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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Man with the Cassock


During what presumably must have been one of the many highlights of the International Celtic Folklore Conference, held in October 1953 at Stornoway, Duncan MacDonald held a mainly academic audience enthralled with his rendition of a long romantic tale entitled Fear na h-Eabaid which may be translated as ‘The Man with the Habit’ or ‘The Man with the Cassock.’ A fairly long piece appeared in the Stornoway Gazette describing the event:

Uist Seanchaidh At International Conference
DELEGATES’ OVATION FOR DUNCAN MACDONALD

DUNCAN MACDONALD, a crofter of Peninerine, South Uist, provided one of the memorable experiences of the International Conference at Stornoway.
He travelled from Uist to recite for the delegates the well-known folk tale, “Fear Na H-Eabaid” (“The Man With The Habit”). Sitting in the Conference Room surrounded by Celtic scholars from most of the European countries, he hold his story, simply but dramatically, just as he has told scores of times in his own home in Uist.
When the recital was over, the delegates acclaimed him with enthusiasm. He is only a simple Hebridean crofter but the Celtic scholars of Europe accepted him as a master in his own art of story-telling just as they are masters of their own particular subjects.
The value of the live recital of his tale, which occupied nearly an hour, was greatly enhanced by the fact that the delegates had before them for reference a Gaelic transcript and an English translation, by Messrs Angus Matheson, and Derick Thomson of Glasgow University, of a recording of the same tale taken from Mr Macdonald in 1950 by Mr J. L. Campbell of Canna.
There is also available an earlier version of the same tale recorded from Mr Macdonald in 1944, which, as Mr Matheson pointed out, gave an opportunity to the delegates to assess the faithfulness of the recitation over a period of years.
“I don’t think that had been done before―two recordings of the same tale from the same reciter at an interval of several years―and today Mr Macdonald is going to recite it for us again,” said Mr Matheson.
Mr Matheson gave Mr Macdonald’s genealogy as “Donnchadh mac Dhomhnaill mhic Dhonnchaidh mhic Iain mhic Dhomhnaill mhic Thormoid.”
“This Norman was probably the son (or possibly grandson) of Donnchadh mac Ruaraidh of Achadh nam Bard in Trotternish, the last of the professional bards of his family to hold the office of bard to the Macdonalds of Sleat when they held court in Duntulm Castle.”
An ancestor of the last bard was Donnchadh mac Ruairaidh who died about 1630, and four of who poems have been preserved in the Fernaig manuscript.
“The tale that we are to hear from Mr Macdonald today not doubt delighted and entertained aristocratic audiences in the halls of Duntulm more than three centuries ago when recited by the professional bard of the powerful Macdonald Chiefs of Sleat,” said Mr Matheson.
After the recital which was listened to with concentrated attention by the delegates. Mr Matheson traced the various versions of the tale recorded from Scottish and Irish sources.
Dr R. Th. Christiansen, Curator of the Norse Collections in the University of Oslo told how, as he listened to the recitation, it had gradually come to him that it was a strange mixture of folklore and unconscious literary art. At first the story appeared to be just a series of incidents strung together, but after a time one noticed several special tricks.
No new character was introduced except under some strange puzzling name. He could not say whether they were the names of gods or other important mythical beings, but he thought it was just a clever artifice of the story teller to make the listener feel that he was entering another world altogether.
There was also the literary artifice of the constantly recurring incident or motif. That would not be of much interest if the pattern were only a couple of centuries old, but that special pattern could be followed almost to the very first examples of Celtic, Gaelic, Irish, literature.
“It is a special Gaelic, Irish, thing. These standard passages are not in the fairy tales of other countries. I have never met anything exactly corresponding to it, and as far as I known that is the oldest literary tradition surviving in Western Europe. That is the reason why I speak of the uniqueness of Irish folklore, and that is why I am interested to hear that the collecting work is going on with such splendid results.”
Dr. Arthur Geddes, of Edinburgh University asked whether the stressed passages in the tale were chanted.
Mr. A. Urquhart, Gaelic Master in the Nicolson Institute, who was chairman at the session, replied that Mr Macdonald said the passages were not sung, but when the story was being recited by an experienced story-teller he became moved by it himself; he was elevated in spirit and might be carried away by the emotion.
Six Seanachaidhean Remain
“I come from Wales where the oral tradition has disappeared, and I would like to know how far Mr Macdonald is representative of a class, and how far he is the exception,” asked Professor Thomas Jones of Aberystwyth.
“Duncan Macdonald is not quite exceptional,” replied Mr C. I. Maclean, of the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh. “I would say this much, that there is probably no one in Scotland who can recite the old heroic tales―the longer tales―in the way that Mr Macdonald can. He is the finest example we have, but there are about half-a-dozen or so others. In Barra there are four, in Benbecula one, in North Uist one, and there is another away in the Rhinns of Islay.
“There are of course others who have some of these heroic tales but they are much shorter versions and they have lost a great deal of the decoration and especially the ‘runs.’
The Irish Folklore Commission had recorded about 112 tales from Mr Macdonald, and about twenty of these were long tales which required about an hour in narration, said Mr Maclean. At present, he added, Mr Macdonald’s son (Mr D. J. Macdonald) was recording all his father’s material so tat they could be sure that all the folklore there was in the Peninerine household would be preserved.
“I can assure you,” he added, “that that is certainly an exceptional house. Not only is Mr Macdonald himself a first-class teller of tales, but his younger brother Neil is equally good.”
Mrs F. Marian MacNeill of the Saltire Society, referring to the fact that in some versions of the tale a well appeared as the entrance of the other world, suggested an association with Hallowe’en when the game of trying to catch apples in a tub seemed to be a relic of the same idea. The catching of an apple was supposed to confer second sight for the evening. The kitchen tub, she thought, might represent the well and the stick with which it was stirred the druid’s wand.
Mrs Ettlinger of the Folklore Society said the idea was world wide, and Professor Jung, she thought, had got to the bottom of it.
Death Bed Of A Tradition
“It was really worth while coming all the way from Amsterdam to the Hebrides to hear Mr Duncan Macdonald,” said Dr A. M. E. Draak, lecturer in Celtic in the University of Utrecht.
Professor Richard Breatnach complimented Mr Macdonald on the success with which he told the story although out of his natural setting.
“I cannot parallel anything with the experience I had today, such a long tale and so well told,” said Professor Breatnach, but he added, “I felt as if I was at the death bed of a tradition.”
What steps, he asked, were being taken to ensure that such outstanding stories were transmitted to the next generation.
Now that the collection of tales had started, young people were taking an interest, said Mr Maclean. Then years ago they would not have been interested. Mr Macdonald’s grand-daughter, who lived with him, was also interested and not a word that came out of his mouth escaped her. She was aged eleven, and had begun to take an interest in the tales four or five years ago.
Mr Derick Thomson asked the Scandinavian delegates whether any steps were being taken in their countries to encourage the oral tradition or whether it was being stored in the archives only.
Dr Christiansen said no attempt was made in Norway to encourage the oral tradition because immediately that was done it introduced a new and artificial element, but he suggested that a new oral tradition was always being created, instancing in Norway the tales of the German occupation which were being circulated, and he suggested that 100 years hence there would still be plenty of oral tradition for the collector.
Much the same view was expressed by Dr Ake Campbell of Uppsala, who spoke of the difficulties which arose when using newspapers or broadcasting fro the collection of folk tales.
Dr Andersson of Abo, however, spoke of attempts to revive folk music and dancing in Finland.
At the close of the session, Mr Urquhart once more thanked Mr Macdonald for a memorable experience.

The tale which MacDonald recited was made available to the conference attendees so that those who could read Gaelic could follow the Uist storyteller reciting his rendition straight from memory almost word for word. The recording, transcription and translation as noted in the publication had been undertaken by John Lorne Campbell, Angus Matheson and Derick Thomson. It is here reproduced with precedence given to the Gaelic transcription is then followed by the translation rather than a facing one as originally published:

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE HELD AT STORNOWAY, OCTOBER, 1953.

Under the auspices of

THE UNIVERSITY OF GLAGOW AND THE BRITISH COUNCIL

FEAR NA H-EABAID : THE MAN WITH THE HABIT

A FOLK TALE

related by

DUNCAN MACDONALD, PENINERINE, SOUTH UIST

(DONNCHADH MAD DHOMHNAILL MHIC DHONNCHAIDH).

and recorded by

JOHN LORNE CAMPBELL, ESQ., LL.D., of CANNA,
at Loch Boisdale, 14th February, 1950

transcribed and translated by

ANGUS MATHESON AND DERICK THOMSON

(The tale was recorded from the same source by K.C. Craig in 1944, and published in his book, Sgialachdan Dhunnchaidh. To facilitate comparison the paragraphing of the version printed here follows that of the book as closely as possible)

FEAR NA H-EABAID

An cual’ sibh an latha bu mhath do Mhurchadh mac Brian agus do Dhunnchadh mac Brian agus do Thig Sionna mac Brian agus Brian Borghaidh mac Cionadaidh agus Cionadaidh fhén cuide riutha bhith air taobh Beinn Gulbann ann an Éirinn a’ sealg?

Agus dh’ fhalbh a’ mòr shluagh dha’ n bheinn-sheilg a dhianamh na seilge, agus dh’ fhan Murchadh mac Brian air an tom-shealg gos an tilleadh iad. Agus gu dé a chunnaig Murchadh mac Brian ach fiadh a’ dol seachad air, agus cabar òir agus cabar airgid air agus gabhar cluaisdearg bàn a’ tathann gu geur as deaghaidh an fhéidh. Agus ghabh e a leithid do thlachd dhe’ n fhiadh ’s dhe’ n ghabhar agus gur ann a dh’ fhalbh e ’ga ruith air son graoim a dhianamh orra. Agus o Abhainn na h-Eadarbhaigh go Abhainn Shrath na h-Eadarbhaigh gheàrr am fiadh leum, agus gheàrr an gabhar leum, agus gheàrr Murchadh mac Brian an treas leum, agus cha robh ann an Éirinn gu léir na ghearradh ’nan deoghaidh i. Agus thanaig meall ceò man cuairt air, agus cha robh fios aige có ’n taobh as na ’s tànaig a’ fiadh no ’n gabhar.

