheill-Brighde. 

The snoiv that comes not at Hallowniass will come thick 
at Candlemas. 

An solus ùr 's a chùl ri làr. 

The nevj moon vjith her back doivnwards. 

An t-ainm gun an tairbhe. The name xcithoid the profit. 

An taobh a bhios 'an dan do'n droing dol, cha bhac 
àth no aonach. 

Where folk's fate is to go, ford or hill v ont prevent. 
Fram eru feigs gotur — The, '/ci/ ' man's road is straight— Icel. 


An taobh a chuir tlm 'u gruth, cuir 'n a 'sliruth am 

Where you made the curds to go, you may set the whey 
a- flow. 

An taobh a thdid an flieannag bheir i 'feaman leatha. 

When the craw flees her tail folloios. — Scot. 

An taobh a's bòidhche de'n cliòmhla. 

The prettiest side of the door. 

The outside of a niaindoor is meant, but not in a metaphori- 
cal sense. The outside was usually planed, and sometimes painted, 
the inside left rough. 

An taoman na's mo na'n long. 

The baler bigger than the boat. 

An t-eacli a blmailear 's a clieann bidh e sgàthach. 

The horse that is struck in the head tvill be full of fear. 

He will start at every movement of his master, anticipating 
another stroke. This extreme sensitiveness, painful to see, as the 
lesult of brutal treatment, is still more painful to see among 
school children, as it sometimes, though happily not often, is. 

An teine 'ni duine dha fhein, 's e 'choir a gharadh ris. 

The flre one makes for himself he has a right to be 
warmed at. 

An ti a shireas air gach aithneach. 

The one that asks of every acquaintance. 

An t-iasg a chriomas gach boiteag, theid a ghlacadh 

The fish that bites every worm (i.e., bait) will be caught 
some time. 

An tinneas a's fhearr na'n t-slainte. 

The illness that's better than health. 

This is a euphemistic Celtic form of describing childbirth. 

An tir do 'n tigear is i 'ghabhar. 

The land that's come to will be taken. 

An tobar nach traoigh. 

The fountain that dries not iip. 

This is one of the ' dubh-f hacail ' or ' dark sayings,' the mean- 
ing of which can only be conjectured. It probably refers to the 
goodness of God. 

'An toiseach an t-saic tha'n riaghailt. 

In the mouth of the sack is the measure. 


An triùir nach failing an cniodachadh, seann bhean, 
cearc, agus caora. 

The three that won't hear caresdn(j, an old woman, a 
hen, and a sheep. 

An t-strathair 'an àite na dioUaid. 

The 2JacJ:-sa.ddle in place of the saddle. 

An t-suirdhe clinaparra. The sturdy vjooing. 
This means, of course, what is called ' Scotch wooing '. 

An tuagh 'an deigli an tail, 's an tàl 'an deigh an 

The axe after the adze, a7id the adze after the plane. 

An t-uasal Leathaineach, 's an ceatharnach Eaon- 

The gentleman of Clan MacLean, and the luarrior of 
Clan Futnald. 

Tlie IMacLeans have generally got credit for a certain high-bred 
polLh, on which they rather plume themselves. ' An cinne mor, 
's am pur mi-shealbhach,' — The great race, and the unfortunate 
seed, is one of their sayings of themselves. Another is, ' Ged 
'tha mi bochd, tha mi uasal, — buidheachas do Dhia, 's ann de 
Chlann lUeathain mi!' — Though I am poor, I am well-born — God 
be thanked, I am a MacLean ! The Macdonalds, on the other 
hand, bear the character of manliness and force, with a tendency 
to swagger. ' Spagadagliog Chlann Dònuill agus leòm Leath- 
aineach ' — The Macdonald ostentation, and the MacLean affecta- 
tion, is a saying of this import. 

An t-ubh a thoirt as a' gliog. 
Guessing the egg from tlie cackle. 

An nair a bliios a' bhrù làn, 's miann leis an t-sùil 

When the Icllij is full, then the eye vmxcs dull. 

*An uair' is always pronounced 'Nuair colloquially, and is 
generally so written. It is sometimes even degraded into 'dar'. 

An nair a bhios a' ghaoth air cball, iarr a deas i, 

Whcii there is no vAnd, seek it in the south. 

Yn chiimey smoo erbee, geay jiass sniessy j'ee. — Manx. 

An uair a bhios a' mhuc sàthach, cinnidh an drabh 

As the soiv fills the draff sours. — Eng., Scot, 


An uair a bliios am pobull dall, ni an gille cam min- 

When the congregation's blind, the one-eyed lad will 
suit their mind. 

' The one-eyed is king among the blind.' See 'Is righ an cam'. 

An uair a bliios am port a' fas facia, bidli e 'fas searbh. 

When the tune gets tiresome it gets harsh. 

An uair a bliios an cupan Ian, cuiridh e thairis. 
When the cup is full it will overflow. 

An uair a's lain' an cupan, 's ann a 's dorr' a gbiùlan. 

When the cup is fullest it is most diflicuU to carry. 

At. Is duilich cupan Ian a ghiulan. 

A fu' cup is ill to carry. When the cup is fu' carry it even. — Scot. 

Plenitude of power or wealth is difficult to bear without over- 
bearing. The saying is meant to correct that tendency, specially 
developed in upstarts. 

An uair a bbios an deoch a 's tigh, bidh an ciall a mach. 

Whe7i drink's in ivifs oat. — Scot. 
Vino dentro, senno fuora. — Ital. 
Do entra beber, sale saber. — Span. 

Als de wijn ingaat, gaat de wijsheid uit. Wanneer de wijn is 
in de man, dan is de wijsheid in de kan. — Dutch. 
Nuar OUet gaaer ind, da gaaer Viddet ud. — Dan. 

An uair a bliios each air an eatliar, bidh siubhal nan 
tighean aig Loiream. 

While the rest are with the boat, Trifler goes from house 
to house. 

This is a Lewis saying, applied to contemptible fellows who 
stay at home, while projier men go hazarding their lives at sea. 
Similar is, ' Bog-a-loireag, math air tlr, 'us diblidh air muir '. 

An uair a bhios gill' agad, tarruing a chluas. 
When you have a servant pull his ear. 

An uair a bhios mise thall, gearr an drochaid. 

When I am over, cut down the bridge. 

An uair a bliios Murchadh 'n a tliàmli, bidh e 'ruamhar. 

iVlien Murdoch takes rest he delves. 

This is said to have been spoken by a farmer's wife in Jura of 
her husband, who was of a type rather rare in the Highlands. 
When in to dinner from ploi;gliing in the fields, he would say to 
his men, 'Nach toir sinn làmh air a chàl, fhad 's a bhios sinn 'na ar 
tàmh' — Let us take a turn at planting the kale while we are idle. 


An uair a bhios an sgadan mu tliuath, bidli Murcli- 
adh ruadh mu dheas. 

When the herring is in the north, red Murdoch is in 
the south. 

Red Murdoch is the restless, unlucky man, always out of the 
"way when something good is to be got. 

An ixair a bhios ni aig a' cliat, ni e cròuan. 

When the eat has something she purrs. 

' Applied to such mean persons as are too noisy and insufferable 
when they once become rich.' — Note by Macintosh. 

An uair a bliios rud a dhitli air Dònull, glieabh e 
fhein e. 

When Donald vmnts anything, lull get it himself. 

Donald represents the pusliing man who will not be over-nice 
in helping himself to what he wants. ' Dònull da fhein,' Donald 
for hinibelf, is a somewhat similar phrase. 

An uair a bhuaileas tu cù buail gu math e. 

When you strike a dog, strike him tvell. 

An uair a chailleas an saor a riaghailt, claonaidh na 

When the eariienter loses his rule the boards will go 

An uair a chailleas duin' a stòras, cha'n fhiù a sheòl- 
adh no 'chomhairle. 

When a man loses his means, his direction and advice 
go for nothing. 

Ffol pob tlawd — Foolish is every poor one. — JFelsh. 

Arme lui wijsheid gaat meest verloren. —Dutch. 

In armer Leute Mund verdirbt viel Weisheit.— Germ. 

An uair a chi thu bean oileanach, beir oirre, beir 
oirre; mur beir thus' oirre, beiridh fear eile oirre. 

When you see a vjcll-bred ivoman, catch her, ccdch her ; 
if you don't do it, another will match her. 

An uair a dh'eireas Iain dubh, laidhidh am ministear. 

When Mack John rises, the minister lies down. 
The "minister's man"— an important functionary in Scotland. 
See Dean Ramsay's Reminiscences. 

An uair a dh'ithear an t-arbhar is ann a thogas an 
bodach an gàradh. 

When the corn is eaten, the silly body builds the dyke. 


An uair a gheabh an leibidean a's tigli, 's e fear an 
tigbe 'n truaglian. 

When tJie trifier gets in, pity the goodman of the house. 

An uair a lasas sin, ni e teine. 

When that lights it will make afire. 

Fire, quoth the fox, when he — on the ice.— Eng. 

The Gaelic proverb is connected with the same parable as the 
English one, coarse but comical. 

An uair a gheabh sinn biaclh gheabh sinn poit. 

ÌFhen tve get food ur'll get a pot. 

A good maxim for young couples, intent upon furnishing a 
house. Be sure of your living tirst. 

An nair a leumas e an Fheill-Bnghde, cha'n earb an 
sionnach earball ris an deigh. 

When Candlemas is imsi, the fox icoiit trnst his tail to 
the ice. 

There may be hard frost at that season, but it cannot be de- 
pended on. 

An uair a laidheas a' ghaoth, 's maoth gach sian. 

No weather's ill, if the ivind he still. — Eng., Scot. 

An uair a mhiosaicheas an t- Earrach, tha e sios 'us 
suas tuille. 

Whe7i the Spring is past a month, it's iip and doivn 

The husbandman after that can go on steadily with his work. 

An iiair a's àirde 'sheòlas an ceard-dubhan, 's ann 's 
an làthaich a thuiteas e. 

When the dimg-heetle flies highest, it's in the dirt it falls. 

An uair a's Ciadaoineach an t-Samhuinn, is iargain- 
each fir an domhain. 

When Hallowmass fcdls on Wednesday, all 7ncn arc 

Supposed, no one knows why, to portend a severe winter. 

An uair a's f hearr an cluich, 's fhearr sgur. 
When the play is best, 'tis best to cease. 

Al. ' Am beadradh,' the ' daffing '. 

Tra s' reaie yn chloie, share faagail jeh. — Manoi:. 

Lascia la burla quànd.o più piace. — Ital. 

A la burla, dejarla quando mas agrada. — Span. 

Wenn der Scherz am besten ist, soil man aufhoren. — Germ. 

Naar Legen er feirest, er ban bedst at lade fare. — Dan. 


An uair a's lugha 'n naiglieaclid, 's ami a 's mo an t-sith. 

Least neics most peace. 

No news is good news. — Eng. 

An uair a 's mo 'n eigin, dearbhar an caraid dileas. 

A friend in need is a friend indeed. — Eng. 

An uair a's truim' an t- uisge, 's ann a's giorr' e. 

When the rain is heaviest 't will be soonest over. 

An uair a's teinne air duine, 's e 'cheann a clieart 

When a man is most in straits, his head is his best 

Literally, ' liis head is his real neck,' i.e., he must rely on his 
own brains to hold up his head. See ' An uair a theid duine '. 

An uair a'steinu'an taod, 's ann a's dòch' e bristeadli. 

When tlie rope is tightest it is nearest breaking. 

Po tynaf fo'r llinjTi cynt af y tyr. — Welsh. 

Naar Stnengen er stindest, da blister han snarest. — Dan. 

An uair a sguireas am miar de sliileadli, sguiridh am 
bial de mboladh. 

When the finger ceases to distil, the mouth ceases to 

Irish and ilanx nearly iu same words, ' lànih ' for ' miar ". 

An uair a shaoil leat a bhi air muin na muice, 's ann 
a bha thu làmh ritlie 's an làib. 

Wlten you thought you were on the sow's bach, you ivere 
beside her in the puddle. 

An uair a thainig e gus a li-aon 's gus a dlià. 

Wlien it came to one and two. 

An uair a tharruingeas gach duin' a chuid h-uige, 
's mairg a bliios gun cliuid aige. 

When every man draws his share, pity him who has 
none at cdl. 

An uair a theid a' cliailleach 'n a ruith, theid i 'n a 

When the old wife nins she rims 'with a vengeance. 

An uair a theid duine gu luim, 's e 'dhruim a's taice 

When a man goes doion, his oiun hack is his supiport. 

Selbst ist der Mann.. — Germ. 


An uair 'thèid bior 's an losgann ni e sgriach. 
When tlie toad is pierced he screeches. 

An uair a theid na mèirlich a throd, thig daoin' ionraic 
gu 'n cuid. 

When thieves fall out, honest men come to their oion. 

When thieves reckon, leal folk come to their gear.— Scot, Eng. 

Wanneer dieven kijven bekomen, vrome lieden hare goederen. 
— Dutch. Naar Tyvene trsettes, faaer Bouden sine Koster. — Dan. 

Les larrons s'entrebattent, et les larcins se decouvrent. — Fr. 

Pelean los ladrones, y descubrense los hurtos. — Span. 

An uair a theid thus' air d' each mor, theid thu thairis 

When you inount your high horse, yovJll tumhle over. 
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps its self, 
And falls on the other. — Macbeth. 

An uair a theirigeas gach meas, 's math na mucagan. 
When all fruit is done, hips are good. 

An uair a theirigeas gual sguiridh obair. 
When coal is done work ceases. 

The work referred to is the smith's, the coal a kind of charcoal 
or coke, called eala-ghual, which used to be made of peat. 

An uair 'thig an Samhradh, togaidh sinn tigh : thig an 
Samhradh, 's cha tog tigh no tigh, — 's f hearr a bhi muigh 
na 'bhi 's tigh. 

When Summer comes, v^e'll build a house; Summer 
comes, a,nd house or no house, it's letter to he out than in. 

An uair a thig air duine, thig air uile. 
When anything comes on a man, everything comes. 
Al. An uair a thig aon ni, thig gach aon ni. 
Misfortunes seldom come alone. It never rains but it pours. — 
Enrj. Ill comes upon waur's back. — Scot. 
Een ongeluk komt zelden alleen. — Dutch. 
Malheur ne vient jamais seul. — Fr. 
Le disgrazie non vengon mai sole. — Ital. 
Adonde vas, mal ? Adonde mas hay. — Span. 

An uair a thig an latha thig comhairle. 
With da.y counsel toill come. 
Tra hig y laa hig eh choyrle lesh. — Manx. 
'El/ vvKTi (ìovXt). — Gr. La nuit porte conseil. — Fr. 
La notte è la madre di pensieri. — Ital. 
Dormireis sobre eUo, y tomareis acuerdo.— /Span. 


Outer Eath kommt iiber Nacht. — Germ. 
Take counsel of your pillow. — Eng. 

An iiair a tliig tiouudadli na h-aimsir, tillidh gach ian 
ri 'ealtuiiin. 

When the change of season comes, each bird returns to 
h is flock. 

An uair a tlireigeas na diithchasaich He, beannachd 
le sith Alba.! 

Whe7i the natives forsake Islay, farewell the licace of 
Scotland ! 

The population of Islay has decreased much by emicjration, 
but it is to be hoped the peace of Scotland is safe notwithstanding. 

An uair a tliubhas e 'cbeann tubhaidh e 'thigh. 
When he thatches his head, he will thatch his house. 

An uaisle 'g a cumail suas a dh-aindeoin. 

Keeioing nj) gentility in sinte of everything. 

A man down on his back, after a wrestle with a 'Tannasg,' 
was asked by the spectre, ' if this was the worst plight he ever 
was inl' 'Not at all,' said he. 'What then?' said tlie ghost. 
'An càs is cruaielhe anns an robh mise riamh, an uair a bha mi 
eadar an fheile agus an aimbeairt, agus a cumail na h-uaisle suas 
a dh-aindeoin, — The worst plight I ever was in, was when I was 
between Hospitality and Want, and keeping up gentility in spite 
of all '. ' That was hard work,' said the ghost, ' but get uji, 
you'll never encounter these two again ' ; and so let him go. 

The conflict between Hospitality and Want is prettily illus- 
trated in one of Fingal's questions to the daughter of King 
Cormac. ' What is hotter than fire ? ' said F. ' A good man's 
cheek,' said the lady, ' to whom visitors come, and no food to give 
them — gnùis dhuine mhath do 'n tig aoidhean, gun bhiadh aige 
dhaibh '. Fingal's gTeatest strait was when he was between Want 
and Denial, ' eadar an t-euradh 'us ahnbeairt,' q.v. 

Anmoch gu loch, moch gu amhaiun, 's mu niheadh- 
on latha na h-uillt. 

Late to the loch, early to the river, and about noon to the 

This is an angler's advice. 

Ann am mullach nam mealL 
At the toji of the heights. 
At the height of quarrel. 

Ann an coileach an t-sruth. In the eddy of the stream. 
Applied to persons in extreme difficulty. 


Aon a dh'iarras 's a dhà dhiag a dli olas, no pathadh 
na caorach. 

One asking and twelve, drinking, or the sheep's thirst. 

Aon l)liò a bliristeas an gàradh, 's a dlià dhiag a 

One coiv breaks the dyke, and a dozen leap it. 

Aon mhac caillich, 's aon mhart muilleir. 

An old wo7n ail's Oidy son, and a miller's one cow. 

Aon mliacan na truaighe, is dualach gu 'n teid e 'dhol- 

The unfortunate little only son, His natural for him to 
go to the dogs. 

Aon nighean caillich, aon ian teallaich. 

The old vnfes only daughter, the one hearth-chicken. 

Aontachadh bradaig le briagaig, 's aontachadh briagain 
le braidein. 

The thief's assent to the liar, and the liar's to the thief. 

Al. Ceist bradaig air briagaig. 

Ask Jock Thief gif I be a leear. — Scot. 

Doniaiida al mio caro se sono ladro. — It. 

Ar tigh tubhte, 's ar talla tàirngte. 

Our house thatched, and our hall nailed. 

All ready for occupation. 

Aran 'us uibhean tioram, culaidh 'mharbhaidh Mhic- 
Sanihain ; Am fear a's math le 'mhuaoi e 'bhi diombuan, 
chaoidh cha dual da 'bhi fallain. 

Dry bread and eggs tvould be the death of a savage ; lie 
vjhose vnfe vnshcs him short life can't be in good, health. 

This refers to one of the Highland notions alsout certain fooil 
which are often fanciful. See ' Ubh gun im'. An English say- 
ing, ' After an egg drink as much as after an ox,' is to the saiuo 
effect. ' Mac-Samhain ' is the name for a kind of mythical 

Ardan na poite bige, cha tig e seach an luath. 

The pride of the little pot ivon't go beyond the ashes. 

Al. Onfhadh na poite bige. 

As a' choire anns an teine. 

Out of the kettle into the fire. 

As an dris anns an droigheann. 

Out of the briers into the thorns. 


As an teine do'n ghrlosaich. 
Old of the fire into the emhers. 

'Ety TO Tvvp ìk tov Kanvov.—Lucian. De fumo in flammam. — Led. 
Cader dalla padella nelle bragie. — Ital. 
Andar de zocos en colodros. — ^ixm. 
Fugir do fumo, e cahir no fogo. — Port. 
Sauter de la poèle sur la braise. — Fr. 
Out of the frying-pan into the fire. — Eng. 

At a' bhuinn-dnibh, agus bàs an aon mliic. 

The swelling of the heel, and the death of the only son. 

Said by a Lewis woman who suffered under both pains at 
once. " Lopgadh buinn-duibh losgadh gu cnàimh," is another 
saying expressive of the agony caused by a sore heel. 

Atacli seann seòladair, an t-atach a's miosa 'th'ann. 

An old sailor's east-off things, v:orst of all cast-offs. 

This is equally applicable to an old sailor's garments or his 
used-up craft. ' Atach ' = Ath-aodach. 

Athair na Dilinn ! 

Father of the Flood ! 

An interjection not unnatural in a rainy climate. 

Athais an darna cnir air a' char eile. 

TJie reproach of the one twist against the other. 

Al. ' An darna currn,' the one heron, &c. 

Athghearr an fhidlileir dhiiibli o'n taobh tuath. 

T!ie Hack fiddlers short cut from the north. 

A round-about way. Al. Aithghearr an tàiUeir dhuibh do 
Ghleann Cuaich, mu'n cuairt an sanghal — The black tailor's 
short cut to Glen Quoich— round the world 

Bagair 's na buail. Threaten and strike not. 
There is something of the Bombastes character in this advice, 
but its discretion cannot be denied. 

Baile Dhuthaich bliòidheach, 's Dornacli na gorta, 
Sgiobal nan ùbhlan, 's Bil an arain choirc, 
Euraboll nan adagan, Dunrobain a' chàil, 
Goillspidh nan sligean dubha, 'us Druim-uidh an 

Bonnie Tain, and hungry Dornoch, 
Skiho for ajjjjles, and Beil for oat cakes. 
Eriholfor haddocks, Dunrolin for kail, 
Golspie for Mack shells. Dncmttie for hrine. 
All these places, with the exception of Tain, are on the coast 
of Sutherlandshire. 

B'ainmig leis a' chirc aghartan a bhi aice. 
It is not common for hens to have jnllovjs. 
Applied to persons affecting luxuries unsuitable to them. 
Balach 'us balgaire tigliearna, 

Dithis nacli bu choir leigeil leo, 
Buail am balach air a' charbad, 

'S buail am balgaire 's an t-sròin. 
A laird's Jiunkey and his dog, 

These are two one shoidd not spare ; 
Slap the flunkey on the cheek. 
Hit the hound upon the nose. 
This verse is said to have been composed by John IVIorrison of 
Bragar in Lewis, who lived during the latter half of the 17th 
century, and was held in high repute for his administrative talent 
and ready wit. Having come on one occasion to Seaforth Lodge 
at Stornoway, to explain his refusal to pay an overcharge made by 
the factor, he was assailed at the door by a big dog, which barked 
furiously at him. Morrison hit liim oh the nose with his stick, 
and sent him away howling. Next came out a flunkey, who ad- 
dressed himself to Morrison in no polite terms, and got in reply a 
good whack on the jaw. More noise followed, which at last 
brought out Seaforth hunself. Morrison explained the whole 


thing to the laird's satisfaction, and finished his story, it is said, 
with the above verse. For an account ot him and his family, see 
Captain Thomas's ' Traditions of the Morrisons,' Proc. of Scot. 
Soc. of Ant., Vol. XII., pp. 526-531. 

B' àluinn a' ghnùis, na 'm b' iùlmhor am beus. 

The face tvere lovely ivcre the Imviour good. 

B'amhuil mixr a b'fliior. 

Probable if it vjere not true. 

This resembles, but wants the point of ' Se non è vero è ben 
trovato '. 

Bàs an fliitliich ort! The ravens death to you! 

This is much the same as ' Droch bhàs ort ! ' — a very com- 
mon phrase. It was a popular belief among the Gael that the 
young raven kills the old one. Not less emphatic is ' Bàs gun 
sagart ort ! ' — Death without friest to you ! 

Bata 's treasa na'n cuaille, gille's uaisle na 'mhaighstir. 

Cayie stronycr than club, servant finer than master. 

Bàtliadli mor aig oirtliir. 

A great droiviiing near the land. 

Margr druknar ncerri laudi. — Iceland, 

Bàthaidh uisge tetli teine. 

Hot vmter v:ill quench fire. 

Foul water will sloken fire.— Scof. 

Bàthaidh toll beag long mhor. 

A little hole will sink a big shijJ. 

B'e sin a bhi 'cur iomchoir 'an deaghaidh Chaluim. 

Thut tvere blaming Malcolm after he's aicay. 

B'e sin a bhi cur na caora air theadliair lamh ri tigh a' 

Tliat lucre tethering the sheep near the thief s house. 
B'e sin a bhi 'dol eadar a' chraobh 's a rùsg. 
Tìiat were to go between the tree and its bark. 
II ne faut mettre le doigt entre I'arbre et l'ècorce.— Fr. 

B'e sin a bhi 'taladh seangain air crios. 
That were hushing an ant to sleep on a girdle. 
Trying to do an absurd thing. Somewhat to the some effect is 
' Cala seangain air crios,' An ant's harboiir on a girdle. 

B'e sin a' chearc a' gairm roimh 'n choileach. 

That were the hen croxving before the cock. 

Triste es la casa, donde la gallina canta, y el gallo calla. — Span. 


B'e sin ainmeachadh bà air buacliaille, 's a toirt uaithe 

That were to name a cow on a herd, and tahe her from 
him at evening. 

It was usual, and still is, to allot one of the cows of a herd to 
the cow-herd for his own supply of milk. 

B'e sin am mam air muin an t-saic. 

Tliat were the heap above the sack. 

B'e sin an da latha. 

That xvcre the change of days. 

It is common to hear ' S anu air a thàinig an da latha ' said of 
a person who has suffered a change of circumstances. See ' Cha 
robh duine gun da latha '. 

B'e sin an diar 'g a iarraidh air a' chat, 's e fhein 's an 
dian mhiamhail. 

Tliat xoere asking a drop from the cat, and the cat 
mciving clamorously. 

B'e sin an diol dubh air a' ghrnth gheal. 

That xoere the hlack usage of the white curds. 

Unnatural treatment of a thing or person. 

B'e sin an ealain gun rath. 

That urns the skill loithout luck. 

Many of the proverbs inculcate tlie dangerous doctrine that 
luck is better than skill or effort. There is a story about two car- 
penters, who got their choice from a certain witch or ' glaistig ' 
between ' ealain gun rath ' and ' rath gun ealain '. The one chose 
the former, became a perfect artificer, and yet never prospered. 
The other chose the latter, never rose above being a botcher, and 
yet ' got on ' in the world . So much for luck ! See a story of 
the same sort in Campbell's W. H. T., II. 86, where 'rath' is 
mistaken for ' ràdh ' — ' speech '. 

B'e sin an gille 'chur 'an ait' an duin'-uasail. 
Putting the servaiit in place of the gentlenum. 
B'e sin an gràdh luath 's am fuath clis. 
That was the hasty love and the quick hate. 
Al. cha tug gaol luath nach tug fuath clis. 
Soon hot, soon cold. — Engl. 

B'e sin an reul 's an oidhche dhoilleir. 
That was the star in the dark night. 

Al. B'e sin an rionnaig 's an oidhche fhrasaich. Often said 
ironically of a pretentious person. 


B'e sin an salann 'g a cliiir 's a' mliuir. 

Putting salt into the sea. 
Bwrw heli yu y mor. — Wdsh. 

B'e sin fiodh a chur do Lochabar. 
Huit were seiiding tvood to Lociuiber. 

B' e sin im a clinr do thigh àirich. 

Timt lucre sending hutter to a dairyman's house. 

Sending owls to Athens. — (?r. Sending pines to Norway.^ 
Baa. Carrying coals to Newcastle. — Engl. Ca'in saut to Dysart, 
and puddin's to Tranent. — Hcot. Taking blades to Damascus — 
Arah. Pepper to Hindostan. — Pers. Cockles to St. Michel — .^V. 

B'e sin an seangan a' toirt greim' a gearran. 
Tliat were the ant hiting the gelding, 

B'e sin an tuagh a thoirt a làimh an t-saoir. 

That were to take the o^e out of the earpciiter's hand. 

B'e sin buille 's a' cheann 'us seacliainn am muineal. 
That ivere hitting the head, and avoiding the neck. 

B'e sin cead iarraidh òrd a bhualadh aii" bàirnich. 

Tliat were asking leave to lift a limpet. 

Literally, ' to strike a hammer on a limpet'. Limpets, which 
are much used as bait in the Highlands and Islands, are naturally 
considered free to all mankind. The tool used lor detaching them 
is called ' òrd-bàirnich,' though generally it is a chisel rather than 
a hammer. A huge block of trap, which has slipped from the 
face of a cliff in one of the islands of Loch Bracadaie in Skye, is 
called ' Ord-bàirnich Fhinn,' Fingal's limpet-hammer. 

B'e sin faire 'chlamhain air na cearcan. 
That vjere the kite's loatch over tiie hens. 
Such protection as vultures give to lambs. — Pizarro. 

B'e sin greim de 'n easgainn air a h-eàrr. 
TJmt icere taking the eel hy the tail. 

B'e sin " Ho ! " fada bho'n chrodh. 
That vjere a call far frora the cows. 
Out of place, or before the time. 

B'e sin iasad an Deamhain do 'n mhuileann. 
Tiuit v:ere the Devil's loan to the mill. 
Bleùd an Diaoul — the DeviVs meal. — Bret-on. 
There are proverbs of various nations, implying a disbelief in 
the honesty of millers, and this seems to be one of them. 


B'e sin latha 'tliogail do shaic, 's cha b' aim do 'n 

That was the day for lifting you?' sacks, hut not to tlie 

This refers either to a creacli, or " lifting " of property against 
the OMTier's will, or to a flitting. 

B'e sin marag earbsa ris a' chù dhubh. 

That were trusting a pudding to the black dog. 

B'e sin na smiaran-dubha 's an Fhaoilleacb. 
Tliat tvcre the hravMe-herrics in Fchruary. 
Said of anything out of season. 

B'e sin saoradh air ceann a' cboin bhradaich. 
That were absolving the thievish dog. 

B'e sin urras gun earras, niise 'dbol 'an urras ortsa. 
That loere the security loithout substance, were I to 
warrant thee. 

Beag agns beag èisg so, ach tuilleadb agus tuilleadh 
as an t-seilbh cbiadna. 

Little fish this, but there's more and more in the same 

Paid when one gets a small fish to begin with. Somewhat 
similar is, ' Fuil air iasg ! mharbh mi sgioUag '. 

Beag àidb ort ! 
Sinall luck to you ! 
Al. Beagan pisich. 

Beau a tigh-mor 'us bo a baile, cha f hreagair an duine 

A ivife from the big house, and a cow from a farm, 
wovbt suit the poor man. 

The wife accustomed to the style of a gentleman's house 
might probably be ill to please in a poor thatched cottage ; and a 
fine Ayrshire cow would be more difficult to keep than a hardy 
Highland one. 

Bean fhada, chaol, dhireach, miann Dhòiiuill amadain. 

The fool Donald's fancy, a tcdl, slender, straight 

Probably the fancy of the wise man who invented this saying 
was a stout, strong, and what is called in the Lowlands a ' wise- 
like ' woman. 


Bean 'g a bhuain, dall 'g a mheangadh, curaidh 'g a 
sliniomh ; 's figli au reamliar air a' cliaol, ma 's math leat 
an taod a bin buan. 

A woman to 'pluck it, a blind man to lop it, a strong man 
to twist it; and lueave the thick on the thin, if you ivish 
your ropie to last. 

This refers to the making of a rope of hirch or willow twigs. A 
woman would choose nice twigs, and a Lliud man would use his 
knife cautiously. 

Bean 'g a thre'igsinn, 'us stiùir 'g a dhiùltadh. 

Wife forsakinfi him, and helm disoheying. 

A very sad jaredicament. 

Bean ruadh dlnibh-shuileach, cù lacbdunn las-shiiil- 
eacb, fear au f built dbuibli 's na fiasaige ruaidhe, — na trl 
còmhlaicbean a 's mios' air bith. 

A red-haired hlack-eycd woman, a dun fiery-eyed dog, a 
hlack-haired red-bearded man, — the three tmluckicst to 

Another Gaelic saying about the red beard and the black 
head is, 'Feara'chinn duibh 's na fiasaige ruaidhe, co 'thuig riamh 
a nadur ? ' Still more emphatic are ' Fear a' chinn duibh, &c., na 
teirig eadar e 's a chreag,' and the old English rhyme, 
A red beard and a black head, 
Catch him with a good trick and take him dead. 

Beannacbd a sbaoid 's a sbiubhail leis ! bitheadh e 
'nochd far an robb e 'n raoir. 

The blessing of his state and his journey he with him ! 
Let him be to-night ivhere he tvas last night. 

This is like an Oriental expression of hosj)itality. 

Beannacbd Chaluim gboblia — 'mo tboGjair ged nacb 

Smith Malcolm's blessing — I care not if he come not back. 

Beannacbd dbut f beiu, acli mollacbd do d' oid'-ionns- 
achaidb ! 

Blessing to thyself, but a curse on thy teacher! 

Beannacbd 'n an siubbal 's 'n an imeacbd ! 'S e 'n 
diugb Dibaoine, cba cbluinn iad sinne. 

Blessing on their going and icay! TJiis is Friday, they 
won't hear us. 

A charm against Fairies. Friday was the day on which they 
were believed to visit Fairyland. 


Beatlia Chonain 'am measg nan deamhan : Ma 's olc 
dliomh cha 'n fhearr dhaibh. 

ConavJs life among the demons : If had for me, for 
them no better. 

Conan is one of the principal characters celeln'atcd in the 
Fenian Legends, and the only disagreeable one. He is called 
' ainilisg na Fèinne,' the mischief of the Fenians, and is described 
as rash, quarrelsome, and meddlesome. He visited Ifrinn (Hell) 
in search of some of his departed friends, and gave as good as he 
got there to the fiends. Sir Walter Scott picked up this story, 
and made use of it inWaverley, where Mrs. Flockhai't asks, "And 
will ye face thae tearing chields, the dragoons, Ensign Mac- 
combich ? " " Claw for claw, as Conan said to Satan, Mrs. 
Flockhart, and the deevil tak' the shortest nails." 

" Is olc do bheatha 'Chonain ! " is another saying in reference 
to this legend. 

Beathaicli thusa mis' an diugli, 'us beathaicliidli mis' 
thus' am màireach. 

Feed thou me to-day, and Til feed thee to-morrow. 

Beinn Nibheis mlior a' glaodhaich 'n a laidhe-siubhla, 
's cha d'thàinig aisde ach an luchag fheòir. 

Great Ben Nevis erying in travail, and nothing came 
of it hut a field-mouse. 

This, no doubt, is a mere version of " Parturiunt montes," but 
it has the merit of local colouring. 

Beiridh am heag trie air a' mhor ainmig. 
The short quick will overtake the long slow. 

Beiridh bean mac, ach 's e Dia a ni an t-oighre. 
A ivoman may hear a son, hut God makes the heir. 
Hseredem Deus facit, non homo. — Cohe. 

Beiridh tu air a bhi gu math 'n uair a thig d' f hiasag. 
You will he a good one hy the time your heard grows. 
Said ironically to forward young people. 
Beò bochd gun airgead, mar a bha'n t-Albannach 
Poor living without money, as the Scot of old had. 

Beus na tuath far am bitear is e a nitear. 

TJie manners of the folk one lives among vnll he fol- 

Thy neighbour is thy teacher. Live with him who prays, and 
thou prayest. Live with the singer, and thou singest. — Arab. 


He who herds Avith the wolves will howl. — Fr., Ital, Span., 
Germ., Dan. 

AVhen you are at Rome, do as Rome does. — Erig. 

B' fhada bho 'cheile crodh laoidh an da sheanar. 
Far apart locrc the milk-coivs of their grandfathers. 
Said of persous whose ancestors were far removed from each 
other in place or position ; e.g. , marrying out of one's sphere. 

B' fhaid a 'bhitheadh donas i, droch-mhnaoi na bhith- 
inn-sa 'deanamh sin. 

A shrew's ill nature would be longer out of her than 
1 iDould he about that. 

In other words, I should do it " in no time ". 

B' f hasa Eoghan a chur air each. 

'Twere easier to put Ewen on horseback. 

In A. Campbell's note on this, he says it alludes to M'Neill of 
Barra, but that is doubtful. Macintosh, in his note on another 
proverb, ' Cha 'n ann a h-uile la a thèid MacNèill air each,' says, 
" There is an ingenious sarcastical description of setting MacNeil 
on horseback, in Gaelic, in my hands, setting forth the grandeur, 
antiquity, and valour of MacNeil of Barra." A version of that 
curious composition, got in 1859 from the recitation of a man in 
Blair Athol, is given in Mr. J. F. Campbell's Leabhar na Feinne, 
pp. 210, 211. After an elaborate description of the dressing and 
arming of Ewen, the extraordinary virtues of his steed, and the 
splendour of his harness, the ignominious fiasco is thus briefly 
told — ' 'S chaidli e tri uairean tiomchioll an òtraich, 's ghabh e 
eagal nior, 's phill e.' — He went three times round the dunghiU, 
took a great fright, and returned ! 

Another version, called ' Cliù Eobhain,' curiously differing 
from the above, is given by Mr. D. C. Macpherson in the Gael, 
Vol. IV,, pp. 112, 113. It was copied from a MS. in the Irish 
character, apparently about a century old. 

B' f liearr a bhi gun bhreith na 'blii gun teagasg. 

Better unborn than untaught. 

The English is that of Hey wood, given in Hazlitt's English 
Proverbs, with tliis old rhyme — 

A chyld were better to be unbore, 
Than to be untaught, and so be lore. 

B' fhearr a blii gun fhàinne na fàinne luachrach. 
Better no ring than a rush ring. 
This proverb is both English and Scotch. 

B' fhearr a bhi sàmhach na droch dhàn a ghabhail. 

Better be silent than sing a bad song. 

Macintosh translates the three last words, ' receive an affront '. 


B' fhearr a clireach a thigliinu do 'n tìr, na maduinn 
inhin 's an Fhaoilleach fhuar. 

Better foray eoming to the land than mild morniiuj 
in the cold month of storms. 

Share craght ve sy cheer, na mee ny mannan {month of kids) 
cheet stiagh meein. — Manx. 

The Faoilleach, or Faoillteach, was the name given to the 
time of year nearly corresponding to the present month of 
February, usually a time of storms and cold. Mild weather at 
this time was and is regarded as unseasonable, and not to be 
desired. Some other proverbs to the same effect as the above will 
lie found further on. See ' Faoilleach '. Of old English and 
Scottish ones are the following : — 
February fill tlie dike, 
Either with the black or white, 
But if it be white it's the better to like. 
The hind had as lief see his wife on the bier. 
As that Candlemas Day should be pleasant and clear. 
A' the montlis o' the year 
Curse a fair Februeer. 

B' fhearr a letli an dè, na gii leir an diugh. 
Better the half yesterday than the whole to-day. 

'S2KeIat )(apiT€i yXvKVTepai. — Gr. Ailth. 

Bis dat qui cito dat. — Lat. 

The best generosity is the quick. — Arab. 

One to-day is worth two to-morrow. — Eng. 

En Skilling er i Tide saa god som en Daler. — Dan. 

E meglio aver oggi un novo che domani una galUna. — Ital. 

Mas vale im ' toma' que dos ' te dare '. — /Spa?;-. 

B' fhearr cumail a muigh na cur a mach. 
Better keep out than put out. 

B' fhearr dha bonnach 'us toll 'am bruicheadh e e. 
Better for him were a cake and a hole to bake it in. 
' Than think of such a thing ' is understood. 

B' fhearr do Mhac-DhònuiU còmhdach a blii aige dha 

Better were it for MacDonald to have as much as would 
cover himself. 

I have not been aMe to ascertain the origin of this saying. 

B' fhearr gun tòiseachadh na sgTir gun chrioch- 

Better not hegin than stop without finishing. 


B' fheari- leam 'fhaicinn na 'chluinntinn. 

/ loould rather see it than hear it. 

Seeing is believing. — Arab., Eng., Scot. 

Chi conl' occhio vede, col cuor crede. — Ital. 

Die Augen glauben sich selbst, die Ohren andern Leuten, — Gmn. 

Hooren i^eggen is half gelogen. — Dutch. 

B' f hearr siiidhe làmli ri fear-cuthaicli na làuih ri fear- 

Better sit next a viaclman than next a nalced man. 

' Naked ' here means needy. It may be intended to signify 
that a destitute man is apt to be dangerous, as another proverb 
indicates, ' 'S ionann fear na 'eigin 's fear a' chuthaich/ and the 
Latiii, ' Esurienti ne occurras '. 

B' I'liialaidli an coileach mu cliuid an eich. 
The eoch teas very hountiful ivith the horse's com. 
Ai. Fialachd nihath mu chuid chàich. 
Hens are free of horse corn. — Scot. 

Bha " beir 's cha blieir " aige. 

It was " catch and ivon't catch " vnth him. 

Said of one who just misses, or all but misses a thing. 

Bha caocbladh clòiinbe 'n clò Chaluim. 
There vjere various wools in Malcolms cloth. 
Said of persons whose character or works are inconsistent or 

Bha dorus Fhinn do 'n ànrach fial. 
FingaVs door was free to the needy. 

In the ballad called ' Urnuigh Oisein ' {Leabhar na Feinm, pp. 
41-46, Gael, I. 83), consistmg of a dialogue between Ossian and 
St. Patrick, Patrick says— 

Ge beag a' chuil chrònanach, 

'Us mònaran na greine, 
Gun fhios do 'u Righ mhòralach, 
Cha teid f ho bhil' a sgeithe. 

Small as is the humming gnat, 

And the mote in sunbeam. 
Unknown to the majestic King, 
They pass not 'neath his wiug. 
To this Ossian replies — 

'N saoil thu 'm b' ionann e 's I\Iac Cumhail, 

An righ 'bh' againn air na Fiannaibh ; 
Dh' fhaodadh gach neach 'bha air thalamb 
Teachd 'n a thalla-san gim iarraidh. 


Tliiut'st tlmu then to equal liim 

To oiir King, the sou of Ciiai Ì 
All the world miglit cuter in 

To his hall uubiildeu. 

Bba e 'n a dlilùth 's 'n a inneacii air. 
He ivas both ivarp and %ooof to it. 
He was the l)ody and soul of the thing. 

* Dlùth glic agus inneach gòrach ' is said of a person who 
seems foolish, but is really wise. 

Bha gnothuichean mor 'an Aoraisge. 

There were great doings at Eriskcy. 

Eriskey is a small island in Loch Crerar. The story goes, 
that the wife of the laird of Airds (long ago) kept a paramour on 
this island, whom she treated luxuriously. The family fool got 
wind of it, and went on repeating, " Great doings at Eriskey," 
till his master inquired into the matter. 

Bha iasad a ghabhail 's a thoirt, riamli air feadh an 

Borrowing and lending were always in fashion. 

Bha la eile aig fear na bracha. 

Tlie maltman had other days 

Said of people in reduced circimistances. See ' Bu la eile.' 

Bha la eile ann. 

Tliere was a different day. 

Al. Bha la dha sin, or, Bha 'n la sin ann, phrases generally used 
by old people, recalling the days when they could perform feats 
to be done no more. 

Bha mis' 'an ceardaich gobha roimh so, 

1 have been in a smithy before now. 

The allusion is probably to the common practice of testing 
men's strength and agility, in a smithy, with the big hammer, and 
the meaning is something equivalent to "I am no greenhorn". 

Bha 'n t-àm ann. 
It was high time. 

Bha sineadh saoghail aige. 
He had a neiu lease of life. 

Bha 'n uair 'g a ruith. 
His hour ivas pursuing him. 

There is something impressive in the picture this suggests, of 
a man pursued by the * shadow feared of man '. 


Bha nid-eigin de dh' uisge far 'na bliathadli an gamh- 

Tiiere's aye some vmter wliaur the stirkie droons. — Scot. 

Bha sid 'an dan da. 

That VMS fated for him. 

Bha thu 'd' shlaint' an nair a cliaidli do chòta 

You were in good health ivheii your coat tvas made. 

Said to one whose coat is too wide. 

Bheir a h-uile Didòmlmuich seachdain leis. 

Every Sunday brings a week ivith it. 

Bheir aon duine triùir bhàrr an rathaid. 

One man will lead three off the road. 

Bheir aon fhear each gti uisge, ach cha toir da f hear 
dhiag air ol. 

One man may lead a horse to tvater, hut ticelve won't 
make him drink. 

A man may lead a horse to the water, but four-and-twenty 
winna gar him drink. — Scot. 

Bheir duine heath' air eigin, ach cha toir e rath air 

A man may force a livelihood, hut cannot force fortune. 

Here again appears the belief in Fate, as a power superior to 
human will. 

Bheir ao-dòchas misneach do ghealtair. 

Desperation drives on cowards. 

Put a coward to his metal, and he'll fight the Deil. — Scot. 

A man who would like to run away sometimes fights like a 
lion when escape is impossible. 

Bheir duine glic breith-bliadhna air fear na h-aon 

A vjise man will fivm one nighfs knowledge judge 
another for a year. 

He can judge in a night from a man's conversation and 
manners, as much as a person less sagacious could do in a year. 

Bheir fear na moch-eirigh buaidh air fear na fionn- 

Tlie early riser will heat the late watcher. 

Bheir foid a bhreith 's a bhais fear gu 'ait' air ^igin. 

No man can avoid the spot, xohere hirth or death is his lot. 


Bheir mis' ort nach òl thu bainne bliàrr spàin. 

I'll make you ho that you cant drink milk from a spoon. 

This forcible Ibriii of threat comes from the Hebrides. 

Bheir na daoine beaga rud as an speur cho liiatli ris 
na daoine mora. 

Little people loill hring things from the sky as soon as 
big ones. 

A hint to big people that they need not aim at things too 
high even for them. A similar saying is, ' Thoir Ihtisa rionnag 
as an speur, 's bheir mise nuas t' eile '. — Brine/ you a star down 
from the skij, and Fll bring another. 

Bheir sin an teang as a' chlag. 

That will take the tongue out of the hell. 

Bheireadh e mac-tall' as na creagan. 

He would make the rocks re-echo. 

Said of a loud-voiced person. 

Bheireadh e sniomh air cridhe na cloiche. 

It ivould ivrench the heart of a stone. 

Bheireadh seillein math mil a sin. 

A good bee cotdd get honey out of that. 

Bheireadh tu cho fad' a' gleusadh do phioba 's a bheir- 
eadh fear eil' a' cluicli puirt. 

You ivould take as long to tune your pipe as another 
loould to play a tune. 

Ye're as lang tuning yir pipes as anither wad play a spring. — Hcol. 

Bheirear comhairle seachad, ach cha toirear giùlan. 

Counsel can be given, but not conduct. 

Bheirinn cuid oidche dha ged a bhiodh ceauu fir to 

I woidd give him a night's quarters, though he had a 
man's head uiider his arm. 

Nothing could be more expressive than tliis of the Higliland 
virtues of hospitality and clannishuess in excess. 

Bheirinn m'f halt a mach Diordaoin, 
'S dheanainn m'inean maol Diluain ; 
'S shiùbhlainn 'an sin bho chuan gu cuan. 

I ivould cut my hair on Thursday. 

And pare my nails on Monday ; 

Then I'd sail from sea to sea. 
Friday being an unlucky day, a man going on a voyage, for 


which Saturday or PnnrlaT tvoiiW he preferred, wonld get his hair 
cut on Thm-sday. "Why Monday should be preferred for paring 
nails it is hard to see, except that "doing it on Sunday -svas unlucky. 

'Bhi 'fadadh teine fa loch, 

Bhi tiormachadh cloich 'an cuan. 
Comhairle 'thoirt air mnaoi bhuiib, 
Mar bliuiir ùird air iarann fuar. 
As kindling a fire on a loch, 

As drying a stone in the ocean. 
Like stroke of hammer on cold iron. 
Is counsel to a shreivish tvoman. 
An Irish version of this is slightly different : — 
Coigilt t«ine le loch, 
Kg cathamh cloch le cuan, 
Comhairle thabhairt do mnaoi bhoirb, 
Ko buille de ribe air iarran fuar. 

Bourke's Ir. Gram. p. 279. 
This verse was given as part of a song picked up in S. Qist by 
Mr. Camiichael, which appeared in the Nether Lochaber column 
of the Inverness Courier. It has also been ascribed, but without 
sufficient warrant, to John Morrison of Bragar. He may have 
said it to his wife, but it does not follow that he composed it. 

'Bhi umhal d'a thighearna, 's e dhgh' an òglaich. 
To obey his master is the servant's duty. 

Bhiodh sonas aig an stròghaire, na 'm faigheadh mar 
a sgapadh e. 

The spendthrift were happy, could he get as he scatters. 

Bho bhrògan àrd gu brògan ìosal, 's bho bhrògan ìosal 
gu breabanan. 

From, high shoes to low shoes, and from low shoes to 

Bho'n a rinn mi 'n òirleach, ni mi 'n rèis. 

As I have made the inch, Fll make the span. 

Tra ton jannoo yn trie (troidh), jean yn oarlagh.- Manx. 

Gi'e ye an inch, and ye'U tak a span.— Sco*. 

Give him an inch, and he'll take an elL — Engl. 

Bho'n is e 's ni do Chlann Nèill na dòimeagan, gabh- 
adh iad do'n ionnsuidh. 

Since the property of tlie MacNeills consists of pehhles, 
let them, take to tìiem. 

Probably said on the occasion of a fight between the M'Xeilla 


and some otlier clan. The beach at Castle Bay, in Barra, where 
the chief resided, abounds m sea-worn stones, piled up by the 
Athxntic waves. 

Bho'n is tu 'mharcaich an t-each, crùdli e. 
Since you have ridden the hone, shoe him. 

Bho'n làimli gus am bial, cuibhrionn a 's f liearr air bith. 
From hand to mouth, the best of all jiortions. 
This saying, inconsistent with modern wisdom, but not with 
primitive Christianity, is neutralised by the following one. 

Bho'n làimh gus am bial, cha dean e duine coir am 

From hand to moidh will never make a worthy 

Bho'n uach banachaig mi, cha bhi mi 'trod mu'n fhiar. 
As I am not a dairymaid, I won't quarrel about the 

I won't dispute about what is not in my province. 

Bho' nach fhaodmi beantainn do'n ghiadh mhor, pronn- 
aidh mi na h-iseanan. 

As I cannot touch the big goose, I'll pound the goslings. 

If I canna kep gnse, I'll kep gaislin.— /Scof. Yery probably 
said first by a fool, who got bitten by a gander. — See Lover's 
Essay on Foois, in ^Legends of Ireland'. But there is much of human 
nature in the sentiment. Even kings and statesmen have exem- 
plified it. 

Bho'n nach leam, cha tarruing. 
Siiice it is not mine I wont draw it. 

This, if referring to a rope, is selfish. But it is susceptible of 
a better interpretation, as a caution to mind one's own business. 

Bhuail iad a ceann air an àmraidh. 

Thev struck her head against the ambry. 

Said of a servant who looks like her food. "Ambry," or 
"amry," old English and Scotch for cupboard, originally " almerie," 
or pUice for keeping alms in. ' He has broken his face on the 
ambry,' says Kelly, ' is spoken of bluff, fat-cheek'd boys.' 

Bhuail thu 'n tarrung air a ceann. 

You have hit the nail on the head. 

Bhuain e maorach an uair a bha 'n tràigh ann. 
He gathered shell-fish ivhile the tide was out. 
Same as making hay while the sun shone. 


Bi 'd those! 's 'ad chuimhne. 

Be silent and mindful. 

In the storv of Fingal's enchantment in the house of the BUr 
Biiidhe^(C''^^ ^Rev., Vol. I., p. 197, Gad, IV. 10), it is said of him, 
' Bha Fionn 'n a thosd 's na chuimhne,' while he was under- 
going dreadful torture. 

Bi 'd tliosd 's bi 'd clioraaidh. 
Be silent, and take your share. 
Ask no questions for conscience' sake. 

Bi gu subhach, geamnaidb, 
Moch-thràthacli a's t-Sambradh ; 
Bi gu curraiceacb, brògacb, 
Brocbanacb 's a' Gbeambradh. 
In Slimmer time he cheerful, chaste, 

And early out of led ; 
In Winter he v:ell-caj)ped, well-shod, 
A nd ivell on iwrridge fed. 
Dr. John Smith, in his Galic Antiquities, attributes the fir-t 
half of this excellent advice to the Druid.-;. A more probaljle 
opinion ascribes it to the " OUamh Muileach," Dr. John Beatim, 
one of a family famous in the Hiffhlands for medical skill. He 
was family physician to the MacLeans, and died in 1657, as u 
Latin inscription on his tomb in lona still bears. 

"Brochan" means both "porridge" and "gruel". In mo.^t 
parts of the Highlands it is or was applied equally to both, while 
in some parts, such as Skye, porrid,c;e is always called " lite," and 
gruel alone " brochan '\ Gruel undoubtedly is more for winter 
than for summer, while porridge is equally for all the year round. 

Bi thusa 'bruidheann, 's bidh na h-uibbean agamsa. 
You talk away, and I'll have the eggs. 

Biadh a thoirt do'n f hearann mu 'n tig an t-acras air ; 
fois a thoirt da mu'm fas e sgith; a ghart-ghlanadh mu'ni 
fas e salach, — comharran an deagh thiiathanaich. 

To feed the land before it get hungry ; to give it rest 
before it groio loeai^; to xoeed it well before it get dirty — 
the marks of a good husbandman. 

Biadh-gràineachaidh aig seana-chù. 
Food of loathing to an old dog. 

Biadh math monaidh maragan-dubha. 
Black puddings are good food for tJie moors. 


Bial a labhras, ach gniomh a dbearbhas. 

The mouth speaks, hut the deed proves. 

See ' Air mhèud 's a tkeir.' 

Bial gun fhàitlieam. 

A mouth luithout hem. 

Al X bhial air a ghualainn. — His mouth on his shoulder = his 
lieait on his sleeve. 

Bial-sios air na mnathan, mur faighear 's gach ait' iad ! 

Confound the ivomen, if they are not found everywhere ! 

Women's work is never done. — Eng. and Scot. 

The phrase ' Bial-sios ort ! ' — Down mouth to you ! probably 
means. May you be laid upside down, i.e., dead. ' Bial seachad 
ort ! ' is sometimes used instead. 

Bidh a' chuid a 's miosa aig a' bhus a 's taise. 

TJie modest mouth gets the smallest share. 

Beidh nidh aig an sàrachan, 'n uair a bhios an nàireachan 
falamh. — Ir. 

A modest beggar's bag is empty. — Hungar. 

Bidh adbairceau fad' air a' cbrodh 'tha fada uainn. 

Far off cotvs have long horns. 

Omne ignotum pro magnifico. — Lat. 

Al. Adhaircean fad air a' chrodh 'tha 'n Eirinn, or 'a th' 
anns a' cheò '. 

The same idea is more prettily expressed in the saying, ' Is 
gorm na cnuic tha fada uainn Y'^'co*- and /r., — 'glas'for ' gorm,' 
Ir.), of which Campbell's beautiful lines are a paraphrase — 
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, 
And robes the mountain in its azure hue. 

Bidh an coileach-circe 'g obair fad an latha, ach cha 
bhi ni 'n a sgròban 'am bial na h-oidhche. 

The ham-door cock works all day, but his crop is empty 
at night. 

Gallo bom nimco foi gordo — Good cock was never fat. — Port. 

Bidh an duine foghaiuteach beò, ge b'e 'n clobh' a choir. 

The aUe man loill make a living, had he hut the tongs 
to start loith. 

The tongs are mentioned as belonging specially to the wife's 
province, and not an implement likely to be chosen by the man. 

Bidli an iall ruighinn gu leòir gus am brist i. 
The thong is tough enough till it breaks. 

Bidh an iomchoir' 'an lorg a' challa. 
The blame will follow the loss. 


Bidh an luaireagan-luatlia 'n a uallachan gille. 

The child that grovels in the ashes will he a jaunty lad. 

Bidh an osna dheireannach cràiteacli. 
Tlie last sigh will he grievous. 

Bidh an tnbaist a'ruith nan clibistean. 
Mishap follows upon misadveniicre. 

Bidh an t-ubhal a's fhearr air a' mheangan a 's àirde. 

The hest apple is on the highest hough. 

Die sussesten Trauljen hiingen am hoclisten. — Germ. 

" Happy woixld that nation be " says Macintosh, in the Dedica- 
tion of his collection to the Earl of Bnchan, " where every person 
of distinguished rank would endeavour to distinguish himself 
still more essentially, by being beneficial to the public, and there- 
by confirm our old Gaelic saying ' Bithidh meas is fearr,' &c " 

Bidh bean-mhuinntir aig an fheannaig a's t-Fhogliar. 

The crow has a maid-servant in Autumn. 

Said of people who keep more servants than they need. 

Bidh boladh a' mhairbh de 'n làimh f halaimh. 

The empty hand will smell like the dead 

This is one of the most emphatic sayings on the evils of poverty. 

Bidh breith luath lochdach. 
A hasty judgment will he hurtful. 
Al. Cha tug breith luath nach tug da uair. 
He who judges hastily must judge twice. 
De fol juge breve sentence. — Fr. 

Bidh cas an eòin ghòraich 's an ribe. 
The silly hird's foot loill go into the snare. 
Bidh cnothan aig Iain f hathasd : ' Ma bliitheas, cnag- 
adh Iain iad,' arsa muisean. 

John will have mUs yet : If he has, let him crack them, 
said tJie mean devil. 

Bithidh e cho mor ri cnoc, 
Mu'n faic diiine fhein a lochd. 
£re a man his fault can see, 
Big as mountain it will he. 
Al. Bidh cron duine cho mor ri beinn, mu'n leir dha fhein e. 

Bidh cuid an amadain 'am bial a bhuilg. 
The fool's share is in the mouth of his hag. 


Bidh Dihaoine 'an aghaidh na seachdain, 

Friday will he contra) y to the week. 

Selde is the Friday all the weke y-like. — Chaucer. 

This groundless fancy is perhaps connected with the supposed 
unluckiness of Friday. 

Bidli dòrn aig fear na h-eadraiginn. 

The interposer will get struck. 

Cha d-tainig fear an eadarsgàin saor a riamh. — Ir. 

Bidh dùil ri fear-fairge, ach cha bhi ri fear-reilge. 

There is hope of the man at sea, hut none of the man in 
the churchyard. 

Bidh dùil ri fear-feachda, ach cha bhi ri fear-lice. 

The man of war may return, hut not the buried man. 

Al. Bidh dull ri hial cuain, ach cha bhi ri bial uaigh. 

Biann sùil le muir, acht cha bhiann sùil le cill. — Ir. 

Bidh e geal 'n uair a thiormaicheas e, mu 'n dubhairt 
an droch bhean-nighe. 

It will he white when it dries, as the had ivasherivoman 

Bidh fear na foille fotha. The deceitful will he down. 

Bidh fear na h-aon bho uair gun bhainne. 

The man of one cow will sometimes luant milk. 

Bidh fònn air gille nan lùb, — 's e h-uile rud ùr a 's 

The volatile youth's desire — all that's neiu is best. 

Changes are lichtsome, and fules are fond of them. — Scot. 

Bidh gach fear a' tarruing uisge gu 'mliuileann fhein. 

Uach draws water to his own mill. 

Chacun tire 1' eau à son moulin. — Fr. 

Ognun tira 1' acqua al suo molino. — It, 

Bidh gach ni mar is àiU le Dia. 

A II will he as God wills. 

]'>idh iteagan bòidheach air na h-eòin 'tha fad as. 

Far aw a' fowls hae fine feathers. — Scot. 

Bidh latha 'g a dhioladh, 's latha 'g a phàigheadh. 

A day ivill requite, and a day repay. 

Bidh meas air math 'n uair a chaillear e. 

The good is esteemed when lost. 

Extinctus amabitur idem. — Hor. Bien perdu, bien connu. — Fr. 

Ben perduto è conosciuto. — It. Bien perdido y conocido.— /Spcm. 

Bidh mìr a' ghiH' èasgaidh air gach mèis. 
The smart lad's share is on every dish. 

Bidh na gobhair bodhar a's t-Fliogliar. 
The goats are deaf in Harvest. 
Harvest ears thick of hearing.— £'?igr. 

Bidh nadur a' choin mhoir 's a' chiiilein. 
The big dog's nature will he in the pujp. 

Bidh riid aig fear na coise fliche. 

The man of tod foot will get something. 

This refers to fishing. See ' Cha dean brùgan tioram'. 

Bidh nid uime nach robh niu'n chùl-chàise. 

Something tvill come of it more than of the cheese-hacJc. 

Three parties of the Macdonalds of Glencoe went in different 
directions on a ' Faoigh-Nollaig,' or 'gentle begging' expedition 
for the Christmas of 1543. They met by appointment at the 
Black Mount, and proceeded to divide the proceeds, when it was 
found, after everything else had been divided, that the remnant of 
a cheese was still to be disposed of. From words on the subject 
the claimants came to blows— not with fists, alas ! but vv*ith dirks ; 
and, if the story be true, only one man out of eighteen was left to 
tell the tale ! A small loch at the spot where this happened is 
still known as ' Lochan-na-fala,' the bloody tarn. — Cuairtear, 
Vol. I., p. 211. 

Bidh sannt naoinear air aon mhnaoi gun sliochd. 
A childless woman has the greed of nine. 
Al. Bidh sannt nan seachd sagart anns a mhnaoi gun laogh 
gun luran.— A childless woman has the greed of seven priests. 

Bidh sonas 'an lorg na caithimh. 
Luck follows spending. 

This is doubtful doctrine, unless in the sense of Solomon's 
proverb, ' There is that scattereth, and increaseth '. 

Bidh sùilean ghobhar aig na mnathan a' gleidheadh am 
fear dhaibh f hein. 

Wives have goats' eyes in keeping their husbands to tJiem- 

Al. ' Ag iarraidh fir.' Goats are very sharp-sighted. 

Bigh teine math 'an sin 'n uair a ghabhas e. 
That will be a good fire when it kindles. 
See ' An uair a lasas '. 


Bidh tu beò am bliadhna. 
You v:ill survive this year. 
Said to a person who suddenly appears wlien being spoken of. 

Bidh uan dubli aig caora Lhain, 's uan ban aig caora 

A white sheep may have a hlach lamb, and a black 
sheep a ivhite one. 

Biodh aice an rudha a bheir i 'macli. 

Let her take the point she can clear. 

Said of a boat, and applicable to human beings. 

Biodli e dubli no odhar no donn, 's toigh leis a' ghobh- 
air a meann. 

Be it black or dun or broivn, the goat likes her own kid. 
Every craw thinks her ain bird white. — Scot. 
Jeder Mutter Kind ist schon. — Germ. 

Biodh e reamhar no caol, 's mairg nach beathaich- 
eadh laogii dha fhcin. 

Be it fat or lean, pity the man that luon't rear a calf 
for hiviself 

This was said of a fairy changeling, which turned out such a 
miserable object that some one sei-iously proposed that it should 
be thrown into the burn. The father made the above answer. 

Biodh earalas mèirlich agad air gach neach, ach na 
dean mèirleach de neach idir. 

Be cautious with every one as if tvith a thief, hit make 
a thief of no one. 

The doctrine of suspicion here inculcated is not to be admired. 

Biodh gach fear a' toirt sgairbh a creagan dha fheiu. 

Let every man take scarts out of rocks for himself. 

Alleged to have been said by a St. KUda man to his comrade, 
who was holding the rope above, and asked if he had seciu'ed 
birds for them both. On hearing the answer above quoted, the 
holder of the rope is said to have replied, " Let every man hold 
the rope for himself "—and let him go ! The story is probably a 
fiction. Scarts are certainly not the birds sought after by these 
bold cragsmen. 

Biodh mionach ar n-eisg aig ar n-eòin f h(^in. 
Oor ain fsh-guts to oar ain sea-maws. — Scot. 

Blàth nan diar nrn'n tig an dile. 
TJie look of drops before the flood. 

Bo a' bhuabhaill-thulchainii. 

Tlie coiv of the end-stall. 

The saying in Lochaber is, ' Am mart a bhios 's a' bbtiabhaill- 
thulchainn, is' leath' e' — The cow in the end-stall likes it. 

The original meaning of the word 'tulchann' is simply 'gable,' 
' end,' ' stem '. The ' buabhall-thulchainn,' or end-stall was the 
innermost in the row, and was used for the accommodation 
of a cow that had lost her calf, in place of which a stuffed imita- 
tion-calf was brought in whenever she was to be milked. Hence 
came the application of the word ' tulchann ' to the imaginary 
calf, and of the term 'tulchan-bishop' to persons appointed to that 
office in Scotland after the Eefurmation, simply as receivers- 
general of the temporalities, for the benefit of the baron or his 
creatures. ' The Bishop had the title, but my Lord got the milk 
or commoditie.' — Calderwood's Hist, of the Ch. of Scotland, cited in 
Jamieson's Diet. s. v. Tulchane. 

B6 mhaol 'am bnaile choimliich. 
A hornless cow in a strange fold. 

Bo mhaol odhar, 's bo odhar mhaol. 

A polled dun cow, and a dun i^ollcd cow. 

Six and half-a-dozen. 

B6 mhor 'n a h-aon atha-grùthain. 

A hi [J cow all liver. 

An old woman in Lewis, living with her married son, went 
out to look at the weather on a snowy night. Her son asked her, 
when she came in, what sort of night it was. " Tha," ars ise, 
" oidliche rionnagach, reulach, gun turadh, gim ghaoith, gun uisge." 
" Seadh, gu dearbh ! " ars esan, ' ' 's iongantach da rireadh an 
oidhch' i." " Seadh," ars ise, " ach 's iongantaiche na sin bo 
mhor a bhi 'n a h-aon atha-grùthain." Her daughter-in-law had 
been for days serving up the liver of a lately killed cow, and no- 
thing else, tiU the old woman could stand it no longer. A similar 
story is told, in Lochaber, of a deaf and dmnb girl and her step- 
mother. The girl spoke for the first and last time on being: asked 
what sort of night it was : " Tha oidhche ghaothar, ghaothar, 's 
i gu fiathail, fiathail, i gu soilleir, soilleir, 's i gu doilleir dorcha ; 
a' ghaoth a shios 's an t-uisg* a shuas." Her stepmother said it 
was strange. " Seadh," ars ise, " ach 's iongantaiche na sin gur 
h-ainean nil' am mart !" — Yes, but more strange is it that the cow 
is all liver ! And she spoke never more. 

Bochd 's rud agam, bochd 's mi f alamh ; bidh mi bochd 
ri m' bheò. 

Foor v:hcn Ihave,i-)00r when I haven t, 'poor Til ever he. 
Boght, boght dy bràgh. — Manx. 


Bodach eadar dha cheathairne. 

An old man behveen hoo hands. 

An odd man in a game, such as shinty, who, after each leader 
has chosen his side, gets the unenviable position of assisting the 
losing side. "Bodach leth-bharrach" is another term of the same 

Bogha dh'iughar Easragain, 
Ite f ireiu Locha-Treig, 
Ceir bhuidlie Bhaile-na-Gailbhinn, 
'S ceann blio'n cheard Mac Plieidearain. 
Boio from yciv of Esragiji, 

Eagle feather from Lock Treig, 
Yellow wax from Galway town. 
Arrow-head hj Mac-Phcderan. 
This verse, descriptive of the best kind of bow and arrows, is 
quoted by Dr. Smith in his " Sean Dana," p. 4. Esragin is on 
the N. side of Loch Etive, Loch Treig to the E. of Ben Nevis. 
The MacPhederans were celebrated smiths. 

Bold a' bhàird ris a' chaisteal, 's an caisteal 'g a threig- 

The hard's vow to the castle, when the castle turned its 
hack on him. 

Al. Mionnan a bhàird, &c. — ' cha teid mi fhein do 'n chaisteal 
bhreùn,— cha teid, cha leig iad ann mi ! — / won't go to the vile 
castle — no they won't let me ! ' 

Bold ciaraig ris na fearaibh, 's boid nam fear ri ciaraig. 
The stoarthy maid's vow against the men, and the nun's 
vow against her. 

Never to marry one of them ! See ' Is dubh '. 

Boinn' 'am bial na gaoithe. 

A drop in the wind's month. 

Al. Uisg' 'am bun an t-soirbhis— a wind prophesying rain. A 
counter-saying is, ' Cha 'n e fead a' bhainn' a th' ann,' — It is not 
the milk-whistle, i.e., the sound of the wind does not prognosti- 
cate rain, which makes the grass to grow and the milk to flow. 

Boinne snithe 'n ceann na leapach. 
A drop from the roof at the bed-head. 
One of the ideals of discomfort. 

Bonnach a mhealladh cloinne — oir thiugli 'us cridhe 

A cake to cozen children — thick edge and thin heart. 


Bonnacli air bois, clia bhruicli 's clia loisg. 

A cake on the palm ivon't toast or hum. 

B'olc an airidli gu'n deanadli an turadh dolaidh. 

'Tivcre a joity that dry vjcather should do harm. 

It's a pity fair weather should e'er do harm — Scot. 

Breac a linne, slat a coille, 's fiadh a fireacli, — mèirle 
nacli do gliabli duine riamh nàir' aisde. 

A fish from the pool, a wand from the wood, a deer 
from the mountain — thefts no mail ever ivas ashamed of. 

Al. Slat a coille, fiadh a doire, breac a huinne — tri rudan as 
nach do ghabh Gaidheal nàire riamh. 

The free doctrine of this old saying is still held in the High- 
lands, but there is very little poaching, notwithstanding, 

Breunan 'us Fudaidh 'an cuideachd a clieile. 

Dirty and Eubhishy going together. 

A Lewis proverb, taken from a verse by John Morrison of 
Bragar, on liaving sent two servants to pull heather : 
Chuir mise Breunan 'us Fudaidh 
A Ijhuain fraoich 'an cuideachd a cheile; 
Thug Breunan dhachaidh an cudthrom, 
'S thug Fudaidli dhachaidh na geugan. 

I sent B. and F. to pull heather together : B. brought home 
the weight, and F. brought home the boughs. 

Brigh gach cluiche gu 'dheireadh. 

The essence of a game is at the end. 

Bris mo chlaigeann air tliùs, 's an sin ciùrr mo cliorrag. 

First break my skidl, then hurt my finger. 

Bristidh am ball acracli 'am meadhoin an t-slaodaidh. 

The anchor-rope luill break in the dragging. 

Bristidh an teanga bhog an cnàimh. 

The smooth tongue hixaks the hone. 

By long forbearini: is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue 
breaketh the bone. — Prov. xxv. 15. 

A tongue breaketh bone, and itself hath none. — Eng. 

This figure is applied in the opposite sense by the son of 
Sirach (xxvui. 17) — The stroke of the whip maketh marks in 
the flesh, but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones. 

Bristidh each gun urras cnaimhean. 

A horse without warrant toill break bones, 

Bronnach an t-each, seang an lair. 

The horse big-bellied, the mare slim. 

This is meant as an advice to buyers. 


Bruidheann bheag 'us fuaim dhòrn. 

Low speaking and sound of fists. 

Bu cheannach learn d'ubh air do ghloc. 

You7' egg is dear for so much cackling. 

Bu cho math dol a dh'iasgacli gun mhaoracli 's dol a 
cliùirt gun sporan. 

As ivcll go fishing without hait as to court without 

Bu choir an t-iasad a chur dhachaidh a' gàireachdaich. 

The loan shoidd he sent laughing home. 

A loan (or len') should come laughing home. — Eng. and Scot. 

This pretty saying may be taken to apply both to the giving of 
the loan and the returning of it. To lend freely is to send the 
borrower home smiling ; to send the loan back laughing is to 
repay liberally. 

Bu dual da sin. 

That ivas his hirthright. 

This is one of the most familiar and characteristic sayings in 
the Highlands, where the belief in Ijlood and hereditary tendencies 
and claims is very strong. It is ditiicult to translate it literally. 
It might be paraphrased, ' That is what you might expect of his 
father and mother's son '. The four following proverbs have the 
same import. 

Bu dual do isean an ròin a dhol thun na uiara. 
The young seal takes naturally to the sea. 
Bu dual do laogh an f hèidh ruith a bhi aige. 
It is naturcd for the faivn to he swift of foot. 
Bu dual do'n bhlathaich tòchd an ime. 
It's naturcd that huttermilk should smell of hutter. 
Bu dual do'n mheann meagad a dheanamh. 
It's naturcd for the kid to hlcat. 
Bu gheur an cù a bheireadh an t-earball uaithe. 
It woidd he a clever dog that woidd take the tail from 

Bu la eil' e do dh-fhear buain na mhine. 

It is change of days for him xoho is cuttÌ7ig peats. 

Once well to do, now a Gibeonite. 

Bu mhath an teachdair thu 'shireadh an Aoig. 

Yoic woidd he a good r.iessenger to send for Death. 

Egn è buono a mandarlo per la morte.- Ital. 


Bu mhath an t-iasad mur h-iarrteadh rithist e. 
The loan were good hut for the re'paying. 

Bu mhatli an cudaig far nach faight' an saoidhean. 

The cuddy is good ivhen no saithe can be got. 

The young saithe is in some jjarts of Scotland called 'cnddy,' 
in others ' podly,' in Shetland 'siUock'. It is alleged of the 
inhabitants of a certain island near Skye, that they go even 
further than this proverb, and say, ' 'S math a' sgadan 'n nair 
nach fhaighear an saoidhean '. — The herring is good, &c. But 
they now resent this as a weak invention of the enemy. 

Bu mhath impidh a' choilich mu shiol a thoirt do ua 

Well pleaded the cook for corn to the hens. 

Bu mhor am beud do bheiil biun a dhol gu bràth fo 

'Tiverc pity thy sweet month should ever go itnder groimd. 

Said ironically of bad singers. 

Bu tiugh an t-uisge 'nigheadh 'aodann. 

It ivoidd he thick vjater that woidd loash his face. 

Bu tu 'chuir craicionn do thòin air d' aghaidli ! 

It's you tlmt pnt your huttock-skin on your face ! 

Said to shameless people. 

Bu tu gille mor leth an tighe ! 

What a great half-the-house lad you are ! 

Said of a man-servant assuming too much authority in the 

Buail an t-iarann 'fhad 's a tha e teth. 

Strike the iron lohile it's hot. 

Buail an t-iarann fad a 's ta se teith.— Jr. 

Bwoaill choud (chofad) as ta 'n yiarn cheh. — Manx. 

So in Enrj., Scot., Fr., Ital., Germ., &c. 

Buail do chuilean, agus 's ann h-ugad a ruitheas e. 
Beat your puppy, and it's to you he'll run. 

Buailidh e bròg ort f hdin fhathasd. 

It u-Ul hurt yourself hereafter. 

Lit. 'strike a shoe on you'. Hitting one with a shoe was a 
mark of humiliation, as in the East—' Over Edom will I cast out 
my shoe'.— Ps. Ix. 8. 

Buainidh aon fhacal ciad. 

One word will set loose a hundred. 


Buìlgean air teanga nam briag, 's brangas air bial gun 
f liàitheam ! 

Blister on the lying tongue, and padlock for tlie hcm- 
Icss mouth ! 

Buill' air gach craoibh, 's gun diraobh 'g a leagail. 

A stroke at every tree, loithout felling any. — Eng. 

Buille do dm mo diaraide, 's mir do chù mo Dainhaid. 

A hlow to my friend's dog, a bite to my enemy's. 

Buille gacli fir air ceann an f hir diarraicli. 

Every mans hloio on the scahhy man's head. 

A scald head is soon broken. — Engl. 

Buille mu seach, mar a bha bàta nan each. 

Stroke about, like the horse-boat. 

A boat with horses in it is not easily rowed. 

Buill' o'n taod, 'us cead dol dadiaidh. 

A stroke of the rojje, and leave to go home. 

Buille 's a' cheann, no dlià 's an amhaich. 

A blow on the head, or two on the neck. 

This applies to the kilUng of hares and raljbits. 

Buille 's an t-sùil, buille 's a' ghlùn, buille 's an uilinn, 
na tri buillean a 's duilidi' fliulang. 

A blow in the eye, a bloiv on the knee, a blow on the 
elbow, the three hardest blows to bear. 

Buinnigear buaidh le foighidinn. 

Patience wins victory. 

Burn dubh ort ! 

Black water on you ! 

Burn tetb do'n fbaochaig, 'us goil gu leth do'n 

Hot water for theicilk,a boil and a half fur the mussel. 


Cadal a' chlàrsair : seachd ràidhean gun fhaireach. 

The harpers sleep : seven-quarters of a year without 

Cadal a' mliuilleir 's an t-nisge 'dol seacliad. 

The miller asleep, and the water running by. 

Meikle water gaes by when the miller sleeps. — Scot. 

Cadal na caorach 's an dris ort ! 

TJie sheep's sleep in the hriers to you ! 

Cadal na deargainn air a' ghreadail dhut ! 

The sleep of the flee on the gridiron to you. ! 

Cadal nan con 's a' mhuileann 's na mnathan a' 

The sleep of dogs in the mill ichile the u-omcn are sift- 

Cadley ny moddee tra ta ny mraane creearey. — Manx. 

He sleeps as dogs do when wives sift meal. — Eng, 

i.e., wide awake, but eyes shut — 'dog-watch'. 

Cadal fada ri gaoith mlioir. 

High ^vind and long sleep. 

Cagar na ban-ghrùdair. 

The aleioifes whisper. 

Ironical — the whisper apt to become loud. The ' ban-ghriid- 
air' has long ago died out in the Highlands. In old times most 
of the ale drunk in Scotland was brewed by women. 

Caidlidh duine air gach cneadh ach a chneadh f hèin. 

A man can sleep on every hurt hut his own. 

Mai d' autrui n'est que songe. — Fr. 

Let er den Byrde som en anden bser. — Dan. 

Caillear bo an droch mhuthaich seachd bliadhna 
roimh 'n mliitliich. 

Tiie coio of the had herdman is lost seven years too soon. 

Caillear bo buachaille. 

A herdman s cow may he lost. 

Càirdeas Chonain ris na deamliain. 
Conan s friendship for the devils. 
' Cuff for cuff.' See ' Beatha Chonain '. 

Càirdeas na cleire — sgrlobadh 'us sgròbadh a cheile. 

The friendship of the clergy — scrapincf and scratching 
each other. 

' C'àite 'bheil thu, 'dlireathainn-duinn ? ' ars an iolair. 
' Tha mis' an so, os do cliionn,' ars an dreatliann-donn. 

Where art thou, wren? said the eagle. I am here, 
ahove thee, said the ivren. 

The wren and eagle had a trial which would soar highest. 
After a considerable ascent, the eagle could see the wren nowhere, 
and made the above iucjuiry. The wren was all the time perched 
on the eagle's back ! 

C'àit' am biodh na puirt nacli faiglieadh na clàrsairean? 
Where woidd the tunes he the harpers could not find? 

Caith mar a gheabh, 's glieabli mar a cliaitheas. 
Spend as you get, and yoiill get as you spend. 
There is that scattereth and yet increaseth. — Prov. xi. 24. 

Caitheamh criontaig air a cualaig. 
The scrub's spending of her little faggot. 

Caitliidh bo ri bleotliann, agus each ri treabhadh. 
Cotus wear with milking, and horses with ploughing. 
Caitliidh domhan duine. 
The woiid tvcars out man. 

Call caraid' taghal trie, 's call earaid' taglial ainmig. 
Friends are lost hy calling often, cmd by calling seldom. 
Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house, lest he be 
weary of thee, and hate thee. — Prov. xxvi. 17. 

A casa de tu hermano no iras cada serano. — Span. 

Calum beag a chur a dhith, gu Murchadh mor a 

Starving little Mcdcolm to fatten big Mui^doch. 
Eobbing Peter to pay Paul. 

Camaronaieh bhog an ime. 

The soft buttery Camerons. 

This, like most similar sayings about clans, originated, of course, 
among enemies. The Camerons were said to be very fond of 
butter ; but who could deny that they were brave ? 


Caomhain 's co dlià ? ciiimlmich am bàs. 

Save and for ivlwm ? remember death. 

It is said in the Teachd. Gael, Vol. I., p. 282, that this excellent 
saying was found engraved on a stone at the top of Ben Lawers, 
but no authority is given for the statement. 

Caomhnadli a' chama-cliuòdain, caomhnadli a' s miosa 
na caitheamh. 

The saviiifj of the crooked gurnet, loorsc than spendinej. 
Applied to mean gruif persons. 

Caomlinadh math air a' bheagan Bheurla, 's a' Ghallt- 
achd gu leir rombainn ! 

Be sparing of the little English, ivith the ivhole Loiv- 
lands in front of us ! 

Said by an old man to his son on their -way to the Falkirk 
market wiien the son, who had a little more English than the old 
man, began to air it at Dumbarton. 

Caora luideagacb a tbeid 's an dris, fàgaidh i 'h-olainn 
's an dos. 

The ragged sheep that goes into the briers will leave her 
wool there. 

Car 'an agbaidb ciiir. Tiirn against ticist. 
Diamond cut diamond. 

Car tuatbal d' aimbleis ort ! 

The left about unlnclcy turn to you ! 

Tliis is founded on the old idea, that motion in the course of 
the sun was lucky, and in the opposite direction unlucky. ' Car 
tuathal ' literally means ' northward turn '. See ' Deiseal '. 

Cargbus a' cliion, an Cargbiis a's miosa 'tb'ann. 
Lent for unnt is worst of Lent. 
Fasting for sheer want of food. 

Carghus, Ir. Carghios, Manx, Cargys, Welsh, Garawys, = 

Cas air creatbaill, 's lamb 'an cuigeil, combarradb na 
deagb mbna-tigbe. 

Foot to cradle, iiand to distaff, mark the good house- 

The foot at the cradle, the hand at the reel, is a sign that a 
woman means to do weel. — Scot. 

Cas circ' 'an criatbar. A hen's foot in a sieve. 
A bad or unpleasant lit. 


Casan tioram Cliiann-an-Tòisich. 

The dry feet of the Macintoshes. 

This refers to some occasion when the IMacintoshes were sup- 
posed by their enemies to have been unduly averse to wetting 
their feet. ' Fadal Chlann-an-Tòisich ' is of the same sort. 

Cat a' chinn bliig, 's bean a' chinn mhoir. 
The small-headed cat, the hig -headed woman. 
Supposed to be best of their kind. 

Càtachaidh am biadh fiadh na beinne. 
Food will tame the mountain deer. 

Cath ceann an teallaich. 

The fireside battle. 

Al. Cath bun an t. Macintosh ascribes this saying to Hay, 
the mythical founder of the Errol family. The story is, that 
being asked by Kenneth III. after the battle of Loncarty, in 
which he decided the day, if he had ever been in a harder fight, 
he replied that he had a harder battle every day at home, a scold- 
ing wife, crying children, and little to give them. 

Cead na caillich do 'n laogh mhear. 
The old wifes leave to the frisky calf. 
When she could hold it no longer. 

Ceangail teann, 'us faigb teariiinte. 
Fast hind, fast find. — Eng., Scot., Fr., &c. 
Kiangle myr noid (nàmhaid), as yiow (gheabh) myr carrey 
(charaid). — M anx. 

Shut doors after you : fast bind, fast find, 
A proverb never stale in thrifty mind. 

Merch. of Ven. II. 5. 

Ceangal nigbean an righ air a leannan. 
The king's daughter's tie to her lover. 
Easily broken. 

Ceann cnòdain, 's ceann sgadain, 's ceann goibhr' air 
dhroch f heannadb, — tri cinn nacb I'biach itlieadh. 

A gurnet's head, a herring's head, arid an ill-fayed 
goat's head, — three heads not fit to eat. 

Ceann dearg air na bheil a muigli ! 

Med head on all that's out ! 

Said for luck when the first fish is caught. 


Ceann guin air madainn Earraich, 

'S mairg a cliailleadh a chaomli charaid. 

A Sirring morning loith a stinging head. 

IVJw vjould lose his ivcU-loved friend ? 
The connection of tlie two ideas here is far from being obvious. 
The meaning seems to be, that, as a bitter Spring morning is often 
followed by a fine day, so is the displeasure of a friend not to be 
taken as a ground for serious quarrel. 

Ceann mor air duine glic, 's ceann-circ' air amadan. 

Big head on wise man, hens head on foci. 

This is more correct ae, a general observation than the Scotch 
' Muckle head and little wit,' the German ' Dickkopf, Dummkopf,' 
tlie French ' Grosse tète, peu de sens,' the Irish 'Cionn mor air 
bheagan cèille,' and the Manks, ' Kione mooar er y beggan cheilly '. 

Ceann mor 'us miiineal caol, aogas an drocli glianilina. 
Big head and slender neck mark the had stirk. 
Al. 'Casan caol.' 

Ceann nathrach 'us earball p^ucaig air an Earrach. 
Spring ivith a serpent's head and a jyeacock's tail. 
March comes in with an adder's head, and goes out with a pea- 
cock's tail. — Eng. 

Biting cold, followed by sunny weather. 

Ceannach geal 'n uair a thig an sneaclid. 
White bargains tvhen the snow cones. 
Snow brings the markets down. 

Ceannaich mar d' f heum 'us reic mar d' àilglieas. 

Bug as you must, and sell as you can. 

Oportet patremfamilias esse vendacem, non emacem. — Cato. 

Ceannard air f hichead air an f hichead saigiideir. 

Twenty -one captains over twenty soldiers. 
With four and twenty men, 
And five and thirty pipers. — Aytoun. 

Ceannsaichidh a h-uile fear an droch-Lliean, ach am 
fear aig am bi i. 

Every man am rule a shrciv save he that Itath her. — 

Cearc a' dol a dli-iarraidh geòidlu 

A hen going in cpicst of a goose. 

Al. Ubh na circe, &c. 

The hen's egg gaes to the ha', to bring the goose's egg awa'. — 


Cearc reamhar a' clioilich cliaoil. 
Fat hen and lean cock. 

Ceardach dùthcha, muileann sgireaclid, 'us tigh-osda, 
na tri àiteachan a 's fliearr air son naigheaclid. 

A country-side smithy, a ^parish mill, and a puUic- 
hoicse, the three best places for news. 

Ceartas na cleire ri 'chèile. 

The justice of the clergy to each other. 

Impressively illustrated in many decisions of Presbyteries, 
Synods, Assemblies, and General Councils. 

Ceilidh ciall masladh. Sense hides shame. 

Ceilidh gràdh grain. Love hides deformity. 

Ceilidh seirc aineamh. Love hides Uemishes. 
Love covereth all sins.— Prov. x. 12. 
Love shall cover a multitude of sins. — 1 Pet. iv. 8. 
TvcpXòs 6 "Ep(os.— Gr. 

Love is blind — Love sees no faults — Love makes a good eye 
squint. — Eng. Love overlooks mony fauts. — Scot. 
Falaiglieann gradh grain, agus chi fuath a Ian. — Ir. 

Ceilidh nam ban Sleibhteach. 

The visiting of the Slcat women. 

Sleat is the southermost parish in the Isle of Skye. Whether 
the women there are more given now to spending their time in 
afternoon calls than is the fashion elsewhere, it would be hard to 
say. The insinuation was, I believe, that their visits were some- 
times prolonged till next morning ! Jealousy probably had some- 
thing to do with this saying. See ' Sleibhte riabhach nan ban 
bòidheach '. 

Ceist an fhithich air an f heannaig. 

The raven's question to the crow. 

The sort of question sometimes asked by a ' Great Power ' of 
another, or perhaps smaller Power, in cases of annexation, oppres- 
sion, &c. 

Ceist bradaig air briagaig. 

The question of the thief to the liar. 

Asking for a certificate of character. See ' Aontachadh '. 

Ceithir biisacha fichead 'an He, 's ceithir àrdacha fi ah- 
ead 'am Muile. 

Ticcnty - fotir "hiscs" in Islay, and .tuxnty-four 
"Ards" m Midi. 

A common termination of names of places in Islay is ' bus ' or 


' bos ' (generally 'host' in Skye and Lewis), from the Norse 'bol- 
st;i3 ' or ' bustaSr,' a dwelling-place. The Gaelic prefix 'àrd'or 
' àird,' a height or promontory, is common in Mull and elsewhere. 

Ceo Foghair, sneachd Earraicli. 
Autuvui fog, Spring snow. 

Ceum air do cheum, a chailleach, 's an ceum iDarrachd 
aig Eoghan. 

StejJ for step to thee, old woman, and the odd step to 

The story is that Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, coming once 
from Inverness, was overtaken by a witch, who tried hard to pass 
him. ' Ceum ann, Eoghain,' said she. He answered as above, 
keeping one step ahead of her, Avliich he maintained all the way 
till they reached Ballachulish ferry, when he hailed the boat, and 
got in. The ferryman wouldn't allow the witch to come in, on 
which she took leave of Sir E., saying, * Dùrachd mo chridhe 
dliut, a ghaoil Eoghain' ! — My heart's desire to thee, dear Ewen ! 
Sir E. knew what was what, and replied 'Dùrachd do chridhe do'n 
chloich ghlais ud thall '. — Thy heart's desire to that gray stone 
yonder. And at that moment the gray stone split in two ! (See 
Gael, Yol. IV., p. 113.) That split stone is still pointed out on 
the spot where it happened. 

Cha b'ann air broclian 16m dubh, 's bainne 'cLruidh 
mhialaicli a's t-Earrach, a chaidh d' àrach. 

It was not on thin black gruel and milk of lousy 
Spring cows you were reared. 

Cha b'ann 'an uchd a mhàtliar a blià e. 

It wciH not in his mother's lap he was. 

Said of one roughly handled. 

Cha b'ann as do bhogha f hein a thilg thu 'n t-saighead. 

It was not from your ovm how you sent that arrow. 

Cha b'ann de na h-eoin thu mur bitheadh am bad ort. 

You woiddn't he of the hirds, if you hadnt the tuft. 

Cha b'ann mar a f huair Mac-Eùslain na mnathan. 

Not as MacRuslan got the xcomen. 

This person, a kind of Celtic Eulenspiegel, figures in several 
stories under the various names of MacRùsgail, MacCrùislig, Mac- 
Rùslaig, and MacRuslan. The above saying is founded on an 
apocryphal story of his having found his way, disguised as a 
woman, into a nunnery on an island in Loch Tay. or, according 
to another version, in lona. (See Campbell's W. H. T., Vol. II., 
pp. 304-27. See also Boswell's Tour to the Hebrides, Carruthers' 
Ed. p. 129.) 


Cha b'e 'cheannacli a rinn e. 

It was not hy purchase he got it. 

It comes by kind, it costs him nothing. — Fng. 

Cha b'e a' mliuileann nacli meileadh, ach an t-uisge 
nacli ruitlieadh. 

It ivas not the mill that tvouldn't grind, hit the water 
that loouldnt run. 

Cha b'e an la am fear nach tigeadh. 

The day will come, come toho may. 

Cha b'e la na gaoithe la nan sgolb. 

The tvindy day is not the day for thatch-wattles. 

The ' sgolb ' is a wattle, generally of willow, used for fasten- 
ing the thatch, and the meaning is that the fastening of the thatch 
must not be left till the wind conies and lifts it. Ulster proverb 
in same words. 

Cha b'e 'n clò ciar nach b' fhiach 'fhùcadh. 

It's not the dark home-made cloth that deserves not 

This may be held to allude to the change of cloth, as well as 
of dress, which came into fashion after the despicable prohibition 
of tartan by Act of Parliament in 1746. 

Cha b'e 'n cù mu 'chnàimh e. 

He was no dog over Ms bone. 

Cha b'e an tiara a bh' air a chuigeil. 

That was not the stuff on his distaff. 

I hae ither tow on my rock.— Scot. 

She hath other tow on her distaff. — Eng. 

Same as having other fish to fry. 

Cha b'e sin an salaun saor. 

That urns no cheap salt. 

In 1669 Charles II. "appropriated an exclusive right to make 
salt, though only to hand it over to a courtier — the salt was con- 
sequently bad and dear. In some districts, as Galloway, the 
West, and the Highlands, to which the native article could not 
be carried, salt was wholly wanting, and the people used salt- 
water instead, ' by which many of them died as of plague ; others 
being forced to buy at intolerable rates, as 16s. the boll, though 
they formerly had it for 4s.'." — Chambers's Dovi. Ann. II., 332. 
So late at 1800, " Salt was taxed to the extent of forty times its 
cost."— Mackenzie's 19tii Century, p. 76. 

Cha b'e sin an t-slighe 'n dorus an tighe. 
That icas no indoor journey. 


Cha b'e sin ciaci glilaodh-maidne 'bu sheirblie leis. 

That icere not the bitterest morning call to him. 

This may refer to bacrpipes or ' bitters,' both of which were at 
one time familiar morning heralds in Highland gentlemen's houses. 
If the latter, the play on words may be considered a very fair one. 

Cha b'e sin deoch mhor de dhroch cbeannach. 

That was no hig drink of had bargain. 

This seems to allude to the old practice, fortunately falling 
into disuse, of sealing every bargain with a good big drink. 

Cha b'e sin dol do 'n mhuileann 'us tighinn as. 

That was no going to the mill and returning 

Cha bheir gad air aithreachas. 

A withe wont cateh repentance. 

Al. Cha leighis aithreachas breamas. — Repentance wonH cure 

Cha bheir lagh air digin. 

Law cant overtake necessity. 

See ' Cha 'n 'eil heart '. 

Angen a dydd deddf— Need will break law.— JFehh. 

Nede hath no lawe. — Biig. Necessity has nae law. — Scot. 

Noth kennt kein Gebot. — Germ. Nod bryder alle Love.— Z>a». 

La necessità non ha legge.— /i. Nècessitè n'a pas de loi.— i<V. 

Cha bhi am bochd sòghail saoibhir. 

The luxurioiis 2^oor xvill not be rich. 

Cha bhi aon duine crionna 'am measg mil' amadan. 

There is not a wise man among a thousand fools. 

Cha bhi ath-sgeul air an droch-sgeul. 

Bad news is never bettered. 

Cha bhi bail air aran fuinte, no air fodar buailte. 

JVb sparing of baked bread or of thrashed straw. 

Cha bhi bainn' aig bo fir, 's cha bhi treabhadh 'an 
each mnatha. 

A mans cow wont yield milk, nor a womans horse 

TÌiis is an exaggeration of the idea that women are the be-t 
managers of cows, and men of horses. 

Cha bhi bràithreachas mu mhnaoi no mu f hearann. 

TJiei'e is no partnership in women or in land. 

Love and lordship like no fellowship.— i:'??^'?. 

Amour et seigneurie ne veulent point de compagnie. — Fr. 

Amore e signoria non sofl'ron compagnia.— /«. 


Chabhi cuimhne air a' mhatli a blià, acli cuimhnicliear 
gu bràth a' math a bbitheas. 

The good that ivas is forgotten, the good to come is ever 
in mind. 

Ta bee eeit jarroocTit — Eaten food is forgotten. — Manx. 

Eaten bread is forgotten. — Eng. 

Mfrà TT^v ooaiv raxi-cra yrjpacTKei X"P'f' — ^''• 

Rien ne viellit plus vite qii'un bienfait. — Fr. 

Val più un piacere da farsi, che cento di quelli fatti. — It. 

Cha bhi donas toirbbeartacb. 
Bad %vont he hoimtiful. 
Cha bhi dùthchas aig mnaoi no aig sagart. 
Women and priests have no hirth-tie. 
The woman that marries takes her husband's settlement, the 
priest's must be where the Church bids. 

Cha bhi each-iasaid a chaoidh sgith. 
A horrovjcd horse never tires. 
Tw, farch benthyg !— Gee on, hired horse ! — Welsh. 
Fremdes Pferd und eigene Sporen, haben bald den Wind 
verloren. — Germ. 

Laant Hest og egne Sporer gior korte Miile. — Dan. 

Cha bhi fios air a' chràdh gus an tig e. 

Pain is not knoion, till it come. 

Cha bhi fear a' chiad riaraich falamh. 

The first served will not he empty. 

Cha bhi feill air blionaich. 

Bad meat xvoicCt get market. 

Cha bhi fios air math an tobair gus an tràigh e. 

The worth of the well is not knoum till it dries tip. 

Ni wyddys eisiau 'r ffynnon onid el yn hesp. — Welsh. 

Cha bhi fios ciod a tha 's an truaill gus an tarr- 
uingear e. 

What's in the scahhard is not knoion till ifs drawn. 

Cha bhi fòir air mnaoi gun leanabh. 
The childless woman will he helpless. 

The Celtic philoprogenitiveness, especially as regards male off- 
spring, is like that of the Hebrews. 

Cha bhi fuachd air uallachan, air fuairead an latha. 
The fop feels no cold, however cold the day. 
Al. Cha laidh fuachd. 