Ach chual’ e buille tuaigheadh shuas as a chionn, agus thuirt e ris fhén nach robh buille tuaigheadh riamh gun fear ’ga bualadh air a cùl. Agus ghabh e suas ma thuaiream an àit anns an cual’ e bhith toirt seachad na buille. Agus bha an a sin Fear Eabaide Duibheadh, Luirge Ceàrnaich, Phadaran Chràmh agus Phadaran Unga, agus e fadadh (gadadh?) cuail-chonnaidh.

Agus bheannaich Murchadh mac Brian dhà ann am briathraibh mìne, ann am mìne maighdeann, ann an teagaisg seanchais. Agus fhreagair Fear na h-Eabaid à as na briathran cianda―mara h-èad a b’ fheàrr, nach èad a bu mhiosa―có ’n duin’ à, no có as tànaig e, no càit am bu ghnàth leis a bhith, no càit a bha e air ruighean.

“Chan ’eil,” ors Murchadh mac Brian, “ach fear a ghaisgeich Mhurchaidh ’ic Brian.”

“O seadh,” ors a’ fear eile. “Có fear thus’ a ghaisgeich Mhurchaidh ’ic Brian, agus gun ghaisgeach ris an t-saoghal aig an duine sin nach ’eil ainm air leith agams’ air?”

“An dà, chan ’eil,” orsa Murchadh mac Brian, “ach fear a ghaigeich Mhurchaidh ’ic Brian.”

“O seadh,” ors a’ fear eile, “a ghaisgeich chòir, nach math thigeadh dhu’sa droch rud a dhianamh agus nach math a ghabhadh tu fhén do leisgeil!”

Ach dh’ fhalbh e agus rug e air ròp a mach a bile na h-eabaid agus sgaoil e naoi-fillt’ air a’ mhòintich e [sic], agus theann e ri dianamh an eallaich. Agus gad a bhà Murchadh mac Brian e fhén ’na ghaisgeach, ’s ann a bha e cur oillt air ’nuair a bha e faicinn mìodachd an eallaich a bha Fear na h-Eabaid a’ dianamh.

Ach co dhiubh, ’nuair a bha ’n t-eallach deiseil aige, agus a cheangail e suas e. “Teann a nall,” orsa Fear na h-Eabaide a nise, “agus tog an t-eallach air mo mhuin-sa, agus na glac droch mhios orm air son a dhol a ghiùlan an eallaich a tha seo cuideachd, a chionn, ors e fhéin, “b’ fhurasda dhomh fear agus fear, agus té agus té, fhaotainn a thigeadh ga iarraidh, ach cha dugadh a h-aon aca leo ann an aon eallach na chumadh teine ri Gleann Eilt là agus bliadhna mura nì mise. Agus teann thus’ a nall agus tog an t-eallach seo air mo mhuin.”

Theann Murchadh mac Brian a null agus chuir e a dha làimh fo’ n eallach, agus ma chuir, cha tugadh e gaoth bho làr dha.

“Car son,” orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, “nach ’eil thu togail an eallaich?”

“’N dà, tha reusan gu leòr agam air,” orsa Murchadh mac Brian. “Chan fhaca mi duine riamh a bha toil aige eallach fhaighean a chuir air a mhuin nach dugadh e fhén seachad a bheag no mhór do chuideacha ach thusa.”

“A ghaisgeich chòir,” orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, “nach math a thigeadh dhu’sa droch rud a dhianamh agus nach math a ghabhadh tu fhén do leithsgeul!”―agus e aig an am a’ toirt an siabadh od dhe’n eallach a dh’ionnsaigh a ghualainn, agus ’nam dh’a eallach a bhith dol seachad, cha do bhuail e air Murchadh mac Brian idir, ach leis a’ ghaoith a dh’ fhalbh uaidhe, chaith e Murchadh mac Brian go a dha ghlùin ann an talamh cruaidh creathach an taobh thall dheth, agus ghreas e air éirigh ma faiceadh Fear na h-Eabaid e.

“A nis,” orsa Fear na h-Eabaid ri Murchadh mac Brian “cum a nist cainnt agus coiseachd rium.”

“Tha sin glé fhurasda dhomh,” ors Murchadh mac Brian. “Tha mi gu faonra agus tha thus’ agus t’ eallach fhén air do mhuin.”

Nist, ’nair a rachadh Murchadh mac Brian ’na ruith agus na ’theànnruith, bheireadh e air a’ ghaoth luath Mhàrt a bha roimhe agus cha bheireadh a’ ghaoth luath Mhàrt a bha ’na dheaghaidh air; agus cha teothadh e air cumail suas ri Fear na h-Eabaid. Agus ma bheireadh e seothach gu dé ach a rug Murchadh mac Brian air an dà choileach dhubha a bha dol seachad air iteig air.

“Car son?”arsa Fear na h-Eabaid, “nach ’eil thu cumail cainnt agus coiseachd rium?”

“’N dà,” orsa Murchadh mac Brian, “tha mi ’n déis breith air an da choileach dhubha a bha falbh,” ors esan, “air iteig anns na speuran, ga nach ’eil mi cumail cainnt agus coiseachd riu’sa.”

“O ’s diocair fhios dhomh,” orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, “nach ann a fhuair thu marbh iad.”

“O,” orsa Murchadh mac Brian, “tha ’n comharra fhén ’nan cois fhathast―tha (a) fuil blàth ’nan com.”

“A ghaisgeich chòir,” orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, “nach math a thigeadh dhut droch rud a dhianamh agus nach math a ghabhadh tu fhén do leithsgeal!”

Agus rànaig iad a seothach Gleann Eillt, ’nuair a chaith Fear na h-Eabaid dheth an t-eallach aig an dorus, thug an t-àit uile gu léir crith as, air chor agus gu robh Murchadh mac Brian a’ smaointean gum bu cho fada leis a’ chlach-steidh a b’ ìsle bh’ ann an dorus na cathrach fhaiceean air chrith ris a’ chloich a b’ àirde, na fuaim thug an t-àit uile gu léir ’nuair a shrad Fear na h-Eabaid dheth an t-eallach. Agus bha nist an dorus cho farsaing agus gun deach iad a stoigh air guala ri gualainn innte.

Agus ghabh iad le chéile sìos do sheòmbar, agus bha bòrd an a sineach air a chuibhrigeadh, agus dh’ fhalbh Fear na h-Eabaid agus shuidh e ann an cathair amalaidh oir air an darna taobh ’na bhord, agus dh’ fhalbh Murchadh mac Brian agus shuidh e ann an cathair airgid a bh’ air an taobh eile.

Agus rug Fear na h-Eabaid air glag a bh’ air a’ bhòrd agus bhuail e e, agus thanaig far garbh dubh a nuas agus còrn digheadh aige.

“Thoir deoch ’an aoigh,” orsa Fear na h-Eabaid.

“Cha do’ir,” ars a’ fear sin, “ach feir mi dhu’s’ i.”

“O,” arsa Fear na h-Eabaid, “feir dha fhén an toiseach i.”

“An dà, cha do’ir,” ars a’ fear sin. “’S gu dé reusan,” orsa Fear na h-Abaid, “nach doir thu dhà i?” “’N dà, tha reusan gu leòr agam air!”ors a’ fear eile―”chan e deoch a than ’nam làimh, ’s chan e thoigh a th’ as mo chionn, chan e aodach tha mam’ dhrim, chan e bhiadh than ’nam bhroinn agus on as lea’sa a chuile cuid dhiubh sin, ’s tu a gheobh an deoch.”

“Tod, ma thà,” orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, “nach doir thu dhà air mo shon fhìn i?”

“An dà, mara h-ann,” ors a’ fear eile, “chan eil fhios có air son eile,” Agus shìn e ’n uair-san an deoch do Mhurchadh mac Brian.

Agus chuir Murchadh mac Brian an còrn go bhial agus chaidh e ’na deogh fhaireachadh agus cha dug e as ach a leith. Agus dh’ fhalbh e agus chuir e null air bialaibh Fear na h-Eabaid e.

Dh’ fhalbh Fear na h-Eabaid agus fhuair e arm sgocharra sgeaneadh, a ghearradh am fanall air uachdar an uisg’ an oidhch’ a bu dorch’ a thigeadh anns a’ bhliadhna, agus na bha falamh dhe’n
chòrn gheàrr e dheth e, ’s chàirich e air a’ bhòrd ri thaobh e.

“A ghaisgeich chòir,” ors e fhén, “na glac droch mhios orms’ air son siod a dhianamh agus gur geasaibh dhe m’ gheasaibh-s’ o m’ mhuim-altramais nach cuir mi saitheach leith-fhalamh as cionn mo bheòil go bràch; agus gun cuir mise siod dhu’sa air a’ chòrn cho math agus nach aithnich thusa na neach eile gun deach a ghearradh riamh dheth.”

Agus ’s ann mar seo a bhà ’Nuair a dh’ òl e ’n deoch, rug e ’n uair-san air a’ phìos a gheàrr e bheir a’ chòrn, agus chàirich e air uachdar dheth, agus bha ’saitheach cho slàn ’s a bha e riamh.

Agus gu dé a chitheadh Murchadh mac Brian thall ann an taobh an t-seòmbar ach a’ fiadh ’s an
gabhar a bha e fhén a’ ruith, agus iad air lòmhnaibh ann.

Ach thanaig a seo Banal ban a nuas bìdh a dh’ ionnsaigh a’ bhùird air am bialaibh. Agus na bh’ aig a’ ghréin air a ghealaich, agus na reult air na rionnagan, mar ghual air a bhàthadh ann an ceàrdach gobha, bha aogasg mnathan an domhain gu léir maille rithe aig a h-àilleachd.

Agus theann Murchadh mac Brian ri dùr-bheachdnachadh oirre,

“Gu dé,” orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, “do bheachdnachadh air a’ mhaoi bheuldearg ud aig a’ bhòrd?”

“An dà,” orsa Murchadh mac Brian, “gura nàr ’omh mara h-aithnich mi far a faic mi a rithist i.”

“A ghaisgeich chòir,” orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, “nach math thigeadh dhut droch rud a dhianamh agus nach math a ghabhadh tu fhén do leithsgeal! Ach a Mhurchaidh ’ic Brian,” ors e fhén, “gad a thà am biadh air a’ bhòrde, nan éisdeadh tu ri m’ sgiala, ’s ann ma’ n bhoireannach ad a siod agus ma’ n fhiadh agus ma’ n ghadhar ad thall a fhuair mis’ an damaiste nach d’ fhuair duine dhe na daoine riamh roimhe a leithid, tha mi smaiontean.”

Bha mis’, ors e fhén, a’ bhliadhna na tacs-sa far a fac’ thus’ an diu mi a’ fadadh (gadadh?) na cuail-chonnaidh. Agus thanaig Gruagach an Fhéidh agus a’ Ghadhair ud thall far a robh mi agus Gruagach eile tighean as a deoghaidh.

‘A ghaol is Dia riut,’ ors i fhén, ‘tionachd m’ anam dhomh agus is leat m’ fhiadh agus mo ghadhar.’

Ghabh mi fhìn a leithid a thlachd dhe’ n fhiadh agus dhe’ n ghadhar, orsa Murchadh mac Brian [sic], agus gun ghabh mi ’n coinnimh na gruagaich a bha tighean. Agus rug mi air a’ Ghruagaich bha naoi goisneinean ruadha fuilt a mach a mullach a cinn agus bu lìonar gas as gach gas dhiubh sin na gamhnaich air latha Céatain ri taobh cnoic. Agus shuaint mi na naoi goiseinean ruadh fuilt mam’ dhòrn, agus thug mi ’n ceann as as amahaich, agus an amhach as na riamhaichean agus an goisein bu mhiosa dhe na naoi goisneinean ruadha fuilt cha do bhrist.

Ach cha b’ fhada seo gos an dànaig an ath Ghruagach.

‘A ghaoil Dia riut(?),’ orsa Gruagach an Fhéidh ’s a’ Ghadhair “tionachd m’ anam dhomhs’ an dràst a rithist agus is leat m’ fhiadh agus mo ghadhar.” “’S liomsa,” orsa mi fhìn, “t’ fhiadh agus do ghadhar reimhe.” Thuirt mi seothach mi rium fhìn gum bu cheacharra dhomh fhìn na leiginn a marbhadh air an turus seo ’n déis a sàbhaladh reimhid, agus dh’ fhalbh mi agus ghabhadh an coinnimh na Gruagaich a bha tighean. Ach, a Mhurchaidh ’ic Brian, ors easan, cha robh agamsa, ors esan, air a’ Ghruagaich seothach(?) an ceann thoirt aiste seo ach mar gum biodh tom chuiseaga ruadha a spìonadh tu as an talamh air achadh foghmhair ri taobh cnuic.

Ach cha b’ fhada gos dànaig an treas Ghruagach, agus ’nair a chunna mi fhìn a’ tighean i, cha do’ iarr mi brosnachadh sam bith air an turus seo air son a dhol ’na coinnimh. Agus ghabh mi ’n coinnimh na Gruagaich seo.

“O, a ghaol ’s Dia riut,” orsa Gruagach an Fhéidh ’s a’ Ghadhair, “gabh ala ris an té sin agus gur ann a th’ ann mo dhearbh-bhrathair.”

“Ùbh ùbh,” orsa mi fhìn, “ma thà, nach olc an gnìomh bràthar a tha e dianamh riut.”

“Hu,” ors i fhen, “’s ann a thana sinn far a robh thusa air son ceart, agus cha ghabhamaid ceart ach ceart Fear Eabaide Duibheadh, Luirge Ceàrnaich, phaidrean Chràmh is Phaidrean Unga mar a tha thusa.”

“’s gud é,” orsa mi fhìn, riutha, “a bha tighean eadraibh?” “An dà, bhà,” ors ise, “tha fearann gu leòr aige-san,” ors i fhén, “thug e mach le laimh mhóir, làidir fhén. Agus tha fearann agamsa cuideachd,” ors i fhén, “agus bha aig m’ athair, agus bha aig mo sheanair, agus bha aig mo shìnseanair romham.” Agus ’s ann tha esan a nist,” ors i fhén, “a’ miannachadh,” ors i fhén, “an fhearainn sin a thoirt bhuamsa agus a bhith aige còmhla ris a’ chòrr.”

“O tà,” orsa mi fhìn, “’s e an ceart a nì mise dhuibh dha thaobh sin: gabhadh easan leis an bheil aige do dh’ fhearann an dràsd, agus ma thachras dhà uair sa bith gun caill e e, na gun caill e pàirt dheth, leigidh tusa ’n uair-san g’ a ionnsaigh roinn dhe na bheil agad fhén. Sin ma chailleas easan uair sa biht a’ fearann a th’ aige le fòirneart.

O, bha seo ceart gu leòr a nist leò le chéile. “Ach,” ors àsan, “feumaidh tusa falbh agus sin fhaicean diante comha rium.” Bha cabhag ormsa, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, ach gad a bhà fhén, dh’fhalbh sinn. Dh’fhalbh mi còmhla riutha, agus ’nuair a ràna sinn a’ mhuir, thug sinn a mach ar cuid ceannbhartan-uisge. Agus cha robh sinn fad sa bith, ors e fhén, a’ falbh a’ chuain ’nuair a thachair a’ Machaire Mìn Sgàthach oirnn.

Agus chan fhaicinn sian ach duine ’ga chois, duin’ air muin eich a’ tighean ’nar coinnimh ’s an ceannabhach(?) (ceannaodach?) go làr. Dh’éigh mi fhìn a Ghruagach an Fhéidh ’s a’ Ghadhair gu dé na bha de shluagh a siod a’ tigh’n ’nar coinnimh.

“O.” ors i fhén, “dian thus’ or o shocair agus ìnnsidh mise sin dhut.”

“Cha dian mis’ air mo shochair idir,” orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, “agus cabhag orm go tilleadh dhachaigh a nochd fhathast.” Ach rinn mi air mo shocair rithe, agus ’nuair a theann i suas―

“Tha,” ors ise, “ann a shiodach aon nighean agamsa agus chan ’eil duine ’n t-saoghal tha thu faicean ann a siod,” ors i fhen, “nach ’eil a’ dol a mharbhadh a cheile, agus a’ fear ’ios beo bidh i aige.”

Agus có nist a bh’ ann a seothach ach Gruagach na Tiobard agus i ’n déis tigh’n a dh’iarraidh Fear na h-Eabaid le car.

“An tà gu dearbh fhén,” ors Fear na h-Eabaid, “dhianainn fhìn ceart a b’ fheàrr na sin dha’ n chuile duin’ aca, nan gabhadh iad mo chomhairle.”

“Gu dé ’n ceart tha sin?” ors a chuile fear riamh.

“Thà,” orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, “a dhol a ruith, agus am fear bu luaith’ ann an ruith am boireannach a bhith aige, agus cha rachadh beatha duine air a cur dhìth.”

Agus chòrdseo ris a chuile duin’ aca. Agus dh’ fhalbh sinn, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, a ruith, aca ma dh’ fhalbh,bha mis’ air ais an déis mo chuairt a chur mana rànaig càch leitheach rathaid, agus ’s mi a bhuinnig agus a ghléidh am boireannach.

Agus chaidh sinn dhachaigh an oidhche sin, ors e fhén, dha’ n Tiobard.

Ach, a Mhurchaidh ’ic Brian, ors e fhen, ’nuair a bha ’m biadh air a’ bhord chualas bualadh ann as dorus, agus cha robh ’n ath bhualadh ann ’nuair a bha a’ chòmhla air a cur a stoigh ’na bìdeagan a dh’ ionnsaigh an ùrlair agus thugadh am boireannach od a siod a mach o m’ ghualainn fhìn.

“Tha thu nist a muigh,” ors a’ fear a thug a mach i, “agus chan ’eil e fo cheithir rannsa ruadha an t-saoghail a h-aon ga’d chur a stoigh o nach digeadh am Feamanach Mór Babhsach (fallsach?)―fear gun time gun taise gun tròcaire, gun ghaol Dé gun eagal duine, agus gad a thigeadh a’ fear sin fhén, bhiodh e glé mhór is gu faigheadh e thus’ a nochd.”

“O,” orsa Gruagach na Tiobard, ors i fhén, “càit a bheil fear an ainme fo dhrim an taighe? Agus gu dearbh fhéne, ma thà e ann, ’s e adh(bh)ar cleamhn’ a b’ fheàrr liom fhìn a bhith agam na fear nach biodh fios a’m cà rachainn ’ga tòrachd air.”

Ghabh mi fhìn a’ chùis ga’m ionnsaigh fhìn, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, agus dh’ éirich mi o’n bhòrd, agus dheasaich mi m’ eabaid dhubh as cionn ploc mo mhàis, mo lorg cheàrnach ’nam làimh, mo phaidirean unga mam’ amhaich ’s mo phaidirean cràmh as cionn mo mhalagh, agus ghabh mi air falbh. Agus ’nuair a dhlùthaich mi air an fhear a thug leis am boireannach, dh’ éigh mi dhà, Có nighean na tréin’ agus na tréidh ruaidheadh a bha seo.

“’S tusa sin,” ors esan ’s e freagairt, “fear an t-saoghail ghoirid dhiomain.”

“Cuir thusa bhuat an rìoghainn,” orsa mi fhìn, “air neò gheobh thu còmhrag gu leòr air a ceann.”

“O,” ors esan ’s e freagairt, “gheobh thu còmhrag gu leòr air a ceanm, ach chan fhaigh thu an rìoghainn a nochd.”

Sheòl e an t-sleagh a bh’ aig orm, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, agus chaidh i naoi mill agus naoi glinn agus naoi tulaichean ’na ruadha(?) lasag anns na speuran an taobh thall dhiom. Ach dh’ fhalbh mise agus sheòl mi mo shleagh fhìn aire-an, agus bhuail mi ann an àird a chléibh e, agus thuit e, agus ghreas mi g’a ionnsaigh, agus man duair e éirigh mharbh mi e agus thug mi dheth an ceann, agus thill mi dhachaigh leis a’ bhoireannach an oidhche sin dha’ n Tiobard; agus ma bha biadh no deoch aca ri gha’ail, bha iad air a gha’ail mana ranna mise.

Ach an ath oidhche, ’nuair a bha ’m biadh air a’ bhòrd, chualas bualadh ann as dorus, ma thaiream an aon am, agus cha robh ’n ath bhualadh ann ’nuair a bha a’ chòmhla air a cur a stoigh ’na bìdeagan a dh’ ionnsaigh an ùrlair, agus chaidh am boireannach ad a siod a thoirt a mach o m’ ghualainn fhìn.