Cha dennee rieaw yn voyrn feayraght. — Pride never Jcnew cold. — 
Manx. Pride feels no cold. — J^iig. Pride iinds nae cauld. — Scot. 

Cha blii gean air Granndaich gus am faigh iad lite. 

Grants are not gracious till they get their porridge. 

This is merely an alliterative version of the general observa- 
tion, that a man is not in such good humour Vjefore meat as after 
it. The same thing is said of the Camjibells, the Gunns, and the 
M'Kenzies, substituting ' diota ' or ' biadh ' for ' lite '. 

Cha bhi luatlias agus grinneas. 
Quiclc and fine don't comhine. 
Good and quickly seldom meet. — Eng. 
Snart og vel er sielden sammen. — Dan. 
I'resto e bene non si conviene. — It. 

Cha bhi miann dithis air an aon mhèis. 
Ttvo mens desire wont he on the same dish. 
One man's meat is another man's poison. — Eng., Scot, 

Cha bhi mo rim 'g am losgadh. 

i/y desire (or secret) won't consume me. 

Cha bhi nàir' air a' ghortach. 

The starving man won't he hashfid. 

Rhag ne\vyn nid oes gwyledd. — Welsh. 

Cha bhi nàrachan treubhach, 's bidh don-bidh air an 
fhear nach ith a chuid. 

The hashfid won't be h-ave, and he'll fare ill that doesn't 
eat his share. 

Cha bhi siiin 'g a innseadh do na feannagan. 

We wont tell it to the crows. 

Cha bhi uaill gun dragh, 's cha blii sinn a' draghachadh 

Pride is not without trouhle, so ive won't he troubled 
with it. 

Cha bhi 'n t-im sin air an roinn sin. 

That hutter won't he so divided. 

Cha bhi seana-ghlic og trie fada beò. 

The early, wise soonest dies. 

'Ov 6l 6fo\ (pikovcriv anodvjjiTKft vios. — Gr. (Menand.) 

Is cadit ante senem, qui aupit ante diem. — Lat. 

So wise, so young, they say, do ne'er live long. — Rich. III. 

Klogt Barn lever ey Isenge. — Dan. 


Cha blii suaimhneas aig eucoir, no seasamh aig droch- 

Wrong cannot rest, nor ill deed stand. 
There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. — Isaiah, 
Ivii. 21. 

Methoiight I heard a voice cry. Sleep no more ! 
Macbeth does murder sleep. — Macb. i. 2. 

Cha bhi saoithreach gun siubhal. 

The industrious must he on the move. 

Cha bhi sonas air bus 16m. 

A hare mouth wont he lucky. 

The most rational gloss for the word ' lorn ' here seems to be 
one which none of the Dictionaries give, but which, notwithstand- 
ing, is very applicable to the great bard Ian Lom, viz., curt, 
cutting. The doctrine is very C!eltic=politenes3 is better than 

Cha bhi teud reidh 's an fhidhill. 

There won't he a tuned string in the fiddle. 

Cha bhi thu na 's òige ri d' ionnsachadh. 
You'll never he younger to learn, 
i.e., the sooner you know it the better, 
Cha bhi Tòiseach air Tirinidh, 's clia bhi Tirhiidh 
gun Tòiseach. 

There shall never he a Macintosh of Tirinie, nor shall 
Tirinie he without a Macintosh. 

Macintosh, in a note on this, calls it ' a ridiculous prophecy 
concerning an ancient family in Perthshire, now extinct ' ; apropos 
of which he gives the story of their being killed by the Cum- 
mings. Tirinie is near Blair Atholl, and it is pleasant to know 
that a Macintosh still (1880) farms there. 

Cha bhinn teanga learn leat, 

Cha bhithinn latha bhuat 'us agad; 

Cha ruiginn grinneal mo ghràidh, 

'S cha chagnainn cùl mo chompanaich. 

The douhle tongue I love it not, 

I would not he now cold now hot ; 

Nor put my love wpon the rack, 

Nor hite my friend hehind his hack. 

Cha bhodach Gill-Iosa do na h-uile fear, 

Gillies is no old man to everyhody. 

This was said by an old man at Duntulm, in Skye, to Iain 

Garbh, a celebrated MacLeod, who kept his galley there, where 
the groove is still shown, worn in the rock of the beach, up and 
down which she was launched or drawn up. The great John 
wished, against the old man's advice, to set out on an expedition 
to Harris, and planting himself against the stem of the galley, 
exerted all his famed strength to shove her down, while old Gillies, 
with his back to the stern, resisted his efforts, and with success. 
When Iain Garbh gave the thing up, calling the other a 'bodach,' 
the old man made the above remark. 

Clia bhrideach air an fhaich e. 
He is no pigmy on the hattle-field, 

Cha bhrist mollachd cnàimh, 
Cursinf) treaks no hones. 
See ' Cha tuit guidhe '. 

Cha bliuadhaich am meata. 

The tveak shall not win. 

See ' Am fear nach misnich,' and ' Cha dean tùirse '. 

Cha bhuidheach gach ro dhileas ; 's mairg a dh'earbas 
a h-aon dileas. 

The nearest is not always dearest ; pity him ivhose trust 
is in one kinsman. 

A little more than kin, and less than kind. — Hamlet, i. 2. 

Cha b' i an t-suiridhe bean gun chosdas. 
Wooing is a costly dame. 

Cha b' ionnan O'Brian 's na Gàidhil. 
O Brian and the Gael were not alike. 
That O'Brian was an Irishman is all that we know of him- 

Cha b' uaill gun f heum e. 
That was no useless pride. 

Cha b' uan sin air bial-thaobh oisge. 
That were no yearling s lamb. 

Al. ' laogh air bial-thaobh maoiseig' — a calf before a heifer. 
Said of those who do something, rather behind than before 
the time, such as mariying late. 

Cha bu choir dha cadal 's an f haiche, am fear air am 
bi eagal nan cuiseagan. 

He that shakes at stalks should not sleep in tlie field. 

Cha bu dileab air nàmhaid sin. 
That were no legacy to an enemy. 


Cha bu leis a laidhe no 'eirigh. 
His lying down and rising up were not his oum. 
Said of one in a state of bondage, or much worried. Some- 
what similar is 

Cha bu shaoglial dhaibh am beatha tuille. 

Their life were life to them no more. 

Cha bu rabhadh gun leisgeul e. 

It was no ttnwarranted warning. 

Cha bu ruith learn ach leum. 

/ woidd Jump at it, not run. 

Cha bu tu mi, 's cha bu mhi 'n cù. 

You are not I, and I am no cur. 

A polite Celtic form of telling a man that he is a hound. 

Cha chaillear na theid 'an cunnart. 

A's no' tint that's in hazard. — Scot. 

All is not lost that is in peril. — Eng. 

No se pierde todo lo que esta en peligro. — Span. 

Cha chall cùise sìneadh latha. 

It's not a lost cause that's adjourned. 

Cha chall na gheabh caraid. 

It's no' tint what a frccnd gets. — Scot. 

Cha chaochail dubh a dhath. 

Black never changes hue. 

Al. Gabhaidh gach dath dubh, ach cha ghabh dubh dath. 

Every colour will take black, but black takes 7ione. 

Black will take no other hue. — Eng., Scot. 

Lanarum nigree nullum colorem bibunt. — Plin. 

Cha chaoidh duin' an rud nach fhaic e. 
A man laments not tvhat he does not see. 
When the eye sees not, the heart grieves not. — Arab. 
What the eye sees not, the heart rues not. — Eng., Scot. 
Wat het oog niet en ziet, dat begeert het herte niet. — Dutch. 
Ojos que no ven, corazon que no quiebra. — Span. 

Cha charaid ach caraid na h-airce. 

Tlie friend in need is the only friend. 

I yòxt skal vinar neyta. — Icel. 

Een vriend in nood is een vriend in der daad. — Dutch. 

Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur. — Ennius. 

Au besoin 1' on connait 1' ami. — Fr. 

A friend cannot be known in prosperity. — Eccl. (Jes.) 

Car cynwir, yn yr iug y gwelir,— ÌFelsh. 


Cha chat mi f hein nacli aithnicli blàthach. 

/ am iwt a cat that doesnt know hiUterniilL 

Cha cheil amadan a bheachd. 

A fool can't hide his thouf/ht. 

Ni clièl ynfyd e fedihvl.— Welsh. 

A fool uttereth all his mind.— Prov. xxix. 11. 

The fool's heart is in his mouth. — Eccl. (Jes). Arab, 

A fool'd bolt is soon shot. — Eng. 

Narren Bolzen ist bald verschossen. — Germ. 

Cha cheil e ui a chi no 'chluinneas e. 

He can't hide what he sees or hears. 

Cha cheil cearraich' a dhisnean. 

A gamester vjoii't conceal his dice. 

Cha cheil gruaidh cuaradh cridhe. 

The cheek hides not a hurt heart. 

Ki chèl grùdd gystudd calon. — Welsh. 

Cha cheòl do dhuine a bhròn uile aithris. 

'Tis no music for a man to tell all his grief. 

Cha chiall saoilsinnean, 's cha ghaol làiteannas. 

Supposing is not sense, nor is talk love. 

Stultiim est dicere, putabam. — Led. 

Cha chinn barrag air cuid cait. 

The cat's milk makes no cream. 

At. Cha bhi ce air cugainn cait. 

Cha d-tig uachtar air bhoinne an chait. — Ir. 

Cha chinn coinneach air clach an udalain. 

Moss groujs not on the oft-turned stone. 

Al. A' clilach a thionndaidhear trie, cha tig coinneach oirre. 

This saying is found in almost every European language, 
ancient or modern. The usual application of it shows that a very 
popular saying may be founded on a very superficial analogy. 
It implies that the gatheriiif^ of moss is a useful and meritorious 
function for a stone, and that the stone which innocently rolls 
wlien set in motion is not so well employed as the one that sits 
still and gathers moss ! 

The philosophy of the German proverb, ' Ein Miihlstein wird 
nicht moosig,' A millstone gets not mossy, is much better. 

Aidos Kv\l6fM€l/0S (f>VKOS OV TToTft. Gt. 

Saxum volutum non obducitur musco. — Latin. 
Pietra mossa non fa miLsco. — It. 
Piedra movediza nunca moho la cubija. — Span. 
Pierre qui roule n' amasse point de mousse. — Fr, 
Walzeuder Steiu wird nicht moosig, — Germ. 


Een rollende steen neemt geen mos mede. — Butch. 

Den Steen der oite liyttes, bliver ikke luossegroet, — Dan. 

A rolling stone gathers no moss. — Eng. 

A rowin' stane gathers nae fog. — Scot. 

Cha chruinnigheann cloch chasaidh caonach. — Ir. 

Y maen a dreigla ni fysygla. — Welsh. 

Clia chinn fiar air an rathacl mlior. 
Grass grows not on the highway. — Eng. 
There grows nae grass at the market cross.— i^coi. 
In cammino battuto erba non cresce. — It. 
A chemin battu ne croit pas d'herbe. — B\. 

Cha chluinn e glaodhaich nan còrr. 
He can't hear the cranes' cry. 
Said of a very deaf person. 

Cha chluinnteadh gaoir-chatha leibh. 
You would drown the hattle-cry. 
, Said to very noisy people. 

Cha choileach a mhealladh a' moll mi. 
/ am not a cock to he caught with chaff. 
An old bird is not caught with chaif. — Eng. 

Cha choir an t-each glan a chur h-uige. 
Tlie willing horse ought not to he merged. 
Ni coir gearran èasgaidh a ghrèasughadh. — Ir. 
A good horse should be seldom spurred. — -Eng, 
A gentle horse sud be sindle spurred. — Scot. 
Williges Pferd soil man nicht treiben. — Germ. 
Buon cavallo non ha bisogno de' sproni. — It. 
Cavallo que buela, no quiere espuela. — Syan. 
Cavallo que voa, nao quer espora. — Port. 

Cha choir do dhuine a ghràdh 'us 'aithne chur a 
dh-aon taobh. 

One shoidd not set his love and friendship all on one 

Cha choir do 'n chiontach a bin reachdach. 
The v)rongful shoidd not he litigious. 
Ni ddyly cyfraith nis gwnel. — Welsh. 

Cha choir gòisinn a chur 'an rathad an doill. 

A snare should not he laid, in the way of the Mind. 

Cha chord muc sheasg 'u.^ àl. 

A harrcn sow was never good to pigs. — Eiig. 


Cha choisinn balblian earrasaid. 's cha 'n fhaigh 
amadan oighreachd. 

A dumbij tuont win a mantle, nor a fool rjct an inheri- 

A dumb man never gets land. — Eng. 

The use of the word ' earrasaid' here is peculiar, the article of 
dress it denotes being known to us only as feminine. The second 
half of the proverb seems to contradict the law of primogeni- 
ture, but it means that no fool can win a fortune. 

Cha cli reach e dùthaich. 

He vjon't ruin a country-side. 

An expression of hospitality in reference to a guest. 

Cha chreid an òige gu'n tig an aois, 's cha chreid an 
aois gun tig am bàs. 

Youth can't believe tluxt age vnll come, nor age that 
death will. 

Cha chreid thu 'n t-Aog gus am faic thu 'n t-adhlac. 
You wont believe in Death till you see the burial, 
Cha chreidear an f hirinn o bhial nam briag. 
Truth is not believed from a lying mouth. 
Cha bee breagery credit, ga dy ninsh eh y n'irriney. —illanx. 
Al bugiardo non si crede la ventà. — It. 
Cha chreidear fear fial gus an ruigear a chùl. 
The liberal man is not believed till his purse is drained. 
Lit. ' till his back is reached '. HÌ3 dijficulties are not believed 
so long as he has anything to give. 

Cha chudthrom air loch an lach, 
Cha chudthrom air each a shrian, 
Cha chudthrom air caor' a h-olaim, 
'S cha chudthrom air colainn ciall. 
The ivild-duck burdens not the loch, 
Tlie bridle burdens not the horse, 
Her wool burdens not the sheep, 
And sense burdens not the body. 
Al. Cha truimid an loch, and, Cha trom leis an loch. 
This fine verse is among the ' Sean Fhocail ' of Duncan Loudin. 
It was given as part of the song referred to in note to 'Bhi 
fadadh teine fa loch,' — ante, p. 60. 

Cha chuimhnich an ditheach a chù,gus ambi abhrù làn. 
The empty man doesnt remember his dog till he fills his 


Cha cliuir duine 'chall 'n a sporan. 

A man cant put his loss into his purse. 

Cha chuir e 'bhuiunig air a blirògan. 

His gain wont sole his shoes. 

Cha chuir e'n luath mu 'n spàrr. 

He won't send the ashes to the cross-heam. 

i.e., he won't raise a great dust. 

Cha chuireadh e gad 's an t-srathair. 

He couldn't fix a withe in the pack-saddle. 

Good for nothing. 

Cha chuirear gad air gealladh. 

You can't put vnthes on promises. 

Cha chuirinn mo thuagh bhearnach 'n ad choille 

/ wouldn't fut my notched axe into your withered wood. 

Al. "n ad fliiodh carraigneach '. 

Cha chuirinn mo noigean air a' chial do 'n fhear nach 
cuireadh diar ann. 

I ivouldri't incline my noggin to him that ivoiddn't pat 
a drop in it. 

Al. Na cuir do shoitheach air a' cliliathaicli do 'n fhear nach 
leasaich e. 

Cha chum an soitheach ach a Ian. 

The vessel holds hut its fill. 

Al. an soitheach Gàidhealach. 

Ni choinnigheann an soitheach acht a Ian. — Ir, 

Cha chum freiteach ach deamhan. 

None hut devils keep rash votvs. 

Cha chumar tigh le bial dùinte. 

House with closed door can't he kept. 

A very hospitable saying. 

Cha daor am biadh ma gheabhar e. 

Food is not dear, if it can he got. 

Cha daoire 'n giadh na 'shailleadh. 

The goose is no dearer than his salting. 

Cha deach èug no imrich nach d' fhuair moladh, 's 
cha do phòs nach d' fhuair càineadh. 

None died or flitted ivithout praise, none married without 

For a more terse version, see * Ma 's math leat '. 


Cha deachaidh car do theadhracli mu plireas. 

Your tether didn't get round a hush. 

Said to one who doesn't look starved. 

Cha deacli Theab riamh le creig. 

Almost never ivent over a rock. 

Almo.-t was never hanged. — Eng. 

Amaist was ne'er a man's life. — Scot. 

Nterved slaaer ingen Mand iliiel— Almost kills no man. — Dan. 

Cha dean a' ghlòir bhòidheach an t-amadan sàthach. 

Fi7ie talk wont Jill the fool. 

Fair words butter no parsnips. — Enrj.. 

Mony words dinna fill the firlot.— .SVoi. 

Schone Worte ftillen den Sack nicht. — Germ. 

Belle parole non pascon i gatti. — It. 

Cha dean am balbh briag. 

Dunibie vjinna lee. — Scot. 

Cha deannan balhhan brèug.— Jr. 

Cha dean a' phluic a' phiobaireachd. 

Pujfinf) v:ont make pijnng. 

Cha dean am bodach briag 's a chlann a 's tigh, 

The churl wont tell lies before his children. 

Cha deannan bodach brèng, 's a chlann a lathair. — Ir. 

They might innocently convict him by saying, ' Papa ' ! 

Cha dean an t-òl ach am fear a dh'f haodas. 
He only drinks v^lio can. 

Cha dean aon cheirein duine slùn, 's cha dean aon 
sàth duine reamhar. 

One dose will not cure, nor one feed make fat 

Cha dean aon smeòrach Samhradh. 
One mavis makes not summer. 
Cha deannan aon àilleog Samhradh. — Ir. 

Cha jean un ghollan-geaye Sourey, ny un chellagh-keylley 
Genrey. — Manx. 

Mi'a ^fKibuiv eap ov Troiel. — Gr. 

Una hirundo non facit ver. — Lat. 

Una golondrina no hace verano. — Span. 

Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps. — Fr. 

Una rondine non fa primavero. — It. 

Eine Schwalbe macht keinen Friihling. — Germ. 

Eene zwaluw maakt geen zomer. — Dii. 

Een Svale gior ingen Sommer. — Dan. 

One swallow makes not Summer. — Eng. 


Cha dean brògan tioram iasgach. 
Dry shoes wont get fish. 
No se toman truclias a bragas enjutas. — Span. 
Nao se tomao trutas a bragas enxutas. — Port. 
Trouts are not taken with dry breeches. 

Cha dean cas làidir nacli ith bm mlior. 
What strong foot earns big helly eats. 

Ce que gantelet gagne, le gorgerin le mange. — Fr. Saying of 
Bayard. (Disraeli's Curios, of Lit. Philosoiihy of Proverbs.) 

Cha dean cas luath maorach. 
Hasty foot won't get shellfish. 

Cha dean cat miotagach sealg. 
Cat ivith mittens ivont catch mice. 
The muffled cat is never good moviser. — Eng. 
Gatta inguantata non prese mai tojjo. — It. 

Cha dean corag mhilis im, no glaimsear càise. 
Sweet finger wont make butter, nor a glutton cheese. 

Cha dean cridhe misgeach briag. 

A drunken heart wont lie. 

Al. Cha tig briag bho chridhe misgeach. 

Oivos, 0} naides, aXrjdfia. 'Ei* oij/co akrjQeia. — Gr. 

In vino Veritas. — Lat. 

What soberness conceals drunkenness reveals. — £'/1^7. 

A fu' man 's a true man. — Scot. 

Cha dean cù sàthach sealg. 
A full dog wont hunt. 

Cha dean duine don' ach a dhichioll. 
A 'poor fellow can do bid his best. 

Ni eill neb namyn ei allu — None can do but what he can. — 

Cha dean fear a' sporain fhalaimh ach beag fanun 
's an tigh-òsda. 

The man of empty purse will make but little noise in 
the inn. 

Cha dean fuar bliochd. 

Cold ivill not make milk. 

The use of the adjective as a noun here is -worthy of notice. 

Cha dean goile acrach casaid air a' bhiadh. 
A hungry stomach won't decry the food. 


Cha dean mi da chliamhuinn do m'aon nighinn. 

I won't make tivo sons-in-latv for my one daughter. 

Eigi ma gora tva maga at einni dottur. — Iceland. 

Cha dean minnein meann, 's cha dean giullan clann. 

A kid hcjets not kids, nor a hoy hairns. 

Cha dean sinn cruit-chiùil deth. 

We tvon't make a Imrp of it. 

Al. Cha dean sinn òran deth — we won't make a song of it. 
' Cruit,' Scot, and Ir. Gael., a harp or tiddle ; ' Crwth/ Welsh; 
' Crowd,' Engl., a fiddle. 

Tlie pipe, the tabor, and the trembling croud. — Spenser. 

Chevy-chase sung by a blind crowder. — Sidney. 

Cha dean thusa toll, nach cuir mise cnag ann. 

Yoic won't make a hole that I tvon't put a pccj in. 

Autant de trous, autant de chevilles. — Fr. 

Cha dean ' Tiugainn ' cèum, 's cha do chailleadh 
' Theab '. 

' Come on' does not move, and ' Almost' was never lost. 

Cha dean sgleogaireachd ceilp. 

Fulsome talk ivont make kelp. 

Cha dean ' tapadh leis an f hidhleir ' am f idhleir a 

' Thank you ' ivont pay the fiddler. 

Cha dean tùirse ach truaghan, 's fear na lag-mlnsnich 
cha'n fhaigh e bean ghlic gu La-luain. 

None lilt the pitiful pine, and weak heart will never 
win wise wife. 

Faint heart never won fair lady. — Eng., Scot. 

Jamais honteux n'eut belle amie. — Fr. 

Verzagt' Herz freit nimmer ein schbn' Weib. — Germ. 

Bange Hierte vandt aldrig fager Mo. — Dan. 

Cha deanar banas-tighe air na fraighean falarah. 

House-keeping cant be done with empty shelves. 

A toom pantry makes a thriftless guidwife. — Scot. 

Bare walls make giddy housewives. — Fng. 

Vides chambres font femmes folles. — Fr. 

Cha deanar bnannachd gun chall. 

No profit without loss. 

Cha deanar duine glic ach air a chosd fhein. 

One gets 2visdom at his oivn cost. 

See ' Is f hearr aon cliiall ceannaich '. 


Cha deanar leas caraid gun saothair. 
Friend cant he helped tuithout trouble. 

Cha deanar math gun mhulad. 
Good is not done without grief. 

Cha deanar sagart gun f hoghlum, 's cha dean foghhim 

A priest sJwuld he learned, hut learning won't make a 

Cha deanar salann gun sail, no leas bràthar gun 

Salt is not made without brine, nor brothers help with- 
out loss. 

Cha deanar seobhag de 'n chlamhan. 

Yo20 cannot malxc hawks of kites. 

A carrion kite will never make a good hawk. — Eng. 

On ne sanrait faire d'une buse iin epervier. — Fr. 

Cha deanar treine gun triùir, 's bidh iad crùbach gun 

Three go to make strength, and they II be lame vnthout 

Clia deic luas na h-earba gun na coin a chur ritlie. 

The swiftness of the roe is knoivn without the loosing of 
the hounds. 

Cha deoch-slàint' i gun a tràghadh. 

It is no health if not drained. 

' No heel-taps ' ! 

Cha d' eug duine beairteach riamh gun dileabach. 
No rich man ever died vnthout an heir. 

Cha d' f hag e clach gun tionndadh. 

He left no stone unturned. 
Char fhàg se cloch gan tionta. — Ir. 

Cha d' fhàg claidheamh Fhinn riamh fuigheall 

Fingal's stoord never had to cut twice. 

Cha d'fhuair am mada-ruadh riamh teachdaire 
'b' f hearr na e fhein. 

The fox never got a better messenger than himself 


Cha d' flmair Conan riamli dòrn gun dòrn a tlioirt 
g' a cheann. 

Conan never rjot a hlov: vAtlioid returning it. 

See ' Càirdeas Chonain '. 

Cha d' fhnair droch bhuanaiclie riamh deadh chorran. 

Bad reaper ncrer got good sicUe. 

Chan fhnair droL-h bhuanaidhe a riamh corran maith. — It. 

Cha dooar rieau (\vq<^\\ veaynee corran mie. — Manx. 

Never had ill workman f^ood tools. — Enq. 

Per con. Cha d' fhuair buanaiche math clroch corran riamh. 

Ni ddiffyjdon arf ar was gwych. — Weavon to the brave uvnH be 
wanting. — JVelsh. 

Cha d' fhuair drop.h iomrarnhaiche ràmh math riamh. 
Bad roiver never got good oar. 

Cha d' fhuair duine riamh a thuarasdal gus an do 
choisinn e e. 

Ko man wages ever got, until for them he had v:rought. 

Cha d' fhuair sgathadh nach d' fhuiling nàire. 

Scorn comes commonly loi' skaith. — Scot. 

Eshyn yiow skeilley (sg^ileadh), yiow e craid (cnead). — Manx. 

Cha d' fhuair sruth leis, nach d' fhuair sruth 'n a 

Noiie ever got tide with him, that did not get against him. 

Cha d' fhuair sùil ghionach riamh cunnradh math. 
Greedy eye never got good bargain. 
Cha d' fhuaradh an Donas riamh marbh air cùl 

The Devil was never found dead hehind a dyhe. 
Seldom lies the Devil dead in a ditch. — Eng. 
It's Ian? ere the De'il dee by the dyke-side. — Scot. 
This well expresses the vitality of the Father of Lies. 

Cha d' fhuaradh buaidh air fear na moch-eirigli. 
The early riser vms never overcome. 

• Cha d' fhuaradh cliath-chliata riamh air cladach. 
A harrov) v:as never found on a shore. 
Cha d' fhuiling fuachd nach d' fhuair teas, 
l^one suffered cold hut got heat. 
Cha dhubh grian 's cha ghealaich' e. 
Sun won't blacken nor water bleach it. 


Cha diol ' toileacli ' fìach. 

' Willing ' pays no debt 

Sorrow will pay no debt. — Enq. 

Cha d' ith na coin an aiinsir. 

I'he time was not devoured by the dofjs. 

' And yet it was wasted.' 

The translation of this in the 2nd Ed. of Macintosh is, ' The 
dogs did not worry the wether ' ! 

Char ith na madaidh deireadh na bliadhna go foill. — Ir. 

Cha d' ith thu seachd cruachan-arbhair leis f hathasd. 

You haven't eaten seven corn-stacks ^vith him yet. 

Al. Cha do loisg thu seachd cruachan-mòine leis— You haven' t 
burnt seven peat-stacks with him, 

Cha diùlt peann briag. 

A pen ivon't refuse to lie. 

Polite falsehoods are more easily written than said. 

Cha dlighe do pheighinn fois. 

Penny's right is not rest. 

Argent est rond, il faiit qu' il roule. — Fr. 

I danari vanno e vengono. — Ital. 

Cha do bhrist modh ceann duine riamh. 

Coiirtcsy never broke mans crown. 

' It's aye gude to be ceevil,' quo' the auld wife when she beckit 
to the Deevil. — Scot. 

Cha do bhrist fear riamh a bhogha, nach d' fheum fear 
eir an t-sreang. 

No man ever broke his boiv, but another needed the string. 

Cha do bhuidhinn thu air na cairtean, nach do chaill 
thu air na disnean. 

You won not at the cards thit you lost not at the dice. 

Cha do bhuidhinn tùs nach do bhuidhinn donas. 

Luclc at first, loss at last. 

Chi vince prima, perde il sacco e la farina. — Ital. 

Cha do chaill 'n a thoiseach nach do bhuannaich 'n a 

Lose at first, win at last. 

Cha do chleachd am bodach biodag. 

Tiie old man tvas not used to a dirk. 

Cha do chliath thu na threabh mise f hathasd. 

You haven't harrowed yet what I have ploughed. 

Cha do chord dithis rialjli a' cur tein' air. 
Tv)o never agreed at the kincUiny of afire. 
See ' Cha robh dithis '. 
Char I'hadaigh dls teine gan troid. — Ir. 

Cha do chuir a hhun ris nach do chiunich leis. 
None trusted Him that did not thrive. 

Cha do chuir a ghualainn, nach do chuir tuar thaiiis. 
None ever set his shoidder to, that did not what he 
sought to do. 

Cha do chuir Dia riarah bial thun an t-saoghail, gun 
a chuid fa 'chomhair. 

God never sent the mouth hut tlie meat witlt it. — Seat. 

Char òrduigh Dia bèul gan biadh. — Ir. 

Gud giver alle Mad, som han giver Mund. — Dan. 

Gu3 gefr bjorg meS barni. — led. 

Cha do dhirich Fioun bruthacli riamh, 's cha d' f hag e 
bruthach gun direadh. 

Fingal never climhcd a hrae, and he left no brae un- 

This is a puzzle more than a proverb. It means that F., being 
a wise man, zig-zagged up hills. 

Cha do dhùin dorus, nach d' fhosgail dorus. 

No door ever shut hut another opened. 

Al. Ged dhùinear dorus, fosglar dorus. 

]Stai si serra una porta, che non si apra un' altra. — It. 

Donde una puerta se cieiTa, otra se abre. — Span. 

This proverb is the one quoted by Don Quixote, when he made 
the interesting reflection on Proverbs, already cited under ' An 
sean-fhacal '. 

Cha do mheall e ach na dh' earb as. 
He tricked hut those who trusted him. 

Cha do mhill foighidin mhath duine riamh. 
Good patience never hurt a man. 

Cha d' Ò1 an sagart acli na bh' aige. 
The priest drank only ivhat he had. 

Cha d' òrdaich Dia do 'n duine bhochd an da latha 
cho olc. 

Two dags alike ill, God to poor men doth not vjill. 


Clia d' rinn iad cle shiùcar no de slialann tliu. 
You v:erent made of sugar or salt. 
This proverb cannot claim great age. 
Cha d' rinn sàr nacli d' f liuiling sàr. 
None ever did violence hid suffered violence. 
All they that take the sword shall perish with the sworJ. — 
Matth. xxvi. 52. 

Cha d' rinn Theab riamli sealg. 

' Almost ' never got game. 

See ' Cha cleach Theab '. 

Cha d' rinn uisge glan riamh leann math. 

Pure water never made good ale. 

This may be classed among ' vulgar errors '. 

Cha do sh(^id gaoth riamh nach robh 'an seùl cuid-eigin. 

No wind ever hlew that did not fill some sail. 

Cha do shoirbhich dithis riamh air an aon chnoc. 

No two ever j)rospercd on the same hill. 

Comp. with ' Cha bhi bràithreachas '. 

Cha do shuidh air cloich, nach d' thuirt ' Oicli !' mu'n 
d' eirich. 

None ever sat on stone that didn't sigh he/ore he rose. 

Cha do shuidh air stiiiir .nach d' thàiuig bho 'làindi 

No man ever held helm that did not some time lose his 

Cha d' thàinig ian glan riamh a nead a' chlamhaiiL 

Clean bird never came out of kite's nest. 

Chad d' thàinig iasg as a chuan nach eil cho math 

There's as guid fish in the sea as ever cam' oot o't. — Scot. 

Al. Tha iasg cho math anns a mhnir 's a thàinig riamh aisde. 

Ta iasg 's a bh-fairge ni 's fearr nà gabhadh a riamh. — Ir. 

Cha d' thàiaig tràigh gim mhuir-làn 'n a dt^igh. 

There never ivas ebb without food folloioing. 

See ' Cha 'n 'eil tuil '. 

Cha d' thàiaig iibh mor riamh bho'n dreathaiun-duinn. 

Large egg never came from the wren. 

Al. ' Cha tig.' 

The Scottish version of this is applied, says Kelly, to insigni- 
ficant gifts from niggardly persons. 


Cha do tliaisg nacli d' f himir. 

Nought ivas ever laid hy that ivas not needed. 

Keep a thing seven years, and ye'll find a use for't. — Scot. 

Cha do thilg le 'leth-làimh, nach do tliionail le 'dlia 

Noìie threiv away with one hand that did not gather 
with Loth. 

Chi butta via oro con le mani, lo cerca co' piedi. — It. 

Cha do threabh tliu 'n t-imir 'tha romhad fhathasd. 

You haven t 'ploughed the ridge before you yet. 

Al. Treabh an t-imir a tha romhad an toiseach. 

Ars an t-each òg 's a mhaduin, ' Treabhaidh sinn an t-imir ud, 
's an t-imir nd eile '. Ars an seann each, ' Treabh am fear 'tha 
romhad an dràsda, 's treabhaidh sinn each a rithist '. Agus 
threabh an seann each, 's thug an t-each òg thairis. — Said the 
young horse in the morning, ' We'll plough that ridge and the 
"other one ' Said the old horse, ' Plough the one before you now, 
and we'll plough the rest after '. And the old horse ploughed, 
but the young one gave over. 

Cha do threig Fionn riamh cavaid a làimhe deise. 

Fingal never forsook his right liand. friend. 

Cha d' thug Fionn riamh bliir gun churaha. 
Fingal never fought a fight tvithout offering terms. 
This very old proverb, and the still oftener quoted one, 
• Cothrom na Fèinne' (q.v.), indicate a sense of justice and gener- 
osity, of which the most civilised nations of the 19th century 
exhibit too little in the conduct of war, Fionn or Fingal, the ideal 
hero-king of the Scoto-Irish race, corresponds in character, and in 
domestic misfortune, to King Arthur, faithful to his friends, 
generous to his enemies, mighty in war, gentle and wise in peace. 
The name Fingal, and the adjective Fingalian, being now so 
generally used, are preferable, for that and other reasons, to Finn 
and Fenian, though the latter are more strictly correct. The name 
Fingal is not an invention of Macpherson's, as some have ima- 
gined. It was used by Barbour in the 14th century, as the name 
by which the Celtic hero was then knowai in Scotland — 
He said, Mee thinke Martheokes sonne, 
Eight as Golmakmorne was wonne, 
To have from FyngaU his menyie. 

The Bruce, 'Eil 1G20, p. 40. 

Cha d' tliug gaol luath, nach d' thug fuath clis. 
Hasty love and sudden hate. 
Love me little, love me long. — Eng. 
Aime-moi un peu, mais continue. — Fr. 


Amamì poco, ma continua.— It. 

Elsk iiiig lidt, og elsk mig kenge. — Dan. 

Cha d' tlmg leis au truaill, nacli d' fhiiair leis a' 

None gave with the scahhard hut got toith the sword. 

Clia d' thug thu ach breab bheag 's a' ghriosaicli. 

You gave hut a slight kick to the emhers. 
, Cha d' thug thu do long f hein gu cala fhathasd. 

Yon haven't hrought your own ship to port yet. 

Cha d' thug thu ribeag a 'f hiasaig. 

You haven t plucked a hair out of his heard. 

Cha dubhairt Dia na thubhairt thusa. 

God hath not said all thou hast said. 

Applicable to much theology, and other things claiming divine 
authority. Considering that the Celts are by nature reverential, 
this saying does them great credit. 

Cha dual do rath a bhi air dalta spiocaid. 

The step-child of a scrich has a heed lot. 

Cha duine duine 'n a aonar. 

A man alone is no man. 

See note to ' Bi 'd thosd'. 

Al. Cha'n fhiach duine 'n a aonar. 

It is not good that the man should be alone. — Gen. ii. 18. 

E?j àvTjp oìiòeis àvrjp. — Gr. Un homme nul homme. — Fr. 

One and none is all one. — Eng. 

Compagnia d' uno, compagnia di niuno. — It. 

Cha duine glic a dh' innseas trie 'an-shocair. 

He is not wise who often tells his trouhle. 

Cha duine glic a theid trie do 'n bhaile mhor. 

He is not a wise man who goes often to the city. 

Cha ghabh fiadh gointe gaoth. 

A wounded deer loont take the loind. 

A wounded deer always takes to the nearest water, instead of 
going, as iisual, against the wind. 

Cha ghabh i coisiche, 's cha tig marcaiche 'g a 

Site wont take a vmlkcr, and a rider wont come for her. 

She wadna hae the walkers, and the riders gaed by. — Scot. 

Dean Ramsay, in his Reminiscences, gives this proverb as 
quoted by Miss Becky Monteith, on being asked how she hadn't 
made a good marriaire. 


Cha gliabhar greim air uisge no air teine. 

No hold can he got of icutcr or of fire. 

Cha ghille inur h-umliailt e. 

He is no servant unless he olcys. 

Cha ghlac dòrn dùinte seobhag. 

Closed fist wont catch hawk. 

Cha ghabhaiin an clorn druidte seabliac. — Jr. 

With eiiiptie hands men may no liawkes hire. — Cliancer. 

Det er ondt at lokke Hoge med tomme Hrender. — Van. 

Met ledige hauden is liet kwaad havikkeu vaiigen. — JJutch. 

Cha ghleidh an dall an rathad mor. 

The Uind cant keep tiu, highway. 

This is true only in a metaphorical sense. 

Cha ghleidheadh tu clach 's a' chladach. 

YoVj wouldnt find a stone on the shore. 

Cha ghhiais bròg no bruidheann an droch bliean-thighe, 

Traniping or talking wont rouse the had hoiisevnfe. 

Ascribed to EOghaii a chinn hhifj. See App. III. 

Cha ghruagaichean gu leir air am bi am fait f hein. 

All are not maidens that v:ear their own hair. 

A' are na maidens that wear bare hair. — Scot. 

To drop the snood, or fillet, and cover the head, was formerly, 
both in the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland, the sign of 
marriage or maternity. The old Highland head-dress of women, 
CiiUed iìreià, was a square of fine linen, pinned round the head, 
with part hanging down behind, like some of the head-dresses in. 
Normandy and Brittany. — Armstr. Diet. s.v. Bie'id. 

Cha le duine fhein a ghàire. 

A man's smile is not his own. 

I have been told by a wise counsellor, that an old man advised 
him always to have his consulting chair set with its back to the 

Cha leannan òinsich e. 

He is no foolish girl's fancy. 

This and the next are generally said ironically of old or unpre- 
possessing ' parties '. 

Cha leannan baothair i. 

Slie is no sweetlieart for a fool, 

Cha leithne Loch Obha null na nail. 

Loch Aive is no hroadcr across than hack. 

Al. Cha lugh' an uchdach' na 'n leathad. The ascent is no less 
than tlce dedivity. ' It's ;ui broad as it's long.' 


Clia leig an leisg cV a deòin, cluin' air slighe cliòir am 

If laziness hut have its will, it keeps a man from virtite 

For the credit of humanity, there are many proverbs of all 
nations directed against the vice of sloth. 

Cha leig duine d' a dheòin a cliòir-bhreith le duiue 

Ho mail iijillinghj parts with his birthright. 

Cha leigear a leas pòg a tliabliairt do laimh an 

The hand of the fisher need not he kissed. 

Cha leigliis aithreachas bream as. 

Repentance ivont cure mischief 

Cha leir dhut a' clioill leis na craobhan. 

You can't see the loood for trees. — Enj. 

Cha lion beannaclid brù. 

Fair coords fill not the helly. — Eng. 

Cha lionnan beannacht bolg. — Ir. 

Muckle crack fills nae sack. — Scot. 

Schoone worden vuUen den zak niet. — Butch. 

See ' Cha dean a' ghlòir.' 

Cha loisg seana cliat e f hein. 

An old cat ivont hum himself. 

Cha luaithe a sguireas an tinneas diot na tliòisicheas 
an tachas ort. 

No sooner does your sichiess go than the itch attacks 

Cha luaithe duine gu 'leas na gu 'aimhleas. 

Man goes not faster to his good than to his ruin. 

Cha lugha air Dia deireadh an latha na 'thoiseach. 

Not less in God's sight is the end of the day than the 

This is a fine sentiment, from every point of view. 

Cha lugha an f hoill na 'm freiceadan. 

The treachery is not less than the guard. 

Cha lugha ceann na ceill. 

As mony heads so mony wits. — Scot. 

Quot homines, tot sententiae.— Ter. 


Tante teste, tanti cervelli. — It. 

Autant de tètes, autant d' avi.s. — Fr. 

So many men, so many minds. — Eng. 

Viele Kopfe, viele Sinne. — Germ. 

Zoo veel honfden, zoo veel zinnen.— DitfcL 

Saa mange Hoveder, saa mange Sind. — Dan. 

Cha laidli na siantan amis na speuraii. 

The storms rest not in the skies. 

Ne caldo ne gelo resta mai in cielo. — It. 

Cha mliac mar an t-athar thu. 

You are no son like the father. 

' You'll never till your father's shoes ' 

Cha mhair a' bhreug ach re seal. 

No lie lives long. 

A lying tongue is but for a moment. — Prov. xii. 19. 

The liar is short-lived. — Arab. 

Lijgen zerschmelzen wie Schnee. — Germ. 

Clia mhair an sionnach air a shior-ruith. 

Eeynard cant run for ever. 

Cha mheallar am fear glic ach aon uair. 

The wise man is deceived but once. 

Twice bitten, shy. — Eng. 

Cha mliillear math ri olc dhinbh. 

The good of them won't be thrown away on the bad. 

Not much to choose between them. 

Cha mhinig a bha moll aig sabhal piobaire. 

Seldom is there chaff at a jnper's barn. 

Pipers and poets are generally not very good husbandmen. 

Cha mhisd' a' ghealach na coin a bhi 'conihartaich 

The moon is none the worse of the dogs barlcing at her. 

Al. Cha dean e coire do'n ghealaich na coin a bhi deileami 

The moon heeds nf)t the barking of dogs. — Eng. 

La luna non cura 1' al>liaiar de' axni.— It. 

Was kummert 's den Mond wenu ihn die Hunde anbelleu ? — 

Cha mhisde cùil ghlan a rannsachadh. 

A clean corner is not the ivorse of being searched. 

Cha mhisde gniomh math a dheanamh da uair. 

A good deed is not the xvorsc of being done again. 

Ats Ka\ rpls to koXov. — Gr. 


Cha mhisde sgèul math 'aitliris da uair. 

A good tale is none the ivorse for being twice told. — Eng. 

Cha mho air e 's air sean each 'athair. 

He cares no more for him than an old horse for his 

Cha mhol duine 'sheud 's e aige. 

A mail doesn't praise his jewel while he has it. 

Probably not till he loses it. 

Cha mhortar an hichag fo 'n chruaicli-fheòir. 

The mouse is not crushed under the hag-stack. 

A wee mouse will creep under a muckle corn-stack.— /Scoi. 

Cha 'n abair mi mo bhràthair, ach ris a' mhac a rug 
mo mh athair. 

I will not sag brother hut to vig mothers son. 

Al. Cha phiuthar 'us cha bhràthair ach neach a bheireas a' 

None is sùter or hrofher whom the mother hore not. 

This looks like a relic of a time when birthrights and blood-ties 
were calculated from the maternal rather than the paternal side, 
of which Mr. Skene has found traces in the early history of our 
countTj.— Celtic Scotland, Vol. I., p. 252. See also M'Lennan's 
Primitive Marriage, 2d Ed., p. 129. 

Cha 'n ai^hne dhut dol air d' each gun dol thairis air. 

You cannot mount gour horse ivithout going over. 

Cha'n aithnich am fuachd tighead na lùirich. 

The thickest coat of mail xvont keep out the cold. 

Cha'n aithnicheadh e 'bhròg seach an t-osau. 

He coiddnt tell his shoe from his stocking. 

Very incapable, even beyond jironunciation of ' Bri'sh const-t'- 
eh'n '. 

Cha'n am cadail an cogadh. 

War is no time for sleep. 

Cha 'n ann a h-uile latha bhios mod aig Mac-an- 

It is not evcrg dag that Macintosh holds a court. 

" Toschach or Macintosh of Monyvaird, chamberlain to the 
Earl of Perth, held a regality court at Monyvaird : it is com- 
monly reported that he caused one to be hanged each court day, 
in order to make himself famous, and to strike terror into the 
thieves, which severity occasioned the above saying." — Note by 
Macintosh on this proverb, 1st Ed., p. 13. 

The word mod, the same as the Saxon and Scottish mote, sig- 


nifics a meeting, assemhlv, court of justice. The Celtic courts of 
justice were heldt on hills or mounds made for the puqjose, of 
which several, called moats, or mutes, are still to he seen in 
Kirkcudbrightshire, and elsewhere. Skene, De verb, signif., 1681, 
p. 93, says, " Quhen King Malcolme the Second gave all his 
landes to the barrones of this realme ; he reteined to himself 
' montem placiti de Scona,' the mute hill of Scone, quhair he 
miaht hald liis courtes, and do justice to his subjects, in deciding 
their pleyes and controversies." — See Jamieson's Did. s. v. Mote. 

Cha 'n ann a' h-uile latlia tlieid Mac-Nèill air 'each. 
It is not every day that MacNeill mounts his horse. 
This refers to MacXeill of Barra, whose rocky island territory 
was more suited for boating than for riding. 

Cha 'n ann ag eigheach as do dheaghaidh, ach — C'àit 
am bheil thu dol ? 

Not calling after you, hut — Where are you, going Ì 

Cha 'n ann air chnothan falamh a f huaradh sid uile. 

It was not for empty nuts all that was got. 

Cha 'n ann 'am Bòid uile 'tha'n t-oic, — tha cuid deth 
's a' Churaradh bheag làimh ris. 

The mischief is not all in Bute, — there s some in the 
little Cumhrae near it. 

The use of ' uile ' here as an adverb is peculiar. 

Cha'n ann as an adhar a tha e' toirt a chodach. 

Ifs not out of the air he gets his living. 

Cha 'n ann de 'n ghuin an gàire. 

Smiles do not suit vjith pain. 

Al. Gàire mu aobhar a' ghuin. 

Cha'n ann de shiolachadh a' phoca-shalainn thu. 

Ton are not of the seed of the salt-poclc. 

Sometimes said to boys sent out in the rain, = You won't melt. 

Cha'n ann gun fhios c' arson a bheireas a' chearc 

It's not for nothing the hen lays an egg. 

The husband knows this to his cost, but the wife also knows 
the value of an egg. 

Cha 'n ann gun fhios c' arson a ni an clamhan fead. 

Ifs no for nought that the gled whustles. — Scot. 

Cha'n ann leis a' chiad bhuille 'thuiteas a' chraobh. 

The tree fa's na at the first strake. — Scot. 

One stroke feUs not an oak. — Eng. 


Es fallt keine Eiche vom ersten Streiche. — Germ. 

Al primo colpo non cade I'albero. — It. 

Au premier coup ne chet pas I'arbre. — Fr. 

To òevòpov /Ltè fxiav TreXeKeiài/ 8èv Kocfyrerai. — Mod. Gr, 

Ch.a'n atharaich caraid gnùis caraid. 

A friend wont change a friend's countenance. 

Cha'n aotruim' or na 'cliudthrom. 

Gold is no lighter than its loeight. 

Cha'n e 'm beagan an gràn-lagain, ma gliablias e togail. 

The grain that falls is not trifling if it can he lifted. 

The ' gràn-lagain ' is the grain that falls through the straw 
when it is put on the kiln. 

Cha 'n e 'm bòrd a theirig dliut, acli am beagan 

JS^ot your mould-hoard ivas done, hut your little land. 

The mould-board of the old plough was made of wood, like all 
the rest of it, except the share. But the failing of the plough 
was a small matter, compared with want of land to plough. 

Cha'n e an ro chabhag a's f hearr. 

Great haste is not hest. 

The more haste, the worse speed. — Eng., Scot. 

Hoe meerder haast, hoe minder spoed.— Z'ltic/i. 

Qui nimis propere minus prospere.— Zaf. 

Plus on se nate, moins on avance. — Fr. 

Chi va piano, va sano, e va lontano.—Ital. 

Quien mas corre, menos vuela.— /Spoil. 

Cha 'n e ciad sgeul an t-sagairt bu choir a chreidsinn. 

It is not the priest's first story that should he helieved. 

This is probably a very old saying, and it quite accords with 
the strain of the Ossianic ballads narrating St. Patrick's attempts 
to convert Ossian. The Celt is not easily convinced of anything 
new, or opposed to his old beliefs, but once he believes, he believes 

Cha'n e cruadhachadh na h-àtha sealltainn foipe. 

Looking under the kiln won't dry the grain. 

Cha'n e dubh a dh'fhuathaicheas, 's cha'n e geal a 

Hate comes not of hlack, nor love of white. 

Cha 'n e faighinn na feudalach a 's miosa, ach a 
cnmail 'an deaghaidh a faotainn. 

The getting of the cattle is not so hard, as the keeping 
after getting. 


Cha 'n e gogadh nan ceann a ni an t-iomradh. 

It is not the nodding of heads that docs the rowinj. 

Cha 'n e 'mhèud a bliòidhicheas ua 'giiil' a ghràdli- 

Bidk makes not beauty, nor white loveliness. 

Cha 'n e mo charaid a ni m' aimhleas. 

He is not my friend that hurts me. 

' Candid ' friends are sometimes the worst of enemies. 

Cha'n e 'n latha math nach tigeadh, ach an duine 
dona nach fanadh. 

It is not that tlie good day came not, hut that the un- 
lucky man woidd not wait. 

Cha 'n e na chosnar a ni saibhir ach na chaomhnar. 

Not what's gained hid lohafs saved makes rich. 

A penny hained 's a penny gained.— Scoi. 

Magnum est vectigal parcinionia. — Cic. 

Cha 'n e na dh' ithear a ni liudir, ach na chnàmhar. 

Not tohafs eaten hut lohat's chcivcd makes strong. 

Cha'n e na leughar a ni foghluiuite ach na chuimlni- 

Not what's read hut what's rememhered makes learned. 

Cha'n e rogha nam muc a gheabh fear na faighe. 

It is not the pick of the swine that the heggar gets. 

This saying suggests an Irish origin, pigs having never been 
very common in the Highlands. The practice of going 'air faighe' 
(or'' faoighe,' Ir. ' foighe,') was, however, common to parts of Ire- 
land and of the Highlands, and was known also in the Lowlands 
of Scotland. See Jumieson's Diet., sub voce ' Thig.' In the ' good 
old times,' when dearth was as common as a had season, it was 
not considered degrading for respectable people to go foraging 
among their friends for grain, wool, &c. See ' Bidh rud uime.' 
This kind of begging was also practised by or for young couples 
about to marry, or newly married, to help them in setting up 
house. The Highl. Soc. Did. (1828) says this custom "is still prac- 
tised in many parts of the Highlands and Islands ". MacLeod and 
Dewiir's Diet. (1830) also says that it is "still partially practised". 
I think it may now (1880) be said to he obsolete. The practice, 
however, of giving useful presents to yoimg couples is encouraged 
in the very highest ranks of modern society. 

Cha 'n e sealbh na faodalach a faotainn. 

The finding of a thing is not the oivning of it. 

This is good law as well as good sense. 


Clia'n e 'n tocliradh mor a ni an tiomnadh beairteacli. 

'2\s not the big dowry that makes the ivealthy vnll. 

The greatest tochers mak' not the greatest testaments. — Scot. 

He that's needy when he's married shall be rich when he's 
buried. — Eng. 

Cha 'n 'eil ach a leth-taobh ris. 

He has hut a half-side to it. 

Cha 'n 'eil ach rabhadh gun fhiiasgladh ann am 
bruadar na h-oidhche. 

The dream of the night is hut a tvarning unsolved. 

Al. Cha taisbeanadh bruadar cadail — A dream is no revelation. 

In the multitude of dreams and many words there are also 
diverse vanities. — Eccl. v. 7. 

Chan 'eil ach raoran eadar a' bho 's a' mheanl»h- 

The coio is only a good deal higger than the midge. 
A midge is as big as a moixntain — a'maist. — Scot. 

Cha 'n 'eil 'adharc cho cruaidh 's a tha 'langan àrd. 
His horn is not so hard as his roar is loud. 
His bark is waur nor his bite. — Scot. 

Cha'n 'eil agad ach am bogadh, gun bhuidheachas 

You have got hut the duclàng, and no f'lianks. 

Cha 'n 'eil agams' ach osain ghearr dheth, ach tha 
triubhas fad agadsa dheth. 

/ have hut short hose of it, and you have long treivs 
of it. 

Cha 'n 'eil air a' bhiadh ach teannadh ris. 

Eating needs hut a hegimiing. 

Taste, you will eat. — Arab. 

Mangiando viene I'appetito. — It. 

En mangeant I'appetit vient. — /<>. 

Eten is een goed begin. — Du. 

Cha 'n 'eil air duine gun nàire ach duine gun nàire 
'thachairt ris. 

There's nothing for a shameless man hut his match to 
meet him. 

Cha 'n eil aire ann gu aire na h-ainnis. 
There is no distress like tlmt of the destitute. 
See ' Eadar an t-euradh 'us aimbeairt ', 


Clia 'n 'eil ait' 'am bi ineall nach bi fasgadh mu 

Whcrevei' a height is, there is shelter heloio. 

Cha 'n 'eil am bonnach beag bruicli f hathasd. 
The little hcmnock is not toasted yet. 

This is a phrase iised at hide-and-seek, or bliud-man's-buff, 
to announce that the players are not ready yet. 

Cha'n 'eil am maoidlieadh daonnan 'an cois a' chroiu. 
Threatening does not always follow mischief. 
It depends on who does it ! 

Cha 'n 'eil an cuid 's an onoir aca. 
They haven't Txept their goods and honour. 

Cha 'n 'eil 'an cùil na 'n cuilidh, 
Nach f haic sùil a' Mhuilich, 
S' cha 'n 'eil 'an àird na 'n iosal, 
Nach làimhsich làmh an Ilicli ; 
Na dh' f hàgadli am ]\Iuileach, 
Ghrad sgriobadh an Collach uaith' e, 
Ach 's niairg a dh' earbadh a chuid no anam, 
Piis a' chealgaire Bharrach. 
There s not in nook or corner. 
What the Mnll man's eye icont see ; 
There's not in height or hollow, 
What the Islay man icon't handle ; 
What tlie Mull man icould leave, 
The Coll man soon woidd grasp ; 
But ifoe to him, his goods or life, 
Who trusts to treacherous Barra man. 
These very calumnious estimates are, of course, to be taken 
cum (jrano. Other similar sayings are — 

Muileach 'us Ileach 'us deamhan, 

An triùÌT a 's miosa air an domhain, 

'S miosa a' Muileach na 'n t- Ileach, 

'S miosa an t- Ileach na 'n deamhain. 

A Mull man, an Islay man, and a devil, 

The three worst in creation, 

The Midi man is worse than the Islay man, 

The Islay man worse than the devil. 
Cha 'n fhaic am Muileach nach sanntaich am Muileach ; na 
shanntaicheas am Muileach goididh an Collach ; 's na ghoideas an 
Collach cuiridh an Tiristeach am folach. What tiie Mull man sees 


he covets ; xcliat the Mull man covets the Coll man steals; and ichat 
the Coll man steals the Tiree man hides. 

Sliob am Muileach, 'us sgròbaidh e thu ; sgròb am Muileach, 
'us sliùbaidli e thu. — Strohe the Mull man, arid he'll scratch you : 
scratch him, and he'll stroke you. 

Ged a bliiodh tu cho carach ris a Mhuileach, glieabliar a macli 
thu. — Were you as tricky as the Mull man, you'll he found out. 

All these dreadful imputations remind one of an Eastern say- 
ing, ' The Koords are worse than the Arabs, the Arabs are worse 
than the Yezidees, and the Yezidees are worse than Eblis '. 

Cha 'n 'eil ann ach an t-uan na 's duibhe na 'mliàthair. 
It's merely the lamb blacker than its dam. 

Cha 'n 'eil ann ach an dara duine 'bhreith, 's an 
duine eile 'blireith 'us àrach. 

One man needs hut to he born, another to be horn and 

This is an aciite observation on the advantages of hereditary 
aristocracy and primogeniture. 

Cha 'n 'eil ann ach fear ri caomhnadh 's fear ri 

One man saves and another spends. 
Cuid an taisgeair aig an caithteair. — Ir. 
Narrow gathered, widely spent. — J^ng., Scot. 

Cha'n 'eil ann ach Iain 'us Dònull ; Dùuull cho math 
ri Iain, 's Iain cho math ri Dònull. 

It is plain John and Donald, — Doncdd as good as 
John, and John as good as Donald. 

Cha 'n 'eil ann ach leth-phlaide gun f huaghal. 
He is but an unhemmed half-blanket. 
Cha 'n 'eil ann ach mogan gun cheann. 
He is a stocking without head or foot. 

Cha 'n 'eil ann do 'n t-seann amadan. 

No fool to the old fool. — Eng. 

Chan 'nil amadan air bith is measa na sean- amadan— Jr. 

Nae fules like the auld fules.— yb'co^. 

The head grey, and no brains yet Ì—Eng. 

Je alter der Geek, je schlimmer. — Germ. 

Cha 'n 'eil heart an aghaidh na h-eigin. 
There is no contrivance against necessity. 

'AvdyKt] òvèè tìeoì fiaxovrai. — Gr. 
Ingens telum necessitas. — Cic. 


Cha 'n 'eil carrai^,' air nach caochail smth. 

lliere is no rock that the stream won't change. 

Gutta cavat lapidem. — Ovid. 

Cha'n 'eil Clann Mliic Neacail dioghaltach. 

The Nicolsons (or MacNicols) arc not revengeful. 

Cha 'n 'eil cleitli air an olc ach gun a dheanamh. 

There's no hiding of evil hut not to do it. 

Cha 'n. 'eil cù eadar e 's a' chroich. 

There is not a dog heticeen him and the galloms. 

Cha 'n 'eil de dh-uaill air an aodach ach am fear a 
dh' f haodas a cheannach. 

There's nothing in dress to he 2y'>'oud of hut the 2'>ov:er 
of huying it. 

Cha 'n 'eil de mhath air fuighleach a' chait ach a 
thoirt da fhc'in. 

The cat's leavings are fit only for himself. 

Applied to men who would palm the dregs on others, after 
they have drunk the cream. 

Cha 'n 'eil dearbhadh gun diachainn. 

There is no jjroof icithout trial. 

P^xperto crede. — Virgil. 

The proof of the pudding is in the eating;.— Eng. 

Cha 'n 'eil deathach 'an tigh na h-uiseige. 

Tiicre is no smoke in the lark's house. 

This is a pretty saying. The bird of most aspiring and happy 
song has untainted air in its lowly home. 

Cha 'n 'eil deireadh ann a's miosa na'n siolraan-coirce. 

Thcix is no refuse ivorse than that of oats. 

' Said of mean gentry.' — Note Inj Macintosh. 'Corruptio optimi,' 
oats being the staff of life, and men the ' crown of things '. 

Cha 'n 'eil dicliuimhne ann a's bòidliche na 'n di- 
chuimhne ghleidhteach. 
' The finest forgetfulness, forgetting what was kept. 

Cha 'n 'eil do dhuine sona ach a bhreith, 's bidh duine 
dona 'n a lom-ruith. 

The lucky man needs hut to he horn, the unlucky runs 
ever hare. 

Nid rhaid i ddedwydd namyn ei eni. — Welsh. 

Char chain duine dona a chuid ariamh.— T/ie unlucky man 
never lost his means (because he had none !) — Ir. 


The happy man canna be harried.— -5coi. 

Give a man luck, and throw him into the sea. — Eng. 

Cha'n 'eil clorus gun laib, 's tlia cuid aig am beil a 

There's a diib at every door, some hae twa. — Scot. 

Cha 'n 'eil duine creachta 's a long aige. 

A man is not ruined ivhile he has his ship. 

Cha 'n 'eil e pisearlach. 

He is no conjurer. 

Cha 'n 'eil eadar an duine glic 's an t-amadan, ach 
gu 'n ceil an duine glic a run, agus gun innis an 
t-amadan e. 

'Twùct the wise man and the fool, all the difference is 
this, that the xvise man keqxs his counsel, and the fool 
rccccdeth his. 

The fool's heart is in his mouth, the wise man's tongue is in 
his heart. — Arab. 

Cha 'n 'eil eadar an t-amadan 's an duine glic, ach 
tairgse mhath a ghabhail 'n uair a gheabh e i. 

All the difference between the fool and the wise man is 
in taking a good offer. 

Eptir koma osvinnum raS i hug. — After all is done, the ununse 
thinks of a plan. — Icel. 

Quando el necio es acordado, el mercado es ya pasado. — Span. 

O que faz o doudo a derradeira, faz o sesudo a primeira. — Port. 

Cha 'n 'eil eadar duine 's tuille fhaighinn, ach na 
th'aige chaitheamh. 

Nothing keeps from getting more, hut the spending of 
your store. 

Cha'n 'eil easlainte gun locshlaint', ach cha'n 'eil 
tilleadh air an Aog. 

There's no sickness without salve, hut for Death ilo 

Contra vim mortis non est medicamen in hortis. — Med. Lat. 

Para todo hay remedio sino paxa la muerte. — Span. 

Cha 'n 'eil feill air na h-inean ach Dihaoine 's 

There s no holiday for nails hut Friday and Sunday. 

Paring the nails on these particular days was held unlucky. — 

See Sir T. Browne's Vulgar Errors, v. 10, and Chambers' Book 
of Days, I. 526, II. 322, 



Cha 'n 'eil feill no faidhir, air nach faighear Maol- 

There s no holiday nor fair, hut Midrony loill he there. 

M. a nickname for a foolish woman who frequents fairs and 
other diversions too much. — Note by Macintosh. 

Chan 'eil f hios co as a thàinig na h-eich bhana 's na 
droch mhnathan. 
. - X Kohody knows vjhcre the white horses and the had wives 
,^:^ Q(fii£froin. 

/U. Tha 'h-uile nigheau gu math, ach co as 'tha na droch 
mhnathan a tighinn ? 

All are good maids, but whence come the bad wives ? — Eng. 
A' are guid lasses, but where do a' the ill wives come frae 1 — 

Cha 'n 'eil f hios co dhiubh 's f hearr luathas no maille, 
's b' e 'n gille-mirein am pòsadh. 

None can tell which is better, haste or tardiness, and 
marriage is a very vjhirliyiy. 

See ' Am fear a dh' imich '. 

Chan 'eil 'fhios air an uair seach a' mhionaid. 
The hour {of Death) is as unknovm as the minute. 
Cha 'n 'eil gach iuchair 's an tir an crochadh ri aon 

All the keys in the land do not hang from one girdle. 
A' the keys o' the country hang na on ae belt.— <S'foi. 
' Tutte le chiavi non pendono a una cintura. — It. 

Toutes les clefs ne pendent pas à une ceinture. — Fr. 
Die Schliissel hangen nicht alle an einem Gtirtel. —Germ. 

Cha 'n 'eil i beag bòidheach, no mor grànda. 

She is neither small and honnie, nor big and ugly. 

Chan 'uil si beag deas, no mor grana. — /r. 

Cha 'n 'eil ian 's a' choille nach bi greis 'n a bhann- 

There is no bird in the wood, but is at times in widow- 

Cha'n 'eil maide cam no direach nach f haigh feuin 
'an Ròag. 

There is no stick, straight or crooked, but will find use 
in Roag. 

Trees are still comparatively scarce in the Hebrides, and this 
saying reminds one of Dr Johnson's reply to Boswell, on being 


"Bonsoled with the hope that his oak stick, which he had lost, would 
be recovered. ' No, no, my friend,' said the Doctor, ' it is not to be 
expected that any man in Mull, who has got it, will part with it. 
Consider, sir, the value of such a piece of timber here !' ' 

Cha 'n 'eil math giin mhilleadh. ^f^JùIZ7^^^^^^^^^ ' 

There is no good hut may he marred. '^Xs c ù "Kr QtAJtJL 

Cha'n 'eil math nach teirig ach math Dhe. 7?ut/" ^l*44i.v^ /W~ 

All good has an end hut the goodness of God. OUJT IhaJ-'S ftl^ 

AUe dingen hebben ein ende behalve God. — Bu,, ' ^, ^W*** 

Cha 'n 'eil fealladh ann is mo na gealladh gun choimh- 

There is no greater fraud than the promise uif id filled. 

Cas a addawo bob peth ac ni chywiro ddin. — Hateful is he that 
promises everything and performs nothing. — Welsh. 

Cha 'u 'eil mi a' m' sgoileir, 's cha 'n aill leam a 
bhi, mu'n dubhairt a' madadh-ruadh ris a mhadadh- 

FmM^li'^rscholar, and dont wish to he, as the fox said /^ 
to the wolf. 

The fox and the wolf, walking together, came upon an ass 
quietly grazing. The fox pointed out an inscription on one of his 
hind hooves, and said to his companion, ' Go you and read that ; 
you are a scholar, and I am not '. The wolf, flattered by the re- 
quest, went proudly forward, and coming too close to the ass, got 
knocked on the head, leaving the fox to enjoy their common spoil ! 

A different version of this fable is given in Campbell's West 
Highl. Tales, I. 278. 

Cha 'n 'eil m' earball fo 'chois. 
3Ty tail is not under his foot. 

Cha'n 'eil mo theanga fo d' chrios, — bu mhiosa dhomh- 
sa na 'm bitheadh. 

My tongue is not tmder your helt, — worse for me if it 

My tongue is na under yir belt. — Scot. 

Cha'n 'eil port a nasgaidh ann; tha Port-na-Bànrigli'nn 
fhèin tastan. 

There is no tunc for nothing ; Qxieensferry itself costs a 

This is a mild attempt at a pun. ' Port' means both 'time' 
and * harbour ', 


Clia 'n 'eil port a sheinneas an smeorach 's an 
Fhaoilleacli, nacli caoin i rau 'n ruith an t-J^arrach. 

For every song the tnavis sings in February, shell lament 
ere Sj)ring he over. 

As lang as the bird sings before Candlemas, lie greets after it. 

Choud as big y scell greinney stiagh Laa'l Breeshev, big y 
sniaghtey my jig laa Boayldyn. As far as the sun shines on St. 
Bride's day, the snow will come before Beltane. — Manx. 

Cha 'n 'eil ri dheanamh air an dan, ach an còmhradh 
a charadh gu caoin. 

The one thing in making of verse is sivccthj to order the 

Cha 'n 'eil rud sam bith gun da latha, 's tha tri latlia 
aig na h-Oisgean. 

Fvei'y thing has two days, and the Fives have three. 

Three days in the tliird week of April, Old Style. — See A2)p. IV. 

Cha'n 'eil saoidh air nach laidh leòn. 

No hero is 'proof against wound. 

Cha'n 'eil thu eòlach air a' ghiullachd each. 

Yovj are not skilled in looking after horses. 

Cha 'n 'eil torn no tulach, 
No cnocan buidhe fiarach, 
Nach bi seal gu subhach, 
'Us seal gu dubhach diaracli. 

Tiiere is no knoll nor mound, 

Nor hilloek dight with Jlowers, 

Tliat sometimes is not bright, 

And sometimes dark tvith showers, 
Cha 'n 'eil trdun ris nach cuirear. 
The brave ivill be tried. 
Cha 'n 'eil tuil air nach tig traoghadh. 
Every flood v-ill have an ebb. 
Every tide (flood) bath its ebb.— ^ngr., Scot. 
Alle vloed heeft zijne ebbe. — Butch. 

Cha 'n fhac thu bo de d' chrodh flidin an diugh. 
Yoii saw no cow of your ovm to-day. 

Said of one who seems in deshabille and out of humour. — Note 
by Macintosh. 


Cha'n fhaic thu 'm feasd burr na coille còmlila. 
The tree tops are never seen on a level. 

Cha 'n fhaca mi 'leithid o 'n a chaidh slat 'am cliòta. 
/ haven't seen the like since a yard made my coat. 

Cha'n fhacas a' mhuc riamh gun chabliaig oirre. 
The sow was never seen hut in a hurry. 
Cha 'n fhacas fear-faighe riamh gun tombaca. 
A heggar was never seen without tobacco. 

Cha 'n fhada bhuat a chuir thu 'n athais. 

You haven't removed the reproach very far from you,. 

Cha 'n fhaigh cù gortach cnaimh. 

A starving dog gets no hone. 

Cha 'n fhaigh fear mabach modh. 

A stamvierer toon't get respect. 

So much for the wickedness of human nature. 

Cha 'n fhaigheadh tu e na 's mo na 'n t-iarunn a 
ghearr d' imleag. 

Yow should as soon get the knife that cut your ìiavel as 

Cha 'n fhaigheadh tu so ged a b'e 'n righ bràthair do 

You should not get this were the king your mothers 

Cha 'n fhaighear an de air ais an diugh. 

You can't to-day recall yesterday. 

Cha 'n fhaighear math gun dragh. 
Good is not got without trouble. 

Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto 
life,— Matth. vii. 14. 

Xakenà rà KaXd.—Gr. (Solon). 

Cha 'n fhaod duine fas beairteach mur leig a bhean 

A man can't get rich unless his wife allow him. 
A man that would thrive must ask his wife's leave. — Scot. 

Cha 'n fhaodar a' bho a reic 's a bainne òl. 
Ye canna sell the coo and sup the milk. — Scot. 
I cannot eat my cake and have my cake. — Eng. 


Cha 'n fliearr an s^ud na 'luach. 
TJiejeiccl is no better thayi its worth. 

The value, sure, of anything 

Is as much money as 'twill bring. — Hudihras. 

Cha 'n f hearr an t-urras na- 'n t-earras. 
The security is no better than the princi'pal. 

Cha 'n fhearr Sioram na Sarum. 

Sheriff is no tetter than Shariff. 

This is one of the jingling sayings, of which the Gael were 
rather fond, caring sometimes more for sound than for sense. 
Here, indeed, there is an obvious meaning, if I have rightly ren- 
dered it, indicating that aversion to the Saxon office of Sheriff, 
which Chalmers, inJiis Caledonia, several times refers to. 

Similar jingling sayings are, ' Cha 'n fhearr singeas na sangas,' 
and ' Cha 'n fhearr an gille siar na 'n gille sear '. They are not 
wholly meaningless, however, being much of the same import a-s 
Pope's now classic comparison ' 'twixt Tweedledum and Tweed- 
ledee '. 

Cha 'n flieòil sgamhan, 's cha bhainne blàthach. 
Lights are not meat, nor buttermilk milk. 

Cha 'n flieòil grùthan, 's cha shùghan lagan. 
Liver is not meat, nor bran-juice sowcns. 

Cha 'n fheum an ti a shealbhaicheas an toradh am 
blàth a mhilleadh. 

He that would enjoy the fruit must not spoil the 

Cha 'n fhiach bròn a ghnàth, 's cha 'n fhiach ceòl a 

Sorrow always is not good, nor is mirth always. 

To everything there is a season . . a time to weep, and 
a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance. — 
EccL. iii. 1, 4. 

Cha'n fhiach cuirm gun a cùmhradh. 
A feast is worth nothing without its conversation. 
It is creditable to our Celtic ancestors that in their view eating 
and drinking were not the chief charms of a dinner. 

Cha'n fhiach duine gun neart gun innleachd. 

A Tnan tvith neither strength nor art is v-orth nothing. 

Cha'n fhiach e 'bhi 'deanamh da hatha dheth. 
lis not worth making two days of it. 


Cha'n fliinch fear furachail Foghar. 
A man that's very watchful doesn't deserve a harvest. 
This does not seem good doctrine, but it is meant that he should 
be too busy to have time for spying about anxiously. 

Cha 'n fhiach sagart gun chleireacli. 
A priest is nothing without a clerk. 

Cha dual sagart gan chleireach, a's cha dual Domhnach gan 
aifrionn (Sunday luithout mass). — Ir. 

Cha 'n fliiach sgeul gun urrainn. 
A tale nnvouched is icorth nothing. 
Ni fiù sgèul gan uglidar èisdeachd. — Ir. 
Cha 'n fhiach tigh mor gun straighlich. 
A great hotise ivithout noise is ^vorth nothing. 
The Celtic idea of a Chief's house of the right sort is thiia 
expressed by Mary MacLeod in ' An Talla bu ghnàth le Mac- 

Tigh mdr macnusach, meaghrach, 
Nam macan 's nam maighdean. 
Far 'm bu tartarach gleadhraich nan corn. 

Great house gay and cheery, 
With young men and maidens, 
Where loud was the clatter of horns. 

Cha 'n fliiosrach, mur feòraich. 

Nothing ask, nothing learn. 

FrotJr er hverr fregnviss. IFIio asJis will become learned. — led. 

Cha 'n fhuiling am broc 'n a shloc ach e fhein. 

The badger in his hole no company can thole. 

Cha'n fhuiling an onoir cliid. 

Honour can't bear patching. 

Cha'n fhuilig ceann carrach fuaclid no teas. 

A scabby head can't bear cold or heat. 

Een schurft hoofd ontziet de kam (fears the comb), — Dutch. 

Cha'n fhuirich muir ri uallach. 

The sea luon't wait for a load. 

See ' Cha stad '. 

Cha 'n i 'bho 's àirde gèum a's mò bainne. 

The loudest loiving coiv is not the best milker. 

Cha 'n iad na ro-chleirich a's fhearr. 

The very learned are not the best. 

Merus granmiaticus, merus asinus. — Med. Lat. 


A mere scholar is a mere ass — Eng. 
The greatest clerks be not the wisest m^-n.—f^hauccr. 
Les grands clercs ne sont pas le plus fins.— i<V. 
De geleerdsten zijn de wijsten niet. — Du. 

Cha 'n iochd learn cnead mo leas-mhàthar. 
I pity not my stcpinothers sigh. 

Cha 'n ioghnadh an clamhan a dli'fhalbli le aon isean 
circe doille. 

No ivoncUr if the kite take a blind hens only 

Cha 'n ioghnadh boladh an sgadain a bhi de 'n t-soith- 
each 's am bi e. 

It's no wonder that the herring tcsscI smells of 

It's but kindly (i.e., natural) that the pock savour of the her- 
ring. — Scot. 

La caque sent toujours le hareng.— Fr. 

Soon after Henry of Navarre liad joined the Church of Eome, 
he was one day out hunting, and, leaving his attendants behind, 
came to an inn, and sat down to dinner with a company of mer- 
chants, to whom he was unknown. Their talk naturally turned 
on the king's conversion. ' Ne parlous pas de cela.' said one, a 
dealer ia pigs, ' la caque sent touj((urs le hareng.' The king said 
nothing, till his retinue came in, when the unfortunate merchant 
discovered his hetise. ' Bon homnie,' said the king, clapping him 
on the shoulder, ' la caque sent toujours le hareng, mais c'est en 
votre endroit, et non pas au mien. Je suis, Dieu merci, bon 
Catholique, mais vous gardez encore du vieux levain de la Ligue.' 
Mery's Hist, des Proverhes, II. 322. 

The translation of the above in the 2d Ed. of Jlacintosh is, 'No 
wonder that the cask smells of the herring iu which they are '. 

Cha 'n ioghnadh duine dall 

A dhol le allt no le creig ; 

Ach thusa do 'n leir a' choir, 

'S nach dean le d' dheòin d'i ach beag. 

No wonder is when Mind men fo.ll, 
Over rock or into river ; 
But strange art thou v:ho seest the good, 
And vnlliiigly hast done it never. 

Cha 'n ionanu a flireagras da latha margaidh. 
Tico days dont suit crjuallyfor market. 


Cha 'n ionann do fliear na neasgaid, agus do fhear 
'g a fàsgadh. 

It's different with the man of the hoil, and the man that 
squeezes it. 

Cha 'n ionann fear air mhisg 's fear air nisge. 

The drunk man and the luater-drinkcr differ. 

The only merit of this truism is the clink of the words. 

Cha 'n ionann iùl do dhithis, no slighe do thriùir. 

Two vien ivill take diverse roads, and three will go 
different loays. 

Raad ta jees ta reih (roghainn),as raad ta troor ta teiy (tagliadh). 
Where two go there is choice, where tliree go there is picking.— Alanx. 

Cha'n ionann sgeul a' dol do'n bhaile mhor 's a' 
tighinn dachaidh. 

It's a different story, going to toivn, and coming hack 
See ' Cha duine glic,' and ' Am fear a theid do 'n tigh mhor.' 

Cha 'n ionann sgeul a bhios air a' chreich 's air an 

The foray and the pursuit have different tales to tell. 
This and the next but one are purely Highland. 

Cha 'n ionann togradh do dhuine, a' dol a dh' iarraidli 
mnatha, 's 'g a cur dhachaidh. 

Very different is a mans desire, going for his wife and 
sending her home. 

Cha 'n olc a' chreach as an gleidhear a leth. 

It's not a bad foray ■where the half is kept. 

Cha 'n or a' h-uile rud buidlie, 's cha 'n uibhean a' 
h-uile rud ban. 

All that's yellow is not gold, and all white things are 
not eggs. 

The second half of this proverb is tacked on for the sake of 
assonance and alliteration. The first half is nearly in the same 
words in all European languages. The only ditierence in the 
Gaelic version is the use of the phrase ' the yellow,' instead of 
'what glitters' or ' shines,' which occurs in all the rest. The Gaelic 
phrase seems the more descriptive. 

Cha 'n òrdugh bat aig bàillidh. 

A bailiff's staff is not an order. 

Thisis an expression of the Celtic aversion to mere display of 
authority without the recognised right. 


Cha 'n uaisle duine na 'cheaird. 
No man is above his trade. 

He that thinks his business below him will always be above 
it. — Eng. Schame dich deines Handwerks nicht. — Germ. 

Cha 'n uaisle mac righ na 'chuideaclid. 
A Tciwjs son is no nohler than his conipamj. 
Cha'n uaisle mac righ na 'chuid (his food). — Ir. 
An Ulster chief of the O'Neills was found by a bard in the act 
of toasting a cake. He looked rather ashamed, on which the bard 
addressed him — 

Is tu-sa an tigheama O'Neill, 

A's mise mac t-sèin Mhic Cuirc, 

Tiontamaois a t-sudog air aon, 

Cha 'n uaisle mac righ na a chuid. 

Thou art the chief O'Neill, 
And I, son of old MacCork, 
In turning tfie cake we are one. 
No king's son's above his food. 

Ulster Journ. of Arch., Vol. VI., p. 260. 

Clia'n uisge acli a tuath, 's cha turadh buan ach a 

No rain hid from the north, no long dry loeather hut 
from the south. 

This saying, which comes from Tiree, is contrary to the expe- 
rience of most other places. 

Cha 'n urrainu domh a' mhin itheadh, 's an teine 

/ cannot cat the meed and hlow the fire. 

Al. Cha dean mi itheadh na mine, 'us seideadh an teine. 

Cha d-tig le duine a bheith ag ithe mine, a's a feadalaigh air 
a bhall (xohistling at the same time). — Ir. 

He canna haud meal in his mouth and blaw. — Scot. 

Niemand kann zugleich blasen und schlucken. — Germ. 

Met vollen mond is 't kwaad blazen.- Dutch. 

Soplar y sorber no puede junto ser. — Span. 

Cha 'n urrainn domh 'h-eigheach agus a h-iomradh. 

/ cannot raise the hoat-song and row her. 

The ' iorram,' or boat-song, was generally raised by the man at 
the helm, if able, and chanted or shouted with great vigour, the 
rowers joining in the chorus. ' Suidheam air stiùir, 's eigheam 
Creagag — Let me sit at the helm, and shout Creagag.' *Creagag 
Mliic-lain-Ic-Sheumais' was a favourite iorram. 


Cha nàr do dhuine bean 'g a dhiùltadli, bàta 'g a 
fliàgail, no Kiir 'g a tliilgeadh. 

It is no shame to a man to he refused hy a seaman, left 
hy a boat, or throivn hy a mare. 

Cha nigh na tha dh' uisge 's a' mhuir ar càirdeas. 

All the water in the sea ivont ivash out our kinship. 
This is intensely Hisliland, <as is the use of the same word, 
' càirdeas,' for ' friendship ' and ' kinship '. 

Cha phàigheadh a' chain a bh'aig Padruig air Eirinn e. 

St. Pati'iclcs tribute from Ireland tvould not pay it. 

•Dh 'itheadh (or 'dh'òladh') e 'chain a hh' aig Padruig air 
Eirinn' — He would eat (or drink) Patrick's tribute from Ireland, is 
another saying in reference to this tax, applied to a great eater or 
drinker. According to Keating (O'Coniior's tr., p. 333), Aengus 
of Ulster obliged himself and his successors to deliver 500 cows, 
500 bars of iron, 500 shirts, 500 mantles, and 500 sheep, to the 
convents and religious houses founded by St. Patrick in Ulster, 
instead of three pennies per head for every person baptized. This, 
probably, was the ' Cain ' referred to in the above sayings. 

Cha rachadh tu cho deas air mo ghnothach-sa. 

Toit wouldn't go so fast on my business. 

Cha reic e 'chearc ris an latha fhliuch. 

Hell no sell his hen on a rainy day. — Scot. 

Cha n-diolaidh si a cearc a riamh sa la fhliuch.— 7r. 

Cha riaraich briatlirachas bàs. 

Words will not satisfy death. 

Cha robh air dheireadh nach robh air thoiseach, ach 
fear na droch-mhnatha ; 's bhiodh am fear sin fhèin ann 
a' dol do'n mhuileann. 

None %oas ever last that ivas not first, except the ill- 
mated man ; and he too ivould he first going to the mill. 

Because his house would be ill-kept. 

Cha robh balg falamh riamh sàthach. 

Empty hag was never satisfied. 

Macintosh translates this in the sense of Prov. xxx. 16. 

Cha robh balach riamh de Chloinn-Ghriogair, no caile 
de Chloinn-an-Aba. 

There never was a clown of the Maegregors, nor a hussy 
of the Macnabs. 

The Maegregors trace their descent from King Alpin, and 
their motto is "S rioghail mo dhream, ' ilfi/ line is royal. The 


Macnabs are a branch of that great clan. The above saying, 
unlike most of those referring to clans, was not invented by an 

Clia robh bàs fir, gun ghràs fir. 

One man's death is grace to another. 

See ' An nl 'ni subhach.' 

Ni ddaw drwg i un, na ddaw da i ara'l — III comes not to one, 
witliout good to another. — Welsh. y derrey voddey, grayse y voddey elluy — One dog's deaili, 
uiiother dog's grace. — Manx. 

Cha robh briagach nacli robh bradach. 

None lied that ivoidd not steal. 

Very shrewd Ethics. He that can confound Yea and Kay 
cannot be trusted to respect Meum and Tuura. Truthfulness has, 
in fact, been laid down by some writers as the basis of all Virtue, 
and its opposite of all Vice. 

Cha robh brù mhòr riamh 'n a seise mhath. 

Big belly ivas never good mate. 

At. Cha robh làmh mhòr riainh aig caolan gionach — Greedy gut 
never had large hand. 

Cha robh bolg mòr fial a riamh — Big hclhj was never homitijul. 

Cha robh call mor gun bhuinig bhig. 

TJiere was never great loss without a little gain. 

Cha robh cam uach robh crosda. 
The onc-cijcd teas ever cross. 

Cha robh caraid riamh aig duine bochd. 

TJie poor are ever friendless. 

The poor is hated even of his own neighbour. — Pro v. xiv. 20. 

In contradiction to this, those who have had any experience 
among our poor know that their kindness to one another is often 
very great, and much beyond that of the rich. 

Cha robh coille riamh gun chrionaich, no linn gun 

Never teas luood without dry hrushwood, nor hrood 
without addle-egg. 

Al. Cha robh gur gun ghoirein. 

Chan 'nil coill air bith gan a losgadh fèin de chrionnlach inuti 
— (as much dry wood as would burn it). — Ir. 

Cha robh coimheart mor gun choimheart beag. 
Great was never without small comparison. 


Cha robh cùil an amliaruis rianili glan. 

The suspicious corner ivas never clean. 

Cha robh dithis riamh a' fadadh teine, nach do las 

Two were never maldng a fire, that didn't light between 

See ' Cha do chord '. 

There is a neat double meaning here, the suggestion heing that 
the two would quarrel about it. Two seldom agree as to the best 
way of making a lire. 

Cha robh do chuid riamh air chall. 

Your ^portion tvas never amissing, 

Cha robh duine riamh guu da latha, acli am fear gun 
lath' idir. 

No man was ever without two days hut the man who 
had none at all. 

No man ever lived without some vicissitude. 

Cha robh duine riamh gun lochd. 

Man was never without fault. 

Al. Tha 'chron fhein aig a h-uile fear — Every man has /izs own 

Odid ddyn teg dianaf — Scarcely a comely man faultless. — JFelsh. 

Man is the son of imperfection. — Arab. 

Humanum est errare. — Lat. Far er vamma vaur. — Icel. 

Cha robh gaoth mhor riamh gun bheagan uisge. 

There never was a high wind loithout some rain. 

Cha robh math no olc riamh gun mhnathan uime. 

There ivas never good or ill hut ivomen had to do ivith. 

Few of the proverbs in other languages attribute any influence 
to women except for mischief. This is not only more chivalrous, 
but more true. 

Cha robh meadliail mhor riamh, gun dubli-bhròn n a 

There never was a hurst of jog, that deep grief did not 

Al. Cha'n fliacas riamh meaghar mor nach robh 'n a dheigh 

After joy comes annoy. — Scot. 

Sadness and gladness succeed each other. — Enc^. 

These violent delights have violent ends. —Bom. and Jul., II. 6. 

Extrema gaudii luctus occn-pat.—Lat. 

M koma mein eptir munuS. — Icel. 


Cha robh reithe leathann liath riabh reamhar. 
A broad gray ram was never fat. 

Cha robh reothairt riamh 'n a h-àirde, ach Dimàirt 's 

Spring-tide never was at height, save on Tuesday or on 

I can neither confirm nor contradict this. 

Cha robh Samhradh riamh gun ghrian ; 
Cha robli Geamhradh riamh gun sneachd; 
Cha robh Nollaig mhor gun f heòil ; 
No bean òg le 'deòin gun fhear. 

Siivimer ne'er was without sun ; 
Winter never without snow ; 
Christmas never without Jlesh ; 
Nor ivilling woman without man. 

Cha robh saoidh gun choimeas. 

Peerless hero never was. 

Cha robh 'Seo' riamh gun mhaoidheadh, ach 's fliearr a 
mhaoidheadh na 'dhibreadh. 

' Take it' was never without grudge; hut letter grudged 
than not at all. 

Clia robh slibist gun tubaist. 

iSlips and slovens go together. 

See ' Bidh na tubaistean,' and'Istròm na tubaistean.' 

Cha robh sgeulach nach robh breugach. 

Tale-tellers will tell lies. 

Al. Cha robh ceileach nach robh breugach. — Tattlers vAll he 
telling lies. ' Ceileach,' a person addicted to going ' air cheilidh,' 
making calls and gossiping. 

Cha robh thu a's tigh an uair a chaidh an ciall a 

You were not in ivhen sense was being shared. 

Cha robh se air faghail, 'n uair a bhi an chiall da roinn. — Ir. 

Cha robh thu riamh air feill eile. 

That was aye your traffic. 

Lit. You were never at any other fair. 

Cha robh thu riamh gun do bhiadh 's a' mhuileann. 
You were never without your food in the mill. 


Cha ruig am beagan fuilt air cùl a' cliinn 's air clàr an 

The scanty hair wont cover the hack and front. 
Some men try it, notwithstanding ! 

Cha ruig fuaclid air airgiod-iomairt. 

Qaming-money tcon't get cold. 

Gaming for money was never much practised in the Highlands, 
one reason being that money was scarce in days of old. One of 
our historians has even attributed the noble contempt shown for 
the price ofl'ered for Prince Charley's head to simple ignorance 
of the value of cash, and incapacity to understand the meaning of 
£30,000 ! But, though among the class of people who produced 
most of our Gaelic proverbs, coin of any kind was seldom seen, 
there is sufficient evidence that not only was gaming with dice ancl 
cards practised in the Highlands very long ago, but that so intel- 
lectual a game as chess was well known to the Scoto-Irish Celts so 
far back as the time of Fingal and CuchuUin, whensoever that 
may have been. Even that game was sometimes played for high 
stakes, not in money, but in horses, mantles, and armlets of silver. 
The Norsemen also were very much given to gaming. 

Cha sgàin màthair leinibh. 

Bairns mother hursts never. — Scot. 

' Because,' says Kelly, ' she will keep meat out of her own mouth 
to put into theirs.' 

Cha sgal cù roimh chnàimh. 

A dog won't howl at a hone. 

A dog winna yowl if ye fell him wi' a bane. — Scot. 

Non si oflende mai cane gettandogli le ossa. — It. 

Cha sgaoilear tigh an arain. 

Bread's hoiise skailed never. — Scot. 

The identity of 'sgaoil' and ' skail' will be noted here. Kelly 
interprets this proverb as meaning that, while people have the 
staff of life, they need not give over housekeeping. Hislop, on 
the other hand, explains it as meaning that a hospitable house 
never wants visitors. 

Cha sgeith bo fiar. 

A cow %vont vomit grass. 

Wise creatures won't quarrel with their bread and butter, 

Cha sgèul-rùin e, 's fìos aig triùir air. 

It's no secret, if three know it. 

Al. • 'S triùir 'g a chluintinn' — if thee hear it. An rud 'bhios 
eadar triùir, cha'n flùùgh e 'chleith — JHiai three know is not wortJi 

Ni sgèul ruin e, o chlmnneas triuir e.— /r. 


Pkeeal eddyr jees. skeeal dyn insh ((J^^n innseadh) ; skeeal eddyr 
tree, te ersooyl (tlia e air siuhhal). — Manx. 

Nid cyfrinach ond rhwng — No secret hid Hunxt two. — Welsh. 

Three may keep counsel, if twa be awa. — Scot. 

Tre lo sanno, tutti lo sanno. — It. 

Puridad de dos, puridad de Dios : puridad de tres, de todos r s. 
— Span. 

Secret de deux, secret de Dieu : secret de trois, secret de tous. 

)5Ì6?5 veit ef |?rir 'ro — People Jcnov}, if three are. — Icel. 

Was drei wissen, erfahren bald dreiszig. — Germ. 

Cha shaltair duin' air a pliiseach. 
Ko man tcill trample on ids luck. 

Cha sliaotliair ba-laoigh do sliaotliair, no deagli gliainli- 

Your lahour is not that of a calving cow, nor of a 
good farroxo cow. 

Cha shean de m' sliean, 's cha 'n òg de m' òige thu. 

You arc not an old one, of nuj old ones, nor a young 
one of my youth. 

Cha sheas a' bliriag ach air a leth-chois. 

A lie stands on hut one leg. 

Al. Cha 'n 'eil casan aig briagan, ach tha sgiathan aig tuaileas. 

A lie has no legs, but a scandal has luings. — J^ng. 

Truth stands aye without a prop. — Scot. 

Bugie hanno corte le gambe. — It. La mentira tiene cortas las 
piernas. — Spaii. Lugeu haben kurze Beine. — Germ. — Lies have 
short legs. 

These sayings are true enough, in the sense that lies have no 
stability, and are easily overtaken. But not less true is the Welsh 
saying," Goreu cerddedydd, gau — The best traveller is a He. 

Cha sheas poca falamh. 

An empty hag cannot stand tipright. — Eng. 

Cha seasann sac falamh. — Ir. 

Sacco vuoto non sta ritto. — It. 

Ein leerer Sack steht nicht aufrecht. — Germ. 

Cha shin duine 'chas ach mar a ruigeas 'aodach. 
A man will stretch his foot no farther than his clothes 

Kara to Trdn\cùfia, Ka\ tcùv ttoSwv to ^d7rX<a/xa — According to the 
blanket must the feet stretch. — Mod. Gr. 
Cha shoirbh triubhas a chur air cat. 
It is not easy to put trews on a cat. 


Cha sliuaicheantas còrr air cladach. 
A heron on the shore is not peculiar. 
Lit. Not an ensign, or escutcheon. 

Cha stad na tràithean, 's clia 'n 'eil baigli aig seòl- 

Time won't wait, nor tide shoiv mercy. 

Time and tide tarry for no man. — Eng. 

Time and tide for nae man bide. — Scot. 

Zeit Ebbe und Fluth warten auf Niemand. — Germ. 

Tiempo ni hora no se ata con soga. — jSpa?i. 

Clia teich ach cladliaire, 's cha'n fliuiricli acli 

None hut a craven xvill fly, and none hid a sneak will 

Cha teich an earba gus am faic. 
The roe worit fly till she sees you, 

Cha tèid a' bhriag na 's fhaide na 'n craicionn. 
A lie won't pierce heyond the skin. 

Cha teid an sionnach na 's fhaide na bheir a chasan e. 
The fox luill go no farther than his feet toill carry 

Cha teid anam a mac bodaich le mùiseig. 
Threats won't drive the life oiit of a churl's son. 
Ni lladd gogyfaddaw — Threats loon't kill. — Welsh. 
Threatened folks live long. — Eìig., Scot. 

Cha teid àrdan nam ban fo 'n iiir. 

The pride of loomen will never he laid in the dust. 

Cha teid bòidlichead na 's doimhne nan craicionn. 
Beauty is hut skin deep. — Bny. 

Cha teid dad 's an dòrn dùinte: ' Mur ttiid, cha tig as/ 
arsa moisean. 

Nothing gets into the closed fist : ' Nor aid of it', said 
the send). 

Cha teid e timchioll a' phris leis. 
He ivon't go about the hush toith it. 

Cha deachaidh se air sgath an tuir leis— He didn't go behind the 
hush with it. — Ir. 



Cha tèid fiacli air bial dùinte, 's cha tog balbhan fianuis. 

Shut mouth incurs no debt, and dumb men give no 

Al. Cha toirear balbh gu mod— TVie dumb don't get into Court. 

Repentance for silence Ì3 better than repentance for speech. 
— Arab. 

Nulli tacuisse nocet, nocet esse locutum. — Dion. Cato. 

Be cheekeil for silence, but never taxed for speech. — All's Well 
that ends Well, I. 1. 

Clia teid plàsd air bagairt. 

A threat needs no 2'>lctster. 

Cha teid pòsadh tliair muir. 

Marriarje goes not beyond sea. 

I uiidet-st^md this saying is meant to be jocular, in allusion 
probably to the fact that sailors have been known to have wives 
in more than one port. 

Cha teid stad ort na 's mo iia air eas na h-aiuihue. 

You no more pause than the vrnterfall. 

Cha tig a mias an ni nach 'eil shuas. 

Nothing can come dovjn that is not up. 

Cha tig a soitheach le goc ach an deoch a bhios anu. 

A vessel with a cock lets out no liquor but what's in. 

Cha tig air a' choluinn nach f haodar fhulang. 

Nothing comes on the body that cant be borne. 

Cha tig am bàs gun leisgeul. 

Death comes not witlwut excuse. 

Al. ' Gun fhios carson' — Without knowing why. 

Cha daink rieau yn baase gyn lestal. — Manx. 

Cha d-tig an bàs gan adhbhar. — Ir. 

Addfed angeu i hen — Leath is ripe for the old. — Welsh. 

Cha tig am has gus an tig an t-àm. 

Death comes not till the time comes. 

Death's day is doom's day. — Eng. 

Ekki kemr ofeigum i hel— Fou can't kill an ^unfey' man. 

De dood kent geen' almanak — Death keeps no almanack. — 
Dutch. Eng. 

Cha tig an caitheamh crionuta ach do shiol nam 

The 2Jenn7-ious spending suits only the mean sort. 

This saying must have been uttered by a person of the ' suji^rior' 


Cha tig an còta glas clio math do-n a h-uile fear. 

The gray coat becomes not every 7nan alike. 

Macintosh says, ' King James the V's wearing a gray coat 
when in disguise might jirobably give rise to this saying.' 

Al. ' An còta fad'— the long coat. 

Liithers Schuhe sind nicht jedem Dorfpfarrer gerecht— iuf/ier's 
shoes don't fit every country parson. — Germ. 

Cha tig an crodh uile cho math do 'n hhuaile. 
All the coios dont come equally ivell to the fold. 

Cha tig an Fheill-Andrais gu ceann bliadhna tuilleadli 

St. Andrews Day won't come to us for another year. 

Christmas comes but once a year Eng. 

St. Andrew's Day, 30th Nov., is the festival of the patron 
saint of Scotland, and as such, holds its proper place in the 
esteem of Scotchmen and in the ecclesiastical calendar. It 
regulates, in fact, the beginning and end of the ecclesiastical year. 
See Chambers's Book of Days, IT. 636. 