“Tha thu nist a muigh,” ors a’ fear a thug a mach i, “agus chan ’eil e fo cheithir ranna ruadha an t-saoghail a h-aon ga’d chur a stoigh o nach digeadh a’ Feamanach Mór Bhabhasach―fear gun time gun taise gun tròcaire gun ghaol Dé, gun eagal duine, agus gad a thigeadh a’ fear sin fhén, bhiodh e glé mhór is gu faigheadh e thus’ a nochd.”

“O,” orsa Gruagach na Tiobard ’s i freagairt, “Càit a bheil,” ors ise, “fear an ainme fo dhrim an taighe? Agus dearbh fhéne ma thà e ann, ’s e adh(bh)ar cleamhn’ a b’ fheàrr liom fhìn a bhith agam na fear nach biodh fhios a’m cà rachainn ’ga tòrachd air.”

Ghabh mi fhìn, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, a’ chùis ga’m ionnsaigh fhìn, agsu thuirt mi nach leiginn cho fada am boireannach o’ n toigh a nochd, agus bha mi deiseil, glan air son falbh as a dheaghaidh, agus ghabh mi mach gun ghuth-mór, gun droch fhacal. Agus ’nuair a bha mi dlùthachadh air an fhear a thug leis am boireannach, dh’ éigh mi dhà, Có nighean na tréine agus tréidh ruaidheadh a bha seo?

“’S tusa sin,” ors esan ’s e freagairt, “fear an t-saoghail ghoirid dhiomain.”

“Cuir thusa bhuat a’ rìoghainn,” orsa mi fhìn, “air neò gheobh thu còmhrag air a ceann.”

“O gheobh thu còmhrag air a ceann, gu leòr dheth,” ors eesan, “ach chan fhaigh thu rìoghainn a nochd.”

Sheòl e ’n t-sleagh a bh’ aig’ orm agus chaidh i ’na ruadh lasag anns na speuran an taobh thall dhiom. Ach dh’ fhalbh mise, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, agus sheòl mi mo shleagh fhìn aire-san agus bhuail mi ann an àird a chléibh e, agus thuit e, agus ghreas mi g’a ionnsaigh ma faigheadh e eirigh, agus mharbh mi e, agus thug mi liom am boireannach dhachaigh dha’ n Tiobard an oidhche sin a rithist; ma bha biadh no deoch aca ri gha’ail ann, bha iad air a gha’ail mana ràna mise.

Ach, a Mhurchaidh ’ic Brian, ors e fhén, an treas oidhch’, ’nuair a bha ’m biadh air a’ bhòrd, chualas am bualadh ciand’ anns as dorus; agus gad ’iodh an dà bhualadh air a bh’ as na h-oidhcheannan eile còmhla ris, cha bhiodh iad urad ris an fhear sin. Chaidh a’ chòmhla chuir a stoigh ’na bìdeagan a dh’ ionnsaigh an ùrlair agus am boireannach ad a siod a thogail a mach o m’ ghualainn fhìn.

“Tha thu nist a muigh,” ors a’ fear a thug a mach i, “agus chan ’eil e fo cheithir ranna ruadha an t-saoghail a h-aon ga’d thoirt a stoigh, o nach digeadh a’ Feamnach Mór Babhasach―fear gun time gun taise gun tròcair, gun ghaol Dé, gun eagal duine; agus gad a thigeadh a’ fear sin fhén, bhiodh e glé mhór air gu faigheadh e thus’ a nochd.”

“O,” orsa Gruagach na Tiobard, “càit,” ors ise, “a bheil fear an ainme fo dhrim an taighe? Agus gu dearbhe fhéne ma tha e ann, ’s e adh(bh)ar cleamhn’ a b’ fhearr liom fhìn a bhith agam na fear nach biodh fios a’m cà rachainn ’ga tòrachd air.”

Cha do dh’ éisd mi fhìn, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, móran do bhrosnachadh an oidhche seo, ach ghabh mi air falbh, agus cha do leig mi ’n duine cho fad’ o’ n toigh leis a’ bhoireannach, agus ’nuair a dhlùthaich mi air, dh’ éigh mi dhà, Có nighean tréine agus na tréidh ruaidheadh a bha seo.

“’S tusa sin,” ors esan ’s e freagairt, “fear an t-saoghail ghoirid dhiomain.”

“Cuir thusa bhuat an rìoghainn,” orsa mi fhìn, “air neò gheobh thu còmhrag air a ceann.”

“O,” ors e fhén, “gheobh thu còmhrag gu leòr air a ceann ach chan fhaigh thu an rìoghainn a nochd.”

Sheòl e ’n t-sleagh a bh’ aig’ orm, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, agus bhuail e dìreach as a’ phadaran unga bh’ as cionn na mala mi, agus thuit mi air mo ghlùin, agus ghortaich e gu trom mi. Ach ghrad dh’ éirich mi man doireadh a’ fear eile ’n aire dhomh, agus sheòl mi mo shleagh fhìn aire-san, agus bhuail mi e ann an àird a chléibh, agus thuit e, agus ghreas mi g’a ionnsaigh mam faigheadh e éirigh agus mharbh mi e.

Ach thuirt mi rium fhìn an uair-san cho math agus go robh ’n Tiobard, gun dianadh siod an gnothach dhomhsa dhith; agus fhuair mi Gruagach an Fhéidh agus a’ Ghadhair còmhla rium, agus am boireannach ad a siod, agus ghabh sinn air falbh, agus ’nuair a ràna sinn a’muir, thug sinn a mach ar cuid ceannabhartan-uisge agus sheòl sinn dìreach dhachaigh.

Agus ’nuair a thana sinn dhachaigh an oidhche sin, chuireadh mi fhìn a chadal, ors e fhén, ann a’ sobhal fada fàs, agus thanaig guth a dh’ionnsaigh na h-uinneig a dh’ éigheachd go robh trì latha seilgeadh agus sìdhnidh agam ri dhianamh mam faighinn banais no pòsadh.

“An dà, tha shin ann,” orsa mise ’s mi freagairt, “agus nam bitheadh an còrr ann, cha rachadh tus’ a dh’ ìnns’ an athsgeil.”

“An dà, cha bu lughaide do chuid-sa a ghiosachd an eilein sin,” ors’ a’ fear a bha muigh, “mara cuirinn-sa na geasaibh od or’sa, chuireadh fear eil’ ort iad.”

Ach, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, dh’ éirich mi fhìn moch moch ’sa’ mhaduinn làirne-mhàireach agus dh’ fhalbh mi dha ’n bheinnsheilg, agus rinn mi an t-sealg mhór éibhinn fhianntach a bh’ ann a sin, a bha mi smaointean nach do rinneadh riamh reimhe a leithid ann an Éirinn, agus rinn mi cabhag dhachaigh cuideachd, eagal agus gum biodh am boireannach air a toirt air falbh man diginn, agus ’nuair a thàna mi, cha robh sgial agam air a’ bhoireannach. Dh’ fhoighneachd mi do Ghruagach an Fhèidh agus a’ Ghadhair càit a robh i.

“An tà,” ors ise, “thanaig ann a seothach, bho’ n a dh’ fhalbh thu fhén a’ bheinn-sheilg, triùir chruiteirean, agus o nach robh thu fhén a stoigh gos do mharbhadh, cha rachadh iad or a thoir a’n bheinn-sheilg, latha agus gon duair iad am boireannach a stoigh, agus thog iad leo i.”

‘An dà, creach agus dunaidh agus dubh-bròn air tighean ormsa;” orsa Fear na h-Eabaid. “ciamar a nist a gheobh mi i?”

Ach co dhiùbh, ’nuair a fhuair mi air dòigh, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, gheibh mi sìos chon a’ chladaich agus chuir mi mach am bàta-fada.

Thug mi a toiseach ri muir agus a deireadh do thìr:
Thog mi na siùil bhreaca bhaidealacha
An aghaidh nan crann fada fuainneacha.
Fiùgh ’s nach robh crann gu[n] lùbadh na seòl gu[n] reubadh,
A’ caitheamh a’ chuain chonnaich bhàin.
Le linge bruach a’ bogair:
’S e bu cheòl cadail agus tàmha dhaibh,
Glòcadaich fhaoil is lùbadaich easgann,
A’ mhuc a bu mhutha ag ithe na muice bu lugha,
’S a’ mhuc a bu lugha dianamh mar a dh’ fhaodadh i.
Faochagan croma ciar an aigeil
A’ glagadaich a stoigh air a h-ùrlar
Aig fheobhas a bha mi ’ga stiùireadh.
Dhianadh e stiùireadh ’na deireadh, iùil ’na toiseach;
Gu fuasgladh e ’m ball bhiodh ceangailt’ innt’,
Agus gun ceangladh e ’m ball bhiodh fuasgailt’ innte.

Agus a’ dol seachad air eilein dha, gu dé chunnaig e an triùir chruiteirean agus am boireannach aca. Agus bha fear air gach taobh dhith ’na shuidhe, agus pòg ma seach aca dhith, agus an treas fear ’na sheasamh a’ seinn ciùil. Ach, a Mhurchaidh ’ic Brian, orsa fear na h-Eabaid, cha robh miar dhe m’ mhiaraibh-sa nach do chagain mi, eagal gn rachainn ’nam chadal aig feobhas a’ chiùil a bha a’ fear sin e’ dianamh, agus mi sìor iadhadh a stoigh a dh’ionnsaigh an eilein fiach a faighinn cho goirid dhaibh agus gu faighinn a’ lorg cheàrnach a tharrainn. Agus ’nuair a fhuair mi cho goirid dhaibh ’s bu mhath liom, tharrainn mi lorg cheàrnach nach do dh’ fhàg fuidheall beuma riamh an aon aitè ’na bhuaileadh i, agus na bha fo na glùinean dhe’ n dithis a bha ’na suidhe chuir mi dhiùbh e. Agus theich an treas fear, agsu cha deach mise g’a iarraidh. ’Nuair a fhuair mi ’m boireannach bha mi riaraichte gu leòr, agus thug mi liom an oidhche sin dhachaigh i.

Agus chaidh mo chur a chadal an oidhche sin ann a’ sobhal fada fàs a rithist. Agus thanaig guth a dh’ ionnsaigh na h-uinneig a dh’ éigheach gu robh dà latha seilgeadh agus sìdhnidh agam ri dhianamh ma faighinn banais no pòsadh.

“Tha sin ann,” orsa mi fhìn, “agus gad a biodh an còrr ann, cha rachadh tus’ a dh’ ìnns’ an athsgeil.”

“Cha lughaide do chuid-sa a ghiosachd an eilein sin;” ors a’ fear a bha muigh, “mara cuirinn-sa na geasaibh ud or’sa, chuireadh fear eil’ ort iad.”

Ach dh’ éirich mi fhìn air là-rne-mhàireach, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, agus dh’ fhalbh mi ’n a’ bheinn-sheilg, agus rinn mi ’n t-sealg mhór éibhinn fhianntach a bh’ ann a sin, a bha mi smaointean nach do rinneadh riamh reimhe a leithid ann an Éirinn agus rinn mi cabhag dhachaigh, eagal agus gun biodh am boireannach air a toirt air falbh, agus ’nair a thana mi dhachaigh, cha robh sgial agam oirre. Dh’ fhaighneachd mi Ghruagach an Fhéidh ’s a’ Ghadhair càit a robh i.

“Tà,” orsa Gruagach an Fhéidh is a’ Ghadhair le mìchiatamh, “’s coma liom fhìn càit a bheil am boireannach sin fhéin!”

Ghabh mi freagairt cho dona, ors e fhén, agus gun do smaointich mi air a marbhadh, ach thuirt mi na marbhainn i nach fhaighinn a mach idir cà ’n deach i.

Agus ann an cean treise, “Tà,” arsa Gruagach an Fhéidh ’s a’ ‘Ghadhair, “ma thà,” ’n déidh dhut fhén falbh a’n bheinn-sheilg, thanaig ann a seothach triùir fhuamhairean móra, agus ’nuair nach robh thu fhéin a stoigh gos do mharbhadh, cha rachadh iad air an astar dha’ n bheinn-sheilge or a thòir, latha agus gun duair iad am boireannach a stoigh, agus thug iad leo i.”

“Hao, hao-i,” ors e fhén, “’s math tha fios a’m cà ’n déid mi g’a h-iarraidh, agus ’s cruaidh, ’s cruaidh an gàbhadh as an an duair a’ cheart triùir sin mise reimhe.”

Ach co dhiùbh ’nuair a fhuair mi air dòigh, ors e fhén, dh’ fhalbh mi agus ràna mi talla na fuamhairean, agus cha robh ann a shin ach àite balbh sàmhach ’nuair a ràna mi. Cha robh duine ri fhaicean. Bha mi dol a stoigh air dorsan, coimhead a stogh do sheòmbraichean, ’s cha robh mi faicean duine, na daoine, ’s bha mi tilleadh a mach. Ach bha mi seo a’ tighean a mach air dorus, agus dh’ fhairich mi bhith toirt riobadh orm. Ach, a Mhurchaidh ’ic Brian, ors e fhén, tha mise smaointean, gad a bhiodh a’ chlach stéidhe a b’ ìsle bh’ ann an dorus na cathrach air a ceangal riumsa, gun dugainn liom i leis a’ leum thug mi asam ’nuair a dh’ fhairich mi bhith ’gam riobadh. Ach thuirt mi rium fhìn a seo nach robh ann ach riobadh faoin, agus gu seallainn gu caol a stoigh fiach có bh’ ann. Agus sheall mi stoigh, agus có bh’ ann a sineach ach Mac a Liathach Lochlann agus e ceangailte stoigh air chùl na còmhladh. Agus ghrìos e rium fhuasgladh agus gu leanadh e mi chuile ceum gu bràch, dianamh a h-uile cuideachadh a b’ urrainn e rium. Agus dh’ innis e dhomh gu robh na fuamairean an dràst ag iasgach, agus ’nuair a thigeadh iad dhachaigh gu robh iad a’ dol g’a mharbhadh-san.

Agus ’nuair a dh’ fhuasgail mi ’n duine bochd a bh’ ann a sin, agus mar e saoghal a bha fo cheann ’nair a fhuair e fuasgailte, chan fhaca mise ’n ath shealladh dheth.

Ach chaidh mi seo, ors easan, a stoigh air dorus, agus sìos do sheòmbar, agus bha cheart bhoireannach a bha mi ’g iarraidh ann a sin, agus i na ’suidh’ ann an cathair amalaidh òir, agus bha a’ chathair amalaidh òir dol man cuairt leatha fhén. Agus bha creis air caoineadh agus creis air gàireachdraich aice.

“Gu dé,” orsa mi fhìn rithe, “fàth do shubhachais an darna h-uair agus fàth do dhubhachais an uair eile?”

‘An dà,” ors ise, “’s mór sin. Tha subhachas orm a chionn thusa fhaicean, agus tha dubhachas orm a chionn thusa fhaicean.”

“Gu dé,” ors mi fhìn, “a’ subhachas [sic] a th’ ort a chionn m’ fhaicean?”

“Dà,” ors ise, “Thà, gura h-e do Cheann ciad rud a théid ’nam thairgse a nochd.”

“An dà, gu dearbha,” orsa mi fhìn, “cha déid mo cheann-s’ ann.”

“O théid,” ors ise, “chan ’eil fhios có a chumas as e. Tha iad siod,” ors i fhén, “air falbh an dràst ag iasgach, ach gad a dh’ fhalbhainn-sa agus tusa an dràst, tha againn ri dhol seachad air an dearbh shruth air a bheil àsan ag iasgach. Agus cha bhi iad’ sa bith a’ breith oirnn ’nuair a gheibh iad na cuid ceannbhardan-uisge. Agus tha Cailleach-Earraidh-Ro-Ghlas ann a seo,” ors ise, “ga mo ghleidheadh-sa, agus chan urra mi carachadh gun fhiosd dhi. Ach an aon rud a tha ’nar fabhar: tha na ceannbharsdan-uisg’ aca air an toigh, agus nam cha bhiodh iad air an losgadh ma falbhamaid, bhiomaid cinnteach nach rachadh aca air a dhol as ar deaghaidh. Agus ma dheighinn aon teine dhianamh ’s an cur ann, ’s ann a bhiodh,” ors i fhén, “na ceannabhardan-uisge dol a sheachd feobhas agus bha iad riamh. Feumaidh duin tein’ air leith a dhianamh dha gach fear aca agus thala thusa mach,” ors i fhén, “agus teann ri togail nan teinntean.”

Dh’ fhalbh mi mach, ors e fhén, agus theann mi air dianamh nan teintean; agus ghiotadh ise mach an dràst agus a rithist gun fhiosd dha’ n Chaillich-Earraidh-Ro-Ghlas, agus dhianadh i dà theine theine ma’ n aon fhear riumsa. Agus ’nuair a bha na teitean deiseil againn, agus chaidh a losgadh agus gual a dhianamh dhiubh agus a’ luath a leigeil leis a’ ghaoith. Agus dh’ fhalbh mi fhìn ’s am boireannach an uair-san.”

Agus ’nuair a bha sinn a’ dol seachad air aon rudh’ air a robh na fuamhairean ag iasgach, sheòl iad na trì driamlaichean dubha as mo dheoghaidh, agus , agus bhuail iad air deireadh mo luingeadh iad. Ach, a Mhurchaidh ’ic Brian, ors e fhén, nam bu luath mo long-s’ a’ fhalbh o thìr,
bu sheachd luaith’ i na sin a’ tilleadh g’ an ionnsaigh-san.

“Ach saoil,” ors am boireannach rium, “gad a thà geasaibh air na trì driamlaichean dubha aca-san, chan ’eil geasaibh air bial na luingeadh agad-sa. Nach leig thu leotha na bheil ceangailte ris na trì driamlaichean dhe luing agsu nach cuir thu pìos dhe’n eabaid ’na àite.”

Dh’ fhalbh mi, ors e fhén, a null ’s tharrainn mi lorg cheàrnach nach do dh’ fhag fuidheall beuma riamh an àite ’na bhuaileadh i, agus na bha ceangailte ris na trì driamlaichean dubha do bhial na luinge, leig mi leo e, agus chuir mi pìos dhe’ n eabaid ’na àit as a’ spot, agus thuit àsan an uair-san air an cràgan as an t-sàil.

“Coma leat,” ors àsan, “cha bhi sinn fad’ a’ breith ort, ’nuair a gheibh sinn ar cuid ceannabhartan-uisge.” Ach dh’ fhalbh mis’ ors e fhén.

Ach chuala mi co dhiùbh, ors e fhen, a’ Chailleach-Earradh-Ro-Ghlas ag éigheach air na fir dhachaigh agus i ’n déis am déis am boireannach ionndrainn: agus ’s e na h-ainmean a bh’ aic’ orra―Siobar Bheuldubh agus Corran Ceaiflidh agus Carraigeal Cosgail.

Ach co dhiubh, ’nuair a chaidh iad dhachaigh agus a chaidh iad air thòir nan ceannbhardan-uisge gos a dhol as ar deoghaidh-ne, ’s a dh’ ionndrainn iad iad, ’s a chunnaig iad nach robh sgial orra, cha robh bó a robh laogh, no caor’ a robh uan, na bean a robh leanabh, no làir a robh searrach, no an gaoth sheachd mìle a dhorus na cathrach nach cuireadh iad as leis a chuile burral caoinidh a a dhianadh iad a’ caoidh nan ceannbhardan-uisge.

Ach thana mise dhachaigh an oidhche sin leis a’ bhoireannach air ais, agus chaidh mo chur a chadal ann an sobhal fada fàs. Agus thanaig guth chon na h-uinneig ag éigheach gu robh latha seilgeadh agus sìdhnidh eil’ agam ri dhianamh ma faighinn bainis no pòsadh.

“Tha sin ann,” orsa mi fhìn agus mi freagairt, “agus nam biodh an còrr ann, cha reachadh tus’ a dh’ ìnnis an athsgeil.” “O, Cha bu lughaide do chuid-sa a ghiosachd an eilein sin;” ors a’ fear a bha muigh, “mara cuirinn-sa na geasaibh ad or’sa, chuireadh fear eil’ ort iad.”

Ach dh’ éirich mi fhìn, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, an là-ne-mhàireach, agus dh’ fhalbh mi ’n a’ bheinn-sheilg, agus rinn mi an t-sealg mhór éibhinn fhianntach a bh’ ann a sineach, a bha mi smaiontean nach do rinneadh riamh reimhe a leithid ann an Éirinn, agus aig an aon am rinn mi làn-chabhag dhachaigh, eagal agus gu falbhadh am boireannach. Ach gad a rinn mis’ a’ chabhag, ’nuair a thana mi dhachaigh, bha ’m boireannach air falbh.