Cha tig an latha 's cha chiar an trath a chi thu sin. 
Tiie day ^vlll never come, nor the evening darken, ivhen 
yoiill see that. 

Cha tig an t-anabarr. 
Too much never comes. 

Cha tig as a' phoit ach an toit a bhios innte. 
Nothirug comes oat of the pot but the smoke that's in it. 

Cha tig air crannaibh gu 'n tig Càisg. 
Till Easter come no tree will bloorn. 

Cha tig de 'n àtha ach am bàrr a th' oirre. 

Yotc can't take off the kiln but the grain that's on it. 

Cha tig fiacaill dhut ach na thàinig. 
You'll get no more teeth than you have. 

Cha tig fuachd gu Earrach, 
Cruaidh-chàs, no droch cheannach. 

Cold comes not until Spring, 
Hardship and bad marketing. 
Al. Cha tig fuachd gu 'n tig Earrach, 

Le gaoith tuath 's le cruaidh ghaillionn. 
Cold comes not until Spring 
North wind and tempest bring. 


Clia tig Geamhradli gu cùl Calluinn, no Earrach gu 
CÙ1 Fheill Pàruig. 

Winter comes not till after New Year, nor Spring till 
after St. Patrick's Day. 

St. Patrick's day is 17th March. 

As the ilay lengthens, the cokl strengthens. — Eng.-Scot. 
Wenn die Tage heginnen zu hmgen, 
Dannkommterst der Winter gegangen. — Germ. 

Jours croissants, i'roids cuisants. — Fr. 

Cha tig muir mhor troimh 'n chaolas chumhann. 

A great sea comes not through a narroio strait. 

Cha tig olc a teine ach ubh glas na feannaig. 

Nothing evil will come out of the fire hut the croidsgray 


Al. * Ach feòil na gla-s fheannaig' — the gray crow's flesh. 

There is a strange story in Rannoch about the great Michael 
Scott, to account for this saying. It is, that fearing his wife, to 
whom he had taught the Black Art, would excel him in it, he 
killed her by means of crows' eggs heated in the lire and put into 
her arm-pits, as the only thing against which no counter-euchant- 
ment could prevail I 

Cha tig o'n mhuic ach uircein. 

From t/ie sow comes hut a little pig. 

Cha tig piseach air duine a bheir cat thar allt. 

He ivill have no luck ivho takes a cat across a stream. 

Cha tig rath a ràiteachas, no math a milleadh. 

No luck comes of idle talk, nor good of spoiling. 

Cha tig smaointean glan a cridhe salach. 

Clean thoughts come not from a foid heart. 

How can ye, being evil, speak good things ?— Matth. xii. 34. 

Cha tig snath mo mhua-sa air snath do mlmà-sa. 

My wifes thread xcont match your wife's. 

Cha tigear bho 'n ghàbhadh trie. 

Jeopardy is not often escaped from. 

Cha toill iarrtas achmhasam 

Asking merits not reproof. 

Cha toir a' bho do'n laogh ach na th' aicf^. 

Tlie cow can give her calf only wJtat she has. 

Cha toir a' bhòidhchead goil air a' phoit. 

Beauty won't hoil the pot. 

Al. Cha ghoLL an uaisle 'phoit — Gentility icon't hoil the iKt. 


Beauty will buy no beef. — Eiig. 

Send yir gentle bluid to the market, and see what it will bring. 

Clia toir am fitheach an t-sùil dha 'isean fhein. 

The raven 'wont give the eye to his own chicken. 

Cha toir a' gliaotli dhiot, ge teann leat a slieideas. 

The wind won't strip you, though it hkno hard. 

This seems to be founded on the old story of the traveller and 
liis cloak. 

Cha toir diiine 'chall d' a charaid. 

No man gives his friend his loss. 

Cha toir duine rath air eigin, 's gheabhar e gun eigin 

A man cannot force his lot, aiid without stress it may 
he got. 

See * Bheir duine beath' air eigin,' and ' Thig ri latha.' 

Cha toir muir no monadh a chuid o dhuine sona; 's 
cha ghleidh duine don' an t-allt. 

Neither main nor moor can make the lucky poor; hut 
tlie unlucky man can't keep to the hum. 

See ' Cha 'n 'eil air an duine sona.' 

Cha toir thu 'n aire gus an teid am bior 's an t-sùil. 

You won't take heed till the prick is in the eye. 

Cha toirear o 'n chat ach a chraicionn. 

You can take nothing from the cat hut its skin. 

Cre yiow jeh 'n chayt agli y clirackan. — Manx. 

Man faaer ei meer af Eaeven end Bajlgen— One can't take more 
off the fox than his skin. — Dan. 

Cha treabh gach bliadhna d' a cheile. 

Each yeai^'s ploughing is for itself 

Cha truagh learn cuead mo mhàthar-c^ile. 

1 don't pity my mother-in-law's sigh. 

The sayings of all nations about mothers-in-law are of the same 
wicked kind. See ' Is math a mhàthair-chèil' an fhòid,' and 
' Mar dhobhran.' One of tlie liveliest is an Ulster rhyme quoted 
by Mr Kelly ("Walter K.) in his admirable little book, Proverbs of 
ail Natioiis (London, 18o9): — 

Of all the ould women that ever I saw, 
Sweet bad luck to my mother-in-law ! 

Cha truagh learn cù 's marag m' a amhaich. 

/ don't pity a dog with a pudding round his neck. 


Clia tugadli an donas an car as. 

The devil couldn't cheat him. 

Cha tugadh 'an Cille-mo-cheallaig iDreith bu clilaoine. 

No worse judgment was given in Kilmachecdlag. 

The parish of Kilmacheallag is as difficult to find out as the 
town of Weissnichtwo. The story is that a man was tried there 
by a jviry of women, for stealing a horse, and was acquitted, while 
the horse was condemned to be hanged ! The man had been tried 
before for stealing the same horse, and got off, and the poor horse 
liked him so well, that he ran away from his proper master and 
came back to the thief. 

This story is referred to by the bard Iain L6m, as an illustra- 
tion of hLs own iniquitous treatment by the murderer of young 
Kei^poch. In his ' Oran do Shiol Dughaill' he says, 
Cleas na linne nach maireann, 
'Bha 'n sgir" Chill'-ma-cheallaig, 
'N uair a dhit iad an gearran 's a mhòd. 

Lagh cho cearr 's a bha 'm Breatimn, 

'Rinn am mearleach a sheasamh, 

'Bhi 'g a thearnadh o leadairt nan curd. 

' Like the people of old, in the parish of Kilmacheallag, who 
sentenced the horse at the court ; as bad law as ever was in Bri- 
tain, which upheld the thief, and saved him from the mangling 
of ropes.' 

See MacKenzie's Sar Ohair nam Bard Gaelach, p. 38, and 
Campbell's JVest H. Tales, II. 372, 381. 

Cha tugadh i deirc do 'n dall air rauin a' chrùbaich. 

She woiddn't give cdms to the blind on the cripples hack. 

Cha tugadh na h-eich an casan as. 

The Jwrses couldn't take their feet out of it. 

Said of very thick porridge, &c. 

Cha tuig an sàthach an seang : 's mairg a bhiodli 'n a 
thràill d' a bhroiun. 

17ie full man understands not the empty: ill for him 
who is the slave of his belly. 

Al. ' Cha 'n fhidir' — considers not. 

Ni thuigeann an sàthach an seang. — Ir. 

Cha dennee rieau yn soogh y shang. — Mr/nx. 

It's ill speaking 'twixt a fu' man and a fastin'. — Scot. 

Corpo satoUo non crede al digiuno. — It. 

'O )(opTacrfj.ivos tov vijottikOv òèv ròv TTiarevei. — Mod. Gr. 

Cha tuig an t-òg aimbeart, 's cha tuig amadan 'aimh- 

Youth foresees not poverty, nor the fool his mischief. 


Cha tnit a' h-nile rud air an tig cratbadli. 
Ecerything falls not that is shaken. 
Every wind bloweth not down the corn. — Eng. 
Ogni vento non scuote il noce. — It. 
Cha tuit caoran a cliabh falamli. 
Feats don t fall from empty creels. 
Cha tuit guidhe air cloich no air crann. 
Curse ivon't fall on stock or stone. 
The curse causeless shall not come. — Prov. xxvi. 2. 
Le bestemmie fanno come le procession! ; ritornano donde par- 
tuono— Curses, like processions, return whence they came. — JL 

Chaidh a phronnadh 'n a shùgh fèin. 

He was pounded in his own Juice. 

Chaidh an ceòl air feadh na fidhia 

The music ivent through the fiddle. 

All went into confusion. 

Chaidh an taoini os ceann nan totaichean. 

The hilge- water ivas over the thtoarts. 

Chaidh an tonn gun direadh air. 

The wave went over him without climhing. 

Chaidh e do 'n choille 'ghearradh bata gu gabhail air 

He went to the ivood for a stick to heat himself. 

Chaidh mi thar lus. 

I went over a p)lant. 

In Macintosh the translation is ' I stepped over a weed,' with 
this note in the 2d Ed., ' ^aid when a person is seized suddenly 
with sickness '. I have not been able to find any trace of the idea 
that stepping over a plant causes sickness ; but it is suggested that 
it refers to women in an interesting condition, when they have 
curious fancies. ' Lus' might be a misreading of ' lùths,'^n7/i, in 
which case the proper rendering would be, ' I went beyond my 
pith '. ' She gaed by hersel' and fell ower' expresses the same 

Chain e 'm baile thall, 's cha do bhuinnig e 'm baile 

He lost farm, and didn't get this one. 

At. Chaill e Dall a bha thall, 's cha do bhuinnig e Dall a tha 
bhos,— in reference to two farms in the parish of Barvas, Lewis. 

Chain e 'n seòl mara. 

He lost the tide. 


Chaill Eòglian a Dliia, acli cliaill an t-Iarla 'cliuid 

Eioen lost his God, hut the Earl his money. 

This singular saying is founded on tlie transaction tlius men- 
tioned in an old MS., — 

"Sir E. Cameron was bound by alliance, money, and solemn 
oath to the MacLeans, but renounced all on Argyll's quitting to 
Lira a debt of 40,000 inevks." — McB'arlane' s Geuealog. Coll. 2ISS. 
Adv. Lib. II. 191. 

Chailleadh tu do chluasan mur biodli iad 'au ceangal 

You ivould lose your ears v:cre they not fastened to you. 

Clii an duin' acrach fada uaithe. 
Tlie hungry man sees for. — Scot. 
Chi dithis barrachd air aon fhear. 
Two see more than one. 
Al. Chi ceithir siiilean na 's mo na 'dhà. 
Four eyes see more than tv:o. — Eng. 
Deux yeux voyent plus clair qu' un. — Fr. 
Vedon più quattr' occhi che due. — It. 
Mas ven quatro ojos que dos. — Span. 
Vier Augen sehen mehr als zwei. — Germ. 

Chi- mi sin, 's fuaighidh mi sec. 

Tliat I see, hut this I sevj. 

A brave tailor in the little to-mi of Beauly wagered that he 
«-ould sew a pair of hose at midnight in the old church of Kil- 
ehrist, which was known to be haunted by a very dreadful ghost. 
He was duly escorted to the place, and left in a seat near the door, 
vdih. his cloth and thread and candles, about eleven o'clock. He 
set manfully to work, and sewed away undisturbed for about an 
hour. At length the clock struck the witching hoiu- of twelve, 
and as the last stroke vibrated through the dead silence, the tailor 
with a beating heart became aware of a fearful head bending 
towards him, and a hoarse voice addressed him, 'Fhaic thu 'n 
ceann mor liath, 's e gun bhiadh, a thàiUeir?' — 'See'st thou the big 
grayhead, iiithoutfood, tailor?' 'That I see,' said the tailor, 'but 
this I sew, and went bravely on. Then the horrid thing drew nearer, 
and again the voice was heard, ' Fhaic thu 'n sgòrnan fada riabh- 
ach,' &c. ? — 'See'st thou the long grizzled throat,' &c. ? The 
tailor answered as before, sewing with all his might. Still the 
thing drew nearer, and the voice said, ' Fhaic thu 'cholunn fhada 
riabhach,' &c. 1 — ' See'st thou the long grizzled trunk?' The tailor 
answered as before. Still nearer and nearer it came, and asked, 
'Fhaic thu 'n t-sliasaid fhada riabhach,' ad'—' See'st thou the 


hach,' &c. ? — ' See'st tliou tlie long grizzled arm V and as it spoke, 
the horrid bony hand was stretched towards him. Still the tailor 
sewed away, having now but two or three stitches to do. The 
spectre was now close to him, its eyeless sockets glaring, its flesh- 
less mouth grinning, the long brown arm and lingers menacing 
him, and for the last time the voice was heard, ' Fhaic thu chrùg 
mhòr fhada riabhach, 's i gun bhiadh, a thàillear V — ' See'st thou 
the great grizzled paw, without food, O tailor T At that moment 
the tailor had finished his last stitch ; he caught up the hose 
hastily, and made for the door. Behind him clattered the skele- 
ton, and just as he got out at the door, he felt the bony fingers 
like hot pincers grazing his buttock. Tliey left tlu'ir mark there, 
but the tailor escaped alive, and heard the buny Iiaml rattling 
against the cheek of the church door, knocking a dint there, in 
the stone, which may be seen to this day, to testify to the truth 
of the brave tailor's story ! 

Chi sinn de 'n taobh a thig a' mhaodal as a' nihart. 

Well see on which side the paunch comes out of the cotv. 

This is suggestive of something like the Eoman divination from 
intestines; but it really means nothing more than a joke some- 
times played on young people present on the great occasion of 
killing a winter cow. They would be asked to guess on which 
side of the animal the paunch would appear, which was of course 
a matter of mere accident. 

Chi sinn, mar a thubhairt an dall. 

We'll see, as the blind man said. 

Nous verrons, dit I'aveugle. — Fr. 

Chi thu thugad e, 's cha 'n fheairrd thu agad e. 

You'll see it coining to you, and you'll he nunc the letter. 

Chlisg am brochan nach d' òl e. 

The gruel he drank not tremlled. 

Intended to indicate great trepidation. 

Chluicheadh e 'h-uile bun mdain detb. 

He tvould play his very knuckles off. 

A desperate gamester. 

Chual luchan an àrd-doruis e. 

The mice of the lintel heard it. 

A supposed secret. 

Chluinneadh e 'm fiar a' fas. 

He would hear the grass growing. 

Cho àluinn ri Aghaidh-shneachda. 

As lovely as Snow-face. 

This is the 'Agandecca' of Macpherson, known in Highland 
story long before his time. 


Cho an-iochdmhor ris an Turcach. 

As merciless as the Turk. 

The fame of Tiirkish corsairs found its way to the remotest 

Clio binn ri smeòraich air geig. 

As tuneful as a mavis on a loufjli. 

Cho bitli ris an Inch fo ladhar a' chait. 

As quiet as a mouse under the cat's pauj. 

Al. Cho umhal ri luch fo spòg a' chait. 

As quiet as a mouse. — Eng. 

Cho bochd ris a' chirc. As poor as a. hen. 

Cho bodhar ri cloich. As deaf as a stone. 

Cho bodhar ri giadh a 's t-Fhoghar. 

As deaf as a goose in Autumn. 

Cho briagach 's a tha 'n cù cho bradacli. 

As lyinrj as the dor/ is thievish. 

Cho bròdail ris a' mhac-mhollachd. 

As proiul as the son of perdition. 

As proud as Lucifer. 

Cho cam ri iomair an amadain. 

As crooked as the fool's furrow. 

Cho carach ri Mac Chrùislig. 

As tricky as Mac Cruslick. 

See ' Cha b' ann mar a fliuair '. 

Cho carach ris a' mhadadh-ruadh. 

As wily as a fox. — h'nr/. 

Cho ciallach ri cnoc. As wise as a hill. 

The alliteration is the chief thing here. The sense, such as it 
is, is better than the English ' As wise as a wisp '. 

Cho corrach ri ubh air droll. 

As unsteady as an egrj on a stick. 

Mai wy ar trosol. — Welsh. 

Cho crosda ris an dris. As cross as a hramlle. 

Cho cruaidh ri seiche Euairidh — ni i fuaim, 's 'n uair 
a theid a bualadh ni i srann. 

As luxrd as Ilorys hide — it sounds, and vjhcn it's struck, 
it resounds. 

Cho cuimseach làmh ri Connlaoch. 

As unerring of hand as ConnlaocK 


Connlaoch was one of the Ossianic heroes, son of Cuchullin, anri 
brouiiTht up at Dùn-sgàthaich in Skye, of which the ruins still 
remain. There are several ballads on the tragic story of Conn- 
laoch, to be found in Campbell's Leabhar na Feinne, pp. 9-15. It 
forms the subject also of one of the finest pieces in Macpherson's 

The name Connlaoch cannot, unfortunately, be represented, as 
pronounced, by any English letters, the diphthong ao in particular 
(something like the French ccit and the German o) having no place 
in the English language. 

Cho dall ri bonn do chois. 

As hlind as the sole of your foot. 

Cho dall ri dallaig. As blind as a dog-fish. 

Cho dall ri damh ann an ceo. 

As blind as an ox in viist. 

Cho daor ris an t-salann. As dear as salt. 
See ' Cha b' e sin an salann saor '. 

Cho disgeir ri cat. As nimble as a cat. 

Cho dona dheth ri lair a' ghobha. 

As ill off as the blacksmith's mare. 

The smith's mear and the soutar's wife are aye warst shod. — Scot. 

Cho dudach ri circ. As thin-skinned as a hen. 
Cho eòlach 's a tha 'm bridean 's an tràigh. 
As tucll acquainted as the oyster-catcher is with the shore. 
Cho eòlach 's a tha 'n ladar air a' phoit. 
As intimate as the ladle and the pot. 
Cho fad 's a bhios bainne geal aig boin dhuibh. 
As long as a black cow gives lohite milk. 
This is said to have been once the term of lease of a farm in 

Cho fad 's a bhios craobh 's a' choill, bidh foill anns 
a' Chuimeanach. 

As long as trees are in the icood, the dimming will be 

This is one out of several similar sayings, which, it is hoped, 
will give no offence now to any members of the clans so character- 
ized. The Gumming one is selected as a leading specimen, because 
it IS perhaps the oldest, having probably originated in the time of 
King Robert the Bruce, who punished the treachery of his cousin 
the Red Cumyn in such a memorable way at Dumfries. 

' Cho fad 's a bhios slat 'an coill, bidh foill ann an Caimbeulach,' 


bestows the same character on the great Campbell clan, a saving 
probably dating from the massacre of Glencoe. 
' Clio fad 's a bhios maid' 'an coill, 
Cha bhi Mathanach gun fhoill,' 
feuphonionsly proclaims the same of tlie respectable tribe of ]\Iath- 
eson. The Munros are similarly libelled. 

More stiffly, and with as little known reason, it is said of the 

* Fhad 's a bhios fuachd ann a' stoc càil, 
(or, uisge 'am bun càil) 
Bidh an fhoill ann an clann Phàil.' 
' While there's cold in stock of Jcail, 
Will he guile in a MacPhail.' 

Lastly, and worst of all, it has been said, probably by some 
Mainland or Lon^ Island victim of Skye treachery, ' Fliad 's a 
bhios fiodh 'an coill, bidh an fhoill 's an Sgitheanach '. 

Cho fad 's a ìjhios mouadh 'an Cinntail', cha blii Mac- 
Coinnicli gun àl 's a' clirò. 

As long as there arc moors in Kintail, Mackenzie v:ont 
want cattle in the i^en- 

This referred to the ancient lords of Kintail, the last of whom 
died in 1815. The word ' crò' has a double meaning liere, being 
the name of a j)art of Kintail, so called from the river Croe. 

Cho fad 's a bhios muir a' bualadh ri lie. 

As long as sea heats on stone. 

Cho fada 's a' cheann 's a bha Fionn 's na casan. 

As long in the head as Fingal teas in the legs. 

In some of the Ossianic legends, Fingal figures as a man of 
gigantic dimensions, and that is the general tradition ubuiil him 
and his followers. 

Cho fallain ris a' bhreac. 

As health/ as a salmon. 

It is a sad fact that the immimity from disease of this noble 
fish can be claimed for it no longer, after the evidence of 1879. 

Cho fuar ri màthair a' chleirich. 

As cold as the beadle's mother. 

The beadle's mother was in the habit, where this proverb origi- 
nated (Tiree, apparently,) of doing duty for her son occasionally, 
and, in the collection of dues or taxes, she was as coldly severe as 
any head of a Financial Department could desire. 

Cho geal ri sneachd na h-aon oidhche. 

As ivhite as the one night's snoiv. 

Cho glic ri sagart 's eallach leabliraichean air. 

As wise as a 'priest with a load of hooks. 


Cho gionach ris a' cliii. As greedy as a dog. 

Clio gnu ri broc. As grippy as a badger. 

Cho gòracli ris na h-eòin. As tlioughtless as the hirds. 
Often said of cliildren by nice old women. 

Cho labhar ri.g a' ghaoith. As noisy cts the wind. 

Cho Kiiclir ri Cuchiillin. As strong as ChichuUm. 
Cucliullin is one of the principal characters in Scoto-Irish 
lej^endaiy poetry and history, and is represented as not only a 
pi'odigy of strength, but gifted with every manly grace, a Celtic 
Achilles, and something more. In the wonderful old Irish legend 
of the ' Tain Bo Cuailgne,' he figures as the hero of the great 
struggle, in which he perished fighting against fearful odds, simply 
through his magnificent sense of honour and chivalry, knowing . 
perfectly what he risked. This strange weird story is embodied 
by Mr. O'Grady in his History of Irehmd. 

The description of Cuchullin in his chariot, in the 1st Book of 
Macpherson's Fingal is one of the passages in that poem of which 
there can be no doubt that he at least was not the author, and 
that the original was Gaelic, and old. It contains one amusing 
example of Macpherson's inaccuracy, or imperfect knowledge of 
his native tongue. The two lines, describing one of the horses, 

Bu shoilleir a dhreach, 's bu luath 

'Shiubhal : Sithfada b'e ainm, 
are well translated by Dr Clerk, 

Shining his coat, and speedy 

His pace — Si-fadda his name. 
]\Iacpherson's translation is, ' Bright are the sides of tha steed I 
His name is Sulin-Sifadda !' The word ' Sith-fada' means 'Long- 
pace,' an admirable name for a horse. Macpherson, misreading 
and mistranslating 'shiubhal,' 'his going,' imagined that it v/as 
part of the horse's name, and tacked it on accordingly. 

Cuchullin's name is still associated in Skye with the old vitri- 
fied fort of Dun Sgàthaich at Ord (painted more than once by 
M'Culloch), where his son Connlaoch was supposed to have been 
born and brought up by his mother, whom Cuchullin in Fingal, 
B. I., speaks of as, 

Deò-ghrèine Dhùn Sgàthaich nan stuadh, 

Ainnir bhràigh-gheal nan rosg inall, 

Ise 'dh 'fhag mi 'n Innis an t-slòigh. 

The sunbeam of Dunscaaich of waves, 
White-bosomed fair of gentle eye, 
Whom I left in the Isle of hosts. 
The fashion introduced by Avriters of guide-books and others, 
of calling the Coolin Hills in Skye ' Cuchullin Hills,' is without 


any local or historical warrant. They were never known in Skye 
by any other name than the Cuilfiiion, pronounced Coolyim. 
'Cuilfhinn,' fair, lovely, sug.^ests a fit etymology, but I believe 
the name is derived trom the fact that tlie Holly, Cuilionn, 
was found in unusual abundance among the ravines of these 
mountains. It still nourishes on the rocky banks of several of 
the streams, and on the most consijicuous of the islets in Coiruisk. 

The sweet-scented ' Queen of the Meadow' is named in Gaelic 
' Crios-Chuchulinn' — Cuchullin's belt, of which Alexander Mac- 
Donald in his ' Song of Summer' sweetly sings, 
'S cùraidh fàileadh do udiuineil, 
A Chrios-Chomhchuluinn nan earn. 
Sweet is the scent of thy neck. 
Thou Belt of Cuchullin of cairns. 

Cho làidir lis a' Gliarbh Mac Stàirii. 

As strong as Garv the son of Starn. 

' An Garbh' is simply ' the strong,' a Celtic name bestowed on 
a Scandinavian champion, who figures largely in the old Gaelic 
liallads. In Macpherson's Ossian he is Swaran, son of Staruo, and 
brother of Agandecca, whom Cuchullin overcame. 

Cho Ian 's 'tha 'n t-ubh de 'n bliiadh. 

As full as an erjg is of meal. 

Cho leisg ri seana chù. As lazy as an old dog. 

Cho lionmhor ri muinntir Fhionnlaidh. 

As numerous as Finlay's 2^f02)ie. 

This is a Lewis name for the Fairies, of unknown origin. 

Cho lionmhor ris na gathan dubha. 

A s numerous as the black darts. 

This is variously interpreted, and may be held descriptive of 
midges darting to and fro in myriads, or of the black spikes of 
small oats. 

Cho luath ri aigne nam ban baoth. 

As swift as the fancy of foolish women. 

A sharp, but not censorious, saying. 

Cho luath ris na loin. As swift as the elks. 

Al. Cho luath ris na luinn — As swift as the wavdops. 

The primary rendering of this goes back to a prehistoric period. 
The other is very descriptive, and applies equally to the waving 
of corn or grass. 

Cho marbh ri sgadan. As dead as a herring. 

No other fish dies so quickly on being taken out of the water. 

Cho math 's a's fhiach am mèirleach a' chroich. 

As ivcll as the thief deserves the gallons. 

As well Morth it as a thief is worth a rope. — Eng. 


Clio mear ri ceann siamain ri latlia gaoitlie. 

As merry as the head of a straiv-rppe on a loindy day. 

Trivial, but graphic. 

Cho mor aig a cheile ri da clieann eicli. 

As thick as ttuo horse heads. 

Al. Cho reidh ris na ceannaichean — As loell-agrced as merchants. 

This version looks like a pun = ceann-eich. 

Cho mosach ris na glasan. 

As mean as the locks. 

Lock-fast places are still comparatively uncommon among the 
Highland peasantry. As lor locking a main-door at night, that 
is never thought of. 

Clio nimlieil ris an natliair. As venomous as a serpent. 

Clio reamliar ris an ròn. As fat as a seal. 

Clio sgith dheth 's a bha 'n losgann de 'n chleitli- 

As tired as the toad tvas of the harrow. 

Many masters, quoth the toad to the harrow, wlien every tine 
(tooth) turned her over. — £?((/. 

Mony maisters, quo' the puddock, when ilka tynd o' the harrow 
took him a toit. — Hcot. 

Clio Sgith ri CÙ. As tired as a dog. 

No animal wearies himself so unsparingly as a dog ; none is so 
ready, when most weary, to obey his master's call. 

Cho sgith 's a bha 'n goblia d' a nihàthair, 'n iiair a 
thiodhlaic e seaclid uairean i. 

As tired as the smith was of his mother, when le Inn icd 
her seven times. 

I don't know the origin of this ridiculous saying. 

Cho siuindach ris an fhiadh. 

As hearty as the stag. 

Cho teonia ri Coibhi Drnidh. 

As clever as Coivi the Druid. 

Dr. John Smith, in his Galic Antiqtdties (p. 8, note) says 
that this was the Gaelic name for the Arch-Druid ; and in Bede's 
interesting account of the conversion of King Aedwin of North- 
umbria (Eccl. Hist, Lib. II., cap. 13), the Ìiigh-pviest is called 
Cuifi. In Mr. Moberly's note on this (Ed. of Bede, 18(39) lie says— 
" This name has been derived from Coibhi, the Kymric for ' help- 
ful,' and thus it has been argued that the Angle hierarchy was 
British. But see Kemble, Archceol. Soc. Proc, 1845, p. 83. 
Coifi is only an Anglo-Saxon nickname of easy translation. * * « 


The word is equivalent to Coefig or Cefig, just as Coinraed in the 
Northumbrian dialect represents Cènried in West-8axon. It is 
an adjective formed from còf, ' strenuus/ and merely denotes the 
* bold or active one '. " 

I cannot find the word ' coibhi,' or anything like it, in any 
Cymric dictionary, but whatever its origin, the name has been 
handed down in .Scottish Gaelic for an unknown length of time as 
that of an important Druid. The above saying might well be ap- 
plied to King Aedwin's high-priest, who behaved with remarkable 
wisdom on the occasion above mentioned. 

For anotlier saying in reference to Coibhi, see ' Ge fagiLs clach '. 

Cho teth ri gaol seòladair. 
As hot as a sailors love. 

Al. ' Gaol tàiUeir' — a tailor's love. Both .sailors and tailors are 
accused of being aj)t to change their afi'ections easily. 

Cho trie 's a tha fiacail 'ad cheann. 
As often as there's a tooth in your head. 

Chuala mi 'cliubliag gun bliiadli 'am bhroinn, 

Cliunnaic mi 'n searrach 's a clmlaobh rium, 

Chunnaic mi 'u t-.seilcheag air an lie luim, 

'S dh' aithnich mi naeh rachadh a' bliliadhn' ud learn. 

J heard the cuckoo while fastincf, 

I savj the foal %vith his hack to me, 

I savj the snail on the flarj -stone hare, 

And I knew the year icovM he had for me. 

Attributed to the ' Cailleach Bheurra,' a distinguished Sybil. 

Chuir am maor do thigh an rimair' e 

The hailift sent him to the secretary. 

Al. ' An righ' for ' am maor '. 

The ' Circumlocution Office' on a small scale. 

Chuir Brighd' a làmh 's a' bhola. 

Bridget pnt her luind into the hovd. 

This seems to refer to St. Bridget's miraculous power of turning 
water into ale. The following curious old rhyme is among the 
Gaelic MSS. of the Advocates' Library, (g. ms. lxii.) 


Gairim is cruidhim tu chlach, 

Ka leig Brighid a mach. 

O 's i geurachadh an deoch, 

Is ioma saoidh gim lochd 

Dh'an d' thug i bàs. 

Do thart a nis o chaidh to thart, 

Tart siorruidh ort, a Blirighid. 


Chuir e 'bhàt' air acair. 
He set his boat at anchor. 

Chuir e 'chliath-cliaisg air. 

He put the harrow-check on him. 

He put a stopper on him, or a spoke iu his wheel. 

Chuir e 'chrodh air àireachas. 

He sent his cattle to the hill pasture. 

This is an inland saying, as the one about the boat is maritime. 

Chuir e 'n dubh-chapaill air. 

He quite out-did him. 

This is a Lochaber phrase of unknown origin. It used to be 
the practice at weddings to have a pleasant competition in singing 
between ' Da thaobh an t-sabhail,' the two sides of the barn — 
often the bride's friends against the bridegroom's. The side that 
held out longest would then say to the others, ' An dubh-chapaill 
oirbh ! ' 

Chuir e na buinn 's na breabanan air. 

He put the soles and half -soles on. 

He used all expedition, and finished the job. 

Chuir iad am balgan-suain fo 'cheann. 
Tltey put the sleeping-bag u)ider his head. 
Applied, says Macintosh, to a person who sleeps too much, in 
allusion to the bag or cocoon in which the caterpillar sleeps. 

Chuir thu ceann paib air mu dheireadh. 
You have put a tow-head on it at last. 
A I. ' Ceann gràineil,' a vile end. 

Said, says Macintosh, of those who destroy all the good they 
have done by an ill deed. 

Desinit in piscem mulier formosa superne. — Hor. 

Chuireadh e na h-eòin 'an crannaibh. 

He loould make the birds go into trees. 

With the sweetness of his voice. 

Duncan Maclntyre, describing the Glen Etive women waulk- 
iiig cloth, says 

'Nuair a sheinneas iad na h-ùrain, 
Cuiridh iad na h-eùin 'an crannaibh. 

Chuireadh e 'n òrrais air math-ghanihuin. 

It would sicken a bear. 

Chuireadh e na searraich bho dheoglial. 

It would put the foals from sucking. 

So bitter or disgusting. 



Chuireadh iad na fuidh a fàsach. 

They vjoidd send the deer out of a wilderness. 

Said of very noisy people. 

Chuireadh tu eagal air na Samhanaich. 
You woidd frighten the savages. 
This is an Islay saying. 

Al. Mharbhadh e na Samhanaich — 7i ivould Mil the savages; 
Siiid of something very overpowering or unwholesome. See 'Aran'. 

Chumadh e dha mu'n do chumadh triubhas dha. 
It was fitted for him heforc trews were made for him. 
It was predestined for him. 

Chnnnaic mise da Mhac-Coinnich romhad! 
/ have seen tivo Mac]cenzies before you ! 
Two Mackenzie factors. 

Factors have rarely been popular in the Highlands. The above 
was said by an indignant farmer to a disagreeable factor in Lewis, 
when the Mackenzies of Seaforth were lords of that island. At 
the burial of a Lewis factor, amid dry eyes, the following verse 
was made : — 

Cuiribh air ! Cuiribh air 1 
'S e chuireadh òirnne ; 
'S ma dh'eireas e rithist, 
Cuiridh e 'n còrr oirnn! 

Heap on him! Heap on hiral 
It's he that would put on us ; 
And if he rise again, 
He'll just put more on us ! 

I have heard of even a stronger sentiment expressed in another 
island at the burial of a factor v,\\o had taken in a great number 
of confiding people, left lamenting, not for him, but for their 
hardly earned money. One of these victims, a sturdy old man, 
stood by the grave when all was over, and .shaking his fist at it, 
said, ' Na'm bu tig a' la a dh'eireas tu-sa as a .sin !' — May the day 
never come vjhen you'll rise out of that ! 

The Celts of Scotland have never, in modern times, so far as I 
know, maltreated, much less killed, a factor, steward, or magis- 
trate. They have often been treated unjustly ; but they are neitlier 
so quick of tongue, nor so unsparing of hand, as their Irish 

Ciall a dh' fhadai's teine ; 
llian a chumas baile ; 
Cha mhair sliochd fir foille ; 
No iochd ri 'chuid doinne. 


Sense huilds lip a fire ; 
Order hceps a city ; 
False man's seed endures not ; 
Nor ivill they get pity. 
Al. Tùr a tliogas teine ; ciall a chuireas as e — Wit to make a 
fire ; sense to put it out. 

Cinnidli a' cliriontaclid, 's tlieid an ro-chriontaclid a 


Saving gcttctli store, oversaving mischief. 

Cinnidh Clann-Fhearchair gus an deiclieamli linn. 

The Farqnharsons shall fioiirish to the tenth generation. 

The Farqnharsons, says Macintosh, in a lonj^ note on this, are 
also called Clann Fhionnlaidh, i.e., the children of Finlay, 
" from Finlay More, one of their tall chieftains, who bore the 
royal standard at the battle of Pinkie ; hence the surnames, Fin- 
lay, MacKinlay, and Finlayson. The Farqnharsons," he adds, 
" are descended of Farchard Shaw, son of Shaw of Dalnavert ; the 
present Farquharson of Invercauld, their chief, seems to deny this, 
and pretends that they are descended of Macduff, Thane, and 
afterwards Earl of Fife, for which assertion neither he nor any 
other can show vouchers." 

Cinnidh mac o mlii-altrum, acli clia chinn e o 'n Aog. 
A child may survive had mirsing, but he can't escape 

Cinnidh Scnit saor am fine, 
]\Iur breug am fàisdine, 
Far am faighear an Lia-fàil, 
Dlighe flaitheas do ghabhail. 
The Scottish race shall flourish free. 
Unless false the pirophecie, 
iVhere the sacred stone is found, 
There shall sovereignty have ground. 
This saying is undoubtedly Irish, and not Scottish, in the 
modern sense of the latter word. As given by Keating (Ed. 1811, 
p. 198) it is, 

Cineadh Scuit saor an fine, 
Mun budh breag an f haiscline, 
]\Iar a fuighid an liagh-fhail, 
Dlighid flaitheas do ghabhail, 
Keating gives this as his rendering of the Latin of Hector Eoece, 
which must therefore be regarde<l as the first known version of 
this saying. Boece's couplet, which he says is engraved on the 
stone, * Siq^rascrijytio lapidi insculpta' (Ed. 1574, fol. 2), is — 


Ni fallat fatum, Scoti, quocimque locattim, 
Invenient lapidem, regnare tenentur ibidem, 
tlius translated into Enj^lish, 

The Scots shall brook that realm as native ground, 

If weirds fail not, where'er this chair is found. 

Keating, however, though indebted to Boece for this verse, quotes 

a still older one in reference to the ' Lia-Fàil,' from the poet 

Cinaeth O'Hartigan, who died, according to Tighernach, in 975 — 

An cloch a ta fam dha shall, 

Uaithe raidhtear Inis Fail. 

The stone that is beneath my feet 

From it is styled the Isle of FhìI. 

Keatinr/s Hist, Ed. 1811, p. 118. 
The stone in question, so far as Scotland is concerned, was un- 
doubtedly carried away from Scone by that prince of robbers, 
Edward I., and deposited in Westminster Abbey, in the coronation 
chair, where every British sovereign has been crowned ever since, 
down to our dearly beloved Queen Victoria. So miich faith ha.s 
the sturdy Sa.xon ever had, in spite of all his protests and prose, 
in Celtic sentiment and prophecy ! Why, else, should he have 
made so much of a rough piece of what Professor Geikie has 
assured Mr. Skene to be simply a bit of Perthshire sandstone ? 
(See Skene's ' Coronation Stone'). Archaeology and Geology com- 
i)ined make sad havoc of trailitional faith, for we are assured by 
Hector Boece that the precious stone in question was the royal 
chair of King Gathelus in Brigantia, and was carried from Spain 
to Ireland, and from Ireland to Scotland. Keating, on the other 
\iand, tells us that it was brought by the Tuath de Dannan from 
Lochhmn (Scandinavia) and sent over from Ireland to Scotland 
Ijy Murtogh Mac Earc, that his brother, Fergus the Great, ' the 
first of our kings, I suppose,' might be crowned on it (A.D. 503). 
Some imaginative Saxons, tired by Irish poetry, go a great deal 
further tlian this, and believe, or try to make believe, that this 
sutliciently venerable stone is the very stone on which Jacob pil- 
lowed his head on that memorable night when he slept and 
dreamed at Bethel ; and that our possession of it in Westminster 
Al)V)ey is one among a hundred clear proofs that we are the real 
Children of Israel — the remnant of the lost Ten Tribes ! 

Apart from all absurdity, that stone is very venerable, and 
ought, to every British person, English, Scottish, or Irish, to be 
really sacred. The above rhyme is interesting philologically and 
historically, whatever be thought of the legend. 'Lia' = Liag 
= Leac, a tlat stone, and ' Fàl' = prerogative, privilege, privilege<l 
person. King, whence the old name of Irelaml, ' Innis-fnil '. 

Another Irish name for the 'Lia-fàil' is 'Cloch-na-Cinneamha,' 
the Stone of Destiny. 

There is a Lochaber saying that possibly refers to the Irish 
origin of this sacred stone. It is said, when darning or patching 
a hole on a boy's jacket or troiusers while on him — 'Fuaigheam 


seo mu chloich ghlais an t-sagairt, — a' cblach glilas a bha 'n 
Eirinn.' — Let me sew this round the priest's gray stone — the gray 
stone that was in Ireland. 

Ciod a b' iiill leat fliaigiiinn 'an nead an fhitbich acli 
am fitlieach fhein? 

What would you exj^cd in the ravens nest hit the 
raven itself ? 

Ciod a dli' iarradli tu air bo ach gnòsd ? 

What would you ev/pect from a cow but a groan ? 

The word ' groan' does not quite represent the sound in ques- 
tion. Neither does ' moan' nor ' low'. It is that subdued noise 
which a cow utters as her ordinary expression of feeling. 

Ciod a's fbeaiT a db' innseas an cladb na 'n eaglais ? 
What better guide to the churchyard than the church Ì 
Ciod a's misde duine 'cbreacb, mur lugbaid a pbòr e ? 
What is a man the worse of being jjlundcred if it does'nt 
diminish his produce ? 

A very philosophical view of the matter. 

Cirean a' cboillicb air a' cbirc. 
Hie cock's comb on the hen. 
The woman wearing the breeks. 

Clacb. 'an ionad càbaig, 's core 'an ionad ciiinnseir. 
A stone instead of a cheese, and a knife instead of a 

'S Mac Eoghainn 'th' ann an dràsda, 
Mar chloich an ionad càbaig, 
'An àite na bh' ann. 

Macintyre's ' Cumha Choire-Cheathuich '. 
Clacb air muin cloicb Mbic-Lèoid. 
A stone on the toj) of Mac Lead's stone. 
A MacDonald saying, doubtless, these two clans having been 
always the great rivals for power in Skye. 

Clacbag 'n am bbròig, deargan 'n am mbuilcbinn, 
càilein 'n am fbiacail, 's mo leannan 'g am fbàgaiL 

A pebble in my shoe, a fee in my sleeve, a husk in my 
teeth, and my sxvcethcart leaving me. 
A combination of annoyances. 
Clacban an t-Sratb, 'us mnathan Sbleibbte. 
The stones of Strath, and the wo^nen of Slcat. 
Strath and Sleat are neighbouring parishes in Skye ; the one 
among other distinctions, a vein of gray marble, of 


which the road-side dykes are to a large extent built, — the other 
noted, or claiming to be, for the beauty of its women. 

Claclian beag a' dol an ioclidar, 's clachan mor a' dol 
an uaclidar. 

Tlie little stones goiiig down, and the hig ones coming to 
the top. 

A physical fact, and a human experience also. 

Clachan dubh' an aghaidh srutli. 
Black stones against the stream. 

Clachair Sambraidh, diol-deirc Geambraidh. 

Summer rtmson, Winter beggar. 

Sometimes the case still, but seldom compared with old times. 

Claidbeamb an làimb amadain, 'us slacbdan an lùimb 

A sicord in a fooVs hand, a beetle in an idiot's. 
Ne'er put a sword in a wud man's hand. — Scot. 
yiq naièì fidxai-pav — Don't give a sword to a child. — Gr. 
Ne puero gladium. Ne gladium tolla<, mulier. — Lut. 

Clann Mhic-Codniim nan ròn. 

TJie seal Mac Codrums. 

There is a legend about the Mac Codrums having been 
metamorphosed into seals, too long to be given here. They re 
tained, along with the amphibious shape, the human soul, and at 
times, human form. They were, in fact, seals by day, Init humai: 
creatures at night. No Mac Codrum, for all the world, would, ii 
in his proper senses, fire a gun at a seal. 

Clann Mhuiricb a' bbrocbain. 
The gruelly Mac Phcrsons. 

* Mac Neacail a' bhrochain 's an drocli aran eòrna ' — Nicolson 
of the gruel and had barley bread, is a Skye saying. The same is 
sometimes said of the Mac Askills. But it is apparently borrowed 
from a Badenoch song, in which an old woman says — 
Tha 'n cnatan orm, 
Tha 'n tiichan orm, 

Tha 'm brochan 'an coinneamh mo lùths 'thoirt uam. 
Am brochan dubh 'n còmhnaidh, 
'S an droch aran eòma, 
'S an t-annlann air bòrd 's a chùlaobh riuio. 

Clanna nan Gaidbeal 'an guailibb a cbeile ! 

The clans of the Gael shoulder to shoulder ! 

This is one of the best known and oftenest q^uoted of all Gaelic 


sayings. Literally it is ' in each other's shoulders,' i.e., each with 
his arm round the shoulder of the other, as Highlanders would 
do in crossing a deep water togetlier. 

Claoidliidh foigliidinn inliath na clachau. 
Patience will wear out stones. 
Clàr mor fo bheagan. 
Big dish and little on it. 

The clàr was a big wooden dish, and I suppose is not yet obso- 
lete in the Highlands. 

Cleamhnas 'am fagus, 'us goisterclid 'am fad. 
Affinity near, sponsorship far off. 
Cleas gille-nan-cual — cual blieag 'us tighinn trie. 
The porters' trick, — a little load and frequent, 
Al. Cuallach a' mhic-leisg — !Z7ie lazy lad's herding. 
Al. Tarruing chailleach — Old wives' drawing. 

Cloicheirean spàgach, oglia na muile-màig'. 

The loaddling stone-chat, the frog's grand-child. 

A Lismore saying, suggestive of the development theory. 

Cluith a' chas a chompaich. 

Play the foot, my comrade. 

Giving one's companion leg bail. 

Cluich a' chuilein ris an t-sean-chu. 

The play of the pup ivith the old dog, 

Al. Mir' a' chuilein ris a' mhial-chu. 

Cluinnidh am bodhar fuaim an airgid. 

The deaf can hear the silver clink. 

Cluinnidh an dùthaich 'us cù Rub cheaird e. 

The country ivill hear it, and Rob Tinker's dog too. 

Cluinnidh tu air a' chluais a's buidhr' e. 

You'll hear it on your deafest ear, 

Cluinnear e far nach faicear e. 

He'll he heard where he is not seen. 

Cnàmhag na circe reamhair. 

The fat hen's refuse. 

Cnàimh mor do dhuine gionach. 

A great bane to a greedy man. — Scot. 

Cnàinih mor 'us feòil air, fuigheal clachair. 

A big bone and flesh on it, a mason's leavings. 

See ' Fuighleach tàilleir '. 


Cnò a uachdar a' mhorrail. 

A nut from the n^yper side of the cluster. 

Supposed to be the best. See ' Bidh an ubluil a's fliearr '. 

Cnatan Dhò'ill Mhic-Mhartainn. 

Donald Martins cold. 

A Lochaber saying. Donald was said to take a cold once a 
quarter, which lasted three months. The Mac Martins in that 
country are Camerons. 

Cnoic 'us uisg' 'us Ailpeinich, acli cuin' a tliaini;^^ 
Artaraich ? 

Hills and water and MacAlpincs, hut v:hai did the 
MacArthurs come Ì 

Al. ' Cnoic 'u3 uillt,' Hills aiid streams. ' Cnoic 'us uilc,' Hills 
and ills. 

'Meaning,' says Macintosh, ' that the MacGregors are as old 
as the hills.' As already noted, under ' Cha robh balach,' they 
trace their descent from Alpin, King of Scots in the first half of 
the 9th century, and Macintosh quotes an old verse in reference 
to their descent : — 

Sliochd nan righribh dùthchasach, 

'Bha shios 'an Dùn-s-dà-innis, 

Aig an robh crim na h-Alb' o thus, 

'S aig am beil dùthchas fhathasd ris. 

Children of the native kings, 

Who reigned down at Dunstaffnage, 

Who first the crown of Alba owned, 

And still have native claim to it. 
The MacArthurs, as the above saying implies, claim a still older 
lineage, from a King Art, or Arthur, of prehistoric times. In 
Cormac's Glossary, the word 'Art' has three meanings given, — 
^uasal, unde dicituryi^ie uirt, no art fine' — nolle, whence o noble 

Cnuasach uircein, buain 'us itheadh. 
The figs contcmjdation, pluck and cat. 

Cnuasachd na gràineig. 

The hedgehog's hoard. 

This, says Armstrong, is ' expressive of the folly of wordly- 
mmded people, Avho part with all at the grave, as the hedgehog is 
compelled to drop its burden of crab-apples at the narrow entrance 
of its hole.' Lightfoot says (Flora Scotica, 2nd Ed., 1702, p. 13) 
the hedgehog is "not found beyond the Tay, perhaps not beyond 
the Forth ". It is found at this day as far north as Lochaber. 


Co air a rinn tliu sid ? — Ort fliein, a gliràidh. 

On whoni did you do that Ì — On yourself, my dear. 

Co dlià a b' fhearr a b' aitlme an cat a thoirt as a' 
iiihuiglie, na do 'n fhear a cbuir ann e ? 

Who hiotos best to take the cat out of the churn hut he 
that jnit her in ? 

Ye served me as tlie wife did the cat,— coost me in the kirn, 
and syne harled me oot again. — Scot. 

Co dha bbios Mac-Mbatbain gu matb, miir bi dba 
fbein ? 

To ichom will Mathcson he good, if not to himself Ì 

Co dbiùbb 's ann air sratb no 'n gleaun, 's ann as a 
ceann a bhligbear a' bho. 

Whether on strath or Ì7i glen, 'tis f rem her he id the 
cow's milk comes. 

As a cionn a bhlichtear an bho. — Ir. 

Godroid buwcli o' i phen. — JFelsIi. 

It's by the head that the coo gi'es milk. — Scot. 

As tlie coo feeds, so she bleeds. — Do. 

Die Kuh milcht durchs Maul. — Germ. 

Co dbiùbb 's fbusa bata dbeanamb de 'n gbuairne mu 
gbuairn, no cuaille de 'n gbiiirne mu gbiùrn ? 

Whether is it easier to make a stick of the quill-pitli , 
or a stake of the auger -dust Ì 

This is another version of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the 
phrases used having reference to the use of a turning -lathe. 

Co ni 'n t-olc acb na ninatban ! 

Who can do ill hut the women ! 

This is but another form of 'Corruptio optimi est pessima'. 
' All wickedness,' says the son of Sirach (xxv. 19), ' is but little 
to the wickedness of a woman.' 

Co ris a tbeid mi g' am gbearan, 's gun Mac-Mbic- 
Ailein 'am Mùideart ? 

To whom can I make my comiilaint, and no Clcmranald 
in Moidart ? 

This natural gush of Celtic feeling refers to the Clanranald who 
was killed at Sheriff Muir, a chief who was the idol of his claru 

Cobbair nan geas. The succour froin spells. 

Said of a person to be relied on as an ffidipus, or Hercules, in 
cases of dithculty, to solve riddles, or break spells. 

Coimeas a' gbeoidli bhric 's a mbàtbar. 

The comparison of the gray goose to his mother. 


Coimhearsnacli bun an doruis. 

Next door neiglihoitr. 

Al. C. na-h-ur.>ainn — Door -post neighbour, 

Coinneach do 'thigh, ciionach a chonnadh, blàth o 'n 
bhoinne, teith o 'n teine. 

Moss to his house, bricsh-ivood for his fuel, warm milh 
from tlu cow, heat from the fire. 

Attributed to the ' Ollamh Ileach' as an advice for old people. 

Coinnichidh na daoine ged nach coinnich na cnuic. 

Men may meet, hut mountaÌ7is never. — J^'ij. 

Al. Tachraidh na daoine. 

Cynt y cwrdd dan ddyn na dan Ian — Sooner will two men meet 
than two banks. — iVelsh. 

Friemls may meet, but mountains never greet. — Eng. 

We'll meet ere hills meet. — Scot. 

Deux hommes se rencontrent bien, mais jamais deux montagnes. 
— Fr. 

Bovvov fi€ ^ovvhv 8iv òi/ra/ioj/eTai — Alountain doesn't meet moun- 
tain.— Mod. Gr. 

Coltach ri earball an t-seana-mhairt, daounan air 

Like the old coios tail, always last. 

Coltach ri mnathan Mhic-Carmaic, glè làidir 's an 

Like MacCormack's wives, very strong in the neck. 

Who M'Cormack was, and where he lived, we know not ; but 
it may be assumed that he was sadly henpecked. 

Coltach ri m' sheana-bhrògan, a' sior-dhol 'am nxiosad. 

Like my old shoes, ever getting worse. 

Comhairle caraid' gun a h-iarraidh, cha d' fhuair i 
riamh am meas bu choir dhi. 

A friend's advice unasked never got due esteem. 

Ulster saying in same words. 

Al. Comhairle gun iarraidh, charobh meas riamh oirre, 

Ergyd yn llwyn cysul heb erchi — Advice unasked is like a shot 
into tiie wood. — Welsh. 

Comhairle caraid' gun a h-iarraidh 's i 's fhiach a 

A friencVs advice unasked is vjcll worth keeping. 
Comhairle do dhuine glic, slat do dhruim an amadain. 
Counsel for the wise man, for the fool's hack a rod. 


A wink to the wise, a kick to the fool. — Arab. 
A nod for a wise man, a rod for a fool. — Eng. 
A whip for the horse, a bridle fur the ass, and a rod for the 
fool's back. — Prov. xxvi. 3. 

Comliairle clag Sgain ; 
An rud nach buin dut na buin da. 
Counsel of the hell of Scone, 
Touch not what is not thine oivn. 
The voice of the Bell of Scone, the ancient seat of Scottish 
royalty, was taken to represent the voice of Law and Justice, of 
which the fundamental ma.\ini is ' Suum cuicjue '. 

Comh-dlialtas gii ciad, 'us cairdeas gu ficliead. 
Fostership to a hunched, kindred to twenti/. 
See ' An co'-dhalta '. 

Comhfhurtaclid an diiiue dliona — duine eile cho dona 
ris fheiu. 

The had mans consolation — that there's as had as he. 

Comunn mo ghaoil, comunn nan ceard. 
The company I love — the tinkers. 

One very distinguished literary man, Mr. George Borrow, 
would not repudiate this sentiment. 

Comunn nam ]\Iaor. The hailiffs hrotherhood. 

See ' Mo chomain '. 

Contrachd ort ! Bad luck to you ! 

Còrdadli a reubas reachd. 

Concord (or compromise) that hcreaves the law. 

Amraod a dyr ddefod. — Welsh. 

Law's costly ; tak' a pint and gree. — Scot. 

Meglio un magro accordo, che una grassa sentenza. — Ital. 

So Fr., Span., Germ., Dutch, Dan. 

Cothrom a h-aon, Fairplay — one to one. 

Two to one is odds enough. — Evg. 

Ne Hercules quidem contra duos. — Lat. 

Cothrom na Fèinne dbaibh. 

The Fingcdian fair-play to them. 

The Fingalian idea of fair-j^lay was that of the previous say- 
ing, one to one, ' Gaisgeach air ghaisgeach, 'us laoch ri laoch ' — 
Charrvpion on champion, hero to hero. 

Cridhe na circe 'an gob na li-airce. 

A hens heart in the heak of want. 

Croiseam sgiorradh ! The cross hctwecn me and mishap / 


Croiseam tliu ! The cross he hetween us ! 

Cromaidh an coileacli circ' a cheann 'an dorus an tigli' 

The cod: hoics his head at the great house door. 

See ' Ged is iosal '. 

Cruaidh mar am fraoch, buan mar an giutlias. 

Hard as the heather, lasting as the pine. 

The heather is the badge of the MacDonalds, the piue of the 

Cruaidh mil 'n pheigliinn, 's bog mu 'n mharg. 
Hard about the jiciim/, soft about the merk. 
Penny wise and pound foolish. — Eng., Scot. 

Crùbaiclie coin, leisgeiil bhan, 's mionnan marsanta — 
tha iad coltacli ri cheile. 

A dogs limping, a icoman's cxeuse, a vierehant's oath — 
they are like each other. 

No es de vero Ligriiiias en la mii^er, ni coxear en el perro — 
Woman^s tears and dog's limping are not real. — Span. 

Cruinneachadh cruaidh agus leigeadh farsuinn. 
Hard gathering and free spending. 
The father scraping and the son scattering. 

Cruinuichidh na fithich far am bi a' chairbh. 
Where the carcase is the ravens will gather. 
Wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered 
together.— Mattii. xxiv. 28. 

CÙ an da flieidh, is minig a bha 'fhiadh air chall. 
The dog of two deer has often lost his deer. 
Al. Coltach ri cù an da fheidh, a' call romhad 's 'ad dheigh. 
Eith na con a n-dèigh dà fliìadh.— /r. 

'O èvo TTTCùKas èi(J)Kwv òvòiTepov KaToXanlSàvei — He that chases 
two hares catches neither. — Gr. 

Uuos insequens lepores neutrum capit. — Lat. 

Qui court deux lièvres, n' en prendra aucun. — Fr. 

Chi due lepri caccia, 1' una non piglia, e 1' allra lascia. — Ital. 

Wer zwei Hasen zugleich hetzt, fangt gar keinen. — Germ. 

Cuid a' ghobha — an ceann. 

The smith's share — the head. 

The smith's perquisite for killing a cow, which he was generally 
employed to do. That great event generally took place once a 
year, at Martinmas, whence possibly the word ' mart ' = cow. 


Cuid an t-searraich de 'n chl^ith. 

The foal's share of the harrow. 
Going beside his dcam. 

Cuidich leat fliuin, 's cuidicliidh Dia leat. 

Help thyself, and God toill help thee. 

Al. Dean do dhlcliioll, 's cuidicliidh Dia leat. 

Cuidisheann Dia leis an tè a chuidigheas leis fèin. — Ir. 

Hilf dir selbst, so liilft dir Gott.— Grrm. 

Help u zelven, zoo helpt u God. — Dutch. 

Hielp dig selv, da hielper dig Gud. — Dan. 

Aide-toi, le ciel t-aidera.^ — Fr. 

Quien se guanla, Dios le guarda.— (Span. 

Chi s' ainta, Dio 1' aiuta. — Ital. 

Sue 'Adr]vS. Koi x^'-P'^ KLVfi. — Mod. Gr. 

Cuigeal don-sniomliaich. Bad spinning distaff. 

Said of an unthrifty or untidy woman. 

Cuimlinicli air na daoine blio 'n d'thainig tliu. 

Bememher those you came from. 

A very Highland sentiment. Sometimes it is ' Cuimhnich air 
cruadal nan daoine,' &c. — Think of the fortitude of your forefatlLcrs; 
a sentiment which has proved strong on many a battlefield. 

Cuir a mach an Sasunnach, 's thoir a stigli an cù. 
But out the Englishvian, and take in the dog. 
This is a Lochaber saying, supposed to date from the time of 
Cromwell, whose soldiers scourged that country severely. 

Cuir an tuagli air an t- samhaich clieart. 
But the axe on the right helve. 
Put the saddle on the right horse. 

Cuir ceann na muice ri earr an uircein. 
Set the soivs head to the little pig's tail. 
Bring the head o' the sow to the tail o' the gvic-e. — Scot. 
This looks like a case of hysteron proteron, but Kelly interprets 
it, ' balance your loss with your gain '. 

Cuir do làmh 's a' cliliabli, 's thoir do roglia liabaig as. 
But your hand into the creel, and take your choice of 

If this be a version of the Scottish rhyme on matrimony, it is 
certainly improved — 

Put yir hand in the creel, 
And draw an adder or an eel. 


Cuir do mliuinghinn 's an talamli, clia d' fhàg e 
falamh riamh tliu. 

Put thy tncst in the earth, it never left thee empti/. 
A good motto for farmers. 

Cuir innte, 's cuiridh an saoghal uimpe. 
Give her food, and the vrorld tvill clotlie her. 
Macintosh's note on this is, ' The back will trust, but the Lellj 
will still be craving '. 

Cuir nianadh math air do mlianadh, 's bidli tu sona. 
Interpret fjood from thy omen, and thou shalt he lucky. 
As Cffisar did, when he fell on the British shore. 

Cuireadli cùl na coise. The hack-leg invitation. 
Al. Fiadhachadh cùl na h-iosgaid. 

That of a person who gives a faint invitation, and escorts one 
out of the house, saying, ' I am sorry you couldn't stay '. 

Cuireadh IMhic-Philip — ' gabh no fag '. 

M'Killops invitation — ' take or leave '. 

Cuiridh an teanga snaim nach fuasgail an fliiacail. 

The tongue will tie a knot ivhich the tooth can't unloose. 

Cuireann duine snaim le n- a theangaidh nach bh- fhuasgloch- 
aidh 'fhiacla. — Ir. 

The English and Scottish versions are nearly in the same words. 
Matrimony is referred to. 

Cuiridh aon bheairt as gu 16m 

Do dhuine 's gun a clionn fo 'chèillj 

'Us cuiridh beairt eil' e ann, 

Ach a gabhail 'n a h-àm fhein. 

One deed may a man vndo, 

When his reason ruleth not ; 

And a step may set him up. 

If hut taken in due time. 
Cuiridh aon tràth air ais laogh 'us leanabh. 
One meed if it lack, calf or child will go hack. 
Cuiridh bean gldic suas duine, ach bheir bean amaid- 
each a nuas e Ic 'da hiinih. 

A unse wife will set a man vp, hut a foolish one will 
hring him doion with both hands. 

Cuiridh beul mihs thu 'shireadli na de'irce. 
A sweet mouth ivill send you to hcggary. 


Cuiridh e teine ris na tobraicliean. 

He luill set the wells on jire. 

This looks like setting the Thames on fire. 

Cuiridh peirceall na caora 'n crann air an fliaradh. 

The sheep's jcno tvill put the plotiyh on the hen-roost. 

This prediction is attributed to a famous Highland seer of the 
17th century, Coinneach Odhar, but it was made long before that 
by no less a person than Thomas the Ehymer. His saying, 

' The teeth of the sheep shall lay the plough on the shelf,' 
is quoted by Dr. Chamliers in his Popular Rhymes of Scotland, 
with special reference to the changes of tenantry in the High- 
lands, in some parts of which sheep-farming has entirely supplanted 
agriculture. Rushes and heather may be seen now in fields that 
01] ce yielded fair crops, and sheep in place of the men that tilled 
them. • 

Cuiridh mi clach 'ad chàrn. 

I'll add a stone to your cairn. 

See ' Am fear nach mèudaich ', 

CÙ1 gaoith' 'us aghaidh greine. 

Back of wind and face of sun. 

A phrase in the old stories, descriptive of a pleasant retreat. 

Cum an dò-dhuine air do thaobh ; bidh an deagh- 
dhuine agad daonnan. 

Keep the ill man on your side; the good man you'll 
always have. 

Cum an fheill air a latha. Keep the fair on its day. 

Keep the feast till the feast-day. — Scot. 

Cum an t-eathar bho chladach an fhasgaidh, 's fanaidh 
i fhein bho chladach an Ihuaraidh. 

Keep the hoat from the lee-shore, and she'll hee'p herself 
from the toind-shore. 

Cum do chù ri 'leigeadh. 

Hold your dog till the starting-time. 

Don't loose your hound where there is nothing to hunt. — Arah. 

Cum do theanga 'n ad chuimse. 
Keep your tongue in hand. 
The mouth is the tongue's prison. — Arab. 

'Apyvpò TO /iic'Xij/xa, \pvah to a Mira^ Speech is silvern, silence 
golden,— Mod. Gr. 


Cromadli gim ghainne 's a' chaol ; 
Aon eanga diag 's an osan ; 
Seachd eangan 'am Lial a theach ; 
Is tearc an neach do nach foghainn ; 
Air a cliiimadh gu direach ; 
Agus a tri 's a' ghobhal. 
A full finger-length to the small ; 
Eleven nails to the leg ; 
Seven nails to the hand ; 
There are few vjhom that v:onH svjfficc; 
Let it he shaped straight ; 
And three nails to tJie forh. 
This quaint rhyme is called ' Cumadh an Triuhhais,' The shap- 
ing of Trews. A 'nail' is 2\ inches, and Macintosh says 'perhaps 
some of these nails should be doubled '. 

Cumaidh a' niliuc fhein a fail fhein glan. 
Uven the sow will keep her oxen stye clean. 
The tod keeps aye his ain hole clean. — Scot. 
Cumaidh an gearr-phoca uiread ris a' chorr-phoca. 
T]ie little hag holds as mnch as the hig hag. 
'Cumaidh .mi ri m' leaunan/ ars an nighean, 'beul sioda 
's cridhe cainbe/ 

/ u'ill keep to my sweetheart, said the girl, a mouth of 
silk and a heart of hc7np. 

Beul eidhnàin, a's croidhe cuilinn — A mouth of ivy, and a heart 
of holly. — Jr. 

Cumhaclid do charaid, agus tràillealachd do nàmhaid 
a dhùthcha ! 

Povjcr to the friend, and thraldom to the enemy of his 
country ! 

This is what used to be called a 'sentiment' for a toast. 
Cùnradh math fada bho làimh. 
A good hargain far aiLxiy. 

Cuspach, 'us gag, 'us eill-bhuinn, 's mairg an spiig air 
am beireadh iad. 

Kihe and crack and hurning heel, pity the foot they 
come on. 

All these ailments are known only to people that f^o barefooted. 
The second one gives rise to another saying, ' Ceum air gàig,' ap- 
plied to persons who walk reluctantly, as if they had a sore foot, 
or delicately, like King Agag. 

Dà bliuille dhiag fodair, 's gun bliuill' idir air son sìl. 
Twelve strokes for straw, and no stroke for seed. 
Great cry and little wool. See ' Buill'air gach craoibli '. 
Da cheann an taoid, 'us cead a tliarruing. 
Both ends of the rope, and leave to pidl it. 

Da dhiù, gun aon roghainn. Ttvo evils and no choice. 

At the battle of Inverlochy, 1645, Alexander MacDonell, son 
of Coll (Colkitto) having made prisoner of Campbell of Achna- 
breac, said he would honour him by giving him his choice, whether 
to be beheaded or hanged. Campbell answered in the above words, 
and MacDonell struck off his head with his own hand. — Teachd. 
Gael., Vol. II., p. 135. 

Da tlirian buidhinn barant. 
Assurance is tioo-thirds of success. 

Dàil gu la na sluasaid. Delai/ to the day of the shovel. 
The day of burial. 

Dàir na coille. The rutting of the wood. 
Applied, according to Armstrong (Did.), to the first night of 
the New Year, when the wind blows from the west. 

Dan' atb-bhuailt. Bold, twice beaten. 

Dallta aran-eòrna ]\Iliic Philip, a' dol 'am feobhas, 's 
'am feobhas. 

Like Mac Killop's harley bread, getting better and 

I have been unable to ascertain anything about the M'Killop 
who gave rise to the various proverbs in which he is named. 

The word ' dallta ' is not common, and is not given in any of 
our dictionaries, except Shaw's and MacAlpine's ; and in O'Reilly's 
Ir. Diet. Shaw is given as authority for the word. It means ' like, 
likeness, in manner of '. It is not surprising that it was in the 2d 
Ed. of Macintosh confounded with ' dalta,' foster-child, and trans- 
lated accordingly in this and the next proverb. 

Dallta 'chinn charraich, nach fulling fuachd no teas. 
Like the scabby head that can't endure cold or heat. 


Dàrna bean a' chlàrsair — a' chlàrsach fhtìn. 
The harpers second wife — the harp itself. 
See ' Eud bean a' chruitear '. 

Neil Gow's fiddle was said to be his second wife ; and tliere is 
a tune so called. 

De am feum a tha 's a' phiob mur cluithear oirre ? 
iVliat's the good of the pipe if it's not played on Ì 

Dean àiU de 'n eigin. Make a will of necessity. 

Make a virtue of necessity. — Eng. 

Dean air d' adhais, 's ann a 's luaitlie. 

Take it easy, you'll speed better. 

See ' Cha 'n i 'chabhag '. 

Festina lente exactly expresses this. 

Dean an t-olc 's feith ri 'dheireadh. 
Do the ill and vmit the end. 
The grave irony of this is very good. 

Dean àth no muileann detli. 

Mak' a kirk or a mill ot — Scot. 

' Dean Eige no Arisaig dheth' — Make Eigg or Arisaig of it, is a 
Mull saying, used when a head wind and cUrty weather come on, 
after the point of Ardnamurchan is passed, going northward. 

Dean bonnacli mor mu Inid, 
'Us fear eile lau Cliàisg ; 
'S cbo fad 's a bbios rud agad, 
Cba bbi thu falamb gn bràth. 
3fake a hiy cake at Shrove-tide, and another at Easter ; 
and as long as you have anything, you'll never he ivanting. 

Dean cnuasacbd 's an t-Sambradb, a ni an Geanibradh 
a cbur seacbad. 

Gather in Summer what will serve for the Winter. 

Dean do gbaradh far an d' rinn tbu d' fbuaracbadb. 
Warm yourself where you got cold. 
Very cold advice, but not without point. 

Dean do gbearan ri fear gun iocbd, 's tbeir e riut : 
" tba tbu bocbd ". 

Complain to a merciless man, and he'll say, ' You are 
iwor '. 

Probably he vnll say, ' Depart in peace, be warmed and filled '. 


Dean do shianadh blio 'n Diabhol 's blio clilann an 

Sain thyself frae the Deil and the laird's hairns — Scot. 
This was probably addressed first by a father to his daughters. 

Dean fanaid air do slieana bhrògaii, 'n uair a gheabh 
thu do bbrògan nodha. 

Make game of your old shoes when you get the new ones. 
Don't throw out the dirty water till you get in the clean. 

Dean maorach 'fhad 's a bhios an tràigh ann. 
Get bait tvhile the tide is out. 
Dean math 'an aghaidh an uilc. 
Do good against the ill. 
Overcome evil with good. — St. Paul. 

Dean math do dheadh dhuine, 

'S bidh an deadh dhnine do 'reir ; 

Dean math do neo-dhuine, 

'S bidh an neo-dhuine dha fhein. 

Do good to a worthy man, 

And worthy will he he, 

Do good to a worthless man. 

And selfish still is he. 
The Ulster version is nearly identical, — 

Dean niaith air dheagh-dhuine, 

A's gheabhaidh tu d' a reir ; 

Aclit nia ghnidhir maith air dhròch-dhuìne, 

Beidh an di-òch-dhuine do i'èin. 
Dean na thig dhut, 's chi thu na 's ait leat. 
Do what hecomes you, and you'll see ivhat pleases you. 
A neat statement of the doctrine of the npenov. 
Deanadh do bhean fhein brochan dhut. 
Let your oivn wife make gruel for you. 
'Deananih gad de 'n ghainnimh. 
Making a rope of sand. 
Ex arena funiculum nectis. — Lat. 

According to tradition, this was a task imposed on his familiar 
spirit Ly Michael Scott, the result of which is still to be seen on 
the sands between Leith and Portohello. Another tradition is 
that it was imposed on the Fairies by Sir Duncan Campbell of 
Glenorchy, Black Duncan of the Cowl. 

Deireadh feille fag. Leave the fag-end of a fair. 
An excellent advice. 


Deireadh gacli luing' a bàthadh, 
Deireadh gach àth a losgadh, 
Deireadh flaith a cliàineadh. 
Deireadh slàinte osua. 
The end of carh ship hrr droivning. 
The end of nnh l-il n its ìjìvrnlnij, 
The end of a priiLcc, irciling, 
The end of health a sigh. 
Al. Deireadh gach comuinn s^'aoileaJli, 
Deireadh gach bàta 'biisteadh, 
Deireadh gach àth a losgadh, 
Deireadh gach cogaidh slth. 
The end of all meetings to part, 
The end of all boats to be broken, 
The end of all kilns to be burnt, 
The end of all wars peace. 
The Ulster version is, 

Deireadh gach hiinge, bàthadh, 
Deireadh gach àiche, losgadh, 
Deireadh gach ciiirme, caitheamh, 
A's deireadh gach gàire osna. 

Deireadh mo sgeòil mo sguidseadh, del h-iigam air 
mo dhruim. 

Tlie end of my story a switching on my haek. 
The identity of 'sguidseadh' and 'switching' is obvious. 

Deireadh nan seachd Sathurn' ort ! 

Tlie end of the seven Saturdays to you ! 

No satisfactory explanation can be got of this very familiar 
saying. It has been ingemously interpreted as referring to the 
end of the seven weeks of Lent, when mutual congratulations are 
given in some Christian countries, in remembrance of the Resur- 
rection-day. But unfortunately for this explanation, the saying 
with us has always conveyed a bad M-ish instead of a good one. 
It is, in fact, an emphatic form of malediction. The word 
* seachd,' seven, is used, in Gaelic as in Hebrew, to express com- 
pleteness ; e.g., ' Tha mi seachd sgith '—I am utterly tired. In 
this sense, 'the end of the seven Saturdays to you' might be 
meant to express the wish that the mere fag-end of time might 
be all one would have to enjoy. But the more probable interpre- 
tation is, that it refers to the Crucifixion and the end of Judas. 

Deiseal air gach ni. 

The sumcard eourse with everything. 

Deas = South, right-hand, ready, dexterous, proper, handsome. 
Deiseil == Deis-iùil, south coui'se, right direction. 


The belief, and the customs associated with it, on this point, 
are very natural, and common to all the principal races of the 

Deocli air a' phathadh nacli d' thàinig. 
Drink for the thirst that came not. 
Too common an indulgence. 
Deoch-an-doruis. The door-drink. 

The door-drink, or stirrup-cup, is one of the oldest of institu- 
tions. The following pretty verses were composed by a very good 
man, Duncan Lothian : — 

Slàn do d' mbnaoi ghil, slàn do d' mhacaibh, 
Slàn do d' theach o 'm binne ceòl ; 
Slàn do d' shràidibh geala gainmhich, 
Slàn do d' bheanntaibh o 'm bi ceo. 
Bho 'n a thàrladh dliuinn 'bhi sona, 
'Us beairt dliona nacli tig ruinn. 
Air ghaol sith, 's air eagal conais, 
Thugar Deoch an Doruis dhuinn ! 

Deoch Chlann-Donnchaidh. 

The Robertsons stirrujJ-cuj). 

Deoch mhor do Bhrian, 's b'e sin a mliiann, 

A big drink to Brian, and that's his desire. 

Brian's habits would not be considered so singular now as to 
become proverbial. 

Dh' aithnich mi gur meann a blieireadh a' gliobliar. 

/ knew it would be a kid the goat vjould bear. 

Dh' aithnichinn air do sheirc do thabhartas. 

I woidd know your gift by your graciousness. 

Dh' amais thu air do thapadh. 

You lighted on your hick. 

Literally, ' tapadh ' means activity, cleverness, manliness ; 
secondarily, the luck which follows. The only vernacular equiva- 
lent of ' Thank you ' in the Gaelic language is ' Tapadh leat '. 

' Dheanadh e nid-eigin do dh-aon duine, ach is beag a' 
chuid dithis e,' mar a thuirt Alastair Uaibhreach mu'n 

It vjould be something to one man, hut it's a small 
thing for two, as Alexander the Froud said about the 

Alexander the Great is always called 'Uaibhreach' in Gaelic. 

Dheanadh e teadhair de 'n ròinneig. 

He xuould make a tether of a hair. 


Dheanadh Mall clàrsaicliean, na 'n cuireadh each ceòl 

Neil would make harps, if others would put music into 

" Dheanadli sin e," mu 'n dubliairt an cù mil 'n chè. 

' That ivould do it,' as the dog said about the cream. 

When the dog was desired to lick cream, he asked, 'Why?' 
' Because it is spilt,' replied his mistress. ' That would do it,' 
said the dog. — Note by Macintosh. 

Dheanadh tu eaonnag ri d' dhà lurgainn. 
You would quarrel ivith your oivn two shins. 
Al. Bheireadh tu conas a d' leth-lurga — You would get a quarrel 
out of one of your legs. 

Dh' fhalbh ' b' fhearr leam,' 's eha b' fhearr beò e. 

' IVould that ' is gone, and it's iw loss. 

Dh' fhalbh e 'n a phrineaehan 's na shnàthadan. 

It went away in pins and needles. 

Dh' fhalbh Peairt, thuit an drochaid ! 

Perth is gone, the bridge is down ! 

This is said on the occasion of some great catastrophe. The fall 
of the bridge of Perth in 1621, probably originated the saying. 
The old bridge, described by Cant as " a stately building, and a 
great ornament of tlie town," was carried away by successive 
inundations in 1573, 1582, and 1589. On 14th"0ct., 1621, says 
Calderwood (cited by Cant in Muse's Threnodie, 1774, pp. 80-82\ 
"the stately bridge of Perth, newly completed, consisting of 10 
.arches, was destroyed by the high swelling of the river Tay". 
The destruction and alarm caused on this occasion appear to have 
been very great. Another saying in reference to that calamity is, 
'An iiair a thuiteas drochaid Pheairt, ni i glag' — IFlien the bridge 
of Perth falls, it loill make a noise. 

Dh' flian do mhàthair ri d' bhreith. 

Your mother waited for your birth. 

Said ironically to one in an excessive hurry. 

Dh' fhaodadh da chailleach a ehur an dàrna taobh, 
gun dol thaobh an teine. 

Two old wo7ncn could dispose of it, without leaving the 

Dh'iarr a' mhnir a bhi 'g a taghal. 

The sea wished to be resorted to. 

A poetic d idea, suggested by the daily return of the tide, which 
seems to invite acquaintance. 


Dli' itli e 'chiiid de 'n blionnach-shodail. 
He eat his share of the flattery-hannock. 
Said of sycopliantic people. 

Dh' ith e 'n biadh mu 'n d' rinn e 'n t-altachadh. 
He eat the food before saying grace. 

Dh' itheadh e 'chain a bh' aig Pàdruig air Eirinn. 

He would eat St. Patrick's tribute from Ireland. 

See note to ' Cha phàiglieadh '. 

In a story about Ossian, given in Campbell's West Highl. Tales, 
II. 105 (also in Smith's Summer in Skye), it is said of him, ' Bha 
e dall, bodhar, bacach, 's bha naoidh dealgan daraich 'n a bhroinn ; 
's e 'g itheadh na càin a bh' aig Pàdruig air Eirinn' — He was blind, 
deaf, lame, and had nine oaken skewers in his belly; and was 
eating the tribute Patrick had over Ireland. This story was found 
in Barra and in Skye. 

Dh' itheadh na caoraich an cuid roimhe. 
The sheep viif/ht eat through it. 
Said of thinly woven cloth. 

Dh' òladh e Loch Slaopain. 

He ivoidd drink Loch Slapin. 

A Skye loch between Strath and Sleat. 

Dh' òladh e 'n sgillinn nach fhac e. 

He woidcl drink the penny he hadn't seen, 

Dh' òladh e 'pheighinn-phisich. 
He woidd drink his luck-penny. 
Even if he had the ' penny of Pases,' he would drink it. 

Dhùraichdeadh tu mo hiath le uisge. 

You would wish my ashes borne off on the waters. 

Dian-fhàs fuilt, crìon-fhàs cuirp. 

Great grotvth of hair, small groivth of body. 

Didòmlmuich Shlat-Phailm, 
'S ann ris 'tha mo stoirm ; 
Didòmhnuich Crura-dubh, 
Plaoisgidh mi 'n t-ubh. 
On Palm Sunday is my stir ; on crooked black Sun- 
day P II peel the egg. 

This saying is obscure. ' Crum-dubh,' apparently for 'crom- 
dubh,' is known in Ireland as the title of the first Sunday of 
August, but in Lochaber it is applied to Easter. 


Diluain a' blireabain. Shoe-sole Monday. 
Monday of cliastisement, the terror of boys. — H. Soc. Did. 
Diluain 'an deaghaidh na feille. Monday after the fair. 
A day after the fair. — En(j. 

Diochuimhneachadh a' pLòsaidh, leis cho suarach 's 
a bha 'bhauais. 

Forgetting the marriage, from the vjretchedncss of the 

I had nae mind I was married, my bridal was .sae feckless. — Scot. 

Dioghailt fear na dàlacli. 2%e tardy man's revenge. 

Diolaidh saotbair ainfhiach. Industry pays dclt. 

Diombuil buaile, bo gim laogh. 

A fold's reproach, a yeld coiv. 

Diongam fear ma dli' fhuiricbeas mi, agus fuilingeam 

Til match a man if I sia.y, and I can suffer a retreat. 

Dirdaoin' a' bhrocbain mhoir. Great gruel Thursday. 

It was at one time a custom in the Long Island, if the usual 

drift of seaweed were behind time, to go on Maunday Thursday 

and pour an oblation of gruel on a promontory, accompanying the 

ceremony with the repetition of a certain rhyme. 

Dirdaoin la Chaluim-Chille chaoimli, 
La 'bu choir a bhi deilbh, 
La 'chur chaoracli air seilbli. 
When Tliursday is dear Columbas day, the icar}! should 
he jyfejmred, and sheej} sent to pasture. 

St. Columba's day is 9th June. The epithet applied to the 
Saint is interesting. 

Direachadh na cailliche air a lurga. 
TJie old woman's straightening of her leg (hraling it). 
Dithis a chur cuideachd agus am bualadh ri 'cheile. 
To put two together, and hnuck them against each 

Dithis leis nach toigh a cheile, 
Bean a' mliic 's a nuitliair-cheile. 
Two that love not one another. 
The son's wife ami his in other. 
r)iù na comhairle, a toirt far nach gabhar L 
The tcorst advice, given and not taken. 


Dill rath an doniliain, 'us diù dath an domliain ann; 
buidhe, diibli, 'us riabhacli. 

Worst lot in the world, and toorst colours on earth are 
there, yellow. Mack, and brindled. 

A punning satire on Jura, by a discontented poetess — Camp- 
bell's ÌV. H. Tales, II. 353. 

Diùthaidh nam beathaicliean firionn. 
The refuse of male creatures. 
Said of a very contemptible man. 
Dleasaidh airm urram. Arms merit honour. 
Dlùthas nan càirdean ri cheile. 
The nearness of kindred to each other. 
Do rogha leannain, 's do theann-sbàtli sprèidb' ort ! 
Thy choice of sioeet-heart, and full store of cattle to thee ! 
Do spuir fhèin 'an each fir eile. 
Yoiir own spurs in another man's horse. 
Al. ' Mo sblat fhein ' — My oivn switch. See ' Clia bhi eacli '. 
Dona uime, dona aige. Ill with it, ill with him. 
This means that a curmudgeon gets little good of that which 
he so grudges to part with. 

DònuU da fhein. Donald for himself. 
Dorcha, doirionnta, dubh, 
'Chiad tri làithean de 'n Gheamhradhj 
Ge b'e bheir geill do 'n spreidh, 
Cha tugainn fhein gu Samhradh. 
Dark, sullen, and black, 
The three first days of Winter ; 
Whoever depends on the cattle, 
I would not till Summer. 
It was considered a good sign to have Winter beginning with 
dark weather ; but the reference to the cattle seems to imply, that 
one ought not to be sanguine about them, notwithstanding. 
Droch bhàs ort ! A bad death to you ! 
Al. 'Droch dhiol' — had usage; 'droch sgiorram' — bad stumbling. 
Droch còmhdhail ort ! Bad meeting to you ! 
Tlie wish conveyed is, that one may meet a person or animal 
whom it was considered unlucky to meet. 

Driiidear bial nam briag. The lying mouth will be shut. 
Druididh gach ian ri 'ealtainn. 
Uach bird draws to his flock. 


Eunlaith an aon eite a n-èinflieacht ag eitiollaigli. — Ir, 

The birds will resort unto their like.— *S'on of Sirach. 

"Ofioiov ò^oicù (piXov. — Gr. Simile aj^petit simile. — Lat. 

Pares cum paribus facillime congregantur. — Cic. 

Birds of a feather flock together. — Eng., Scot. 

Vogel von gleichen Federn fliegen gern beisammen. — Germ. 

Elk zijns gelijk, 't zij arm of rijk. — Dutch. 

Qui se ressemble s' assemble. — Fr. 

Simili con simili vanno. — Ital. 

Cada oveja con su pareja. — Span. 

Druim a' sgadain, tàrr a' bliradain, 's cùl-cinn a' bliric- 

Tlie herring's hack, the salmons belli/, and haek of head 
of black trout. 

The choice parts. 

Duais fir dhathaidh a' chinn. 

The reward of the man that singes the head. 

Duine coir an rathaid mhoir 's beisd mlior a's tigh. 

A fine man abroad, and a great beast at home. 

Angel penfford, a diawl pentan. — Welsh. 

A causey saint, and a house deil. — Scot. 

See 'Euchdach,' and 'Olcmu'n'. 

Duine dùr, duine gun tùr. 

A stubborn man, a senseless man. 

Duine gun rath gun seòl, 's coir a chrochadh ; 's fear 
aig am bi tuille 's a choir, 's coir a chrochadli. 

A man with no luck or shift should he hanged ; and so 
shoidd a man vjiih too miich. 

Hang him that has nae shift, and hang him that has ower 
mony. — Scot. 

Dùnan math innearach, mathair na ciste-mine. 

The mìLck-midden is the mither o' the meal-kist. — Scot. 

Dùthaich nan cluaran, nam fuaran, nan cuaran, *s nam 
fuar-bheann ! 

The land of thistles, and fountains, of brogues, and of 
mountains ! 

This is a toast. 

Eadar a' bhaobli 's a' bhuaracli. 

'Tioixt the vixen and the coiv-fetter. 

' Betwixt the Devil and the deep sea.' 

It was a superstitious fancy that if a man got struck by the 
'buarach' he would thenceforth be childless 1 

Eadar a' cblacb 's an sgratb, 

'Twixt the stone and the turf. 

Eadar a' cbraobh 's a rùsg. 

Between the tree and its harlc. 

Eadar am bogba 's an t-sreang. 

Between the how and the string. 

Eadar am fiar 's am fodar. 

Between the hay and the straio. 

Eadar an long nodha 's an seann rndha. 

Between the new ship and the old headland. 

' Nodha' is a less common form of ' nuadh '. 

Eadar an sùgb 's an t-slat. 

Between the sap and the sapline/. 

Eadar an t-euradh 'us aimbeairt. 

Between denial and want. 

This was said by Fingal to be the worst plight he ever was in.— 
See ' An uaisle '. 

Eadar an tutbadh 's an rain each. 

Between the thateh and the braeken. 

Eadar dha cbatbair tuitear gu làr. 

Between two seats one comes down. 

Thainig a ton chun talamh eadar a dha sdòl. — /r. 

Eddyr daa stoyl ta toyn er laare. — Manx. 

Between two stools the tail goeth to ground.— Eng. 

Tusschen twee stoelen valt de aars op de aarde. — Dutch. 

Entre deux selles, le cul à terre. — Fr. 

Eadar dha lionn. 'Twixt sinking and swimming. 

Lit. * Between two liquids,' i.e., the upper and lower water. 

Eadar dha sgiaL Bg the way. 

Lit. ' Between two stories.' Al. ' dha naigheachd.' 


Eaclar dhà tlieine. 

Betwixt tv:o fires. 

Eadar long 'us làimhrig. 

Bctiuixt sliip and landing-place, 

Eadar fheala-dhà 's a rireadli. 

BetvAxt fun and earnest. 

Eadar làmh 'us taobli. 

Betv:io:t hand and side. 

Eadar leòir 'us eatorras. 

Bcticixt 'plenty and mediocrifi/. 

Eadar na sruthaibh. 

Betwixt the currents. 

Eadraiginn nan ceard. 

Going hdicecn tinkers. 

Those who in quarrels interpose 
Must often ivipe a bloody nose. — Gay. 

See ' Bidh dorn '. 

Eallach mhor an duine leisg. 

The lazy man's great hurden. 

"Wlio more busy than they that have least to do ? — Eng., Scot. 

Uomo lento uon ha mai temj^o. — Ital. 

Earbsa a claidheamh briste. 

Trusting to a broken sword. 

Earrach fad' 'an dèigh Càsga, fàgaidh e na saibldeau fas. 

Zo7ig Spring after Easter makes empty harns. 

Earrag-cheilidh. A visiting stroke. 

Said of one hurt when on a visit. 

Easgaidh mu'n ratliad mbor seach a dhorus flioin. 

More quick to shovj the high road than his oivn door. 

See ' Am fear nach 'eil math '. 

Eibheall air gruaidh — mnatlian-luaidh 'us tàilleirean. 

Live-coal on cheek — i'jaulking-u-omen and tailors. 

The good-\vife who had to provide for a company of vigorous 
women coming to assist her in waulking cloth, or tailors coming 
to work in the hortse for days, and expecting, of course, to be well 
treated, might be supposed to have no sinecure. 

Eirigb tonn air uisge balbh. 
Wave will rise on silent water. 
And calm people when stirred may astonish. 


Eisd ri gaoth nam beaun gus an traoigh na li-uisg- 

Listen to the mountain wind, till the streams abate. 

Eisd le goitli na m-beann, go d-thraogliaidh na li-uisgibh.— /r. 

Eòiu a cliur do 'n choille. 

Sending birds to the wood. 

Sending owls to Athens, &c. 

Euchdach a mnigli, 'us brèineach a's tigli. 

Distinguished abroad, disgusting at home. 

See ' 01c mu'n '. 

Eud bean a' cliruiteir. 

The harpers toife's jealousy. 

See ' Dàrna bean,' and ' Cha d.ean sinn '. 

Eudail de dh' fhearaibh an acliaidli ! 

Treasure of all men of the field ! 

Al. de dh' fhearaibh na dile. 

Eiidail de mlmathan an domhain ! 

Treasure of all women of the world ! 

These emphatic phrases are sometimes used jocosely, sometimes 
in real earnest. 

Eug 'us imrich a chlaoidheas tigheadas. 
Death and flitting are hard on housekeeping. 
Eug a's imirce a chlaoidheas tigheabhas.— /r. 

Fad a clioise do'n laogh, 's fad an taoid do'n clmilein- 

Tlic lenrjth of his foot to the calf, the length of the leash 
to the tohclp. 

Fad fin foinneacli an la. The live-long day. 

Al. Fad fionna-faaireanach. 

Fada bho'n t-sùil, fada bho'n chridhe. 

Far from the eye, far from the heart. 

Al. As an t-sealladh, as a' chuimhne. 

A bh-fhad as amharc, a g-ciann as intinn. — Ir. 

Ass shilley, ass smooinagtyn. — Manx. 

Allan o olwg allan o feddwl. — Welsh. 

Qui procul ab oculis, procul a limite cordis. — Lat. 

Far from eye, far from heart — Out of sight, out of mind. — Enrj. 

Aus den Augen, aus dem Sinn. — Germ. 

Langt fra Oine, snart af Sinde. — Dan. 

Uit het oog, uit het hart. — Dutch. 

Loin des yeux, loin de coeur. — Fr. 

Fada bhuaithe, mar a clmnnaic Ailein a slieanmliair. 

Far off, as Allan saw his yrandmother. 

At a distance, as Paddy saw the moon. 

Fadal Clilann-an-Tòisich. 

The delay of the Macintoshes. 

Fag cuid ditliis a' feitheamh an fhir a bhios a muigli. 

Leave the share of two for him that is aivay. 

Fag, fàgl.thuirt an fheannag, 's i mo nighean a' 
gharrag dhdnn. 

Go, go ! said the crow, that hrown chick is my child. 

This is an imitation of the cry of the bird. Of the same kind 
are the following expressive nursery rhymes : — 

The Gull.—^ Gliag, gliag,' ars an fhaoileag, * 's e mo mhac-s' an 
daobh-gheal donn.' 

The Grow. — ' Gorach, gòrach,' ars an flieannag, "s e mo mhac-s' 
an garrach gorm.' 

The Raven. — ' Gròc, gròc,' ars am fitheach, ' 's e mo mhac-s' a 
chrimeas na h-uaiu.' 

The Eagle. — ' Glig, glig,' ars an iulair, ' 's e mo mhac-s' a's 
tighearn oirbh.' 


ràgaidli sìoda, sròl, 'us sgàrlaid, 

Gun teine gun tuar an fhàrdach. 
Siìh and satin and scarlet leave the hearth cold and 

Silks and satins put out the fire in the kitchen. — fEng. 
Sammt unci Seide loschen das Feuer in der Kiiche aus. — Germ. 

Fàgaidh tu e mar gu 'm fàgadh bo a buachar. 

You leave it as a coio her dung. 

Fàgar an t-inneach gu deireadli. 

The woof is left to the last. 

Faicill a' chuain-mhoir air a' chaol chumliang. 

The wide oceans ivatch o'er the narrow strait. 

Faicill gach duine dha fbein, 'an sabbal, no 'n 
ceardaich, air lath' an Fhoghair. 

Hvery vian for himself in ham or smithy on a harvcat 

Failte na circe mu 'n àrd-dorus. 

The hens salute at the lintel. 

Fàinne mu 'n mbiar, 's gun snàitbne mu 'n mhas. 

Ringed finger and hare huttock. 

Fàl fa'n mear, 's gan ribe fa'n tòin. — Ir. 

Of empty stomach, yet he chews incense. — Arab. 

Falach a' chait air a shalacbar. 

Tlie cat's hiding of the nasty. 

Trying to hush up an offence after it has been exposed. 

' Falbhaidh mis' am màireach,' ars an rigb. 

' Fanaidb tu riumsa/ ars a' gbaotb. 

' / shall go to-morrow' said the king. 

' You shcdl wait for me' said the wind. 

* Sail,' quoth the king ; ' Hold,' quoth the wind. — Eng., Scot. 

Fanaidb duine sona ri sltb, 'us bbeir duine dona 

The fortunate man waits for peace, and the tinhichj 
man takes a leap in the dark. 

Fanann duine sona le sèun (for luck) agus bheir duine dona 
dubh-lèum. — Ir. 

Once upon a tinie a great man was getting a sword made. The 
smith's advice for the perfect tempering of the blade was that it 
should be thrust red hot through tlie ì)ody of a living man. A 
messenger was to be sent for the sword, on whom it was agreeil 


that this experiment shoiild be performed. Tlie lad sent was 
overtaken by a thunder-storm, and took refuge till it had passed. 
Meantime the chief sent another messenger for the sword, who 
duly went and asked for it, and was served as had been arranged. 
Presently the first messenger came in, got the sword from the 
smith, and took it to his master. The great man was not a little 
astonished to see him, and asked where he had been. He told 
him how he had done, on which the great man uttered the above 

'For another version, see Campbell's TV. H. Tales,lll.\\0, 394, 
where the story is connected with the making of Fingal's famous 
sword, Mac-an-Luinn. 

Fanaidli Moisean ri 'latha. 
Tlie Devil tcaits his day. 

'Moisean' or 'Muisein,' means literally 'the mean fellow,' and 
it is very commonly applied to the Devil by old Highlanders. 

Fannan de ghaoith near, leannan an t-sealgair. 
A gentle easterly breeze, the hunter's delight. 

Faodaidh a' chaora dol bàs, a' feitheamh ris an fliiar ùr. 
The sheep may die, v:aitivg for the neiv grass. 
Faghann na heich bàs, fhad a's bhios a fèur a fas.— Jr. 
Live, ass. till the clover sprout. — Arab. 

Zrjo-e, fiàvpè fiov, va (pas rpitpiiWi — Live, my donkey, till you 
eat trefoil. — Mod. Gr. 

Mentre I'erba cresce, muore il cavallo. — It. 

Indessen das Gras wachst, werhungert der Gaul. — Germ. 

Ne meurs, cheval, herbe te vdent. — Fr. 

While the gi'ass groweth, the seely horse starveth. — Ung. 

The coo may dee ere the grass grow. — Scot. 

Faodaidh cat sealltainn air righ. 
A cat may look on a king. — Ung. 

Al. Faodaidh luach sgillinn de chat sealltainn 'am bathais an 
righ — A twalpenny cat may look at a king.— Scot. 
Sieht doch wohl die Katze den Kaiser an. — Germ. 
Een kat kijkt wel een' keizer an. — Dutch. 

Faodaidh duine dol air muin eich gun dol thairis air. 
A man may mount a horse tvithout tumhling over. 

Faodaidh duine 'chuid itheadh, gun a chluasan a 

A man may take his food tvithout dauhing his ears. 

Faodaidh duine sa bith gàir' a dheanamh air cnoc. 
Any man may laugh mi a hill side. 


Faodaidh e 'blii gur duine math thu, ach cha 'n 'eil 
gnùis deadh dhuiu' agad, mu'n dubhairt ISTiall nam 
beann ris a' chat. 

You may he a good man, hut you have'nt the face of 
one, as Neil of the mountain said to the cat. 

Faodaidh fear na ruith leum. 
He that runs may leap. 

Faodaidh fearg sealltainii a steach 'an cridh' an duine 
ghlic, ach còmhnaichidh i 'n cridh' an amadain. 

Anger may look in on a loise mans heart, hut it ahidcs 
ill the heart of a fool. 

Anger resteth in the bosom of fools. — EccL. vii. 9. 

Faodaidh freumhan cam a bhi aig faillean direach. 

A straight sapling may have a crooked root. 

Faodaidh gnothach an righ tighinn 'an rathad cailleach 
nan cearc. 

Tlic king's husiness may come in the way of the hcnivife. 
The king may come in the cadger's gait. — Scot. 

Faodaidh luingeas 'mòr dol air taisdeal fada, 
Ach feumaidh sgothan beaga seòladh dlùth do'n 

Big ships may sail to distant strand, 
But little boats must hug the land. 

Faodaidh seann each sitir a dheanainh. 
An old horse may neigh. 

Faodaidh sinn eag a chur 's an ursainn. 