Dh’ fhaighneachd mi Ghruagach an Fhéidh ’s a’ Ghadhair càit a robh i air an turus seo.

“An dà,” ors ise, “thanaig nan a seo, bho’ n a dh’ fhalbh thu fhén a’ bheinn-sheilg Macan Òg na Gréigeadh, agus o nach robh thu fhén a stoigh gos do mharbhadh, cha rachadh e or o thòir a’n bheinn-sheilg, agus ’nair a fhuair e e ’m boireannach thug e leis i.”

“An dà, seadh,” orsa mi fhìn.

Cha robh comas air. Ach ’nuair a fhuair mi air dòigh, dh’ fhalbh mi, agus ghabh mi sìos a dh’ ionnsaigh a’ chladaich, agus chuir mi mach am bàta-fada.

Thug mi a toiseach ri muir agus a deireadh a thìr:
Thog mi na siùil bhreaca bhaidealacha
An aghaidh nan crann fada fuilingeach

A fiù ’s nach robh crann gu[n] lùbadh na seòl gu[n] reubadh,
A’ caitheamh a’ chuain chonnaich bhàin.
Linge bruach a’ bogarta,
’S e bu cheòl cadail agus tàmha do neach(?),
Glocadaich fhaoil is lùbadaich easgann,
A’ mhuc a bu mhutha ’g itheadh na muice bu lugha,
’S a’ mhuc a bu lugha dianamh mar a dh’ fhaodadh i.
Faochagan croma ciar an aigeil
A’ glagadaich a stoigh air a h-ùrlar
Aig feobhas a bha mi ’ga stiùireadh.
Gun dianainn stiùire ’na thoiseach, iùil ’na deireadh [sic];
Gu fuasgladh e ’m ball bhiodh ceangailt’ innte
Agus gun ceangladh e ’m ball bhiodh fuasgailt’ innte.

Agus cha bu cham gach slighe dha, ach sheòl mi dìreach dha’ n Ghréig.

’S ’nuair a chaidh mi air tìr, chuir mi mo làmh ann a’ sgròban na luingeadh agus thug mi seachd fad fhén i air talamh glas, far nach sgobadh gaoth i, ’s far nach sgéibheadh grian i, ’s far nach ruigeadh beadagan beag baile-mhóir oirr’ gos a bhith magadh no ballachd-bùirt oirre gos a faigheadh e a rithist i. Agus ghabh mi air aghaidh, a stoigh feadh na dùthchadh, agus, ors e fhén, thachair aoghair’ orm ann a shin agus e buachailleachd tàin chruidh.

“Gu dé do naidheachd, aoghair’?’ orsa mi fhìn.

“’N dà, cha dug thu fiach dhomh a chionn mo sgiùil,” ors esan.

“Nach dug, a laochain?” orsa mi fhìn.

“An dà, cha dug,” ors esan.

Dh’ fhalbh mi agus chuir mi mo làmh ’nam phòca, ors e fhén, agus thug mi dòrnan òir agus dòran airgid dha.

“An dà, gum biodh a bhuaidh agus a bheannachd dhut,” ors an t-aoghaire beag, “agus gum b’ e duin’ aig am biodh buaidh thù agus do shliochd ad dheahgaidh. Tha bainis agus mór-phòsadh a nochd air Cathair na h-Aithne aig Macan Òg na Gréigeadh agus aig Nighean Gruagach na Tiobard, agus mionnan ac’ a tho’irt, ma chithear Fear Eabaide Duibheadh, Luirge Ceàrnaich, Phaidrean Chràmh ’s Phaidrean Unga a’ dol an gaoth sheachd mìl a dhorus na cathrach, gum bi e marbh fada ma ruig e.”

“An dà gu dearbh, laochain, chan ”eil thu gun naidheachd,” orsa mi fhìn.

“Chan ’eil,” ors esan.

“Se dhu’sa,” orsa mi fhìn,” “dòrnan òir agus dòrnan airgid eile agus cuir dhiòt do chuid-aodaich agus cuiridh mis’ unam e; agus cuiridh tus’ ort m’ aodach-sa.”

Rinn sinn sin. Dh’ atharraich sinn aodaichean. Ach, a Mhurchaidh ’ic Briain, ors e fhén, ga be chitheadh mise, ors e fhén, agus aodach an aoghaire bhig orm agus, agus nach ruigeadh e na h-iosgadan dhomh, agus mo chuid-aodaich-sa cunntais thraighean feadh a’ chnoic as deoghaidh an aoighaire bhig!

Ach co dhiubh, ghabh mi air aghaidh, ors e fhen, agus ’nuair a dhluthaich mi air aitreabh a’ rìgh, chunna mi taigh beag boidheach sgiobalta, a sgaithte mach o’n chòrr uile gu léir, agus dh’ fhalbh mi agus ghabhadh ann, agus cha robh ann a shin a stoigh seana cailleach agus ’s i ’na suidhe aig tein’ ann, agus rinn i lasgan mór gàire a noch mi fhìn a stoigh.

“Gu son,” ors ise, “nach robh thusa shuas aig an toigh-mhór ad shuas còmhla ri daoine bochd eile gum biodh tu faighinn do chuairt?’

“Gu son,” orsa mise, “nach robh thu fhén shuas aig an toigh-mhór ad shuas a miosg nan daoine bochda ’s gu faigheadh tu do chuairt?”

“An dà, ’chan eil,” ors ise. “Cha ’eil unnam-s’,” ors i fhén “ach seana bhoireannach bochd, nach ’eil coiseachd no astar aice, agus thig mo chuairt dhachaigh ugam.”

“An tà,” orsa mi fhìn, “o nach dig mo chuiart dhachaidh dham’ ionnsaigh-sa, ’s fheàrr dhomh dhol suas far a bheil i.”

Agus dh’ fhalbh mi agus ghabh mi suas chon an taigh-mhòir. Agus bha bòrd air a shuidheachadha mach o’ n dorus-mhór, agus e air a chuibhrigeadh agus a chuile seòrse digheadh agus bìdh a smaointeachadh tu air a’ bhord. Agus bha iad dìolta dhe’ n bhiadh na rìoghachd ’na suidhe air gach taobh dheth. Agus bha iad dìolta dhe’ n bhiadh agus dhe’ n deoch, agus ’s e ’n obair a bha dol air aghaidh, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, a chionn b’ fhurasda dhomh airgead gu leòr fhaotainn ach theann mi ris a’ bhiadh agus ris an deoch. Agus cha robh mi nist ’nam shuidh’ ann an ceann a muigh na sreith, agus mar a bha ’n deoch a’ tromachadh orm, thogainn fear dhe na bha ’n taobh stoigh dhiom agus chuirinn an taobh muigh dhiom e, agus o fhear go fear, gos an duair mi dìreach go ursainn an doruis.

Agus ’nuair a fhuair, bha mi ’n uair-san a’ beachdachadh go math air an dorus, fiach a faicinn a bhith toirt geòbadh air, na faighinn a stiogh. Ach gut à, chan fhaiceadh. Ach air a’ cheann bho dheireadh, chunna mi bhith toirt geòbadh air an dorus, agus leum mi g’a ionnsaigh agus chuir mi mo ghuala ris. Agus theann a’ fear a bha stoigh ris an dorus a phutadh a mach, agus bha mise ’ga phutadh a stoigh. Ach, a Mhurchaidh ’ic Brian, tha mise smaointean gum bu cho fasa dhaibh-san a’ chlach-stéidh a b’ ìsle an dorus a bh’ ann an dorus na cathrach a chuir a mach na mo ghuala-s’ o’ n dorus ”nuair a fhuair mi ris i.

Agus dh’ fhairich Macan Òg na Gréigeadh an ùbraid a bha shìos ma’n dorus agus dh’ éibh e gu dé ’n ùpraid a bha siod. Agus chaidh ìnnse dhà gu robh fear air choireigin dhe na daoine bochda a bha ’g iarraidh a stoigh.

“O, leigibh a stoigh e,” Macan Òg na Gréigeadh, “Chan ’eil ann a sin sìos ach duine bochd a chleachd a bhith ann an cuideachd.”

Leigeadh a stoigh mi fhìn, orsa Fear na h-Eabaid, agus ghabh mi gu dìblidh sìos a cheann eile an
taighe far nach robh duine ’na shuidh’ ach mi fhìn.

Agus cha robh mi fad sam bith a shineach ’nuair a thanaig fear garg dubh a nuas agus sheas e air
mo bhialaibh, agus rinn e (a’) ruidhle dannsa ad ann, agus ’nuair a bha e deiseil, thanaig e man cuairt leis an dòrn agus bhuail e orm fhìn as a’ mhalaigh i. Ach, a Mhurchaidh ’íc Brian, nam bu luath easan bualadh an duirn ormsa, bu sheachd luaithe na sin e ’ga sparradh ’na bhial, agus cà ’na bhuail e mi ach as a’ phaidirean unga bh’ as cionn na malagh.

“Ud, ud,” ors esan, ‘tha mi air mo ghortachadh. Ma shiubhail e ’n domhan no an saoghal, tha e dìreach a stoigh agam ann a seo air an ùrlar Fear Eabaide Duibheadh, Luirge Ceàrnaich, Phaidirean Chràmh agus Phaidirean Unga.”

Ach, a Mhurchaidh ’ic Brian, ors e fhén, n’uair a chuala mise bhith toirt bm’ aimn, thug mi làmh shìos is shuas, thall ’s a bhos, agus fhuair mi seana chlaidheamh ruadh meirgeadh, nach ’eil fhios cuin a rinneadh car leis, agus ghabh mi dha na bha stoigh leis, agus cha do dh’ fhàg mi ceann air amhaich ach Macan Òg na Gréigeadh agus athair agus mhàthair agus am boireannach ad a siod.

Agus dheònaich Macan Òg na Gréigeadh an uair-san na bha gun chosgaige-san dhe’ n bhainis a chosg ris a’ bhainis agam-sa an oidhche sin.

Agus a là-ne-mhaireach dh’ fhalbh mise dhachaigh leis a’ bhoireannach. Agus ’nuair a thàna mi dhachaigh leatha, chaidh bainis agus mór-phòsadh eile dhianamh dhomh ann a seothach. Agus sin agad-s’ a nis mar a fhuair mise ’m boireannach, ach cha robh i ’n asgaidh dhomh!