We may cut a notch in the doorpost. 

Said on the occasion of a long expected or unexpected visit, = 
marking the day with a white stone. Macintosh's version is — 
' Feudaidh sinn crois a choir 's an tuire ; crois an tuire, crois an 
sgnirre,' translated, ' We may strike a hack in the post. Nay, 'tis 
unlucky, replies the guest.' 

' Eag,' or * crois, 's a' chlodha,' a notch, or cross in the tongs, or 
"s a' ghobhal,' in the supporting-beam, are variations. 

Faodfir an t-òr fhèin a cheannach tuille 'us daor. 
Gold itself may he hought too dear. 
Feadaim or do cheannach go daor. — Ir. 
Gowd may be dear cost. — Scot. 
Aurum irrepertum, et sic melius situni. — Hor. 


Faoigli' a' ghliocais. The prudent legging. 

_ j^ng for assistance in setting up house. See note to ' Oha 
'n e rogha'. 

Faoiglie fir gun chaoraicli. 
The contribution of a man without sheep. 
Al. ' Fir falaimh.' A contribution of wool from a man without 
sheep would be suspicious. 

Faoileag an droch chladaicli. Tlie sea-gull of a had shore. 
Applied to poor creatures, still preferring their wretched home. 

Faoileag na h-aon chloiche. The sea-gull of one stone. 

Faoilleach, Faoilleach, làmh 'an crios, 
Faoilte mhor bu cliòir 'bhi ris ; 
Crodh 'us caoraich 'ruitli air theas. 
Gal 'us caoin bu choir 'bhi ris. 
February cold and keen, 
Welcome hath it ever been ; 
Sheep and cattle running hot, 
Sorrow that will bring, I wot. 
Al. Faoilleach, Faoilleach, crodh air theas, 
Gal 'us gaoir nitear ris, 
Faoilleach, Faoilleach, crodh 'am preas, 
Fàilt' 'us faoilte nitear ris. 
February, cows in heat, 
Sorrow will the season greet ; 
February, cows in wood. 
Welcome is the weather good. 

Faothachadh gille 'ghobha; bho na h-ùird gus na 

Tlie relief of the smith's lad, from the hammer to the 

Sgiste ghioUa an ghobha, ò na builg chum na h-inneoin.— 7r. 

Far am bi a' mhuc, bidh fail. 
Where the sow is a stye will be. 

Far am bi an deadh-dhuine, is duin' e 'n cuideachd 's 
'n a aonar. 

Where a good man is, he is a man, ivhether in company 
or alone. 

Far am bi an t-iasg, 's ann a bhios na h-eòin. 
Where the fish is, tlie birds will be. 


Far am bi bo biclh bean, 's far am bi bean bidh buair- 

Where a coio is, a looman tvill he, and where a woman 
is will he temptation. 

Al. For ' Ijuaireadli,' ' mollachd,' 'dragli,' 'aiinhreit,' mischief, 
trouble, strife. 

This saying is attributed to St. Columba, who for the time must 
have forgotten that he and his brethren needed mothers. 

Far am bi cearcan bidh gràcan. 
Where hens are will he cackling. 

Far am bi cnocan bidh fasgadh. 
Where a hillock is will he shelter. 

Far am bi do chràdh bidh do làmh; far am bi do 
ghràdh bidh do thathaich. 

Where your pain is your hand vnll he ; where your 
love is your haunting will he. 

Al. Far am bi mo ghaol, bidh mo thathaich. 

Far am bi geòidh, bidh iseanan. 

Where geese are will goslings he. 

Far am bi mi fhein, bidh mo thuagh. 

Where I am myself, my axe toill he. 

Said by a smith who always carried an axe, on being asked to 
leave it behind him. He added, ' Gach ni riamh ge 'n d'fhuair, 
's ann air mo thuaigh a bhuidheachas' — Wiiatever I have got, 
thanks to my axe for it. The axe looks very Icelandic. 

Far am bi saoir, bidh sliseagan, 

Far am bi mnài, bi giseagan. 

Where carpenters are, %vill he shavings. 

Where women are, will he spells. 
Al. 'Far am bi cailleachan' — Where old wives are. 
Far am bi toil bidh gniomh. 
Come will come deed. 
Where there's a will there's a way. — Eng. 

Far an caill duin' a sporan is ann a 's coir dha 'iarraidh. 

Where a man loses his purse, he should look for it. 
D^nde perdiste la capa (caiie), ay la cata. — Si^an. 
Far am faic thu toll ciiir do chorag ann. 

Where you see a hole put your finger in. 


Far an laidh na fir, 's anu a dli' (f'ireas iad. 

Where men lie doivn they will get up. 

Al. 'Far an suidh' — IVliere they sit. 

Far an sàmhaich' an t-uisge, 's ann a's doimhn' e. 

Where vjatcr is stillest it is deepest. 
Is ciun agiis sostacli sruth na linnte lana, 
Ni h-e sin do 'n t-sruth eadtrom, si bhagras go dana. — Ir. 

Altissima qua^que fluniina mininio sono labuntur. — Curtius. 

Dove 11 fiunie ha piii fondo, fa minor strepito. — It. 

Do va mas hondo el rio, hace menos ruido. — Bpan. 

Stille Wasser sind tief. — Germ. Stille waters hebben diepe 
gronden. — Dutch. Det stille Vand bar den dybe Grand. — Dan. 
Deepest waters stillest go. — Eng. Smooth waters rin deep. — Hoot. 

Far an taine 'n amhuinn, 's ann a's mo a fuaim. 

Where the stream is shalloioest, greatest is its noise. 

'S e an-tuisge is èadomhuine is nin tormàn. — Ir. 

Basaf yw'r dwfr yn yd leiair.— JFelsh. 

Far nach bi am beag, cha bhi am mor. 

Where no little is no big will be. 

Far nach bi na coin, cba leigear iad. 

Where dogs are not they can't be started. 

Far nacli bi na feidh, cha reidh an toirt as. 

From the place tvhere deer are not, they're not easy to 
be got. 

Far nach bi na fireinich, cha bhi na fir mhora. 

Wliere there are no mannikins, their ivill be no big men. 

Far nach bi na mic-uchd, cha bhi na fir-fheachd. 

Wliere there are no boys in arms, there will be no armed 

So long as Britain keeps an army, this saying ought not to be 
forgotten, especially in the Highlands. 

Far nach bi na failleanan, cha bhi na cnothan. 

Where no suclcers are, there will be no nuts. 

Far nach bi ni, caillidh an righ a choir. 

Where no cattle are, the king will lose his due. 

Where there is naething, the king tines his right.— <Scoi. 

Far nach cinuich an spàrr, cha chinnich na 's fhearr. 

Where the hen-roost thrives not, neither will what's better. 

Far nach ionmhuinnduiue,is ann a'sfhasa'eigneachadh. 

Where a man is not beloved, it is easiest to overcome him. 


Faram, 's na toiream, fasan Chlann-Dònuill. 

Give me, hd let me not give — the M acDonald fashion. 

Al. 'S ann de shliochd 'Faram 's cha toirinn' thu. 

Ye come o' the Mac Taks, and no' o' the Mac Gies. — Scot. 

Farraid air fios, farraid a's miosa a th' ann. 

Asldng lohat one hioivs, the worst kind of asking. 

Al. Foighneachd air fios, foighneachd a 's mios' air bith. 

See 'An rud a chuir na Maoir'. 

Farraid de dhuin' a ghalar. 

Ask a man ivhat his ailment is. 

Farraididh a li-uile fear, ' co a rinn e ? ' acli clia 'n 
f harraid iad, * cia fhad a blia iad ris ? ' 

Every one will ask, ' taho made it ? ' hut tlicy ivon't ask, 
'how long ivas it in making?' 

Fas a' ghruinnd a reir an uaclidarain. 

The yield of the ground is according to the landlord. 

This is an important truth in Political Economy. 

Fàsaidli an fheòil 'fhad's is beò an smior. 

The flesh ivill groio while the marrow lives. 

See ' Gleidhidh cnàimh '. 

Fead air fuar-luirg. JVliistling on cold track. 

A wild-goose chase— no scent. 

Feadag, Feadag, màthair Faoillich fhuair. 

Plover, Plover, mother of cold Month of Storms. 

This was the name of certain days in February. See App. JI". 

Feadaireachd bhan 'us gairm chearc, da ni toirniisgt'. 

Whistling of women and croiving of hens, two forhiddcn 

Al. Nigbeanan a' feadaireachd, 'us cearcan a' glaodhaicb. 

Al. Gairm circe, 'us fead maighdne. 

A whistling wife, and a crowing hen, 

Will call the old gentleman out of his den. — Eng. 

Une poule qui chante le coq, et une fiUe qui siffle, porte mal- 
heur dans la maison. — i'V. 

See ' B' 6 sin a' chearc'. 

Feadaireachd mu'n bliuail' fhàis, 'us garadh mu'n 

iVJiistling round the empty fold, and wall round the 
refuse corn. 

Feannadh na fride air son a geire. 

Flaying the tetter for its tallow. 


Fear a' chinn duibh 's na fiasaige ruaidhe, na teirig 
eadar e 's a' chreag. 

Black head, red heard — lonH go hetween him and the 

Fear a cliuirear a dh-aindeoin do 'n allt, bristidli e na 

He that goes umvillingly for tvater loill break the pitcher. 

Fear a' ghearain-ghnà, cha 'n fhaigli e truas 'n a chàs. 
He that always complains is never pitied. — Eng. 

Fear 'am baile 's aire as, 's fhearr as na ann e. 
A man in a farm and his thoughts away is better out 
of it than in it. 

Fear 'an àite fir 's e 'dh fhàgas am fearann daor. 
Tenant after tenant makes the land dear. 

Fear an ime mhoir, 's e 's binne glòir. 

The man of great wealth has the sweetest voice. 

Lit. ' Of great butter.' 

Fear an t-saoghail fliada, cha bhi baoghal h-uige. 

The man of long life will escape danger. 

He can't die before liis time. See 'Cha tig am bàs'. 

Fear cleite gun bhogsa, 'us bleidire gun amharus. 
A quill-driver without a box, and a beggar without 

Extraordinary things. 

Fear dubh dàna ; fear ban bleideil ; 

Fear donn dualach ; 's fear ruadh sgeigeil. 

Black man bold ; fair man officious ; 

Brown man curly ; red man scornfid. 

Fear dubh dana ; fear fionn glideamhuil, (timid) ; 

Fear donn dualach ; fear ruadh sgigeamhuil. — Ir. 

Fair and foolish ; black and proud ; 

Long and lazy ; little and loud. — Eng., Scot. 

Fear faire na h-aon sùla. The one-eyed watcher. 
This is a legendary character — Ai-gus, but one-eyed. 

Fear gealtach 's an aoir. 

A timid man at the main-sheet. 

The wrong man for the place. 


Fear gu aois, 'us bean gu bàs. 
A man to full age, a ivoman till death. 
A son must be maintained till of age, a daughter, if unmarried, 
for life. 

My son is my son, till he's got him a wife, 

My daughter's my daughter all the days of her life. — Eng., Scot. 

Fear na bà fhein 's a' pholl 'an toiseach. 

Let the cow's oivner go first into the mire. 

He that ows the coo gaes nearest her tail. — Scot. 

Fear na foill' 'an iochdar ! 

Let the knave be kept under ! 

Fear nach cuir cùl ri 'charaid no ri 'namliaid. 

A man that won't turn his back on friend or foe. 

Fear nach reic 's nach ceannaich a' choir. 

A mxin ivho will neither sell nor buy the right. 

Fear nach treig a chaileag, no 'chompanach. 

A man tJmt ivon't forsake his lass nor his comrade. 

Fear sa bith a dh'òlas bainne capaill le spàin chrioth- 
uinn, cha' ghabh e 'n triuthach ach aotrom. 

He that drinks viares milk with an aspen spoon ivill 
take hooping-cough lightly. 

The first part of this prescription is rational ; the virtue of the 
spoon was supposed to be derived from the sacred character of the 
aspen tree. 

Fear sa bith a loisgeas a mhàs, 's e fliein a dh'flieumas 
suidhe air. 

Whoever burns his bottoin must himself sit on it. 

Fear uiread fuighill rium, ag iarraidh fuighill orm, 

A man with leavings as big as mine asking leavings 
of me. 

Fèath Faoillich 'us gaoth luchair, cha mhair iad fada. 

February calm and Dog-days' wind woiit last long. 

Al. F. F. 'us trod chàirdean, cha 'n fhad a mhaireas — F. calm 
and friends' quarrels. 

Al. F. F. 'us gaol seòladair — F. calm and sailor's love. 

Al. F. F.'us gaol guanaig, da ni air bheagan buanais — F. calm 
and flirt's love, two things of short endurance. 

Feith ri 'dheireadh. Aivait the end. 

Respice finem. — Lat. 

This is the Kennedy motto : Avisez la fin — Consider the end. 


Feitheamh an t-sionnaich ri sitliionn an tairbli. 

The fox's ivcdting for the hull's flesh. 

Feitheamli fada ri eòrna na gainmhich. 

Long VKiiiing for the sandy barley. 

Barley sown in sand comes to nothing. 

Feuch an laogli blur buidlie dhomh, 's na feucli a cliuid 

Shoio me the ivhite-faecd yellow calf, and not ivhat he is 
fed on. 

Taisbean an laogli biadlita, acht na taisbean an nidh a bliiadht- 
aigh e. — Ir. 

Dangos y llo, ac na ddangos y llaetli — Show the calf, and not 
the milk.— Welsh. 

Ne'er shaw me tlie meat but the man. — Scot. 

Feuch gu bheil do theallach fhein sguabte, mu 'n tog 
thu luath do choimhearsnaich. 

See that your own hearth is su-ejyt, before you lift your 
neighbour's ashes. 

Sweep before your owti door. — Eng. Veeg eerst voor uwe 
eigene deur, en dan voor die uws buurmans. — Dutch. 

Feuch nach gabh do sliùil air. 

See that your eye doesn't rest on it. 

Alluding to the dreaded gift of the Evil Eye. 

Feumaidh am fear a bhios 'n a eigin beairt-eididh a 

He that's in straits must make a shift to clothe himself. 

Feumaidh an talamh a chuid fhein. 

The earth must have its i^ortion. 

This means the Grave, = All must die. 

Feumaidh fear caithimh fhaoilidh sjDreidh no bunachar, 
A liberal spender needs cattle or substance. 
Feumaidh fear na h-aona-bhà car dh' a h-earaball mu 

The man of one cow must tioist her tail round his fist. 
He must look well alter her. Tliis is an Uist saying. 

Feumaidh fear nan cuaran eirigli uair roimh fhear nam 

The man of the sock must rise an hour before the -wearer 
of shoes. 

The lacing on of the 'cuaran' was a tedious affair. 


rèumaidh gach beò a blieathachadh. 
Every living tiling must have a living. 

Fèumaidh na fithicli fli^in a blii beò. 
The ravens themselves must live. 

'Fhad 's a bhios a shùil 'an ceilidh an t-saoghail so. 
As long as he has an eye to sojourning in this ivorld. 

Thad 's a bhios cù cam, no duine direach. 
As long as a dog is bent, or a man straight. 

Fhuair e car troimh 'n deathaich. 

He got a turn through the smoke. 

It was the custom to put a newly christened child into a basket, 
and hand it across the fire, in order to counteract the power of evil 
spirits. — Note in 2nd Ed. of Macintosh. 

Fhuair thu fios an eagail. 
Yoii have learned what fear is. 
Said when one has had a narrow escape. 

Fialachd do 'n fhògarach, 's cnàimhean briste do 'n 
eucorach ! 

Hospitality to the exile, and broken hones to the oj)- 
pressor ! 

A generous and good sentiment. 

Fior no briag, millear bean leis. 
True or false, it tvill injure a woman. 

Alas ! for the rarity 

Of Christian charity 

Under the sun ! — Hood. 

Fios fithich gu ròic. 

The ravens boding of a feast. 

Fir a' chladaich 'us bodaich Nis ; daoin-uaisle Uige. 

The shore men and bodies of Ness ; the gentlemen of Uig. 

Ness is a district in the north of Lewis ; Uig a parish in the 
west of the island. The above saying must have originated in 
the latter, the Ness men being generally regarded as fine specimens 
of mixed Scandinavian and Celtic blood. 

Fitheach dubh air an tigh, fios gu nighean an dath- 

A black raven on the roof, warning to the dyers daughter. 
Probably a death omen. 


Fliuch do sliùil mu 'n gabli i air. 
Wet your eye lest it light on him. 
Al. ' Mu'n cronaich thu e ' — Lest you hurt Mm. 
This again alludes to the E%al Eye, against which wetting the 
eye acted like a counter-spell. 

Fo mhaide na poite. Under the pot-stick. 

Said of a henpecked man. 

Foghar an àigh — ial 'us fras. 

Finest autumn, sun and shotver, 

Foghar fada 's beagan buana. 

Long harvest and little rcajnng. 

Foghar gu Xollaig, 

'Us Geamhradh gu Feill-Padruig ; 

Earrach gu Feill-Peadair ; 

Samhradh gu Feill-Màrtainn. 

Autumn to Christmas ; Winter to St. PatricJcs Dag ; 

Spring to St. Peter's Day ; Summer to Martinmas. 

St. Patrick's Day, 17th March ; St. Peter's Day, 29th June. 

Foghar nam ban breid-gheal. 
The harvest of young loidovjs. 
A prophecy of a time when all the men would be slain in battle. 

Foghnadh 'us fuigheal. 

Enough and to spare. 

Foghnaidh salann salach air im ròinneagach. 

Dirty salt will do for hairy butter. 

Foighidinn nam ban — a tri. 

Women's picitieiice — till you coimt three. 

Fois luchaig 'am balg, 's fois deargainn 'an osan. 

A mouse's rest in a hag, and a flees in a stocking. 

Fois radain 'an cònlaich. 
A rat's rest among straw. 

Freagraidh a' bhriogais do'n mhàs. 
Tlie trousers will suit the seat. 
A I. Is coltach an triubhas ris, &c. 
This is a Cowal saying. 

Fuachd caraid', 's fuachd anairt, cha do mhair e fada 

TJie coldness of a friend and of linen never lasted long. 


Fuaim mor air bheagan leòin. 

Great noise and little hurt. 

This mighi api^ly to platoons of musketry, before arms of pre- 
cision were known. 

Fuath giullain, a cliiad leannan. 

A hoifs hate, his first love. 

Fuighleach an tàilleir shàthaich, làn spàiiie 'cliabli- 

The leavings of the full tailor, a, spoonful of soivens. 

Al. Fuighleach tàilleir, dà bhuntàta — A tailor's leavings, two 

Fuil bhàn, 'us craicionn slàn. 

White blood, and whole skin. 

Said to children who fancy they have been hurt. 

Fuilingidh gach beathach a bhi gu math acli mac an 

Every creature hut the son of man can hear well-being. 

Fuine bean a' mhuilleir, làidir, tiugh. 

The miller's ivifes kneading, strong and thick. 

Fuirich thus' 'an sin gus an tig feum ort, mar a thuirt 
am fear a thiodhlaic a bhean. 

Stay you there till you are wanted, as the man said 
who buried his wife. 

Furain an t-aoidh a thig, greas an t-aoidh 'tha 'falbli. 
Welcome the coming, speed the parting gv.cst. 

Foster the guest that stays, further him that maun gang. — Scot. 

Gabli an dileag leis a' cliriomaig. 

Take the drop ivith the soj). 

Gabh an latha math 'fhad 's a gbeabh thu e. 

Take the good day tvhile you may. 

Gabli an toil 'an ait' a' ghniomli. 

Take the ivill for the deed. 

Gabhadh iad air mo chrodh 's a' cliladacli ; an uair a 
bhios mo bhreacan air mo ghualainn, bidli mo bhuaile- 
cliruidh ann. 

Let them pelt my cattle on the heach ; vshcn my plaid is 
over viy shoulder, it's my cattle-fold. 

Said by one who has nothing to lose, = Omnia mea mecum 

Gal)haidh biadli na cnò roinn. 
The kernel of a mit can he divided. 
Al. Gabhaidh da leth deanamh air an eitein. 
Al. Ge beag eitean na cnò, gabhaidh e roinn. 

Gabhaidh an connadh flinch, ach cha gliabh a' chlach. 

Wet fuel toill hum, hut stones won't. 

Gabhaidh connadh ùr le 'bhi 'g a sheideadh. 

Fresh fuel will hirn ifhloion. 

Al. Gabhaidh fraoch nobha — New heather will hum. 

Gabhaidh fear na sròine moire a' h-uile rud g' a 
ionnsaidh fhein. 

The big-nosed man takes everything to himself 

He that has a muckle nose thinks ilka ane speaks o't. — Scot. 

Gabhaidh gach sruth a dh-ionnsaidh na h-aimhne, 's 
gach amhainn do 'n chuan. 

Every stream runs into the river, and every river into 
the sea. 

All the rivers run into the sea. — EccL. i. 7. 

Gabhaidh lothag fhiadhta siol a boinneid. 
A shy filly tvill take corn out of a honnet. 


Gacli cailleach gii 'cùil flièin. 
Every old woman to her own corner. 

Gach dan gu Dan an Deirg ; 

Gach laoidh gu Laoidh an Amadain Mlioir ; 

Gacli sgeul gu Sgeul Chonaill ; 

Gach cliii gu Cliù Eòghain ; 

Gach moladh gu moladh Loch Ce. 

All songs up to the Song of the Red One ; 

All lays iip to the Lay of the Great Fool ; 

A II tales tip to the Tale of Connal ; 

All fame up to the Fame of Etven ; 

All praise up to the praise of Loch Key. 
Each of these was regarded as a masterpiece or ne plus ultra in 
its own kind. — See App. V. 

Gach dileas gu deireadh. The lest loved last. 
Lit., the faithful, but the above is the sense in which the phrase 
is generally used. 

Al. Gach roghainn air thoiseach, 's gach dileas gu deireadh. 
The choice to the front, the faithful to the last. 

Gach olc 'an tòin a' choimhich. 

Let the hlame of every ill he on the stranger. 

This is clannishness in its worst aspect. 

Gach diù gu deireadh. The worst to the last. 

Gach fear 'n a ghreim. Every man in his place. 
>Lit. ' His hold ' ; = ' All hands upon deck ! '. 

Gach fiodh as a bhàrr, ach am feàrn' as a bhun. 
All wood from the top, hut alder from the root. 
This is a maxim as to the splitting of wood. 
Gach ian gu 'nead, 's a shràbh 'n a ghob. 
Each hird to its nest, with its strata in its hcaJc. 

Gach ian mar a dh' oileanar. 
Bird is as his hringing tip. 
Gach eun mur oiltear e. — Ir. 

Gabhaidh sinn an rathad mor, 
Olc no math le each e ! 
We will take the high road, 
Let them take it ill or ivcll ! 
This is the chorus of a song set to one of the most popular of 
Highland 'quick-steps'. It was composed on the occasion of a 


body of MacGregors, MacNabs, and Stewarts, commanded by 
Major Patrick MacGregor of Glengyle, raarcliing boldly through 
hostile territory to join Montrose at the battle of Inverlochy. See 
Gael, Vol. I., p. 288, where the words are given, with a translation 
by the Eev. Mr. Stewart of Nether Lochaber. 

Gad riabhach Samhraidh, gad geal Geamhraidh. 
Sammer withe hrindled, Winter withe ivhite. 
The bark would be left on the twigs cut in Summer. 
Gàdag 's a da cheann sgaoilte. 
A straw-rope toith both ends loose. 
Applied to a slovenly woman. 

Gàire mu aobhar a' ghuil. 
Laughing at the cause of iveeping. 

Al. Gal 'us gàire, craos gun nàire — Weeping, laughing, shame- 
less mouth. 

Gùire ]\Ihàrtainn ris an lite. 
Martins smile at his porridge. 

Gàire na caillicli 's a' chùil dhìonaich. 
The old woman's smile Ì7i the snug corner. 

Gairm Mhic-]\Ihannain air na gobhair — ' Ma thig, 
tbig. 's mur tig fan.' 

Tlie Manxmayi's call to the goats, ' If you are coming, 
come, if not, stay '. 

Galar a 's truime na 'n luaidbe, galar a 's buaine na 'n 

Disease more heavy than lead, more lasting tlcan oak. 

This is a ' dubh-fhacal,' or dark saying. 

Galar fada 's eug 'n a bbun. 

A long disease and death at its root. 

Tinneas fada, a's eug ann a bhun. — Ir. Bod yn hir yn glaf, a 
marw eisys — To he long sick, and die besides. — Welsh. 

Gall glas. A salloio Lowlander. 

This epithet was formerly applied to the Gael, as is seen in 
Mr. M'Lean of Kilninian's verses to Lhuyd of the Archceologia 
(1707), where 'Sliochd an Ghaoidhil ghlais,' is contrasted with 
the ' l3ùbhghall,' or black Lowlander. The term 'glas' is never 
applied to the 'Sassenach' or Englishman. 

Gaol an fhithich air a' cbnàimh. 

The raven's love for the hone. 

Al. Suirdhe air son a bhronna — Pot-wooing. 


Gaol nam fear-dìolain, 

Mar shruth-lìouaidh na mara ; 
Gaol nam fear-fuadain, 

Mar ghaoitli tnatli 'tliig o'n charraig ; 
Gaol nam fear-pòsda, 

Mar luing a' seòladh gu cala. 
Paramours love, like the sea's flowing tide; 
Wayfarer^ love, like north wind from rock', 
Married men's love, like ship sailing to harb&ur. 

Gaotli Deas, teas 'us torradh ; 

Gaoth Niar, iasg 'us bainne ; 

Gaoth Tuath, fuachd 'us gaillionn ; 

Gaoth Near, meas air chrannaibh. 

South wind, heat and flenty ; 

West wind, fish aiid milk ; 

North wind, cold and tempest ; 

Bast wind, fruit on hraiichcs. 
Al. Gaoth a Deas, teas 'us torradh; gaoth a Tuath, fuachd 'us 
feannadh (skinning); gaoth a Niar, iasg 'us bainne ; gaoth a Near, 
mil (honey) air crannaibh, or, tart us crannadh (drought and 

This weather-prophecy is said to have specially referred to the 
direction of the wind on the last night of the year. 

Gaoth o'n rionnaig Earraich ; 
Teas o'n rionnaig Shamhraidh ; 
Uisg' o'n rionnaig Fhoghair ; 
Eeothadh o'n rionnaig Gheamhraidli. 
Wind from the Scoring Star ; 
Heat from the Summer Star ; 
Water from the Autumn Star ; 
Frost from the Winter Star. 

Gaoth gun direadh ort ! 

Wind without direction to you I 

Al. Gun direadh ort ! — Want of guidance to you I 

Gaoth niar 'an deigh uisge reamhair. 
West wiiid after heavy rain. 

Gaoth niar gun flirois, bidh i 'g iarraidh deas. 
West wind without shower will he seeking south. 


Gaoth roimh 'n aiteamli, 's gaoth troimh tholl, 'us gaoth 
nan long a' dol fo sheòl ; na tri gaothau a b' fhuaire 
'dh' fliairich Fionn riamh. 

Wind before thaw, wind through hole, wind of ship 
when hoisting sail ; the three coldest Fingal ever felt. 

Al. Gaoth ath-tliionndaiclh — An eddy wind. Gaoth troimh 
shabhal — Wind through ham. Gaoth nan tonn a' tigh'n fo'n t-seol 
— Wind of v:avcs coming under sail. 

Ny three geavulivn a' feayrey dennee Fion M'Cooil ; geay 
hennew, as geay huill, as geay fo ny shiauill. — Manx. 

Gaoth fo slieòl agus sròn coin, da rud cho fuar 's a 
th' ann. 

Wind under a sail, and a dog's nose, are two of the 
coldest things. nan ùirsgeulan. 

The big telling of stories. 

Ge b'e air bith 'tha thn 'g ithe no 'g òl, 's leir a bhlàth 
air d' aghaidh gii bheil aghaidh do chrobhan ri d' chraos. 

Whatever your meat and drink be, it's very clear on your 
face that your hands and your mouth are good friends. 

This was said hy a master to a servant, who protested that she 
ate nothing but bread and milk. 

Ge b'e 'bhios gu math riuni, bidh mi gu trie aige. 

Whoever is good to me, I'll be often vnth him. 

Ge b'e 'bliios 'n a fheav-rauinntir aig an t- sionnach, 
feumaidh e 'earaball a ghiùlan. 

Whoever is servant to the fox must bear up his tail. 

This may possibly have been suggested by the curious spectacle 
of a dignitary going in procession with his train upheld by pages. 

Ge b'e 'bhitheas saor, cha dean gaoth torrach. 

Whoever be innocent or not, wind won't make pregnant. 

Ge b'e 'chaillear no nach caillear, caillear an deadh 

TVJiocver is lost or not, the good sivimmer tvill be 

Ge b' e 'cliaomhnas an t-slat, is beag air a mhac. 

He that spareth his rod hatcth his son. — Prov. xiii. 24. 

Ge b'e chi no 'chluinneas tu, cum an cat mu'n cuairt. 

Whatever you see or hear, keep the cat turning. 

This was said on the last occasion that a horrid species ot 


sorcery, called tlie Taghairm, was performed by two men in Mull. 
It was said to be one of the most effectual means of raising the 
Devil, and getting unlawful wishes gratified. The performance 
consisted in roasting cats alive, one after another, for four days, 
without tasting food ; which if duly persisted in, summoned a 
a legion of devils, in the guise of black cats, with their master at 
their head, all screeching in a way terrifying to any person of 
ordinary nerves. On the occasion in question, the chief per- 
former was Allan M'Lean, a man of boundless daring, who 
adopted this means of securing additional power and wealth. 
His companion, Lachlan M'Lean, was equally greedy, and not less 
brave, but as the house began to get filled with yelling demons, 
he cried out to Allan, who made the above answer to him. The 
performance, as the story goes, was successfully accomplished, and 
the result was that both men got a great accession of all worldly 
goods. See L. M'Lean's History of the Celtic Language, p. 264. 

Ge b' e do 'n d' thug thii 'mhin, thoir dlià a' chath. 

Give the bran to him to wliom you gave the meal. 
Ge b' e fear a's luaithe làmh, 
'S leis an gadliar ban 's am fiadh. 

He that is of qiiicizcst hand will get the white hound 
and the deer. 

Al. Am fear a 's treasa làmh gheabh e, &c. 

An tè is luaithe lamh, biodh aige an gadhar ban 's a fiadh. — Tr. 

This occurs in ' Laoidh an Amadain Mhòir'. — See Campbeirs 
W. H. T., Vol. III. 16.3. 

Ge be 'gheabliadh a roghainn, 's mairg a thaghadli 
an diù. 

Fitg him loho has his choice, and chooses the ivorsc. 

Ge b'e 'ghleidheas a long gheabh e latha. 

He that keeps his ship luUl get a day. 

Al. gheabh e fàth — he will get a chance. 

Ge b'e mar a bhios an t-sian, cuir do shiol anns a' 

Whate'er the vjcathcr he, soiv your seed in March. 

See 'An ciad Mhàrt'. 

Ge b'e 'n coireach, 's mis' an creanach. 

Whoever is to Name, I am the sufferer. 

Ge b'e nach beathaich na coin, cha bhi iad aige latha 
na seilge. 

He that docs not feed the dogs icont have them on the 

See 'Am fear nach biath'. 



Ge b'e nach dean a ghnothach clio luath ri 'slieise, ni 
e uair a 's aimh-dbeis' e. 

He that doesn't do his icork as quicidy as his mate must 
do it at a less convenient time. 

Ge b'e nach failing docair, clia 'n fhaigli e socair. 

He ficts no ease ivho suffers not. 

This is substantially the Platonic doctrine of Pleasure and Pain. 

Ge b'e nach stiùir coire-'bhrochain, cha stiùir Coire- 

He that cant steer the 'porridge^ioot v:ont steer Corry- 

The moral seems to he the same as ' reason in roasting eggs,' 
with a play on the words. In a well-known comic song, describing 
a sea- voyage of two land-lubbers, this verse occurs — 
' Cia mar a stiùreadh tu poit 1 ' 

Arsa Calum figheadair ; 

' L idar a sparradh 'n a corp,' 

Ars' Alasdair tàilleir.' 

Ge b'e 's niiosa, ma 's e 's treasa, bidh e 'u uachdar. 
The tvorst, if stronrjcst, vnll he %qj])crmost. 
Al. Theid neart thar ceart. 

Ge b'e 'thig 'an tùs 's e' gheabh rogha coisiich. 
Whoso comes first yets the lest of the lanquet. 
First come first served. — Eng., Scot. 

Ge beag an t-ubh thig ian as. 

Thovyh the egg he small, a bird vAll come out of it. 

Ge bu leat earras an domhain, na cuir e 'n coimheart 
ri d' nàire. 

Were the icealth of the world yours, weigh it not against 
your shame. 

Ge cruaidh reachd a' Ehuillidh, cha 'n fliearr reaclid 
a' jMhinisteir. 

Hard as is the Farter s ride, no letter is the Minister's. 

See 'Gleidh do mliaor'. 

The Factor and the Minister are naturally the most influential 
persons in rural parishes, and the most popular, or unpopular, as 
the case may be. The above saying is given by Dr. MacLeod in 
one of his delightful Gaelic Dialogues. A somewliat profane say- 
ing, attributed to a satirical person in one of the Western Islands, 

described the three chief powers as ' Fear a , Ni Math, agus 

Maighstir '. — The Chamberlain, Providence, and the Rev. . 


Ge cruaidh sgaraclidainn, clia robh ditliis gun 

Though separation he hard, two never met hut had to 

Ge dàil do dh-fhear an uilc, clia dearmad. 

Though there he delay, the evil-doer is not forgotten. 

Al. Ge fada re fear an uilc, clia teid e gun dio<,'liailt bho Dliia 
— Though the time of the wicked he long, he wonH go unpunished of 

Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpun- 
ished. — Prov. xi. 21. 

'0>|/-€ dfwv akiova-i fiiiXoi, aXeova-i Sè XfTrra — The mills of the gods 
grind late, but grind fine. — Gr. 

Ge dlùtlì do dhuin' a cliòta, is dlùitlie dha a leine. 
. Though near he a man's coat, nearer is his shirt. 
Ma 's fogus damh mo chòta, is foisge na sin mo leine.' — Ir. 
Near's my sark, but nearer's my skin. — Scot. 
Near is my kirtle, but nearer is my smock. — Eiig. 
Het hemd is nader dan de rok. — Dutch. 
Più mi tocca la camicia che la gonnella. — Ital. 

Ge don' an t-ian, 's mios' an t-isean. 
Thoicgh had the hird, the chieken is worse. 
Al. Ge dona mise, 's miosa Iain òg — Bad though I be, young 
John is worse. 

Ge dubh a cheann, 's geal a cliridhe. 
Though hlack his head, his heart is fair. 
Ge dubh am fitheach, is geal leis 'isean. 
Black as is the raven, he thinks his chicken fair. 
Every craw thinks his ain bird whitest. — Scot. 

Ge dubh an dearcag, 's milis i ; ge dubh mo chaileag, 
's bòidheach i. 

Black is the herry hut siveet ; hlack is my lassie hut 

Al. Ge geal an sneachd, is fuar e — Though white the snow, 'tis 

Ge dubh an saor, is geal a shliseag. 
Tliough hlack the carpenter, white are his chips. 
Al. Ge h-olc an saor, is math a shliseag. 
Ma 's olc a saor, is maith a sgealbog. — Ir. 

Ge fad' an duan, ruigear a cheann. 
llic longest chant has an end. 

• 196 

Ge fagus clach do n làr, is faisge na sin cobliair 

Thovgh near the stone be to the ground, closer is the hel'p 
of Coivi. 

This saying is a very old one. See ' Cho teoma ri Coiljhi '. 
Ge fagus dhuinn, 's faisge òirnn. 
Tìiough to us he near, upon us is nearer. 
Ge fuar an tràigli, is blàth an coire. 
Though cold be the shore, the corrie is warm. 
Ge glas am fiar fàsaidh e. 
Though gray the grass it ivill grow. 
Ge h-olc am botlian boclid, 's e tha olc a blii gun olc 
gun mhath. 

Bad as is the poor bothie, worst is vAthout bad or good. 
An Ulster rhyme on this subject given by Mr. MacAdana in 
Ulst. Journ. of Arch, is very characteristic : — 

Ciiradh mo chroidhe ort, a bhothain ! 

'S tù nach m-biann a choidh acht a g-cothan ; 

Acht càil bheag bhuideach de do shochair, 

Moch no mall a thiginn, 

Giir b' ionnad is fusa damh mo chosa shineadh ! 

Plague of my heart on thee, bothie I 

'Tis thoit, that art abmys in confusion; 

But one nice little virtue there's in thee, 

Late m- early that I come, 

It's in thee I can easiest stretch my legs ! 

Ge h-olc giir a' ghille, 's miosa gill' an ath-gliille. 

Though bad be the servant's servant, worse is the substi- 
tutes servant. 

Ge h-olc " sud " cha 'n e " siad " a's fhearr. 

This appears to be a protest against certain modes of speech 
common in some parts of the Highlands, but regarded in other 
parts as affected. Sud, 'That,' is pronoiinced Sid in Inverness- 
shire. Siad, instead of lad, 'They,' is never used in that county. 

Ge math a' chobliair an t-sealg, cha mhath an saoghal 
an t-sealg. 

Hunting is a good help, but a bad living. 

Ge math an ceòl feadaireachd, foghnaidh dhuinn 
beagan deth. 

V/histling may be good music, but a little of it will do 
for vs. 

Al. Fidileireachd — Fiddling. See ' Ma 's ceùl'. 


Ge math an gille cam, cha fhritlieil e tliall 's a bhos. 

Good though the one-eyed servant he, he cannot attend 
here and there. 

Al. ' Ge beadaiJh,' ' Ge easgaiJh' — ' clia flireagair e.' ' Ge 
math an CÙ cam.' 

Ge milis a' mhil, co a dh' irnliclieadh bhàrr na dris' i ? 
Sweet as is the honey, v:ho rvoidd lick it off the brier ? 
Ma 's milis a mhil, na ligh-sa de 'n dreàsoig i. — Ir. 
Dear bought is the honey that's licked from the thorn. — Eiig. 
Trop achète le miel qui le lèche sur les epines. — Fr. 
Theurer Honig den man auf Dornen muss lecken. — Germ. 
Hij koopt den honig wel duur, die ze van de doornen meet 
lekken. — Dutch. 

Ge milis am fion, tha e searbh ri dliiol. 
Though sweet the loine, 'tis bitter to pay. 
Al. Ge milis ri 'òl, is goirt ri phàigheadh e. 
Is milis fion, is searbh a ioc. — Ir. 
Millish dy ghoaill, ach sharroo dy eeck. — Manx. 

Ge mor àrdan na h-easaich, cha tig i seach an luath. 
Great as is the gruel's rage, it won't go beyond tie 

Al. Ge mor aintheas na poite bige, cha tig e, &c. 

Ge teann dòrn, 's faisge uileann. 

Though fist be near, elboio is nearer. 

Sniessey yn uillin na yn doarn. — Manx. 

Nesoc'h eo ilin evit dorn. — Breton. 

Nes penelin nag arddwrn. — Welsh. 

Tow KvT]fj.r]i eyyiov — Knee is nearer than leg.- — Cr, 

Ge ùrag, cha 'n ùrag mu 'n bhiadh. 

TJiough bland she le, she is not so about food. 

The word ùrag = a nice, bland, young woman, is not in any ( f 
the Dictionaries, but is used in various districts. The above 
saying is from Lewis. 

Gealach bhuidhe na Feill-Mliicheil. 

The yelloiv m oon of Michaelmas. 

The Harvest moon. 

Al. Gealach an abuchaidh — The ripening moon. 

Gealladh bog sochavach 'ni duine air sgath nàire ; 
gealladh gun a choimhghealladh 's miosa sid na diùltadli. 

The soft yielding projnisc, made for shame's sake ; pro- 
mise unfulfilled, %vorse than refused. 


Gealladh math 'us droch phàigheadh. 

Good joroiuisc and had payment. 

Geallaidh am fear feumach an ni breugach nach faigh ; 
saoilidh am fear sanntach, gacli ni a gheall gu'm faigh. 

The needy man tvill promise icliat he cannot give ; the 
(jreedy man will hope to get exerything that's promised. 

Geallar faoigh do cheann-cinnidh, 's leigear dha fliein 
tighin g' a shireadh. 

A gift will he pirornised to the chief, and it ivill he left 
to him to come for it. 

At. Geallar faoigh do Mhac-Griogair, 's biodh eadar e fhein 's 
a togail. 

A gift will be liromised to MacGregor, and the lifting idll he left 
to him. 

The old practice of taking presents of corn, cattle, &c., was not 
confined to the poor. Chiefs expected them on certain occasions 
as well a.s hunil>ler people : they were, in fact, not so much gifts as 
taxes. See ' Cha bhi rogha'. 

Geamhradh reòdhtanach, Earrach ceòthanach, Samh- 
radh breac-riabhach, 'us Foghar geal grianach, cha d'fhag 
gorta riamh 'an Alba. 

Frosty Winter, misty Sf)ring, checquercd Summer, and 
sunny Autumn, never left dearth in Scotland. 
Arragh chayeeagh, Sourey onyragh (cloudy), 
Fouyr ghrianagh, as Geurey rioeeagh. — Manx. 

Gean a' bhodaich, as a bhroinn. 

The churl's suavity, from off the stomach. 

Ged a bhiodh bean an tighe lachdunn, — na'm biodh i 
maiseach mu'n bhiadh ! 

Were the housewife ever so jylcdn — if she were only fair 
with the food ! 

Ged a bhiodh do phoca Ian, bu mhiann leat mam 
'chuir air a mhuin. 

Were your bag full, you tvould wish to heap it over. 

Ged a chual' iad an ceòl, cha do thuig iad am port. 

They heard tlie music, hut understood not the tune. 

Ged 'bheir thu 'n t-anam as, cha toir thu an aghaidh 
dhuineil as. 

You may take the life from him, hut not the manly look 
from him. 


Ced 'bhiodli na tri gill 's an aon mhaide. 
//■ / liad enf/agcments three, I u-oidd fly to succonr thee. 
Lit. 'Were there tliree wagers on one stick,' in allusion to 
the old style of keeping a score, by those who couldn't write. 

Ged 'blirist thu 'n cnàimh, cha d' dheoghail thu 'n 

Though you hrokc the hone, you didnt suck the marrow. 

Ged 'chaochail e 'innis, cha do chaochail e 'àbhaist. 

He changed his haunt, btit not his habit. 

Coelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt. — Hor. 

Ged 'chitheadli tu do mbàthair a' dol cearr, dh' inns- 
eadli tu e. 

If you saw your mother going wrong, you wotdd tell it. 

He was scant of news who told that his father was hanged. — 
Eng., Scot. 

Ged 'cbluinn thu sgeul gun dreach na h-aithris e. 
If you hear a hueless tale, don't repeat it. 

Ged 'chuirinn fait mo chinn fo 'chasan. 

Though I shoidd lay the hair of my head tinder his 

Ged eignichear an sean-fhacal, cha bhreugaichear e. 

Though the old saying be strained, it cannot he belied. 

Al. Ged shàruichear. See 'An sean-fhacal'. 

Plant gwirionedd yw hen diarhebion — Old ■proverbs are children 
of truth.— Welsh. 

Ged imich thu an cruinne, cha 'n fhaigh thu duine 
gun choire. 

Yoxt may go round the world, bid yoitll not meet a man 
without faidt. 

Ged is ann o 'n bhior, cha 'n ann o 'n choire. 
Escaped from the spit, hid not from the caldron. 

Ged is e 'n duine an tuathanach, 's e 'n t-each an 

The man is the farmer, but the horse is the labourer. 

Ged is e 'n tigh, cha 'n e 'mhuinntir. 
Though it be the house, these arc not its people. 
Said when an old house is tenanted by new people, a common 
thing in the Highlands. 


Ged is f had a mach Barraidh, ruigear e. 

Though Barra le far out, it can he reached. 

Said Ijy Mac Iain Gliearr, one of the Mac lans of Arclnanmr- 
chan, to M'Neill of Barra, who had been very hard on him at a 
Court of Jitstice. 

Ged is feairrd a' chailleacli a garadh, clia 'n fheairrd 
i a losgadh. 

The old ivovian is the hcttcr of hcing uxirvicd, hut not 
of being hurncd. 

Is feàrrde do 'n chailleach a goradh, acht is nusde i a losgadh. 

This has been supposed to refer to the atrocious practice of 
burning women for witchcraft, whicli was the statutory punish- 
ment in this country from 15G3 to 1736. 

Ged is iosal an coileach, cromaidh e 'cheann. 
Though the code he humble, he bends his head. 

Ged 'leagas tu mise, clia 'n 'eil duiu' 'an Xis nach leag 
thu fh(iin. 

Though you knock me doivn, there's not a man in Ness 
but can knock you down. 

Said by one of two pigmies, belonging to the parish of Ness in 
Lewis, to the other. 

Ged nach beirteadh bo 'an Eirinn. 
Should 7iever a coiv be calved in Ireland. 

Ged nach bi mi bruidhneach, bidh mi coimheach, 

Though 1 wont be talking, Fll he shy and mindful. 
See ' Bi 'd' thosd '. 

Ged nach biodh ach da leth-pheighiun 's an sporan, 
taobhaidh iad ri 'cheile. 

Were there hit two half-pence in the purse, they II come 

Al. da thurn-odhar — Ul-o mites. 'Turn-odhar' is uncommon, 
but is found in MacAlpine's Dictionary. 

Pfennig ist Pfennigs Bruder. — Germ. 

Ged nach biodh agad ach an t-ubh, 's e 'm plaosg a 

If you had bat an egg, I should get hut the shell. 


Ged nach biodh ami ach an rigli 's 'fliear-muinntir, 
dh' f haodadh duin' a chuid ionndraiu. 

Wei^e nobody hy hut a king and his man, one might 
miss his own. 

Ged nach duin' an t-aodach, clia duin' a bhios as 'aogais. 

The clothes are not the man, hut he's no man without 

Man tager meere Hatten af for Klederne end for Personen — 
More hats are taken off for clothes than for persons. — Da'ii. 

De kleederen maken den man. — Dutch. 

For the apparel oft proclaims the man. — Hamlet 1, iii. 
Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow, 
The rest is nought but leather and prunella. — Pope. 

A man's a man for a' that. — Barns. 

Society is founded upon Cloth. — Sartor Eesartus. 

Lives the man that can figure a naked Duke of Windlestraw, 
addressing a naked House of Lords? — Id. 

Ged nach 'ell e sios 's a suas, tha e null 's a nail. 

Though it he not up and doum, it is haek and forward, 

Ged nach 'eil geir ann, tlia fuil ann. 

Though there he no fat, there is blood. 

Ged a rachadh Cromba leis a' mhuir. 

Though Cromarty shoidd go ivith the tide. 

Ged robh e gun nihòine, cha bhi e gun teine. 

Though ^vithout peats, he wont want fire 

Ged 'tha mi boclid, cha 'n 'eil mi bleideil. 

Though poor, I'm not a parasite. 

Ged 'tha mi n diugh 'am chù-baile, bha mi roimh' 'am 

Though to-day a farm-dog, I urns once a moor-dog. 

Ged 'tha mise òg, tha seana chluasan agam. 

Though I he young, I have old ears. 

Little pitchers have wide ears. — Eng. 

Ged 'theirteadh riut an cù, cha bu tu ach smior a' 

Though you were called a dog, you ivould he the very 
tnarrow of a hoitnd. 

Ged threabhadh tu dùthaich, chaitheadh tu dùthaich. 

If you tilled a country side, you would spend its produce. 

Al. dhitheadh tu i — you ivould eat it. 


Ged 'thug thu bèum dha, cha d' thug thu niir dha. 

You gave him a taunt, hut never a moiscl. 

Geòlach ort ! The death-bandage on thee ! 

Geinn dheth fhein a sgoilteas an darach. 

A loedge of itself splits the oak. 

Geum bà air a h-èolas. A cold's loiu on knoicn ground. 

Geurad an leanna-chaoil. The sourness of small beer. 

Ghabhadh Mac-a-Phi 'n a rabhadh e. 

3fac Phie ivould take it for warning. 

A Mull saying. Mac Phie, chief of Colonsay, -went to a feast 
at Duart Castle, Mull, where his hospitable Irieiid Mac Lean in- 
tended to kill him. The door-keeper, being of friendly mind, 
asked him if he had come down Glen Conual Ì He said he had. 
• 'S am faca tu m' eich-sa, 's d' eich fliein 1 — Did you see viy hor.'ies 
and your own there ' ? Mac Phie took the hint, and escaped with 
all speed. 

Ghabhamaid na cruachan mora, 's dh' f hoghnadh na 
cruachan beaga. 

We tcoidd take the big stacks, and the little ones woidd do. 
Contented wi' little, and canty wi' mair. — Burns. 

(jheabh aire eirbheirt. Need vnllfind means of moving. 

Need makes the naked man run. — Enrj., i<cot. 

Need gars the auld wife trot. — Scot. 

Besoin fait vieille trotter. — Fr. 

La necesidad hace a la vieja trotar. — Span. 

De nood doet een oud wijf draven. — Dutch. 

Gheabh baobh a guidhe, ged nach fhaigh a h-anam 

A ivicked v:oman vnll get her ivish, though her soul get 
no mercy. 

Gheabli bean bhaoth dhith gun cheannach, 's cha 'n 
fhaigh i inneach. 

A silly vjoman loill get the xvarp withoid paying, bid 
wont get the looof. 

Gheabh bronuair mar a bhronnas e, 's gheabh loman 
an 16m dhonas. 

The Uberal ivill get as he spends, bid the niggard wdl 
get mere wretchedness. 

The word ' bronn '■ or ' pronn ' = give, distribute, is now obso- 
lete in vernacular Gaelic, but occurs in Ossianic ballads. 


Gheabh biirraidh barrachJ coire na 's urrainn duine 
glic a leasachadJi. 

A blockhead can find more fault than a ivise man can 

Un matto sa più domandare, clie sette savi respondere. — Ifal. 

Eiii Narr kann mehr fragen, als siebeu \Veise antworten. — 

A fool may ask more questions in an hour than a wise man can 
answer in seven years. — £ng. 

Gheabh cearc an sgnobaiu rud-eigin, 's cha 'n f haigh 
cearc a' chrùbain dad idir. 

The scraping hen tvill get something, hut the crouching 
hen ivill get nothing. 

Gheabh cobhartach spionnadh-iasaid, 
Helper tvill get loan of strength. 
A very fine sentiment. 

Gheabh Gàidheal fhèin a leth-bhreac. 
Even a Gael will find his fellow. 

The Gael, with all his self-esteem, has sense enough to know 
that there are as good in the world as he. 

Gheabh foighidinn furtachd, 's gheabh trusdar bean. 

Patience will get help, and filthy filoios get tvivcs. 
Patience and perseverance 
Got a wife for his Reverence. — Ir. 

Gheabh righ feachd, 's gheabh domhau daoine. 
Kings will find armies, and the world men. 

Gheabh sith sith, ach gheabh caise cothachadh. 
Peace will get peace, hut heat will get contention. 

Gheabh thu air òran e. 
You'll get it for a song. 

Gheabh thu e far am fag thu e. 

You II find him where you leave him. 
Said of a man to be relied on. 

Gheabh thu e 'n uair a gheabh thu nead na cubhaig. 
You'll get it when you find the cuckoos nest. 

Gheabhadh tu na feannagan-firich. 

You would find the forest-crows. 

Said to persons who boast of doing impracticable things. 


Gheabhar bean-chagair, ach 's ainneamh bean-ghaoil. 

A dcar-ivife may he got, hut a love-wife is rare. 
This is a nice distinction. 'Mo gliaol' is a warmer expression 
than 'mo chagar'. 

Gheabhar deireadh gach sgeòil a nasgaidh. 

The end of a tale is got for nothing. 

Gheabhar laogh breac ballach 'an tigh gach araich, La 
Fheill-Pàdruig Earraich. 

A spotted calf vj ill he found in every cowherd's house on 
St. Patrick's day in Spring. 

Gheabht' iomramh 's an nimh gun a bhristeadh. 

Howing coidd he got from the oar luithout hreahing it. 

Ghlacadh e 'n a lion f hein. 

He luas caught in his own net. 

Ghoid am mèirleach air braidein e. 

The thuf stole it from the pilferer. 

Gille cas-fliuch. Wet-foot lad. 

Al. Gille uisge 's aimhne — Water and river lad. 

A servant that carried his master across streams, fetched water, 
and made himself generally useful. 

Gille-firein 's e ri fas, itliidh e mar bhleathas bràdh. 

A growing hoy vnll eat as fast as a quern can grind. 

Al. Seana-gliiuUan 's e ri fas, dh' itheadh e mar mheileadh 

Gille gun bhiadh gun tuarasdal, cha bhi e uair gun 

A servant %vithout food or wages luon't he long without 
a master. 

A boy-servant of all work without food or wages. — Arab. 

Glac am mèirleach mu'n glac am mèirleach thu. 

Catch the thief hef ore the tliief catch yon. 

Take the thief l)efore he take thee. — Arab. 

Glac thusa foighidinn, 's glacaidh tu iasg. 

Get you ptaticnce, and you'll get fish. 

Glanadh mosaig air a màthair-chèile. 

The slatterns cleaning of her mother-in-laio. 

Glas air an tigh an deigh na gadachd. 

Locking the house after the theft. 

Locking the stable door when the steed is stolen. — Evg. 


Glas-labhraidh air nighiun, gun fliios, teang' an ablira 
'Jh 'iomraicheas. 

When a maid is tongue-tied, her eyelids tell a tale. 
A tliief sae pawkie is my Jean, 
To steal a blink, by a' unseen ; 
But frleg as light are lover's een, 
When kind love is in the ee. — Burns. 

Gleac nam fear fanna. The turcstling of faint men, 
Gleidli do mhaor 's do mhiuistear, 's cha'n eagal dut. 
Keep your bailiff and your minister, and there s no fear 
of you. 

Gleidheadh a' chlamhain air na cearcan. 
The kites guarding of the hens. 
See 'B'e sin faire'. 

Gleidheadh an t-sionnaich air na caoraich. 
The fox s keeping of the sheep. 
Gleidhear cuirm an deigh Caisge. 
A feast vnll he kept after Easter. 

Gleidhidh aire innleachd, ged nach gleidh i oighreachd. 
Need vnll make a shift, though it keep not an inheritance. 
Gleidhidh cnàimh feòil, f had 's is beò smior. 
Bone ivill keep flesh, while marroiv lives. 
At. Glieabh feòil cnàimh, 's gheabh cnàimh feùil — Flesh will 
get bone, and bone flesh. 

Gleidhidh sail seilbh. Eye keeps property. 

The eye of the master does more than both his hands. — Eng. 

Gleus ùr air seana mhaide. A neiv lock to an old stock. 
Glòir fhuar hharr nachdar goile. 
Cold talk from stomach surface. 

Glòir mhòr 'an colainn bhig. Great tcdk in small body. 
At. Glaodh mor a colainn bhig. 
Glòir nan càirdean a 's milse na 'mhil. 
The praise of friends is siveeter than honey. 
Glòir mhilis a mheallas an t-amadan. 
Sweet words beguile fools. 
Fair words make fools fain. — Eng. 

Fair hechts (iwomises) will mak' fulis fain. — The Clierrie and 
the Slae. 

Fagre Ord fryde en Daare. — Dan. 


Gnè firionn falbh. Tlic male's nature is to move. 

The man to go abroad, the woman to stay at home. 

Gnothach duine gun clieill, 'dol gu feill gun airgiod. 

A fuoVs errand, going to market tvithout money. 

Gnothaichean mora fo thuinn. 

Great things binder the tvaves. 

Said of those who boast of things they neither have nor can have. 

Gob a' clialmain-chàthaidh, bidh tu slàn mu'm pòs thu. 

Beak of the motdting dove, yoiCll he well before yo%i marry. 

The word ' calman-càthaidh' is not in any of the dictionaries, 
except A. M'Donald's Vocabulary, where it is rendered ' Hoop'. 
The saying is applied to sick children. 

Goirteas a chinn fhein a dh' fliairiclieas a h-uile fear. 

Every man feels his oimi headache. 

'S i a chneadh fèin is luaithe mhothiugheas gach duine — A 
vmn feels his ovn hurt soonest. — Ir. 

Gramachadh bàrr òrdaig. Holding by a thumb-top. 

Greadan feasgair, 's cead dol dachaidh. 

Evening spurt, and leave to go home. 

Greini cruaidh aig curaidh. A cJiamjnons hard grip. 

Greim cùbair. A cooper's gripi. 

A firm hold. 

Greim fad' an tàilleir leisg. The lazy tailors long stitch. 

Al. Greim fada, 's grad 'bhi ullamh — Lo7ig stitch, and soon done. 

Snaithe fada an taillear fhallsa. — Ir. 

Costurera mala, la hebra de a braza — Bad seamstress' thread, a 
fathom long. — Span. 

Greis rau seach, an t-each air muin a' niharcaiche. 

Time cOjout, the horse on the back of tlie rider. 

Gu dònihail doimli, mar a bhios màthair fhir-an- 
tighe, 'an solus na cloinne, no 'n rathad nan ian. 

Croivding, cumbersome, like the goodman's mother, in 
the children's light, or in the way of the fowls. 

Gu dona dubli, mar a bha cas Aoidh. 

Bad and blaxk, as Hugh's foot was. 

Hugh was on a visit to the laird of Coll, and got his foot acci- 
dentally wounded. He was so well taken care of that he was in 
no hurry to get out of hospital, and continued to describe the 
state of his foot as 'bad and black'. 

Gu h-olc innte, 's gu h-olc uimpe. 

Bad within, and badly clad. 


Gu'm biodh e 'n ceann-uidhe dlia fliatliast. 

That he would yd he the end of him. 

This was one of the sayin.qs attributed to James Stewart of 
Acharn, ' Seumas a' Ghliniie,' on the strength of which, chiefly, 
lie was most iniquitously executed in 1752 for the murder of 
Colin Campbell of Glenure. Stewart's brother had forfeited his 
lands of Ardsheil for taking part in the Rebellion of 1745, and 
Campbell, judicial factor on the estate, was proceeding to eject a 
number of tenants, when he was shot dead. Stewart was not 
accused of having committed the deed, but of having instigated 
Allan Breac, a kinsman of his. The presiding judge was the Duke 
of Argyll, Lord Justice-General, and eleven of the jury were 

Gu'm bu drocli drùighleacli dhut ! Bad dregs to you ! 

Gu ma fada bhios tu beò, agus ceo bharr do tbighe ! 

Long 7nay you live, and smoke rise from your roof! 

Al. Gu ma fada beò thu, 'us ceo as do thigh. 

This is a very favourite and kindly saying. 

Gu 'm aim a gbonar am fiosaiche, mu'n tig an f biosachd 
f lor ! 

Perish the prophet, ere the pro'phccy come true ! 

Gu 'm beir an riabhach mor ort ! 

The great grizzled one catch thee ! 

One of the epithets applied to the Devil. 

Gu ma h-anmoch dhut ! May it he late to thee ! 

Gu ma h-olc dhut ! Ill hefall thee ! 

Gu'm meal thu do naidheachd ! 

May you enjoy your news ! 

Said to a person who is to be congi'atulated. 

Gual fuar 'g a sheideadh. Bloiving cold coals. 

' Gùg, gùg,' ars a' chubhag, latha buidhe Bealltainn. 

* Coo, coo' says the cuckoo, on yclloio May-day. 

The cuckoo is seldom heard so early now. 

Gun aon tàmh air bial na bradhan, 's gun aon ghràinn' 
air chionn an latha. 

Without ceasing of the quern, and not a grain at the 
end of the day. 

Labour like that of the Danaids, — the 'toradh' or fntit of the 
grinding being carried away by a Fairy as fast as it was made. 

Gu 'n gabh a' bhochdainn thu ! Poverty take thee ! 


Gun mlieas gun mliiadh, mar ]\Ihànus. 

Without esteem or honour, like Magnua. 

This refers to a Scandinavian king, whom Fingal overcame ami 
slew. — See Dr. Smith's Seem Dana, p. 113, and CampbelFs 
Leahhar na Fcinne, pp. 71, &c. 

Gunnaiclie mor gun srad f hùdair. 
A great gunner loithout a grain of poii-der. 
Gus am bi ]\Iac-Cailein na 'righ, bidh I mar 'bhà. 
Till Argijll he a King, lona will be as she ivas. 
Tliis saying was familiar in Kingairloch more than 60 years 
ago to tlie person from whom it was got. The repair of the ruins 
of lona by the Duke of Argjdl, soon after the marriage of the 
ilarquis of Lome to the Princess Louise, was noted by some old 
people in connection with this saying. 

Au older saying, attributed to St. Columba, is — 
An I mo chridhe, I mo ghràidh, 

An àite guth ndianach bidh geum bà; 
Ach mu 'n tig an saoghal gu crich, 

Bithidh 1 mar a bha. 
In dearest lona, the isle of my love, 

In place of nwnks' voices shall cows' lowing he ; 
But ere ever the world shall come to an end, 
As once was lona, lona shall be. 

Gus am faigh tliu deoch a's fhearr na 'm fion, clia 'n 
fhaigh thu biadh a's fhearr na 'n fheòil. 

Till you find tetter drink than ivine, you'll find no 
better food than flesh. 

The Binny fish said, ' If you can find a better fish, don't eat 
me'.^ — Arah. 

Gus an gabh a' mhuir teine, cha 'n fbaigli duine clann 
duine eile. 

Till the sea takes fire, you cant be the sire of another 
man's children. 

Gus an trùigbiv a' mliuir le cliabb, cha bhi fear fial 

Till the sea is drained with a creel, the generoics man 
ivont want. 

A good .sentiment, but unfortunately not a fact. 

Guth na cubhaig 'am bial na cathaig, 's guth na faoileig 
'am bial na sgaireig. 

The cuckoo's voice in the jackdaw's mouth, and the sea- 
gidl's in the young scarfs. 

I nam ban bbidlieach. lona of pretty women. 

lallan fad' a leathair chàicli. 

Long thongs of other mens leather. 

De alieno corio liberalis. — Lat. 

Del cuoio d' altri si fanno le correggie larglie. — Ital. 

De ciiei'o ageno correas largas. — S-pun. 

Dii ciiir d' autrui large courroie. — Fr. 

Het is goed snijden riemen uit eens andermans leer. — Dutch. 

A large thong of another man's hide. — Eng. 

Lang whangs atf ither folk's leather. — Scot 

larr gach ni air Camaronach, ach na iarr im air. 

Ask anything of a Cameron but butter. 

See ' Caniaronaich '. 

larraidli Mliic Chriiislig air na li-eich. 

Mac Cruslick's search for the horses. 

M.'s master sent him to search for his horses. ' Where shall I 
look for them ? ' said M. ' Look for them wherever they are or are 
not likely to be,' said his master. Presently M. was seen on the 
roof of the house scraping away with a sickle. On being asked 
what he was about, he replied that he was searching for the 
horses where they were not likely to be. — Campbell's W. H. 
Tales, II. 309. 

lasad a' chaibe gun a chiir 's an talamh. 

The loan of the spade ivithout using it. 

lasad caillicb gun diasan, iasad a 's fhas' fhaotainn. 

An old wifes loan without ears of corn, the easiest loan 
to get. 

I.e., loan from one who has nothing to give. 

lasgach muinntir Bharbhais. 

The Barvas folk's fishing. 

Barvas is a parish in Lewis. It was alleged of the natives 
that they delayed going to fish till they heard of their neighbours' 
having got fish. The coast of Barvas strictly so called is peculiarly 
unsuited for boating, which might well exciise the natives for 
being slow to go to sea. Ness, on the other hand, which is part 
of the ' civil ' parish of B. has a port, and is inhabited by a very 
daxmtless fishing population. 



lasg no sitliionn, àth no muileann. 

Fish or venison, kiln or mill. 

lasgach amadain, corr bheothach mor. 

A fool's fishing, an occasional hig fish. 

The meaning is, tliat only fools despise littles, 

lasgach na curra. Tlic cranes fisl cm g. 

A model of patience. 

Im ri im cha bhiadli 's clia 'n annlann e. 

Butter to butter is neither food nor kitchen. 
Imricli Shatliurna mu thuath, 

Imricli Luain mu dheas ; 
Ged nach biodh agam ach an t-iian, 
'S ann Diluain a dli'fhalbliainn leis. 

Saturday s flitting hy north, MondcLy s flitting hy sonth; 
had I hut a lamb to move, 'tis on Monday I vjoidd go. 

In other words, Saturday is an unlucky day for removing, 
Monday a lucky day. See ' Deiseal '. 

Imridh briag gobhal. A lie needs a j^roj). 

See ' Cha sheas a bhriag'. 

luiridli fear nam briag cuimlme mhath a bhi aige. 

Liars shoidd have good memories. — Eng., Scot. 

Be of good memory, if you become a liar. — Arab. 

Mendacem memorem esse oportet. — Quintil. 

II bugiardo deve aver Ijuona memoria. — Ital. 

Liigner muss ein gut Gedachtniss haben. — Germ. 

Een leugenaar moet een goede memorie hebben. — Dutch. 

Innleacbd Shasunn agus neart Alba. 

England's art and Scotland' s force. 

The truth of this saying still holds good. 

Innsidh a' chruinneag, c6 'dh'itli a' chriomag. 

The tidy lass will tell ivho ate the tid-hil. 

Innsidh na geòidh a 's t-Fhoghar e. 

The geese will tell it in AiUiinm. 

Innsidh ùine 'h-uile rud. Time tells everything. 

Foillsi^htear gach nidh re h-aimsir. — Ir. 

Tempus omnia revelat. Veritas temporis filia. — Lat. 

Time trieth truth. — Eng. Zeit gebiert Wahrheit. — Germ. 

lomairt ' coma learn'. The ' / dont care' 'play. 

longantas muinntir Mhuc-Cairn. 

The queerness of the 3ruckairn 2Jco2)le. 

M. is a parish in Argj'llshire, the inhabitants of which somehow 


have the reputation of being uncommonly shy, unwilling to par- 
take even of the simplest hospitality from strangers. 

lounlaididh burn salach làmhan. 
Foul water will wash hands. 

lonnsaich do d' sheanmhair brochan a dlieanamh. 

Teach your granny to make gruel. 

Al. ' lit' Ò1 ' — to sup porridge. 

Seòl do shean-mliathair lachanaidh a hhleaghan (to milk 
ducks). — /?•. 

Teach your grandam to suck eggs — to spin — to grope her duck 
— to sup sour milk. — Eng. 

Learn yir gudewife to mak milk kail. — Scot. 

Dysgu gradd i hen farch— To teach ajmce to an old horse. — Welsh. 

' Gradd ' is possibly a ' family ' edition of what in a similar 
Gaelic saying is ' bram '. 

Is adhaiseach cuid an fliir nach toir an dorus air. 

His share is slow who doesnt take to the door. 

The best interpretation of this is, that he who doesn't go out 
for his living will be ill off. 

N.B. — In most of the sayings commencing here with 'Is,' 
the '1' is in pronunciation entirely omitted. 'Sarin, 'S e, and 'ò' 
fhearr, are the vernacular phrases, and not 'Is ann,' Is e,' &c. 

Is aimhleasach gach noclid. 
Nakedness is hitrtful. 

This is a very Celtic sentiment. The chief idea conveyed i.s, 
that the destitute are liable to injury. 

Is àirde 'n geum na 'm bleoghann. 
TJie low is greater than the milking. 
See ' A 'bhd '. 

Is àirde ceann na gualainn. 
Head is higher thaji shoulder. 
Uwch pen na dwy ysgwydd. — Welsh. 

Is àirde tuathanacli air a cliasan na duin'-nasal air a 

A farmer on his feet is taller than a gentleman on his 

Al. Is fhearr — is better. 

This is a very suggestive saying. — See ' Is treasa tuath *. 

Is aitline do'n cliù a choire fhein. 
A dog knoics his own fault. 
A I. Tuigidh CÙ a chioutu. 


Is amaideach a bhi 'cur a macli airgid a clieannacli 

'Tis folly to spend money in huyiiig repentance. 

Is anfhann a tliig, 's làidir a theid. 
Weak they come, and strong depart. 
At. Is lag na thig. This refers to infants. 

Is ann a bliios a' choir mar a chumar i. 

Tiie rir/Iit ivill he as it's kept. 

Al. Bidh a choir mar a chumar i, 's Lidh an t-suiridhe mar a 
nitear i — The right, etc., and the wooing ivill be accordiiig as it's 

Possession is nine points of the law. — Eng. 

See ' Am fear aig am beil '. 

Is ann a cheart-eigin 's a dh-aindeoin, a dh'aithnicheas 
bean a ciad leanabh; mar a tliuirt Iain Mac-Mhurchaidli- 

It's harely and in spite of everything, that a woman 
knows her first child, as John, son of Murdoch, son of 
Allan, said. 

Is ann a dh fliàsas an siol mar a cliuirear e. 

The seed grows as it's sown. 

Is ann a tha 'n càirdeas mar a cliumar e. 

Friendship is as it's kept. 

A very true and good sentiment. 

Is ann a tha 'n sgoileam air an sgoileir. 

It's the scholar that's the talker. 

Is ann agad 'tha 'bhathais ! ^Vllat a front you have ! 

Said to impudent people. 

Is ann aig duine fhein is fliearr a tha fios c'àite am 
beil a bhròg 'g a ghoirteachadh. 

Every man knows best where his shoe hurts him. 

The wearer Lest knows where the shoe ^rangs him. — Eng. 

Every man kens best where his aiu shoe binds him. — Scot. 

Chacun sent le mieux oii le Soulier le blesse. — Fr. 

Ognuuo sa dove la scarpa lo stringe. — Ital. 

Cada uno sabe donde le aprieta el zapato. — Span. 

Jeder weiss es am Besten, wo ihn der Schuh driickt. — Germ. 

The first use of this saying is attributed by Plutarch to 
iEmilius Paulus, who being remonstrated with for divorcing his 
wife, an honourable and irreproachable matron, pointed to one of 
his shoes, and asked his friends ' what they thought of it ? ' They 


all thought it a handsome, well-fitting shoe. ' But none of you 
knows,' he said, ' where it pinches me.' This is now called 
' incompatibility '. 

Is ann aige-san a's mo 'their a's lugha 'tlia ri 'ràdh. 

He that says most iias least to tell. 

Words are like leaves, and where they most abound, 
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found. 

Is ann air a' bheagan a dh'aitlmichear am moran. 

From the little the much is known. 

Is ann air a dh' eirich a' ghrian ! 

It is on him that the sun hath risen ! 

Is ann air a' mhuic reamliair a tlieid an t-im. 

It's on the fat pig the butter goes. 

This applies metaphorically to some living animals. 

See ' Am fear aig am bi im '. 

Sin ton na muice meithe do ghrèisiughadh. — Ir. 

Al puerco gordo untarle el rabo. — Span. 

Is ann air an tràghadh a rugadli e. 
lie was born when the tide was ebbing. 
Unlucky man, or born out of date. 
Is ann air a slion fhein a ni 'n cat an cronan. 
It's for itself the cat croons. 

Is mur gheall air fein a ghnidheas a cat cronan. — Jr. 
E wyr y gath pa farf a lyf — Cat knows lohat heard he licks. — We 
The cat is a thoroughly selfish animal, and there are hun 
beings, aimed at in this proverb, of the same nice, soft, selfish si 

Is ann air gnùis a bheirear breith. 

It is by the face toe judge. 

Vultus est index animi. — Lat. 

In the forehead and the eye. 

The lecture of the mind doth lie. — Eng. 

Is ann air deireadh an latha 's fhearr na DònuUaich. 

The MacDoncdds are best at the end of the day. 

This is a very complimentary saying. See ' Is ann feasgar '. 

Is ann an am a chruadail a dh' aithnichear na càirdean. 
When fortune frowns then friends are known. 
Is ann 'an ceann bliadhna a dh' innseas iasgair a 

It''s at the years end the fisher can tell his luck. 

Al. 'amhaltas — Ms trouble. 

Is a g-cionn na bliadhna innsidheas iasgaire a thàbhachd. — Ir. 


Is ann an sin a tliathas 'g a cliaitlieamli, eaJar an 
t-sratliair 's am plàta. 

So is it tvorn, 'twixt the pack-saddle and the straw-cloth. 
Said of people assuming airs beyond their position. 

Is ann an uair a's gainn' am biadh a's coir a roinn. 

'Tis when food is scarcest it should he divided. 

Is ann as a' bheagan a thig am moran. 

From the little comes the nuich. 

Many littles mak a muckle. — Scot. 

The proverbe saith that many a smale makith a grete. — Cliaucer. 

Is ann bòidheach 's cha 'n ann dùiclieil. 

Bonnie rather than graceful. 

Is ann da fhein a dh' innsear e. 

Ifs to himself it tvill he told. 

It's his own ati'air. 

Is ann da latha roimli 'bhàs, 'bu cliùir do dliuine 
shàr-fliacal a ràdh. 

Till two days hefore he die, man should not sjpeah his 
v:cifjhtiest word. 

There is much wisdom in this saying. 

Is ann de'n aon chlòth an cathdath. 
The tartan is cdl of one stuff. 
Cath-dath = battle-colour. — Armstrong. 

Is ann de'n cheaird a' cliungaidh. 

The tools are pccrt of the trade. 

Al. Is i 'cheaird. 

'S i leith na ceirde an ùirleis — The tools are half the trade. — Ir. 

Is ann de'n tuaigh an t-shamhach. 

ITie haft belongs to the axe. 

See ' Cuir an tuagh '. 

Is ann le làimh ghlain bu choir altacliadli. 

One should, sahde (or say grace) with a clean hand. 

See PsALii xxiv. 3, 4. 

Is ann feasgar a dh' aithnichear na fir. 

It's at evening the men are kncnvn. 

Is ann fliad 's a bhios an t-slat maoth is fliasa 'lùbadh. 
When the twig is tender it is easiest hent. 

Am meangan nach sniomh tliu, 

Cha s I lion thu 'n a chraoibh e. — Dug. Buchanan. 


Best to bend while it is a twig. — Emg. 
Piega I'albero quando è giovane. — Ital. 
Den Baum muss man biegen, weil er jung ist. — Germ. 

Is ann goirid o d' bhial a mholadh tu e. 
It is near your mouth you would praise him. 

Is ann goirid roimh 'bhàs a mholadh tu e. 
It is near his end you would praise him. 

Is ann mu seach a sheidear na builg. 

By turns the bellows are blown. 

Is ann mu seach a thogar an dun. 

It is by degrees the fort is built. 

A I. 'S ann uidh air nidh a thogar na caisteil. 

Rome was not built in a day. — Ital., Fr., Germ., Eng. 

Is ann mar a bhios neach e fhein a dh' fhidireas e 

As a man is himself he thinks of his neighbour. 

Is ann oidhche roimh a bhàs bu choir do dhuine athais 
a thilgeadh. 

A man should not vent his reproach till the night before 
his death. 

Macintosh's gloss on this isj ' make a satire or proverb '. 

Is ann oidhche Shamhna 'chnagadh tu cnò. 

On Halloween you woidd crack a nut. 

One of the favourite Halloween pastimes was burning of nuts. 

Is ann ort a chaidh uisge nan uibhean. 

You had the egg -water spilt on you. 

Macintosh says, ' water in which eggs are boiled is reckoned 
destructive to the constitution,' and that ' this proverb is applied 
to those that are seized with a fit of illness '. 

Is ann ort a thàinig an ceal. 
What a stiqMr has come over thee. 

Is ann romhad a dh' eirich an naosg. 
It's before you the snipe rose. 
This was reckoned a good omen. 

Is aobhach duine 'an taice ri 'chuid. 
A man is cheerful near his own. 

Is aotrom air do dhruim an t-iomradli. 
The roofing is light on your back. 


Is aotrom gach saoglialach sona. 

Light is the lucky long-liver. 

Is àrd ceann an fheidli 's a' chreaclianu. 

High is the stags head on the mountain crags. 

Is baigheil duine ris an auam. 

A vian is tender of his life. 

All that a man hath will he give for his life. — Job. ii. 4. 

Life is sweet. — Eng. 

In one of the West Highland Tales (Campbell, II. 355), Brian, 
son of tlie King of Greece, is asked by a Giant, whether he would 
rather lose his head, or go to steal the White Sword of Liglit in 
the realm of Big Women. ' 'S bàigheil duine ri 'bheatha — kind is 
a man to his life,' said Biian, and chose the latter alternative. 

Is balbh gach sian ach a' gbaoth. 

Dumb is all vjeather hut the wind. 

See ' An uair a laidheas '. 

Is beadarracb an ni an onoir. 

Honour is a tender thing. 

This is very Celtic. 'Take my honour, take my liTe.' 

Is beag a dheanadh grot do 'n fbear a dh' òladh crùn. 

Little ivoidd a groat do for him who drinks a crown. 

This probably refers to a soldier's pay, which was 4d. a day at 
no very ancient date. 

Is beag a ghearaineas sinn, ge niur a dli' fliiiilingeas 

Little we complain, though toe suffer much. 

Tliis saying is given by Macintosh without any note. ^Ylien- 
ever it may have originated, it expressed with native gentleness a 
very sad truth in reference to a considerable part of our Highland 
population. It was true a century ago, and it is true still. 

Is beag a th' eadar do ghal 's do gbàire. 

Your crying and laughing are not far removed. 

Is beag an deirc nach fhearr na 'n t-èuradh. 

Small is the alms that is not better than a refusal. 

Is beag a rud nach fhearr na diultadh. — Ir. 

Is beag am fathunn nach ckiinn dithis. 

It's a faint rumour that two won't hear. 

Is beag an leisgeul a bheir a' chailleach do 'n chill 

It's a little excuse that brings the old v:ornan to the 

Excuse = cause, and churchyard = death. 

Al. Is faoin an gnotliach. It's a sli^jid thing. 


Ts beag an rud a bheir duine do 'n chill, 'n uair a bliios 
a leannan innte. 

Ifs a small thing that brings a man to the churchyard, 
when his svjeetheart is there. 

Is beag an t-ioghnadh amadan a bin leannanachd li 

It's no vjonder to see a fool courting an idiot. 

Is beag cuid an latha fhlich dheth. 
The rainy days share of it is small. 
Meaning that little has been saved. 

Is beag an ni nach deireadli a's t-Fhogbar. 

Ifs a little thing that doesn't hinder in Autumn. 

Is beag fios aig fear an tàimh air ànradli fear na mara. 
The household man knows little of the seaman s hardship). 

Is beag 's is nior a th' eadar a choir 's an eucoir. 
There is little and much betwixt right and ivrong. 
Is beag a ta eadar an choir a's an eugcòir. — Ir. 
'S mooar ta eddyr y chair as yn agguir. — Manx. 
Ge mor an diùbhras beusau 

Eadar eucoir agus cùir, 
Cha 'n eòl domh àite seasaimh, 

Gun a chos air aon diubh dhò. — Eob Dunn. 

Is beag orm an rud nach binn learn. 
/ like not what I find not sweet. 

Is beag orm troidh air ais an t-seann-duine. 

/ like not the old man's backwcarl step. 

Al. Is coma learn fiiein an rud a hhiodh ann, ce'um air ais an 
t-seann duine. 

Said l)y young Eonald MacDonell of Strontian, at the battle 
of Kin-Loch-Lochy, 'Blàr nan Leine' (1544), on seeing his father 
give way after receiving a wound in the head from ' Eaonull 
Gallda'. The remark was suggested by that of his father, on 
seeing his son for the first time for several years, after having 
been deserted by him in the hour of need, "S coma leam fhein an 
rud a bhiodh iinn, armachd a ghill' oig, 's e 'teicheadli — / don't- 
care for the arming of the youth who runs awny\ Young Ronald 
is said to have added to the above remark, ' Seo mar bu choir a 
bhi, am mac a dhol 'an ionad an atliar — This is as it ought to he 
— the son in the place of the father' ; and rushed upon the enemy, 
whom he overcame. There is something wildly noble, though 
unpleasant in this. See Caairtcar, Dec. 1841, pp. 282-3. 


Ts beajT orin na 'm biodh ann snith-bheannachadh a' 

I should dislike to hear thejlucnt hlcssinrj of the 2^1 under cr. 

This is still true, even thou^'h highway robbery be no more in 
fashion. Some rrrave and reverend Bank Directors have illustrated 
this shockingly in modern times. 

Is bean-tighe an luchag 'n a tigh fhein. 
Tlie little mouse is mistress in her own house. 
Is maighistreas an luchog air a thigh fèin. — Ir. 

Is beò duine 'an deigh a shàrachadli, ach cha bheò e 
'an deigh a nàrachadh. 

A man may survive distress, hut not disgrace. 

Al. an deigh a à\\s^o\]iQ— after his people — an deigh a nàire — 
after his shame. 

The Ulster version is identical with the latter. The senti- 
ment is very Celtic and honourable, but common to all the higher 
races. ' Death liefore dishonour ' has been the motto of all heroes 
and martyrs of every nation. 

El homlire sin honra peor es que un muerto. — Span. 

Is beò duine air bheagan, ach cha hheh e gun dad idir. 
One can live on little, hit not on nothing. 
A good motto for Parochial Boards. 

Is beò na h-eòin, ged nach seobhagan uil' iad. 
The birds live, though not all haicks. 
A fine quiet suggestion for statesmen and con(|uerors. 
Is beò duine ged nach sàthach. 
A nuin may live though not full. 

This is nowhere more illustrated than in the Highlands ; what 
phrenologists call ' Alimentiveness ' is at a very low tigure there. 

Is bicheanta na tràithean. 
The meals are frequent. 

This saying must have originated with a very abstemious and 
probably miserly person. 

Is bigid e sid, is bigid e sid, mar a thuirt an dreathan, 
an uair a thug e Ian a ghuib as a' mhuir. 

'Tis the less for that, the less for that, as the ivrcn said, 
when he sipped a hill-full out of the sea. 

Is binn gach ian 'n a dlioire fhein. 
Siveet sings each hird in his own grove. 
Al. 'S binn guth an eoin far am beirear e. — Siceet is a hinVs 
voice icJiere he was born. 


Is binn gach glòir bho 'n duine blieairteach. 

Is mil bho 'bliial a' ghobaireachd ; 

Is searbh a' choir bho 'n aimbeairteach, 

Is cian a ghloir bho ghliocas. 

Siocci is the talk of the wealthy man, 

Like honey is his prattling ; 

Harsh is the right from the poor mans mouth, 

Far is his talk from ivisdom. 

Mills glor gach lir 

Am-bidh cuiil agus spreidli ; 

Searbh glor an te bhilheas lonmi, 

Bun-os-cionn do labhrann se. — Ir. 

Is bior gach sràbh 's an oidhche. 
Every strata is a thorn at night. 
This must have been said by a Celtic Sybarite. 
Is blàth an fhuil, ged is ann an craicionn nan con i. 
Blood is tvarm, though it he hut in a dogs skin. 
Al. 'an sròn muice— 7n a pig's nose. 

Al. Is blath fuil nan cat 'nan craicionn fhein — Cafs blood is 
warm in their own skin. 

Is blath anail na màthar. 
Warm is the mothers hreath. 
The mitlier's breath is aye sweet. —Scot. 
A beautiful saying. 

Is blath lodan na broige. 

War in is the p)ool in the shoe. 

Said to youngsters complaining of leaky shoes. 

Is bochd am fear nach fhaigh a leòir a's t-Fhoghar. 
He's a poor man ivho vjont get his fill in Autumn. 

Is bochd am pòsadh nach fhearr na 'n dubh-chosnadh. 

It's a 'poor marriage that is not hetter than hard service. 

This seems a foolish sentiment, but the ' dubh-chosnadh,' 
literally ' black-service' refers to out-door work, seldom desirable 
ior women. 

Is bochd an ainnis lomanach. 
Trtdy poor is the naked needy. 

Is bochd an rud nach fhiach iarmidh. 
It's a poor thing that's not worth asking. 


Is bòidlieacli an lucliag 's a' mliir arbhair. 
Pretty is the mouse in the eom-'plot. 
This sentiment is worthy of Robert Burns. 

Ts bòidheacli leis an fheannaig a gorm garrach fliein. 

Tlie croiu thinks her own ghastly chick a hcaitty. 

See 'Ge dubh ara fitheach'. 

Is bràthair do'n amadan an t-amhlair. 

The rude jester is brother to the fool. 

Is bràthair do'n chadal ceann ri làr. 

Head laid doion is brother to sleep. 

Is bràthair do' n chuthach an òige. 

Youth is the brother of riiadness. 

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child. — Prov. xxii. 15. 

Is bràthair do 'n diosg an tuairnear. 

The turner is brother to the dish. 

Is bràthair do'n mbadadh am nuirleach. 

TJu. thief is brother to the hovnd. 

A very respectable sentiment. 

Is bràthair do Xiall Gille-Calura. 

Malcolm is brother to Neil. 

' Par nobile fratrum,' no doubt. 

Is buaine aon diùltadh na da-tliabhartas-dbiag. 

One refusal is lonyer rememhered. than a dozen offers. 

Al. Millidh aon diiiltadh, &c. — One refusal spoils, <l-c. 

Is buaine 'm meangan a gheilleas na 'n crann mor a 

The twig that yields vrill ontlive the great tree that bends. 

Is buaine an buinneàn maoitli (tender twir/J na an crann broni- 
anta (stubborn tree). — Ir. 

Is buaine bladb na saoglial. 
Jienown is more lasting than life. 
Is bwaine cliù nà saoghal.— /r. 
See ' Is beù duine'. 

Is buaine bbadhna na Xollaig. 
Year lasts longer than Citristmus. 

Is buaine diitbchas na oilean. 

Blood, is stronger than breeding. 

Is treise an dnchas na an oileandiuin. — Ir. 

Naturani expellas furca, tamen usque recurret,— .H"or. 


Is buaine cùl na agliaidli. 

Back lasts longer than front. 

A cheese, a stack of hay, peats, &c., M-ouhl he more freely nseil 
at first than at List. The moral iiieaning may be, that feuds last 
longer than friendship. 

Is buaine na gach ni an nàire. 
Shame is more lasting than anything. 
This is very Celtic. 

Schande duurt Linger dan armoede— S/tame lasts longer than 
poverty. — Dutch. 

Is buaine send na 'luach. 

A gem lasts longer than its value. 

Is buaireadh gach sine a' ghaoth. 

All change of weather is due to the wind. 

Is buan meachdann na folaclid. 

Long lasts the rod whose root sprang from Mood, 

At. Is buan cuimhne, &c. — Long is the memory, etc. 

A proverb worthy of Iceland or Corsica. 

Is buan gach olc. Uvil lives long. 
'S beayn dagh oik. — Manx. 

Onde Urter voxe mest, og forgaae senest — III weeds grow best 
aiid last longest. — Dan. 

Is buidhe le amadan imrich. 
Fides are aye fond d fiittin. — Scot. 
Al. Is miann. Is toigh. 
Is miann le amadan imirce. — Ir. 

Is buidhe le bochd beagan. 

A poor man is glad of a little. 

Is buidhe le bocht a bh-faghann (what he gets). — Tr. 

'S booiagh yn voght er yn veggan. — Manx. 

Is buidhe le bochd eanraich, ged nach l)i e l;in- 

The poor are glad of broth, thnvgh it he not well boiled. 

Poor folks are glad of pottage. — Eng. 

Is buidheach Dia de 'n fhirinn. 

Truth is pleasing to God. 

Is buileach a thilg thu clach oirnn. 

You Jiave thoroughly throivn a stone at us. 

Is càirdeach an cù do'n bhanais. 
The dog is friendly to the wedding. 


Is call do chaillich a poca, 's gun tuille aice. 

Tiie loss of the old ivife spoke is heavy, wheii it is her all. 

Is cam 's is direacli a thig an lagli. 

The law comes crooked arid sti^aiyht. 

See ' Is beag 's is mor'. 

Is caol an tend as nach seinn e. 

It's a sleiulcr string he cant take a tune from. 

Is caomh le fear a charaid', ach 's e smior a cliridhe a 

Dear is a kinsman, hut the pith of the heart is a foster- 

This is the strongest of all the sayings on this subject. 

Is càraid sin, mar a thuirt an fheannag ri 'casan. 

That's a pair, as the crow said to her feet. 

Al. Is dithis dhuinn sin. 

They're a bonnie pair, as the craw said o' his legs. — Scot. 

Is ceannacli an t-omhan air a' bhainne-theth. 

The froth is scarceh/ ivorth the hot milk. 

'Omhan' is the switched-up froth of warmed milk or whey. 

Is ceannacli air a mliireanan a bheunianau. 

The morsels are scarcely worth the cuts. 

Is cliùticli' an onoir na 'n t-òr. 

Honour is nobler than gold. 

Is ùaisle onoir na or.— Jr. 

Beter arm met eere (poor with honour) dan rijk met schande 
(rich with shame). — Dutch. 

Is CO domliain an t-àth 's an linne. 

The ford is as deep as the pool. 

Is CO fad' oidhch' 'us latha. La FheiU Pàdruig. 

Night and day are equal on St. Patrick's Day. 

This is nearly correct. 

Is CO lionmhor osna aig an righ 's aig an duin' a 's 
isle staid. 

The king sighs as often as the meanest man. 

This occurs verbatim in D. Buchanan's ' Bruadar '. 

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. — H. IV., P. II., Hi. 1. 

Is CO math dhomh mo chorrag a ghabhail do 'n cliloicli. 

I might as well try my finger against a stone. 
A l. Bu cho math, &c., a thumadh 's a' luath — as well dip my 
finger in the ashes. 


Is CO math na 's leòr 'us iomadaidh. 

Enough is as good as abundance. 

Al. Tha gu leùr clio math ri cuilm — Enough is as good as a feast. 

Is CO math peighinn a chaomhnadh 'us peighiun a 

A penny hained is a penny gained. — Scot. 

Is coimheach an torn ùire. 
Strange is the earthy mound. 
This seems to refer to the grave. 

Is coir comhairle fhir-an-tighe a ghabhail. 
The goodmans advice shoidd he taken, 
A polite and sensible suggestion. 

Is coir ni a thasgadh fa chomhair na coise goirte. 

It's ivcll to lay something hy for a sore foot. 

Is coir nidh a thaisgidh le h-aghaidh na coise galair. — Ir. 

Keep something for a sair fit.— Scoi. 

Lay by something for a rainy day. — Eng. 

Is coir smaoineachadh air gach gnothach 'an toiseach. 
Every business ought first to he thought over. 
An excellent advice. 

Is coltach an gamna ris a' phiob. 

The gun is like the pipe. 

Like it as a means of living, somewhat precarioi's. 

Is coltach an gunna ris an urchair. 

The gun is like the shot. 

This would apply to many speeches of persons in and out uf 

Is coltach an trù ris an troich. 

The fool and the dwarf are alike.. 

The word ' trù ' is not found in any Dictionary, and is not now 
in use. But it is given by ]\Iacintosh, with the translation of the 
above proverb — ' It is all alike, whether the great man's fool or 
his dwarf. I have therefore retained this saying as Macintosh 
gave it. The word ' tuù ' means ' envy,' ' wrath,' &c., and the 
Irish word ' tru ' means ' face,' ' gaunt,' &c. 

Is coma learn an rud nach toigh learn, eireagan a' del 
'n an coilich. 

/ like not pullets becoming cocks. 

This is wittier than most of the oratory against Female Medical 
Education and other Women's Rights. 


Is coma learn comunn an oil. 
I care not for the drinking feUrnvship. 
Is cuma lioiii cnmann bean-leanna (aU-iviff). — Ir. 
This saying illustrates the fact that the Celts, in Scotland or 
elsewhere, are not prone to excess either in meat or in drink. 

Is coma leam comunn .cjille na geire ; ge niatli a thois- 
each, bii ro olc a dheireadli. 

/ like not the tallow lad's company ; however good at 
first, very had at last. 

A I. mur bi an toiseach searbh, gii dearbh bidh an deireadh ann. 

This is a Lewis and Long Island saying, of which no explana- 
tion has been given. 

Is coma leam fear-fuadain 's e luath labhar. 

/ don't like a stranger vjho talks loud and volubly. 

This is a very Highland sentiment. 

Is coma leis an righ Eoglian ; 's coma le Eoghan co 

The King doesn't care for Eicen ; and Ewen cares not 
whether or no. 

Who Ewen wa's, is not said, but he was perhaps the inde- 
pendent miller that lived on the banks of Dee. 

Is coma leis an t- saoglial c' ait 'an tuit e. 
Wealth cares not where it falls. 
There is a rich truth in this observation. 

Is corrach culaidh air aon lunn. 

A boat is unsteady on one roller. 

Is corrach gob an dubliain. 

Unsteady is the point of the hook. 

Is corrach ubh air aran. 
An egg on bread is slipjjery. 

Is crion a chùil as nach goirear. 
It's a small corner from ivhich no cry can come. 
The propagation of the Penny Press and Telegraph illustrates 
this beautifully. 

Is cruaidh an cath as nach tig aon fhear. 

It's a hard fight from, which one man doesn't come. 

Al. Is olc am blàr as nach tar cuid-eigin. 

It's a hard-fought field, where no man escapes unkilled. — Eng. 

It's a sair field where a's slain. — Scot. 


Is cruaidh a leònar an leanabli nach inuis a ghearan. 

The child is sadly hurt that doesn't tell his illness. 

Al. Is olc a bhuailear an leanabh nach lliaod }:;earain — The bairn 
is sair dung (beaten) that maunna complain. — Scot. 

Is cruaidh an leanabh a bhriagadh, nach urrainn a 
ghearan a dhianamh. 

'Tis hard to soothe the child that cannot tell his ailmc7it. 

Is cruaidh an t-Earrach anns an cùnntar na faochagan. 

It's a hard Saving ivhen the loilks are counted. 

Al. Is 16m an cladach air an cùnntar, &c. — It's a bare shore, <i;c. 

This is a painfully graphic illustration of tlie extent to which 
dearth in the 'good old times' often prevailed in the Highlands; 
when wilks were resorted to as the last resource from starvation. 

Is cruaidh na dh' fheumar. What's needed is hard. 

Is cunihann bial do sporain. 

Narroiv is the mouth of yoitr purse. 

Is cuinge brù na biadh. 

There is more food tJian room for it. 

Said of a hospitable house. 

Is da thrian tionnsgnadh. Begun is two-thirds done. 

Al. Is trian oibre, &c. 

Is trian de 'n obair tùs a chur.— /r. 

'Apxi? rliiia-v navTOi— Beginning is half of the ivhole. — Hesiod. 

Dimidium facti qui cnepit habet. — Hor. 

So Fr., Ital., Span., Port., Germ., Dutch, Dan. 

Is dall duiue ann an cùil fir eile. 
A man is blind in another mail's corner. 
Al. far nach eòlach— w/iere he is not acquainted. 
Is dall suil a g-cuil duine eile. — Ir. 

Is dall gach aineolach. Blind is the nnacqiiaintcd. 

Dall ]3ob anghyfarwydtl.— Welsh. 

Dall fyddar pob trwch — Blind and deaf is the blockhead. — Do. 

Is damh thu, 's gu'm meal thu d' ainm. 
You are an ox, and may you enjoy the name. 
Is dàna cù air a dhùnan fhèin. 
A dog is hold on his own dunghill. 
Al. aig a dhorus fhein — at his oion door. 
Is teann gach madadh air a charnan fein. — Ir. 
Every dog is valiant at his own door. — Eng. 
Chien sur son fumier est hardi. — Fr. 

Al. Is ladarna coilleach air òtrach fhein — A cock is hold, Ac. 


Every cock is proud on his own (lunghill. — Eng. 
Every cock craM's crousest on his ain midden. — Scot. 
Gallus in suo sterquilinio phirimum potest. — Seneca. 
Cada gallo canta en su niuladar.^/S?;tt??. 
Een haan is stout op zijn eigen erf. — Dutch. 