Agus ’nuair a fhuair Murchadh mac Brian air dòigh a nist, thill e dh’ ionnsaigh an tom-shealg, agus bha e treis air an tom-shealg a’ feitheamh an fheadhainn a chaidh dha’ n bheinn-sheilg mana thill iad, agus ’nuair a thill iad as a’ bheinn-sheilg, dh’ fhalbh iad fhén agus Murchadh mac Brian dhachaigh.

Agus dhealaibh mise riutha.

THE MAN WITH THE HABIT

Have you heard of the day it pleased Murchadh son of Brian, and Donnchadh son of Brian, and Tadhg of-the-Shannon son of Brian, and Brian Boru son of Cennetig, and Cennetig himself along with them, to be hunting on the side of Ben Gulban in Ireland?

And the great company went to the hill of hunting to prosecute the hunt, and Murchadh son of Brian remained on the hunting-station until they should return. And what did Murchadh son of Brian see but a stag going past him, with an antler of gold and an antler of steel, and a white red-eared hound pressing hard on the heels of the stag. And he took such a liking to the stag and to the hound that he set off in pursuit, so that he might seize hold of them. And from the River of Eadrabhagh to the River of the Vale of Eadrabhagh stag made a leap, and there was not in the whole of Ireland one who could make that leap after them. And a mass of mist enveloped him and he did not know fro which side the stag or the hound had come.

But he heard the stroke of an axe on the higher ground above him, and he said to himself that there was never a stroke of an axe without a man behind it striking it. And he went up in the direction of the place where he had heard the blow being struck. And there was in that place a Man with a Black Habit, a Spike Club, a String of Ivory Beads and a String of Bronze Beads, kindling (bundling together?) faggors for fuel.

And Murchadh son of Brian greeted him with gentle words, with maidenly mildness, (at the same time) seeking information from him. And the Man-with-the-Habit answered him in similar terms―if they were not better, they were (certainly) not worse―(asking) who he was, or whence he came, or where he was wont to be, or where he had got to.

“I am,” said Murchadh mac Brian, “but one of the champions of Murchadh son of Brian.”

“O indeed,” said the other man, “Which of the champions of Murchadh son of Brian are you, for that man has not a single champion whom I cannot name individually?”

“Well,” said Murchadh son of Brian, “I am just one of the champions of Murchadh mac Brian.”

“Ah yes,” said the other, “my fine hero, how adept you would be at doing ill, and how well you could excuse yourself!”

And he went and brought out a rope from the list of his habit, and he spread it out ninefold on the moor, and he set about making up the load. And though Murchadh son of Brian wa himself a champion, he was aghast when he saw the size of the load that the Man-with-the-Habit was preparing.

However, when he had the load ready, and when he had secured it, “Come over here,” said the Man-with-the-Habit at this point, “and lift the load on to my back, and at the same time do not think the less of me for carrying this load, for,” said he, “it were easy for me to get many a man, and many a woman, who would come to fetch the load, but not one of them could carry in one load, as I do, enough to keep a fire going in Glen Eillt for year and a day. And do you come over, and lift his load on to my back.”

Murchadh son of Brian went over and put his hands under the load, but though he did, he could not budge it from the ground.”

“Why, “ said the Man-with-the-Habit,” are you not lifting the load.”

“Indeed I have good reason for that,” said Murchadh son of Brian, “I have never seen a man, who wished to have a load hoisted on to his back, who would not himself give some degree of assistance except you.”

“My fine hero,” said the Man-with-the-Habit, “how adept you would be at doing ill, and how well you could excuse yourself.”―at the same time sweeping the load on to his shoulder, and when the load was going past him, it did not touch Murchadh mac Brian at all, but with the gust of wind that it set in motion it implanted Murchadh mac Brian knee-deep in the hard clayey ground over by, and he hastened to extract himself before the Man-with-the-Habit should see him.

“Now,” said the Man-with-the-Habit, “keep step and hold converse with me.”

“It is very easy for me to do that,” said Murchadh son of Brian. “I am unburdened and unimpeded, while you have your own load on your back.”

Now, when Murchah son of Brian took to running at the top of his speed, he would overtake the swift March wind that was before him, and the wife March wind that was behind him would not overtake him; and yet he could no nearly keep up with the Man-with-the-Habit despite the load he was carrying. But at last what did Murchadh son of Brian do but seize two blackcocks that were flying by.

“Why,” said the Man-with-the-Habit, “are you not keeping step and holding coverse with me?”

“Well,” said Murchadh son of Brian. “I have just caught the two blackcocks that were flying,” said he, “in the sky, although I am not keeping step and holding converse with you.”

“O, it is hard for me to know,” said the Man-with-the-Habit, that you did not find them dead.”

“O,” said Murchadh son of Brian, “they carry their own evidence with them still―their blood is warm in their breasts.”

“My fine hero,” said the Man-with-the-Habit, “how adept you would be at doing ill, and how well you could excuse yourlsef!”

And now they arrived at Glen Eillt, and when the Man-with-the-Habit threw off the load at the door, the whole place shook, so that Murchadh son of Brian though that he would sooner see the nethermost foundation-stone in the door of the fort rocking than the topmost stone, rather than endure the noise with which the whole place resounded when the Man-with-the-Habit flung off the load. And the door was now so wide that they went in abreast.

And together they went along to a chamber there, and there was a table there with a covering on it, and the Man-with-the-Habit went and sat in a chair of enamelled gold on the one side of the table, and Murchadh son of Brian went and sat in a silver chair that was on the other side.

And the Man-with-the-Habit seized a bell that was on the table and he rang it, and a thickset swarthy fellow came down carrying a drinking-horn.

“Give the drink to the guest,” said the Man-with-the-Habit.

“No,” said that fellow, “give it to him first.”

“Indeed, I will not,” said that fellow. “And what is the reason, “ said the Man-with-the-Habit, “that you will not give it to him?” “Well, I have sufficient reason,” said the other,―“it is not his drink that is in my hand, and it is not his roof that is above me, it is not his clothes that are on my back, and it is not hid food that is in my belly; and since all of these things are yours, ti is you who will get the drink.”

“Tuts, then,” said the Man-with-the-Habit, “will you not give it to him for my own sake?”

“Indeed if not for your sake,” said that one, “I know not for who else.” And thereupoin he passed the drinkto Murchadh son of Brian.

And Murchadh son of Brian put the horn to his lips, and he took good care to drink only half of it. And he went and set id own before the Man-with-the-Habit.

The Man-with-the-Habit went and got a keen-edged weapon of a knife, that would slice a swallow on the surface of the water on the darkest night of the year, and he cut off the part of the drinking-horn so well that neither you nor anyone else will know that it was ever cut off it.”

And that is what happened. When he had quaffed the drink, he then took the piece he had cut off the horn, and fitted on top (i.e of the other part), and the vessel was as whole as it had ever been.

But what should Murchadh son of Brian see over by the wall of th chamber but the stag and the hound that he himself had been chasing, and they were on leashes there.

But now in came the Beauty-of-Women to set food on the table before them. And as the Sun excels the Moon, as the stars excel the starlets, so did she excel in beauty all the women in the world, and their appearences compared to hers was as that of coal engulfed in a smith’s forge.

And Murchadh son of Brian began to observe her intently.

“Why,” said the Man-with-the-Habit, “are you staring at the red-lipped woman at the table?”

“Indeed,” said Murchadh son of Brian, “it will be a shameful matter for me if I do not recognise her wherever I see her again.”

“My fine hero,” said the Man-with-the-Habit, “how adept you would beat doing ill, and how well you could excuse yourself; But, Murchadh son of Brian,” said he, “although the good is on the table, did you but listen to my tale, it was an account of that woman there, and on account of that stag and that hound yonder, that I suffered hardship such as no man among manking has ever suffered before, I do believe.”

A year ago, at this time, said he, I was at the place where you saw me today kindling (bundling together?) faggots for fuel. And the Gruagach of the Stag and the Hound over yonder came to me where I was, with another Gruagach in pursuit of her.

“May God and His love be with you(?),” said she, “save my life and you shall have my stag and my hound.”

I took such a liking to the stage and hound, sadi the Man-with-the-Habit [sic corrig], that I went to meet the Gruagach who was approaching. And I seized the Gruagach, and there were nine red tufts of hair growing out of the top of her head, and there were more haird (lit. stalks) growing out of each of these tufts than there are heifers on Mayday on the slope of a hill. And I twined the nine red tufts of hair about my fist, and I wrung her neck, and pulled the neck out by the roots, and the weakest tuft of the nine red tufts of hair did not break.

But it was not long before the second Gruagach came.

“May God and His love be with you(?)” said the Gruagach of the Stag and the Hound, “save my life now once more and you shall have my stag and my hound,” “Your stag and your hound,” said I, “belong to me already. But I now said to myself that it would be scurvy of me if I allowed her to be killed this time after saving her before, and I went and made for the Gruagach who was approaching But, Murchadh son of Brian, said he, for me to taek the head from the Gruagach, said he, was as though it were a bunch of brown dockens that you might pluck out of the ground in an autumn field on the side of a hill.

“O, may God and his love be with you,” said the Gruagach of the Stag and the Hound,m “leave that one alone for he is my brother.”

“Dear me, dear me!” said I. “If he is, is it not an ill turn he does you for a brother!”

“Ah,” said she, “what we came to you for was justice, and we would accept no justice but the justice of a Man with a Black Habit, a Spiked Club, a String of Ivory Beads, and a String of Brozne Beads, such as you.”

“And what,” said I to them, “was the source of your disagreement?” “Well,” said she, “it was this: he has plenty of land,” said she, “which he won with his own big, strong hand. And I have land too,” said she, “and so had my father, and so had my grandfather, and so had my great-grandfather before me. And he now,” said she, “said she, “to take that land from me, and to have it along with the rest.”

“O, well,” said I, “this is the justice that I shall mete out concerning that: let hit be content with what land he has, and if it happens at any time that he loses it, or that he loses part of it, you will then transfer to him a share of what you have yourself. That is, if he at any time loses the land he has through violence.”

And I could see nothing but men on foot and men on horseback coming to meet us, with their head-dresses(?) reaching the ground. I called out to the Gruagach of the Stag and the Hound to ask what huge host that was coming to meet us.

“O,” said she, “you take it easy, and I shall tell you that.”