Is dàna cuilean 'an iichd trèoir. 

Bold is the piipjnj in the la20 of strength. 

Al. Is làidir an \&<i,— Bold is the weak, d-c. 

This is finely illustrated sometimes in cases of the Cires lioma- ■ 
vvs ; at other times more amusingly, or offensively, by puppies 
' dressed in a little brief authority,' or representing a ' great party '. 

Is dàna duine 'n a chùil fhein. 

A man is hold in his own carver. 

Diau cynnadl taiog d'ìà^—FoH talks the hoor at home. — Welsh. 

Is dàna 'theid duine air a chuid fhein. 

A man is hold vsilh v.-hat's his ovm. 

Al. Is leomhan gach duine, &c. — Every man is a lioii, dc. 

A man's aye crouse in his ain cause. — Scot. 

Men's belief in their right to do what they like with 'their 
own' sometimes makes them forget entirely that ' Tie earth is the 
Lord's, and the fulness thereof. 

Is deacair a' chaora 'ghoid làmh ri tigli a' nilièirlicli. 
It's difficidt to steal tlie sheeny near the thief s house. 
Is diblidh ciochran gun mhàtliair. 
Helpless is the motherless suckling. 
Is dichiollach duine air a slion fhein, 
A man is dUigcnt for himself. 
Is dileas duine dha fliein. 
A man is faithfid to himself 

Is diombuan an torn 'us teine ri.s. 
Soon hums the hillock on fire. 

The allusion is to the burning of heather, called in the Low- 
lands 'Muirburn'. — See Professor Veitch's Hillside lihymes, p. 14. 

Is diombuan gach cas air tir gun eòlas. 
Fleeting is the foot in a stirmge land. 
Very characteristic of Celts, in whom the love of home, however 
far they may wander, is quite indestructible. 

Is dill a' cheaird nach foglilamar. 
It's a poor trade that is not learned. 

A very sensible saying. Men of half-leanied trades or profes- 
sions are among the most useless of people. 


Is dill teine fearn ùr ; 

Is diù duine mì-rùn ; 

Is dill diblie fion sean ; 

Ach 's e dill an domhain droch bhean. 

Worst of fuel, alder green ; 

Worst of human, malice keen ; 

Worst of drink, loine without life ; 

Worst of all things, a had toife. 
The literal nieaiiinjr of ' fion. sean ' is ' old wine,' but I think 
the old Celts knew what was what in wine as well as in other 

Is dill nach gabli comhairle, 's is diii 'ghabhas gach 

Who toont tahe adviee is tvorthless ; toho takes all 
advice is the same. 

Al. Is truagh — is 'pitiful. 

Is diùid fear na li-eisimeil. Tlie dejjendent is timid. 

Is dòbhaidh an companach an t-acras. 

Hunger is a violent companion. 

Is don' an fheòil air nach gabh salann ; 's miosa na 
sin na daoine nacli gabh comhairle. 

The flesh that wont take salt is had ; worse are they 
that tvon't take counsel. 

Is don' an fheile 'chuireas duine fhein air an iomairt. 

It's an unhappy generosity that drives a man to his 

This is true of many a good Highland family. 

Is don' an gnlomh a bhi luchdachadh na hiinge air 

It's a had thing to load a ship on a tidal rode. 

Is don' an leisgeul a' nihisg. 

Drunkenness is a had excuse. 

This saying is worthy of the wisest of judges, before whom in- 
toxication has often been pleaded in mitigation. Lord Hermand's 
saying is specially memorable. — See Cockburn's Memorials. 

Per con. Is fhearr a mhisg na 'bhi gun leisgeul — Drunkenness 
is better than no excuse. 

Is dona 'mharcachd nach fhearr na sior-choiseachd. 
It's a had mount that's not better than constant walking. 

Is don' an t-suiridhe letli-cheannacli. 
Tlie sheepish wooing is contemptible. 

Is draghaile caraid amaideach na namliaid glic. 
A silly friend is more trouUcsome than a wise enenvj. 
Better a wise euemy than a foolish friend. — Arab. 
Save me from my friends ! — Eng. 

Is dù do cbù donnalaich. Howling is proper to a dog. 

Is dual do 'n bhàrd 'athair aithris. 

It's natural for the hard to tell of his father. 

Is dubh dlia fhèin sin. 

Thai is black (sad) for himself. 

Is duilich a cleaclidadh 'thoirt bho làinib. 

The hand hardly gives up its habit. 

At. Is duilich toirt bho 'n làimh a chleachd. — Ifs hard to heat 
the skilled hand. 

Al. Is ionmhuinn leis an làimli na chleachd. — The hand loves 
what it has j^ractised. 

Is duilich am fear nacb bi 'n a chadal a dbùsgadb. 
It is hard to waken him who is not asleep. 

Is duilich an coileach-dubh a ghleidheadh bho 'n 

It is difficult to keep the hlaclc-cock from the heather. 

Is duilicli an nàire 'thoirt as an ait' anns nach bi i. 
It's difficult to get shavie where it is not. 

Is duilich bo a chur airlaogh, 'us a gaol air ganihainn. 
A cow wont take to a calf, when her darling is a stirk. 

Is duilich burn glan a thoirt a tobar salach. 

It's difficult to draw p)ure water from a dirty ivell. 

Is duilich camadh 'thoirt a daraig, a dh'fhàs anns an 

It's hard to take the twist out of the oak, that grew in 
the sapling. 

See 'An car a bhios'. 

Is duilich ciall a tlioirt do amadan. 
It's hard to give sense to a fuol. 

This is the same as Dr. Johnson's saying, about giving under- 
standing to his hearer. 


Is diiilich cupan Ian a ghiùlan. 

A full cup is hard to carry. 

Is duilich duin' a lorgacliadh troimh amhuinn. 

It is difficult to track a man tliroucjli a river. 

Our greatest Scottish king, Kobert the Bruce, once proved the 
truth of this, when followed by blood-hounds in Galloway, set on 
by less respectable creatures. See Barbour's Bruce, B.V., 11. 300-50. 

Is duilich rath a cliur air duine dona. 

You can't put luck on a worthless man. 

Ekki ma feigum forSa — The fey one cannot he saved. — Icel. 

Is duilich roghainn a thoivt a diù. 

'Tis hard to choose the best of worst. 

Is duilich triubhas a thoirt de mhàs 16m, 

It's ill to take the trews off a hare huttock. 

Is deacair brighiste a bhaint de thòin lom. — Ir. 

It's ill to tak' the breeks aff a Hielandman. — Scot. 

Is duine coir e, 's na iarr a chuid. 

He's a fine man, if you don't ask of him. 

There is a delicate Celtic irony in this. 
Is duine coir fear da bho ; 
Is duine ro-chòir fear a tri ; 
'S cha 'n fhaigh fear a coig no sia 
Coir no ceart le fear nan naoi. 

Tlie two- cow man is a worthy man ; very worthy is the 
man of three ; and the man of five or six can do nothing 
against the man of nine. 

Is duine dona gun fheuna a chuireadh cuireadh orm 
fhein 'us caitheamh. 

He is a pitiful fclloio who tvould invite me and leave 
me to pay. 

Is duine gach òirleach dheth. He's a man every inch. 

Is e am bial a dh' obas mu dheireadh. 

It's the mouth that gives in last. 

Is e am brag a ni an cruadhachadh. 

When the cracking begins the grain gets dried. 

Is e 'm broc a 's luaithe dh' f hairicheas 'fhàileadh fhein. 

The badger is the first to smell himself. 

Is e am bròn a's fhasa fhaotainn. 

Grief is easiest to get. 


Is e 'm bualadh cluigeineacli a ni an crodli trotanack 
The had tJirashing makes the brisk cows. 
Careless thrashinf; leaves ears of corn on the straw, which makes 
the cows all the more lively. 

Is e 'm fàth mu 'm bitheadli tu, ciod e 'gheabliadh tu. 

Your qicest alicays is, what you can get. 

Is e am Foghar gaothmhor a ni an core càtlimhor. 

The windy Autumn makes the chaffy oats. 

Is e 'n cadal fada 'ni 'n t-iomradli teth. 

Long slcej) makes hot rowing. 

Is e an ceann gòrach a ni na casan luaineacli. 

Giddy head makes gadding feet. 

Is e 'n ceo Geamhraidli a ni 'n cathadh Earraicli. 

The Winter inist makes the Spring snoiv-drift. 

Is e 'n ciall-ceannaich a's fhearr. 

Bought tvit is bed. — Bug. 

Al. Is fhearr aon ghliocas ceannaich na dithis (or dhà dhiag) 
a nasgaidh — Bdter one wùdom bought, than two (or a darken) got for 

Keeayl chionnit yn cheeayl share, mannagh vel ee kionnit ro 
gheyr — Bought xcit is best, if not bought too dear. — Manx. 

is i an chiall cheannaight' is fearr. — Ir. 

Uadriixara fiadfjuara. — Herod. Nocumenta docunienta. — Lat. 

Wit bought mak's wise folk. — Scot. 

An ounce of wit that's bought is worth a pound that's taught. 

Per con. Is fhearr aon chiall-caisg na da chiall-diag ionnsaich 
— Better one mother-wit than twelve taught. 

An ounce o' niither-wit is worth a pund o' clergy. — Scot. 

Is e an ciad tbaom de 'n taigeis a 's teotha dli' i. 

The first srj^uirt of the haggis is the hottest. 

The first futf o' a fat haggis is aye the bauldest. — Scot. 

Is e 'n cleaclidadh a ni teoma. 

Practice makes expert. 

Usus promptuni facit. — Lat. Practice makes perfect. — Eng. 

Is e an cùnntas ceart a dh' fhagas na càirdean buidli- 

Correct counting keeps good friends. 

Cuntas glan fhagas càirde buidheach.— /r. 

Be brotlie:- , and keep between you the accounts of merchants. 
■ — Arab. 


Count like Jews, and 'gree like Christians. — Scot. 
Sliurt reckonings make long friends. — £ng. 
Kurze rechnung, lange Freundschaft. — Gemi. 
Effene rekeningen maken goede vrieiiden. — Dutch. 
Les bons comptes font les bons anus. — Fr. 
Conta de perto, aniigo de longe. — Fort. 

Is e 'n dealacliadh-beò a ni 'n leòn goirt. 

Parting with the living makes the sore looicnd. 

There is much truth in this. Parting with the dead is irre- 
mediable, and therefore tolerable, — separation from the living is 
all the sorer, when re-union is possible, yet hopeless. 

Is e 'n duine diomhain a 's fhaide mhaireas. 
I7ie idle man lives longest. 

See Maclntyre's ' Oran do 'n Mhusg '. This is generally true, 
though many of the hardest workers have attained great age. 

Is e 'n Geamhradli luatli an Geamhradh buau. 
Early winter lasts lo7ig. 

Is e 'n gille 'n t-aod; ch, a 3h 's e 'n laoclian am biadli. 
I'he clothes are the hoy, but the food, beats all. 

Is e 'n saor gobhlacli 'ni 'n gogan dionach. 
It's the sc[uatting joiner that makes the tight cog. 

Is e 'n seasamh a 's mo, ach 's e 'n suidhe 's ciallaiclie. 
Standing is bigger, but sitting is wiser. 

Is e 'n suidhe bochd a ni 'n garadh beairteacb. 
The poor seat makes the rich warming. 
Al. For hoclid 'losal,' and for beair teach ' uasal'. 
Clhnidh suidh isiol goradh àrd. — Ir. 
The lowest seat is nearest the fire. 

Is e an suidhe docharach 's an tigh-òsd' a 's fhearr. 
The uneasy seat in the alehouse is the best. 
Another testimony to the sober habits of Highlanders. 

Is e 'n t-àicheadh math dara puinc a 's fhearr 's an 

Good denial is the second best point in law. 
' Denied' and ' Quoad ultra denied' are stereotyped forms of ex- 
]>ressiou in our Scottish law suits. 

Is e 'n t-ionnsachadh òg an t-ionnsachadh bòidheach. 

T/ie early learning is the pretty learniiig. 

Al. a ni foghlum gun taing — makes the sure learning. 

Al. a ni ealanta— mafes expert. 


Is e 'n t-uisge salach a ni 'niglie'glilan. 

The dirty water makes the clean washing- 
Is e ath-tliilleadh na ceathairn' a 's miosa. 

The return of the reavers is worst. 

Because they would carry off what tliey spared before. 

'Ceatharn' = troop, fighting band, banditti — whence 'cateran' 
and 'kern'. 

'Ceathairne' = peasantry, males fit to bear arms. 

Is e bacadh duin' big 'aimlileas. 

Thwarting a young man is his mischief. 

Is e deireadh gach cogaidh sitli. 

The end of each war is peace. 

Is e deireadh nan ceannaichean dol a shniomh sliionian. 

The end of merchants is twisting straiu-ropes. 

A Lewis modern saying. The 'merchants' referred to are the 
small dealers in country places, who often come to grief througli 
ignorance of business and Vjad debts. 

Is 8 Diluain iuchair na seachdain. 

Monday is the key of the week. 

A good, sensible maxim. 

Is 6 do chab nach deach' fhalach 's an làr an la a 
rugadh tu. 

Your ' gcd)' was not hidden vender ground the day you 
were horn. 

Said to forward talkative young people. 

Is e do chiad cliliù d' alladli. 

Your first repute is your renown. 

Al. Is e cliu duin' a chiad iomradh. 

Al. Is e ciad iaiTaidh duin' a chliii. 

Is e do shùil do cheannaiclie. 

Thine eye is thy merchant. 

To thine eye, O merchant. — Arab. Caveat emptor. — Lat. 

Is e duin' a ni, ach 's e cù a dh' innseas. 

He's a man ivho docs ; he's a dog tvho tells. 

Manly men may do things, which to go and speak of is not 
manly. To boast of things never done is M-orse still. 

Is e farmad a ni treabhadh. 

Emidation makes ploughing. 

In letters of gold, put up in the Logic Class-room of Edinburgh 
University by Sir William Hamilton, are these words of Ilesicd, 
stirring to young minds, 

'Ayadr) Ò' (pis r'j8f /SpOTolcrt. 


Is e fortan no mifhortan fir bean. 
A man's wife is his fortune or viisforhine. 
Is e galar a blieireadh air na gobhair nacli itheadh iad 
an eidlieann. 

Sickness only ivould keep goats from eating ivy. 

See 'An rud a chùm'. 

Is e innleachd seilge a sior leannmhuinn. 

The art of hunting is ever pursuing it. 

Is e iomadaidh nan làmli a ni an obair aotrom. 

Many hands make light work. — Eng., Scot. 

Al. llonmlioraclid nau làmh. 

Is e leanabh fhein a's luaithe 'bliaisteas an sagart. 
The priest christens his ain hairn first. — Scot. 
'Sea leanabh fein a bliaisteas a sagart air tùs. — Ir. 
This saying must be held, by all who respect priests, to have 
originated before marriage was forbidden to them. 

Is e meathadh gach cùise dàil. 

Delay makes causes divine. 

Al. a bhi 'g a sineadh — adjourning. 

Is e miann a' chait a chniadacliadh. 

Tlie cat desires to he caressed. 

Is e miann na lach an loch air nach bi i. 

The duck's desire is the water where she's not. 

Is e mo charaide caraid na cruaidhe. 

My friend is the friend in straits. 

Is e mo rogliainn a tha 'n uachdar. 

My choice is iqTpermost. 

Is e moch-eiridli na Luaine 'ni an t-suain Mhàirt. 

The Monday early-rising makes the Tuesday sleep. 

Is e 'n griasaiche math an duine 's briagaich' air 

The good shoemaker is the greatest of liars. 

Is e na deuchainnean a ni na dearbhainnean. 

Trials make proof. 

Is e sgeul an àigh a b' àill le Pol. 

It's a lucky story that ivonld 2Jl<^cise Paul. 

Who Paul was we can't say — doubtless a critic of the 'nil 
admirari' school. 


Is e sg^ul an duine blieadaidh na gheabh e 'n tigli a 

The nuinncrlcss man tells ivhat he gets at his ncighhours. 

Is e sin an toll a mlnll an t-seiclie. 

That's the hole that siioiled the h ide. 

Is e sin cnag an sgeòil. That's the pej of the story. 

Is e sin maide 'g an stad e. 

Thafs the stick where hell stop. 

Al. mum beil e 'g iomairt — iclacli he's playing «? = He'll come 
to that. The reference is to a game played at sticks or pegs, tixed 
at certain distances. 

Is e sùil a ni sealbh. The eye males wealth. 

Das Auge des Herrn schafl't mehr als seine beideu Hande — Tlie 
riuister's eye docs more titan both his iiands. — Germ. 

Is e 'thòn a bha trasda 'n uair a rinn e e. 
He sat very aivry when he did it. 

Is èasgaidh an droch ghille air cliuaii^t. 

The had servant is hrisk abroad. 

Al. 'an tigh a' clioimhearsnaich — in the neighbour's house. 

Esgud drygfab yn nhy arall. — JVelsh. 

Is èasgaidlie nòin na madainn. 

Koon is more licely than viorning. 

Is èasgaidhe nòin nà maidin. — Ir. 

'Nòin,' derived doubtless like 'noon' from *nona,' = 3 p.m., 
means both noon and afternoon in our Gaelic. In Irish au(Ì 
Welsh it means the former, in Manx, 'traa nonney' = evening. 
Most people are more lively in the evening than in the morning. 

Is eibhinn an obair an t-sealg. 

Hunting is delightful work. 

This saying occurs in our oldest hunting song, known as ' A 
Chomhachag,' The Owl, by Donald MacDunald. 

Kid difyrvvch ond niilgi — ond gwalch — 2\o diversion like a 
ijreyliound — like a Jiaick. — WeUh. 

Every run in the desert exhilarates. — Arab. 

Is eigin dol far am bi 'n fhòid. 

One must go where his grave aivaits him. 

See 'Bheir ioid'. 

Is eigin do 'n fheumach a bhi falblianach. 

The needy must keep moving. 

This is a recognised maxim of Metropolitan Policemen. 

Is t'udar do cliàirdean dealachadh. Friends imist 2^a''t- 


Is eudar gabhail le each mall, o 'n nach faigliear iia 's 

The sloiv horse must he taken if no hcttcr can le got. 
Is fad an amliainn air nacli fhaighear ceann. 
Ifs a lonfj river ivhose head cant he found. 
Al. an ratliad — the, road. 

Is fad an dail o 'n oidlnrp. 

Zonr/ is the delay from the attempt. 

Is fad an dubh o Locli-Obha, 'us cobliair o Clilanu 

Far's the cry from Loch Awe, and help from the race of 

The Campbells claim descent from Diarmad O'DuiLlme, Der- 
mid, grandson of Duine, the Launcelot of the Fingalian tragedy. 
The above saying is supposed to have originated at the time of a 
great defeat of tlie Campbells under the Earl of Argyll, by the Gor- 
dons under the Earl of Huntly, at Allt-Chuailleachain in Glenlivet, 
in 1594 ; where Campbell of Lochnell proved signally treacherous 
to his chief. — See Gregory's W&st. HiyhL, &c., p. 256. 

Is fad' an oidhche gu latha do fhear na droch mhnatha. 

It's a long night till morning for the husband of the 
had wife. 

See Mrs. Cmidle's Lectures. 

Is fad' an oidhche gu latha, arsa casan loisgte. 

Ij07ig is night till dag, said the hurncd feet. 

Is fad an timchioll nach tachair. 

It's a long round that meets not. 

Is fada cobhair o nihnaoi 's a muinntir 'an Eirinn. 

Far is aid from her whose folk are in Ireland. 

Is fada làmh an fheumaich. Long is the arm of the needy. 

Al. Is fada làmh an aire, ach ma 's fhada, cha reamhar^JVie 
hand of poverty is long and lean. 

Is fada slios na bliadhna. The year's length is loiig. 

Lit. The year's ' slope ' or ' side '. 

Is faoilidhe duine a cliuid a thairgse, ged is fheairrd' e 
aige fhein e. 

He is the more generous %vho offers his oivn, though he 
loould he the hetter of keeping it. 

The Moral Philosophy of this is excellent, and is just that of 
the Saviour about the widow's mite. The virtue of donations 
implying no sacrifice is very small indeed. 


Is farsuing an rathad mor, agus faodar fhalljh. 
The highway is wide, and may he trod. 

Is farsuing a sgaoileas an dreathann a chasan 'n a 
tliigli fhe'in. 

The wren spreads his feet ^cide in his own house. 

Al. Is fai-suing tigh an dreathainn — The toren's house is wide. 

There is something felicitous in the idea of a wren spreading 
his legs like a potentate at his own hearth. 

Is farsuing bial a' bhothain. 

A wee house has a loide mouth. — Scot. 

Ulster proverb in same words. 

Is fas a' choill as nacli goirear. 

It's a desert wood ivhence no voice is heard. 

Is fhad a bhà thu, 's luath a thàinig tliu. 

You are long of coming, and have come full soon. 

Is fhad' a cliaidh an Liùnasdail annad. 

The Lammas locnt far into you. 

I.e. You are far gone ; Lammas being the time of year when 
things had reached the verge of dearth before harvest, in olden 

Is fhad' a dh' fhalbhas cas bheò. 
A living foot will go far. 

Is fhada bho'n da latha sin, 's bho bhliadlnia 'n Earr- 
aich dhuibh. 

It's long since these two days, and the year of the Hack 

The 'two days' mean 'changed times'; the 'black Spring,' 
a peculiarly bad year. 

Is fhada bho'n uair sin, bho'n a bha cluas air ròn. 

It's long since the time when the seal had ears. 

The seal's ears are hardly visible. The common phrase, on 
meeting an old ac([uaintance is, ' 'S fhad o 'n uair sin — It's long 
since that time'. 

Is fhad' o thigh a' mhodh a rugadh tu. 

You were born far from the house of good manners. 

Is fhada tha bàs do sheana-mhair 'n ad chuimhne. 
Your grandmother's death is long in your memory. 
Said to over-sentimental people, or to those who keep up too 
long the remembrance of anything. 


Is fhaid' an latlia na 'in brutliacli ; bidh sinn uiread 

The day is longer than the hrae ; tvell he at the top 

A very cheery and plucky sentiment. 

Is fliaide d' fhiacail na d' fhiasag. 

Your teeth are longer tlmn your heard. 

Talc a piece ; yir teeth's langer than yir beard. — Scot. 

Is fhaide gu bratli na gu Bealltainn. 

Its longer to Doomsday than to Whitsunday. 

Ulster proverb in same words. 

Is fhaide gu Nollaig na gu FeiU-Màrtainn. 

It's longer to Christmas than to Martinmas. 

Is fhasa cumail na tarruing. 

Better to hand than draiv. — Scot. 

Possession is nine points of the law. — Eng. 

Is fhasa deadh ainm a chall na 'chosnadh. 

A guid name is suner tint than won. — Scot. 

Is fhasa sgapadh na tional. 

Ifs easier to scatter than to gather. 

Is I'usa sgapadh na cruinneaghadh. — Ir. 

Is fheairrd' an càl an cat a chur ann. 

The kail will he the better of p letting the cat in. 

Better a mouse i' the pat as nae Hesh. — Scot. 

Is fheairrd' an luch sainhchair, mar a thuirt lucli a' 
mhonaidh ri luch a' bhaile. 

The mouse is the better of quietness, as the moor-mouse 
said to the toion-mouse. 

This seems to be taken from the well-known fable of the Town 
mouse and Country mouse. 

Is fheairrde briagadah' fianuis. 

A liar is the better of a voucher. 

Is fearrde a dhearcas brèug fiadlinuise. — Jr. 

See 'Imridh briag gobhal'. 

Is fheairrde bradh a breacadh gun a bristeadh. 

A quern is the better of being picked without being 

Is fearrde do 'n m-brò a bhreacadh gun a bhriseadh. — Ir. 

Picking the quern consisted in refreshing the roughness of the 
stone, which required to be cautiously done. The use of hand- 


mills was prohibited by the Scottish Parliament as far back as 
1284, but continued privately notwithstanding, and is probably 
not entirely obsolete yet. The above saying is supposed to refer 
to the orders given by the lairds to have all the querns broken. 

I.S flieairrde cù cù a chrochadh. 
A dog is the hetttr of another dog being hanged. 
Is fheairrde cù sgaiteach cnàimh a chur 'n a bhial. 
A hitivg dog is the better of a bone. 

Gwell cariad y ci na'i gas — A dog's friendship is better than his 
hate.— Welsh. 

Is fheairrde cuideachd cùis-bhùrd. 

A eovipany is the better of « laughing-stoclc. 

At. culaidh-ghàire. 

Is fheairrde gach cneadh a ceasnachadh. 

A U'Ound is the better of being jwobed. 

Is fheairrde gach math a mhèudachadh. 

Every good is the better of being increased. 

Is flieairrde h-uile cù a dhion a chinn a dhranndan. 

A dogs snarl defends his head. 

Is fhearr a bhi bochd na 'l)hi briagach. 

Better be poor than a liar. 

Is fhearr a bhi cmnteach na 'blii caillteadi. 

Better be sure than lose. 

Is fliearr a bhi cuimhiieacliadh air a mhath a blia, na 
'bhi 'smaoineachadh air a mhath nach 'eil 's nach bi. 

Better thinking of the good that has been, than of thxd 
irliich is not, and never vjill be. 

A thoroughly Celtic and respectable Conservative sentiment. 

Is fliearr a bhi 'dhith a' chinn na 'bhi dhith an fliasain. 

Better want the head than v:ant the fashion. 

Al. Is fhearr dol as an amhaich na dol as an fliasan — Better out 
of neck than out of fashion. 

A very human and especially feminine sentiment. 

Is fliearr a blii dubh na 'bhi ban ; 

Is fhearr a bhi ban na 'bhi ruadh ; 

Is fhearr a bhi ruadh na 'bhi carracli ; 

Is fhearr a bhi carrach na 'bhi gun cheann. 

Better be black than fair ; 

Better be fair than red ; 


Better he red than scahhy ; 
Better scabb// than no head. 

Al. Is fhearr an clubli na 'n donn ; 
'S fhearr an donn na 'm ban ; 
'S fhearr am ban na 'n ruadb ; 
'S fliearr an ruadh na cliàrr. 

Better Mack than hroivv, 
Better brown than fair, 
Better fair than red, 
Better red than scahhy. 

Is fhearr a bin gun cliloinn na clann gun rath. 
Better no children than children toithout luck. 

Is fliearr a bhi gun mhart na 'bhi gun mhac. 
Better have no cow than have no son. 

Is fhearr a bhi leisg gu ceannach, na ruigliinn gu 

Better be slow to buy than stiff to imy. 

Is fhearr a bhi sona na 'bhi saothaireacli. 
Better be liap'py (or lucky) than laborious. 

Is fhearr a bhi sona na crionna. 

Better be hapijy (or lucky) than wise. 

Botli these sentiments are very Celtic ; and yet the wise Eng- 
lishman, the cautious Lowland Scot, and the astute Italian, say 
the very same thing in the same words — ' 'Tis better to be happy 
than wise' — 'Better be sonsy than soon up'; 'E meglio esser 
fortunato che savio'. So much faith is there in luck, even among 
the wisest people. 

Is fhearr a bhiadhadh na 'ionnsachadh. 
He's better fed than bred. — Scot. 
Fearr a oileamhain na a oideachas.— Ir. 
Mieux nourrit qu' instruit. — Fr. 

Is fhearr a' chlach gharbh air am faighear rud-eigin, na 
'chlach mhin air nach faighear dad idir. 

Better the rough stone which yields something, than the 
smooth stone that yields nothing. 

This, of course, has a moral meaning, but the physical reference 
is to the species of Lichen called respectively Corcur and Crotal, 
which grow on rocks, and were used extensively for dyes in the 
Highlands, the one a shade of crimson, the other a reddish brown. 
See Lightfoot's Flora Scotica, 2nd ed., Vol. II., ])p. 812, 818. 


Is fliearr a' chlach na 'blii gun mliathachaJli. 

Better stones than no mami^re. 

Instances have been told of stones having been gathered off a 
field so carefully as to do the land more harm than good, and 
even to lead to their being replaced ! 

Ts fhearr a tliomlias fo sheaclid, na 'mliilleadh uile a 
dh-aon bheaclid. 

Better measure slwrt of seven, than spoil all at once. 

This seems to refer to the measure for a kilt, for which seven 
yards are required for a well-grown man. 

Measure twice, cut once.— &'coi. 

Is fhearr àdh na ealain. 

Luck is better than skill. 

Al. Is fhearr an t-àdh na 'mhoch-eirigh— Zkc/; is letter than 
early rising. 

See 'Is fhearr a bin sona' and 'Ealain gun rath'. 

Is fhearr aithreachas fuireach na aithreachas falbli. 

Better rej)cnt for sfxtying than for going. 

Al. suidhe na aithreachas ruithe— /or sitting than for running. 

Is fliearr altrum ràidhe na altrum bliadhna. 
A quarter's nursing is better than a years. 

Is fhearr am fear foghainteach feargach na 'ni luln- 
chealgaire 's e ro chiùin. 

Better the sturdy passionate man, than the smooth-dcceic- 
ing and very mild. 

Is fhearr an cù a ni miodal riut, na 'n cii a ghearras tu. 

Better the dog that f axons than the dog that bites. 
Better a dog fawn on you than bite you. — Eng. 
Al. Is fliearr an cù a bhogas 'earball na 'n cù a chuireas drainng 
air — Better the dog that wags his tail than the dog that grins. 

Is fhearr an cù 'dh'fhalbhas na 'n cù 'dh' fhanas. 
Better the dog that goes than the dog that stays. 

Is fhearr an cù a ruitheas na 'n cù a ruheathas. 
Better is tlie dog that runs than he that gives in. 

Is fliearr an dichioll lag na 'n neart leisg. 
Better the vxak diligence tlian the lazy strength. 

Is fhearr an fhirinn na 'n t-òr. 
Truth is better than gold. 


Is fliearr an giomach na 'bhi gun fliear-tiglic. 

Better a lobster than no hicsband. 

Al. am portan tuathal— f/ie awkicard crab. 

Two women lived together, one of whom stole the other's meal 
out of her bag. The sntferer then put a live lobster into the bag, 
and the next time the thief put her hand in she was caught. She 
cried out ' Tha'n Donas 'na do phoca ! — IVie Devils in your hag''! 
'Tha,' said the other, "n uair 'tha thus' ann — Yes, when you are 
there.' Hence the origin of this proverb. 

Sease velado, y sease un palo —Let it he a husband, though it be 
but a hedge-stick. — Sjxm. 

Is fhearr an rath so far am beil e, na 'n rath nd far an 
robh e. 

This luck is better where it is, than that tvhere it was. 

Is fhearr an rathad fada glan na 'n rathad goirid 

Better the long clean road than the short dirty one. 
Is fhearr an saoghal ionnsachadh na 'sheachnadli. 
Better teach (or learn) the ivorld than shun it. 
A very wise saying. 

Is fhearr an sneachd na 'bhi gun sian, 'an deigh an 
siol a chur 's an talamh. 

Better snow than no rain-storm, when the seed is in the 

Al. Is fhearr an sneachd na bhi gun uisge 's a' Cheitein. 

Better snow than no rain in May. 

Is fhearr an teiue beag a gharas na 'n teine mor a 

Better a little fire to toarm us than a great one to burn 
us. — Bug., Scot. 

Is fearr teine bheag a ghoras na teine mor a losgas. — Ir. 

Is fhearr an toit na 'ghaoth tuath. 

The smoke is better than the north wind. 

Is fhearr an t-olc a chluinntinn na 'fhaieinn. 

Better hear the evil than see it. 

Per con. 'S fhearr an t-olc fhaicinn na 'chluintinn. 

Is fhearr an t-olc eòlach na 'n t-olc aineolach. 
The knoum evil is better than the unknown. 
Al. Ma tha aon chron 's an eòlach, bidh a dhà dhiag 's an ain- 
eolach — If the known have one fault, the unknown will have tivelve, 


Is fearr eòlus an uilc nà an t-olc gan eòlus. — Ir. Share yn oik 
sbione dooin na yn oik nagli nliione dooin. — Manx. 

Gwell i ddyn y drwg a wyr na'r drwg nis gwyr. — Welsh. 
And makes us rather bear those ills we have, 
Than fly to others that we know not of. — Hamlet, III., 1. 

Better the ill ken'd than the guid unken'd. — Scot. 

Is fhearr am bonnacli beag leis a' blieannaclid, na 'in 
bonnach mor leis a' nihollachcl. 

The little hmmoch with a blessing is letter than the lig 
one with a curse. 

This saying occurs in some of the old Gaelic tales, when a son 
is going from home, and is asked by his mother which he prefers. 
See Dr. M'Leod's Caraid nan Gaidheal, p. 273. 

Al. an t-ubh beag — the little egg; an leth beag — the little half. 

Is fhearr aon ian 's an làimh, na 'dhà dhiag air iteig. 

A bird in the hand is vjorth a dozen on wing. 

Fearr dreoilin ann dorn na corr air chairde (free).— Ir. 

Ta ushag ayns laue chammag (cho math) as jees (dithisj sy 
thamniag (hush). — Manx. 

(J well aderyn yn (one bird) y Haw na dau ynllwyn (tv^o in 
ii'ood). — JVelsh. 

A bird in the hand is worth two in the wood. — Ji'/fr/. 

A bird in the hand's worth twa fleeiu' by. — Scot. 

A thousand cranes in the air are not worth a sparrow in the 
fist. — Arab. 

Mas vale pajaro (sparroiv) en la mano, que buitre (vulture) 
Tolando. — Span. 

Beter eene vogel in de hand dan tien in de lucht {shy).— L utch. 

E meglio un ucello in gabbia che cento iuovi.—Ital. 

Is fliearr aon laogh na da chraicionu. 

Oiu calf is better than two shins. 

Is tliearr aon oidliclie Mhairt na tri latlia Fogliair. 

One night in March is worth three days in Autumn. 

For growth. 

Is fhearr aon sine na ceathramh coirce. 

One teat (of a coiv) is better than a quarter of oats. 

Al. Is fliearr aon sine bà na bolla dhe 'n mhin bhàn — Better one 
teat of a coio than a boll of Lowland meal. 

Would that all lairds and sheep-farmers considered this, who 
have crofters on their lands, with children, but no cows to give 
them milk ! Unhappily, there is less of milk, both of cows, and of 
human kindness, in some places where once they were not wanting. 

Is fliearr aon taisgeach na seaclid teagraidh. 

littler one secure than seven to be gathered. 


Is fliearr aon tigh air a nighe' na dlià dhiag air an 

Better one house washed titan twelve swept. 

Is fhearr aon tòrradh na da cliommanachadh dliiag. 

One funeral is worth twelve covimunions. 

For drink, especially — a very suggestive saying. 

Is fhearr bàrr mor, acli foghnaidh bàrr beag. 

A big crop is best, but a little crop will do. 

Is fliearr beagan stòrais na moran chàirdean. 

Better a little of ones own than many friends. 

Is fhearr bean ghlic na crann 'us fearann. 

Better is a wise ivife than a plough and land. 

Is fhearr bo na bà ; is fhearr duine na daoine. 

A cow is better than hine ; a man is better than men. 

I.e., a good cow and a good man. 

Is fhearr breid na toll, ach 's uaisle toll na tuthag. 

A patch is better than a hole, but a hole is more genteel. 

Is fearr paiste na poll, aclit is onoraigh poll na paiste. — Ir. 

Gwelloc'h pensel evit toull. — Breton. 

The sentiment of this is very Celtic, and the Spanish saying is 
similar, 'Hidalgo honrado antes roto que remendado' — A true 
gentleman would prefer his clothes ragged than patched. 

Better a clout than a hole out. — Eng. 

Besser ein Flick als ein Loch. — Germ. 

Al. Piseag air toll, 's e sin an tairbhe ; ach plseig air piscig, 's 
e sin an lùireach — Patch on hole is economy ; patch on patch is 

Patch by patch is good housewifery, but patch upon patch is 
plain beggary. — Eng. Clout upon a hole is guid gentry, clout 
upon a clout is guid yeomanry, but clout upon a clouted clout is 
downright beggary. — Scot. 

Is fhearr buille na iomradh. 
A blow is better than gossip. 

The meaning is that corporal punishment is less painful than 
being made a saVjject of disagreeable remark. 

Is fhearr caithearnh na nieirgeadh. 

Better wear than rust. 

A fine saying. 

Perseverance, dear my lord, 
Keeps honour bright ; to have done is to hang 
Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail 
In monumental mockery. — Troil. and Cress., III., 3. 


Is fhearr caraid 's a cluiirt na crùn 's an sporan. 

A friend in the court is better than a crov.-n in the purse. 

Al. na bo 'am buailidh — than a coiv in the fold. 

Is fearr carad 's a g-cuirte na bonn sa sparàn. — /r. 

Gwell car yn y llys nag aur ar fys.— Welsh. 

A friend at (or in) court is worth a penny in jmTse.—Eng., Scot. 

One of tlie best illustrations of the want of judicial purity in olden 
times, which gave rise to this maxim, is Lord President Gilmour's 
remark on hearing Cromwell's judges praised for their impartiality 
— 'Deil thank them ! they had neither kith nor kin'. Even in 
1737, the advice given in a law-suit in regard to the management 
of the Bench was as follows : — ' By Lord St. Clair's advice, Mrs. 
Kinloch is to wait on Lady Cairnie to-morrow, to cause her to ask 
the favour of Lady St. Clair to solicit Lady Betty Elphinston and 
Lady Dun'. The ladies last mentioned were the wives of two of 
the judges. Lord St. Clair's exquisite caution, in leaving the 
management of Lady St. Clair to other people, is interesting. See 
Chambers' Bom. Ann., III., 291, 

Is fhearr coimhearsnach 'am fagus na bràtliair fad o 

Better a neiglihour at hand than a Iroihcr far aivay. 

Al. Is fhearr coimhearsnach math 's a' bhaile seo, na caraid 
anns a' bhail' ud thall. Better a good neighbour in this town than 
a kinsman in yon town. 

Eun amezek mad (math) a zo gwell, 

Evit na e kerent (na caraid) <x-\)ii\\. — Breton. 

God Xabo er bedre end Broder i anden By. — Dan. 

E meglio un prossimo vicino che un lontano cugino. — Ital. 

Is fhearr cratliadh na cainbe, na crathadh na cirbe. 
The shakhifj of canvass is letter than the shakinrj of a rag. 
The meaning of this is not apparent. 

Is fhearr cù beò na leomhan marbh. 
Better a living dog thrin a dead lion. 
This is a translation of Eccles. ix. 4. 

Is fliearr cù luath na teanga labhar. 
Better a dog swift of foot than loud of tongue. 
Is fhearr cuid na ciad oidhche, na na h-oidhche mu 

The first night's fare is letter than the last night's. 
The first and last night of the winter beef. 
Is fhearr cùl caraide na aghaidh coimhich. 
Better back of friend than face of stranger. 
Gwell gwegil car na gwyneb estron. — JFelsh. 


Ts fhearr deadh cliainut na h-asail no drocli fhacal 

The good speech of an ass is better than the had -word of 
a prophet. 

This of course refers to Balaam. It is the only Gaelic sajniig 
in which the ass is mentioned. The animal was unknown in tlie 
Highlands until modern times. 

Is fhearr deadh earbsa na droch fhoighidinn. 
Fidl trust is better than impatience. 

Is fhearr deathach an fhraoich na gaoth an rcothaidh. 
Better the smoke of heather than the wind of frost. 

Is fhearr deireadh cuirme na toiseach tuasaid. 
Better the end d a feast than the beginning d a fray. — 

Al. Is fliearr teachd 'an deireadh — Better come at the end, djc. 
Fearr deire fleidhe 'na tus bruidhne.— /r. 

Is fhearr deireadh math, na droch thoiseacli. 
Better a good end than a bad beginning. 
Macintosh translates this, ' The refuse of the good is preferable 
to the best of the ill'. 

Is fhearr dhut do chuid fhàgail aig do nàiuhaid, na 
dol 'an innibh do charaide. 

Better leave your goods with an enemy, than go to ex- 
tremes with your friend. 

Lit., than go into the bowels of. 

Is fhearr diol-farmaid, na diol-truaighe. 

Better be envied than pitied. — Eng., Scot. 

Al. Is fliearr Tire faire !' na ' Mo thruaighe!' 

Better 'Hey day!' than ^ Alas !' 

There is more wit in this version. ' 

Is fearr diol tnu na diol truaighe. — Ir. 

^dovifddai Kpi(T<Tov fCTTiv fj oiKTf'ipfadai. — Herod. 

KuXXta vci (Te ^rjXfvoi', napa và a fXeui/u. — Mod. Gr. 

So Fr., Ital., Oerm., Dutch, &c. 

Is fliearr dol a laidhe gun suipeir na eirigh ann am 

Better go to bed supperless than rise in debt. — Bng. 

Share goll dy Ihie fegooish (as aoc/aisj shibber, na girroe ayns 
r. liasty nys (debt). — Manx. 


Is fhearr do dhuine 'blireitli 'an deadh uair na deadh 

Better he horn in good time than a good father. 
One of the questionable sayings on the importance of luck. 

Is fhearr do dhuine 'bhi 'snaiiu nan sop na 'blii 'u a 

Better knot straivs than sit idle. 

The Scotch saying is the opposite — 'Better be idle than ill 
employed '. 

Is fhearr duine na daoine. 
One man is better than many men. 
Gwell gwr na gwyr — ('SfJiearrfear nafir). — Welsh, 
Is fhearr e na 'choltas. 
He is hetter than he looks. 
She's better than she's bonnie. — Scot. 
Is fhearr eirigh moch na suidhe anmoch. 
Better rise early than sit late. 
Is fearr eirigh moch na suidhe mall. — Ir. 
Gae to bed wi' the lamb, and rise wi' the laA'erock. — Scot. 
One hour's sleep before midnight is worth three hours after. — 

Is fhearr eòlas math na droch chairdeas. 

Good acquaintance is better than bad relationship. 

See 'Theid an t-èolas'. 

Is fhearr 'fhiachaina na 'bhi 's an dùil. 

It's hetter to try than to ho^ye. 

Very good doctrine. 

Is fhearr freasdal na gàbhadli. 

Better caution than danger. 

Guid watch hinders harm. — Scot. 

Is fhearr froiseachan am bliadhna na sguab air cheann 
an uiridh. 

A shaken sheaf this year is better them the standing 
sheaf of last year. 

Al. Is fhearr sguab am bliadhna na adag an uiridh — A sheaf of 
this ijear is better than a shock (twelve sheaves) of last year. 

Is fhearr fuachd caraide na bias nàmhaid. 
Better the coldness of a friend than the warmth of an 

An excL-ll-nt saying. 

Is fliearr fuiyheall fanaiJ na fuiglieall farmaid. 

Tlte remains of ridicule are better than the dregs of envy. 

Is fhearr fuigheall na braide na fuigheall na sgeige. 
The residue of theft is better than that of scorn. 
Macintosh's translation is, 'The thief may have some profit, 
but the scorner none'. The doctrine is dubious. 

Is fhearr fuigheall na uireasbhuidh. 

Better leavings than want. 

Is fearr fuigheall na bheith air easbhuidh. — Ir. 

Is fhearr fuine thana na 'bhi uile falamh. 
Tliin kneading is better than no bread. 
Bannocks are better than nae bread. — Scot. 
Half a loaf is better than no bread. — Eng. 

Is fhearr greim caillich na tarruing laoich. 
A71 old woman's grip is better than a hero's pull. 
At. Is fhearr cuniail caillich na tarruing tighearna. 
Better to baud than draw. — Scot. 

Is fhearr guth na meidh. 

A word is better than a balance. 

This is a 'dubh-fhacal'. The meaning probably is, that the 
voice of a powerful friend is of more value than strict impartiality. 
In his first edition, Macintosh gives the word ' mèithe,' and his 
translation is, 'Better speak than lose right'. 

Is fliearr iarunn fhaotainn na airgiod a chall. 
Better find iron than tine siller. — Scot. 
Is fhearr iasg beag na 'bhi gun iasg idir, 
Sma' fish is better than nanc. — Scot. 

Is fliearr iomall a' phailteis na teis-meadhoin na gainne. 

Better the border of plenty than the centre of want. 

A I. na h-airce. 

Is fhearr Ian an dùirn de cheaird na Ian an dùirn de 

A handful of trade is better than a handfid of gold. 

A handfu' o' trade is worth a gowpen o' gowd.— Scot. 

A handful of trade is a handi'ul of gold. — Eng. 

This is undoubtedly a borrowed proverb. The trade of the 
smith, or armourer, was the only one the old Highlanders looked 
on with any respect. 

Is fhearr leisgenl salach na 'bhi gun leisgeul idir. 
fjetter a bad excuse than none. — E7ig. 


Is fhèarr leum-iochd a's t-Fhogliar na sguab a bliarr- 

A hcdk in Auhimn is hdter than a sheaf the more. 

The ' leuiu-iochrl,' or ' bailc,' (Scotch * bauk,') is a strip of a 
corn-field left fallow. The fear of beincr left with the last sheaf 
of the harvest, called the ' cailleach,' or ' gobhar bhacacli,' always 
led to an exciting competition among the reapers in the last field. 
The reaper who came on a ' leum-iochd' would of course be glad 
to have so much the less to cut. — See App. VI. 

Is fhearr lùbadh na bristeadh. 

Better bow than break. — Sng., Scot. 

So Fr., ItaL, Span., Port., Germ. 

Is fhearr màthair phocanach na athair claidheacli. 

A begging mother is better than a sivordrd father. 

This saying is borrowed from the south. The sworded and 
riding father means a freebooter. 

Better a thigging mither than a riding faither. — Scot. 

Is fearr mathair phòcain na athair seistrigh (ploughing).— Ir. 

The sentiment of this is not so respectable. 

Is fhearr meomhair luchd an tagraidh na cuimhne 
luchd nam fiach. 

The memory of creditors is better than of debtors. 

Is fhearr na 'n t-òr, sgèul ìnnse air choir. 

Better than gold is a tale rightly told. 

This applies to the telling of stories, but still more to the telling 
of truth. 

Is fhearr na toimhsean na na tuairmis. 

Measures are better than guesses. 

Measure twice, cut but ance. — Scot. 

Measure thrice what thou buyest, and cut but once. — Eng. 

Is fhearr òirleach de dh-each, na troidh de chapull. 

An inch of a horse is better than a foot of a mare. 

Is ihearr ònrachd na droch cuideachd. 

Better be alone than in bad company. — Eng. 

Better alane than in ill company.— ,S'coi. 

Besser allein als in schlcchter Gesellschaft. — Germ. 

Mas vale solo que mal acompaiiado. — Span. 

Is fhearr peighmn an fhortain, na 'n rosad 'us coig 

The luchy penny is better than viisfortune and five 

Hap and a ha'penny Ls world's gear eneuch. — Scot. 


Is fliearr piseach anmocli na 'bhi gun pliiseacli. 
Better late luck than no luck. 
Is fliearr rogha coimhearsnaicli na roglia fuine. 
Better choice of neighbour than choice of baking. 

Is fhearr rud fliàgail aig nàmliaid na rud iarraidli air 

Better leave a thing with an enemy than ask of a friend. 

Is fhearr sean-fliiachan na sean-flialachd. 
Better old debts than old feuds. 
Al. na seana-ghamhlas. 

Is fhearr seòladh na obair throm. 
Directing is better them heavy work. 
Better direct well than work hard. — Eng. 
Better guide weel than work fair. — &cot. 

Is fhearr sgios chas na sgios mearnna. 

Better weary foot than ivcary spirit. 

Is fhearr sgur na sgàineadh. 

Better cease than burst. 

A facetious addition to this is, 'ach 's e sgàineadh a 's ionirait- 
iclie' — hut bursting is more notable. The supposed reply, "S I'hearr 
sgiineadh na 'm biadh math a mhilleadh,' is merely a translation 
of the Saxon saying, Better belly burst than good meat spoil. 

Is fhearr siol caol coirce fhaotuinn a droch fhearann 
na 'bhi falamh. 

Better small oats than nothing, out of bad land. 

This is a characteristic Hebridean saying. Small black oats are 
the chief corn crop. 

Is fhearr sior-obair na sàr-obair. 
Better steady work than severe work. 
Is fhearr sior-ruith na dian-ruith. 
Better steady running than fidl speed. 

Is fhearr slth a preas na sith a glais. 
Better peace from the wood than from under loclc. 
Bedre at tinge ved Busken end ved Boien — Better make terms 
in the bush than in prison. — Dan. 

The identity of these sayings is curious. 

Is fliearr slth na circe na 'li-aimlireit. 

Better peace with a hen than strife. 

This shows tlie hand of a hen-pecked philosopher. 


Is fliearr snidlie goiiid na seasamh fadf. 
Better short sitting than long standing. 
Is fearr suidhe gearr na seasamh facia. — Ir. 
Share sole son veg na roie (ruith) son veg. — Manx. 

Is fliearr tàmh na obair a nasgaidh. 
Better rest than work for notkmg. 

A Miso-Celt might point to this as illustrative of Celtic laziness, 
but for the Scottish saying, ' Better sit idle than work for nought,' 
and the English one, 'As good to play for nought as work fo]^ 

Per con. Is fhearr saothair fhaoin na daoine diomhain — Better 
useless work than be idle. 

Is fhearr teicheadh math, na droch fhuireach. 
Better a good retreat than stay to suffer. 
He that fights and runs away, 
May live to fight another day, 
is the common form of what in Hudibras is, 

For those that fly may fight again, 
"WHiich he can never do that's slain. 
Older still, however, is the Greek saying, quoted in self-defence 
by Demosthenes, when twitted for leaving his shield on the field 
of Cherona'a, \vrjp 6 (pfvyoiv, kul troKiv fiaxr]<TfTaL, thus translated 
by Udall (1542), from the Adagia of Erasmus, 

That same man that runnith awaie 
Maie again fight another daie. 

Is fhearr tilleadh am meadhou an àtha, na bàthadh 

Better turn mid-ford than he droumcd. 

Is fearr pilleadh as làr an atha, na bàthadh 's a tuile. — Ir. 

Better wade back mid-water than gang forat and droon.— Sco?. 

Beter ten halve gekeerd (turn halfway) dan ten heele gedwaald 
(he icholhj lost). — Dutch. 

Is fhearr tobhairt caillich na geaU righ. 

An old wife's gift is better than a king's promise. 

There is a democratic sharpness in this, very uncommon in 
Gaelic sayings. 

Is fhearr treabhadh anmoch na 'bhi gun treabhadli 

Better late ploughing than none at all. 

Is fhearr uair de bhean-an-tighe na obair latha ban- 

Better an hour of the mistress than a day's work of the 


Is fhearr unnsa toinisg na punnd leom. 

An ounce of sense is better than a pound of iiriclc. 

An ounce of wisdom is worth a pound of wit. — Encj. 

Is fhiach each math breab a leigeadh leis. 

A good horse may he forgiven a kick. 

Is fhurasd am bà a mhealladh, gun a lamh a lomadh. 

The simpleton may he deceived, %vithout being robbed. 

Is fhurasd a chur a mach, fear gun an teach aige 

'Tis easy to put out a man, lohose otvn the house is not. 

The ejecting of a troublesome visitor may sometimes be a com- 
mendable process, but that is not the whole meaning of this saying. 
It is interpreted, not unreasonably, in the note of A. Campbell, as 
referring to the ejection of poor tenants in the Highlands. The 
ease with which that process has generally been accomplished is 
remarkable, pleasing in one point of view, sad and shameful in 

Is fhurasd aicheamhail na buille nach buailear a thoirt 
a mach. 

It's easy to avenge the bloio that's not struck. 

Is fhurasda buill' an treun-fhir aithneachadh. 

The mighty man's stroke is easily knoion. 

The fox found the wren one day thrashing corn with his twelve 
sons, and wishing to find out the father, made the above flattering 
remark. Whereupon the old wren turned round, and leaning ou 
his flail, said, with a smile of gratification, ' Bha latha dha sin — 
That day ivas,' adding, with a nod, ' Cha tuig iadsan, na garraich, 
sin — They little know that, these chickens'. What the fo.x did there- 
upon is painful to contemplate. 

Is fhurasda caisteal gun sdisdeadh a ghleidheadh. 

It's easy to keep a castle that's not besieged. 

It is easy to keep a castle that was never assaulted. — Eng. 

This was probably first .said to a censorious old maid. 

Is fliurasda clach fhaotuhm gu 'tilgeadh air cù. 

It's easy to find a stone to throiv at a dog. 

Facilmente si trova un bastone per dar ad un cane. — Ital. 

The ancient proverb will be well efl'ected, A statf is quickly 
found to beat a dog. — Henry VI., P. II., iii., 1. 

Is fhurasd coire fhaotuinn do dh' obair leth-dheanta. 

It's easy to find fault with half-finished ivork. 

Is fhurasda dol 'an cuid fir, ach 's e 'chùis fuireach ann. 

To usurp is easy, to keep is another thing. 


Is fliurasda duine gun nàire 'bheathachadli. 

A shameless vian is easily fed. 

He that has no modesty has all the town for his own. — Eng. 

Is fliurasda fear fhaotainn do nigbinn gun atliair. 

It's easy to get a match for a fatherless maid. 

Is fliurasda full a tlioirt a ceann carrach, 'us gal a 
tlioirt a craos cam. 

It's easy to draw blood from a scahhy head, and cry 
from a urn/ mouth. 

A scald head is soon broken. — Eng. 

Is fliurasda fuine 'dbeanamb lamb ri min. 

It's easy to hake near meal. 

Is furas fuineadh a chois mine. — Tr. 

It's guid Inikiiig beside the meal.— Scot. 

Anhawdd pobi heb flawd — Hard to bake without flour. — TFelsh. 

Is fburasda tein' fhadadb 'an cois craoibbe. 

It's easy to kindle a fire at the foot of a tree. 

Is furas teine a lasadh a chois connaidh. — Ir. 

Is fliusa car a cbur 's an teanga na 's an luing mlioir. 

It's easier to turn the tongue than a big ship. 

This seems meant for an emendation on James iii., 4, 5. 

Is fbusa 'cbiad togradb a stambnadb, na na tbig 'n a 
dbeigb a tboileacbadb. 

It's easier to subdue tiie first desire than to satisfy its 

A good statement of one of the most important principles of 
Moral Philosophy. 

Is fbusa combairle tboirt na conibairle gbal)bail. 

'Tis easier to give advice than take it. 

Do as I say, and not as I do. — Eng. 

Is fliusa da tbeallacb a tbogail na teine 'cbumall ri 
b-aon diubb. 

It's easier to build tivo hearths than to kec]) a fire on one. 

Is fbusa duine 'cbumail a muigb, na 'cbur a niacb 'u 
uair 'tbig e 's tigb. 

It's easier to keep a man out than to put him out xchen in. 

Better hand oot than put oot. — Scot. 

Is fbusa sgapadb na tionnal. 

It's easier to scatter than to gather. 

Is fusa sgapadh uà cruinuiughadh. — /r. 


Is fliusa tearnadh na dlreadh. 
It's easier to go down than to clivih. 

Haws dringo na disgyn—-E'fl sier to climb than to descend. — IVehh. 
The Gaelic saying is true both literally and metaphorically. 
The Welsh saying is true only of climbing in very steep or rocky 

Is fiach air duine na gheallas e. 
A mans promise is a debt. 
Dyled ar pob ei addaw. — Welsh. 
See ' Am fear a gheallas '. 
Is fiamliach an t-sùil a lotar. 
The hurt eye is timorous. 
Is folia iseach fuil air cù ban. 
Blood is noticeable on a tvhite doj. 
Is fuar an coimpir' an fhòid. 
The turf is a cold companion. 

There is some pathos in this ; and yet the saying may have 
been invented by a bereaved person, on the look out for a new 

Is fuar an innis an earn 

The eairn is a cold shelter. 

Is fuar an goile nacli teòdh deoch. 

It's a cold stomach that drink wont warm,. 

It's a cauld stamach that naething hets on.— -Scoi. 

Is fuar comunn an ath-chleamhnais. 

Cold is the society of a second ajfinity. 

Macintosh's translation gives the meaning, which is not obvious 
— ' Cold is the connection with a first alliance, when a second is 

Is fuar don'-chleamlmas. 

Cold is ill-sorted afjinity. 

Is fuar gaoth nan coiniheach. 

Cold is the vjind that brings strangers. 

Possibly applied first to the wind that brought Norsemen, 
afterwards to the coming of Southrons. 

Is fuar leaba gun choimh-leapeacli. 

Cold is the bed ivithout bedfellow. 

Is gann a' gliaoth nach seòladh tu. 

Light would the breeze be that you couldnt sail in. 

Al. Is fann a ghaoth ris nach, &c. 

Applied to trimmers and time-servers. 


Is ^eal an airidh air an aran sgalagan a' chliathaidh. 
Well worthy of the hxad are the farm-servants of the 

Is geal an cùnradh a tliig fad as. 

Fair is the hargain that comes from afar. 

Far sought and dear bought 's guid for ladies. — Scot. 

Is geal gach nodlia, gu ruig snodhach an fhearna. 

Everi/thing new is white, even to the sap of the alder. 

See ' Is odhar'. 

Is geal-làmhach bean iasgair, 's is geal-fhiaclach bean 

The fisher s icife has luhite hands, the hunter s v:ife white 

This is a Hebridean saying. The meaning is ambiguous. 

Is gearr gach reachd acli riaghailt Dhe. 

Short-lived is all rule hut the rule of God. 

Is giorraid an Gall an ceann a chnr dhetli. 

The Loidander is the shorter of losing his head. 

This, no doubt, has been said more than once, with the action 
suited to tlie word. 

Is glic an duine 'bheir an aire dha fliein. 

He is a tvise man that takes care of himself 

Is glice an saoglial a tliuigsinn na 'dhiteadh. 

Better imderstand the world than condemn it. 

A philosophical and Christian sentiment. 

Is glic duine 'n a earalas. 

Wise is he who keeps a look-out. 

Is glic nach meallar, ach cha ghlic a mlieallar trie. 

He is wise who is never deceived, he is not wise vjho 
often is. 

See 'Cha mheallar'. 

Is gniomh nàr an guraban. 

Crouching is a shameful tiling. 

This would be rendered in Scotch, 'Sitting on one's hunkers'. 
The practice of 'hunkering' at prayer in church, instead of stand- 
ing, has been seriously denounced by some of our divines, as a 
shameful thing. 

Is gloinid am bail' an cartadh ud. 

The farm (or town) is the cleaner of that clearing out. 

Said when any nuisance is got rid of. 


Is goirid an Carghus leothasan d' an èudar airgiod a 
dliiol air a' Chàisg. 

Lent is sliort to them who have money to pay at Whit- 

Is goriu na cnuic 'tha fada uainn. 

Green are the hills that are far from us. 

Is glas iad na cnoic a bh-fad uainn. — Ir. 

See 'Bidh adhaircean'. 

The word 'gorm' means both blue and green, and the former 
is really the more true description of distant hills. What the 
saying means, however, is that the distant is most adnr'red, and 
green grass was considered the best thing that could be on a hill. 

Is i 'n àilleantachd maise nam ban. 

Modesty is the lyeaiity of women. 

For this beautiful saying we are indebted to Armstrong (Diet.), 
who translated it ' Delicacy is the ornament of females'. Tlie word 
' àilleantachd,' translated by him and M'Leod and Dewar, 'Per- 
sonal beauty, delicacy, bashfulness, modest reserve,' is unaccount- 
ably omitted in the Hirjhl. Soc. Diet. ' Maise' means both beauty 
and ornament. The meaning here is not unlike that of St. Peter, 
•the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit'. 

Is i 'n Aoine bhagarrach a ni an Sathurna dcuracli. 

The threatening Friday makes the weeping Saturday. 

Is i 'bliarail a mliill a bhan-tighearna. 

It was supposing that destroyed the lady. 

The wife of the Laird of Keppcjch (1650-80) ventured to cross 
the river Roy when in full flood. ' Tha barail agam,' she said, 
'nach bath Ruaidh bhochd mise co dhiiibh — / think j)oor Roij 
won't drovm me at any rate. But tlie merciless river did. 

There is another more amusing account given of the origin of 
this saying, with the variation of 'dùil' for 'barail'. The "story 
is that the poor lady allowed some liberty to be taken with her, 
and on being taxed by her husband, replied, ' Bha mis' 'an dull 
gur sibh fliein a bh' ann' — / thought it ivas yourself. 

Is i 'bhonnaid bliiorach a ni 'n gille smiorail. 

The cocked bonnet makes the smart lad. 

The truth of this saying has been practically recognised in the 
British Army, and even in some foreign navies, in the adoption of 
the Glengarry bonnet, for undress or dress uniform. 

Is i 'chiad dubhailc dol 'am fiaclian, 's an atli te teann- 
adh ris na briagan. 

The first vice is to get info debt ; the next is to go telling 


Is i 'chneadh fliein a ni gach duine a ghearan 'an 

It's his own hurt a 7nan complains of first. 

Is socair a chodlas duine air chneadh dhuine eile — A man 
sleeps sound on another's icoimd.— Ir. 

Is i 'chuileag bhuidhe bhuachair a 's àirde srann. 
The yellow ching-fly makes the loudest hum. 

Is i 'n deathach a bliios a's tigh a tliig a mach. 

It is the smoke that's within that comes out. 

Is i an dias a 's truime a 's isle 'chromas a ceann. 

The heaviest ear of corn lends its head loioest. 

Ulster saying in same words. 

The empty stalk holds its head up. — Hiinrjar. 

Is i 'n fhoighidinn mhath a chlaoidheas an anshocair. 
Patience overcomes trovhle. 

Al. ?L bhristeas cridh' an anrath — hrealcs the heart of distress. 
Patience with poverty is all a poor man's remedy. — Scot. 

Is i 'ghaoth tuath a ruaigeas an ceo. 
It's the north wind that drives away mist. 
Is i 'n lànih slialach a dh'fhagas a' ghualainn glan. 
The dirty hand makes the clean shoulder. 
Al. a ni a' mhuilichean ghlann — makes the clean sleeve. 
Ni buttra Haw dyn er gwneuthur da iddio ei hun — No man's 
Jiand is dirtied loith his own business. — JFelsh. 
Dirty hands make clean money. — Eng. 

Is i 'mhàthair bhrisg a ni 'n nigliean leisg. 

The active mother makes the lazy dauyhter. 

Al. Is minig a thainig nighean leisg o mhàthair èasgaidh. 

Is olc a bliean tigh inghean na caillighe èasgaidh. — Ir. 

A light-heeled mother makes a heavy-heeled daughter. — Encj. 

An olight mither maks a sweir dochter. — Scot. 

]\Iadre ardida hacè hija tullida. — Span. 

Mai agU90sa, filha perguiyosa. — Port. 

Per con. Is i 'nighean èasgaidh a ni 'mhàthair leisg. 

The active daughter makes the lazy mother. 

Al. Is ndnig a thainig nighean èasgaidh o mhàthair leisg. 

Is i 'mliiic shàmhach a dh'itheas an drabh. 
It's the silent sow that eats the draff. 
Yr hwch a daw a fwj-ty'r soeg. — Welsh. 
Still swine eat all the draff. — Eng. 

De lumske Sviin a3de ]\Lisken — The cunning swine eat the mash. 


Is i 'n Nollaig dliubli a dh'fhàgas an cladh miath. 
A black Christmas makes a fat churchyard. 
A green Yule maks a fat kirkyard. — Scot. 
En gron Juul giver en fed Kirkegaard. — Dan. 
A green winter makes a fat churchyard. — Eng. 

Is i 'n oidliclie 'u oidhche, na'm b'iad na fir na fir ! 

The night is the night, were the men the men ! 
A watch-word in view of a foray. 

Is i an taois bhog a ni am mas rag. 
The soft dough m.akes the stiff hiUtock. 
Raw dads make fat lads. — Scot. 

Is i 'blio fhein a's luaithe a mhothaicheas d' a laogh. 
The cow is the first to notice her own calf. 

Is i nàmliaid duine a' cheaird nach cleachd e. 

The tirade vjhich he practises not is a man's enemy. 
Is namhaid an cheird gan a foghluim (unless learned). — /r. 

Is iad na li-eiin acrach a's fhearr a ghleacas. 
The hungry birds fight best. 

Is ioma bo fliada reamhar, nach deachaidh riamli air 

Many a long fat coio was never tethered. 
Applied to women who never marry.— Macintosh. 

Is ioma caoclila 'thig air an t-saoghal fo clieann 

Many changes come over the world in a year. 

Is ioma car a' tha 'n saoglial a' cur dheth. 

Many a turn the world takes. 
Gur mairg a bheir geill 
Do 'n t-saoghal gu leir, 
'S trie a chaochail e 'cheum gàbhaidh. — Mary MacLeod. 

Is ioma car a thig air an oidhch' fhad Fhoghair. 
Many a ticrn comes in the long Autumn night. 
Is iomad taod (change) a thig ann a la Earraigh (Spring). — Ir. 
Hverb er Haust-grinaa — Unstable is the Autumn night. — Iceland. 

Is ioma mùthadh a thig air an oidhche fhada Gheamh- 

Many a change comes in the long Winter night. 

This is said to have been uttered tis a warning to his host by 
one of the murderers of Glencoe. 


Is ioma ceann a theid 'an currag mu'n tachair sin. 

Many a head vjUI go into a cap before that hapiwns. 

The cap meant is the ' currag-bàis,' the death-cap. 

Is ioma cron a bhios air duine bochd. 

The i^oor man will have many faults. 

Is iomad cron a chithear air a duine bocht. — Ir. 

Is ioma cron a bliios air leanamh gun mhàtliair. 

The motherless child will have many faidts. 

Is ioma deadh ghniomh a dheanteadh mur b' e a 

Many a good deed tvould he done hit for miscarriage. 

Is ioma dòigh a tli' air cù a mliarbliadh, gun a thacli- 
dadh le im. 

They^e are many ways of killing a dog, ivlthout choking 
him with butter. 

Is ioma dragh a thig air aois. 

Many troubles come on age. 

Is ioma fàth a th' aig an Earrach air a bhi fuar. 

Spring has many reasons for being cold. 

Another version, with the merit of assonance is, 'S ioma leisgeul, 
fada, salach, 'th' aij; an Earrach gu 'bhi iuar — Many a wearij, foul 
excuse Spring has, dx. 

Is anamh Earrach gan fuacht. — Ir. 

Is ioma fear a chaidh a dholaidh, le deadh chùnradh 
a cheannach. 

Many one has been ruined by getting a good bargain. 

Is ioma fear a chaidh do 'n choille air son buta dh' a 
dhruim fheiu. 

Many a man has gone to the wood for a stick to beat 

Is ioma fear a chuir gàradh mu lios, nach d'thug a 
thoradh as. 

Many a man has vxdled a garden, who never tasted of 
its fruit. 

Is ioma fear a ghoid caora, nach deachadh leatha air 
taod do Steòrnabhaigh. 

Many a one has stolen a sheep, that didn't lead her in 
to Stornoway. 

It is hardly necessary to say that this is a Lewis proverb. 


Is ioma fear a tha gle mhor as a slilabhraidh, ged is e 
maide-crom a bh' aig a sheanair. 

Many a one is proud of his pot-hanger, though his 
grandfather had hut a crook. 

Tlie slabhraidh is an iron chain suspended over the fire-place, 
■with a hook at the end, on which pots are hnng for cooking. The 
maide-crom (al. cròcan) was simply a wooden crook. 

Is ioma leannan a th' aig an aois. 

Old age has maiii/ followers. 

Al. Is ioma ni 'tha leanmhuinn na h-aois — Many things follow 
age. See ' Thig gach olc ', 

Is ioma long cho briste 'thainig gu tir. 

Many a ship as broken has come to laiid. 

Is ioma mir a thug thu do 'n bhial a mhol tliu. 

Many a morsel you have put in the mouth that praised 

Is ioma ni a chailleas fear na h-imrich. 

Many a thing is lost Ì7i flitting. 

Three removes are as bad as a fire. — Eng., Fr., Germ. 

Cha bhiann imirce gan chaill. — Ir. 

Is ioma ni 'thig air an laogh nach do shaoil a mhàthair. 
More things iefall the calf than his dam dreamed of 
Is ioma rud a dh'fheumas an euslaint nach fheum an 

Sickness needs many things which health reqxtires not. 
Is ioma rud 'tha 'm buth a' cheannaiche nach leis 

Much is in the merchant's shop which is not his oum. 
Is ioma rud a tha 'n cuan a ialach. 
The ocean hides much. 

Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl, 
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels. 

All scattered in the bottom of the sea. — Eichard III., I., 4. 
Earth shall reclaim her precious things from thee ! 

Restore the dead, thou sea ! — Mrs. Hemans. 

Is ioma rud a th' eadar creathall agus uaigh. 
Much lies between cradle and grave. 
Is ioma rud a tha e cur fo 'earball. 
Many are the things he puts under his tail. 
Said of shifty people. 


Is ioma nid a tliachras ris an fliear a bhios a muigh. 

Many things happen to him ivho goes abroad. 

Is ioma te 'bhios cearbach aig a' bhaile, 'theid gii 
riomhach thun na feille. 

Many a home-dowdy goes gay to the fair. 

Is ioma te 'chuir càl 'n a dhiosg. 

Many a she has put kail into his dish. 

Is ioma teine beag a blieothaichear. 

Many a small fire is kindled. 

Is ioma teine mor a chaidh as. 

Many a great fire has gone out. 

Is ioma tonn a th' eadar thu 's tir. 

There is many a tvavc between thee and land. 

Is ioma tonn a thig air a' cbladach mu'n tachair sin. 

Many a wave tvill come on the shore ere that haj^pens. 

Is iomadh urchair 'tha 'dol 's an fhraoch. 

Many a shot goes into the heather. 

Donald can teli many a tale of Messrs Brigss & Co. 

Is iongantach cho gearr 's a tha thu, 's nach bu bliàrd 
a b' athair dhut. 

It's wonderfid how eurt you are, not heing a iwcfs son. 

Is ionmhuinn leis gach neach a choltas. 

Everyone likes his like. 

Adar o'r unlliw a hedant i'r iinlle— ^iVrfs of one colour fy 
together. Pob byw wrth ei ryw yr aeth — Every living joins its 
hind.— Welsh. 

See ' Druididh gach ian'. 

Is ionann aithreachas-criche 's a bhi 'cur sil mu Flieill- 

Death-led repentance is solving seed at Martinmas. 

Is ionann deoch nimhe 's balgum. 

A mouthful of poison is as good as a draught. 

Is ionann duine na 'eigin 'us duine air a' chuthach. 

A needy man is even as a madman. 

See ' B' fhearr suidhe'. 

Is ionnan tosd 'us aideachadh. 

Sdence is consent. 

Aidigheann a tosdach. — Ir. 

Silence is often an answer. — Arah. 


Avrò Sè rò aiyàv ofxokoyovvTOs iari crov. — Eurvp. 

Qui tacet consentire videtur. — Lat. Law Maxim- Chi tace 
acconsente. — Ital. Quieii calla otorga.— Span. Wer schweigt 
bejaht. — Germ. Silence gives consent. — Eng. 

Is labhar na builg fhàs. 

Noisy are the empty hags. 

Macintosh's translation is, ' Loud is the bouncing of the blown- 
up bladder,' which is free but felicitous. The bag, tu make a 
noise, luiLst have been made of skin of some sort. 

Is lag greim fear an neo-sliùnnt. 
Weak is the grasp of the downcast. 
Is lag gualaina gun bhràthair, 'an am do na fir teaclid 
'an làthair, 

Weah is shouider without brother, 
When men are meeting one another. 
Berr er hverr a baki, nema sèr br65ur eigi— i>are is one's hack, 
unless he have a brother. — Iceland. (Saga of Burnt Njal.) 
See ' Clanna nan Gàidheal,' and ' Is maol'. 
Is làidir a theid, is anfhann a thig. 
Strong they go, and tveak return. 
All that was left of them, 
Left of six hundred ! — Tennyson. 

Is làidir òglacli deadh tliighearna. 
A good masters servant is strong. 
Al. Is math gille deadh tliighearna. 
Corn him weel, he'll work the better. — Scot. 

Is làidir tathunn coin 's a shàtli 'n a bhroinn. 

A dog harks load with his helly full. 

Is le duine an greim a sliluigeas e, ach clia leis an 
greim a cliagnas e. 

What one sivallows is his oivn, hut not what he is 

This is going further even than the ' 'Twixt cup and lip' saying. 

Is learn t'hein an gieann, 's gach ni 'ta ann. 

The glen is mine, and all that's in it. 

These words have given its name to one of our favourite 
pibrochs, certain to be heard at any Highland gathering. The 
saying seems to be a curious parody on the well-known verse, ^ 

The earth belongs unto the Lord, 
And all that it contains. 

Is leigh fear an ath-chneidh. 

A man is surgeon for his second wound. 


Is leigheas air gacli tlnn 

Cneamli 'us im a' Mhàigh ; 

01 'an fhochair sid 

Bainne-ghobhar ban. 

Garlick with May butter 

Ciireth all disease ; 

Drink of goats white milk 

At same time with these. 
The garlick here mentioned is the wild kind, commonly called 
' ramsons ' in England, which is found in most parts of Scotland. 
Its medicinal virtues are well known ; but, like many other plants, 
once valued and used by our Highland ancestors, it is now quite 
superseded by pills and doses prepared by licensed practitioners. 
May butter is always the finest, the pastures then being in their 
most delicate and fresh condition. Goats' milk also has always 
been supposed to have some special virtues. Goat-milk whey is 
now run after in some parts of Switzerland as a specific cure for 
certain affections of the chest. 

Is leis a' Ghobha fuigheall eibhle ; 
Is leis an Leigh salach a làmh ; 
Is leis a' Bhard a theanga fhein ; 
Is leis an t-Saor a shliseag bhàn. 
To the Smith belong the embers; 
To the Leech soiled hands ; 
To the Bard belongs his tongue ; 
To the Carpenter tvhite chÌ2)s. 

Is leis a' mhèirleach mhatli na cheileas e, ach cha leis 
na ghoideas e. 

iVTiat the clever thief conceals is his, but not all he steals. 

Is leis an fhitheach a's moiche 'dh'eireas suH a' bheoth- 
aich anns an flieith. 

The raven that rises first will get the eye of the beast in 
the bog. 

See 'Am fitheach'. This version is more rhythmical. It is not 
fio pleasant as the ' early bird ' proverb, but it is more forcible. 

Is leisg an làrah gun treabliadh. 
Lazy is the hand that ploughs not. 

Is leisg an ni ' Is eudar', 

' Ahist ' is a lazy thing. 

Muss ist eiu harte Nuss — Must is a hard nut. — Germ. 


Is leisg le leisgein dol a laidhe, 's is seachd leisge leis 

Loath is tihe lazy to go to led, seven times loathcr to rise. 
Leisge luidhe, agus leisge ag eirigh, sin mallachd Choluim- 
chille. — Ir. 

Litcheragh goll dy Ihie, litcheragh dy irree, as litcheragh dy 
ghoU dys y cheeill Jedoonee. — Manx. 

Ever sick of the slothful giiise, 
Loth to bed and loth to rise. — Eng. 

Is leòir luathas na h-earba gun na coin a chur rithe. 

The roe is swift enough without setting the dogs at her. 

See 'Cha deic'. 

Is leir do 'n dall a bhial, ge cam a sliùil. 

The blind can see his mouth, though blind his eye. 

Is llonmhor bàirnich mna gun òrd. 

The hammer-less woman sees many limpets. 

Is lionmhor bean-bhleoghainn, ach is tearc banacliaig. 

Milking-women are lilcntiful, hut dairy-maids are rare. 

The milking of cows is a small matter, compared with the 
making of butter and cheese, and the whole management of a 
dairy, which requires brains as well as hands. 

Is 16m an cladacli air an cunntar na faochagan, 

'Tis a bare beach ivhere the wilks can be counted. 
See * Is cruaidh an t-Earrach '. 

Is 16m an leac air nach criom e. 
It's a hare stone from ivhich he can pick nothing. 
Al. air nach buaineadh tu bàirneach — on which you wouldnH 
get a limpet. 

In other words, he is a skinflint. 

Is 16m an t-sùil gun an rosg. 
Bare is the eye without eyelash. 
Is 16m teanga na meidh. 
The tongue of the balance is hare. 

Mjott er mundangs 'ho'àt— Narrow is the mean of the lalance. 

Is luaithe deoch na sgeul. 

Quicker is drink than story. 

Al. Is giorra deoch, &c. Shorter is drink. 

'S girrey jough na skeeal. — Manx. 

Is tuisce deoch na sgeal. Drink before story. — Ir. 

A drink is shorter than a tale. — Scot. 


This saying appears to be of purely Gaelic origin, though it 
found its way into the Lowlands, and from thence was duly trans- 
lated into English. The very word ' tale, ' in the Scottish and 
English version, shows it to be a translation, and does not fully 
represent its meaning, which includes news and information of any 
kind. There is no saying more characteristic of Highland ideas 
of hospitality, of which one of the first laws is to offer a drink of 
some kind, the best in the house, whatever it be, to a visitor. Mr. 
Hislop with all his sagacity and knowledge of Proverbs, seems to 
have misunderstood this one. He calls it 'an excuse for drinking 
during the telling of a story'. I have heard the saying hundreds 
of times in the Highlands, but never once in that sense. I'he 
proverb first appeared in print, so far as I can trace, in Allan 
Ramsay's collection of Scottish Proverbs, 1736. That was long 
liefore Macintosh's collection of Gaelic ones, but it does not follow 
that it was not a translation from the Gaelic. It first appears, so 
far as I know, as an English proverb, in Mr. Hazlitt's valuable 
compilation (1869), along with a large number not only of Scottish, 
but even of Latin, proverbs, wliich Mr. H. thinks it proper to call 
"English Proverbs". Being of opinion, apparently, that no good 
thing can grow in Scotland, Mr. H. ventures to say that " the 
Scots appear to have as few proverbs of their own as they have 
ballads, a statement which sufficiently shows that his knowledge 
is not quite equal to his pretensions. 

Canon Bourke says (/r. Gr., 289) this proverb is "suggested 
by the ancient practice of giving story tellers a drink before they 
began to rehearse their tales ". 

Is luaithe feum na side ; faodaidh a' chaora, &c. 

Need is quicker than weather : the sheep may die, &c. 

See ' Faodaidh a' chaora'. A worthy Lochaber man had a flock 
of goats, which he went to look after one day in Spring, after a 
very severe Winter. He founil them lying here and there, dead 
or dying. ' Thig side mhath fhathasd,' said he, ' U thig ! ach an 
Diabhol mir dhibhse 'chi e ! — Good weather will come yet, 
yes ! but Devil a bit of you will see it ! ' 

Is luaithe gniomh na tuarasdaL 
Work is before toarjcs. 
See 'Cha d' fhuair duine'. 

Is luaithe ròn na rionnach, is luaithe giumach na ròn. 

Seal is sioifter than mackerel, lobster swifter than seal. 

Al. Sitheadh giumaich, sitheadh rionnaich, sitheadh ròin, na 
tri sithean a 's luaithe 's a' chuan mhor — Rush of lobster, d:c., the 
three swiftest in the great ocean. The swiftness with which the 
lobster propels himself by his powerful tail is not generally 
known ; as a Scottish proverb shows, ' Ye look like a rinuer, quo' 
the Deil to the lobi^ter '. 


Is luaithid a' chas a bristeadh, mar a tbuirt am fear a 
chunnaic gas rainich a' falbh leis a' gbaoitb. 

The leg that h^eaks is all the quicker, as the man said 
^vho saw a stalk of bracken going before the vnncl. 

There is something comical in this, though trivial. 

Is luath agus mall combairle an duiue. 

Swift and slow is man's counsel. 

This way and that dividing the swift mind. — Tennyson. 

Is luatb an ton 's an teid an t-eagal. 

He is swift on ivhovi fear comes. 

Is luatb fear doimeig air iaire, latba fuar Earraicb. 

Swift goes the slatteiyis husband over the brae, on a cold 
Spring day. 

See ' Aithnichear fear doimeig'. 

Is lugba na fride matbair a' cbonnsachaidb. 

The mother of dissension is smaller than a mite. 

The mother of mischief is no bigger than a midge's wing. — Eng. 

Is luibb-cbrid be learn f bein e. It is heart' s-ease to myself. 

Is maireann gus an crion. Lasting till it wither. 

Is mairg a bbeireadb as a' cblacban tbu ! 

Pity him who wotdd bring you back from the church ! 

Said of ineligible young women — a saying belonging to the 
time when Highland marriages were performed in church. 

Is mairg a bbiodb a' biatbadb nan eacb agus gun 
pliris orra. 

Pity him who ivould keep up horses when there is no 
price jfor them. 

Is mairgabbiodh a'breitb dbaoine,'s na b-eicb cbogann ! 

Pity them who woidd bring forth men, when horses arc 
so scarce ! 

That is, useless men. 

Is mairg a bbiodb 'n a clirann air dorus duin' eile. 

Pity him who is a bar on another's door. 

The ' crann' is a wooden bar fastened across the door when the 
inmates go out — the ordinary M'ay of closing a Highland cottage. 
A pei-son who helps to keep other people's doors closed as well as 
his own, is not to be envied. 

Is mairg a chailleadb a's t-Earracb e. 

Pity him who loould lose him in Sp)ring. 

Said of a good workman or horse. 


Is mairg a chaillear 's an an-uair ! 

Alas for him who is lost in the storvi I 

Is mairg a cliitheadh adliaircean fad' air a' chrodli 

Pity him who would see long horns on the hutting cow. 

Al. Is math nach 'eil adhaircean fad' air na bà luinneanach — 
Jt\ well that the frisky cores haven't long horiis. 

The puttin' coo should be aye a doddy (hornless). — Song by Sir 
A. Bosivell. 

Is m lirg a chuireadh a làmh gun aobliar 'am bial a' 

Fiti/ him v'ho would put his hand loithout cause into a 
dogs mouth. 

Is mairg a chuireadh 'an toiseach na luing' thu. 

Pity him %vho would put you in the shijj's bovj. 

As pilot, or look-out man. 

Is mairg a chuireadh an ùir air sùil a charaide. 
Pity him who would put the earth on the eye of his 

Who would do him to death. 

Is mairg a chuireadh 'uile dhòigli 'an aon duine 'chaidh 
'n deò 'n a chre. 

Woe to him that puts all his trust in any mortal sprung 
from dust. 

Is mairg a chuireas a chuid far nach urrainn da a 
toirt as. 

Pity him tvho puts his means where he cannot get it out. 

Is mairg a chuireas air chùl a dhaoine fhein. 
Pity him who turns his back on his oiun jK'ojde. 

Is mairg a chuireas farran air fann. 
Woe to him who vexes the weak. 

Is mairg a dh' àraicheadh a laogh gu moilleach, 's an 
galar guineach 'n a dheigh. 

Pity him vjho would pamper his ccdf and sharp disease 

Applied to spoiled children. 

Is mairg a dheanadh bàthaich dheth 'bhroinn. 
Pity him tJmt makes a hyre of his belly. 


Is raairg a dheanadh subhachas ri dubhachas fir eile. 

Woe to him that luould rejoice at another's grief. 

Is mairg a dh' earbadh an oidhche fhad' Fhoghair ris. 

Pity him that loould trust the long Aiitumn night 
to him. 

This was said, no doubt, of a notorious reaver or thief. 

Is mairg a ghuidheadh làrach 16m. 

Woe to him who would ivish a ruined home to any one. 

Is mairg a loisgeadh a thigh roimh 'n chreich. 

Pity him %oho tvould hum his house before the sack. 

Is mairg a loisgeadh a thiompan dut ! 

Pity him who would hum his har-p for you ! 

This alludes to the story of a Hebridean harper, who having 
nothing else to make a tire with to warm his wife, broke his harp 
in pieces and burned it. His wife's heart, it seems, was colder 
than her body, as she ran away with another man before morning! 
This story forms the subject of one of Hector McNeill's poems. 

The word 'tiompan,' tympanuin, is used in the Scottish and 
Irish Gaelic Bible as the translation of timbrel, but the Dictionaries 
give it as a term for 'any musical instrument'. 

Is mairg a ni de 'n olc na dh' fliaodas e. 
Woe to him that does as much ill as he can. 

Is mairg a ni droch chleachdadh. 
Woe to him who makes a had habit. 

Is mairg a ni tarcuis air a bhiadh. 

Pity him that despises his food. 

Is mairg a rachadh air a bhannaig, 'us a theann-shàth 
aige fhein. 

'Twcre pitiful to go hogging hammocks, tvith plenty of 
one's own. 

The bannock here referred to is the * Bannag-Challuinn ' or 
New-Year cake, called in Brittany 'Calanna,' or 'Calannat,' in 
Wales ' Calenig,' given as a New- Year gift to those who came on 
New- Year's night, chanting certain rhymes. The Highland and 
Breton customs in this matter are very similar. 

Is mairg a's màtliair do mhicein maoth, an uair a's e 
Dirdaoin a' Bhealltainn. 

Alas for tender infant's mother, ivhen Beltane falls on 

This is one of the superstitious fancies of which no explanation 
can be given. 


Is mairg a shineadh làmh na h-airce do chridlie na circe. 
Pity him that stretches the needy hand to tlie hen- 

Is mairg a thachair dh' an tir thalmhanta, far nach 
sniomh cailbh' cuigeal. 

Pity the one tvho comes to the land where a ipartition 
vont spin a distaff. 

This absurd saying was uttered by a half-witted young woman, 
who had a good and too kind mother. The young woman was 
fond of going out 'air cheilidh,' to make long calls, and she would 
leave her distaff with its wool on it resting against the partition- 
wall, that divided the 'but' ami 'ben'. Her worthy mother 
would take it herself, spin the wool, and leave the distaff Avhere 
her daughter left it ; and the foolish creature believed that the 
spinning was done for her by some supernatural means. At 
length her mother died, and the poor girl went for some time to 
friends at a distance, where she tried the old trick with her distaff, 
and, to her disappointment, found it on her return just as she left 
it. Then she made the above remarkable observation. It is 
applied to lazy or silly people, who expect to have their work 
done for them. 

Is maivg a theid do 'u tràigli an uair a tha li-eòin fliein 
'g a treigsiuu. 

Pity him icho goes to the shore, when its oivn birds are 
forsakiny it. 

Who goes in search of .shellfish. 

Al. Is mairg a thaghladh a chreag, 's a h-eòin fliein 'g a fàgail 
— Pity him who visits the rock which its 0W7i birds are luaving. 

Is mairg a threigeadh a chaorah charaid. 

Woe to him that would forsake his dear friend. 

Is mairg a thr(iigeadh a leannan buan, air son fear- 
fuadain na h-aon oidhche. 

Woe to her who would forsake her constant love, for the 
stranger of one night. 

Is mairg aig am bi iad : 's mairg aig nacli bi iad. 

Pity those who have them ; ^nty those who haven t them. 

A I. Is truagh aig am beil iad ; 's truaighe aig nach 'eil iad — 
Pity those, who have them; pity more those vAo haven't. 

This refers to children, and reminds of the advice about mar- 
riage, ' You'll repent if you marry, and you'll repent if you don't !' 
The Lowland Scottish saying, though kindly, is rather too frugal — 
Waly, waly ! bairns are bonnie ; 
Aue's eneuch, and twa's ower mony. 


Is mairg aig am bi 'n tighearna fann ; 
Is mairg aig am bi claim gun rath ; 
Is mairg aig am bi 'm botlian gann ; 
Ach 's miosa 'bin gun olc no 'mhath. 
'Tis ill to hove a pithless lord; 
To have children vnthout luck ; 
III to dwell Ì7i bothy poor ; 
But toorst is, neither ill nor good. 
The Irish version of this ( Bourke's Ir. Gramm., 288) is almost 
identical, the only difference being in the last words of the hrst 
line, where, strange to say, the Scottish Celt is more outspoken 
about lairds — 

Is mairg a m-bidheann a chairde gann ; 
Is mairg a ni-bidheann 'chlann gun raith ; 
Is mairg a m-bidheann bothan gann ; 
Is mairg a bhidheas gan olc no maith. 

Is mairg air an tig na dh'fhuilingeas. 

Fity him on whom comes all that he can suffer. 

Is mairg air nach bi eagal na breige. 

Woe to him that fears not to lie. 

Is mairg do 'm bial-iochd sùil a' clioimhich. 

Pity him who is an object of pity to the stranger. 

Is mairg do 'n cuid cuid duin' eile. 

Pity him tohose goods belong to another man. 

Al. Is mairg do 'm faodail, &c. The meaning is that it is ill 
for him who has nothing but what he picks up of another man's 

Is mairg do 'n dual am poll itheadh. 
Pity him. whose birthright is to eat dirt. 
This is a forcible way of expressing the disadvantage of being 
born of bad blood. 

Is mairg do 'n dùthclias droch ghalar. 
Sad is the inheritance of a bad disease. 
Is mairg do 'n sguaban-stòthaidh bo mliaol odhar 

Pity him whose resource is MacGillonys hornless dun 


Macintosh says that MacGillony was a famous hunter in the 
Grampians, and that several vestiges of his temporary huts are 
still to be seen (1785) in the mountains of Atholl. His dun cow 
was the wild mountain doe. The text of this proverb in Macin- 


tosh is puzzling and unintelligible. ' Is mairg g'a 'n scuab bun 
staghail bo nihaol odliar Mliicalonabliaidh,' translated, 'Woe to 
him whose main support is the white cow of Mao.gilony'. The 
word 'staghail' is unknown, and the assonance required a word 
in which ' ' is the first vowel, which ' stùthaidh ' supplies. 
'Stòthadh' means the cutting of corn short, as would be done 
for a hasty supply. The MacGillonies belonged to the Clan 
Cameron, but originally, as the name implies, were allied to the 
MacLeans. See Gregory's Hist, of the W. Islands, p. 77. 

Is mairg 'g am bi càirdean fann. 

Fity him ivho has iveak friends. 

Is mairg 'g am bi comhaltas gann, 'us clann gun rath. 

Pity him ivlio has few foster-friends, and luckless chil- 

Is mairg nacli beathaich a thruaghan. 

Woe to him ivho won't maintain his own poor creature. 

This good old sentiment sometimes receives sad illustration iu 
our Courts, in Poor Law and Filiation cases. 

Is mall a mharcaicheas am fear a blieachdaicheas. 

He rides slov)ly who observes. 

Is mall adhart na leisge. Slow is the progress of the lazy. 

Is mall cdum nan dall. 

Slow is the step of the blind. 

Is maol guala gun bhràthair ; is 16m an làracli gun 

Bare is sJwidder without brother; bare is home without 

See ' Is 16m'. 

Is marbh fear na h-eisimeileach. 

Dead is the dependent. 

Is math a bhean-tighe 'bheir a nuas an rud nacb 'eil 

She's a clever housewife that can bring doivn what's not 

Al. a braigh an tighe rud nach bidh ann— /rom the inner 
room what's not there. 

Is math a bhiodh na cait, gus an d' thugadli na luch- 
ain na cluasan dhiubh. 

The cats would do well, till the mice would take their 
ears off. 

This saying must have been invented by a man of the world. 


Is math a' cliobhair e, acli 's boclid an sablial e. 
It's a good assistance, but a bad barn. 
Said of such occupations as fishing, hunting, &c. 

Is math a' chùirt 's am faighear rud ri iarraidh. 

It's a good court xolure a thing can he got for the asking. 

Is math a dh' fhimh-eadh an dan a dheanamh, 's a 
liuthad fear-millidh a th' aige. 

The ■poe.m would need to he well made, since it has so 
many spoilers. 

Bad reciters and carping critics. 

Is math a dh' fhoghnas fir odhar do mhnathan riabhach. 
Sallovj lads suit swarthy lasses. 
Fùiridh fear odhar do bhean riabhach. — Ir. 

Is math a ghabh e tomhas mo choise. 
Well did he take the measure of my foot. 
I have got the length of his foot. — Eng. 

Is math a' margadli a riaraicheas an ceannaiche. 
It's a good market that satisfies the merchant. 

Is math am bathar a chòrdas ris a' cheannaiche. 
The goods are good that please the merchant. 

Is math a' mhàthair-cheile am fòid. 
The sod is a good mother-in-laio. 
A green turf is a guid guid-niither. — Scot. 
Die beste Schwieger, auf der die Ganse weiden — The best mother- 
in-law, on wham the yeese pasture.- — Germ. 

Is math a' modh a bhi sàmhach. 
It's good manners to be silent. 

Is math am baile 's am faighear biadh ri iarraidh. 
It a good town (or farm) where food can be got for the 

Is math am bnachail an oidhche ; bheir i dhachaidh 
gach beothach 'us duine. 

Night is a good herdman : she brings all creatures home. 

Al. gleidhidh i crodh 'us caoraich 'us cearcan — she keeps cattle 
and sheep and hens. 

The e'ening brings a' hame. — Scot. 

This is a pretty and poetical saying ; the Scottish version has 
perhaps a deeper meaning. 


Is math an cearcall-màis deadh bhean-tighe, 
A good houHeioife is a good nndcr-lioop. 
The lowest hoop on a cask is the most important of any. So 
long as it holds, the vessel will hold something. 

Is math an duich a lionas a' bhrù. 
It's good sport that fills the helly. 
Al. an fheala-dhà — an spùirt. 

Is math an còcair' an t-acras. 
Hunger is a good cook. 
Maith an t-anlan an t-ocrus. — Tr. 

Fames est optimus coquns. — Lat. Optimum cilii condimentum 
fames, sitis, potus. — Cic. Buon appetite non vuol salsa.— 7i. II n' 
y a sauce que d' appetit. — Fr. 

Hunger ist der beste Koch. — Germ. Hunger er det bedste 
Suul. — Dan. Honger is de beste saus. — Dutch. Hunger is the 
best sauce. — Eiig. Hunger's guid kitchen. — Scot. 

Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, son of Robert ITL, after being 
defeated at Inverlochy (14.31) by Donald Balloch, suffered great 
hardships, wandering through Lochaber. One day in Glen Roy 
he met a poor woman, and asked her for some food. ' I have 
Tiothing,' she said, 'but a liandful of barley meal, to which you 
are welcome.' The Earl took it thankfully, and sitting down by 
the side of a burn, Allt Acha-na-beithich, took off one of his shoes, 
and mixed the meal in it with water from the stream. Thereupon 
he is said to have made this verse, — 

Is math an còcair an t-acras, 
• 'S mairg a ni tarcuis air biadh, 
Fuarag eòrn' ann' sail rao bhnMge, 
Biadh a b' fhearr a fhuair mi riamh. 
Hunger is a cook right good, 
Woe to him who sneers at food, 
Barley crowdie in vuj shoe, 
The sweetest food I ever knew. 

Is math an ealag a' chlach gus an ruigear i. 
The stone is a good chopping-hlock till it's reached. 

Is math an fhiacal a bhi roimh 'n teanga. 
It is well that the teeth are before the tongue. 
Da daint rhag tafod — Good are teeth before tongue. — Welsh. 
The mouth is the tongue's prison. — Arab. 

Is math an glèus toil. 

Will is a good putter-in-trim. 

See Tar am bi toil'. 


Is math an latlia 'ni a' madadli-ruadli searmoin. 
'It's a fine day ichcn the fox turns ^it^efichcr. 
Qiiando la volpe predica, guardatevi, galline ! — Ital. 
See Reynard the Fox. 

Is math an naigheachd a bhi gun naigheachd. 

No 7iews is good ncios. 

Is math an rud a thig ri 'mhithich. 

Ifs a good thing that comes in season. 

Is math an rud air an tig piseach. 
It's a good thing icliich luck follows. 

Is math an saoghal seo ma mhaireas e. 
This is a good life if it ivovid last. 
Is maith a saoghal e, ma luliaireann se a bh-flaad. — Ir. 
It's a guid eneuch warld, if it baud. — Scot. 

Is math an sgàtlian sùil caraide. 
A frinuVs eye is a good looking-glass. 
Is luaith an sgathan suil cliarad. — Ir. Dr^^cli i bawb ci 
jymmydog — (Jne's neighbour is his mirror. — Welsh. 
The best mirror is an old friend. — Eng. 
The image of friendship is truth. — Arab. 
No ay mejor espejo que el amigo viejo. — Span, 

Is math an t-aighear a bhi glic. 

To he icise is good cheer. 

Understanding is a well-spring of life. — Prov. xvi. 22. 

Is math an t-aoidh a thig sonas ri 'linn. 
He is a good guest ivho brings good hock. 
Al. Is olc an t-aoidh a 's misd' an tigh. 

Is math an t-each a thoilicheas am marcaiche. 

Hefs a good horse that pleases his rider. 

Is maith a t-each a shàsuigheas gach marcach. — Ir. 

Is math an t-each nach tuislich ceum. 
He's a. good horse that never stumbles. 
Is maith an gearran nach m-bainneann tuisleadh iiair èigin dù. 
-Ir. See ' Tulslichidh '. 

Is math an torn air am bi sealbh. 
It's a. good hillock on which cattle are. 

Is math an tràth a dh'fhoghnas da fhein. 
It's a good season (or meal) that sufiiccsfor its time. 
Al. Is math an la a bheir e fhein as. 


Is math an t-uaireadair a' bhrù, an t-sùil, 's an coileach. 

The belly, the eye, and the cock, are good twujyieces. 

Men of old could guess the time of day very nearly by the sun. 
Their sensations informed them when it was breakfast or supper- 
time. The crowing of the cock was their morning-call. 

Is math an urra fear mulain. 

A man v:ith some corn is a good security. 

Is math bean an deadh fhir, ach is fhearr dha a faot- 
ainn math. 

The good mans wife is good, out it is best if lie find her 

That is, find her good, instead of making her good. 

Is math conach. Wealth is good. 

* Conach ' is a word obsolete in our vernacular. 

Is math cruinneachadh na pille farsuinn. 

Good is the gathering of the wide winnoiving-cloth. 

Is math cuid na ciad oidhche roimh 'n ath-oidhch'. 
The first night's stock is good for the second night. 
It is good to have so much that the first night's provisions may 
be spared for next night. 

Is math dhiits' an t-sùil nach fhaca. 
Good for you the eye that saiv it not. 
A curious form of expression, meaning, ' It's well for you that 
So-and-so didn't see you '. 

Is math do chù nan gobhar nach robh cù nan caorach 

Good for the goat-dog that the sheep-dog u-as not there. 
The sheep dog would be the superior officer. 
Is math esan a bhi ann gus a' chas a chur air. 
Good that he was there to get the foot set on him. 
Al. gus a' choire 'chur air — to get the blame. 

Is math far an saoilear. 

It's well to be u-ell thought of. 

Lit. It's u-ell where it's supposed. The meaning is, that there 
is an advantage in getting credit, however erroneously, for more 
than is possessed. 

Is matli gach flinch air a' phathadh. 
Whatever is wet is good for thirst. 

Al. Lag no làidir, 's math gach fliuch, &c. — Weak or strong, 
tvhat's wet, dc. 


Is math gacli meas air a bhlas fhein. 
Every fruit is good of its cum taste. 
Is math gach urchair troimh 'n chlàr. • 
Ever I/ shot is good that hits the mark. 
Lit. goes through the hoard. 

Is math gu'mfoghainn im-odhar do chàbhruich. 
Dun butter docs for sowens. 
Like to like. 

Is math gu'm foghainn nighean gobha do dh-ogha 

A blacksviith's daughter is a good match for a tiìikers 

Is math lionmhorachd nan làmh, ach mu 'n mhèis seo. 

The more hands the better, except round this dish. 

Al. Is math na fir ach mu'n mhèis. 

Said to have been a warning given by an attendant who brought 
in a poisoned dish. 

Is math ma mhaireas. Well if it last. 

Is math na seirbheisich, 's olc ua maighistirean, Teine, 
Gaoth, 'us Uisge. 

Fire, Wind, and Water, are good servants, but bad 

Fire and water are good servants, &c. — Eng., Scot, Germ., Dan. 

Is math nach 'eil iuchraichean an domhain fo chrios 
na h-aon mhnatha. 

It's tvcll that all the keys of the world are not under 
one wife's girdle. 

Al. air do chrios — on your girdle. See ' Cha 'n 'eil gach'. 

Is meanmach gach moch-thrathach. 
Lively is the early riser. 

Is miann le trinbhas a bhi 'measg aodaich, is miann 
leam fhein a bhi 'measg mo dhaoine. 

Trews like to be among clothes ; I like to be among my 

Is miann leis a' chleireach mias mhèith 'bhi aig an 

A fat dish to the priest is the cUrk's wish. 

Is miann leis a chleireach mias mhèith comh maith leis an 
t-sagart (as well as the priest). — Ir. 


Is miannaiche aon gliille breac-luirgneach na seachd 
mnatlian torrach. 

One spotty-legged lad has more ajyjJctitc that seven preg- 
nant women. 

Is milis corrag tlietli, ma 's mills cha mhatli. 

Sweet is a hot finger, hut not to he desired. 

Is mine mm na gran, is mine mnài na fir. 

Meal is finer than grain, ivomen are finer than men-. 

Very Celtic, and polite to women. 

Is minig a blia bial luatli aig droch charaide. 
A had friend has often had a glih tongue. 

Is minig a blia breith luath lonacb. 

A quick judgment is often wordy. 

Is minig a bha claidheamh math 'an droch thruaill. 

Good siuord has often been in poor scabbard. 

Is minig a bha craicionn an laoigh air an fh^ill roindi 
chraicionn a mhàthar. 

The calf's skin often goes to market before his mother's. 

Aussi tut meurt vean que vache. — Fr. 

Daar komer zo wel kalver huiden als ossen huiden te markt. — 

Al. Is trie a bha craicionn an uain air a' chleith, cho luath ri 
craicionn na seana-chaora — The skin of the lamb has often been hung 
up as soon as that of the old shei'p. 

As soon conies the lamb's skin to the market as the auld tup's. 
—Scot. So Eng., Germ., Port. 

Is minig a bha dreach breagh air maide mosgain. 
A rotten stick is often nice to look at. 

Is minig a bha droch bhròg air mnaoi griasaiche. 
Often has a shoemaker s toife had bad shoes. 

Is minig a bha droch laogh aig deadh mhart. 
Many a good cow hath an evil calf. — Eng. 

'Avdpav fjpùooùv TfKva Trr'jfiaTa—Gr. Heroum filii noxii — Lat. 

Is minig a bha laogh math aig boin sgàirdich. 
A skittering cotv has often had a good calf. 

Is minig a bha ùth mhor aig boin chaoil-chasaich. 
The slender-legged coio has oftenest a large udder. 
Al. a. bha boinne mhath— « good drop. 


Ts niinig a thainig comhairle ghlic a ceann amadain. 

Often has loise counsel come from a fool's head. 

Al. a. bial an amadain — the fool's mouth. 

Al. 'S minig a bha comhairle rigli 'an ceann amadain. 

Is minig a fuaras comhairle ghlic ò amadàn. — Ir. 

Is minig a bha leigeadh fad' aig fear gun cbù, 'us urch- 
air aig fear gun ghunna. 

A man without a dor/ or gun has often got a chance at 

Is minig a blia 'Matb-an-airidh' gun ni, agus ni aig 
' Beag-an-toirt'. 

' Well-deserved,' has often been empty -handed, and 'Little 
matter ' well-off. 

Is minig a bba muir mbor 'an caolas cumbang, 

A great sea has often run in a narrow strccit. 

Is minig a bba 'n Donus dàicbeil. 

The Devil is often attractive. 

The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman. — K. Lear, III., 4. 

Is minig a bba rath air leirist. 

A silly has often been lucky. 

Al. air mall-thriallair— a slow traveller. 

Is minig a bba sùil-cbruthaich air liana bhòidheach. 
A fair meadovj has often had a quagmire. 

Is minig a chaidh a' mas a soitheach dionach. 
The bottoin has often gone out of a tight vessel. 

Is minig a cbaill bodach lair, agus a rinn e treabhadb. 

An old man has often lost a mare, and done his 

Is minig a db' eirich muir gharbb a plumanaicb. 

Rough sea has often followed noise of surge. 

A muffled roar from the sea at night in calm weather often pre- 
cedes a storm. The word 'plunianaich' is also applied to a chopping 
sea, which, when seen in a calm, is a sure sign of coming stoim. 

Is minig a dh' fhàg lamban luath cluasan goirid. 
Quick hands have often made short ears. 
Alluding to the old punishment of cropping the ears. 

Is minig a dbiomoil an ceannaiche 'n rud 'bu mbath 
leis 'n a mbàileid. 


The merchant has often dispraised ivhat he would like 
to have in his pack. 

At. Is minig a chain am marsant' am bathar, &c. 

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer.— Pro v. xx. 14. 

The ' merchant ' generally referred to in these proverbs was 
simply a packman or pedlar, an important person in the High- 
lands before sliops were common ; of whom Wordsworth chose 
one as the hero of the Excursion. 

Is minig a fhuair fear na h-eadraiginn buille. 
The inferposer has often (jot a bloiv. 
See 'Bidh dùrn'. 

Is minig an fhirinn searbh ri h-innse. 

Truth is often harsh to tell. 

Al. Tha 'n fhirinn fhein searbh air uairean. 

Is minig a thainig boganach a blàthaicli. 

Butter-milk has often made a bumpkin. 

Is minig a thainig air laogh mear, galair nach do sliaoil 
a mhàthair. 

A merry calf has often taken a disease which his dam 
never dreamed of. 

Is minig a thainig fior a fanaid. 

Mockery has often turned to earnest. 

See ' Is trie a chaidh '. 

Is minig a thainig gnothach na bain-tighearna gu 
bothan cailleach nan cearc. 

The lady's affairs have often found their xvay to the 
hen-ivifes bothy. 

See 'Faodaidh gnothach'. 

Is minig a thainig meatliadh o mliathadh. 

Forgiveness has often caused degeneracy. 

Is minig a thainig tart air deadh mhuileann. 

A good mill has often wanted icater. 

Is minig a thog fear-rogha diù. 

A chooser has often taken the worse. 

Is minig a thngadh seachad air an stràic an rud a 
fliuaradh air bhleid. 

What was got with importunity has often been given 
away with swagger. 

Rhoi 'r dorlh a gofyn y dafell — To give the loaf and ash for the 
slice. — iVelsh. 


Is mios' amaideaclid na h-aois na amaideaclid iia 

Tlie folly of age is worse than the folly of youth. 
See ' Cha 'n 'eil amadan '. 

Is mios' an fhead na 'n eubh. 
The whistle is worse than the cry. 
The whistle of a thief or cateran. 
Is mios' an t-eagal na 'n cogadh. 
Fear is worse than fighting. 
A wise and manly sentiment. 

Is mios' an t-socliair na 'mlièirle. 

Carelessness is worse than theft. 

More loss is caused by the one than by the other. 

Is miosa na 'n uireasbhuidh tuille 's a choir. 

Too much is vjorse than want. 

Per con. 'S mios' an t-uireasbhuidh na tuiUe's a' choir— J^FaTif 
is worse than too much. 

There is some truth in both these, combined in the prayer of 
Agur, ' Give me neither poverty nor riches'. 

Is mios' an t-urras na'n t-earras. 

The security is worse than the principal. 

Is miosa droch earbsa na 'bhi gun earbs' idir. 

Ill-2olaced trust is worse than none. 

Is miosa 'fear a clileitheas a' mèirleach na 'meirleatli 

He that cloaks the thief is worse than him. 

Is miosa 'fear beag na Frangach. 

The wee man is v:orse than a Frenchman. 

This is said to have been spoken of a little Strathspey man 
called John MacAndrew, a noted bowman, who shot down his 
enemies one after another, as they appeai'ed at the door of his 
house, which they had invaded. See Uuairtear, 1842, p. 131. 

Is miosa seo na 'n t-alum ! 

This is worse them- the alum. ! 

A Highland minister once ordered some ' sugar- candy ' from 
Glasgow by a little ' merchant,' one of his parishioners. When 
the sugar was tried, it turned out to be alum. The minister was 
naturally displeased, and to soothe him, the shop-keeper, on the 
advice of a knowing brother of the minister, determined to bring 
a peace-offering to the manse, in the shape of a small ' pig ' of 
Ferintosh. Not feeling sure of his reception, however, he hid the 


jar outside, while lie went in to make his call. The worthy mi- 
nister was easily appeased, and Donald hastened out for the <,'i'eat 
reconciler, and proceeded at once to fill out a fjlass. To his aston- 
ishment, the minister had no sooner tasted than he spat it out 
again, exclaiming, with a strong interjection, "S miosa so na 'u 
t-alum!' The parson's wicked brother had emptied the jar, and 
filled it with salt water. 

Is miscle na bocliJan a bin lionmhor. 

The poor are the worse of being numerous. 

Is mis' a bba thall 's a cbunnaic e, 's a tbàinig a nail 
's a dh'innis e. 

'Tis I that was over and saw it, and came hack and 
told it. 

Is mitbich a bbi 'bogadb nan gad. 

Ifs time to he steeping the vnthes. 

This native Gaelic saying, meaning 'It's time to he going,' 
belongs to the time when withes of birch or osier were used for 
halters and all the fastenings of horse harness (See note to 'An 
gad '). These withes would become stiff and brittle, if laid by for 
some time, and would therefore be steeped for a while before 
taking to horse. There is an Ulster saying in the same word.s. 

Is mo am fuaim na 'bliuiL 

The noise is greater than the effect. 

Nid cymmaint Bleddyn a' i drwst — BUààijn is not so great as 
ids noise. — Welsh. 

Plus sonat quam valet. — Seneca. 

See ' Fuaim mòr'. 

Is mo an-t-sùil na 'bbrù. 

The eye is higger than the hcihj. 

Al. Is mo Ian do shiila na Ian do bhroinn — The fill of your eye 
is more, &c. 

His eye is bigger than his belly. — Eng. 

Die Augen sind weiter denn der Bauch. — Germ. 

De oogen zijn groter dan de buik. — Dutch. 

The eye is not satisfied with seeing. — Eccl. i. 8. 

The dust alone can fill man's eye. — Arab. 

He'll hae eneuch some day when his mouth's fu' o' mools. — Scot. 

Is mo do mboll na do sbiol. 

Your chaff is more titan your grain. 

Is mocb a db' eireas am fear a blieir an car as. 

He will rise early that outwits him. 

Is moch a db' eireas am fear nacb laidb. 

He rises early who goes nut to bed. 


Is moid a* mhuir Lòcliaidh. 
The sea is the bigger of Lochy. 

The Locliy, a fine river flowing out of a lake of the same name, 
falls into the sea near the base of Ben Nevis. 

Is moid i sid, mu'n dubhairt an dreaghan-donn, 'n uair 
a riun e dhileag 's a' mhuir mhoir. 

It's the higger of that, as the wren said when he added 
a drop to the sea. 

Scottish Proverb to same effect. 

Is moid rud a roiun. 

A thing is the bigger of being shared. 

A generous sentiment. 

Is .mor a dli' fhaodar a dlieanamh fo laimh deadh 

Ihcch mag be done under a good man's hand. 

Is mor a dh' fliuilingeas cridhe glan mil 'm brist e. 
A clean heart ivill suffer much ere it break. 
Meikle maun a guid heart thole. — Scot. 
Were na my heart licht I wad dee. — Burns. 

Is mor am beothach nach tioclid a muigh. 
Ifs a big beast that there isn't room for outside, 
A I. Is mor am fear — He's a big man. 

The irony of this is delicate. It is applied to persons so mighty 
that no house or hall seems big enough for them. 

Is mor am facal nach tiodid 's a' bhial. 
It's a big word that the mouth can't hold. 
There is a wise irony in this also. For the word 'tiochd' or 
' teachd ' the word ' toill ' is used in Skye. 

Is mor a rinn thu de dheireadh air cho beag de bhrod. 
You made much refuse to so little grain. 
See ' Is mù do mhòU'. 

Is mor a theid thar ceann slàn. 

A sound head will come through much. 

Is mor facal 'g a lughadh. 

A word is big when it is lessened. 

Qui s' excuse s' accuse. — Fr. 

Is mor fiach na foighidinn ; 
Is luQ-haid fearo- f'uireach : 

282 , 

Cha 'n e 'n t-ànradh a th' ann, 
Ach cion foighidinn gu fuireach. 
Of great price is patience ; 
Wrath declines with vxdting; 
Not the evil is so great, 
As ivip)atience to ivait. 

Is mor thugam, 's is beag agam. 
G-reat cippearancc and little value. 

Is mor le doimeig a cuid ablirais ; 's cha 'n e mliòid 
ach a dhorrad. 

Tlie slatterns spinning -stxiff lool's great to her ; not the 
hulk, hut the hother. 

Defnyddfawr pob anghelfydd — UnsJdlful requires much stuff. — 

Is mor òirleach bharr sroin duine. 
An inch off a mans nose is a great deal. 
Possibly this Ccdtic saying may have been known to M. About 
when he composed his ' Xez d'uu avocat'. 

Is mor stà na h-Airde do Mhac-Shimidh. 
Great is the profit of the Aird to Loved. 
The Au'd is a farm belonging to the Lovat family. 

Is mor toirm cuilce gun dol troimhpe. 

The storm of reeds is loud till you go through them: 

More formidable in sound than in realit3\ 

Is ni air leth cè dòirte. 

Spilt cream is a thing hy itself. 

An irremediable loss. 

Is niarachd do'n gealladh tu 'chroich. 

Lucky for him to u-hom you v^oidd promise the gallows. 

Said to people whose word does not go for much. 

Is obair latha duine thiodhlaiceadh. 

To bury a man is a day's tvork. 

So it used to be, and not in the Highlands only. Lord 
Brougham's account of the funeral of his grandmother gives an 
amusing illustration of this. 

Is obair-latha tòiseachadh. 
Beginning is a day's vjork. 

Deuparth gwaith ei ddechreu — Two parts of a work is heginning. 
— IVelsh. See ' Is da thrian'. 


Is odhar gach sean, 's is geal gach noLlia, gu ruig 
suodhach an fhearna. 

Every old tiling is dun, every new tiling ^vliite, even to 
the sap of the alder. 

The alder when stripped of its bark is very white, but very 
soon the colour changes to reddish brown and dun. 
Is òg an Nollaig a' chiad oidhclie. 
Christmas is young the first night. 
Is olc a bhi slaodadh cait air 'earball. 
It's ill to drag a cat by the tail. 

Is olc a' bho-laoigh a' clireag, oidlich' air mlior, 'us 
oidhch' air bheag. 

The rock is a bad milch-cow, one night fertile, another 
night barren. 

Al. Is corrach gob an dubhain, 

Is raairg do 'm bo-laoigh a' chreag, 

Oidhch' air bheagan, 's oidhch' air mhoran, 

'S oidhche gun a' mhor no 'bheag. 

Uncertain is the point of the hook ; 

III for him ivhose milch-cow is the rock ; 

One night little, another plenty ; 

Some nights neither much nor little. 

Is olc a' chliath fhearna nach toir bliadhna's an ursainn. 

It's a poor alder hurdle that won't hang for a year to 
the post. 

Al. Is olc an cabar fearna nach dean ràidhl' air tigh — It's a bad 
stick of alder that won't make a rafter. 

Alder is one of the poorest kinds of timber. 

Is olc a' clireag a threigeas a h-eòin fhein. 

It's a bad rock which its own birds forsake. 

Is olc a fhreagradli tu 'n ioclidar Thròtairnis. 

Yoio wouldn't suit well in the lower end of Trotcrnish. 

Troternish (Trodda-ness) is a general name applied to the 
northern part of Skye. The climate and soil there are somewhat 
colder than in the rest of the Island, so that a lazy or delicate 
person would not do well there. 

Is olc a' ghaotli leis nach seòl cuid-eigin. 
It's an ill wind wUh lohich no one can sail. 
Al. nach seid ann an seòl fir-eigin— (Aat docsnt blow in some 
man's sail. 

It is an ill wind that blows no man to good. — Eng. 
It's an iU wund that blaws naebody guid. — Scot. 


Is olc a' muileann a ctuireas a chuid a dh 'aon taobh. 

It's a had mill that sends all its vieal one way. 

Is olc a' sgrioban nach lion a' sgròban. 

It's 'poor scraping that tvont fill the crop. 

Is olc a thig muc-saille air sobhraichean na coille. 

The fat sow is ill-fed on the primroses of the wood. 

Is olc a tliig saor sàr-bhuilleach, gobha crith-lamhach, 
agus leigh tiom-cliridheach. 

A heavy-handed joiner, a tremhling-handed smith, and 
a soft-hearted leech, do not suit. 

A good surgeon must have an eagle's eye, a lady's hand, and a 
lion's heart. — Eng. 

The use of 'thig' = fit, without a preposition, is peculiar, and 
not according to present usage. 

Is olc am bodach nacli fheairrde cailleacli eadar i 's 
an dorus. 

He's a vjretched old man that an old tvife is not the 
better of having between her and the door. 

Is olc am pàisd' nach cuir sop air dòigh. 

It's a bad child that can't arrange a wisp. 

Is olc an còcair nach imlich a mhiar. 

He's a poor cook that doesn't lick his finger. 

Sa er brytinn vestr er sjalfan sik tujlir. — It is the icorst cook that 
stints himself. — led. 

Is olc an comunn dheth 'm bi dithis diombach. 

It's bad company ivith tvhich two are displeased. 

Al. an comhradh — the colloquy; an cluich — the game; an 
gnothach — tlie business. 

Is olc an dithis nach fhoghainn do dh-aon duine. 

It's a poor pair that are no match for one. 

Is olc an fheòil nach gabh ri salann ; is miosa a' cliol- 
uinn nach gabh guth. 

It's bad meat that won't take salt; worse is the body 
that won't take warning. 

Is olc an goile nach teòth a chuid. 

It's a bad stomach that its food luon'J; warm. 

Is olc an ni a bhi falamh. 

It's a bad thing to have nothing. 

Proverbs of this liiud must have suggested ' Proverbial Philo- 
sophy '. 


Is olc an obair latha nach toir duine gu cala mil 

Ifs a had days ivorh that vjont hring a man to port 
for the night. 

Is olc an ràmli nacli iomair rudha. 

It's a had oar that loon't roto round a point. 

Is olc an t-ana-charaid an righ. 

The king is a had un-friend. 

Is olc ant-aoigli a 's misd an tigli. 

He is a had guest vjhom the house is the ivorse of. 

A kindly and hospitable sentiment. 

Is olc an t-each nach fhiacli a cliradhadh. 

He's a had horse that's not icorth shoeing. 

Is olc an t-eacli nach giùlain 'fhasair. 

It's a poor horse that can't carry his harness. 

He's a weak baist that downa bear the saiddle. — Scot. 

Al. Is don' an t-each nach giùlain a shiol — He^s a wretched horse 
that can't carry his corn. 

Superbo è quel cavallo che non si vuol portar la biada — 
He's a proud horse that won't carry his oats. — ItaL 

Is olc an teanga a 's luaithe na 'n teine. 
Bad is the tongue that's swifter than fire. 
Is olc do'n luing an uair a dh'eigheas an stiùireadair. 
It's ill for the ship ivhen the steersman sings out. 
To ' sing out ' is the duty of the man at the bow ; if he fail in 
his duty, then the ship is in great danger. 

Is olc cuid a' cheatharnaich ri 'thasgadh. 

The reaver's goods are ill to keep. 

Is olc maoin gun leasachadh. 

Bad is property that gets no addition. 

The moral is that of the Parable of the Talents. 

Is priseil a' chas air tir. 
Precious is the foot on shore. 
Loda il mar, e tienti alia terra. — Ital. 

Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of 
barren ground ! — Tempest, I. 1. 

Is righ an cam am measg nan dall. 

The hlind of an eye is king among the hlind. 

In the kingdom of blind men the one-eyed is king. — Eng. 

Am pays des aveugles les borgnes sons rois. — Fr. 


Unter den Blinclen ist der Einaugige Konig. — Germ. 
In het land der blinden is een-oog koning. — Dutch. 
En tierra de ciegos el tuerto es rey. — »S)jan. 
The one-eyed is a beauty in the country of the blind. — Arab. 
In terra di ciechi beato chi ha un occhio. — Ital. 
Is righ duine 'n a thigh fhein. 
A man is king in his ov:n house. 

Hair er heinia hverr — Every one is somebody at home. — Icel. 
An Englishman's house is his castle. This saying, singularly 
enough, is not in Mr. Hazlitt's collection. 

Is righeachd do gach duine a thoil. 
A man's icilL is his kingdom. 
My nnnd to me a kingdom is. — Byrd's Psalms. 
Lord of himself, though not of lands. — Woiton. 

Mens regnum bona possidet : 

Rex est qui mctuit nihil ; 

Rex est qui cupit nihil ; 

Hoc regnum sibi quisque dat. — Seneca. 
Is sàmhach an obair dol a dholaidh. 
Going to ruin is silent work. 
Al. Is fas a bhi dol a dholaidh. 

Is sealgair math a mharbhas gèadh, 'us corr', 'us guilb- 

He is a good sportsman vjho kills wild-goose, and heron, 
and cìiì-leiv. 

Three particularly wary birds. 

Is sean an duine a dh' fhaodas 'fhortan inuseadh. 
He is an old man that can tell his fortune. 
Is searbh a' ghlòir nach f haodar eisdeachd ; is dubh na 
mnathan ris nach b'ltear. 

Harsh is tlce praise that cannot he listened to; dark 
are the dames that none can fiirt with. 
Is searbh clàrsair an aon-phuirt. 
Harsh is the harper of one tune. 
Al. piobair' an aon phuirt, the j)iper, d-c. 
Still harping on my daughter. — Hamlet, II., 2. 

Is seasgair sàmhach a' chearc air a h-iris fli(iin. 
The hen is snug and quiet on her own roost. 
Is seile air do bhrat fhein sin. 
That is spitting on your ov:n mantle. 
Wie tegen wind spu\vt,maakt zijn baard vuil — mio spits againtt 
Hie windjyles his heard. — Dutch. 


Quien al ci^^lo escupe, en la cara le cae — JVlco spits above him 
will get it 071 his face. — Span. 

Is sgeul eile sin. That's another story. 

Is sleamhain an laogh a dh'imliclieas a mliàtliair. 

Smooth is the calf that his mother licks. 

Is sleamhain leac dorus an tigli-mhoir. 

Slippery is the Jiag -stone of the viansion-house door. 

There's a sliddeiy stane at the ha' door. — Scot. 

Ha' binks (benches) are sliddery. — Do. 

Is sleamhuin leac dorus tigh moir. — Ir. 

John Morrison of Bragar is said to have illustrated this sa3ring 
once in a lively manner, by taking some sand out of his pocket 
at the door of Brahan Castle, and carefully sprinkling it on the 
flagstones. Being asked what he meant, he quoted the above 

Is soilleir cù dubli air liana bhàin ; 
Is soilleir cù ban air liana dhuibli ; 
Na 'm bithinn ri fiadhach nam beann, 
B' e 'n CÙ riabliach mo roghainn. 
The bright field shows the sahle hound ; 
The white is seen on dusky ground ; 
Were I chasing the deer in forest free, 
The hrindled hound my choice should he. 

Is soilleir mir a bonnacli slàn. 
Bit from a ivhole cake is soon seen. 

Is soimeach fear-fearainn, is sona fear-ceairde. 
Easy lives the man of land, happy is the tradesman. 
This is modern. 

Is sona a chailleach a thig ri linn an fhaotliachaidh. 
Lucky is the old xoife that comes at the turn of the 

She would get credit for the cure. 

Is sona am fear a tbig an ceann a cliodacli. 

He is lucky who comes in time for his share. 

Is sona gack cuid an comaidh ; is mairg a cliromadh 
'n a aonar. 

Happy is that which is shared ; pity him %vho fares 

Lit. who stoops, or bends. A good social sentiment. 


Is stuama duine làimli ri 'chuid. 

A man is moderate near whafs his own. 

Is suarach an càirdeas a dh' flieuraas a slnor cheannach. 

It's poor friendship that must be constantly hougJd, 

Is suarach uisge tetli a shireadli fo chloich fhuair. 

It's silly to seek hot water under a cold stone. 

To seik liet water beneith cauld ice, 

Surely it is a greit folie ; 

I have asked grace at a graceless face, 

But there is iiane for my men and me ! 

— Ballad of Johnie Amistrang. 

Is tanm-boileach an t-sealg, is farmadach an t-iasgach. 

Hunting is distracting, fishing is envious. 

Is tearc each a dhiùltas a mhuing. 

Seldom will a horse refuse his mane. 

Is tearc teanga mhin gun ghath air a cùl. 

Seldom is smooth tongue withoitt sting behind. 

Is anamh bhios teangaidh mhilis gan gath ann a bun. — Ir. 

Belle parole, ma guarda la borsa. —Ital. 

Is teotha fuil na burn. 
Blood is hotter than waU r. 
Al. Is tighe — is thicker. 
Is til)he fuil nù uisge. — Tr. 
Ta fuill ny s chee na ushtey. — Manx. 
Blood is thicker than water. — Eng., Scot. 
Blut ist dicker als Wasser. — Germ. 

The Gaelic version is the better. The Spanish 'La sangre sin 
fuego hierve,' Blood boils without fire, is similar, but not so good. 

Is tiughaid' am brat a dhùbladh. 
The mantle is tJie thicker of being doubled. 
Is teòide (v:armer) do 'n m-brat a dhubladh. — Ir. 
Applied to the marriage of relatives. Here the Irish versicju 
is better. 

Is toigh le bo mhaol bo mhaol eile. 

A hornless cow likes another without liorns, 

Al. bo sgàirdeach. 

Is toigh learn aran a' bhodaich, ach cha toigh learn 
anail a' bhodaich. 

/ like the old mans bread, but nnt his breath. 

Most proverbs have been composed by men ; this seems to be 
an exception, and not a pleasant one. 


Is toigli leis an flieannaig a h-isean garracli gorm. 

The croio likes her greedy blue chick. 

Is treasa da chailleach lag na aon chailleach làidir. 

Two weak old toowen are stronger than one stro7ig one. 

Is treasa deadli-àrach na meatli-ghalar. 

Good nurture overeomes disease. 

Is treasa Dia na Doideag ; is treasa Doideag na Mac- 

God is stronger than Doideag ; Doideag is stronger 
than MacLean. 

Doideag was a witch, at one time much feared in the island of 
Mull. She was peculiarly dreaded for her power in raising storms. 
MacLean of Duart, the Chief of that great Clan, was of course 
paramount in Mull. See àlacLcod's Rem. of a Highl. Parish (2à 
ed.), p. 247. 

Is treasa dithis 's an àtlia gun 'bhi fada bho cheile. 
Two crossing the ford are best near each other. 

Is treasa slat na cuaille. 
A rod is stronger than a cluh. 

This is perhaps a hyperbolical way of saying that due chastise- 
ment is more effectual than extreme measures. 

Is treasa Tuath na Tigliearna. 

Tenantry are stronger than Laird. 

Stroshey yn Theay na yn Chiarn. — Manx. 

This is a remarkable saying, to have originated among a race 
distinguished by their subordination and fidelity to their natural 
chiefs and lords. It belongs to a time when the rights of the Clan 
or Tenantry were real, and believed in by themselves. 

Is treun fear an eòlais. 

The man that knoivs is j)owerfui. 

Knowledge is power. — Bacon. 

Is trian siiiridhe samhladh. 

To be ' evened ' is a third of courtship. 

The Scotch phrase 'even,' to couple a man and woman in con- 
versation as a likely match, is the only word that expresses here 
the meaning of 'samhladh'. 

Is trie a bha am beag treubliach. 
The little are often brave. 
Is trie a bha beag beag an toirt. 
TJie little is often of little account. 


Is trie a bha bean saoir gun cliuigeil, 's bean griasaiclie 
gun bhròig. 

A car^jcnter's wife has often wanted a distaff, and a 
shoemakers wife shoes. 

Is trio a bha l:)reagh air an fhèHÌ, mosach'n a thigh fhdin. 

Fine at the fair may he mean at the fireside. 

Is trie a bha claidheamh fada 'an làimh gealtair'. 

A long sword has often been in a coward's hand. 

Is trie a bha dichioll air dheireadh. 

Diligence has often been behind. 

And luck in front. 

Per con. Cha bhi dichioll air dheireadh. 

Is trie a bha fortan air luid, 's a fhuair trusdar bean. 
Slatterns have often had luck, and dirty fellows got wives. 
See 'Gheabh foighidinn'. 
Is trie a bha gaoid 'an ubhal bòidheach. 
Often has flaw been in a fair apple. 
Is trie a bha mor mi-sheadhail. 
The big is often stupid. 

Giants are always so represented in the old stories. 
Is trie a bha 'n galar a bh' air Aodh air an fhear a 
bha ri 'thaobh. 

Hugh's neighhour has often had the same disease as he. 
This is true both physically and morally. 

Is trie a bha na h-aimhnichean a' dèabhadh, 'us na 
h-uillt a' ruith. 

The rivers are often dry, while the brooks are running. 

Before a flood. 

Is trie a bha na loingis mhor a' erionadh, 's na h-amair- 
mhùin a' seòladh. 

Often have large ships been rotting, vjhile the little pots 
are floating. 

A I. Na loingis mhor a' dol fo 'u chuan, 's na h-amair-fhuail a' 

Is trie a bha slioehd na seilge air seaehran. 
2'Iie hunting tribe has often been at fault. 
Is trie a bha slaodaire beairteaeh, 'us caonnag air duine 

Many a lout is localthy, and clever man hard put-to. 


Is trie a bha sonas air bial mor. 

Large, mouth is often lucky. 

Muckle-mou'd folk has aye haj) to their meat. — ^cot. 

Is trie a bha suaib-elmtbaich air leanabh bodaieh. 
An old TYian's child has often had a touch of madness. 

Is trie a bha urrainn gun ni, agus ni gun urrainn. 

The worthy has often lacked means, and means been 
enjoyed without merit. 

Is trie a bheothaich srad bheag teine mor. 

A small sjmrk has often kindled a great fre. 

Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth ! — St. James. 

Parvula scintilla saepe magnum suscitavit incendium. — Lat. 

A single spark can burn the whole quarter. — Arab. 

Piccola favilla accende gran fuoco. — Ital. 

Von einem Funken kommt ein grosses Feuer. — Germ. 

A small spark makes a great fire. — Eng. 

A wee spark maks muckle wark. — Scot. 

Is trie a ehaidh an fheala-dhà gu feala-rireamli. 
Joke has often come to earnest. 
Mows may come to earnest. — Scot. 

Is trie a chaillear fear na mor-mhisnicb. 
Daring often leads to death. 

'S mie ve daaney, ach s'olk ve ro ghaaney — It is good to be bold, 
but bad to be too bold. — Manx. 

Be bold, but not too bold. — Eng. 

Is trie a chinn an eneadacb, 's a dh' fhalbb an sodar- 

Tlie delicate often survive, while the vigorous go. 

Is trie a cbinn fuigbeall foehaid, 's a mbeath fuigheall 

The refuse of mockery has often wa-xed, and that of 
envy waned. 

Macintosh's rendering is, ' Oft has the object of scorn arrived 
at honour, and that of envy fallen into contempt'. 

Is trie a fhuair 'ole an airidh' car. 
* Poor fellow ' has often heen crossed. 
Lit. ' lU-deserved' has often got a turn. 

Is trie a fhuair fear na roghainn diù. 

The man with choice has often got the worse. 


Is trie a fliuair gimna urchair-iasaid. 

A gun has often got a loan-shot. 

It was sometimes believed that an unloaded gim miglit go off 
notwithstanding, and kill, if incautiously handled -an exagge- 
ration of the proper horror of a reckless handling of fire-arms. 

Is trie a mlieall e slieis, an neach a gheall a bhi tairis 

Often has one failed his fellow, v:ho jjromised to he true 
to him. 

Is trie is daoire 'chomain na 'n dubh-cheannach. 

A favour often costs more than what's hard-bought 

Spesso i doni sono danni — G^ifts are often losses. — Ital. 

Is trie a thainig trod mor a aobhar beag. 
0/ien has great quctrrel sprung from little cause. 

Is trie a thug fear na ciad chèilidh fìor bharail. 

The man of first visit has often judged trxdy. 

Gloggt es gestz augat — Siiar^ (g^^gj is the eye of a guest. — lal. 

Is trie leis an droch-sgeul a blii fior. 
Bad news is often true. 

Is trie nach tig ath-sgeul air droch-sgeul. 
Ill news is not often contradicted. 

Is trie nach robh aeh beagan sneachd air tigh a 

TJiere lias often been but little snow on the roof of live 

He would probably be out at night, and have a fire kept on 
while honest people were in bed, which would melt the snow in 
the thatch. 

Is trom air tigh gun nàire. 
A sliamelcss house lias its burden. 
Is trom an eat ri 'shìor-ghiùlan. 
The cat is heavy if carried constantly. 
Children are fond of carrying cats ; but even a grown-up 
person would tire in time of alight burden. 

Is trom an eire an t-aineolas. 
Ignorance is a heavy burdeii. 

At. Is cruaidh cuing an aineolaich — Hard is the yoke of iloe 

Is trom an t-uallach aineolas. — Ir. 


Is trorti an iorram 's an t-iomradb, 

'Tis heavy to chant and roiv. 

See 'Cha 'n urraiim domh 'h-èiglieacli'. 

Is trom an uallach an aois. Age is a heavy load. 

Grave senectus est hominibus pondus. — Lat. 

Is trom buiir an t-sean laoich. 

Heavy is the old herds blotv. 

See ' Is fhurasda biiill'" '. 

Is trom ditliis air aon duine. 

Tiuo to one are heavy odds. 

See 'Cothrom'. 

Is trom dithis air an aon mhèis, gun ac' ach an t-aon 

Two are heavy on one dish, lohen there is hut one ration. 

Is trom eallach gun iris. 

Heavy is the load loithout a rope to hold hy. 

None of the Dictionaries give this meaning of the word ' iris,' 
which in the Hebrides is the common term for the rope with 
which a creel or a bundle of any kind is carried. 

Is trom geum bo air a h-aineol. 

Heavy is the coio's low in a strange fold. 

Is àrd gèum bò air a h-aineòlas. — Ir. 

Is trom na tubaistean air na slibistean. 

Mishaps many fcdl on slovens. 

Is trom snithe air tigh gun tubhadh. 

Rain-drops come heavy on a house unthatched. 

Is truagh a' bhantrach a' pbiob. 

Tlie bagpipe is a miserable widoiv. 

Pipers have generally been very improvident. 

Is truagh nach bu cheaird sinii gu leir an diugh. 

'jT-is a pity we were not all tinkers to-day. 

Said by Alexander MacDonell, son of Colla Ciotach (Colkitto), 
after having received great help in a fight from an Atholl tinker 
named Stewart. 

Is truime 'clinead na 'n eallach. 

The groan is heavier than the load. 

Is tu fhein a thòisich an toiseach, mar 'thuirt an 
t-amadan ris an tarbh. 

You began it yourself, as the fool said to the btdl. 

The story is that a fool was passing through a field where a 


bull was pastmrinp, anrl hearing him growling, began to mimic 
him, which naturally excited the bull to give him chase, bellowing 
furiously. The fool was clever enough to get over a dyke just in 
time, and then, safe behind the wall, he addressed the bull as 
above. The Lowland version, which I have heard told in Gal- 
loway of a baronet, is, ' Boo to yirsel' ! Who begoo'd it Ì ' 

Is tu thilg a' clilach air a' chaisteal ! 
What a stone you threw at the castle ! 
Said ironically, when some small person hits his superior. 
Is uaine fiar na faiclie a 's fàsaiche. 
Green is the grass of the least trodden field. 
Is uaisle toll na tutliag. 
Hole is genteeler than jiatch. 

Per con. Is mios' an cliid na 'n toll — The clout is worse than 
the hole. See ' Is fhearr breid '. 

Is nasal a bhi 'n ad shuidhe, 'n ad ruith. 
It's noble to be sitting and running. 
Said of driving in a carriage. 

Is uasal mac an an-uasail an tir nam mèirleacli ; is 
an-nasal mac an uasail, mur bi e treubhach. 

The loidy-born is a gentleman among thieves; the 
gentleman's son is no gentleman, if he he not brave. 

A very characteristic sentiment. 

Is ùracliadh atharrachadh. 

Change is refreshing. 

Caghlaa obbyr aash — Change of rccrh is ease. — Manx. 

Isean deiridh linne, cinnidh e no tlieid e dholaidh. 

The last chieken of a brood comes to either grief or good. 

In the case of the more prolific lower animals, the last of a 
brood or litter is generally the weakest. It is not so, however, 
with the youngest offspring of the higher animals, especially of 
human beings. But the yoimgest is sometimes spoiled by petting. 

Ith do leòr, 's na pòc dad. 

Eat your fill, and iwchd nothing. 

Eat yir fill, but pouch nane, is gairdener's law. — Scot. 

Ith na 's luglia, 's ceannaich e. 

Eat less, and buy it. 

Lay yir wame to yir ^vinnin'. — Scot. 

Itheadh na goibhre aii- an nathair. 

TJie goafs eating of the serpent. 

It is believed, in some parts of the Highlands, that goats eat 


serpents, and that they eat them tail foremost, first stamping on 
the head. It is said that while the goat is thus engaged, it utters 
a querulous noise, not liking the wriggling of the adder. A verse 
in reference to this is, 

Cleas na goibhre 'g ith' na nathrach, 

'G a sior-itheadh, 's a' sior-thalach. 

The goat's trick with the serpent, 

Eating away, and still complaining. 
Be this as it may, it is positively affirmed by pei-sons of experience, 
that serpents disappear where goats pasture. 

Itlieadh nan con air a' bhlianaich. 
The dogs' eating of the had flesh. 
For want of any better. 

Itheam, òlam, caidileam. 
Let me eat, let me drinh, let me sleep. 
Quite a Carlylean saying, supposed to be uttered by one of the 
* fruges consumere nati '. 

Ithear cruach 'n a breacagan. 
A stack can he eaten in cakes. 

Ithear na cruachan mora, 's nitear leis na cruachan 

The little stacks will do when the hig ones are eaten. 
By that time the new corn will be nearly ripe. 

Ithiclh a cheann a chasan dheth. 
His head will eat his feet off. 

This is like the common saying about an idle horse eating his 
head off. It might refer also to human beings. 

Là a' bhlàir 's math na càirdean. 
Friends are good on the day of battle. 
La air mhisg, 's la air uisge. 
To-day drunk, to-morrow on water. 
La er meshtey, as la er ushtey. — Manx. 

La buain an lin. The day of lint-reafing, 
Nevermas, lint being never cut, but plucked up. 

La buidhe Bealltainu. 
Yellow May-Day. 

La Fheill-Brighde bàine, blieir na cait an connadh 

On fair St. Brides day the cats vnll briny home the 

Another saying, apparently better founded, associates this with 
St. Patrick's day, about which time (17th March) the weather la 
generally dry, compared with Candlemas. 

The Jklaux ' Laa '1 Breeshy bane ' corresponds with the above. 

La Fheill-Brighde thig an ribhinn as an toll; cha 
bhean mise dha'n ribhinn, 's cha bhean an ribhinn riùm. 
On St. Bride's day tlte nyvrph will come out of the hole: 
I won't touch the nymi^h, and she luont touch me. 
Al. Seachdain roimh Fheill-Brighde, 
Thig nigh'n lomhair as an tom ; 
Cha bhi raise ri nigh'n lomhair, 
'S cha mho 'bhios nigh'n lomhair rivim. 
A week before St. Bride's Day Ivor's daughter will come out of the 
knoll; I won't molest her, and she won't hurt me. 

The ' ribhinn ' and ' nigh'n lomhair ' are both euphemistic or 
deprecatory names for the adder ; the one known in Skye, the 
other in Eannoch. A lady called ' Nighean lomhair,' wife of 
John M'Kenzie, constable of Eilean-Donnain Castle, was suspected 
of having poisoned there (1550) John Glassich of Gairloch, who 
claimed the Kintail estates. This may possibly have given rise 
to the application of her name to the serpent. Another version is 
' an niomhair,' the venomous one. 


La riieill-Eoin a 's t-Samhradli, tlieid a' cluibhag gu 
'tigh Geamhraidh. 

On St. John's day in Sicììnner, the cuckoo goes to her 
winter home. 

St. John's day, 24tli June. 

La Fheill-Eòin, their iad aigliean ris na gamlma. 

On St. John's day they call the stirks heifers. 

St. John's day is ordinarily called Feill-Eathain, as the M'Leans 
are called Clann-Ill-Eatlmin, a mere phonetic spelling of Eòin, or 
Iain, John, or Ian. 

La Fheill Math-Cheasaig bidli gach easgann torrach. 

On St. Kessoek's day, every eel is pregnant. 

St. Kessock's day is 21st March. Fairs named after this saint 
are still held at Callander and at Cumbrae, on or about that 
date. Kessock Ferry at Inverness is also named after him. 

In the MS. Collection of Ewen MacDiarmid, mentioned in 
the Preface, of which the present editor has had the benetit, the 
word 'easan,' little waterfall, is substituted for 'easgann'. This is 
intelligible, though the use of the word ' torrach ' as applied to 
water is anomalous. The reference to eels is more singular, that 
fish being of ill-repute in the Highlands. The fresh-water eel, in 
particular, is never eaten in Scotland, though at one time it ap- 
pears to have been largely used as an article of diet. See Innes's 
Scotland in the Mid. Ages, p. 124. I have been unable to get any 
scientific information as to the spawning time of eels. 

La Luain. The moon-day. 

Another version of Nevermas, or the Greek Kalends. 

La sheaclmaidh na bliadlina. 

The day of the year to be avoided. 

Armstrong (Diet.) says this term was applied to the 3rd of 
May ; others say the 2nd, others the 5th. It was held unlucky 
to )3egin any important work, and unpardonable to commit any 
crime, on that day ; for the extraordinary reason that on that day 
the fallen angels were believed to have been expelled from Heaven. 

Laideann aig na gabliraibli, tuigeim ged nach labhraim. 

Goat-Latin I can understand, hut speak not. 

Al. aig na gadhraibh — Dog- Latin. 

Said of people who pretend to know and say more than the 
hearer vmderstands. It may possiljly have been first applied to 

Laidhe fada air taobh tighe duin' eile. 

Lyiiig long in another mans house. 

Laidhe leis an t-sùU, 'us falbhan leis a' ghlùn. 

Lie still with a(^sore)eye,and move about ivitha(sore)knee. 


Laidhidh duLh air gach dath, ach cha laidh dath air 

Blcuk ivill lie on any colour, hut none other will lie on 

See ' Cha chaochail '. It appears now that this old belief is 
not correct, and that black will take more than one other dye, 
such as brown and green. 

Lair chaol-chasach agus each bonn-chasach. 
A slender-legged mare, and a stout-legged horse. 

Làmh ann an earball a' gliill. 
Holdiiig the pledge by the tail. 

Làmh 'an ceann bo maoile. 
Holding a hornless cow by the head. 

Làmh d' athar 's do sheanar ! 

By the hand of your father and grandfather I 

Properly, 'Airlàmh,' &c. Martin in his Western Islands {2il 
Ed., p. 120), says this form of adjuration was considered very 
insulting. It would be more correct to say that it was an insult 
to be thought capable of disregarding it. 

Another form, ' Làmh d' athar 's do sheanar ort ! ' is used as a 
threat ; and a story is told of its application by a blacksmith, who 
strongly suspected that his wife's baby was a changeling, and 
satisfactorily proved it. He came in one day exclaiming, 'An 
sithean ri 'theine !' The Fairy is on fire ! on which the little imp, 
thrown off his guard, cried out, ' m' òrd 's m' innean ! ' my 
hammer and anvil ! The smith now saw that the creature was 
not only a Fairj', but a fellow-craftsman ; and taking him out to 
the smithy, placed him on the anvil, and swinging his big hammer, 
said, ' Goblia mi fhein, gobha m' athair, gobha mo sheanair ; 's 
làmh d' athar 's do sheanar ort ! an t-òrd mor !' — Smith am I, 
smith was my father, smith my grandfather ; thy father's and grand- 
father's hand on thee ! the big hammer ! Before the hammer could 
descend the little sprite vanished, and when the smith returned 
home, he found his own true and pretty child sitting cosily at 
the fireside ! 

Apparently another version of this saying is, ' Làmh a thart, 
tart do sheanar dhut !' 

Làmh fhad', agus cead a sineadh. 
A long arm, and leave to stretch it. 

Lamhan leinibh, agus goile seann-duiue. 

The hands of a child, and an old man's stomach. 


Làn beoil de bhiadh, 'us làn baile de nàire. 

A mouthful of meat, and a town-{ov farm- )ful of shame. 

Làn duirn de shògh, agus Ian baile de nàire. — Ir. 

A mouthfu' o' meat may be a tounfu' o' shame. — Scot. 

Supposed to allude to a stolen egg. 

Laogli buabhall-an-doiuis. 

The calf of the door-stall. 

Likely to be first attended tc. 

Lasair crèathaich 'us èigheach caillicli. 

Brushwood flame, and the cry of an old woman. 

Botb easily excited, and soon over. 

Le muinneal na cuing a bhristeadh bheir thu misneacli 
do flaear na h-airce. 

Breaking the neck of his yoke will encourage the man 
in distress. 

Leac 'us ùir eadar sinn ! 

Stone and earth divide us ! 

Said of those whom one would wish to be separate from, even 
in the grave. 

Leagbaidh a' cbòir 'am bial an anfhainn. 

Justice melts in the mouth of the feeble. 

Leagbaidh am bròn an t-anam bocbd. 

Sorrow melts the miserable. 

Lean gu dlùtb ri cliù do sbinnsre. 

Folloiu close the fame of your fathers. 

This is supposed to be Ossianic, — said by Fingal to Oscar. 

Leanaidb blianacb ris na sràbbain. 

Bad flesh sticks to straws. 

Applied, says Macintosh, to mean or worthless people who 
cleave to each other. 

Al. Leanaidh a' bhi ris a' bhòrd, 's an sop ris an sgait — The 
sap will stick to the wood, and the straw to the skate. 

Leatban ri leatban, 'us caol ri caol. 

Broad to broad, and small to small. 

Caol le caol, agus leathan le leathan. — Ir. 

This is an old rule of Gaelic orthography, devised by Irish 
grammarians, and in modern times upheld by some as of absolute 
authority, by others denounced as inconvenient and \'icious. 
The broad vowels are a, o, u, the slender e, i, and the rule is, that 
where a consonant intervenes, a broad or narrow vowel must be 
followed by one of the same kind ; e.g., ' leathan,' instead of 


' Teathin,' whicli would better represent our pronunciation ; while 
the comparative degree of the same word is written, not ' leathne' 
nor ' leithna,' but ' leithne '. For an explanation and discussion 
of this rule, see Stewart's Gaelic Grammar, Part I., sect. 3 ; and 
for citation of the authorities on both sides, see Bourke's Irish 
Grammar, pp. 16-20. 

Leig an t-earball leis a' chraicionn. 

Let the tail go with the hide. 

Shegin goaill ny eairkyn marish y shea (seiche) — The horns 
must be taken with the hide. — Manx. 

Let the tail follow the skin. Let the horns gang wi' the hide. 

Leig do cheann far am faigh thu 's a mhaduinn e. 

Lay your head lohere you'll find it in the morninj. 

Leig fad na teadhrach leis. 

Let him have his tether's lenrjih. 

Give him rope enough. 

Leig troimh na meòir e. 

Let it through the fingers. 

Leigear cudthrom na slait air an sgòd. 

Tlie weight of the yard will he on the sheet. 

Leigheas air leth, losgadh. 

Burning is a sirigular cure. 

Whether this refers to the actual cautery, or to accidental 
burning, may be left to conjecture. 

Leigheas air sùilean goirt. 

A cure for sore eyes. 

Lèintean farsainn do na leanban òga. 

Wide shirts to young hairns. 

BarniS vex, en brokin ekki — Bairns wax, but the breehs donH. — 

The moral significance of this, in favour of ù'eedom of thought 
to new generations, is remarkable. 

Leisgeul arain gu ith' ime. 

The exctise of hread for eating hviter. 

Leisgenl duine 's e air dram. 

The excuse of a tipsy man. 

Leth na Galldachd ort ! 

Llalf the Loviands he upon thee ! 

At. dhut — to tiue. 


ÌAiim. an gàradh far an Isl' e. 

Leap the dyke tvlicre it is loiocst. 

Every ane loups the dyke where it's laighest. — Scot. 

Where the hedge is lowest, men may soonest over. — Eng. 

Waar de hegge het laagste is, wil elk er over. — Dutch. 

Ou la haie est plus basse on saute dessus. — Fr. 

Leum chasa tioram. A dry foot jump. 
Lianar beam mhor le clachan beaga. 
Great gaps may be filled with small stones 

Lianar long le sligean. 

A ship may he loaded with shells. 

Lionn-dubh air mo cliridhe. Melancholy on my heart. 

Lit. Black humour. 

Loisgidh sinu na cruachan mora, 's foglmaidh na cru- 
aclian beaga. 

We shall hum the hig stacks, and the little ones will 

This refers to peat-stacks. 

Lon tuathair, 'us sguabach dheisear. 
Meadow facing north, corn facing south. 
The best exposure for each crop. 

Losgadh do chridhe ort ! Heart-hurning to thee ! 

Losgadh sona, 'us losgadh dona. 

Lucky hurning and unlucky hurning. 

Luath no mall g'an tig am Màigh, tliig a' chubhag. 

Late or early as May comes, so comes the cuckoo. 

Luathas a 's fhaisge air a' mhaille. 

Speed that's nearest to slowness. 

Raw haste, half sister to delay. — Tennyson. 

Lùb am faillean, 's cba 'n artlaich a' chraobh ort. 
Bend the twig, and the tree won't defy you. 

Luclid a' chrùin 'dol thun a cheapa, 's luchd a clieapa 
thun a' chrùin. 

Crowned heads go to the sod, and tillers of the soil to 

See I. Saiì., ii. 7, 8 ; and Luke, i. 52. 

Luchd nan casag. The long -coated folk. 


Ludh an spioraid, 'dol timchioll na drochaid. 

Tlie tvay of the ghost, going round the In^idge. 

Macintosli's translation of this saying, which Armstrong also 
gives, is, 'Go about the bridge as the ghost did'. The super- 
stition here refeiTed to is illustrated in Tarn o' Shanter, where 
the infernal pursuers have no power to go beyond the key- 
stone of the bridge. Another saying is, ' Thainig mi niu'n cuairt, 
cleas a bhòchdain ' — I came round about, the (jhost's trick ; in refer- 
ence to which the following story is told. A certain man was 
haunted by a ghost, which met him wherever he went, so that he 
became known in the country-side as ' Dùnull Mot a' bhùchdain ' 
— Big Donald of the ghost. Weary of his life, he went away to 
America, hoping there to be rid of his tormentor — but in vain. 
The very night of his arrival, the first person he met in the streets 
was his old friend. He cried out in amazement, ' Ciamar a thainig 
thus' 'an seo ?' — Hov: did you come here ? ' Thainig mi mu'n cuairt,' 
said the imperturbable ghost. Donald in disgust returned home. 

Ludh an t-sneaclida — 'tigliinn gun sireadh, gun iar- 

The vxvy of the snow, coming unsovght, smashed. 

Al. Mar a thainig a' ghaillionn a's t-Fhoghar, gun sireadh, &c. 

As the storm came in Autumn, unsought, &c. 

Thig se gan iarraidh, mur thig a do-aimsir. — Ir. 

Luibli Chaluim-Chille, gun sireadh gun iarraidh, 's a 
dheòin Dia cha bhasaich mi 'nochd. 

St. Columhas woi't, unsought, unasked, mid please God, 
I won't die to-night. 

Said by children on unexpectedly finding this flower, called 
in English St. John's wort. 

Lus Phàra lia, cuiridh e 'ghoimh as a' chnùimh. 
Grey St. Patrick'' s wort (grundsel) tvill drive i)ain from 
the hone 


Ma blieir thu Muile dhiom, clia toir tliu muir 'us 
tir dliiom. 

Yoic may take Mull from me, hut you can't take sea 
and land from me. 

Ma blieir tliusa dhomhsa dealg fhraoicli, gun dliath 
dhubh, gun ghaoid, bheir mise dliutsa buaile de chrodh 
geal maol. 

If you give me a heather pin xvithout black or flaw in 
it, Til give you a fold of white hornless cows. 

Ma bhios taod agad, gheabh thu each. 
If you have a halter, you'll get a horse. 

Ma bhristeas bun-feann, bidh fios aig do cheann, co 
dhorchaich an toll. 

If the tail breaks, your head tvill knoiv wIlo darkened 
the hole. 

The story is that two men went to a wolfs den, when wolves 
still flourished in Scotland, for the purpose of carrying off the 
whelps. The den was in a cairn with a narrow entrance, 
through which one of the men crept in while the other stood on 
guard outside. Presently the yelping of the young ones called 
their mother to the rescue, and she bolted past the man outside, 
who was dexterous enough, however, to seize her by the tail 
while she v.'as disappearing. So they stood, the she-wolf blocking 
the entrance and darkening the den, while the man outside held 
on like grim death. The man within finding the light suddenly 
obscured, called out to his companion, ' What's that darkening 
the hole ' Ì To which tlie reply was made as above. See Camp- 
bell's W. H. T., Vol. I., 273, for a Sutherland version of this story. 

Ma bhuaileas tu cù no balach, buail gu math e. 
If you strike a dog or a cloivn, hit him ivell. 
See ' Balach '. 

Ma chaidh i do 'n allt, cha b' ann le clùd nan soith- 

If she went to the burn, it was not ivith the dish-clout. 


Ma 01111111(111 si clrnii a srotha, ni leis a clis-cleàd. — Tr. 

In a note on this in 2iid Ed. of Macintosh, it is said to be used 
as an apology for a woman's going astray with a gentleman. Mr. 
MacAdam in his note on the Ulster vei-sion, says it is applied to 
such women, when they make a good marriage unexpectedly. 

Ma cheannaicheas tu feòil, ceannaich feòil laoigh, 's 
ma cheannaicheas tu iasg, ceannaich iasg sgait. 

If you huy meat, buy veal, and if you buy fish, buy 

This is said to mean that you will get a good bargain in weight, 
as the bone in veal is soft, and that of skate is eatable. 

Al. Ma tha iasg a dhith orni, cha 'n iasg leani sgat — If I want 
fjsh, skate is no fish to me. 

The Highland prejudices against certain meat and fish are 
sometimes very absurd. The skate is most unjustly undervalued 
by the natives of the western coasts of Scotland. 

Ma cheannaicheas tu rud air nach 'eil feum agad, 's 
èudar dhut 'an ùine ghoirid do ghoireas a reic. 

If you buy what you don't need, you'll soon have to sell 
what you do need. 

Ma chuireas tu do lamh 'am bial a' mhadaidh, feum- 
adh tu 'toirt as mar a dh' fhaodas tu. 

If you put your hand in the hound's mouth, you must 
take it oiit as best you can. 

Ma chumas tu do dhubhan fliuch 'an còmhnaidh, 

gheabh thu iasg uair-eigin. 

If you keep your hook always vM, you'll get a fish some 


Ma dh' tìr'eas dut a bhi air d' aineol, 
Na cuir earbs' 'an còmhradh banail ; 
Mar a 's fhaide ni thu 'n leanail, 
'S aun a 's mo a theid do mhealladh. 
If you chance on foreign parts. 
Do not trust in female talk; 
The longer after them you follov), 
The more you'll be cheated hollow. 

Ma dh' fhadaidh thu 'n teine 'n ad uchd, altrum e, ge 
duilich leat. 

If you kindled the fire in your breast, nurse it, though 
you like it not. 


Ma dh'fhalbh an t-ian, faodaidh an nead a dhol 'n a 

If the hird he Jlown, the nest may hum. 

Ma dh'iunseas duine na's leir dha, innsidh e na's nàr 
dha. • 

If a man tell all lie sees, he'll tell ivliat ivill shame him. 

Quien acecha por agujero, ve su duelo — Wlio peeps through a 
hole will discover his dole. — /Span- 
Ma gheabh duin' idir rud, 's e firionnach falbhaiteach. 

If anyhody can get anything, it's the man that keeps 

Ma mharbhas tu beatbach Dihaoine, bidh ruith na 
b-Aoin' ort am feasda. 

If you kill a beast on Friday, the Friday fate ivill follow 
you for ever. 

Ma ni thu piobaireacbd do Mbac-'IUe-Cbalum, ni 
tbii j^iiobaireachd dbòmbsa. 

If you pipe to MacLeod of Raasay, yoti will pipe to me. 

This is apparently a Skye saying, but its origin has not been 

Ma ruitbeas an sionnacb 'am broilleacb a' gbadhair, co 
aig' 'tba 'cboire ? 

If the fox rush into the hound's embrace, who is to 
blame ? 

Ma 's àill leat a bbi buan, gabh deoch gu luath an 
deigb an uibbe. 

If you u'ish to live long, drink quickly after an egg. 

After an egg drink as much as after an ox. — Eng. 

Ma 's beag leat e, cratb sonas air. 

If you deem it little, shake luck on it. 

Ma 's beag mo cbas, cha mbò mo cbuaran. 
If small my foot, my sock is no bigger. 
Ma 's bonnacb brist' e, is bonnach itht' e, 
A broken bannock is as good as eaten. 
See ' Cha bhi bail '. 

Ma 's briag bbuam e, is briag b-ugam e. 
If it be a lie from me, its a lie to me. 
This is a favourite expression, when one has something to tell 
which is not well vouched. 



Ma 's ceòl fidileireachd, tlia gu leòir againn deth. 

If fiddling he music, we have enough of it. 

This was said by the famous harper, Eory Morrison (See App. 
II.), after having had to endure tlie performance of all his favourite 
airs by a fiddler, whose instrument he naturally looked on as a 
contemptible squeaking thing. ' Fidileireachd ' expresses more 
contempt than the ordinary ' fidhleireachd '. 

Ma 's dubh, ma 's odhar, ma 's donn, is toigli leis a' 
ghobhair a meann. 

Be it hlack, or dun, or brown, the goat loves her hid. 

JIa 's dubh, ma 's odhar, nà donn, is da meannan fèin bheir a 
gabhar a fonn. — Ir. 

Ma 's dviine 'tlia n seo, 's aotrom e, mu'n dubliairt an 

If this he human, its light, as the water-horse said. 

The story is that the water-horse came in the shape of a young 
man (riochd fieimjaich) out of his native element, and sat down 
beside a girl who was herding cattle on the banks of the loch. 
After some pleasant conversation, he laid his head in her lap, in a 
fashion not unusual in old times, and fell asleep. She began to 
examine his head, and to her alarm, found that his hair was full 
of sand and mud. Slie at once knew that it was none other than 
the ' Each-Uisge,' who would certainly conclude his attentions by 
carrying her on his back into the depths of the loch. She accord- 
ingly proceeded, as dexterously as she could, to get rid of her 
skirt, leaving it under the head of the monster. No sooner did 
he awaken than he jumped up and shook the skirt, crying out 
several times, ' Ma's duine 'tha 'n seo,' &c., then rushed down the 
brae, and plunged into the lake. 

Ma 's fearail thii, na biodh gruaim ort. 
If you are manly, don't he gloomy. 
A very good sentiment. 

Ma 's fliiach an teaclidaire, 's fhiacli an gnothacli. 

If the messenger he worthy, the business is. 

Al. Ma 's fiù an gille, 's fiii an gnothacli. 

The embassy is judged of by the quality of the ambassador. 

Ma 's lite dhut i, cha mlior leat i. 

If a s jiorridge to you, it's not much to you. 

This is one of the few .specimens of Gaelic puns, and a fair one. 
A young man in Lochaber went to woo a young girl called Mor, 
Marion. The father entertained him hospitably, and after dinner 
proposed a smoke, saying, 'Gabhaidh sinn a nis am biadh a 
ghabhas os cionn gach bidh — We'll now have the food that goes 


above all food '. ' An e sin an lite ?' said the stupid young man — 
' Do you mean porridge ?' The father, disgusted by his stupidity, 
made tlie above reply, indicating that Marion was not for him. 

Ma 's math an t-each, 's math a dhreach. 

If the horse, he good, his colour is good. 

A bep lioi; marc'h mad. — Breton. 

A good horse cannot be of a bad colour. — Eng. 

Ma 's math leat do mholadh, faigh bàs ; ma's math leat 
do chàineadh, pòs. 

If j/oit tvish to be praised, die ; if you ivish to he de- 
cried, marry. 

This is a shrewd saying, neatly expressed. 

Ma 's math leat slth, càirdeas, agus cluain, — eisd, faic, 
'us fuh-ich sàmhach. 

// you ivish -peace, friendship, and quietness, listen, looh, 
and he silent. 

Ma's maith leat siochaint, cairdeas, a's moladh, eisd, faic, a's 
fan balbh. — Ir. 

Audi, vide, tace, si vis vivere in pace. — Lat. 

Odi, vedi, e taci, se vuoi viver in pace. — Ital. 

Oy, voy, et te tais, si tu veux vivre en paix. — Fr. 

Ver, oir, y callar, si quieres vivir en paz. — Sjpan. 

Ouve, ve, e calla, se queres fiver em paz. — Port. 
He that would live in peace and rest, 
Must hear, see, and say the least. — Eng. 

Ma 's olc a' phiobaireachd, cha'n fhearr a duais. 

If the pijnng he had, the pay is no hetter. 

Ma 's olc am fitheach, cha 'n fhearr a chomunn. 

If had he the raven, his company is no hetter, 

Myr 's doo yn feeagh, yiow eh sheshey. — Manx. 

Ma 's olc an leanabh, cha 'n fhearr a luasgadh. 

If the child he had, his rocking is no hetter. 

Ma sheallas bean air a glùn toisgeal, gheabh i leisgeul. 

If a luoman hut look on her left knee, she will find an 

Is foisge do bhean leithsgeal nà bràiscin — A woman's excuse is 
nearer her than her apron. — Ir. 

Ma tha Dia ann, 's cha 'n 'eil fliios a bheil, fag eadar 
sinn fhein 's na biodagan ! 

If there he a God, and no one knoivs whether there he, 
leave it hettveen ourselves and the dirks ! 

The fervent prayer for fairplay of an old Highland heathen on 
the eve of a fight. 


Ma tha mise truagli, 's e mo tliruaighe Mac Aoidh ! 
If I am miserable, woes me for Mackay ! 
Ma tha mo chuid airgid anns a'chapull, tliig e dliach- 
aidh uair-eigin. 

If my money is in the mare, it will come home some day. 
Ma tlia thii coma, dean comaidh ris a' mimic. 
If yoxL don't care, go and share vnth the soiv. 
Every man to liis taste, as the man said when he kissed his 
cow. — Eng., Scot. 

Ma tha thusa na d' fhear-ealaidh, cluinneamaid annas 
do làimhe. 

If you are a man of skill, let us hear your master-2ncce. 
Ma theid gus an teid, th^id fear an t-sior-ghalair. 
Wliocvcr goes or does not go, the man of long disease 

Ma tha 'n long briste, clia 'n 'eil a' clireag slàn. 
If the ship he broken, the rock is not vjhole. 
Ma their mi fhein ' Mach thu!' ri m' chii, their a h-uile 
fear e. 

If I say ' Get out I to my dcg, everyhody will say it. 
Ma thuiteas clach leis a' ghleann, 's ann 's a' chàrn a 
stadas i. 

If a stone fall down the glen, it's in the cairn it will 

Ma thtiiteann cloch le fànaidh (slope), is annsa g-càrnan a 
stadaidh si. — Ir. 

Another case of 'like to like'. 

Mac Artair Srath-churra o bhun an stoc fhearna. 
Mac Arthur of Strachur, from the root of the alder. 
Strachur, on Loch Fyne, is said to have been the original seat 
of the Mac Arthurs. 

Mac bantraich aig am bi crodh, 
Searrach seann-làrach 'an greigh 
Madadh muilleir aig am bi min, 
Triùir a 's meanmnaich' air bith. 
The son of a loidoiv rich in cows. 
The foal of an old mare in a herd, 
The dog of a miller rich in meal, 
Tiiree of the merriest things alive. 


Mac Illeathain Loch-a-Buidhe, ceann-uidhe nam mèirl- 

MacLaine, of Loch Buy, the chieftain of thieves. 
This epithet is shared with another great Highland chief, 
Camaronach bhog an ime, ceann-cinuidh nam mèirleach. 

Mac-Leòicl no 'n t-airgiod. MacLeod or the money. 

MacLeod of ]\IacLeod was once on a visit to Edinburgh, and 
was suddenly called away, leaving his servant behind him, with- 
out any money. The servant now found that nothing but 
MacLeod's note, or hard cash, would avail him anywhere.. 

Mac mar an t-athair. Like father like son. 
Al. Mac an daidein — Dad's son. 
Mab diouc'h tad (Mac an deigh daidein). — Breton. 
Sic faither, sic son. — Scot. 

Mac màthaireil 's nighean athaireil. 

A son like the mother, and a daughter like the father. 

Al. Mac ri 'mhàthair, 's nighean ri h-athair. 

Maiglideann Sàbaid, 'us capull Liùuasdail. 

A Sabbath maiden, and a Lammas mare. 

Al. Each Samhna, 's bean Dòmhnuich — A Hallow-Fair horse, 
and a Sunday wife. 

More showy at those times, and therefore not to be hastily 

Choose your wife on Saturday, rather than on Sunday. — Scot., 

Si quieres hembra, escogela el Sabado y no el Domingo. — Span. 

Maise nam bonnach a bhi faisg air an teallaich. 

The beauty of bannocks is to be near the fire. 

Mam air an t-sac gun fheum. 

The handful heaped on the sack, ivhcre it is not needed. 

Manadh do chrocliaidh ort ! 

The omen of your hanging to you I' 

Maor èolacli, maor a 's mios' a theid 'an crò. 

A bailiff acquainted with the stock, the ivorst to send 
among the flock. 

Maorach caillich Mhic Artair, partan 'us da fhaochaig. 

Old Mrs. MacArthitr's shellfish, a crab and two tvilks. 

Mar a bha 'chailleach air Eoghan, a dlieòin no 

Like the old woman upoii Ewen, will he, nil I he. 

See ' Ceum air do cheum '. 


J\far a bha gille mor nam bram — cha 'n fhiiirich e 
thall no blios. 

Like tlie great windy lad — he won't stay there or here. 

Mar a bha 'n t-each ban 'an clorus a' mhuilinn — a' 
smaoineachadli tuilleadh 's a bha e 'g ràdh. 

Like the tvhite horse at the mill-door, thinking more 
than he said. 

Al. lifar a bha 'n gamhainn 's an doriis, a' feitheamh 's ag 
eisdeaclid — Like the stirk at the door, waiting and listening. 

Mar a b' umhail gu 'm b' fhior. 

As foreseen, so has been. 

Mar a chàireas duine a leabaidh, 's ann a laidheas e. 

As a man makes his bed, so he must lie. 

As you make yoiir bed, so you must lie on it. — Eng., Scot. 

Comma on fait son lit, on se couche. — Fr. 

Quien mala cama hace, en eUa se y&ce.— Span. 

Som man reder til, saa ligger man. — Dan. 

Mar a chaitheas duine a bheatha, bheir e breith air a 

As a man leads his life, so he judges his neighbour. 
Mar a' mhil air bhàrr nan cuiseag. 
Like honey on the top of the stalks. 

Mar a's àirde theid an caiman, 's ann a's dòch' an 
t-seobhag breith air, 

Tlie higher the dove goes, the likelier is the hawk to 
catch it. 

Mar a 's fhaide 'bhios sinn gu math, 's ann a's giorraid 
a bhios sinn gu h-olc. 

Tlie longer we are well, the shorter will our illness be. 

Mar a's fhearr iad, cha'n ann a's buain' iad. 

The better they are, they live not the longer. 

God takes the good, too good on earth to stay, 
And leaves the bad, too bad to take away. 

Mar a 's gainn' am biadh, 's ann a 's fial' a roinn. 
The scarcer the food, the more bounty to share it. 

Mar a's luaithe a' ghaillionn 's ann a's cruaidhe 

The siciftcr the storm, the stronger it is. 


Mar a 's liigha 'theirear, 's ann a 's fhiisa 'leigheas. 
The least said, the soonest mended. — Eng. 

Mar a 's mo glieibh an cù, 's ann a 's mo a dli' iarras e. 
The more the dog gets, the more he desires. 

Mar a 's sine 'm hoc, 's ann a's cruaidhe 'n adharc. 
The older the luek, the harder his horn. 

Mar a's truime 'n uallach, 's ann a's teinn' an crios- 
guailne ; mar a's teinn' an crios-guailne, 's ann a's luaithe 

The heavier the load, the tighter the shoidder-strap ; the 
tigther the shoidder-strap, the nearer to breaking. 

Mar a tlieid an t-ian o dliuilleag gn duilleag, theid a' 
mianan o dhuine gu duine. 

As the bird goes from leaf to leaf, the yawn goes from 
man to man. 

Al. Tlieid a' mianan, &c., mar' tlieid an t-ianan o dhoire gu 

Mar a thuiteas a' chraobh, 's ann a laidheas i. 

As the tree falls, so shall it lie. 

In the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. — Eccl. xi. 3. 

Mar an crodh a' dol do'n bhuaile, cuid romham 's cuid 
'am dheigh. 

Like the cattle going to the fold, some before me, some 
behind me. 

Mar astar doill 'an cabaraich, 
No imeachd air garbh-leacannan, 
Mar tliathuinn gadhair 'an gleann fas, 
Tlia teagasg dha na h-aineolaich. 
Like blind man going through a wood. 
Or loalking on rough rocky slopes, 
Or bark of hound in desert glen, 
Is teaching to the ignorant. 
Ni '1 acht tafan gadhair a n-gleann glas, a bheith tagradh le 
cionn gan eolus. — Ir. 

Mar cho-shogan ris a' chuideachda, mar a chaidh an 
luid a dhannsa. 

For mirth to the company, as the slattern went to dance. 


Mar dean mi spàin, millidh mi adharc. 
I'll make a spoon, or spoil a horn. 
He'll mak' a spune, or spoil a horn. — Scot. 

Mar dli6?jhran 'am bun iiisge, 
Mar sheobhag gu ian sleibhe, 
Mar chù gu cat, mar chat gu Inch, 
Tha bean mic gu 'màtliair-cheile. 

Like otter at a river-mouth, 
Like hav)k to moiintaiii hircl, 
Like dog to cat, like cat to mouse, 
The son's tvife is to his mother. 

Mar faigh fear d' a dhùthaich, 's math leis a bhi ma 

If a mail can't get to his country, it's good to he in sight 
of it. 

Mar fhear air chàrn. 

Like a man on a cairn. 

An outlaw. See ' Am fear nach meudaicli '. 

Mar Fionn nam buadh, na fliasgadh do shluagh na 

Like peerless Fingal, a shelter to the Fcinne. 

Mar gu'm biodh cearc air tòir nid. 
Like a hen in search of a nest. 

Mar gu'm biodh an teine air do chraicionn. 

As if the fire were on your skin. 

Dean sin mur a bheidlieadh teine air do chraicionn. — Ir. 

Mar gu'm biodh e air a leaghadh, mar 'bha caman 

As if it had teen cast in a mould, like Nicol's club. 

Mar is miann le broinn, bruichear bonuach. 
As the belly craves, bannock vMl be baked. 

Mar is toigh leis na gobhair na coin. 
As goats like dogs. 

Mar itheadh na goibhre air an dris. 
Like the goat's eating of the brier. 


Mar lus an Dòmlinuich, gim mhath, gun dolaidh. 

Like the herh plucked on Sunday, it does neither good 
nor ill. 

Mar mliart caol a tigh'n gu baile, tlia cabhanach na 
maidne Earraich. 

Like a lean cow coming to a farm, is the datvn of a 
Sjyring morning. 

Mar Oisean an deigh na Fèinne. 

Like Ossian after the Feinne. 

The last of his race. 

Mar thathunn coin ris an re. 

Like dog's harking at the moon. 

Mur madaclh a' tathfun an-aghaidh na gealaighe. — Ir. 

Mar thig triubhas do 'n mbuic. 

As tretvs hecome a sow. 

Like a sow playing on a trump. — Scot. 

Marbhaidh droch ainm na coin.. 

A bad name kills dogs. 

Give a dog an ill name and hang him. — Eng., Scot: 

Marbli-pliaisg ort ! Death-wrappitig he on thee J 

Ma's tù 'th' ann, 's tu 'chaidh as. 

Lf it be you, you are sadly changed. 

Quantum mutatus alj illo Hectore ! — Vinjil. 

If thou beest he, but how fallen, how changed ! — Milton. 

Math air seann-duine, math air feall-duine, 's math 
air leanabh beag, tri mathan caillte. 

Good done to an old man, good to a tvorthless man, good 
to a little child, three goods throivn away. 

One of the few objectionable sentiments found in these pro- 
verbs ; partly true, but imchristian. 

Meal 'us caith e ! Enjoy and wear it ! 

Meallaidh am biadh am fitheach blio 'n chraoibh. 

Food ivill lure the raven from the tree,. 

Measar an t-amadan glic ma chumas e 'theanga. 

The fool may pass for wise if he hold his tongue. 

Meath am facal mu 'n leig thu mach e, 's cha chuir e 
dragh ort fhein no air duin' eile. 

Weaken the word before you utter it, and it won't trouble 
yourself or any other. 


j\Ièinearaicli bliog a' bhruthaist'. 
The soft hrose Mcnzieses. 

'Brutliaist' is the original of the 'kale brose o' auld Scotland,' 
— oatmeal with boiling water poured on it, much used formerly 
in the Menzies district in Perthshire, ' Apunn nam Mèinearach '. 
A childish Fortingall rhyme is, 
Bruthaiste bog, 
Ga shuathadh le stob, 
Ga chur ann an gob 
Nam Meinearach. 

Mhealladh e 'n t-ubli bho 'n cliorra-glilais, ged bhiodh 
a da shùil ag coimhead air. 

He loould cheat the heron of her crjrj^ though her two eyes 
were fixed on him. 

Ghoideadh se an ubh o'n chorr, a's a chorr fèin fa dheireadh. 

Al. Bheireadh e a sùilean nam feannag e — He would take it 
from the crows' eyes. 

Said of a very greedy person. 

]\Iliic an rath-dhorclia ! 

Son of the moonless night ! 

' Rath-dorcha,' the dark or interlunar time, 

Mhic na greine ! Son of the sun ! 

Mhill e troicli 's cha d' rinn e duine. 

He spoiled a dwarf and didn't make a man. 

Mi fliein 's mo bhean air a' bliradhain. 
My wife and I at the quern. 

Mianan bodaicli air àiridh 's a sliàth 'n a bliroinn. 
An old man's yawn on a hill-pasture after meat. 

Miananaich, iarraidh gun fhaighinn. 
Yaivning, ^vishing and not getting. 

Miann a' chait 's an traigh, 's cha toir e fhèin aisd' e. 

Tlu cat's desire is on the shore, hut she ivon't go for it. 

E fynai y gath byysgod, ond ni fynai wlychu ei throed. — Welsh. 

Catus amat pisces, sed non vult tingere plantas. — Med. Lat. 

The cat would eat fish, and would not wet her feet. — Eng. 

Letting ' I dare not ' wait upon ' I would,' like the poor cat i' 
tlie adage. — Macbeth, I. 7. 

La gatta vorrebbe mangiar pesci, ma non pescare. — Ital. Le 
chat aime le poisson, mais £1 n' aime pas à mouiller la patte. — Fr. 


Miann an duine lochdaich, each iiile a bhi contraclid. 
The tvicked man's desire, mischief to all others. 
Malus malum viilt, ut sit sibi similis. — Lat. 

Miann de mliianntan an iarrsalaicli, cuibhrionn nibor 
de 'n bheagan. 

Tlic wish alocc vnshcs of the, covetous, a great share of 
the little. 

Miann mnà mac, miann fir feachd ; 

Miann eich aonach, miann coin sneaclid ; 

Miann ba braon, miann caora teas ; 

Miann goibhre gaoth, 's dol 'an aodann creig. 

A womaii's desire a son, a man's desire a host ; 

A horse's desire a heath, a dog's desire snow ; 

A coio's desire a shoiver, a sheep's desire heat ; 

A goat's desire wind, and climbing %ip a crag. 
Rhyme is more considered than reason in some of these. 
Miann na maiglidne aig a' chaillich. 
The maiden's desire in the old ivoman. 
See ' Nàire nam maighdean '. 

Mil fo thalamli, currain Earraich. 
Undergrotmd honey, Sjjring carrots. 

Exceptional luxuries. The Spring-carrot is the root of the 
silver-weed, hrisgcin, very palatable. 

Milleadli dàna, 'bhi 'g a ràdh far nach tuigear. 
Waste of song, reciting where not understood. 

Millidh aire iasad. Poverty destroys lending. 
]\lillidh an ainnis an t-iasacht. — Ir. 

Wha canna gie will little get. — Scot. When ye are puir 
naebody kens ye ; when ye are rich a'body lens ye. — Do. 

Millidh an cleas thair fhichead am fichead eleas. 
The twenty-first game may spoil the tiventy. 
Millidh an t-srathair an t-eaeh. 
Tlie pack-saddle loill spoil the horse. 
Millidh aon leibid a' ehuinneag. 
One little mishap loill destroy the pail. 
Millidh aon oisg ehlaimheaeh an trend. 
One scabby ewe will spoil the flock. 
See ' Salachaidh '. 


Millidh aon tarrang an t-each, 's millidh aon each an 

One nail will spoil the horse, and one horse spoil the 

Al. 'crann' for 'seisreach'. 

For want of a nail the shoe is lost ; for want of a shoe the horse 
is lost ; for want of a horse the rider is lost. — Eng. 

Por un punto se pierde un zapato. — Span. 

Millidh bo buaile, 's buairidh bean baile. 
One coiv will spoil a fold, and one vjonian will lead 
astray a town. 

Millidh dànadas modh. Forwardness sjyoils manners. 
Al. Thig dànadas gu droch oilean. 

Millidh droch chomhluadar deadh bhèusan. 

Evil company eorrupts <jood manners. 

This is a translation of Menander's ^deipova-iv fjdrj ,xpn<^^' 6/iiXiai 
KQKal, quoted by St. Paul in I. Cor. xv. 33. 

' Truaillidh ' for ' millidh ' is the word in the authorised Gaelic 

Min air iasad, itheadh na cruaiche fo'n t-sioman, 

Letit 7neal, eating the stack under the rope. 

Consuming things before the time. 

Ministeir-maide. A wooden minister. 

Mionach a' bheathaich a 's niaoile, air adhaircean a' 
bheathaich a 's bioraiche. 

The entrails of the blunter (hornless) least on the horns 
of the sharper one. 

MÌOS bho aon deis gu Ian deis, 'us mios bho Ian deis 
gu crion deis. 

A month from the first ear to the full car, and a 
month from the fidl ear to the withered ear. 

Mios 'chrochadh nan con. 

The clog-hanging month — Jidy. 

Mios Faoillich ; seachdain Feadaig ; 

Ceithir-la-diag Gearrain ; seaclidain Caillich y 

Tri la Sguabaig — suas e 'n t-Earrach ! 

A month of the Stormy ; a weelx, of the Plover ; 

A fortnight of the Gelding ; ct tveck of tlu Old Woman; 

Three days of the Brushlet — up vnth the Spring ! 

For explanation of these terms see App. IV. 


Mìos roimli gach ràidh a clioltas. 
A month before each season, its appearance comes. 
Apparently this is a correct observation. 
Mir am bial na beiste. A hitefor the monster's mouth. 
Cast a bane i' the deil's teeth. — Scot. 

This saying is probably founded on the story of the traveller 
and the wolves, whom he temporarily stopped by throwing out 
one thing after another. 

Mir a chur am bial na h-^isge. 
A morsel for the lampooner's mouth. 
Mir a' cliuilean ris an t-seana-chu. 
The play of the pup with the old dog. 
Al. ris an aois— wii/i the aged. 
Chwarae hen gi a chenaw. — Welsh. 
Mire ri cuilean, cha sguir e gus an sgal e. 
Play 'with a puppy, it ends in a howl. 
Mire gach struidhear ris an t-striiidhear mhor. 
The sport of every spendthrift with the big spendthrift. 
Misg gun lionn a 's miosa 'th' ann. 
Intoxication tvithout ale is the worst of all. 
Al. Misg an leanna nach d'òl e — The intoxication of the ale he 
drank not. 

The meaning seems to be that stupid or disorderly conduct, 
without the excuse of drink, is much worse. Ale, and not whisky, 
was the common stimulant when this saying arose. 
Mo cliomain-sa 's comain a' mliaoir, 
Do mo thaobh-sa bhiodh e gann ; 
Is math leis comain a null, 
Ach cha mhath leis comain a null 's a nail. 
The bailiff s favours and mine tuoiddbeall on one side; 
he likes tc get, but not to give and take. 

This is attributed to John Morrison of Bragar (See note to 
' Balach '), with great probability. Another version, with ' comunn ' 
for ' comain ' is,— 

Cha 'n ionann 'us comunn nam maor, 
Air an taobh-san nach bi fann ; 
'S e 'n comunn-sa tarruing a null, 
'S cha chomunn ach a null 's a nail. 
Very unlike the bailiff's felloivship, 
On their own side never weak ; 
Draw all one way is their rule, 
And ^giff-gaff' is the only fellowship. 
Still another version is given in Duncan Lothian's ' Sean 
Fhocail ' q. v. 


Mo chuid fliein, mo bhean fhein, 'us ' tiugainn dach- 
aidh/ tri faclan a 's blaisde 'th' aim. 

My own pro])crty, my own vnfe, and ' come home, three 
of the sweetest of icoì'ds. 

Al. Na tri rudaii a's mll?e 'th' aun— mo chuid fhein, &c. 

Al. M' ulaidh, m' ulaidh ! mo chuid fhein. 

My treasure, my treasure ! my oivn goods. 

Mo chuideachda fhein, coin Thròtairnis ! 

3fy own friends, the dogs of Troternish! 

See ' Is olc a fhreagradh tu '. 

Mo nàire 's mo leaghadh ! 

My shame and my melting ! 

Mo thruaighe fear gun fhear-cronacliaidh ! 

A las for him that has no reprover ! 

Mo thurus dubli a thug mi 'dh-Eirinn. 

My sad journey that took me to Ireland. 

Said in a story by a king's daughter, transformed into a swan. 

Modh na circe, gabhail ealla rithe. 

Hen politeness, letting her alone. 

Mol an latha math mu oidhche. 

Praise the good day at night. 

Moyle y laa mie fastyr (mu fheasgar). — Manx. 

Ruse the fair day at night. — Scot. 

Praise day at night, and life at the end. — Eng. 

La vita il fine e '1 di loda la sera. — Ital. 

Schonen Tag soil man loben, wenn es Nacht ist. — Germ. 

Mol am monadh,'s na ruig e; diomoil a'choille's na fag i. 

Praise the moor and avoid it, dispraise the wood, and 
keep to it. 

Al. Mol a' mhachair, 's na treabh ; diomoil a choille 's na treig— 
Praise the plain, and plough it not, d;c. 

Al. ' lombair,' for ' monadh '. 

Praise the hill, but keep below. — Eng. 

Loda il mare e tienti alia terra. — It. 

II faut louer la mer et se tenir en terre. — Fr. 

Different, but creditable, is the Welsh saying, ' Canmol dy fro, 
a thrig yno ' — Praise thy country and tarry there. 

Moladh gach fear an t-àth mar a gheabh. 

Let every one praise the ford, as he finds it. 

Moladh gach duine an t-ath mur gheabhaidh se e. — Ir. 

Moyll y droghad myr hen harrish. — Manx. Canmoled pob y 
bont a' i dyes drawo — Welsh. Praise the bri(^ge as you get over. 

Ruse the ford as ye find it. — Scot. 


Moladh na maraig a fiacliaiun. 
The praise of the pudding is tasting it. 
Cnithughadli na putoige a h-ithe — The proof of the pudding is 
eating it. — Ir. 

The pruif o' a pudcliu' 's the preein' o't. — Scot. 

Moladli mairbli. The praise of the dead. 

De mortuis nil nisi bonum. — Lat. 

Moladh na daoidheachd. Praise from the ivorthless. 

Molaidh an t-eacli math e fhèin. 

The good horse commends himself. 

Mollachd an fhir a ghoid air an fhear a dh' ionndrain 
— ' An làmh a rinn gun dean a rithis ! ' 

The curse of the thief against the man that missed his 
ovm — ' The hand that did it will do it again I ' 

Mor a muigh, 's beag a's tigh. 

Great abroad, small at home^ 

Mor bliuam, 'us beag agam. 

Much thought of until got. 

Mor orm, 'us beag agam. 

Mighty to me, but little esteemed. 

Said of an offensively patronizing but not superior person. 

Moran gleogaireachd, 'us beagan gieidhidh. 

Mitch talk and little done. 

Moran sgalan, 's beagan ollainn, mu'n dubhairt Muisein 
's e 'lomairt na muice. 

G-rcat cry and little tvool, as the Devil said ivhen he 
sheared the sow. 

Great cry and little wool, quoth the Devil when he sheared liis 
hogs. — Eng. 

Moran shhgean 's beagan bhiadhan. 
Many shells and little meat. 

Mu thionndadh na boise bidh a' chrois a tighinn. 
In the turning of the hand the mishap will come. 
Mult mnatha gun chaoraich, is saothrach a ghlacadh. 
The wedder of a woman without sheep is dijfieidt to 

Al. 's e 's saoire gheabhteadh — ivould he cheapest got. 
Al. 's e 's faoilidhe 'th' ann — is the most freely given. 


Mu'n cailleadh e buileach an t-iteach, bheireadli an 
t-ian a bhiodh glic ris an t-snàmb. 

The ivise hird would take to swimming before he lost the 
power of fiying. 

Mullacli do bliaistidli. Tlie top of your hrqytism. 

The forehead. 

Mur b'e an reodbadh, tbreabbteadh gacb tir. 

But for the frost, all lands might he tilled. 

Mur b'e eagal an da mhàil, bbeireadb Tiridbe an da 

Butforfearufdouhlcrent, Tiree toould yield a double crop. 

Very suggestive, aud not confined to Tiree. 

Mur bhiodh ' Mur b'e,' cha bhiodh duine beò. 

But for ' Were it not' no man would be alive. 

Si ce n' etait le *Si' et 'Mais,' nous serions tons riches à 
jamais. — Fr. 

If 'Ifs' an' 'Ans' were pots and pans, where wud be the 
tinklers ? — Scot. 

Mur bhiodh na suidheachan, thuiteadh na tighean. 

But for the roof-supports, the houses luoidd fall. 

This is used as a retort when some stupid ' If it weren't ' is 

Mur bi thu ris an olc, na bi coltach ris. 

If you are not doing ill, don't look like it. 

Abstain from all appearance of evil. — St. Paul. 

Mur biodh ' Mur-bhith ' marbh, 's fhada bho'n a 
thàinig e. 

If 'Were it not' ivcre not dead, he vjould have come 
long ago. 

Mur 'eil thu air son goid mo chail, na tig air sgàth 
mo lios. 

If you are not coming to steal my kail, dont come for 
the sake of my garden. 

Al. Mur bi thu 'goid a' chail, na bi air sgàth an lios. 

Stealing kail-stocks out of a neighbour's garden was part of the 
recognised usages on Old New Year's Night. 

Mur bitheadh an dris 's an rathad, cha rachadh a' chaor' 

If the brier were not in the v:ay, the sheep would not 
go into it. 


]\rur biodh mu 'n phoit ach Mac Sheoc 's an liadh 

If titer e were none about the pot hut Jock's son and the 


An aposiopesis. The omitted conclusion is, ' I should fare 

better then '. 

Mur biodh tu "m sheomar clia'n fhaiceadh tu mo chuid. 

If Ì/OU hadn't been in mij chamber yoii, wouldn't have 
seen my goods. 

This reminds one of Posthumus and lachimo in Cymbeline. 

Mur cluiuneadh tu sin cha'n abradh tu e. 

If you hadn't heard that, you %vouldii't have said it. 

Mur comas dut teumadh, na rùisg do dheudach. 

If you cannot bite, don't show your teeth. 

Na taisbean do fhiacal, 's an ait nach d-tig leat greim a bhaint 
a mach. — Ir. 

Ne'er shaw yir teeth, unless ye can bite. — Scot. 

Mur dean e lionn, millidh e braich. 

If he can't make ale, he'll spoil malt. 

Same as making a spoon or spoiling a horn. 

Mur 'eil e 'còrdadh riut, cha 'n 'eil e pòsda riut. 

If he doesn't please you, he is not married to you. 

Al. Mur 'eil mi, &c. 

Mur gu 'n tigeadh saighead a bogha. 

Like an, arrow from a boio. 

Mur h-e Bran 's e bhràtliair. 

If it be not Bran, it's his brother. 

Bran was said to be Fingal's favourite hound. 

Mur tig ach Pal, gabhar Pal ; ach ma thig na's fliearr 
na Pal, cha'n fhiach Pal bonn-a-h-ochd. 

If none covie but Paul, Paul %oill be taken , but if better 
come, Paul xvon't be worth a piece of eight. 

A piece of eight was less than a halfpenny. 

Mur tig an righ, nach fhuirich e. 

If the king won't come, let him stay. 

Mur toir thu 'chuid do 'n duine bhochd, na bi deanamli 
fochaid air. 

If you don't give the poor man his due, at any rate don't 
mock him. 

This seems a truism, but needs to be kept in mind. 



Na abair ach beag 's abair gu math e. 
Say but little, and nay it well. 

Na abair ' diug ' ris an ian p;us an tig e as an nbh. 
DonH say ' chucM to the chick till it he out of the ajg. 
Al. Na abair big. 

Count not your chickens before they lie hatched.— ^?i^. 
Non far conto dell' uovo non ancor nato. — Ital. 

Na abair do shean-fliacal gus an toir thu do long gu 

Don't quote your jiiwcrb till yoic bring your ship to 

Na àireamli a cliaoidh an t-iasg gus an tig e as a' 

Never count the fish till they come out of the sea. 
Na beannuigh an t-iasg go d-tiocaidh se a d-tir. — Ir. 
Na bi 'bogadh do liob 's an lite nacb òl thu. 
Don't be dipping your lip in the porridge you sup not. 

Na bi 'g a shireadh 's 'g a sheachnadh. 

Don't be seeking and shunning it. 

An excellent advice to shilly-shallying people, of either sex. 

Na bi teann orm, 's na bi fada bhuam. 

Don't be near me, and don't be far from me. 

This was said by a Highland Catechist, the prototype of 
Lachunn-nan-Ceistean of Dr. MacLeod's Dialogues. On one occa- 
sion he went to Inverness, accompanied by his wife, whom he did 
not think sufficiently presentable in 'society'. The above was the 
characteristic direction given to her. 

Na biodh do theanga ann ad sporan. 
Let not your tongue be in your 2'>nrse. 
The meaning of this is not obvious at first, but it is good 


Na buail ach mar a bhiadhas tu. 
Dont strike hut as you feed. 
Strike as ye feed, and that's but soberly. — Scot. 
' A reproof,' says Kelly, * to them that correct those over whom 
they have no power.' 

Na caill am màgli air a' cliluain. 
Lose not the field for the meadow. 

Na creid an droch sgeul giis an dearbhair i. 
Believe not the had report till it he proved. 

Na creid gu'r li-aithne dhut duine, gus an roinn sibli 

Don't suppose that you know a vian till you come to 
divide a sjjoil with him. 

A very shrewd observation, applicable equally in the 19th cen- 
tury, whether to potentates or private persons. 

Na ciiir a mach an t-uisge salacli gus an toir tliu 's tigh 
an t-uisge glan. 

Dont throio the dirty tvatcr out till you hrinrj in the 

Nà cuir an t-msge salach a mach go d-tiobraidh tu an t-uisge 
glan a steach. — Ir. 

Cast na oot the dowed water till ye get the clean.— /Scot. 

Cast not out thy foul water till thou hast clean. — Eng. 

Man muss unreines Wasser nich eber wegiessen bis man reines 
hat. — Gtrtn. 

Na cuir do chorran gun cliead ann an gead fir eile. 
Tut not your sickle ivithout leave into another man's 

Al. gart fir eile— ano^/ier man^s standing corn. 
Na cuir do chorran a n-gort gan iarraidh. — Ir. 

Na cuir do làmh eadar a' chlacli 's a' sgrath. 
Don't put your hand 'twixt the stone and the turf. 

Na cuir do spàin 'an càl nach buin dut. 
Dont put your spoon in kail that's not yours. 
Al. Na loisg do theanga 'an càl fir eile. 
Dinna scaud yir mou' wi' ither folk's kail. — Scot. 

Na cuir 'n am ruitli le leathad mi, 
Na greas a' direadh bruthaich mi, 
'S na caomhain air a' chòmhnard mi. 


Don't make me run down a decline, 
DonH urge me going up a hill, 
But spare mc not on level ground. 
Up hill spare me ; 
Down hill bear me ; 
Plain way spare me not ; 
Let me not drink when I'm hot. — Scot. 
Excellent advice from a horse to his rider or driver. 
Na cumain blieag a' seòladli, 's ua luiugeas mlior a' 

The little cogs sailing and the big ships sinlcing. 
See ' Is trie a blia na loingis '. 

Na dean bailc air iomaire math treabliaidh. 
Make no talk in good, plough-land. 
Make not balks of good gi-oiind. — Eng. 
Mak nae baiiks in guid Ijear-land. — Scot. 
See ' Is fliearr leum-iochd '. 

Na dean tàir air na 's leat ; an ni nacli leat cha 'n e 
dh'fhoghnas dut. 

Despise not what is your oion; nothing else will suffice you. 
Lit. What is not your own will not be sufficient for you. 

Na dean uaill a cuid duine eile. 
Boast not of another s means. 

Na deanadh duine tùirse, an earalas nacli faigli e 

Let no man despond of hitting the mark. 

Na diobair caraid 's a charraid. 
Forsake not a friend in the fray. 

Na dòirt e ; cha tog na cearcan e. 
Dorit spill it ; the hens tvoii't pick it up. 
Said of the spilling of drink. 

Na earb thu fh^in ri gràisg. 
Don't trust the rabble. 

The 'many-headed beast'. The maker of this Proverb may 
have read Plato, but it is not very likely. 

Na falbh Diluain, 
'S na gluais Dimàirt, 
Tha Diciadainn craobhaidli, 
'S tha Diordaoin dàlach, 


Dihaoine clia 'n 'eil e buadhacli, 
'S cha dual dut falbli a màireacb. 
Go not upon Monday, 
Stir not upon Tuesday, 
Wednesday is nervous, 
Thursday is dilatory, 
Friday is not fortunate. 
And tis not right for thee to go to-morrow. 
This is called ' Triall a' bhodaich as a thigh,' a wife's reasons 
for not letting her husband go away. Another version of the first 
part is, — 

Siubhal Dòmhnuich na toir bhuat, 
Diluain na eirich moch, 
lom-sgaradh Dimàirt, 
Leig seachad na tri làithean sin. 
Na feann am fiadli gus am faigh tliu e. 
Dont skin the deer till you get it. 
First catch your hare. — Mrs. Meg Dods. 
Na gabh te air bith mar mhnaoi, ach te air am bi 
atbais agad. 

Take no ivoman for a wife in ivhom you cannot find a 

Na gabh liean gan locht — Take no faultless wife. — Ir. 
This is an admirable saying, which I have not found in any 
other language. The Irish version is more laconic. 
He is lifeless that is faultless. — Eng. 

Na gearr do sgòrnan le d' tbeanga fbein. 
Cut not thy throat with thine own tongue. 
Take heed that thy tongue strike not thy neck. — Arab. 

Na geill do gliis — cha glieill gis dhut. 

Dont give in to spells — they wont give in to you. 

Na inuis do run do d' cbaraide gòracb, no do d' nàmb- 
aid gblic. 

Tell not thy mind to thy foolish friend, nor to thy wise 

Na innis d' uile inntinn do d' mbnaoi no do d' chomp- 

Tell not all your mind to your wife or your companion. 

Al. Na dean fear riun dheth d' dhliith chompanach. 

Trust ye not in a friend ; . . keep the doors of thy mouth 
from her that lieth in. thy bosom. — Micah vii. 6. 


He is master of himself who keeps his secret from his friend. — 

Open not thine heart to every man. — Sirach, VIII., 19. 
Que ta chemise ne sache ta guise. — Fr. 
l3i' all' amico il tuo segreto, e ti terra il pie sul collo. — Ital. 
A quien dices tu puridad, a ese das ru libertad. — Span. 

Na ith am bonnach 'tha briste, 's na brist am bonnacli 
'tha slàu. 

Don't cat the hroken hannock, nor hreaJc the tvholc one. 
A story is told of a hungry servant-maid to whom her mistress 
gave the above order, when the girl told her, in the harvest field, 
that she was fainting for hunger. The mistress said, 
Theirig dhachaidh, 's ith do shàth, 
Na ith aru bonnach 'tha briste, &c. 
Go home, and eat your fill, 
Eat not the hannock that's broken, d-c. 
The girl thought she was justified in evading this prohibition, by 
taking enough to appease her hunger out of the centre of the 
whole bannock. 

Na ith 's na ob cuid an leinibli bhig. 
Neither cat nor refuse the child's hit. 
Very good manners. 

Na'm b'e 'n diugli an de ! 

Had to-day been yesterday ! 

How often is this thought felt. 

Na'm b' Eileineach mi gu'm b' Ileacli mi ; 's na'm b' 
Ileach mi, bu Eannach mi. 

Were I an Islander I should he an May mar. ; and 
were I an I slay man, I should he a Rinns man. 

This should comi^ensate for the ill opinion of Islay men 
expressed in ' Cha 'n 'eil 'an cùil,' &c. The Rinns of Islay, like 
the Rinns of Galloway, is a low-lying and fertile tract of land, 
compared with the upper country, The Gaelic is ' Roinnean,' n. 
ph of 'roinn,' of which gen. is 'ranna,' whence 'Rannach'. 

Na'm beireadh tu ubh, dheanadli tu gloc. 

If you laid an egrj, you would cackle. 

Na'm biodli a' choir air a cumail, cha bhiodh Eigh 
Deòrsa 'n Lunnainn. 

If the right had been maintained, King George had not 
in London reigned. 

This is comparatively modern, but has the proper ring of a 
popular saying, now harmless. 


Na'm biodh an t-earball na bu righne, bhiodh a' 
sgialaclid na b' fhaide. 

Had the tail been tougher, the tale would have been longer. 

This is the abrupt wind-up of a story, of which there are 
various versions, where the whole depends on the strength of tlie 
animal's tail, which gave way at the critical moment. See 
Campbell's JFest Highl. Tales, II. 477. The English admits of a 
play on words, which is not in the Gaelic. 

Na'm biodh cugainn aig a' chat, 's trie a rachadh e g' a 

If the cat had standing milk, she would often go to try it. 
See ' Cha tig ce '. 

Na'm biodh mo chù cho olc ionnsachadh riut, b'e 'n 
ciad rud a dheanainn a chrochadh. 

If my dog toere as ill-bred as you, the first thing I 
shoidd do would be to hang him. 

If I had a dog as daft, I wud shoot him. — Scot. 

Na'n biodh na coin air do dhiot itheadh, 's air falbh le 
d' shuipeir, cha bhiodh tu cho mear. 

If the dogs had eaten your dinner, and run off ivith 
your supper, you ivoidd not be so merry. 

Na'm bu bheò bu mhithich. 
If alive, 'tivas high time. 

Said of one who appears, or does a thing, after long expecta- 
tion and delay. 

Na'm bu bhuan bu mhath. 
Good if it lasted. 

Na'm bu chaomh leat mi, bu bhinn leat mi. 
If you liked me you would like my voice. 

Na'm bu duin' eile gu'n deanadh, 's mise gu'n dioladh ! 

If another man had done it, it's I that tvould avenge it ! 

Said by a Giant, on being told by his son that Myself had hurt 
him, that being the name which the person gave him who inflicted 
the punishment on the innocent, and (as usual) stupid young 
Giant. For another version of the story, see Campbell's JV. H. 
T., II. 189. 

Nam bu mhac bu mhithich. 

If a son, 'twas high time. 

Applied to the birth of an heir long looked for. 


Na'm bu toigli leat mi fhein clia bbuaileadh tu mo cbù. 

If you liked mysdf, you toould not strike my dog. 

See ' Am fear a bhuaileadh '. 

Love me, love my dog. — Eng. 

He that strikes my dog wud strike mysel', if lie daux'd.^/Scof. 

Qui aime Bertrand, aime son chien. — Fr. 

Chi ama me, ama il mio cano. — Ital. 

Na'm bu toigh leat mi, cha bu trom leat mi. 

If you liked me, you would not think me heavy. 

Na'm bu tu Brian, b ard a glioireadh tu. 

Were you Brian, you would cry out loudly. 
Na'm faigbeamaid an t-im a's t-Earracb, 
'Us uacbdar a' bbainne a's t-Sambradh, 
'S ann au sin a bbiomaid fallain, 
'S cba bbiomaid falamb de db' annlann. 

If ive could get butter in Spiking, and cream in Summer, 
it's then we shoidd he hecdthy, and well off for kitchen. 

A Highland housewife's sarcasm on unreasonable men. 

Na'm faigbteadb ciad sagart gun 'blii sanntacb ; 

Ciad tiiillear gun 'blii sunntacb ; 

Ciad griasaicb' gun 'bbi briagacb ; 

Ciad tigbeadair gun 'bbi bradacb • 

Ciad gobba gun 'bbi pàiteacb ; 

'Us ciad cailleacb nacb robb riamb air cbeilidb ; 

Cbuireadb iad an cmn air an rigb gun aon bbuille. 

Were a hundred priests got, not greedy ; 

A hundred tailors, not cheery ; 

A hundred shoemakers, not lying ; 

A hundred weavers, not thievish ; 

A hundred blacksmiths, not thirsty ; 

And a hundred old vjomen that never luent gossiping ; 

They would crown the king without a blow. 
Ceathrar sagart gan a bheith sanntach, 
Ceathrar Frangach gan a bheith buidhe, 
Ceathrar grèusaiche gan a bheith breùgach. 
Sin da fhear dheùg nach b-fhuil 's a tir.— /r. 

A hundred tailors, a hundred weavers, and a hundred millers, 
make three hundred thieves.— £713. 

Cien sastres, cien molineros, y cien texederos son trecientos 
ladrones.— -Spa?i. 

Honderd bakkers, honderd molenaars, en honderd kleermakers, 
zijn drie honderd dieven. — Dutch. 


Na mlieallam mo slilàinte ! 

May I forfeit my health (or salvation) ! 

A form of abjuration. 

Na 'n deanadh mo làmh mar a dh' iarradli mo sliùil ! 

If my hand could do as my eye ivoidd desire ! 

This might be the utterance of grasping ambition, but a better 
interpretation makes it the yearning of a true artist towards his 

Na 'n ruigeadh an daingeann an ceart. 

If the strong coidd attain the just. 

Which it seldom does. 

Na 'n sealladh cii air comain. 

If a dog coidd hut see his obligation. 

Al. Cha sheall cù air comain. Cha chuimlmich cii comain. 

None of these sayings do justice to the dog, which is a grateful 

Na 'n tugadh aitlireachas air ais, cha deanadh neach 
na b' aithreach leis. 

If repentance could restore, none woidd make his own 
heart sore. 

Na m am bodach le 'chrògan, millidh e le 'spògan. 

What the carl does toith his hands he siJoils ivith his feet. 

See ' An ri;d a ni '. 

Na phiuthair-mathar do'n t-sluagh. 

A mothers sister to the people. 

A warm saying, applied to a very kind friend of the peasantry. 
Na pòs a's t-Fhoghar, 
'S dean foighidinn 's a' Glieamhradh, 
Bidh tu cabhagach a's t-Earrach, 
'S bidh gainn' air aran a's t-Samhradh. 
Marry 7wt in AiUumn, 
And have patience in Winter^ 
In Spring thou wilt be busy, 
And in Summer bread ivill be scarce. 

A bachelor's excuses for delaying marriage. 

Na sia buadhan a bha cumail suas na Fèìnne, — Agh 
Fhinn, làmh Ghoill, bras-bhuillean Oscair, iomairt 
ealamh Oisein, ruith chruaidh Chaoilte, agus suidheach- 
adh Chonain air a' chath. 

The six virtues that kept up the Feinne, — Fingal's for- 
tune, Gaul's hand, Oscar's impetuous strokes, Ossian's deft 


'play, CoiKs hard ninninr/, and Conan's planning of the 

Na seid sop nacli urrainn dut fhein a chuir as. 

Kindle not a fire tchich you can't put out. 

Lit. a Avisp. 

Na sin do cliasan na 's fhaide na theid d' aodach. 

Stretch not your feet further than the clothes will go. 

See ' Cha shin duiiie '. 

Stretch your legs according to your coverlet. — Eng. 

Man muss sich strecken nach den Decken. — Germ. 

Steek uw voeten niet verder dan uw bed reikt. — Dutch, 

Cada uno estiende la pierna como tiene la cubierta. — Bjpan. 

Na sir 's na seachain an cath. 
Nor seek nor shun the fight. 
Al. Na seachainn an iorghuill 's na h-iarr i. 
Neither shun the strife nor seek it. 
Na seachain a's na h-agair an cath. — Ir. 

This resembles, but expresses more pithily the sentiment of 
• Defence not Defiance '. It is an Ossianic line. 

Bellum nee timendum nee provocandum. — Plin. Jun. 

Na spion fiasag fir nach aithne dliut. 
Don t pluck a man's heard ivhom you don't know. 
Na tagh Binneagag, no Grinneagag, no Gaogag ; 
No ruadli bheag, no ruadh nihor, no ruadli mliàsach ; 
Ach ciarag bheag air dhath na luch, na sir 's na seach- 
ain i. 
This is supposed to be an old man's advice to his son about 
choosing a wife, ' Comhairle Charmaic do 'mhac ' — Cormac's advice 
to his son ; and there are several versions, all with words which it 
is impossible to translate, being mostly fanciful inventions, not 
to be found in any Dictionary, but not meaningless. 

Al. Na tagh Cinnebheag, 's na tagh Ainnebheag, 's na tagh piob- 
aire na tot' ; 's na tagh meallaire-slugaid ; 's ciarag bheag, &c., &c. 
Na pòs Ginnebheag, 's na pòs Innebheag; na pus maoltach 
thràghad ; na pòs glag-air-gàradh ; 's na pòs maighdean Shàbaid ; 
ach pòs bean bheag odhar, 'n a seasamh 'an dorus a sabhail fhein, 
fuath aic air fir an domhain, 's gràdh aic air a fear fhein. 

The conclusion is in favour of a sallow little woman, with 
charms more substantial than birth or beauty. The son is sup- 
posed to reply— 

Bean-uasal do 'm bi stòras 
Cha phùs i mis' am bliadhnn, 
'S bean-uasal lorn fhalamh 
Cha teid mis' 'ga h-iarraidh. 


Na tarruing mi gun aobliar, 's na pill mi gun cliliii. 
Draw me not without cause, nor return me tvithout 

An inscription for a sword. 

Na tilg dliiot an sean aodach gus am faigli tliu 'n 
t-aodacli ùr. 

Cast not the old clothes till you get the new, 

Na tog mi gus an tuit mi. 
Don't lift me till I fall. 
Na tog me go d-tuitidh me. — Ir. 
Dinna lift me before I fa', — Scot. 

Na tog trògbliail air an aineol. 
Dont qiiarrcl luith a stranger. 

Na toilich do mliiann gus am fiacli thu do sporan. 
Try your purse hefore you please yourself 
Ask yir purse what ye sud buy. — Scot. 

Na toir bean a tigh mor no bo blio ghàradair. 
Dont take a wife from a big house, nor a cow from a 

See ' Bean a tigh mor '. 

Na toir bo a Paibeall, 's na toir bean a Bororaidh. 
Don't take a cow from Paihle, or a wife from Borcrary. 
Paible is a farm and village in N. Uist, Boreray another island 
near it. 

Na toir breith a reir coltais ; faodaidh cridlie 
beairteach 'bhi fo chòta bochd. 

Judge not by ajjpearanee : a rich heart may be under 
a poor coat. 

Na toir breitli cliabliagach air mac luideagacli, no air 
loth pheallagaicb. 

Don't judge hastily of a ragged boy, or a shaggy colt. 

A raggit cowte may prove a noble aiver. — Scot. 

A ragged colt may make a good horse.- — Eng. 

Mechant poulain pent devenir bon cheval. — Fr. 

Cavallo formoso de potro sarnoso. — Port. 

Aus Klattrigen Fohlen werden die schonsten Hengste. — Germ. 

Na toir iasad air an iasad. 
Don't lend the loan. 


Na tri nidan a's daoire 'th' ann : uibhean cliearc, feòil 
mhuc, glòir chailleach. 

The three clearest of things . hen-eggs, pork, and old 
women's praise. 

Na triùir mharbli a 's bòidh'clie air bitli, leanamh 
beag, breac geal, 'us coileacli-dubh. 

The three prettiest dead : a little child, a salmon, and 
a hlack-coclc, 

Nàdur circe, 's nàdur muice, 's nàdur mnatha — 
gabhaidh iad an rathad fheiii. 

The nature of a hen, of a sow, and of a woman — they 
take their onm vxiy. 

Swine, women, and bees, cannot be turnoil. — Fng. 

Donne, asini, enoci, voglion le mani atroci. — Women, asses and 
nuts, need strong hands. — Ital. 

Wdire nam maighdean 'an luirgnean nan cailleachan. 

Maidens' modesty in old xvomens shanks. 

Nead air Brighde, ubli air Inid, ian air Cliàisg ; 

Mur bi sin aig an fhitlieach, bitbidh am bàs. 

Nest at Candlemas, egg at Shrove-tide, hird at faster ; 

If the raven have them not, death then is his lot. 

Neart teine, neart mara, 's neart balaich air bàinidli. 

The strength of fire, the strength of sea, and the strength 
of a mad fellow. 

Al. Neart mara, neart teine, 's droch bhean, na tri a's uamlias- 
iiich a th' ann. 

The strength of sea and of fire, and a bad wife — the three most 
dreadful of things. 

Neo 'r thaing do rlgh na Fraing, cha 'n 'eil mi 'n 
taing a sbiùcair. 

No thanks to the king of France, I don't need his 

This is modern, and probably originated in the time of the 
Napoleonic war. 

Ni amaidean cuirmean, ach ni daoine glic an itbeadh. 

Fides mak feasts and vnse men cat them. — Scot., Eng. 

So Ital., I'r., Span., Dutch. 

This is undoubtedly an importation from the South, but worth 
giving, if only for the sake of the happy repartee made by the 
Duke of Lauderdale, when at a great entertainment given by him 


in London, he heard this proverb maliciously cited by one of his 
guests. 'Ay,' said he, 'and wise men mak proverbs, and fules 
repeat them.' 

Ni an imrich thric an àirneis 16m. 

Frequent Jlitting hares the farnisliing. 

See 'Eug 'us imrich '. 

Ni aire innleachd. Necessity devises. 

Necessity is the mother of invention,— ^?)^. 

De armoede is de moeder van alle Kunsten. — Dutch. 

Necessite est mere d'invention. — Fr. 

Need maks a man o' craft. — Scot. 

Noth lehrt Kiinste. — Germ. 

Ni an sporan falamli ceannach tais. 

Empty purse makes slow pxircliase. 

A toom purse maks a blate merchant. — Scot. 

Ni càilean 'am fiacaill inntinn loisneach. 

A husk helwecn the teeth disturbs the mind. 

See ' Càilean '. 

Ni Carcair càise 'n uair tlieid crodh cbàich 'an diosg. 

Car car luill make cheese- ivhcn other peoples coics run dry. 

A Lewis version of this is, "N uair a theid crodh a' bhaile 
diosg, 's ann a ni catalach càise '. The interpretation of this must 
be left to conjecture. 'Carcar' is an unknown name, and 'Catal- 
ach ' a rare word, unless it be simply a corruption of ' cadalach '. 

Ni cridhe subhach gnùis shuilbhir. 
A glad heart makes a cheer fid face. 
Ni droch dhuine dan da fhein. 
A had man makes his own destiny. 
An exceedingly wise saying, especially among a people believ- 
ing so firmly in Fate. 

Ni droch thaisgeach moran mhèirleach. 

Bad keeping makes many thieves. 

Opportunity makes the thief. — Eng. 

L' occasion fait le larron. — Fr. La commodità fa Tuomo 
ladro. — Ital. La ocasion hace el ladron. — Span. Gelegenheit 
macht den Dieb.— (?«rm. Leilighed gior Tyve. — Dan. De gele- 
genheid maakt den dief. — Dutch. 

Ni dubh-bhreac a' loch suain ; bidh sàr-bhreac srutha 
a' sior leum. 

The loch-trout sleeps; the prime stream salmon ever leaps. 
Ni e dhiotsa feumannach, 's ni e dhiomsa breugadair. 
He will make of you a tool, and of me a liar. 


M òigear leisg bodach brisg. 
A lazy youth ivill make a brisk old man. 
M robh còta dubli air cealgaire, no còta dearg air 
cladhaire ! 

No black coat cover hypocrite, nor red coat a coioard! 
A toast for Clergy and Army. 

Ni sid feum, 'n uair a ni am poca dubh a cliaidh leis 
an amliainn. 

That ivill be of use, vjhcn the black bag is that went 
with the stream. 

M thu gàire 'n uair a gheabli thu min. 
YoK.'ll sviile ivhcn you get meal. 

This is said to be jiart of a verse composed by John Morrison of 
Bragar to his wife, who was somewhat shrewish — 
Ni thu gàire 'n uair 'gheibh thu min ; 
Is misde do ghean a bhi gun bhiadh ; 
'Us b' fhearr learn fliein na 'n t-each dearg, 
Nach tigeadh fearg ort-sa riamh. 
See Proc. of Scot. Soc. of Ant, Vol. XII., p. 530. 

Nigh' a' mhadaidh air a mhàthair. 

The dog's washing of his dam. 

Nigbean an droch mbairt, 's ogba 'mbairt mbatb. 

The daughter of the bad coiv, the grand-child of the 
good one. 

The meaning probably is, that a good ancestry is more impor- 
tant than a good mother. 

Nigbeanan a' feadaireacbd 'us cearcan a' glaodbaicb. 

Girls ivhistling and hens crowing. 

Two things considered unnatural. See ' Feadaireacbd '. 

Nimb gmn neart, nimli na cuileig, a bbeir fuil air 
a' chraicionn. 

Pithless poison, the fly s bite, that bleeds but the skin. 

The Arabic saying is wiser, ' Despise not a weak man in his 
conversation, for the gnat pierces the lion's eye '. 

Nitear earn mor de cblacbaibb beaga. 

A big cairn is made of little stones. 

NoUaig an diugb, 's Bealltainn am màireacb. 

Christmas to-day and May -day to-morrovx 

This is the result of an ingenious calculation, showing, e.g., that 
if Christmas-day falls on Monday, May-day will be Tuesday. It 
is generally, but not absolutely, correct. 

Obair an doill. 

The work of the blind. 

Obair gun bhuannachd, a' cur sil ann an talamb gun 

Profitless work, sowing in itnmanured ground. 

Obair gun iarraidh, cha deannaiun do cbliamhuinn 
no 'charaid i. 

Work %inasked, I would not do for son-in-law or 

Obair gun iarraidb, is e 'fiach a lochd. 

Work unasked, the hetter the worse. 

Obbyr clyn (gun) oardagh, obbyr dyn booise (bhuidheachas). — 

Obair 'us ath-obair. Work and ivork again. 
Work hastily or ill done. 

Oidhch' am muigh, 'us oidhch' a's tigb, 

Math na caorach, 's olc an eich. 

In to-night, out to-morroiv, 

Good for sheep, but horse's sorrow. 

Oiee mooie, as oiee elley sthie, 

01k son cabbil, agh son kirree mie. — Manx. 

Oidhche Shamhna, theirear gambiia ris na laoigh ; 
Oidhch Fheill-Eoin theirear aighean ris na gamhna. 
On Hallmceen the calf is called a stirk ; 
On St. Johns eve the stirk is called a heifer. 

Oidhche Challuinn, bu math cuilionn 'us calltuinn a 
bhi 'bualadh a cheile. 

On Hogmanay-Night it v)erc good that holly and hazel 
should be striking each other. 

A windy nigbt was considered a good sign of the season. 


01 Mhurcliaidh 'us Fhearchair ; dithis aig iVEurchadh, 
's aig Fearchar a h-aon. 

Murdoch and Farquhars drinking; two to Murdoch, 
one to Farquhar. 

01c mu 'n fhàrdaich, 'us math mu 'n rathad mhor. 

Bad at home, good abroad. 

01c na cuise gu deireadh. 

Leave the disagreeable 2}(irt of the case to the last. 

01c no math mo bhriogais fhein, 's i 's fhearr dhomhsa. 

Be my breeches good or had, my own are the best for me. 

01c no 'mliatli le fear 'g a h-iarraidh, thig i niar 'an 
dèigh an uisge. 

Let it please a man or no, after rain from west 'tivill 

See ' Gaotli niar '. 

Onfhadh na poite bige. 

The raging of the little 2^ot. 

When the pat's fu' it will boil ower. — Scot. 

Oran na bcà maoile — ' tha mi ullamh dhiot.' 

The song of the hornless cow — ' / am done with yon.' 

Gran na circe beadaidh. 

The song of the pert hen. 


Pàidhear e, Diliiain mall. 
It tvill he paid on tardy Monday. 
Same as Nevermas. 

Pàidhidh a' ghaoth niar a' ghaoth near am bliadhua 

The west wind vnll pay the east zvind yet this year. 

Pàidhidli am feamau am fiaracli. 

The tail will pay the grazing. 

Each beast will pay for its feeding with the manure it leaves. 

Paisg mo chaibe, faigh mo ribe, chuala mi ' Gug- 
gùg' 's a' chuan. 

Ftit by my spade, get my rope, I heard the bird's cry 
out at sea. 

This is an Uist or Harris invention, supposed to be spoken 
l)y a St. Kilda man, on hearing the first indication of the coming 
of the birds on which his living chiefly depends. 

Patliadh na caorach ort ! 
The sheep's thirst to thee ! 

This is a bad wish, = death to thee ! The sheep can exist 
without drink, man cannot. 

Peata caillich, piglieid clachain, 'us dalta spiocaid, 
triùir a' s coir a sheachnadh. 

An old wife's pet, a village magpie, and a scrub's step- 
daughter, three to be avoided. 

Peileir a' ghunna bhig 'g a clmr 's a' ghunna mlior. 
TJie bullet of the little gun put into the big gim. 

Phòs mi luid airson a cuid; 
Dli 'fhalbh a' chuid, acli dh'fluvn a'luid. 
/ married a tridl for her gold so fine, 
The gold is gone, but the trull is mine, 


Piseach mhatli ort ! 

Good Inch to thee ! 

Al. Biiaidh 'us piseacli ort ! — Success and luck to thee ! 

The latter is a very favourite expression of good wishes. 

Piòbair an aon pliuirt. 
Tlie piper of the one time. 
Al. Piòbair an aona chuir — The one-har piper. 
It appears tliat at one time there were professing pipers so 
miserably furnished that they could play only the first bar of a 
tune, the repetition of which Avas too much for the most patient 
liuman ears. When the ancient order of Bards fell into disre- 
pute, they used to go about the country in bands, living as best 
they could. Once a band of them came to a farmer's house in 
Islay, where they were liospitably entertained for a week, got 
plenty of dry bread, and a piper to play to them his one tune. 
He happened to be of the one-bar species, and when the bardic 
company departed, their leader (^ Ceann-steòcaire') made the fol- 
lowing impromptu : — 

Piòbaireachd 'us aran tur, 

'S miosa leam na guin a' bhàis ; 

riiir a bhodhair mo dlià chhu is, 

Na cuir piob a suas gu bràth 1 

Piping and dry bread to me 

Are worse than agony of death : 

Thou man who hast deafened m\ 

Never, never pijje again ! 
N.B. — The word 'tur' here is noticeable, as now quite obsolete 
in the sense of dry. The word ' turadh ' = dry weather, is derived 
from it. 

Pògadh an leinil)li air .sgath na lianaltruim. 
Kissing the child for the sake of the nurse. 
See ' Air ghaol '. 

Port ùr air an t-sean fhiodliail. 

A neio time on the old fiddle. 

Posadh thar na li-innearach, 'us goisteachd thar muir. 

Marriage der the midden, sjjonsoi^ship o'er sea. 

Better marry ower the midden than ower the mmr. — Scot. 

Better wed over the mixen than over the moor. — Clieddre. 


Eacliadh e troimli tlioU tora gii ni fhaotainn. 

He would go through an auger-hole to get anything. 

Eacliaiun a thaomadli na fairge dha na'n iarradh e 

I would go to drain the sea for him, if he asked me. 

Eatliad cam thun a' chaisteil. 

A roundabout way to the castle. 

Eathad miiilinn Drongaidh. 

The way to the mill of Dron. 

At. Ratliad mor leathau reidli, rathad muilinn D. — A broad 
level highway, &c. 

There was no made road. 

Eeic e 'pheigliinn-pliisich. 
He sold his luck-'penny. 
Eeodhadli an lodain lain. 
The freezing of the full pool. 

Eeothairt na Feill-Moire, 's boile na Feill-Pàdruig. 
The Spring-tide of Lady-day ; the fury of St. Fatrich's 

High tides and winds occur about these times. 
Ei fheucliainn bi fios agad. 
You'll know when you try. 

Ei fuachd Calluinn, 's math clò ollainn ; 

Ei fuaclid Feill-Bnghde, fogli'naidh cisfheart. 

For New Year cold good is woollen cloth ; 

For Candlemas cold mixed stuff will do. 

Eiaraich am pailteas gu math, 'us riaraichidh a' 
bhochdainn i fhein. 

Divide the plenty tvell, and the scarce will divide itself. 

When there is much, it requires to be carefully distributed, to 
prevent waste or inequality ; where there is little, the division is 
more easy, and there is no danger of waste. 


EìiTlineas an laoi!:^]! fliirinn. 

l'he toiirjlmcss of the hull-calf. 

Einn e baotliaire dheth. 

He made a fool of him. 

Rinn e coileach-dubh dheth. 

He made a black-cock of him. 

He shot him dead. 

This suggests the saying of the bard Iain Loni, when he was 
shown a quantity of black-cocks' heads at Inveraray, and asked, if 
lie had ever seen so many Ì ' Yes,' he said, ' I saw more of them 
at Inverlochy' ; alluding to the slaughter of the Campbells at the 
battle there. 

Al. Rinn e biadh ian deth^ffe made birds' f nod of him. 

Al. Einn e pasgadh na plob air — He doubled him up like a 

Einn e faraiche de'n fharaiche. 

He made a plug of the plug-driver. 

Driving out a plug with another, and that other sticking in its 

Rinn e luath 'us deargannan ann. 

He made ashes and fleas there. 

I.e., he staid there long enough. 

Rinneadh air son toil na cuideachd e, mar 'chaidli an 
tàillear do Pheairt. 

It was done to please the company, as the tailor went 
to Perth. 

Roghainn de 'n chuid a's miosa. 

Choice of the worse part. 

Roghainn de 'n chuid nach fliaigh e. 

Choice of ivhat he will not get. 

Roinn a' mhic ri 'mhàthair. 

The son's sharing with his mother. 

Roinn niic 'us athar. 

The sharing of father and son. 

Roinn Mhic Criiislig air na crùbain. 

MacCruslick's dividing of the crabs. 

He put the contents of the best-looking ones into the worst- 
looking ones, which he afterwards got for himself. 

Roinn na màthar ris a nighinn. 

The mother's sharing with her daughter. 


Euaig coilich air dùnan. 

Putting a cock on a dunghill to fiight. 

Eud-eigin 'an ait an earchaill. 
Something in place of loss. 

Eug bo laogh dlia. A coiv has home him a calf. 

Eug iasg orm. A fish has caught me. 
Said by a person -when seized with a fit of sickness. — Note iiy 
Macintosh. This saying is unintelligible, and not in use. 

Eughadh an leinibli Ilich, rugliadh an teine. 

The bloom of the May child, the Uoom of the fire. 

The 'leanabh Ileach' was a remarkable boy, with a hard step- 
mother, who fed him badly, and heated his face at the fire, when 
she wished to pass him off as a well-fed ruddy child. — See Cuairt- 
ear, 1842, p. 79. 

Eughadh shuas an am laidhe, 

Dh' eireadh Fionn moch 's a' mhadiiinn ; 

Eughadh shuas 's a'mhoch mhaduiun, 

Dheanadh Fionn an ath-chadal. 

With a rosy shj at bed-time, 

Fingal ivould rise early, 

With a rosy sky at daivn. 

He luould take another sleep. 
My ta 'n ghrian jiarg tra giree teh, foddee shin jerkal rish 
fliaghey — If the sun rises hot and red, we may look for a wetting. — 

When it is evening ye say, ' It will be fair weather, for the 
sky is red,' and in the morning, ' It will be foul weather to-day, 
for the sky is red and lowring '. — Matth. xvi., 2, 3. 

Evening red and morning gray 

Are sure signs of a fair day ; 

Evening gray and morning red. 

Sends the poor shepherd home wet to his bed, — Ejig. 

E'ening red and morning gray, 

The taikens o' a bonny day ; 

E'ening gray and morning red, 

Put on yir hat or ye'll weet yir head. — Scot. 

Euigidh an ro-ghiuUachd air an ro-ghalar. 

The best of nursing mxty overcome the worst disease. 

Euigidh dàil dorus. 

Delay will arrive at the door. 


Euigidh each mall muileann, ach feumaidli fear 
fuireacli a bhristeas a clias. 

A slmv horse vjill reach the mill, hut tltc horse that 
breaks his leg must lie still. 

Al. ach bristidh each tuisleach a chas — hut a stumbling horse 
will break his leg. 

Eùisgidh brù bràghad. 

Ulie helly will hare the breast. 

Y bol a bil y cefu. — Welsh. 

Your belly will never let your back be warm. — Eng. 

The back and the belly hands ilka ane busy. — Scot. 

Eùisgeadh e 'thigh fhein a thubhadh tigh a 

He ivould strij) his own house to thatch his neighbour's. 

Euith choin an da fheidh. 

The runniny of the dog that chases tivo deer. 

Losing both. See ' Cti an da fheidh '. 

Euith na caorach caoile Is leathad. 
The lean sheep s run dovm the slope. 
Rhuthr enderig o'r a\\t— The run of the steer from the hill. — Welsh. 

Euithidh an taigeis fliein le bn^thaich. 

Even a haggis %oill run down-hill. 

Strange to say, this does not occur in any of the collections of 
Scottish Proverbs ; l)ut it is quoted, with his usual wonderful 
felicity, by Sir Walter Scott. On the eve of Preston]ians, Evan 
l)hu M'Conibich ( JVaverley, ch. XLVi.) is made to say, 'Even a 
haggis, God bless her ! could charge down-hill '. 

Eiiitliinn air bhàrr an uisge dha. 
/ woidd run a/i the u-aterfor him. 
Eùn caillich gu'n trod i. 
A crone's secret (or delight) is to scold. 
Run caillighe a' sgollaireacht (scolding). — Ir. 

Eùn do chridhe air do chuisle ! 

May your pulse heat as your heart would wish ! 

This is a very pretty saying. 


Sac troin air a' chois chaoil. 
A heavy load on the slender leg. 
A burden imposed on a child. 

Saighdearan a' chlobha. The tongs soldiers. 

A I. Saighdear-sitig — Dunghill-soldier. 

A term contemptuously applied to holiday soldiers. 

Sàil-chuaich 'us bainne ghobhar, 
Snath ri d' agliaidh, 
'S clia'u 'eil niac-righ air domhan, 
Nach bi air do dlieaghaidh. 
Wash thy face with lotion 
Of goat-milk and sweet violets ; 
There's not a king's son in the world 
But will then run after thee. 
This is a solitary specimen of Highland skill in cosmetics. 

Salaichidh aon chaora clilaimheacli an trend. 

One scabbed sheep's enough to spoil a flock. — Eng. 

Salachaidh aon chaora chlamhach sreud. — Ir. 

Ta un cheyrey screbbagh doghaney yn slane shioltane. — Manx. 

Ae scabbit sheep will smit a hail hirsel. — Hcot. 

Eet skabbet Faar fordiier ver en heel Flok. — Dan. 

Grex totus in agris 
Unius scabie cadit.— /wv. 

Una pecora infetta n' ammorba una setta. — Ital. 
II ne faut qu'une brebis galeuse pour gater tout le troupeau. — Fr. 

Sannt gun sonas eirigli an donas dha. 
Luckless greed wont succeed. 

Sannt caillich 's a' chruaicli mhòine. 
An old woman's greed at the peat-stack. 

Saoghal fada 'n deadh bheatha dhut ! 
Length of good life to thee ! 


Saoilidh am fear a bhios 'n a thàmli gur e fliein a 's 
fhearr làmh air a' stiùir. 

The looker-on thinks himself the best steersman. 

De beste stuur-lieden (jnlots) zijn aan land. — JJutch. 

Saoilidli an duin' air mhisg gu'm bi a' h-uile duin' air 
mliisg acli e fhein. 

TJie drunk man thinks all drunk hut himself. 

Saoilidh liradaidli nam bruacli gur gadaichean iiile càcli. 

The thief of the hraes thinks all others thieves. 

Saoileann gaduighe na g-cruach gur slaididh an sluagli. — Ir. 

Piensa el ladron que todos son de su condicion. — iipan. 

O ladrao cuida que todos taes sao. — Port. 

Sàr-dhubh do ghonaidh ort ! 

The worst of hexvitchment to thee ! 

Al. Seun do ghonaidh ort ! 

Sàth mor ainmig do na leanaban firionn, sàth beag 
minig do na leanaban boirionn. 

A large feed seldom for the inale child, a small feed 
often for the female child. 

Seach gun d'thug mi 'n reis, blieir mi 'n oirleach. 

As I have given the span, I'll give the inch. 

Seachain an t-àth far an do bhàthadh do charaid. 

Shun the ford xcher-c your friend ivas droivned. 

Seachain an t-olc 'us seachnaidh an t-olc thu. 

Avoid evil and, it vjill avoid thee. 

Shaghyn dagh oik. — Manx. 

Seachain mo chluas, 's cha bhuail m'adharc. 

Avoid my ear, and my horn will not hit. 

Seachd bliadhna 'an cuimhne na bà, 's gu la a bhàis 
'an cuimhn' an eich. 

Seven years will the coiv keep in mind, all his life the 

The horse rememLers his stable longer than the cow her byre. 

Seachd bliadhna saoghal a' chait ; 
Sin gu h-eibhinn agus ait ; 
Seach sin cadal agus tur-chadal. 
Seven years lives the cat. 
Joyfully and cheerfully. 
All the rest is sleep, sound sleep. 


Seachd bolla 'shneachda Gearrain, 
'Dol as tigli tliroimli aon toll torra. 
Seven lolls of February snow, 
Through an anger-hole to go. 
Considered seasonable weather. See 'Theid cathadh'. 

Seachd seaclidainean bho aois gu has eadar Càisg 
'us Inid. 

Seven weeks always hetween Pasch and Shrove-tide. 
Al. eadar Càisg 'us Nollaig — hetween Pasch and Christmas. 

Seachd sgadain, sàth bradain; seachd bradam, sàth ròiii. 

Seven herring, a salmons feed ; seven salmon, a seal's 

This saying is interesting, as showing that our ancestors wei-e 
well acquainted with the fact that the salmon eats herring, wliicli 
has in modern times been a matter of question and inquiry among 

Seachdain an t-sionnaich, 's bu mhath nach bu 
bhliadlm' i. 

The fox's tveeh, and 'tis well that it is not a year. 

Wythnos y llwynog. — Welsh. 

The first week in lambing-time ; — end of April. 

Seachnaidh duin' a bhràthair, ach cha sheachainn c 

A man may do ivithout a brother, hut not ivithout a 

Lit. may avoid. See ' Is fhearr coimhearsnach '. 

Sealladh àrd na seana mhaighdinn. 

The high look of the old maid. 

Ye breed o' auld maids, ye look heich ! — Scot. 

Seann sgial Earraich. An old Spring story. 
Told in the long nights. 

Searrach na seann làrach cha bhi tighinn-a-mach ann. 

Ail old mare's foal will never come to much. 
See ' Mac bàntraich '. 

Searrach seann òigich cha robh e riabh sgairteil. 
The foal of an old stallion was never vigorous. 

Seasadh gach soitheach air a mhàs fhèin. 

Let every vessel stand on its own bottom. 

Let every tub stiind on its own bottom. — Eng., Scot. 


Seid agus seid an gual, acli st'id gu ruigliinn cruaidli 
an sop ; sin mar theid an tein' a lasadh. 

Blow and hlov: (njain the coal, hut a lonrj, hard hlow to 
the vjisp ; so the Jive will lighted be. 

Seididh aon sròn slialacli an clachan. 

One snotty nose tvill set a whole church a-hlouniifj. 

Seileach allt, calltainn clireag, fearna bhog, Leitlie lag, 
uinnseann an deiseir. 

Willoio of the brook, hazel of the rock, alder of the bog, 
birch of the holloio, ash of the sunny slojye. 

Al. beithe a' cliimic — the birch of the knoll. 

Seo mo cliuid-sa, 's do cliuid fliein ; sid cuid 

This my share and yours ; that for little Donald. 

Once upon a time, when crofters lived at Druim-Uaclidair, in 
Eadenoch, a poor widow at the end of a severe Spring was in great 
straits. Slie went to a neighbour, and begged her, for the love of 
God, to give her as much meal as would make pomdge for herself 
and her children. 'The Devil a grain have I,' said the other 
woman. ' God bless my share, motlier,' said her little boy, who 
was sitting at the hearth. The poor woman went away sore-hearted ; 
and presently there came in to the house she had left no less 
a visitor than the Fear Mor, whose name had just been mentioned. 
He immediately went to the meal-chest, and proceeded to take it 
out in handfuls, two for himself and the mistress of the hduse, one 
for little Donald. The former he put into a sack, the latter he 
left ; and having finished the work, went out, emptied the sack 
into the burn, and disappeared in a cloud of smoke ! 

Sgadan gearr gun mhealag gun iucliair, 's mairg brù a 'n 
teid e. 

Short herring without milt or roe, jiity him that eats. 

Sgal creathaicli, 'us eubli caillich — da ni nacli mair 

The noise of burning brushwood, and the cry of an old 
vjoman, don't last long. 

Sgaraidli aimbeairteas deadh cliomunn. 

Poortith 2Jairts guid compcnj/. — Scot. 

Poverty parteth fellowship. — Eng. 

Sgian an fhir ud sliios 'an tniaill an fhir ud shuas. 
This man's knife in that man's sheath. 


S,rriobair tòn-ri-creig, math air tìr 's diblidh air muir. 

Shore- skipper, good on land, craven at sea. 

A long-sliore skipper makes a lubberly sailor. — Eng. 

Sgoiltidli farmad na creagan. Envy will split rocks. 

Sgoiltidh sùil a' clilach. 

Ail eye can split a stone. 

The evil eye. See note to ' Ceum air do cheum '. 

Sgriach na muice a' dol do 'n iolainn. 

The screech of the sow on her ivay to the stackyard. 

Sgriob Hath an Earraich. 

The gray track of Spring. 

Al. Bheir sgriob ghlas Earraich cairt bharrach Foghair — A 
(jreen Spring will fill the cart in Autuniii. 

Shaoil leis gu'm bu leis fhèin an cuan fo gheasaibh. 

He thought the ocean his own tinder his spells. 

Applied to persons with an overweening or insane idea of their 
own importance. 

Shuidh mosag air a sasaig. 

The scrub sat on her easy chair. 

* Sasag,' or ' sunnag,' an easy chair made of wicker-work and 

Sian fala mu d' shùilean ! 

A shower of blood round thine eyes ! 

Sid a' bhuille aig an stadadh m'athair, arsa nighean 
a' chùbair. 

That's the blovj lohere my father would stop, said the 
coopers daughter. 

A blow too many would set the hoop flying, instead of fixing it. 

Sid mar 'thaghadh Fionn a chù, 
Sùil mar àirneig, cluas mar dhuilleig, 
Uchd mar ghearran, speir mar chorran, 
'S an t-alt-lùthaidh fad' o'n cheann. 
Thus tuoidd Fingal choose his howid, 
Eye like sloe, ear like leaf. 
Chest like horse, hough like sickle. 
And the pith-joint far from head. 

Al. Gnos mar chuaille, ■je^ 

Cluas mar dhuilleach, 

Earball mu 'n speir, 

'S an speir mar chorran. 


Muzzle liìce club, ear like leaf, tail to the hough, and hough like 

This refers to the old Scottish deerhoiind. The English grey- 
hound is thus described in a rhyme given by Ray : 
A head like a snake, a neck like a drake, 
A hack like a beam, a belly like a bream, 
A foot like a cat, a tail like a rat. 

Siod' air cabar, 's bidh e breagh. 

Fut silk Oil a stick, and it will look fine. 

Siol nam pudharan. The seed of injuries. 

Sionnach ag iarraidh a ruagaidli. 

A fox asking to be chased. 

Sireadh caimein 'an cònlaicli, 

Sanas a thoirt do chuaille, 

Duine 'toirt a chomhairle, 

Par nach gabhar uaith i. 

Searcliing for a mote in stravj, 

Hinting to a fool, 

Is the giving of advice 

Where it is not taken. 
Sireadh sop 'an connalaich. 
Searching for a ivisp in stuhhlc. 
Sith do d' anam, 'us clacli air do chàrn ! 
Peace to thy soul, and a stone on thy cairn ! 
Siubhal a' chait a chaidh do 'n eas dhut ! 
The way of the cat that %vent to the waterfall to you ! 
Siubhal Artair ort ! Arthurs Journey to you ! 
Siubhal Mhurcbaidh bho 'n bhothan ort ! 
Miirdoch's way from the bothy to you I 
Siubhal na Samhna dha ! 
Let him go like Halloinnas ! 

Never to come back. The two preceding sayings have the 
same meaning. Can Arthur mean the king ? 

Slàn far an innsear e ! 
May it be v:ell where it is told ! 

The word '.slàn,' healthy, whole, is here used elliptically, 
without a verb. 

Slaodadh an arain anns a' bhrochan. 
Trailing the bread in the gruel. 


Slèibhte riabhach nam ban bòidheach. 
Ilìissct Sleat of pretty women. 
See ' Clachan an t-Srath '. 

Slioclid nan sionnach, Clann Mliàrtainn, 

The race of the foxes, Clan Martin. 

The fox is sometimes called 'An gille-Màrtainn '. 

Slìog am bodach 'us sgròbaidli e thu, buail am bodacli 
's thig e gu d' làimh. 

Stroke the churl, and he will scratch you, strike him, 
ami he ivill come to your hand. 

If you gently touch a nettle, 
It will sting you for your pains ; 
Grasp it like a man of mettle, 
It as soft as silk remains. 

Smiaran dubba 's an Fhaoilleach, 'us uibbean fliaoileag 
a's t-Earrach. 

BramUe-herries in February, and sea-gidl eggs in Spring. 
Things out of season. 

Sniomhaidh tigbearna fearna tuatbanach daraicb. 

An alder lord will twist an oak tenant. 

Al. Toinnidh an t-uachdaran fearna an t-iochdaran daraich. 

Alder is soft wood, of comparatively small value. The story 
of the man who was encouraged by his wife to ' gang up and be 
hangit, to please the laird,' may be taken as an illustration of 
this saying from the 'good old times'. Somewhat similar pres- 
sure is still exercised occasionally in modern times. 

Socraicbidb am pòsadb an gaol. 
Marrying sobers love. 

Sonas a cbodacb air a' bbial fbarsuinn. 

The wide mouth's happiness in its food. 

Sop as gacb seid. 

A wisp from every truss. 

Applied to any miscellaneous collection or farrago. 

Soraidb leat fbein, acb mollacbd aig bial d' ionnsacb- 

Messing on yourself, but curse he on your teacher ! 

Spagadagliog Cblann-Dònuill agus leòm Leatbaineach. 

MacDonald sivagger and, MacLean airs. 

Al. Spagadagliog Chlann-Illeathain. See ' An t-uasal '. 


Sradag a' ghobha, tlia i duilich a bathadh. 

The smith's spark is hard to quench. 

The smith has aye a spark in his throat. — ficot 

Sròn clio biorach 's gun tugadh i biadh a faocliag. 

A nose so sharp that it toould pick a periwinkle. 

Sròn ri monadh. Nose hill-iuard. 

'Nez retrousse'. Applied to persons easily ofFended, — 'nosey'. 

Stiùbhartaich, cinne nan righ 's nan ceard. 

The Stcivarts, the race of kings and of tinkers. 

Stewart is a very common name among tinkers, often adopted 
for the sake of the supposed respectability it conferred. 

Stoc suiridhche. A v-ooers Uock. 

In Lochaber a block of old bog-pine was sometimes kept, as a 
test of skill and patience in chopi^iug wood, for young men 
coming a-courting. 

Suas a' luideag ! — 's e 'n duine an t-aodach. 
U'p loith the rar/ ! — the dress is the man. 
'S e an t-èadach a ghni an duine. — Ir. 
See ' Ged nach e 'n duine '. 

Suas leis a' cbuigeil bharraich ! 's ioma la fada gu 

Up tvith the loaded distaff! there's many a lonrj day 
till May-day. 

Supposed to be the language of procrastination. 

Suidli gu h-iosal, 'us diol gu h-uasal. 

Sit louiy, and pay nohly. 

Suidli' an deigh eiridh a' chuid a's miosa de 'n cheilidh. 

Sitting after rising, the xoorst p'nrt of gossijnng. 

Suidhe a gheòidh 'an dorus tigh an t-sionnaich. 

The sitting of the goose at the fox's door. 

Suidhe bochd 'an tigh na h-airce. 

A poor seat in the house of want. 

Sùil a' chait air sionian. 

A cat's gaze at a straio-ropc. 

This is applied to the bestowal of much attention on trifles, 

Sùil mu 'n t-sròin. Eye to nose. 

This is the vnobpa Ibùiv of Homer, describing a haughty dis- 
dainful look, eye downward to nose. 

Suipeir gliabhail soillse la oidhch' Fheill-Brighde ; 
Dol a laidhe soillse la oidhch' Fheill-Pàdruig. 


On St. Bride's eve supper witli daylight. 
On St. Patrick's, led hy daylight. 
Al. Suipeir 'an soillse la, mach o la Fheill-Brighde, 
Laidhe 'n soillse la, mach o la Flieill-Pàdruig. 

Suiridlie fada bho'n tigh, 's pòsadh 'am bun au doruis. 
Courting far from home, and marrying next door. 
Al. Suiridhe air na h-aonaichean, 'us posadh aig a' bhaile. 
Wooing o'er the moor, and marrying at home. 
See 'Pùsadh'. 

Sùlairean sgìre na h-Uidb, 's muinntir aoidbeach nan 

The solan-geese of Uy, and the hospitaUe follcs of Lochs. 

Two neighbouring parishes in the island of Lewis, the former 
of which is now called Stornoway, a great station for herring- 
fishery and fish-curing — hence the allusion to solan-geese. 

Suit searraicb air a leis. 

A foal's fat is on his quarter. 

Surd air Suaineard ! cbaidb Aird-nam-Murcbann a 

Stir thee, Simart ! Ardnamiirchan is done for. 
Two neighbouring districts in Argyllshire. The saying is used 
as a spur to emulation in work. 


Tacliraidli d' fliiadh fbein riut. 

Your oivn deer tvill come in your way. 

Tagh do bhean mar a 's math lent do cldann. 

Choose your wife as you xvish your children to he. 

Tagh do bhean 's i 'n a currachd-oidhche. 

Choose your wife loith her night-cap on. 

Tagh do chainnt. Choose your speech. (Be civil.) 

Tagh do chomhkiadar mu'n tagh thii d' òl. 

Choose your company before you choose your drink. 

Al. Tagh do cliuitlcachd mu'n tagh thi; do dheoch. Al. Tagli 
do chonipanaeh mu'n suidh thu — Choose your companion before yoti 
sit down. Choose thy company before thy drink. — Eng. 

Tagh nighean na deadh mhàthar, ged a b' e 'n donas a 
b' athair dhi. 

Choose the good mothers daughter, ivere the devil her 

Taghlaidh bo a h-ath-bliuaile mur h-olc an innis. 

A coio will re-visit her fold, if the pasture he not had. 

Tàillear a clironachadh tàilleir. 

Set a tailor to check a tailor. 

Tàirneanach 'an deigh uòine, tàirneanach an toraidh 
mhoir ; 

Tàirneanach roimli noine, tàirneanach gort' 'us fuachd. 

Thunder in the afternoon, the thunder of plenty ; 

Thunder in the forenoon, the thunder of want and cold. 

Tàirnidh gach neach ri 'choltas. 

Like draios to like. 

See ' Druididh,' and ' Is ionmhuinn '. 

Taisg bonn, 'us cosg bonn, 's bidh tu sona; taisg bonn, 
's na cosg bonn, 's bidh tu dona. 

Save a coin and spend a coin, and you'll he happy ; 
save a coin and spend none, and you'll he wretched. 


Talacli a' gliille ghlic, 'g a itheadh 's 'g a chàineadh. 
The wise lad's grumbling — eating it and abusing it. 
Al. Talach a' ghille ghlic — gabh na gheabh, 'ii3 iarr an còrr. 
The wise lad's grumbling— take what you get, and ask for vwre. 

Talach air mèud a chuibhrinn. 
Complaining of the greatness of his portion. 
Al. Talach 'wnWnich— Complaining of his load. 
Not uncommon among people bloated with wealth. 

Tàlaidhidh am biadh fiadli na beinne. 

Food will entice the mountain deer. 

Al. an t-ian athair — the bird from the sky. 

See ' Càtaichidh ' and ' Meallaidh '. 

'Taomadh na mara làine. Baling out the full tide. 

Tapan gòraig air cuigeal criontaig. 

The silly ones tuft of wool on the thrifty one's distaff. 

Tarruing am bleidir' ort, 's bidh e oidhch' agad. 

Encourage the sorner, and you'll have a night of him. 

Al. Taghladh am bleidire, 's bidh an oidhch' ann. 

The beggar takes care to call at evening. 

Tatha mhor nan tonn, bheir i sgriob 16m air Peairt. 

Great hillowy Tag tvill siveep Perth bare. 

This was an old prophecy, fulfilled more than once. 

See ' Dh' fhalbh Peairt '. 

Tàthadh goirid a' ghobha, agus tàthadh leobhar an 

The short welding of the smith ; the long joining of the 

Te gheal bho fhear gu fear; te odhar 'an dorus a 

A fair one goes from man to man ; a dun one stands 
at her oioii barn door. 

This is a suggestion that the plain woman will make a better 
wife. See'Natagh'. 

Teanga fhada 'n ceann Dhonuill fhidhleir. 

A long tongue in Donald fiddler's head. 

Teanga cho geur ri ealtuinn. 

A tongue as sharp as a razor. 

Teannaich do chrios gus am faigh thu biadh. 

Tighten yoiir belt till you get food. 

This is a known practice of American Indians. 


Teine cliaoran 'us gaol ghiullan, 

Fire of peats and love of boys. 

Not of long endurance. 

Teirigidh Cruachan Beann, gun dad a dliol ri 'clieami. 

JBen Cruachan will waste away, if nothing be added 
to it. 

A I. Theirigeadh Cruachan Beann, le 'bhi sior tlioirt as, gun dad 
idir 'g a chur ann. 

Teirigidh gach ni ri 'chaitheamh. 

Everything will end with wasting. 

Teisteanas a' choimhearsnaich air gacli neach. 

A neighbour's testimony is the test of everybody. 

A I. Teist a nàbaidli. 

Teodhaidh feòil ri fine, ged nach deòin le duine. 

Flesh will warm to Idn, against a mans will. 

Al. Teodhaidh an t'huil ris an ihxui— Blood warms to blood. 

See ' Is tighe ''. 

The sentinieni and the double rhyme here are equally pretty. 

Tha am air an achmhasan, a's tràth air a' cheilidli. 
There's a time for rebuke, and a time for gossiping. 
To everything there is a season. — Eccl. iii. 1. 
Amser i fwyd, aniser i olychwyd — A time for meat, and a time 
for prayer. Fob peth yn ei amser — Everything in its time. — Welsh. 

Tha aon chas na 's leòr do 'n fhirinn, ach tuitidh a' 
bhriag le 'tri. 

One foot is enough for truth, hut a lie falls %vith three. 

See ' Imridh briag '. 

Tha aon saighead as a bhalg. 

There is one arrow out of his quiver. 

Tha bial gun fhàitheam draghaiL 

A hemless mouth is troublesome. 

Tha 'bhial air a ghualainn. 

His tongue is on his shoulder. 

Wearing his heart iipon his .sleeve ; the opposite of ' teanga fo 
'chrios,' tongue under belt. 

Tha 'bhioran air a bharran daonnan. 
His stick is cdU'Ciys on its point. 
Always on the move, and fidgetting about. 
Tha blàth do chodach ort. 
You look like your food. 


Tha 'bhlàth ort nach 'eil dad agad air. 
You look as if he owed you nothing. 

'Tha 'bhuil,' ars' am breabadair, 's a bhean air a 
mliuiii. i' 

' I'he effect is seen,' said the weaver, with his wife on the 
top of him. 

He had apparently given in rather too much to his better half. 

' Tha biadh 'us ceòl 'an seo/ mu'n dubhairt a' madadh- 
ruadh, 's e 'ruith air falbh leis a' phiob. 

' There's meat and music here', as the fox said, ivhen he 
ran away with the itagpipe. 

If there were nothing else to show the humour of our Celtic 
ancestors, this saying would. 

Tha caitheamh ann 'us caomhnadh, 's tha caomhnadh 
ann 'us caitheamh. 

There is a spending and a saving ; a saving and a 

There is that scattereth and yet increaseth. — Prov. xi. 24. 

Al. Tha caitheamh sona agus caitheamh dona ann. 

lliere is a happy spending and an unhappy spending. 

Tha car eil' air ruidhl' a' bhodaich. 
TJieres another turn in the old man's reel. 
Ta lane chyndaaghyn ayns carr y phoosee — There are many 
turns in the marriage tune. — Manx. 

Tha car eile 'an adharc an daimh. 

Tiiere's another twist in the ox's horn. 

An imaginative traveller gave an account of a wonderful ox. 
whose horns reached the sky when he lay down. On being asked 
' What became of the horns when the ox stood up ?' he gave this 

Tha 'cheann eadar a' chliatb 's an ursainn. 
His head is hetiveen the door and the side-post. 
' In Chancery.' ' In a fix.' 

Tha 'chomhachag ri bròn, thig tuiltean òirnn. 
The oivl is mourning, rain is coming. 

Tha 'chomhairle 'n a cheann fliein. 
His counsel is in his own head. 
Tha chridhe 'mireag ris. 
His heart is merry-making. 


Tlia claimh mo chaorach fhein air. 

He has the scab of 7ny own sheep. 

Tha cuibheas air a h-uile rud, gu niig òl a' bhrocliain. 

There s a measure for everything — to the drinking of 

Al. d! chki\—ofkail. 

Mae dogii ar bob peth. — Welsh. 

When moderately used it our lives does prolong. 

The Kail Brose of Old Scotland. 

Tha currachd air a' bheinn ; sid an t-uisge 'tighinn. 
The mountain has a cap on ; that's the rain coming. 
When Cheviot ye see put on his cap 
Of rain ye'U have a -wee bit drap. — Enrj., Scot. 

Tha da bhall dubh air an adaig, 's earball fad' air a' 

The haddock has two black spots, and the whiting a long 

Tha da thaobh air bean a' bliaile. 

The farmer s wife has tivo sides. 

Al. Tha da thaobh air bean a' bhàillidh, 's da thaobh air bat' an 
aisig — The factor's wife has two sides, and so has the ferry-boat. 

Al. Tha da thaobh air a' mhaoil (or rudh a' chuain) — The head- 
land has two sides. 

Al. Tha caoin 'us ascaoin air — He has a soft and a hard side. 

Tha deargann 'n a osan. He has a flea in his stocking. 

A flea in the ear. — Eng. 

Tha dlùth glic ann, agus inneach gòrach. 

He has wise warp, but foolish wocf 

Said of one who is wiser than he seems. 

Tha do dhà chrann air do bhois. 
Your two lots are on your palm. 
Tha e air a ghearran guanach. 
He is on his flighty horse. 
Said of a restless person. 

Tha e cho fileanta ri bard. He is as fluent as a hard. 
Tha e gu math, ach na tarruing fhiasag. 
He is well, but don't pidl his beard. 
Tha e mar a bha cat Mhic-Aoidh — fhathast 's an 

He is like Mackays cat — still in the flesh. 


Tim e 'n geall na 's fhiach e. 
He is pledged foi' tvlmt lies ivorth. 
Said of one in great danger. 

Tha e nis air fòid na firinne. 
He is now on the sod of truth. 
He is dead. 

Tha e nis air sliglie na firinne. 
He is now on the ivay of truth. 

Ta se nois a staid na firinne, agus sinne air staid na brèige — 
He is now in the state of truth, and we of falsehood. — Ir. 
He is dying. 

Tha e 'ruith air an rud a gheabh e. 
He is running on tohat hell get. 
Al. air 'aimlileas— o?i his hurt; air salachar — on foul ground. 

Tha esan na Iain feadh an t-saoghail, mar a bha e 

He is John all over the world, as he ever was. 

lann eo, lann e yo— John he is, John he will he. — Breton. 

Tha fear ann a leigeas a mhaidean le sruth. 

Tliere is one that lets his tvood go with the stream. 

Tha 'fhàgail fhein aig gach neach. 

Everyone has his fate. 

Lit. his abandonment — left to himself. 

Tha 'fhortan fhein air Mac-Cuaradh, biodh e cruaidh 
no biodh e bog. 

MacQuarrie has his own luck, whether it he hard or 
soft. _ 

This refers to the ancient chiefs of Ulva's isle. 

Tha fios aig an Inch nach 'eil an cat a's tigh. 

Well knows the mouse that the cat's not in the house. 

Pei y gath fyddai gartref, gwaeth 'd fyddai — Were the cat at 
home, it were worse for you. — Welsh. 

An uair fhàgas na cait am baile, biann na luchògaidh a rince 
(dancing). — Ir. 

When the cat is away, the mice may play. — Eng. 

Absent le chat, les souris dansent. — Fr. 

Quando la gatta non è in casa, i topi ballano. — Itai. 

Vanse los gatos, y estienderse los ratos. — Span. 

Wenn die Katze ausser dem Hause ist, tanzen die Mause. — 

Als de kat slaapt, spelen de muizen. — Dutch. 

Naar Katten er borte, lobe Musene paa Boenken. — Dan. 


Tha fios aige c' àite 'bheil na miica-mara 'breith. 

Re knoivs where, the tvhales breed. 

Said of one who pretends to knowledge of everything. 

Tha fios aige cia mèud a ni coig. 
He knoivs hov) many make Jive. 

Ta fios aige ca mheud gràinne pùnair a ghnidh cùig— S'e knows 
how many beans make five. — Ir. 

Tha tios fithich agad. 

You have a raven's knoioledge. 

That is?, knowledge more than is natural. The raven was 
believed to possess supernatural knowledge, and of coming events 
in particular. This was also the Norse belief. Odin was said to 
have two ravens, which communicated everything to him. 

Tha fuasgladh a cheiste aige fhein. 
He has the solving of his own question. 

Tha fuil feidh ort, 's cha tu fhein a mharbh e. 
There is dcers blood on you, and you did not kill it 

Tha fuil ghointe 'n a cheann. 
He lias bewitched blood in his head. 
Said of a person who seems infatuated. 
Al. sùil ghointe — a bewitched eye. 

Tha fuil mo mhuic-sa cheart cho meith ri fuil do 

The blood of my pig is just as rieh as the blood of yoicrs. 

Tha gu leòr cho math ri cuilm. 
Enough is as good as a feast. — Ung., Scot. 
Ni helaethrwydd heb ddigon — No abundance without enough. — 

Genoeg is even zoo goed als een feest. — Dutch. 

Tha 'h-uile duine coir gun 'fheuchainn. 
Every man is good till he's tried. 

This was the ground taken on a remarkable occasion by the 
Enemy of Mankind. — See Job I. 

Tha h-uile fear 'n a leomhan air a chuid fhein. 
Every man is a lion over u-hat's his own. 
See ' Is dàna'. 

The word in Macintosh is not ' a chuid,' but ' a cheaird,' which 
was probably a mistake. 


Tha i cho math air sniomhadh ris a' bhana-Ghrèugaicli. 
She is as good at spinning as the Greek woman. 
This seems to refer to Penelope. 

Tha iad air bhòrdaibh mora, 's air thubhailtean geala. 
They are at big tables, with white table-cloths. 
Al. air Ijhòrcl niòr, 's air àrd onoir, 'am broilleacha bùtha— «( 
hig table and high honour, in the very centre of the booth. 

Said of ' upsetting ' little people, getting among good company. 

Tha iad cho mor aig a cheile ri da cheann eich. 
They are as thiek as two horse heads. 
Tha iad fad' air roinne nach urrainn leanailt. 
They are far behind that cannot pursue. 
'Air roinne' is an old phrase, equivalent to 'air deireadh,' 
generally obsolete, but still used in Tiree. 

Tha da ian bheag 's a' choill ud thall, 's their an dara 
fear ris an fhear eile, ' 'S toigh learn thu, 's toigh learn 
thu'; 's their am fear eile, 'Dearbh sin, dearbh sin'. 

There are two little birds in yonder wood, and the one 
says to the otJier, ' I like yoic, I like you' ; and the other 
says, ' Prove it, jjrove it '. 

This is an imitation of the chirping of birds, but with a moral 

Tha làrach buain-fhòid air an athar, ni e latha math 
am màireach. 

There's the mark of turf-clearing in the sky, 'twill be 
fine to-morrow. 

This is a graphic description of a break among cirro-stratus 

Tha losgadh a chorraig 'n a chuimhne. 

ITe remembers the bxirning of his finger. 

Tha maragan 'us bantraichean ri 'n gabhail anns an teas. 

Puddings and widows must be taken lohile they're hot. 

There are coarser English and Scottish versions of this saying. 

Tha 'mheòir an deigh na sgait. 

His fingers are after the skate. 

Said of a bad piper. The saying originated with a young piper, 
who was being instructed at the Piper's College, at Boreraig in 
Skye. Having got skate to dinner one day, which he did not 
approve of, and playing afterwards indifferently, he was asked 
what was -wTong with him. 'The skate sticks to my fingers,' 
was his reply. 


Tha mi na 's eòlaiche air coille, na 'blii fo eagal na 

/ ain more accustomed to a wood than to he afraid of 
an owl. 

I have lived too near a wood to be frightened by owls. — Eng. 

Tha mise clio mor as mo phoca 's a tlia esan as a bhalg. 

1 am as proud of my poke as he is of his hag. 

Tha 'n an-shocair 's an t-an-fhacal aige. 

He hears the skaith and the scorn. 

Tha 'n cat 's an luath, thig frasan fuar. 

The cat's in the ashes, it's going to rain. 

Tha 'n clamhan gobhlach 'n am measg. 

The fork-tailed kite is among them. 

Tha 'n deala 'snàmh, thig frasan blath roimh fheasgar. 

The leech is swimming ; warm shoivers will come ere 

Tha 'n duine ionraic ionraic eadar bhun 'us bhàrr. 

The upright is iipright from head to foot. 

Tha 'n eubh a'm' chluais ; gu'n gleidheadh Dia na' s 
caomh leam ! 

The cry is in my ear; God keep all who are dear to me! 

A plaintive sound ringing in one's ear was considered a presage 
of death or calamity. 

Tha 'n seillean fo dhion ; thig gaillionn 'us sian. 
The bee keeps close ; a storm is at hand. 
Tha 'n t-àm cur anns na maidean. 
It is time to he starting. 

Lit. It is time to put (motion) into the stichs, i.e., the oars. This 
is a Tiree phrase. 

Tha 'n t-iasg 's a' chuan mar 'tha 'n sluagh air tir. 

The fish in the sea like lis mortals he. 

Easily taken with bait, and generally going in shoals. 

Tha 'n tigh dorcha, ach an cridhe soilleir. 
The house is dark, hut the heart is Iright. 
Tha 'n t-lm gann 's an Olaint. 
Butter is scarce in Holland. 

Said when anything is scarce where usually abundant. This 
saying probably originated with some Dugald Dalgetty. 


Tha 'n t-òlach ann an cliabh. 
The mad fellow is in a creel (strait-jacket). 
M 'Alpine (Diet.) says this is applied to people who have bad 
Gaelic ! 

Tha 'n t-seamrag a' pasgadh a còmlidaich, roimli 
thuiltean dòirteach. 

The shamrock is folding its garments 'before, heavy rain. 

Tha 'n uaill an aghaidh na tairbhe. 
Pride is ojoposed to jirofit. 

The translation of this in the 2nd Ed. of Macintosh is ' Pride 
is in the bull's front ' ! 

Tha 'n uaill 'n a bleidire cho mor ris an easbhuidh, 
agiis ro mhoran na 's uaibhriche. 

Pride is as importunate as poverty, and much more 

Tha 'n uaisle mar a chumar i. 

Nobility is as it's kept up. 

Tha 'n uchdach goirid ged 'tha 'n eallach trom. 

The brae is short, though the load be heavy. 

Tha na brògan 'an ceann shios an tigh-mhòiue. 

The shoes are in the far end of the peat-house. 

When the peats are done, people must put on their shoes, as 
they can't warm their feet any more at the fire. 

Tha rathad làimh ris an rathad mhor. 
There s another road near the highway. 

Tha rionnach air an athar, bidh latha math am 
màireach ann. 

There's a mackerel-sky, 'twill be fine to-morrow. 

Tha sin aig coin a' bhaile. 

The toion {or farm) dogs know that. 

Aeth hyny ar gym a phabau — That is gone upon horns and 
pipes. — Welsh. It has become the talk of the town. 

Tha sin sgrlobht' 'am bathais a' chait. 

That's written in the cat's forehead. 

Tha sinne mar a dh'fhaodas sinn, 's cha'n 'eil an righ 
fliein mar bii mliath leis. 

We are as best we may, and the king himself is not as 
he would wish to be. 


Tha 'snuiideag fhein 'an ceann gach fòid. 

Every peat-end has its own smoke. 
Tha 'smùdan fèin a ceann gach fòid, 
Is dòruinn ceangailt ris gach math. — D. Buchanan. 

Ys id ar bawb ei bryder — To every one is his care. — Welsh. 

Tha e 's a' chuicleachd, mar 'blia cù luideach a' clieaird. 
He is in the comimny, like the tinker's shaggy dog. 

Tha taobli dubh 's taobh geal air, mar 'bha air bàta 
Mhic Iain Ghearr. 

He has a white side and a Hack side, like the boat 
of Short John's son. 

Mac Iain Ghearr (or Ghlorr)'s proper name was Archibald 
MacDonell. See 'Ged is fada'. He was a noted reaver, and 
followed a known practice of pirates in having his^boat and sails 
of different colours on each side. See Teachdaire tlr, Jan., 1836, 
p. 5?. 

Tha teas an teine *n a luirgnean. 

The heat of the fire is in his legs. 

Said of a ' cat griosaich,' one too fond of the fireside. 

Al. Tha teas na luaithre 'n an lurgann, or, a' d' labhran. 

Said of people going hastily from the hearth on business. 

Tha 'thapadh air teang' an Eirionnaich, ach 's ann 
an dèigh làimh 'tha n Gaidheal glic. 

The Irishmaii's loit is on his tongue, hut the Gad is 
wise after the time. 

Cha vel y Vanninagh dy bragh creeney, dys y laa lurg y vargee 
— The Manxman is never wise till the day after the fair. — Manx. 

A Scotsman is aye wise ahint the hand. — Scot. 

Tha thu cho lùrdanach ris a' bhalgaire bheag. 
You are as sly as the little fox. 

Tha thu cho sona 's ged a robh clach 'ad chabaig. 
You are as happy as if your cheese weighed a stone. 

Tha thu ro mhear — b'fheairrd' thu pòsadh. 

You are too merry — yoio ought to marry. 

The alliteration in English was too good to be avoided, but it 
is right to say, that ' mear ' in the original may mean more than 

Tha thusa 'sin fhathast, 's do bhial fo do shròin. 
You are still there, with your mouth under yoicr nose. 


Tha thusa mar bha thu 'n uiridh, 's ged bhiodh tu 
na b'fhearr, clia b'uilear. 

You are as you ivcre last year, and if you ivcre better, it 
would he no more than ivas needed. 

Tha togail do bliothain fhein ort. 

You have the up-hringing of your hothy. 

Said to an ill-mannered person. 

Tha tri faobhair air lurga caillich, 'us bòrd-urchair air 
a taobh. 

An old woman's ley has three edges,andher side a gunwale. 

Tha tri la luchair 's an Fhaoilleach, 's tri la Faoillich 
's an luchar. 

There arc three of the Dog-days in February, and three 
February days in the Dog-days. 

Tha tuille 's a phaidir aige. 

He knoivs more than his paternoster. 

°Ta nios mo na pliaidireacha aige. — Ir. 

Al. Tha 'chreidimh catharra {= cathedra) aige. He has his 
pater and creed. It has been heard as an objection to a man's evi- 
dence being allowed, that he hadn't his ' creidimh catharra '. 

Tha naisle fo thiiinn 'an Clann Lachain. 

There is a hidden nobleness in the MacLachlans. 

Tha uiread de aiumeannan air ris an naosg. 

Me has as many names as the snipe. 

The snipe is known under many names, e.g., Naosg, gobhar- 
adhair, meannan-adhair, croman-lòin, butagochd, eun-ghurag. 

Thachair a bhràthair mor rie. 

He has met his big brother. 

Thachair an cat riut air bàrr na stairsnich. 

You met the cat on the threshold. 

The cat was considered an ill-omened creature. 

Thachair cleas tuath an droch thighearna dhaibh. 

The trick of the bad landlord's tenants befell them. 

Thachair ludh an uinnsinn fhiadhaich dha ; cinnidh e 
gu math, ach millidh e 'chraobh a bhios an taice ris. 

The way of the wild ash befell him; it groivs well, but 
kills the tree that's near it. 

Thàinig gille gu Mac-a-leisg. 

Mac-Lazy has got a servant. 

Said when a lazy messenger is saved the trouble of going on an 
errand, by the coming of another messenger. 


Thàinig caoraich Gheansaidh a' raoir, s' dh' ith iad e. 

The Guernsey sheep came last night and ate it. 

Said of anything that has mysteriously disappeared, or that 
never existed. ' Caoraich Gheansaidh' is applied to any imaginary 
creatures. The saying is Hebridean, but the origin of it is un- 
known. Guernsey potatoes used to be known in Skye. 

Thàinig ialtag a steach, bidh frasan a macli air ball. 
A bat has come in, it's going to rain. 

Theab 's clia d' rinu, cù 's miosa 'bha riamh 's an 

Almost, hut didn't, the ivorst dog in the Flngalian pack. 

Theagamli gu'n tig do blio gu m' bliuaile-sa fhathast. 
Perhaps your eovj may come to my fold yet. 
Wha wats wha may keep sheep anither day. — Scot. 
Theid an fheala-dhà gu feala-tri. 
The joTce may end in earnest. 
See ' Is trie a chaidh'. 

Theid an leanabli a dholaidh eadar a mliuime 's a 

Between his nurse and his motlier, the child unit he sjwiled. 

Theid an sannt o.s cionn na h-aithne. 

Greed zvill overcome acquaintanceship. 

Theid an t-annmhunn dichiollach thar an làidir leisg. 

The diligent weak will heat the lazy strong. 

Theid an t-eòlas thar a' chàirdeas. 

Acquaintance goes heyond relationship. 

See ' Is f heart caraid '. 

Theid barail an duine ghlic faisg do 'n fhirinn. 

The wise mans opinion toill go near the truth. 

Theid cathadh Earraich troimh bhòrd daraich. 

Spring snow-drift loill go through an oaken door. 

Theid dubhag ri dualchas. 

The svmrthy girl takes after her hlood. 

At. Theid cuilean ri dualchas. 

Theid duine gu bàs air sgàth a nàire. 

A man vnll die to save his honour. . 

See ' Is beù duine '. 


Theid dùthclias an aghaidh nan creag. 

Nature will ivithstand the rocks. 

This might be rendered, ' Blood against everything,' an intensely 
Highland sentiment, expressive of the feeling known as 'clan- 
nishness '. 

Theid molt dhetli 'n fhear chadalach, 'us mart dheth 'n 
fhear clieilidheach. 

The sleepy man will lose a wcdder, the gad-about a cow. 

The loss of the lazy man is small compared with that of the 

Theid neart thair ceart. 

Might ivill prevail over right. 

Theid seòltachd thar spionoadh. 

Cunning heats strength. 

Oni byddi gryf, bydd gyfrwys — If thou art not strong., he cun ■ 
ning. — IFelsh. 

Theid trian daltachd ri goistidheachd. 

j4 third of fostership goes to sponsorship. 

This means that the bond to a foster-father is three times as 
strong as that to a godfather. 

Their gach fear ' Ochoin, mi fhein !' 

Every one cries ' Alas for me !' 

Thig a' mharcachd 's na h-eich mhora leo fhein. 

Riding coines naturally to full-grown horses. 

Applied to hereditary tendencies. 

Thig an fhirinn a mach le tubaist. 

Truth comes out hy accident. 

Thig an itheadh air an imlich. 

Eating comes of licking. 

Thig an t-acras na 's trice na aon nair. 

Hunger comes oftener than once. 

Thig an donas ri 'iomradh. 

Evil comes hy talking of it. 

Al. Thig an t-olc ri 'iomradh. 

Speak o' the Deil, and he'll appear.— Scot. Talk of the Devil, 
and see his horns. — Eiig. 

Als men van den duivel spreekt, dan rammelt reeds zijn geb- 
eente (you hear his bones rattle). — Dutch. 

When you speak of the wolf, prepare the stick for him. — Arab. 

Wann mann den Wolf nennt, so kommt er gerennt. — Germ. 

Quand on parle du loup, on en voit la queue. — Fr. 


Thig dànadas gu drocli oilean. 

Boldness leads to had manners. 

Nimia familiaritas contemptum parit. — Lat. 

Too much familiarity l.ireeds contempt. — Eng. 

La mucha familiaridad engendra menosprecio. — Span. 

A muita conversa9ao he causa de menos pre50. — Port. 

Thig Dia re aire, 's cha 'n aire an iiair a thig. 

God comes in distress, and distress goes ivlien lie comes. 

Man's extremity is God's opportunity. 

Thig eairleigeadh air an righ. 

Exigencies come on kings. 

Thig fear an t-saoghail fhad' as gach càs. 

The man of long life vnll come out of every trouhle. 

See ' Fear an t-saoghail f hada '. 

Thig fear na h-iarraidh gun sireadh, ach fear na fiach 
cha tig idir. 

The man that wants comes unashcd ; the man that oives 
comes not at all. 

■thig baothachd, thig boile, thig 

Every ill comes with age — silliness, raving, death. 

See * Is ioma leannan '. 

Thig innleachd ri aimbeart. Want breeds ingenuity. 

'EvpÌTis apa sctti Xoyicr/xo)!/ 17 àvayKj]. — Gr. (Heliodorus). Neces- 
sity is the mother of invention. — Eng. Nècessitè est mere 
d'invention. — Fr. Need maks a man o' craft. — Scot. Noth lehrt 
Kunste. — Germ. De armoede is de moeder van alle kuusten. — 

Thig iomad olc a aon ole. Many ills flow from one. 

AlKT] èÌKr]V €TIKT€, Kol ^\dj3T]l> ^Xà^ì). Gt. 

Litem parit lis, noxa item noxam serit. — Lat. 

Thig la a' choin duibh fhathast. 

Tlie black dog's day will yet come. 

In olden times, MacPhie of Colonsay had a great black hound, 
of which it was predicted that it would never do but one day's 
good service. It grew up an idle useless animal, but its master 
resisted all proposals to have it given away or killed. The day 
came when it did noble service for its master, though it could not 
save his life. 

Thig Latha-Nollaig. Christmas-day will come. 
Said of persons long of coming. 


Tliig math a mulad, 's thig sonas a suaimlmeas. 
Good comes of sadness, and happiness from quietness. 
It is better to go to the house of mouriiing than to go to the 
house of feasting.— EccL. vii. 2. 

Thig nòs do mhàthar as do shròin. 
Your mothers first milk will come out of your nose. 
Al. Thig sin as do shròin, 's theid an cràdhadh ìnnte. 
Thcd will come out of your nose, and pain will go into it. 
These are threats or predictions of chastisement. 

Thig ri latha nach tig ri linn. 

There ivill come in a day what won't in an age. 

Al. Tliig rud ri am {or nine) nach tig ri aimsir. 

Al. Thig ri aon uair rud nach tig ri dhà dhiag. 

Accidit in puncto, quod non contingit in anno. — Lat. 

Accasca in un punto quel che non accasca in cento anni. — Ital. 

To (f)€p€i fj <opa, xpovos 8èv rà (pepet. — Mod. Gr. 

II advient souvent en im jour ce qui n' advient en cent ans. — Fr. 

It happeth in one hour, that happeth not in seven years. — Eìig. 

Thig sgrios air àlach na mollachd. 

Destruction shall come on the cursed brood. 

The seed of the wicked shall be cut off. — Psalm xxxvii. 28. 

Thigeadh dha fhein a bhi 'n a oighre, an ti a shireas 
air gach aon neach. 

It would ivell hecome him to he an heir, who begs from 

Thiginn gu d' choimhead ged bhiodh tu ag còmhnuidh 
an cos creige. 

I would come to see you, though yoic lived in a rock-cave. 

Thilg e 'n cearcal-màis. He has cast the bottom-hoop. 
He has thrown off all restraint. 

Thoir bean a Ifrinn, 's bheir i dh' a tigh fhein thu. 
If you take a wife from Hell, she'll take you home ivith 

Al. bheir i rithist ann thu — she'll bring you back there. 

Thoir dhonih comith. Let me share your food. 

Thoir do 'ghu-robh-math' do'n choileach. 

Give your thanks to the cock. 

A recommendation of early rising. Gu'n robh math agaibh, 
good be with you ( = thank you), is the ordinary addition to a reply 
to ' How do you do ì ' 


Thoir do pliatliadh do'n allt, mar a ni an cù. 
Quench your thirst from the stream, as the dog does. 
An excellenl motto for Temperance Societies. 

Thoir ian a nead glan. 

Take a bird out of a clean nest. 

Choose a wife of good parents. See ' Pus nigliean '. 

Thoir leat a' bho do 'n chaisteal, 's theid i dhachaidh 
do'n bhàthaich. 

Take the cow to the castle, and shell go home to the byre. 

Ca' a coo to the ha', and she'll rin to the byre. — Scot. 

An ox remains an ox, even when driven to Vienna. — Hungar. 

Thoir òirleach do 'n bhalach, 's gabhaibh e 'n reis. 

Give the impiident fellow an inch, and hell take an ell. 

Gie a carl yir finger, and he'll tak' yir haill hand. — Scot. 

Thoir spid do d' charaid ; 's ann air do mhuirichinn 
fhein a laidheas e. 

Throio reproach on your kinsman ; it will rest on your 

A very good and wise advice : clannishness in its commendable 

Thoir thusa nuas an rionnag sin, 's bheir mise nuas an 
rionnag eile, ars' an duine beag ris an duine mhor. 

Bring you down that star, and I'll bring down another, 
as the little man said to the big man. 

Thug e breab 's a' bhuaraich. 
He kicked in the shackles. 
Buarach = cow-fetter. 

Thug e 'cheann fo'n choille. 

He betook him to the wood. 

Al. Thug e 'choille fo 'cheann. 

A common thing in olden times for outlaws or men in peril. 

Thug iad aghaidh am buill 's an caman air. 

TJiey turned all their force against him. 

Lit. turned their balls and shinty clubs on him. 

Thuigeadh mo sheanmhair sin, 's bha i da linn air a 

My grandmother could understand that, and she was 
two generations behind. 


Thuit a dlià làimh ri' thaobh. 
Both his hands fell at his sides. 
A case of total collapse. 

Thuit an Tarbh-coill' orra. 

The forest-lndl fell on them. 

Macintosh says this means, that a misfortune befell them. The 
' tarbh-coiir was a dark cloud, which, if seen on New Year's eve, 
portended a dark and stormy season. The ideas connected with 
this ' Tarbli-coille ' and the ' Dàir na coille ' (q^.v.) remind of the 
' genitabilis aura ' of Lucretius. 

Thuit an tubaist air an Dùghlas. 

Mishap has fallen on the Douglas. 

This saying applies to more than one of the great house of 
Douglas, as may be seen by those who read Home of Godscrofts 
delightful history. 

Tigh a thubhadh gun a shiomaineachadh, saothair 

Thatching a hoxtse loithout roping it, vain labour. 

Tigh do sheanar dhut ! 

Your grandfather's dwelling to you ! 

Tigh Eoghain mhic Iain bhuidhe dhut ! 
The house of Ewen son of yellow John to you ! 

Tigh gun chù, gun chat, gun leanabh beag, tigh gun 
ghean, gun ghàire. 

A house without dog, without cat, without child, a house 
ivithout cheerfidness or laughter. 

A I. gun cheùl-gaire. 

This pretty proverb appears to be purely native. 

Tigh òsda, muileann, 'us ceardach, na tii àitean a's 
fhearr air son naigheachd. 

An inn, a mill, and a smithy, the three best places for 

Tinneas-feachd. Army-sickness. 
Sickness on the day of battle, = cowardice. 

Tinneas nan Dònullach. The MacDonald sickness. 

Armstrong (Diet., p. 297) says this was a kind of pulmonary 
affection called ' glacach'. It is said that the family of the Lords 
of the Isles received a charm from some shipwrecked foreigner to 
whom they showed kindness, by which they could heal this com- 
plaint. A ' duan ' was repeated over the patient, wlio was tlien 


touclied M-ith the right hand. In the following rhpne this healing 
gift is alluded to : — 

Mor Dhonnllaich Shleibhte, 

D' an geilleadh an galar, 

Teichidh Glacach an eig, 

'S theid as da gu h-ealanih. 

Tiodhlac na cloinne bige, 'g a tlioirt 's 'g a gLraJ- 

The little children's gift, given and soon ashed hack. 

O' bairns' gdfts ne'er be fain ; nae siiner they gie but they seek 
it again. — Scot. 

Tabhartas Ui-Nèill, 's a dhà shìiil 'n a à\\ti\^\—0'NeilVs gift, 
and his tv:o eyes after it. — Ir. 

Tionailidh maoin maoin ; agus tionailidli fiachan 

Wealth draws wealth, and debt draws debt. 
Tir nam Beann, 's nan Gleann, 's nan Gaisgeach. 
The land of Mountains, Glens, and Heroes. 
This is a favourite motto and toast. Another version is, 
Tir nan gleann, 's nam beann, 's nam breacan. 
The land of glens, and hens, and tartans. 

Tiugainn, ars' an Pàgli; Fuirich, gus am faod, ars' 
a' Gliaoth. 

Come av:ay, said the King; Wait till you mag, said 
the Wiiul 

Tiugli no tana, 's math teth e. 

TJiick or thin, it's good hot. 

Togaidh an obair an fhianais. 

TJie work will bear witness. 

Togar earn mor de chlachan beaga. 

A big cairn may be raised of small stones. 

Toiseacli agus deireadh na sine, clachan mine meallain. 

TJie beginning and end of the rain-storm, small hailstones. 

Toiseacli na coille, 'us deireadh na feithe. 

Go first through the v:ood, and last through the bog. 

Tosach coille a's deire mona. — Ir. 

A wise practical advice. 

Toiseach teachd 'us deireadh falbh. 

First to come, and last to go. 

The motto of Gaul Mac Morn. See Gillies's ' Sean Dana,' p. 


Toradh math 's a' cliiiid eile ! 

/ wish you good of the remainder ! 

An expression of thanks, when one has received part of anything. 

Toradh na feudalach gun am faicinn. 

TJie fruit of the cattle that have not been seen. 

Tràth bhios tuar a' dol as air na gobhair, cha bheir iad 
ach buic. 

When the goats die out, they bring forth only bucks. 

Treabhaidh na daoidhean, 's cha dean na saoidhean 
ach treabhadh. 

Tiie ivickcd till, and the good can hut till. 

He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and 
sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. — Matth. v. 45. 

Treabhaidh an treabhaiche math fearann an amhlair. 
The good ploughman will plough the land of the fool. 
The wise and able will, in the natural course of things, take 
the place of the incapable. 

Treas donas a' ghille-ghnothaich, a bhi fada 'muigh 
gun dad fhaotainn. 

The third vice of the message-lad, to he long away and 
hring hack nothing. 

Treas sonas mhic an tuathanaich, nighean air a' chiad 

The third good-luck of the farmers son, a daughter for 
his eldest child. 

Treubhach a muigh, agus meadhrach a's tigh. 

Brave abroad, and cheery at home. 

The Highland type of a man of the right sort. 

Treubhantas an duine bhig — fead 'us fuaim. 
The small mans valour, a whistle and a noise. 

Tri aois coin, aois eich ; 

Tri aois eich, aois duine ; 

Tri aois duine, aois feidh ; 

Tri aois feidh, aois firein ; 

Tri aois firein, aois craoibh-dharaich. 

Thrice dog's age, age of horse ; 

Thrice horses age, age of man ; 

Thrice man's age, age of deer ; 

Thrice deer's age, age of eagle ; 
Thrice eagle's age, age of oak. 

There are stories told of deer attributing ante-diluvian age to 
them ; but that here said of the eagle has not even such authority. 

Tri mollachdan an tuathanaicb, an Taoitear Sàileach, 
reodhadh Ceitein, 'us ceo luchair. 

The teruant's three curses, the Tutor of Kintail, May 
frost, and July fog. 

This is a Kintail saying, referring presumably to Sir Eoderick 
Mackenzie, Tutor of Kintail during the minority of his nephew, 
the first Earl of Seaforth. He ruled with a rod of iron, and made 
himself detestable to the tenantry. 

Tri rudan a's mios' a rinn duine riabh — eirigh bho 
'bhiadh gun altacbadh ; eirigb bbo 'mhnaoi fhein gu 
mnaoi fir eile ; 's eirigb bbo Aifrinn gun a h-eisdeacbd. 

Three of tlie vjorst things man ever did — to rise from 
food without grace ; to rise from his own wife to another 
man's ; to rise from Mass vnthout listening. 

Tri rudan cbo fuar 's a tb' ann, glùn fir, adbarc mairt, 
'us sròn coin. 

Three of the coldest things, a mans knee, a coio's horn, 
and a dog's nose. 

Tri subbailcean a' Bbàird — ciocras coin gu Ian a 
bbronn' ; fios fitliicb a' ruitb gu ròic ; tart fritbir gu 
Ò1 a dbràm. 

Three gifts of the Bard — the dog's hunger for a feed ; 
a ravens bidding to a feast ; an impatient mans thirst 
for his dram. 

This is not very ancient, nor very true. But it did apply, and 
does, to some men calling themselves Bards, and passing for such 
with the ignorant. 

Triùir a tbig gun ian^aidb — Gaol, Eud, 'us Eagal. 

Three that come unhidden — Love, Jealousy, and Fear. 

Trod a' bbodaicb ris a' cbeatbairn. 

The old man's scolding of the caterans. 

Very ineffectual — like some protests that have been seen in 
modern times against military invasions and grand spoliations. 

Trod a' mbeasain 's a cbùl ri balla. 

The larking of the lap-dog with his lack to a wall. 

Ye're like the dowgs o' Duuragit, ye winna bark unless ye hae 
vir hinner end to the wa'. — Hcot. See ' Is dàna cuilean '. 


Trod chàirdean, 'us sìth naimhdean, dà rud nach coir 
feairt a tlioirt orra. 

Tlic scolding of friends, and the peace of enemies, tv^o 
things not to he regarded. 

Trod nam ban mu'n sgarbli, 's an sgarbh a muigh air 
an loch. 

The scolding of the tvives ahout the scart, and the scart 
out on the loch. 

Like disposing of tlie hare before it's caught. 

Trodaidh na builg fhalamh. 
Empty bladders make a noise. 
See ' Is labhar '. 

Tromb gun teanga. A trump ivithout a tongue. 
' Trump ' is Scotch for ' Jew's harp '. 

Tuarasdal a' cheaird — pàidheadh roimli laimh. 
The tinker's wages — piaid beforehand. 
In other words, money thrown away. 

Tuarasdal na circe, Ian a sgròbain. 
The hen's ivages, her crop-full. 
Tubliadh na h-àtha air a' mhuilinn. 
The thatch of the kihi on the mill. 
Tir the kiln to thack the mill. — Scot. 
Robbing Peter to pay Paul. 

Tuig thus' an t-eathar, 's tuigidh an t-eathar thù. 

Understand the boat, and the boat will understand you. 

An excellent Hebridean saying. A boat, a horse, a man or 
woman, can be managed only by one who understands them, and 
whom they will understand accordingly. 

Tuigidh bean bean eile. 

One woman understands another woman. 

They generally do so better than men. 

Tuigidli CÙ a chionta. A dog knows when he does wrong. 

Tuigidh e rud 'am broinn snip. 

Hell understand a thing hid in a vnsp. 

He'll understand a hint conveyed in some trivial shape. 

Tuigidh fear-leughaidh leth-fhacal. 

A reading man will understand half a word. 

One word is enough for the wise. — Arab. 

Verbum sat sapienti. — Lat. 


Tuigidh na bailbh a chèile. 

Tlie dumb understand each other. 

Tuigidli na geòidh fhein a cheile. 

Even the geese understand each other. 

Tuilleadh air a' chàrnan. 

More upon the little cairn. 

Tuireadh a rèir an fhiiinn. 

Lameiit according to the tune. 

Tuislicliidh an t-each ceithir-chasacli. 

The four-footed horse may stumble. 

Gheibh bèathach clieithre g-cos tuisleadh. — Ir. 

A horse wi' four feet may snapper by a time. — Scot. 

A horse stumbles that hath four legs. — Eng. 

Anco il cavallo si stanca, sebben ha quattro piedi. — Ital. 

Een paard met vier pooten struikelt wel. — Dutch. 

II n y a cheval si bon qui ne bronche. — Fr. 

Tuiteam eadar long 'us làimhrig. 

Falling between ship and landing-place, 

Tuitidli a' chraobh a bhithear a' sior shnaidheadh. 

The tree that is constantly hewed at will fall. 

Tuitidh cliabh gun iris, 's theid a' bhriag do h-ionad 

A ropeless creel will fall, and the lie will go to its own 

Tuitidh ton eadar dha chathair, agus tigheadas eadar 
dha mhuinntir. 

Scat comes do^vn betiveen tuio chairs, and housekeep- 
ing between two families. 

Turns nam ban thun a' bhaistidh. 

The wives' journey to the christening. 


Uaisle gun cliuid, 'us maragan gun gheir. 
Birth ivithout means, mul puddings without suet. 
Al. Clag mu cliuaille, bean-uasal fhalamh. 
A cudgel hung with bells, a lady without means. 

Ubh aig eireig, 's bean aig sgalaig. 

A young hen with an egg, and a farm-servant with a 

Creatures with a sense of their superior importance, in respect 
of what they have achieved. 

An addition sometimes given is, ' Breid air sean-nighinn, 's i 'g 
a shìor-chàradh — An old maid ivith a head-dress, continually getting 

Ubh gun im gun salann, 'an ceann sheachd bliadhna 
tliig a glialar. 

Ail egg without butter or salt will breed a disease after 
seven years. 

See ' Aran 'us uibhean '. 

Ubh na circe 'dol a shireadh ubh a' gheòidh. 

The hen-egg going to seek the goose-egg. 

The hen's egg gaes to the ha' to bring the guse's egg awa. — Scot. 

' Spoken when poor people give small gifts to be doubly repaid.' 
— Kelly. 

Al. Ubh na circe duinne 'dol do'n tigh-mhor, gun ubh a' 
gheòidh a thoirt as. 

The brown hen's egg going to the big house, without bringing back 
the goose-egg. 

Uidh air n-uidh thig an t-slàinte, 's 'n a tonna mor' an 

By degrees comes health, hut in great waves comes sick- 

Al. Muin air mhuin thig an easlamte, ach uidh air n-uidh 
thig an t-slàinte. 


Uilleadh ua bà am mach 's a steach, miir leigliis sin 
an Gàidheal, clia 'n 'eil a leigheas ann. 

The oil of the cow, without and ivithin, if that won't 
heal the Gael, there's no cure for him. 

Al. Uraireachd na bà — The fat of the cov\ 

Milk, cream, butter, neat-foot oil, are all included. 

Uir, ùir, air sùil Odhrain ! mu'n labhair e tuille còmh- 

Earth, earth on OrarCs eye ! lest he talk more. 
The story to which this saying is supposed to refer is, that at the 
time of founding his religious establishment at lona, St. Columba 
received divine intimation that one of his companions must be 
buried alive, as a sacrifice necessary to the success of the under- 
taking, and tliat St. Oran offered himself, and was duly interred. 
On the third day St. Columba went and opened the grave, to see 
how his friend fared. Presently Oran raised his eyes, and uttered 
these words, 

Cha 'n 'eil am bàs 'n a iongantas, 
No Ifrinn mar a dh' aithrisear. 
Death is no wonder, nor is Hell as it is said. 
The story goes that St. Columba, shocked by such sentiments, 
exclaimed in the words above given, and covered up St. Oran 
again as fast as possible. 

The above is the substance of a quotation given by Macintosh, 
in a note on this saying, but without naming the author. A 
better version of Oran's words, got from Tiree, is 

Cha 'n 'eil an t-Eug 'n a annas, 

'S cha 'n 'eil Ifrinn mar a dubhrar ; 

Cha teid math am mugh, 

'S cha bhi olc gun dioladh. 

Death is nothing strange, 

Nor Hell as has been said ; 

Good will not perish, 

Nor evil be unpunithed. 
It was part of this tradition, that Oran used to dispute with 
Columba about the torments of the future, and entertained laxer 

The story of St. Oran's burial appears first in the old Irish life 
of St. Columba, of which Mr. Skene gives a translation by Mr. W. 
M. Hennessey at the end of Vol. II. of his Celtic Scotland, and of 
which the original was printed for the first time by Mr. Whitley 
Stokes in his Three Middle Irish Homilies. It is as follows, — 
' Colum Cille then said to his people, ' It is well for us that our 
roots should go under ground here ' ; and he said to them, ' It is 
permitted to you that some one of you go under the earth of this 
island to consecrate it '. Odran rose up readily, and thus he said, 


' If thou wouldst accept me,' he said, ' I am ready for that '. ' 
Odran,' said Cohim Cille, ' thereof thou shalt have the reward, 
viz., to none shall his request be granted at my grave unless from 
thee he seek it first.' Odran then went to heaven. He then 
founded the church of Hii.' There is no mention here, or in any 
other writing, of the strange event of the third day. 

Oran is not even named by Adamnan ; nor is he included in 
the oldest list of the twelve companions of Columba. The Oran 
after whom Re'ilig Odhrain, Oran's burial-place, is named, is 
designated ' Abbot ' by Angus the Culdee, and his death is re- 
corded in the Annals of the Four Masters in the year 548, i.e., 
fifteen years before Columba came to Scotland. The result is, 
that the above curious story and saying are left without a par- 
ticle of historical foundation. As an invention, however, they 
are both interesting and instructive. 

Uisge beatha 'blialaich mlioir, òlamaid gun taiiig e. 

The great churl's ivhisky, let us drink it, and no thanks 
to him. 

This is the only proverb in all the present collection in which 
whisky is mentioned ; and it is not an old one. 

Uisge donn ua duilleig; uisge dubli nam friamli, 's 
uisge glas a' Cheitein, tri uisgeaclian a's mios' a th' ann. 

The brown rain at the fall of the leaf ; the black rain at 
the springing of roots; and the gray rain of May; the 
three worst of waters. 

Of a quite different import is another similar saying, Uisge 
donn na duillich, tha e ro-mhath do na fearaibh òg — The brown 
rain of the foliage is very good for young men. 

Uisge mor a sgaoileas ceo. 
Heavy rain scatters mist. 
See ' Gaoth tuath '. 

Uisge teth bbo'n bliuain, 's uisge fuar blio 'n àr. 
Hot loater after reaping, cold xoater after ploughing. 
Al. bho 'n chrann. 

For washing ; hot water in warm weather, cold water in Spring ; 
very sensible advice. 

Urchair a' mhaodail air a' blirochan. 
The paunclis hit at the porridge. 
Urchair an doill mu'n dabhaich. 
The blind mans shot at the tub. 

Al. Mar 'thilg an dall a phloc— ^s the blind man threw his 

Mai dall yn tawlu eiffon. — Welsh. 


According to a certain story, Dabliach was the name of Ossian's 
wife, and the blind old bard one day, provoked by something, 
threw a deer's bone at her, and missed. — See Campbell's Leabhar 
na Feinne, p. 38. 

Umuigh an diugli, 's briagan am màireich. 
Prayers to-day, and lies to-morrow. 

Urnuigh maraiche re stoirm. 
A sailor's 'prayer in a storm. 
Passato il pericolo, gabbato il santo. — Hal. 
See Rabelais, B. IV., c. 19, Of Panurge and Friar John in the 

Urram a' bhleidire do 'n stràcair. 
The sneak's deference to the svMgcjcnr. 



Out of a number of proverbs and phrases, got too late 
for insertion in their alphabetical places, or omitted, the 
following have been selected : — 

A' cur bruic a 'ladhran. 7^ 

Kicking badgers out of his heels^— ^ cf"<^') 
Said of one in a great rage. 
A' cur a' sgileam air a' sgoileam. 
Making a noise about a trifle. 

This is a specimen of unmeaning words used to express something. 
A mhic a' chait d'am bu dual am bainne òl ! 
Son of the cat, born to drink milk ! 
Air a' ghabhail sin fhein. 
On that footing, be it so. 

Am fear a bbios trie 'an gàbhadh, theid a bhàtbadh uair-eigin. 
The man who often is in danger will be some day drowned. 
This is undoubtedly Hebridean. 
Am fear a chriomas, ionnlaideadh. 
Let him that picks wash. 
He that soils his fingers must clean himself. 
Am fear a 's mo a gheabb, 's e a's mù a dh' iarras. 
He that gets most will ask most. 

An dubh-liatb cuid an amadain, 's a' sgamhan cuid na b-òinnsicli. 
The spleen the fool's part, the lights the silly womxin's. 
An rud a bbios sàmhach cba chluinn na lucbain e. 
What is silent the mice won't hear. 
An rud a tbeid 's a' bhrù, theid a shùgh do na casan. 
What goes into the belly sends its sap to the feet. 
An taobh a bheir thusa do chùl, na 'm bu tig an t-aon la a 
bheir tbu t-agbaidb ! 

Where you turn your back, may you never turn your face ! 
An uair a tbig rlgb ùr, thig lagb ùr. 
When a new king comes, new laws come. 

Anail a' Ghàidheil — air a' mhuUacli. 

The Gael's breathing-place — on the the summit. 

Right up Ben Lomond could he press, 

And not a sob his toil confess. — Scott. 

Aon la 's-t-Earrach, naoiilh a's t-Fhoghar. 
One day in Spring, nine in Autumn, 

Bainne nan gobliar fo cliobliar 's e blàth, 's e chuir a' spionnadh 
's na daoine a bha. 

Goat milk foaming and warm, that gave their strength to our 

Baobh sam bith a ni guidhe, far an teoth' an gaol, 's ann a's 
truim' am buille. 

IVhen a wicked woman curses, where the love is hottest, there the 
blow is heaviest. 

Barail a' bhruic air a ladhran, barail bhochd. 

The badger's opinion of his own claws, a poor opinion. 

Bbeireadh e gàir' air gamhainn. 

It icould make a stirk laugh. 

Bhrist tbu air gàradh an t-sagairt. 

You have broken the priesVs wall. 

Said to children when they lose teeth in their seventh year, at 
which time they are supposed in the Roman Church to become re- 

Bodachan beag 'an taobh tigb' a mhna. 

A little old body at the side of his xoife's house. 

Breac a' mhuiltein air an athar ; la math am màireach. 

A dappled sky to-day ; a good day to-morrow. 

Caib air no dbeth, cum do chas air a' sgonnan. 

Iron on or off, keep your foot on the peg. 

The ' caib ' of the old crooked spade, ' cas-chrom,' was the iron with 
which it was pointed ; the ' sgonnan ' was the peg on which the right 
foot was pressed. The meaning is, ' Keep working, even with a defec- 
tive implement'. 

Carraig Pliàidein fo na brìdich. 

Pat's rock under pigmies. 

This is a Tiree saying, probably of Irish origin, applied to anything 
venerable under foot of the unworthy. The Rev. Mr. Campbell, 
from whom I got it, says that Pàidein is the diminutive of Pàdruig, 
and = Pat or Paddy, whence MacFadyen. But he knows no place of 
the name of ' Carraig Phàidein,' neither do I. Can it possibly refer to 
' Creag-Phàdruig ' near Inverness ? Another version, however, makes 
it 'Carraig-Fhearguis,' Carrickfergus. a well known place. 

Cha b'fhearr a' clireacb air an d'fhuair. 

The spoil by ivhich it teas got was no better. 

Said when a tenant comes to grief in land taken unmercifully from 


Cha blii cuimlm' air an aran nacli fhan anns a' sgòrnan. 

The bread is forgot that passes the throat. 

Cha bhi 'trod acli an cuid aodaich. 

Only their clothes will quarrel. 

Cha bhòrd bòrd gun aran, ach 's bòrd aran leis fliein. 

A table sans bread is no table, but bread is a table itself. 

Cha chuniadh an Righ snaoisean ris a' ghaoith. 

The King himself couldn't keep the wind in snuff. 

Cha chumar cas bheò 'am balg. 

Living legs can't be kept in bags. 

This ' dubh-fhacal ' seems to refer to the same thing as ' Cha do 
(huir thn do dha chois fhathast 's an aou osan — Yoic haven't yet put 
both your legs in one hose, = shroud. 

Cha dean làmh ghlan eòrna. 

Clean hand won't make barley. 

Cha do chailleadh bàta riamh, 's i 'giulan nan seol. 

A boat was never lost that carried her sail. 

Cha do loisg duine riamh a thigh roimh 'n chreich ach aon 
diiine, 's ghabh e aithreachas. 

None ever burnt his house before the foray but one, and he repented. 

The anticipated foray never came ! 

Cha d' rug fear na caithris riamh air fear na moch-eiridh. 

The night-watcher never overtook the early-riser. 

Cha leasachadh air droch obair-latha bhi fada gim tòiseachadh. 

It's no mending of a bad day's work to be long of beginning. 

At. gun sgur — without stopping. 

Cha mhair a' ghrian mhaidne re an latlia. 

The morning sun won't last all day. 

Clia 'n aithnichinn e ged thachradh e 'n am bhrochan orm. 

I shouldn't know him if I met him in my gruel. 

Cha 'n ann de mo chuideachd thii, cha 'n ann de mo chuideachd 
thù, ars an cobuan. 

You are not of my flock, not of my flock, said the dove. 

This is a pretty imitation of the cooing of a dove. 

Cha 'n 'eil bradan gun a leth-bhreac. 

There's no salmon without peer. 

Anglers sometimes need to be reminded of this. 

Cha 'n 'eil earbsa sa bith ri 'chur anns na h-Eileanaich. 

There is no trust to be put in the Islanders. 

A Lorn saying, originating probably in the difficulty of Islanders, 
who had to depend on the weather, in keeping their engagements. 

Cha 'n 'eil fhios c6 a's glice, fear a chaomhnas na fear a 

None can say which is iviscr, he that saves or he that spends. 


Cha 'n fhiach òrdngh oidhche. 

Night orders are not good. 

This is of the same sense as ' Day will bring counsel '. There are 
old legends of hunters and others, who wished for their loves at night, 
and were visited by Fairy women or vampires, and killed. 

Cha robh corca math riamh gun slilolman. 
No good oats ever were vntJwut refuse. 

Cha robh cron air ach an cron a bli' air Fionn. 
He had no fault but that of Fingal. 

Fingal's one fault was that he was only 8 feet high, while all the 
rest of his comrades were taller. 

Cha robh molach nach ro sona. 
None was hairy but was happy. 
See ' Cha bhi sonas air bus 16m '. 
Cha sheas càirdeas air a' leth-chois. 
Friendship ivonH stand on one leg. 

Cbc tugadh cu gearr earball as nat. 

A tail-less dog wouldn't take his tail from, you. 

Said of very sharp people. 

Chaidh tu gu Dunbheagain orm. 

You went to the extreme with me. 

Lit. to Dunvegan. A Lochaber saying. 

Cbo fileanta ri uileann fidhleir. 

As tuneful as a fiddler's elbow. 

Clann Diarmaid nam busa dubha, cuiribh riu 'us beireabb orra. 

The black-mouthed MacDiarmids, go at them and catch them. 

This probably refers to the MacDiarmids of Glen Lyon. 

Clann Fhionghain nam faochag. 

The Mackinnons of wilks. 

A common nickname in Skye. This surname is usually written 
•Mac lonmhuinn,' founded on a pretty but fanciful etymology, A 
more probable derivation traces the clan to one called Fingan. 

Cnàmhan a' chinn-agbairt. 
The pillor-head gnawing. 
A curtain lecture. 

Coin bhadbail 'us clann dbaoin' eile. 
Stray dogs and other people's children. 

Coltacb ri casag Iain Ruaidh Bhuidhe, gun cliuinadh gun 

Like yellow red John's coat, without shape or elegance. 

Crann a reir a' bhàta. 
A mast to suit the boat. 


Dail-na-cille, 's Dail-a-ghlinne, 's Dail mhòr Chrònaig, 'n uair 
'tlieid sin a threabhadh, tlieid a' gliort a Cinn-a'-Ghearr-Loch. 

iJalnakill, Dalglen, and great Lkdchronaig ; when these are 
ploughed, there will be no more dearth in Kingairloch. 

Three sequestered and uncultivated spots in Kingairloch. The 
saying points to a state of things counuon in olden times, but which 
now, happily, need not be feared. 

Dean suidhe, 'thàiUeir ; 's dean snidlie, 'thuairnear ; suidheadli 
each mar a's deise ; suidhidh raise ri taobh an leisteir. 

Sit down, tailor ; sit down, turner ; let the rest sit as is best ; I'll 
sit beside the arrow-maker. 

In the Preface to Ronald Macdonald's Collection of Songs, a more 
imperfect version of this proverb is given, as an illustration of the 
fatherly hospitality of Highland lairds to their dependents. 

Dh'itheadh daoine na cniaclian, ach thigeadh lad suas air na 

People could eat the big stacks, but they could do with the little ones. 

Ditliis a gheabh fois a nochd, raise 's an t-each ban, mu'n 
dubhairt a' bhean 'n uair a chual i ran bhàs a fir. 

2\-o tiled win have peace to-night, myself and the white horse, as 
the woman said when she heard of her husband's death. 

Duin' a sheasadh an gràpa 'n a dhiinan. 

A man in whose dungidll the fork would stand. 

A man of substance. 

Eireachdas mnathan Loch-Obha, am breid odliar a thionndadh. 
The elegance of the Loch Awe women, turning the dun clout 
inside out. 

A Lorn saying. 

Facal ann, a Mhaigbstir Iain, 's am Brngh a' lionadh. 

Get on, Mr. John, the channel is filling. 

The Rev. John McLean was minister of Kilninian (see p. 190) in 
Mull, including Ulva and Gometra. These islands are separated by a 
narrow channel called the 'Brugh,' which is passable on foot except at 
high water. Mr. M. was preaching at Gometra, and the beadle re- 
minded him in the above words, proverbial in Mull, that it Wiis time 
to be winding up. 

Far am bi cairbhean crainnichidh coin. 
Where carcases are dogs will gather. 

Fear eil' air son Eachainn ! 

Another for Hector ! 

Said at the battle of Inverkeithing, 1652, in reference to the chief 
of the Mac Leans, Hector Roy of Duart, who was killed there, with 
hundreds of liis clan. — Ciiairtear, 1842, pp. 96-7. Sir Walter uses 
this saying in his description of the Clan fight in the Fair Maid of 


Fear farumach, 's e cothromach ; ceann 'us casan math aige ; 
'iLS gun a mliàthair beò. 

A man of energy, and well-to-do; with good head and good legs ; 
and his mother not alive. 

The Lochaber ' beau-ideal ' of an ' eligible ' man. 

' Farumach ' expresses the cheerful stir made by a man whose foot 
will have 'music in't as he gaes up the stair '. 

Foghnaidh feur nach d' fhns do 'n laooh nach d' rugadli. 

Grass that hasn't grown will suit the unborn calf. 

Gabh an latha math as a thoiseach. 

Take the good day early. 

Gabh eolas Eudh-a'-bhàird air. 

Take it like the Bard's Point. 

Avoid it. This is a Lewis saying. 

Gàire ri do mhi-chiatadh. 

Laughing at your shame. 

Ge b'e ghoideadh an t-ubh ghoideadh e 'chearc, nam faodadli e. 

Who would steal the egg would steal the hen. 

Ge b' oil leis a' mhnaoi, tha 'n cota saoibhir. 

In spite of the wife, the coat is unstinted. 

A Lochaber saying. The goodwife, W'ho made the cloth, wished to 
scrimp the measure, in the spirit of ' Tak yir auld cloak aboot ye.' 

Ge bu don' an saor bu mhath a shliseag, mu'n dubhairt bean 
an t-saoir 'n uair a chaochail e. 

Though bad was the carpenter, good was his chip, as his wife said 
when he died. 

Ged a gheabhteadh duin air chùir, cha bu choir a shàruchadh. 

A good man should not be overtaxed. 

If thy friend be honey, do not eat him aW.—Airtb. 

Ged is don' an Donas, their a chothrom fhein da. 

Give the Devil his due. 

Al. Thoir a dhlighe fhein do 'n Donas, ged is don' a choir air. 

Is ann 'an casan coin a bhios 'earaL 

A dog's caution is in his legs. 

Is breagh cuid ceaird dhith. 

The jeweller's part of her is fine. 

Said of a woman more adorned without than within. 

Is cruaidh an cnoc air nach criomadh e. 

It's a hard hill where he couldn't get picking. 

Is cuagach ceartas an eucoirich. 

The justice of the unjust is twisted. 

Is e dh' itheas moran am fear nach fhaigh ach beagan. 

He will eat much who gets little. 

Is e 'n duine 'n t-aodach, 's cha 'n i 'cholainn bhriagach. 

The clothes are the man, not the lying body. 


Is e farmad a ni treabliadli, 's e cùmhstri a ni buain. 

emulation ploughs and rivalry reaps. 

Is fhada bliios duine triall, far nacli miann leis a dhol. 

A man goes slowly where lie doesn't wish. 

Is fhada Diiineideann bho 'n fhear 'tha 'g eirigli 's a' Stòir. 

Edinburgh is far from the man who rises at Steer. 

Stoer is a parish in the west of Sutherland. 

Is fhearr an cumadair na 'n cronadair. 

The maker is tetter than the critic. 

Is fhearr aon sine bheò na da bhoin mharbh. 

One living teat is better than tivo dead cows. 

A I. na da làmhaig— ^/tan. two axes. The axe was the weapon with 
which the cow was killed. 

Is ioniadh ' thuirt ' 'us ' thairt ' a bhios 'an tigh an tuathanaich. 

Many are the ' on dits ' in the cottage. 

Is luaithe aon chù a' ruith na dhà dhiag 'g a 

One dog fleeing is swifter than tivelve pursuing. 

Is luaithe cù na 'chuideachd. 

A dog goes before his company. 

Al. Cuiridh cù e fhèin air thoiseach. 

Said of forward ill-mannered persons. 

Is mairg a threigeadh an tuath, 's nacli buannaicheadh an tigli- 

Woe to him that would forsake the tenantry, ivithout winning the 

Is math Breinein an deigh na cloinne sèimh. 

The bad boy is good when the gentle ones go. 

When the good children die, the worst child becomes more valued. 

Is math cobhair nam bioran le 'cheile. 

The union of sticks is heljiful. 

This is the old Roman parable. 

Is math na fir, ach na chi iad. 

The men are good, but for luhat they see. 

This is a feminine saying, meaning that men who stick at home and 
pry too much into domestic matters, are out of place. 

Is math na h-eòin far an gintear iad. 

The birds are good in their native place. 

A very Highland sentiment, deeply felt even in St. Kilda. 

Is olc am bathar nach mol an ceannaiche. 

It is bad ware which the merchant praises not. 

Is olc am mèirleach a dh' itheas 's a dh' innseas. 

He's a sorry thief who eats and tells. 

Is olc an t-òlach nach gabh 's nach toir. 

He's a bad fellow that ivon't take or give. 

Is teann learn inneir an eich air an arbhar. 

I think the horse's dung too near the corn. 

Said to aggressive or presuming people. 

Ithidh na cait fiiigheall nan caolan. 
Cats will eat the refuse of small guts. 

Leathaineach gun bliosd ; DouuUach gun tapaclh ; Caimbeulach 
gun mh(5rchuis. 

A McLean ivithout boast; a McDonald without cleverness; a 
Campbell without pride. 

Three rarities. 

Luideag 'us Doideag, 'us Corrag nigh'n Iain Bhàin ; Cas a' 
nihogain riabhaich a Gleann Còmhain ; 'us Gormshml mhor 
bhàrr na Màighe. 

Raggie and Frizzle, and fair John^s dawjhter's Finger ; brindled 
Hoggan-foot from Glencoe, and big Blue- eye fro7n Moy. 

Tile names of a gathering of witches. See Dr. MacLeod's Rem. of a 
Highl. Par., p. 249. 

Ma dh' itbeas tu cridli' an eòin, bidb do cliridhe air chrith ri d' 

If you eat the bird's heart, your heart will palpitate for ever. 

This and the next are meant for children. 

Ma dh' itheas tu teanga na caora, bidb tu 'meilich ri d' blieò. 

If you eat the sheep^s tongue, you \cill bleat for ever. 

Ma stad iad mu Ghott, .stad iad mu Ghott. 

If they stopped at Gott, they did stop there. 

A Tiree saying, applied to people who stop halfway. Gott is a 
hamlet a little way from the port of Scariuish. 

Mac an Luin a bh' aig Mac Cumliail, 
Nach d' fhàg fuigheal do dh' feùil dhaoine. 
The son of Lun, FingaVs sivord, 
That lift 110 remnant of men' s flesh. 

From the ' Ceardach, ' Gillies, p. 2.36 ; Campbell's Leabhar na Feinne, 
p. 65. See 'Cha d' fhàg claimheadh Fhiim,' ante, p. yo. 

Ma 's tuath a ghoireas an cù cain, 's gearr gu bàs fear dhe 

If the dear dog bark to the north, soon shall one of his household 

Mac Cuaraig an loin, 'chuir a' cliuag air a bhròig. 

Kennedy of the meadow, who ptut his shoe out of shape. 

Mar chlach a' dol 'an aghaidb bruthaich, feasgar righinn 
Earraicb ; mar clilacli a' ruith le gleann, feasgar fann Foghair. 

Like stone sent uphill is the long Spring evening; like stone run- 
ning down glen is soft Autumn evening. 

MUlidh smugaid cuideacbd. 

A spitth xvill spoil a company. 

This is an extreme but not extravagant illustration of the Celtic 
sense of propriety. Our Celts require to cross the Atlantic to get lid 
of this objection to careless spitting. 


Na ith sùil, no ùth, no àra, 's cha bhi galar cicli gu bràtli ort. 
Eat not eye, or udder, or liver, and thy breasts shall ail thee never. 

Rathad Mhorinis do Chill-Fhinicliein. 

Going by Morinish to Kilfinichen. 

A round-about way. This is a Mull saying. A Tiree saying is, 
' Eathad Hogh do Hoighnis ' ; a Coll saying, ' Rathad Feall do dh' 
America'. An Ardnamurchan saying is, ' Rathad nam Mealla Ruadh 
thun na Ranna,' or ' Cuartachadh Iain Ruaidh than na Rauna' ; the 
Ranna being on the north of Ardnamurchan, and the ' Mealla Ruadh ' 
the precipitous red rocks on the south side. 

'S e do blieatha fuireach, ach 's e do bhuiJheann falbh ; clii tliu 
dorus do thighe fheiu blio dhorus mo thighe-sa. 

You are welcome to stay, but yov. had better go ; you can see your 
own door from mine. 

Sgeul 'g a innse do'n ghearran, 's an gearran a' cur bliram as. 

Telling a story to the gelding, and the geldiiig breaking wind. 

Sgugairneach de dli' ian deireadh Foghair, 's niairg a dh' 
fheith ri d' bhreith 's a' IMhàrt. 

Useless bird at Harvest end, pity those who loaitedfor your birth 
in March. 

Al. Gugarlach. 

Applied to clumsy workers, more in the way than helpfid. 

TàiUear a' gliogan ime, 's figbeadair na fuaraig. 
The tailor of the butter cog, Hie weaver of the crowdie. 
Tba e mar cliù an deigh seilg. 
He is like a dog after the chase, 
Tboir tlachd do'n mbatb, 'us matb an t-olc. 
Love the good and forgive tlie bad. 

Tri coilceadba na Fèinne, bàrr gbeal cbrann, coinneacb, 'us. ùr 

The three Fenian bed-stuffs, fresh tree-tops, moss, and fresh ruslies. 
See Llhuyd's Jrch. s.v. coil ceadha. 

Here follow some sayings in verse, whicli, for various 
reasons, were not included in the body of this collection. 
Some of them can hardly be reckoned as proverbs, but are 
worth preserving. Translations of these, and of the didactic 
verses that follow, must be dispensed witL 

A mbic a' bbodacbain lacbduinn, 
A bun Locliabar nan craobh, 
Cleas a' chait a dh'ol an t-uachdar, 
Theid a' chluas 'thoirt dhiot mu'u mliaoil. 


A mhic, ma theicl thii 'g an tagbaclh, 
Na tagh na dubha mora, no na donna-mala ; 
Na tagh Cinneagag, no Criiiuneagag, no Snàthdag, 
No Lèuni-air-mÌieall, no Cnap-air-sluigein, 
No Luinneagag-liana, no Plobaire-na-tota ; 
Ach tagli beau dhonn, laar thonn air uisge glan ; 
Ciarag bheag air dhath na lucb, na sir 's na seachain. 
This is one of the most comiilete versions of that ah-eady given 
at p. 330. 

An Srath-'Ion'ineach gea^, 
'S an grinne beus gun smal ; 
An Srath 's an cruaidhe clach, 
'S an sgaitich cù 'us bean ! 
This refers to the parish of Strath in Skye, the old territory of the 

Carson a bhithinn mar chroman-loin, 
A' tional loin air bhàrr gach pris ? 
Carson nach caithinn-sa an saoghal, 
'S gur ciunt' gu'n caith an saoghal mis' Ì 

Gaoth an iar air rudli' na Feiste, 

Oidhche dhorcha, ceo 'us uisge, 

Clann Dònuill air bhùrdaibh briste, 

Leam cha mhisde ! 

Birlinn chaol chorrach, 

Siùil àrd bhinneach, 

Sgioba fhann fheargach, 

Gun urram aon d' a cheile. 
This expresses the bad wish of a MacLeod for the JIacDonahis, when 
these two great clans were at deadly feud, aud nothing could be more 
terribly graphic. There is genius in the imagination of the accumulated 
horrors. The ' Feiste ' is a wild black rocky point on the west of Skye, 
near the grand cliff of Vaterstein, a place of dread for any distressed 
bark, in a dark night with west wind. The description of the galley, 
as 'slender and crank, with high peaked sails,' and that of t)ie crew as 
' weak, angry, none respecting his fellow,' is the beau-ideal of nautical 
risk and of anarchy. 

A version somewhat similar was given to me as a MacDonald prayer 
for the MacLeods, but this is the better one. 

Is fearr beagan na 'bhi gun ni, 
Is fearr caraid' na con-amhir. 
Is fearr a bhi sona na 'bhi glic, 
Ach coisnidh an t-aithneach an t-anam. 
This is given by Macintosh, and the word ' con-amhir ' is translated 
' enemy,' but it is to be found nowhere else. 


Is ìoma fear buidhe, 
'N a sliuidli anil an Uiblii.~t, 
Nach itheadh na h-uibhean 's a' Charghus j 
A racliadh do 'n aonach, 
'S a glioideadh na caoraich, 
Ged chroclite' le taod no le cainb e. 
This is a good specimen of Gaelic satire. 

Ma bhios mi beò, beiridb mi mac ; 

Gheabh mi fear ged nacli coi-dheas ; 

Bho'n is i mo mbàthair nach beir mac, 

Is e mo bhràthair mo roghainu. 
This is said to have been the answer of a matron, whose husband, 
son, and only brother had been captured, and who got her choice, 
which of the three to have released. It is pleasant to know, on the 
authority of Macintosh's note, that the whole three were restored to the 
spirited matron. 

Mar an iadh-shlat ri balla, 
No mac-talla ri creig, 
Leanaidh amhluadh gu daingeann 
Ri fear-tagraidh nam breug. 
Good sentiment, but bad rhyme. 

Mèirle 'dheanamb air a' mhèirleach, 
Gu'm b'e sin a' mhèirle bhorb ; 
Cha 'n 'eil taobh a theid a' mèirleach, 
Nach 'eil mèirleach air a lorf . 

Mèirle salainn 's mèirle frois, 

Meirl' nach fhaigh anam clos ; •• 

Gus an teid an t-iasg air tlr, 

Cha 'n fliaigh mèirleach an lin clos. 
This illustrates the great value attached to salt and lint-seed, 
especially among a fishing population, at a time when the duty on salt 
was excessive, and lint was cultivated in the Hebrides. Another 
version is — 

Meirleach salainn 'us mèirleacli lin, 

Da mheirleacli nach fhaigh fois ; 

Ge b'e thig no nach tig a nios, 

Cha tig meirleach a' lin ghlais 

Mi 'm shuidhe air cnocan nan deur, 
Gun chraicionn air meur no air bonn ; 
A Righ, 's a Pheadair, 's a Phòil, 
Is fada an Roimh bho Loch-Long ! 
This deep-felt utterance is ascribed to Muireadhach Albanach, (circa 
llSO-1220), the first distinguished representative of a great Clan, Clann 


MTìuirich, commonly called Macjiherson, as he sat down at the head of 
Loch Long in Argj-leshire, on his return from a pilgrimage to Rome, 
having walked the whole way, save the ferries. 

Muileann Bhun-Maigli — ' Theid agam air, theid agam air ' ; 

Muileann Choire-Cliuinnlidh — ' Leig h-ugam e, leig h-ugam e. 

This is a pleasant imitation of the sound of a mill-happer. The two 
mills mentioned are or were in Lochaber, the one at Moy, the other at 

Na biodh ro-ghaol, 's na Litlieadli fuatli, 

Agad-s' air sluagli Innis-threud ; 
Na smaointich air na cliaidh 'thoirt bhuat, 
'S a' chuid nach deachaidh bhuat gun teid. 
This is from one of Dr M'Leod's papers in the Cuairtcar, Jan., 
1842, p. 311. These words were said to have been heard by a man 
sitting at midnight on his wife's grave. 

Nic Gleosgair mhor, 's a triùir nighean, 

'S a beairt'-fhighe, 's a fiicadair. 
This refers to three remarkable stacks of rock, called MacLeod's 
Maidens, off the coast of Idrigill, on the west of Skye, compared by 
Sir Walter Scott to the Norse ' Choosers of the slain,' or 'Riders of the 
Storm '. One of the three smaller rocks, and the ' fùcadair ' (fuller) 
have disappeared ; and the ' beairt-fhidhe ' (weaving-loom) is now 
scarcely visible. 

Seacbd bliadbna roimb 'n bbràth, 
Thig muir air Eirinn re aou tràtb, 
'S thar He ghuirm gblais, 
Ach snàmhaidh I Choluim Cbleirich. 
An elegant but periphrastic translation of this by Dr. John Smith is 
given in Ms Life of St. Columba. 

Seasaidb an fbirinn, 
Gu direacb, daingeann, reidli, 
Cha 'n ann air a' ghainneamb, 
Ach air creig mar steigh. 
This seems to be a paraphrase of Matth. vii. 24-27. 

'S e 'm buileachadh 'ni 'n cruinneacbadh, 
'S e 'n cruinneacbadh 'ni sguaban, 
Ka sguaban 'ni na mulanan, 
'S na mulanan na cruacban. 

Seinn-fein riamb ni mbolamar, 
Tba'm balbb mar na llnnte làna, 
An srutban a's eudoindiue 
Is e labbras gu dàna. 
This is given in the fu-st ed. of Macintosh, but not in the second. 


Siadair sin 'us Siadair, 
Clia do chinnich duine riamh ann, 
'S ged is lionmhor do chnocan, 
Leaghaidh do chuid mar am fiar ann. 
This saying, in reference to a farm near Uig in Skye, is attributed 
to Coinneach Odhar, the Brahau Seer. 

'S mor an dearmad mearachd focail, 
'S ann a' tha 'n t-olc anns a' mhi-rùn ; 
'S fearr fear foghainteach feargach 
Na fear min cealgach 'us e ciiun. 

Tlia 'n uaisle 'n a li-eire throm, 

Air an fhonn nach faighear ni, 

'S mo chreach ! ma gheabhar an crodli 's a' bhuaile, 

Cha 'n fhaighear an uaisle leis a' mhnaoi. 
Al. Far am faighear an crodh cha 'n fhaighear am modh. 
This is part cf the son's reply to tlie father's advice on marriage (p. 
330) in one of the versions. 

Teirgidh gach ni ri 'cliaitheamh, 
'S a bhi 'g a chaitheanih gu minig ; 
'S an ni sin nach caithear, 
Ged nach caithear gu 'n teirig ; 

Bho 'n a theirgeas gach ni gun cliaitheamh, 
Grathunn mu 'n tig am bràth ; 
Is cùir gach ni a cliaitheamh, 
Mu 'n caith e fhein as a thàmh. 

Trì mìosan cù, 
Cdig caogad cat ; 
Is ionann bean 'us bd, 
'S bliadhna mhdr do'n làir. 
This refers to the time of going with young. The usual meaning 
of the word ' Caogad ' is fifty, but here it is used to signify nine days. 

Triuglias air na luirgne loma, 
Bonnaid air na maolanaich, 
Feileadh air na daoine tapaidh, 
Casag air na slaodairean. 

Tùs mi-rath nam bheaclid, 
Ge b'e aca neach 'g a foirm, 
An 'coileacli a bhi 'n a thàmh. 
Us a' cliearc a bhi dha 'gairm. 



The following verses are from John Gillies's Collection of 
Gaelic Poetry, published at Perth in 1786, now a rare book. In 
the Cuairtear of June, 1842, five verses are given, entitled 'Comh- 
liairlean an t-sean Duine,' substantially the same as some of these, 
but with variations. Among the MSS. of a Kintail poet, Duncan 
MacRa, dated 1688, in the possession of Mr. Donald Mackinnon, 
Edinburgh, in a piece called ' Pairt de Chomhairle Mhic Eachain 
'Ic Fhearachair do Mhac an Toisich a Dhalta,' two verses occur 
which correspond nearly verbatim with two verses of Gillies's 
edition. Other two are in Macintosh's collection. In the collec- 
tion of Irish Proverbs appended to Canon Bourke's Grammar are 
still other two verses, headed ' Comhairle an t-Seanduine,' some- 
what different, but apparently part of the same poem. An addi- 
tional verse, appended to the ironical advice, was got by Mr. A. 
A. Carmichael, in Uist. It is evidently a part of the same poem. 
All these fragmentary relics illustrate how rhymed compositions 
are preserved, in whole or in part, from generation to generation. 
A few emendations of Gillies's text are given, the more important 
of which are noted. His granmiar and spelling are not of the 
best. The wisdom, good feeling, humour, and pithiness of these 
verses are remai-kable. 

Comhairle 'thug ormsa Brian ; 
Gun mo chiall a bhi gu tais. 
Gun dol 'an cogadh no 'n sgleò, 
Mur saoilinn teachd beò as. 

Thug e orm comhairl' eile, 

'S ar leamsa nach i bu tàire, 

Ge bu learn earras an domhain, 

Gmi a chur 'an coimheart ri m' nàire. 

Cuimhnich sior-thathaich an teampuill, 
'S na cuir do theann-gheall 's an eucoir ; 
'S na tugadh ort or no beatha 
Miouuan eithich a thoirt air feudail.' 

Ma chluinn thu faoin-sgeul air fann, 
Na cuir do leth-làmh 'n a luib ; 
Na bi 'nad urrainn anns a' bhreig, 
Leig an sgeul ud seachad uait. 

Bi ciatach macant' air d'eolas, 
'S na tog trògbhail air d'aineol ; 
Na abair gu'n diùlt thu 'choir, 
Na ob 'us na iarr onoir.- 


Bior 'nad dhearn fhein na fàisg ; 
D' easbhuidh ri d' nàmhaid na rùisg ; 
Eoinn * sgeine ri d' iTieòil na eisd ; 
Beist nimhe ri d' blieù * na diiisg. 

Na bi gu sracanta borb ; 
Na taghail gnu lorg an sruth ; 
'S na tigeadh a mach as do bheul 
Aon ni 'thoilleas duit fein guth.^ 

Na dean tàir air buirbe fir ; 

Na Ò1 balgum garbh a goil ; ® 

N' tra 'chi tliu 'n ealtuinn ghlan gheur, 

Saltair gii seimb seach a saidhJ 

Na bi ro nihòr 'us na bi beag ; 
Air ial-ni ^ na caith do chuid ; 
Air gbràdh h-òinich na tog trod, 
'S na h-ob i ma 's b-eiginn duit. 

Na bi caithriseacli air sràbh ; 
Na dean cnàid air duine bochd ; 
Na mol 's na dimoil an daoi, 
Na gu 'm faigbear saoi gun loclitl. 

A laoigb, o 's leòr d' òige, 
Na còmhdaicb cùis cbònnspaid ; 
Na rùisg le rabhladh do bhladb ; ^ 
'S na tog aobhar gun ùghdair. 

1 'eadair in Gillies. ^ Al. urram. ^ faobliar in G. text in Macintosh. 

* do d' dheoin ia G. text in M. ^ ivhich will earn you rejproadi. 

^ Al. Na cuir fearg air fuiibidh fir, 
'S na toir balgum à dian-ghoil. 
Al. Na buad dòrn, &c. 
^ Tread softly by its edge. ^ a trifle. The ' Cuairtear ' version of 
the second and third lines of this verse is, 

'S 'an co-oil na cosd do chuid ; 
A tigb niilidh na tog greigh. 

* Don't expose your ciw.racter by coarse jesting. 


These verses follow those above in Gillies's Collection ; the 
first three ironical, the rest serious. 

'An tus, 'g a fheuchainn, thuhhairt e. 

'N i;air a theid thu 'thigh an oil, 
Tionndaidh a' choir bun os cionn ; 
Suidh gu somalt' air cuid chàich ; 
Dimoil 'us na pàidh an leann. 


Smaclidaich d' atliair 'n a am, 
Tuig nach fliearr e na thu fein ; 
Aon fliacal air am bi bias 
Na leig a mach as a' bheul. 

Bi neo-shiobhalta ri mnaoi, 
'S bi gu garbh ri duine bochd ; 
Bi gu dichuimhneach air d' arm, 
'S bi gu tlàth ri dol 'an troid. 

The following verse, got in Uist by Mr. Carmicliael, plainly 
belongs to this composition, and may take the place of an omitted 
verse, coming second in Gillies's version, which is coarse, without 
any special merit. 

'N uair a theid a' chùis mu'n cuairt, 
Seal mu'n togar duais a bhùird. 
Fear dha 'n fhearr is leir a choir, 
Buail do dhòrn air anns an t-sùil. 

An Cormaig ceudna da rireadh. 

Seachain caonnag dhionihanach,i 
'Us ni e ciall a ghleidheadh dhuit. 

Seachain a' mhuinntir mhi-runach, 
D' am bidh ^ an teanga bhaoth-radhach, 
Leis an annsa ^ breug na fireantachd, 
Mu 'n toill e nàire saoghail* duit. 

Na bi struidheil friotalach,^ 
'An tigh an oil ma thuiteas tu ; 
Gleidli teanga shàmhach® shicir ann, 
Nach toill nàir 'an cuideachd dhuit. 

Dean taghal beag nan companach, 

's Ò1 'tha costail '' mlllteucli dhoibh ; 

Bi ceart air cCil gach aon duine, 

'S cha 'n ihaod iad aon lochd innseadh ort 

Na innis-sa do d' chompanach, 
'An uaigneas d' uile inntinn. 
Air eagal 's ma thig àmlighar air, 
'Am feirg gu 'n dean e inns' ort.^ 

Thoir gaol do d' mhnaoi a rithistich ; ^ 
Ma 's àiU leat gràdh ^" mu chomhair sin, 
'S aon fhuil 'us fheòil 'n ur dithis sibh, 
An fhad 's is beò air domhain sibh. 

Na bi bruidhneach 'an tigh mor, 
'S na bi sòradh " air sean-fhear. 


An onoir nacli fhaigh thu do ghnàth 
Na bi 'g a h-iarraidh aon tràth ; 
An fliàilt bhruidlineach gmi 'bhi, 
Mar rionnach 'an cuan a' snamh. 

Beannaclid ort 's na cum an fhearg, 
'S na dean cealg air duine bochd, 
Na bi dian ge d' robli ort ditb, 
Oir 's e Dia a bheir ni dhuit. 

Thoir do cliomhairle mu seach, 
Air gach neach a bhios 'n a feum ; 
An rud a dhiniolas tu 'cbàch 
A sbamhuil gu bràth na dean fein. 

Conihairle de chomliairlean Phòil, 
Na teirig 'an spàirn le d' dlieòin ; 
Na dean sùgradh riutha sixd, 
's trie friogli air an fhior bhrùid. 

The words in Gillies altered above are here given : — 
' dhiomhidis. 'biodh. ^ionnsa. ^saoghalt. ^frisealair. This 
word is unknown. Gillies in a note gives ' doichiollach ' as a gloss. 
' Friotalach ' means fretful. ^ sheamhaidh. ' costach. ^ See Sirach, 
viii. 19. ^ Provin. for ris. i" gras. 'i saoith'reach ; in Macintosh, 
'saraichte': 'sòradh,' 'grudging,' the Cuairtear version, is better in 
souud and sense. 


This collection forms part of a tract of 36 pp., being the 2nd 
edition, 'Edinburgh, Menzies, Lawnmarket, 1834'. It contains 
1. a Dialogue in verse, ' Deasbaireachd eadar am Papa agus an 
t- Athleasacha,' a Discussion between the Pope and the Reforma- 
tion ; 2. 'Sean Fhocail agus Comhadan,' Proverbs and Similitudes ; 

3. ' Deoch an Doruis,' The Door-Drink, already given on p. 165 ; 

4. David Mackellar's Hymn to the Creator; 5. an anonymous 
Hymn ; 6. the Christian on the Brink of Jordan, a Hymn by 
the Rev. John Macdonald of Urquhart, afterw-ards Dr. ]\Iacdonald 
of Ferintosh. The first three are by Lothian, a brief memoir of 
whom forms the Preface, signed by John McLaclilan, Elder in 
Fincastle. It states that Lothian, 'Donnacha Loudiun,' was a 
native of Glen Lyon ; served for a time as a turner under Dugald 
Buchanan at Kinloch Rannoch ; came thence to Struan ; and 
finally to Fincastle, where he died about the age of 80. The first 
edition of these verses was published at Edinburgh in 1V97 ; the 
third at Edinburgh in 1844. McLachlan says he had great diffi- 
culty in finding a copy. In Reid's Bibliotheca Celtica, p. 76, this 
entry occurs — " CoiiH Chruinneachhidh Orainnigh Gaedhaelach 


agus Bearla le Donaclia Loudin. Seria mixta jocis, Ovid. Aber- 
rain Clo-bhuailt ann le Sheumais Chalmers Airson "Wm. Sharp, 
ann 'n Inverness. 1780. 12°, 6d." It is difficult to believe that 
there were two Duncan Loudins ; and yet the above title is very 
nnlike the character of this Duncan's muse ; and the publication 
it refers to was evidently unknown to MacLachlan or his pub- 
lisher. He was intimately acquainted with Duncan, of whom he 
says, ' bha eolas cridhe a gam air'; characterising him as a sober 
godly man, a good speaker, deeply earnest in exhorting others, 
who spent his life in great esteem, shunning every appearance of 
evil. The influence of Buchanan is apparent in these verses, the 
composition of which was probably suggested by his ' Bruadar '. 
They are very good, and deserve to be known and kept in mind 
wherever Gaelic is spoken. 

Le Donncha Loudinn. 

'N uair a chailleas neach a mhaoin, 

'S gnothach faoin 'bhi 'g iarraidh meas ; 

Ge do labhair e le ceill, 

'S beag a gheibh e 'dh'eisdeas ris. 

'S beag sgoinn de mhòintich am monadh ; 

'S beag sgoinn de choille am fàsach ; 
'S lugha meas tha 'dhuine falamh, 

'N uair 'tha 'earras an deigh fhàgail. 

'S ioma caraid 'th' aig fear saibhir, 

Tha daoine bochda gun phris ; 
'S gann a dh'aidisheas an càirdean 

Gu 'm buin iad dhaibh, 'us iad 'bhi 'n dith. 

'S fearr a bhi bochd na 'bhi breugach, 
'S fearr fheuchainn na 'bhi 's an dùil ; 

'S fearr am fear a chostas beagan 
Na 'm fear a theicheas ann an cùO. 

Tha 'n fhirinn gu cliùteach sona, 

Cha chron air duine 'bhi fial ; 
S fearr beagan anns an onoir 

Na 'n donas 'us ceithir chiad. 

Is ainmig a dh' eir'eas fortan 
Le fear crosta 'bhios gun cheill ; 

'S fearr do dhuine fuireach sàmhach, 
Na droch dhàn a chur an ceil). 


Eiridh tònn air iiisge balLli ; 

Gheibliear cearb air duine glic ; 
Eii'idh gnothacli le fear niall ; 

Bristidh am fear "tha call gu trie. 

Tha 'ghaineamli fhein anns gach srutban ; 

Cha 'n 'eil tuil air nach tig tràgbadli ; 
'S don' an càirdeas gnn a cliumail, 

'S cha 'n fhaighear duine gun fhàiling. 

Is coltach fear 'tha ris an fhoill, 

'S nach 'eil sgoinn aige de 'n choir, 
Eis an duin' a tliaisg an luaidhe, 

Agus a thilg uaithe an t-òr. 

'S dona thig maighdean gun 'bhi beusach ; 

Cha dean fear gun gheire dan ; 
Cha dean fear gun fhoghlum leughadh, 

'S cha tig leigh gu duine slàn. 

'S math 'bhi siothchail anns gach ball ; 

Caillidli duine dall an t-iùl ; 
Is sona neach a bhios gun bheud, 

Ach caillidh luchd nam breug an cliii. 

Smuainich mu 'n dean thu labhairt, 
Ma 's àill leat do ghnothach 'bhi reidh ; 

'S fearr dliut sealltuinn beagan romhad, 
Na sealltuinn fad' air do dheigh. 

Is trom snith air tigh gun tubhadh ; 

'S trom tubaist air na dràichdean ; 
'S duilich do mhnaoi beanas-tighe 

Dheanamh air na fraighean fàsa. 

Cha trom leis an loch an lach, 

Cha trom leis an each an t-srian, 
Cha trom leis a' chaor' a h-olainn, 

'S cha truimid a' choluinn a ciall. 

Cha trom leis an fliiadh a chabar, 
Cha trom leis a' choileach a chirein ; 

Ni 'mheasas aon neach mar leth-trom, 
Chi neach eile mar thoilinntinn. 

Tha 'n neach 'tha 'gleidheadh seanchais dhiomhain, 
'S a leigeas diadhaidheachd fo 'bhonn, 

Mar a bha 'n te a thog a chàth, 
'S a dh' fliàg an cruineachd air an tuui. 


Caillear mart an droch mhuthaich 

Seachd bliadhna roimh a mithich : 
Tha sud a' feuchainn 's a' dearbhadh 

Gu 'n tig an t-earchall le mi-fheairt. 

Cha 'n fliuirich muir ri uallach, 

'S cha dean bean luatli maoracli ; 
Cha dean bean gun nàire cugann,' 

'S cba dean bean gun fhuras aodach. 

Far am bi bo bidh bean, 

'S far am bi bean bidh buaireadh : 
Far am bi fearg bidh bruidheann, 

'Us as a' bhruidhinn thig tuasaid. 

Am fear a bhrathas 's e 'mharbhas ; 

Cha deanar dearldiadh gun deuchainn ; 
'S gann a dh' aithn'eas tu do charaid, 

Gus an tachair dhut 'bhi 'd' eigin. 

Cha 'n 'eil saoi gun choimeas, 

Cha 'n 'eil coille gun chrionaich ; 
'S fearr beagan a mhathadh 

Na sean flialachd a dhioladh. 

'S math caraid anns a' chùirt, 

Ma thig neach gu trioblaid ; 
Ach 's fearr aon ian ^ 's an làimh, 

Na dhà dhiag air iteig. 

Leig d' eallach air làr mu 'n hig thu, 

Ma dh' aithn'eas tu d' eaUach tròm ; 
Is mor gur fearr an cù a ruitheas 

Na 'n CÙ a shuidheas air torn. 

Bean thlachdmhor, gun ghniomh, gim ghleidheadh, 

Ge do thaitinn i ri d' shùil, — 
Clod am feum a ta 'an lann, 

Mur bi làmh air a cul ? 

Pigheid chaileig air bheag ceill, 

Ged 'robh feudail aic 'us stor, 
Cha 'n fhaod a fear a bhi sona, 

Ma bhios i gnogach anns an t-sròin. 

Bean gun nàire gun ghliocas, 

Bean mhisgeach, gun bheusaibh, 
B' fhearr dhut cù a chur mu d' amhuich 

Na do cheangal ri te dhiubh. 


Bean ardanacli labhar, 

Bean gliabhannach. ^ clieilicllieacli, 
Is tùs trioblaid 'us aimbeaiit 

Dol gu d' clieangal ri te dhiubh. 

Am fear a glieallas 's e 'db' iocas, 
'S e 'm fear a dh' iarras a pliàidheas : 

Cha cbòir do neacb a bbi uUanib 
Gu dol 'an cunnart no 'n gàbbadh. 

Am fear nach dean àr ri latha fuar, 

Cha dean e btiain ri latha teth ; 
Am fear nach dean obair no gniomh 

Cha'n fbaigb e biadh ieadh nam preas. 

'S fearr sitb a preas na stn ri glais ; 

Bi faicilleacb mu d' gbiùlan, 
'S furas seasamh 'an gnothach ceart, 

Ged 'theid gacb cùis gu dùbblan. 

Is tùs a' gbliocais eagal D^ ; 

Cha dean eucoir do chur suas ; 
Co dhiubh is math no 's olc 'ad chre, 

'S ann do reir a gheibh tlni duais. 

'S fearr an ceartas glan na 'n t-òr ; 

Is beag air duine coir an tlioill ; 
An neacii a mheallas tu o d' chub 

Chuir e 'dhiiil 'an cuid an doill. 

Is ciatach gnothach foUaiseach, 

Ach 's dona comunn cealgach ; 
An rud a gheibhear aig ceann an Deamhain, 

Caillear e aig 'earball. 

Is olc an toiseach cogaidh geilt ; 

Cha 'n ionann sgeul do 'n chreich 's do 'n toil 
Is searbh glbir an fhir a theich, 

'S am fear a dh' fhuirich ni e bòsd. 

Is fearr 'bhi tais na 'bhi ro bhras, 

'n 's e a's lugha cùram ; 
Is fearr suidh' 'an tigh a' bhròin, 

Na 'n tigh a cheòil 's an t-sùgraidh. 

Cha toir neach air eidn beairteas ; 

'S duilich droch clileachd a chuir f-is : 
Bheir gach Dòmhnuch leis an t-seachduin, 

'S bheir am peacadh leis am bàs. 


Na bi ealamh air trodadh, 

'S na bi toileach air tuasaid ; 
Ach ma 's toigh leat do leanabh, 

Na bi leisg air a bhualadh. 

Bi 'n còmbnuidh air taobh na siochaint,* 
'S na bi di-chaisg' air bheag aobhar ; 

'S fearr dhut amadan a bhreugadh, 

Na dol g' a fbeucbainn ann an caonnaig. 

Na bi talach air do clinibhrinn, 
Ge do robh i baileach ^ sòmbail/ 

'S fhearr greira tioram le siochaint, 
Na tigh Ian iobairt le cùmhstri. 

Dol a stri ri rud gun choslas, 

Clia 'n 'eil ann ach gnothach faoin ; 

Cha tig feur tre na clochan, 

'S cha tig folt tre chlaigionn aosd'. 

Tha e cruaidh air duine lag 

Dol ri bruthach cas 'n a stand. ; 
'S tha e tearc am measg an t-sluaigh 

An neach sin a gheibh buaidh air fhein. 

Na bi 'cuir na ciont' air each, 

Ma tha 'n fhàiling agad fliein ; 
Is diiilich neach a rib' 'an slaod,^ 

'Us ceann an taoid aige fhein. 

Neach 'tha gu math is coir dha fuireach, 
Gun 'bhi 'stri ri rud nach iomchuidh ; 

Is trie 'bha call an dèigh an turuis, 
Ach 's buidhe le amadan imrich. 

Is fearr cù beò na leomhan marbh ; 

'S fhearr niin gharbh na 'bhi gun bhleth ; 
An rud a chi thu 'thogas fearg, 

Na dean dearmad aù- a chleth. 

Thoir aire cia mar 'ghluaiseas tu ; 

Cha toir thu buaidh le farmad ; 
Is trie le gnothach mlrunach 

Gu 'n eriochnaieh e neo-shealbhar. 

Bi eòlach mu dhuine an tùs, 

Mu 'n iunis thu do run g' a cheann ; 

Na cuir do chlàr air a thaobh 

Do neach nach saoil thu 'chuireadh ^ ann. 


Na gabh farmad ri neacli idir, 
Ged 'shaoil thu a staid 'bhi mor ; 

A' bheann a 's àirde 'tha 's an tir 
'S an oirre 's trice 'chì thu 'n ceo. 

'S math an gille greasaidh 'n t-eagal ; 

Tha riid air theagamh duilich 'innseadh ; 
'S fhearr dhiit teicheadh le onoir, 

Na dol 'thoirt oidhirp neo-chinnteach. 

'N uair a theid thu do 'n tigh-leanna, 
Na iarr a bhi 'g aniailt na pàirti ; ^" 

'S mithich druideadh choir an doruis, 
'N uair a theannas an sporan ri àicheadh. 

Is diomhain dut a bhi 'toirt teagaisg 

Do neach a chuir cùl ri eòlas ; 
Mar 'thionnda's a' chùmhl' air a bannaibh, 

Pillidh an t-amadan ri 'ghòraich. 

Ge do robh thu dripeil, 

'S coir dhut a bhi air d' fhaicill ; 
'S iad na toimhsean trice 

'Ni na toimhsean cearta. 

Tha ar n-ùine 'ruith gun stad, 

Ceart co luath 's 'thig clach le gleann ; 

Ni i stad 'n uair ruigear ^^ lag, 
'S bidh a h-astar aig a cheann. 

Ceart mar a thig gaillionn na sian, 
'N uair nach miann leat a bhi ann, 

Is amhluidh sin a thig an t-aog, 
Ge do shaoil thu nach b'e 'n t-àm. 

Ceart mar a sgaoileas an ceo, 

'N uair a thig teas air o 'n ghrein, 

Is amhluidh sin a shiubhlas glòir, 
'Us ioma dòchas air bheag feum. 

Cha b' e comunn an da ghanihna 
A bha shannt orm 'dheanamh riut, 

Ach rud 'bhiodh agad 'ghabhail uat, 
'S an rud 'bhiodh uat a thoirt dhut. 

Nach b' e sud an comunn saor ? 

'S cha b' e comunn nam maor mu 'n chlàr 
B'e 'n comunn-sa 'bhi 'toirt a null, 

'S cha chomunn ach a null 's a nail. . 


Ma 's fìor gach sean fhocal, 

A labhradh le luchd geire, 
Bheir fòid breithe agus bàis 

Duiue aix athadh 's air eigin. 

^ 'cugann,' milk set for cream. ^ 'aon' and 'dhiag' are supplied 
here for better version and metre. ^ ' gabhanuach, ' flattering. 

* ' siothcbaiut, ' subst. for ' siotbchaidb '. ^ 'di-chaisg,' uncontrol- 
lable ; not a dictionary word. ^ 'baileach' more commonly 'buileacb'. 
^'sòmbail,' smaU, opposite of 'domhail,' bulky; more generally 
'sùmhail,' and 'dùmhail'. '''rib' 'an slaod,' to entangle in a coil. 

* Subst. for ' chuir rud ann '. ^" Don't interrupt the parly. ^^ 'ruigear,' 
subst. for ' thig i 'd,' as jireferable. 




' Aireamli na h-Aoine,' &c., p. 7. 

Counting cattle on Friday was considered peculiarly unlucky. 
Ruith na h-Aoine, The Friday fate, was sure to follow. See to 
the same effect, ' Ma mharbhas tu beathach Dihaoine,' p. 305. 

Solas na h-Aoine, the Friday spell, was a name aj^plied to the 
evil eye. If one possessing this unfortunate eòlas saw another 
bathing, the bather was sure to get drowned. 

Friday has long been held an unlucky day in various Chris- 
tian countries. Tliis is generally supposed to be founded on the 
fact that it was the day of our Lord's Crucifixion. Accordingly, 
it is a fast day in the Church of Rome, whence the Gaelic 
name ' Di-h-Aoine,' literally ' Fast-Day '. The belief in the 
unluckiness of Friday is not confined, however, to Christian 
countries. It prevails also among the Brahmins, who hold that 
no business of anv importance should be commenced on Fridav. 
Asiat. Res., Vol. VÌ., p. 172 ; Chambers's Book of Bays, Vol. I., p. 42. 

The Scottish proverb ' Friday flit, short time sit,' and the 
English 'Friday's hair and Sunday's horn, goes to the dool on 
^Monday morn,' illustrate this superstition. 


' Am port a's fliearr,' &c., p. 25. 

Roderick Morrison, the most famed of Highland harpers, and 
a poet of no mean powers, was son of John Morrison of Bragar 
(see Note ante, p. 47), and born according to MacKenzie (Beauties 
of Gaelic Poetry, p. 85) in 1646. His father, who was a man of 
some mark, and of varied ability, had five sons, of whom three 
became clergymen. Rory was sent as a boy with two of his 
brothers to be educated at Inverness, and there he lost his eye- 
sight from small-pox. Instead of theology music became thence- 
forth his study, and his father is said to have declared that the 
education of Rory as a musician cost him more trouble and 
expense than that of the three ministers. On his return from a 


visit to Ireland, Eory met in Edinhnrgli the Chief of the 
MacLeods, Iain Breac, described by MacKenzie as "that sterling 
model of a Highland Chieftain," and said to have been one of the 
last that had in his retinne 'a Bard, a Harper, a Piper, and a 
Fool — all of them excellently and well provided for'. This 
spirited Chief engaged Rory in the double capacity of Bard and 
Harper, in both which offices he earned a reputation that still 
lives. His Lament for his beloved patron, Creach na Ciadain, and 
his Oran M6r Mhic Leùid, full of praise of the dead, combined 
with plain but dignified strictures addressed to the young Chief, 
are very creditable, and still worthy of remembrance in that 
ancient and hospitable house. Few families anywhere can boast of 
having had two such bards in their service as Mary MacLeod and 
Roderick Morrison ; and no sentiment more appropriate could be 
addressed to a MacLeod Chief than this of Roderick : — 

Bi gu fiùghantach smachdail, 

Rianail, reachdmhor, 'n Triath Leòdach, 

Na faic frid 'an sail bridean, 

Cha chuis dion do Mhac Leoid e ! 

Cha chuis dion do Mhac Leoid 

A bhi dòlum 's rud aige, 
L3an an dùthchas bu choir dhut, 

'S biodh mòr-chuis 'n ad aigne ! 

After the death of Iain Breac, change of days came to Dun- 
vegan and to Rory : in his own pathetic words, 

Chaidh a' chuidhle mu'n cuairt, 

Gu 'n do thionndaidh gu fiiachd am blàths. 

The Chief had given him the farm of Totam6r in Glenelg rent 
free, from which he appears to have been ejected by the new laird, 
Roderick, of whom he says : — 

Dheadh mhic athar mo ghràidh, 
Bu tu m' aighear, 'us m' àdh, 'us m' olc. 
After this he returned to Lewis, where he died at a good old age, 
and was buried in the old churchyard of Uy, near Stornoway. 

The above facts are taken chiefly from MacKenzie's sketch, in 
which a few mistakes occur. The poet's father is said to have 
been an Episcopal clergyman ; he was a farmer. At the time of 
Rory's visit to Edinburgh it is said that the Scotch nobility and 
gentry were at the Court of King James in Holyrood House. 
James VII. never was in Scotland after he became king. Macin- 
tosh says Rory was harper to MacLeod in the reign of Queen 
Anne, which is probable enough. 

Sir Walter Scott thus alludes to Roderick in Warerley (ch. 
xvii.), " Two paces back stood Cathleen holding a small Scottish 
harp, the use of which had been taught to Flora by Rory Dall, 
one of the last harpers of the Western Highlands ". 


lilacintos'h in a note on the above proverb (2n(l EJ., p. 199), 
gives the following interesting reminiscence : — 

"Harps were in use in the Highlands and Isles of Scotland 
time immemorial, till the beginning of last century, and even 
later ; for Mr. Eobertson of Lude, General Robertson's great- 
grandfather, the gentleman whom the elegant poet Struan im- 
mortalises in his poems, was a famous performer upon that 
instrument, and I have heard my father relate the following 
anecdote of him : — 

" One night my father said to Lude that he would be happy to 
hear him play upon the harp, which at that time began to give 
place to the violin. After supper Lude and he retired to another 
room, in which there were a couple of harps, one of which 
belonged to Queen Mary. 'James,' says Lu^le, 'here are two 
harps, the largest one is the loudest, but the small one is the 
sweetest ; which do you wish to hear played ' Ì James answered, 
'the small one,' which Lude took up, and played upon it till 

" Upon a visit to my native country of Athole, about five years 
ago, I had the curiosity to enquire of General Robertson if the 
harps were still in the family. The General told me they were, 
and brought them upon the table, at the sight of which I was 
quite overjoyed in viewing the musical instruments of our 
ancestors, as well as those of the renowned heroes of Ossian. 

" After my return to Edinburgh, I immediately gave notice of 
the harps to the Highland Society of Scotland, who wrote to 
General Robertson requesting a sight of the harps, which he was 
so obliging as to grant. 

" Mr. Gunn, teacher of music in Edinburgh, has .since published 
an Essay iipon the Harp, with representations taken from these 
very harps. I have the vanity to think the bringing these harps 
before the eyes of the public to be one of the most pleasant 
actions of my life, as in all probability they must either have 
been lost or destroyed by time, without ever having been known 
to the world ; and those fastidious gentlemen who take pleasure 
in opposing everything respecting the antiquity of the Cale- 
donians, would have persisted in denying the use of the harp 
among these people, as they do many other things." 

The two harps above mentioned are now in the Museum of the 
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, to which they have been 
kindly lent by the owner, Mr. Steuart of Dalguise. 

Campbell, Macintosh's editor, adds to the above, that when 
visiting the Western Highlands and Islands in 181.5 collecting 
melodies for his 'Albyn's Anthology,' he visited the grave of 
Rory Ball's pupil, the last of our Hebridean harpers, Murdoch 
MacDonald ; and that Mrs. MacKenzie of Dervaig in Mull 
remembered his playing on his harp in her father's house. 
This Mrs. MacKenzie was the Miss MacLean specially mentioned 
by Boswell in his ' Tour through the Hebrides ', She was the 


daughter of a Dr. MacLean wlio lived near Tobermory at that 
time, 1773. Dr. Johnson said of her, 'She is the most accom- 
plished lady that I have found in the Highlands. She knows 
French, Music and Drawing, sews neatly, makes shell-work, and 
can nulk cows; in short, she can do everything. She talks 
sensibly, and is the first person I have found that can translate 
Erse poetry literally.' She accompanied her singing on a spinnet, 
which Boswell said was well-toned, though made in 1667.— 
Carrutliers' ed., p. 249. 


' Cha ghluais bròg,' &c., p. 102. 

' Edghan a' chinn bhig,' Ewen of the little head, was the 
eldest son of one of the first lairds of Loch Buy in Mull, and 
married a daugliter of MacDougall of Lorn, a very ill-tempered 
and niggardly woman, who got the nickname of Gortcuj. He 
quarrelled violently with his father, and is said to have struck 
him. The old man complained to his relation MacLean of 
Duart, who was glad of a pretext for invading Loch Buy, and 
came down with an armed force against Ewen. On the evening 
before the battle, Ewen consulted a witch, of whom he asked 
whether he was to win the fight. She said he would win, if on 
the morrow his wife would give him butter without asking for it, 
' im gun iarraidh '. Next morning Ewen sat and waited long for 
the butter, rubbing his hands and stamping with his feet. At 
last his wife said, 'Cha 'n fhàg breabadair na seana bhròig 
craicionn air dearnaibh,' 27ie kicker of the old shoe icon't leave skiti 
on palm; on which Ewen responded as above, Neither shoe nor 
speech loill move the bad housewife. He went away in a rage, 
leaving his food untasted, turned his dogs into the milk-house, 
and hastened to the fight, from which he never returned alive. 
It took place in Glen Cainnir near Loch Buy, where a stroke 
from a broadsword swept oft" Ewen's little head. The horse 
then rushed from the fight with his rider on his back, and was 
so seen again for days, careering wildly through these glens, up 
and down passes and precipices fit only for goats or birds. For 
many generations thereafter this headless rider, still in full armour, 
continued to be seen or heard, a well-known and dreaded object, 
and always appearing when any important member of the Loch 
Buy family was in danger or near death. The name of Ewen of 
the little head is still a power to frighten children in Mull and 
the neighbouring islands. In the Tiachdaire Gaelach of August, 
1830, there is a slightly different version of this legend, written 
with the usual vivid power of the Editor, Dr. Norman MacLeod. 
He gives it as if told at lona, where a tombstone with the figure 
of a horseman in full armour was said to be that of Eoghan a' 
cliinn bhig ; and the last vision of him, racily described, was 


said to have been only ' twelve years ago '. The reason given for 
the restless activity of E wen's spirit is admirable — 'thuite'na 
thrasg ' — he fell fasting ! 


The season of Spring was more specially a matter of observa- 
tion and interest to our ancestors than any of the other seasons, 
on account of its importance as the time of year on the character 
of which their existence and comfort so much depended. Accord- 
ingly we find it divided into various periods, with fanciful 
names, founded, so far as their meaning can be guessed, on the 
imaginary causes of the various changes of weather. The longest 
of these is the Faoilleach, or Faoillteach, on the etymology of 
which Armstrong says, ' The original meaning was perhaps the 
wolf month (faol, a wolf), from the circumstance that wolves, 
with which the Highlands once abounded, became more daring 
and dangerous in the depth of winter. Faoilteach may also be 
derived from faoile, welcome, joy. The Highlanders regard 
stormy weather, towards the end of January as prognostic of a 
fruitful season to follow, and vice versa.' The former of these 
etymologies is supported by the word ' Wulfes-MonaS,' said to 
have been the Anglo-Saxon name given to the month of January, 
Old Style, for the reason above mentioned. The other etymo- 
logy is supported by the rhyme given at p. 178, ante, 
Faoilleach, Faoilleach, làmh'an crios, 
Faoilte mhor bu choir 'bhi ris. 
The Faoilleach corresponded roughly to the present month of 
February, embracing the last two weeks of Winter, O.S., and the 
first two of Spring. Sometimes the first half was called the 
'Faoilleach Geamhraidh,' and the other half the 'Faoilleach 
Earraich '. 

Some time in this month three Summer days were supposed to 
come in exchange for three cold days lent to July, and the saying 
is, ' Tha tri la ìuchair 's an Fhaoilleach,' &c. — see aiite, p. 363. 
The occurrence of such mild days early in February is still a matter 
of common observation, and is never considered seasonable. — See 
'Cha 'n 'eil port,' &c., ante, p. 116. 

After this came a week called the Feadag, the Plover or 
Whistle, so called probably because of the piping winds then 
prevalent. The following rhyme refers to it : — 

Thuirt an Fheadag ris an Fhaoilleach, 
' C'àit' an d'fhàg thu 'n laoighein bochd ? ' 
' Dh'fhàg mis' e aig cùl a' ghàraidh, 
'S a dlià shùil 'n a cheann 'nam ploc'. 

Said the Plover to the Stormy, 

' Where did'st leave the poor wee calf ? ' 


'7 ìpft /im behind the icaU, 
With his eyes Wee himps of tuif\ 
Another rhyme makes the Feadag the mother of the Faoilleach 
and of course preceding it, 

Feadag, Feadag, màthair Faoillich fhuair. 
For this, however, there is no other authority. 

After the Feadag came tlie (jearran, the Horse or Gekling, a 
period as to the duration of which authorities differ very consi- 
derably. The Highland Society's Dictionary, MacLeod and 
Dewar, and MacAlpine, all make it 'the days from March 1.5th to 
April 11th inclusive,' four weeks. Armstrong says, more vaguely 
than usual, that it is ' the latter end of February,' and no more. 
The saying given on p. 316, ante, 'Mios Faoillich,' &c., makes it 
two weeks, while several living authorities make it one week. 
The presumption is in favour of a short period, which is sup- 
ported by the only suggested meaning of the name Gearran 
(gearr-shian — H. S. Did., McLeod and Dewar), and the words 
'an gearran gearr' in the rhyme given below. 

The Feadag is severe, but the Gearran is no better, as the 
rhyme says, 

Is mis' an Fheadag 16m, luirgneach, luath, 

Marbham caora, niarbham nan ; 

Is mis an Gearran bacach liàn, 

'Us cha mhi aon bhonn a 's fliearr ; 

Cuiream a' bhd anns an toll, 

Gus an tig an tonn thar a ceann, 

I'm the bare swift leggy Plover, 

I can kill both siieep and lamb; * 

Fm the white lame Gelding, 

And not one one bit better ; 

ril fut the cow into the hole, 

Till the wave comes o'er her head. 
or otherwise. 

An sin thuirt an Gerrran gearr, 

Ni mi farran ort nacli Ihearr, 

Cuiridh mi 'bho mhor 's a' pholl, &c. 
After the Gearran came the Cailleach or Old Woman, which lasted 
a week, — 12th to 18th April. The grass has by this time begun to 
grow, and the Cailleach, representing a hostile and withering in- 
fluence, sits down and tries hard with her 'slachdan' « to beat down 

1 If this is to be taken as with any approximate accuracy characteris- 
ing the Seasons, it follows that lambing was earlier iu those days 
than now. There are various indications in these old sayings that 
Spring and warm weather came sooner in former days than now. 

* A ' slachdan ' is a beetle ; but a more poetical version makes it 
'slachdau-druidheachd,' magic wand. 


the grass, and keep it from growing. Finding her efforts vain, she 
flings away her mallet in wratli, and vanishes with a shriek into 
the realm ol' Kiglit, exclaiming, 

Dh' Ihàg e shios mi, dh' fhàg e shnas mi, 

Dh' fhàg e eadar mo dhà chìuais mi ; 

Dh' fhàg e thall mi, dh'iliàg e bhos mi, 

Dh' fhàg e eadar mo dhà chois mi ; 

Tilgeam seo 'am bnn preas cuilinu, 

Far nach fas fiar no duilleach ! 

It escapes me up and down, 
'Twixt my very ears has flown ; 
It escapes me here and there, 
'Twixt my feet and everywhere ; 
This 'neath holly tree Fll throw, 
Wliere no grass nor leaf shall grow ! 
This is a lively description, and the selection of the holly in par- 
ticular shows felicitous accuracy. 

After the abortive attempt of the Cailleach, the time came to 
sow, and that quamprimum : — 

Ge b'e 'r bith mar bhios an t-sian, 
Cuir do shiol anns a' Mhàrt. 
The ' Mart ' corresponded probably to the month of March, but 
it was used as a term for the sowing-season, more than for any 
definite period. The term 'Gibleann,' in like manner was ap- 
plied to the month of April. See ' Am fiar,' &c., p. 24. 

Another period not so commonly mentioned is the 'Gobag,' 
Little-Gab, or Dog-fish, sometimes called a week, sometimes 
three days, and coming in apparently between the Feadag and 
the Gearran. A saying that refers to it is, 

Feadagan 'us Gobagan e, tuiUeadh gu Feill-Pàruig, 
which may be rendered, 

Whistling and biting winds on to St. Patrick's day, 
i.e., 30th March, O.S., when the equinoctial gales and worst 
weather should have passed. 

' Neòil dhubha na Càisge,' the dark clouds of Easter, came in 
the fourth week of March, followed by the ' Glasadh na Cubhaig,' 
the cuckoo's greening, or preparation time. 

The Oisgean or Ewes, called 'tri la nan Oisgean,' the three days 
of the Ewes, or 'la nan tri Oisgean,' the day of the three Ewes, 
were three days immediately following the Cailleach, which 
would bring them into the third week of April, O.S. The name 
suggests the "three borrowing days" of the Lowlands, but the 
period and character of the ' Oisgean ' is quite different. Accord- 
ing to the Lowland tradition (Chamlers' Pop. Ehymes of Scotland, 
pp. 143, 4 ; Book of Days, I., 448) these three days were the last 
of March, and said to be borrowed from April. According to the 


Englist version, referred to by Sir Thomas Browne, and thus 
given by Ray, 

April borrows three days from March, and they are ill. 
The Stirlingshire version quoted by Chambers gives, as he says, 
the most dramatic account of this tradition, and seems to throw 
lighten the Gaelic name, substituting 'hogs' for 'ewes,' though 
otherwise not satisfactory : — 

March said to Averill, 
' I see three hogs on yonder hill, 
And if you'll lend me dayis three, 
I'll find a way to gar them dee ' ! 
The first o' them was wind and weet. 
The second o' them was snaw and sleet, 
The third o' them was sic a freeze. 
It froze the birds' feet to the trees ; 
"Wlien the three days were past and gane, 
The silly poor hogs cam' hirplin' hame. 
In point of fact the few days in March that might with anv 
propriety be called ' borroAved ' are warm and summery, and not 
the opposite. The idea of April lending cold days to March 
seems rather absurd. 

Be that as it may, the three days of the ' Oisgean ' are more 
probably to be considered mild days borrowed from Summer than 
killing days borrowed from April. There is a Highland tradi- 
tion to that effect, which ascribes the origin of the borrowing to 
the three days allowed to the children of Israel for their journey 
into the %viìderness to eat the Passover. That the name was 
derived from the idea that a few mild days are given in laml^ing 
time, for the sake of the ewes and lambs, is at once more probable 
and more pleasant than the opposite version. 

After the withering Cailleach comes the lively Sguabag, the 
Brushlet or Little Blast, and thenceforth the Spring goes on 
merrily — Suas e 'n t-Earrach ! — U-p with the Spring ! Last of all 
came the pleasant Ceitein, foretaste of Summer, supposed to in- 
clude the three weeks up to 12th May ; followed by the cheery 
note of the Cuckoo on yellow May-day, 'La buidhe Bealltainn,' 
when the powers of Cold and Darkness have been overcome once 
more, and the world is gladdened by the returning reign of Light 
and Warmth. 

' Gach dan gu Dan an Deirg,' &c., p. 190. 

(1) Dan an Deirg has always been one of the most popular of 
Ossianic Ballads, though, in the various forms in which it has 
been handed down to us, its merits seem scarcely equal to its 
reputation. One verse, in one of the shorter versions, is singu- 


larly beautiful. The wife of the Dearg, whose love for her hus- 
band had been so silent and restrained that he felt doubtful of it, 
was thus expressed when the concocted story was brought to her 
of his having been killed, which killed her,— 

Chi mi 'n t-sheobhag, chi mi 'n cù, 

Leis an deanadh mo run an t-sealo-, 

'S o na b' ionnmhuinn leis an triiiir, 

Càirear sinn 's an iiir le Dearg. 

I see the hawk, I see the hound, 

With which my love was wont to chase ; 

Aiid as the three to him were dear, 

Let us with Dearg be laid in earth. 
See Campbell's Leahhar na Feinne, pp. 107-113, for the various 
versions, in which, however, the above will not be found ver- 

(2) Laoidh an Amad%in Miiuir has always been held in great 
esteem as a suitable piece for recitation, the story being interesting. 
Mr. Campbell, in his West Highland Tales, III., 154, gives the 
best version of it hitherto printed, the text of which, however, is 
in some places very unsatisfactory. 

(3) ' Sgeul Chonnail,' the Tale of Connal. There are several 
tales of this name : the most elaborate is the story of Conall 
Gulban, given by Mr. Campbell in Vol. III., p. 188. 

(4) ' Cliii Eoghain.' For an account of this poem see Note to 
' B'fhasa Eoghan a chur air each,' ante p. 54. 

(5) ' Loch Ce,' Lough Key, is described by Dr. O'Donovan, in 
his Notes to O'Daly's ^Tribes of Ireland (p. 38) as "a beautiful lake, 
with several islands, in the barony of Boyle, County of Roscom- 
mon, near the margin of which stands Eockingham, the magnifi- 
cent residence of Lord Lorton ". 


• Is fliearr leum-iochd,' &c., p. 248. 

A different interpretation of this saying has been received 
from Aberdeenshire, viz., that in lands allotted on the 'run-rig' 
system, the crofter who got a 'balk' attached to his rig was 
considered luckier than his neighbour with a somewhat larger 
rig, but without the balk, the grass of which was of more than 
compensating value. The Eev. ]\Ir. Michie of Dinnet has heard 
the above saying used in the Highlands of Aberdeenshire in this 

The customs as to the ' Cailleach ' and ' Maighdean-bhuana ' 
seem to have varied somewhat. Two reapers were usually set to 
each rig, and according to one account, the man who was first done 
got the 'Maighdean-Bhuana,' or 'Reaping-Maiden,' while the man 
who was last got the 'Cailleach,' or 'old woman'. The latter term 


is used in Arrrylesliire ; the term ' Gobhar-bliacach,' the lame goat, 
is used in iSkye. 

According to what appears to be the better version, the competi- 
tion to avoid the 'Cailleach' was not between reapers but between 
neighbouring crofters, and the man who got his harvest done first 
sent a handful of corn called the 'Cailleach' to his neighbour, who 
passed it on, till it lauded with him who was latest. That man's 
penalty was to provide fur the dearth of the township, gort a bliaik, 
in the ensuing season. 

The ' Maighdean-Bhuana,' again, was the last cut handful of 
oats, on a croft or farm, and was an object of lively competition 
among the reapers. It was tastefully tied up with ribbons, gene- 
rally dressed like a doll, and then hung up on a nail till Spring. 
On the first day of ploughing, it was solemnly taken down, and 
given as a 'Sainnseal' or handsel for luck to the horses. It was 
meant as a symbol that tlie harvest had been secured, and to 
ward off the Fairies, representatives of the ethereal and unsub- 
Ptantial, till the time came to provide for a new crop. 

Jamieson in his Scot. Lid. s.v. ' Maiden,' ' Carlin,' Eapegyrne,' 
' Kirn,' and ' Claaick,' gives some interesting information regard- 
ing this ancient custom, which was not peculiar to Scotland. He 
says the harvest -home, when early finished, was called in Aber- 
deenshire the Maiden Claaick, when as late as Hallowmas, the 
Carlin Claaick ( = ' Cailleach '). Additional particulars regarding 
the Aberdeenshire customs will be found in Mr. Walter Gregor's 
forthcominu' work on the Folk-lore of the Xorth-East of Scotland. 



The good man to whom we are indebted for the first collection 
of Celtic Proverbs ever made was born in 1743, at Orehilmore, 
near Killiecrankie, on the north side of the Garry. His lather 
was originally a cooper, married early in life, retired to his 
native Orehilmore, and there spent the rest of his days as a 
small farmer or crofter. According to Campbell, he was "des- 
cended from the ancient Thanes of Glentilt," a claim which 
need not be called in question. These Thanes, formerly Stewarts, 
and before that Macdonalds, appear to have used the name of 
'Toshach' (sounded long, Tòiseach = First), as a surname, in 1501 
(Skene's Celtic Scotland, YoL III., p. 273), and that of 'Mac 
Toschy ' as early as 1382 (Id. p. 358). Macintosh, in Gaelic Alac- 
an-Tòisich, means the Son of the Toiseach, or Captain. After at- 
tending the parish school, and acting for some time as teacher to 
the younger members of liis father's family, and such of the neigh- 
bouring chiblren as were committed to his care, Donald removed 
to Edinburgh, in the hope of bettering his fortune. He probably 
found some dilficulty in getting any congenial occupation there. 


and Campbell says he remembers seeing him in 1'774 or 1775, as 
one of Peter WilÌiamson's Penny Post men, " with his bell in his 
hand, and uniform cap on his head, on which were painted in gilt 
letters 'Williamson's Penny Post,' alternately collecting and 
delivering letters in his useful though humble vocation". He 
next found employment as a copying clerk, and after that for 
some time as tutor in the family of Stewart of Gairntully. There 
was at that time some wakening of literary activity in the direc- 
tion of Gaelic poetry and antiquities, stimulated no doubt by the 
success of Macpherson's Ossianic labours. Macintosh appears to 
have done something in the way of collecting old poetry, but 
being of a very modest disposition, he preferred to assist others 
than to attempt anything in that line on his own responsibility. 
One piece got by him in Lochaber in 1784 from a namesake of 
his own, John Macintosh, ' Ceardach Mhic Luin, ' appears in 
Gillies's Sean Dana, p. 233. The idea of making a collection of 
Proverbs and old sayings was a happy one, and the merit of it 
appears to be entirely due to Macintosh himself. His design, as 
expressed in the ' Advertisement ' prefixed to his collection, was 
" to preserve the language, and a few remains of the ancient cus- 
toms of Scotland, by bringing so many of the proverbial .sayings 
of the people into one point of ^dew ". In this laudable under- 
taking he received sufficient encouragement and assistance. He 
returns special thanks to Sir James Foulis of Colinton, for the use 
of " some valuable Gaelic MSS.," to Professor Ferguson, " a gen- 
tleman to whom this country is much indebted," and to Neil 
Ferguson, Esq. of Pitcullo. Others to whom he renders his thanks 
are the Rev. John Stewart of Li;ss, Rev. James Maclagan, Blair 
Atholl, Rev. Joseph Macgregor, Edinburgh, Mr. William Morri- 
son, ì\TÌter in Edinburgh, and Mr. Robert Macfarlane, schoolmaster, 
" all of whom were particularly obliging, having procured him 
the perusal of many curious manuscripts, which considerably 
augmented this collection". Nor does he omit a special paragraph 
of thanks " to John Macintosh from Lochaber, formerly a tenant 
under Macdonald of Keppoch, a worthy, honest man, well versed 
in old Gaelic sayings ". Campbell says that a considerable pro- 
portion of the collection was got from this man in 1784, and that 
previous to this the collector had got a valuable and extensive 
portion of his materials from John Wallace, residing at Lettoch, 
near Moulin. 

In addition to those above-mentioned as having assisted the 
collector, Campbell mentions the venerable Henry Mackenzie, 
the ' ]\Ian of Feeling,' as one of those who gave him the benefit 
of their literary judgment and advice. 

The following is the Title page of the book — 

A Collection of Gaelic Proverbs and Familiar Phrases ; 
Accompanied with an English Translation, Intended to facili- 
tate the Study of the Language ; illustrated with Notes. To 
which is added, the Wat to Wealth, by Dr. Franklin, trans- 


lated into Gaelic. By Donald Macintosh. Ge d' dh' Hgnicliear 
an sean-fhocal, cha hhreugaichear e. Edinburgh : Printed lor the 
Author, and sold by Messrs. Donaldson, Creech, Elliot, and 
SiBEALD, Booksellers, Edinburgh ; .John Gillies, R-rth ; James 
Gillies, Glasgow, and 1:)y all the Booksellers in Town and 
Country. MDCCLXXXV. 

The modest little book was dedicated "to the Eight Honour- 
able David, Earl of Buchan, Lord Cardross, Founder and President 
of the Society of Scots Antiquaries," &c., in appropriately warm 
and complimentary terms. The Proverbs, with translation on the 
opposite page, occupied 142 pp. The translation of Franklin's 
'Way to Wealth' was done by R. Macfarlane above-mentioned, 
by desire of the Earl of Buchan. In a short address in Gaelic 
prefixed to it, from the Earl to the Highlanders of Scotland, he 
says he was the first man who donned their manly dress in the 
Lowlands, after the prohibition of it was revoked, and that in 
time of snow and storm. 

Soon after the publication of the book, Macintosh obtained 
employment in the ofiice of Mr. Da\-idson, Deputy-Keeper of the 
Signet and Crown-Agent, in which he continued for several years. 
A more distinguished but less substantial acknowledgment of his 
merits was his appointment on 30th Nov., 1785, as 'Clerk for the 
Gaelic Language' to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. 
There was no salary attached to the office, which Macintosh held 
till 1789, when it was reported that there was a vacancy in it " by 
the removal from Edinburgh of Mr. Donald Mackintosh," and the 
Rev. Joseph Robertson Macgregor was chosen " Secretary for the 
Gaelic Language". The office was abolished long ago. Macin- 
tosh presented a number of things, chiefly coins, to the Society. 
Among others were " A piece of Prince Charles Edward's brogues, 
which he left %vith Mr. M'Donald of Kingsburgh in 1746, now in 
the possession of Mr. Oliphant of Gask," and " A parcel of that 
Prince's hair". 

The death of Prince Charles Edward in 1788 led to a curious 
result in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and an important change 
in the career of Donald Macintosh. In the lofty language of his 
biographer, it "paved the way for a more exalted station in 
society," that, viz., of a priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church. 

" Well do I remember," says Campbell, " the day on which the 
name of George was mentioned in the morning service for the 
first time — such blowing of noses — such significant hems — such 
half-suppressed sighs — such smothered groans, and universal con- 
fusion, can hardly be conceived ! But the deed was done — and 
those who had participated could not retract." Some .staunch 
Jacobites, however, who held that the person to be prayed for, as 
King of Great Britain and Ireland, was not George but Henry 
(Cardinal York), protested against what they called a ' schism ' on 
the part of their weaker brethren, and forthwith formed them- 
selves into a separate body, claiming to be the true old Scetg 


Episcopal Church as by law established after the rtL-storation. 
How many clergymen remained true to the White Cockade cannot 
be ascertained. Tlie number must have been very small, but it 
included one prelate, Bishop Rose, now far advanced in life, and 
described by Campbell, himself a warm Jacobite, as " almost in 
his dotage". He resided at Doune (called by Campbell ' Down'), 
and there a Mr. Brown, of the same persuasion, was consecrated 
as his coadjutor and successor. On the death of Bishop Rose, 
Bishop Brown, says Campbell, " had to look about him for a 
successor, and who should fall in his way but the subject of this 
memoir". From this it would appear that Brown was now the 
sole representative of the nonjurant Episcopal clergy of Scotland, 
as Macintosh became after his death. In June, 1789, Macintosh 
was ordained Deacon by Bishop Brown, and thereafter, in due 
time, Priest. This, douÌ3tless, was the cause of his removal from 
Edinburgh in 1789. "Here then," says Campbell, "we hail our 
worthy countryman placed in a relatively higher position in 
society than even his predecessors the Thanes of Glentilt." In 
touching contrast with this elevation is Macintosh's simple state- 
ment in his Petition to the Court of Session, that he officiated 
at first with a salary of £5, thereafter £8, from a Fund raised in 
17.39 for the relief of poor Scottish Episcopal clergymen, with the 
addition of ^1 from tlie interest of i;iOO bequeathed by a Mrs. 
Buntine to that Fund. Campbell gives no information as to Mac- 
intosh's residence from 1789 to 1794. The probability is that he 
had no fixed residence, but moved froiJ| place to place, as a 
missionary or untitled bishop of Jacobue Episcopacy, till he 
finally settled in Edinburgh. Even after that it appears, so far 
as anything definite can be gathered from Campbell, that he made 
an annual tour through the Perthshire Highlands, by Loch Kat- 
rine and Glenfinlas, on to Glen Tilt, up to Glenshee, and as far 
north as Banff, administering the sacraments and religious instruc- 
tion among the scattered remnant who owned his pastoral autho- 
rity. Camjjbell, with characteristic grandeur, says, " The destinies 
willed it not that he should enjoy his exalted station long with 
dignified ease and honour ; for his reverend brethren, who had 
' bowed the knee to Baal,' questioned the validity of his ordination, 
which embittered his life in secret, and caused other embarrass- 
ments, particularly to those well-meaning individuals who consi- 
dered him as the only spiritual pastor left of the true Church, 
against which ' the gates of hell should not prevail '. Meanwhile 
our compiler pursued his path of duty as a clerg3mian, but did not 
forget those secular pursuits which went hand in hand with his 
more serious avocations." In 1794 Macintosh distinguished him- 
self by raising an action in the Court of Session against the 
Managers of the Fund above-mentioned, to which he claimed sole 
right, as the only representative of the true Scottish Episcopal 
Church. In the Petition he is described a.s ' Episcopal Minister 
in Bailie Fvfe's Close '. The action was dismissed with a some- 


what unnecessary display of wit and loyalty on the part of the 
Court, the Lord President, Sir Hay Campbell, remarking that he 
was "at a loss whether to frown at the audaciousness of the 
pursuer, or to smile at the high pitch of folly of his witless 
advisers, in wantonly thrusting a plea of so extraordinary a 
nature into his Majesty's Supreme Court of Justice. What ! a 
person claiming a right in virtue of his refractory adherence to 
obsolete opinion, long since exploded — nay, glorying in his dis- 
loyalty to the best of kings and existing governments." 

From the 'Session Papers' (Campbell's Coll., 103) containing 
some of the Prints in this case, the following additional facts have 
bec-n got. The Petition, with which the case commenced, sets 
forth that the Petitioner is " a minister of the Scots Episcopal 
Church, and pastor of a congregation of that persuasion, which, 
though respectable, is far from being numerous ; that the income 
he derives from them is, and always has been, altogether insutfi- 
cient to raise him above indigence, from which he was for many 
years saved almost entirely by a small pension of £9 a-year, paid 
him from a fund held 1 ly Trustees for the relief of Scots Episcopal 
Clergvmen in his situation ; that of this salary he has been de- 
prived by the present defenders," &c. The prayer of the petition 
was to ordain the defenders to pay him this £9 per annum from 
1795 onwards, "or such salary as to the Court seems proper". 
The ground for refusing the petition seems to have been, that the 
Petitioner declined to take the oaths to the existing government, 
and to pray by name ft»r King George, which an Act passed in 
1792, repealing all penal statutes against the Episcopal Clergy, 
and restoring the privileges formerly conferred on them, prescribed 
as a condition of such restoration. 

In 1801 Macintosh was appointed Gaelic Translator and Keeper 
of Gaelic Records to the Highland Society of Scotland, in succes- 
sion to Mr. Eobert Macfarlane, which office he held till his death. 
A salary of £10 a-year was attached to it. That it was not a 
sinecure is indicated by the Catalogues of Gaelic MSS. belonging to 
the Highland Society and others, given in Vol. III. of the Loudon 
Highland Society's Òssian, pp. 566-573. These were compiled by 
Macintosh, who also transcribed some of the MSS. The otiice of 
Gaelic Translator and Keeper of MSS. to the Highland Society 
was confen-ed after Macintosh's death on the Piev. John Campbell, 
who held it till 1814, after which it was not again filled up. 

Macintosh's circumstances were somewhat improved in his later 
years, though his income was but small. Campbell mentions two 
legacies left to him bv kindlv members of his scattered but laith- 
ful flock, one of £100, by Mrs. Eagle, Edinburgh, another of £150 
by Mrs. Paterson, Banff. " These sums," says Campbell, " together 
with his annual savings, enabled him to leave behind him a pro- 
perty, which he apportioned in several small legacies, as .specified 
in his wiU." In that will, which Campbell had before him, but 
of which, with all his other MSS., no other trace can be found, 


he thus designated himself: "I, the Reverend Donald Macintosh, 
a priest of the Old Scots Episcopal Church, and last of the non- 
jurant clergy in Scotland." 

In 1808 his health rapidly failed ; he was unable to undertake 
his annual journey to the Highlands ; he made his will, set his 
house in order, called in the Eey. Mr. Adam, of Blackfriars' "VVynd 
Episcopal Chapel, receiyed the Sacrament from his hands, and 
soon after, on 22d Koyember 1808, breathed his last. He was 
respectably buried in the Greyfriars' Churchyard, but no stone 
marks the spot where he was laid. 

Macintosh neyer married. " He had a taste." says Campbell, 
" for his natiye melodies, and performed them not unskilfully on 
the %-iolin." He eyen extended his musical accomplishments so 
far as to play upon the spinet. He purchased an old one for a 
few shillings, took lessons from a lady, and in less than two 
months "he could thrum nicely ' I'll mak' ye fain to follow me'." 

The chief part of the " property " above-mentioned consisted 
of his library, which, considering the smallness of his income, did 
much credit to his literary taste. This collection, numbering 
about 2000 volumes, he bequeathed, after the worthy example of 
a .greater man, the saintly Leighton, "for the purpose of estab- 
lishing a library in the town of Dunkeld, under such regulations 
for the preservation of my books and manuscripts, and for pro- 
moting the access of the public thereto, as to the said trustees 
shall seem good ". The books were chiefly connected with Scot- 
tish history, political and ecclesiastical, and included a considerable 
collection of pamjihlets, about 60 vols. The bequest was accepted 
and carried out, and the library is still maintained in Dunkeld, 
under the name of " The Mackintosh Library," to which nume- 
rous additions have from time to time been made. None of 
Macintosh's MSS., however, appear to have found their way to 
Dunkeld. At any rate, they are not there now, nor can they be 
traced to any other quarter, with the exception of some unim- 
portant documents, believed to be in his handwriting, among the 
Gaelic MSS. in the Advocates' Library. Their value may not have 
been great, but it is to be regretted that the ^^^sh of the estimable 
testator in regard to them was not respected. In the Edinburgh 
L^'niversity Library what appears to be his handwriting will be 
found, in a copy of the Gaelic ' Blessing of the Ship,' appended 
to the old copy of Carsewell's Prayer-Book. 

There is no'authority for spelling the name of 'Donald Macin- 
tosh ' otherwise than as it appears in the only authentic specimen 
of it under his own hand, in the first edition of his book. In the 
second edition, and in various other notices of him, the ' k ' is 
introduced, which some people think of importance. The ' k ' is 
harmless, but quite superfluous, as much so to Mac Intosh as to 
^lac Indoe, Mac Inroy, or Mac Intyre. Its omission has the 
authority, so far as any is required, of two such Celtic scholars 
and historians as Gregory and Skene. 




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