“I will not take it easy at all,” said the Man-with-the-Habit, “for I am in a hurry to return home tonight yet.” But I did wait for her, and when she caught up she said:

“I have an only daughter, and there is not a single man you see there,” said she, “but is going to (try to) kill his fellow, and the one who survives will have her (to wife).”

And who was this, but the Gruagach of the Foutain, who had come to seek the Man-with-the-Habit by a ruse.

“Indeed, indeed,” said the Man-with-the-Habit. “I would dispense better justice than that to every one of them, if they would take my advice.”

“What justice is that?” said every single one of them.

“It is,” said the Man-with-the-Habit, “to run a race and that the swiftest man should have the woman, and no man’s life would be lost.”

And this pleased every one of them. And we started running, sadi the Man-with-the-Habit, but if we did, I was back after finishing my course before the others had reached the half-way mark, and it was I who won and kept the woman.

And we went home that night, said he, to the Fountain.

But, Murchadh son of Brian, said he, when the food was on the table, a knocking was heard at the door, and there was no second knock before the door was smashed in splinters on to the floor, and that woman there was taken out from beside my own shoulder.

“You are now outside,” said the man who had taken her out,” and there is no one in the four mighty quarters of the world who can put you (back) in, unless the Great Guileful Tailed One should come―one without fear, without ruth, without mercy, without love of God, without fear of man, and though that one himself should come, he would be hard put to it to get you to-night.”

“O,” said the Gruagach of the Fountain, said she, “where is there one of that name under the roof-tree of the house? And indeed, indeed, if he is there, I would rather he should become my son-in-law than one from whom I could not seek her, for lack of knowing his whereabouts.”

I took the remark as being directed at me, said the Man-with-the-Habit, and I rose from the table, and I made ready, with my black habit above my buttocks, my spiked club in my hand, my string of bronze beads about my neck, and my string of ivory beads above my brows, and I set off. And when I drew near to the man who had carried off the woman, I shouted to him, which daughter of valour and mighty accomplishment was this.

“You over there,” said he in reply, “are a man whose life will be short and brief.”

“Let go the maiden,” said I, “or else you will have to do combat because of her.”

“O,” said he in reply, “you will have plenty of combat because of her, but you will not get the maiden tonight.”

He aimed his spear at me, said the Man-with-the-Habit, and it traversed nine mountains and nine glens and nine hillocks, a red flame in the skies beyond me. But I went and aimed my own spear at him, and I struck him in the upper part of the chest, and he fell, and I hastened towards him, and before he could rise, I killed him and cut off his head, and I returned home that night with the woman to the Fountain; and if they had partaken of food or drink, they had partaken of it before I arrived.

But the second night, when the food was on the table, a knocking was heard at the door, about the same time, and there was no second knock before the door was smashed in splinters on to the floor, and that woman there was taken out from beside my own shoulder.

“You are now outside,” said the man who had taken her out, “and there is no one in the four quarters of the world who can put you (back) in, unless the Great Guileful Tailed One should come―one without fear, without ruth, without mercy, without love of God, without fear of man, and though that one himself should come, he would be hard put to it to get you tonight.”

“O,” said the Gruagach of the Fountain in reply, “where is there,” said she, “one of that name under the roof-tree of the house? And indeed, indeed, if he is still there, I would rather he should become my son-in-law than one from whom I could not seek her, for lack of knowing his whereabouts.”

I took the remark, said the Man-with-the-Habit, as being directed at me, and I said that I would not let the woman get so far from the hous tonight, and I was fully prepared to give him chase, and out I went without high words, without strong language. And when I was drawing near to the man who had carried off the woman, I shouted to him, Which daughter of valour and mighty accomplishment was this.

“You over there,” said he in reply, “are a man whose life will be short and brief.”

“Let go the maiden,” said I, “or else you will have to do combat because of her.”

“O you will combat because of her, plenty of it,” said he, “but you will not get the maiden tonight.”

He aimed his spear at me and it burst into red flames in the skies beyond me. But I went, said the Man-with-the-Habit, and I aimed my own spear at him, and I struck him in the upper part of the chest, and he fell, and I hastened towards him before he could rise, I killed him, and I took the woman home with me to the Fountain that night again; and if they had partaken of food or drink there, they had partaken of it before I arrived.

But, Murchadh son of Brian, said he, on the third night, when the food was on the table, the self-same knocking was heard at the door, and though the two knockings of the other night should be joined to it, they would not be as loud as that one. The door was smashed in splinters on to the floor, and that woman there was carried out from beside my own shoulder.

“You are not outside,” said the man who had taken her out, “and there is no one in the four mighty quarters of the world who can bring you in, unless the Great Guileful Tailed One should come―one without fear, without ruth, without mercy, without love of God, without fear of man, and though that one himself should come, he would be hard put to it to get you tonight.”

“O,” said the Gruagach of the Fountain, “where,” said she, “is there one of that name under the roof-tree of the house? And indeed, indeed, if he is there, I would rather he should become my son-in-law than one from whom I could not seek her, for lack of knowing his whereabouts.”

I did not listen, said the Man-with-the-Habit, to much inciting this night, but I set out, and “I did not let the man get so far from the house with the woman, and when I drew near to him, I shouted to him, Which daughter of valour and of might accomplishements was this.

“You over there,” said he in reply, “are a man whose life will be short and brief.”

“Let go the maiden,” said I, “or else you will have to do combat because of her.”

“O,” said he, “you will have plenty combat because of her, but you will not get the maiden tonight.”

He aimed his spear at me, said the Man-of-the-Habit, and he struck me directly on the string of bronze beads [sic] above my brows, and I fell to my knee, and he had wounded me very sorely. But I arose quickly, before the other fellow should notice me, and I aimed my own spear at him, and I struck him in the upper part of the chest, and he fell, and I hastened towards him before he could rise, and I killed him.

And I said to myself then that, however good the Fountain was, I had had enough of it; and I took the Gruagach of the Stag and of the Hound along with me, and that woman there, and we set off, and when we reached the sea, we took out our water-helmets, and we sailed straight for home.

And when we came home that night, I was put to sleep, said he, in a long empty barn, and a voice came to the window to shout that I had to do three days of hunting and venery yet before I could have wedding-feast or marriage.

“Indeed, that is so,” said I in reply, “and if there were more, you would not live to tell the tale.”

“Well, your share of the spells of the island would not be the less thereby,” said the man who was outside, “if I did not put those spells upon you, someone else would.”

But said the Man-with-the-habit, I rose very early in the morning on the following day, and I went to the hill of hunting, and I made that great, joyous heroic(?) hunting, the like of which, I believe, was never made before in Ireland, and I hastened home also, for fear that the woman might be taken away before I came back, and when I arrived, there was no trace of the woman. I asked the Gruagach of the Stag and the Hound where she was.

“Well,” said she “there came here, since you yourself went to the hill of hunting, three harpers, and since you were not at home for them to kill, they would not go to the hill of hunting to seek you out, since they had found the woman at home, and they carried her off with them.”

“Alas! despoiling and misfortune and deep sorrow have overtaken me;” said the Man-with-the-Habit, “how now shall I find her?”

However, when I got myself ready, said the Man-with-the-Habit, I went down to the shore, and I launched the long-boat.”

And I set her prow to the sea and her stern to the land;
I hoisted the lofty speckled sailss
To the tall tough masts,
So that there wwas not a mast unbent or sail untorn,
Speeding over the white teeming(?) seas
The music that lulled them to sleep and rest
Was the mewing of gulls and the threshing eels,
The bigger whale eating the smaller whale,
And the smaller whale doing as best it could.
The curved dusky whelks of the deep
Coming rattling in on her floor-planks
With the excellence with which he steered her.
He would steer her from the stern, guide her from the prow;
He would cast loose the rope that was belayed in her
And he would belay the rope that was loose in her.

And as he was passing a certain island, what did he see but the three harpers, and the woman along with them. And there was one sitting on either side of her, kissing her turn about, while the third one was standing up and playing music. But, Murchadh son of Brian, said the Man-with-the-Habit, I left not a single finger unchewed, for fear that I should fall asleep by reason of the excellence of the music that man was making, and meanwhile I was steadily edging in towards the island in the hope of getting so close to them that I could ‘draw’ the spiked club. And when I got as close to them as I wanted, I drew the spiked club that never left the remnant of a blow in any place where it was struck, and I cut off all that was below the knees of the two who were sitting down. And the third one fled, and I ddi not go to seek him. When I got the woman I was quite content and I took her home with me that night.

And I was put to sleep that night again in a long empty barn. And a voice came to the window to shout that I had to do two days of hunting and venery before I could have wedding-feast or marriage.

“That is so,” said I, “and though there were more, you would not live to tell the tale.”

“Your share of the spells of the island would not be the less thereby;” said the man who was outside, “if I did not put those spells upon you, someone else would.”

But I rose on the morrow, said the Man-with-the-Habit, and I went to the hill of hunting, and I made great, joyous heroic hunting, the like of which, I believe, was never made before in Ireland, and I hastened home also, for fear that the woman might be taken away, and when I came home there was no trace of her. I asked the Gruagach of the Stag and the Hound where she was.

“Indeed,” said the Gruagach of the Stag and the Hound disapprovingly, “I little care where that same woman is!”

I took her reply so badly, said he, that I thought of killing her, but I said (to myself) that if I killed her, I would not find out at all where she [the woman] had gone.

After after a time, “Well, then,” said the Gruagach of the Stag and of the Hound, “after you yourself had gone to the hill of hunting, there came here three great giants, and since you were not at home for them to kill, they would not travel the distance to the hill of hunting to seek you out, since they had found the woman at home, and they took her with them.”

“O ho!” said he, “I know well where to go to seek her now, and dire, dire was the peril in which that selfsame trio contrived to place me once before.”

However, when I got myself ready, said he, I set out and I reached the hall of the giants, and that was but a still silent place when I arrived. There was no one to be seen. I was going in through the doors, looking into chambers, and I could see neither man nor men, and I was coming out again. But here I was emerging from a door, and I felt myself being tugged. But, Murchadh son of Brian, said he, I think that though the nethermost foundation-stone in the door of the fort had been tied to me, I would have carried it with me, wuch was the leap I gave when I felt myself being tugged. But then I said to myself that it was only a trifling tug, and that I would look narrowly within to see who it was. And I looked in, and who wasw there but Mac a-Liathach Lochlann, tied up within behind the door. And he adjured me to untie and that he would follow me every step for ever, helping me in every way he could. And he told me that the giants were at the moment fishing, and that when they came home they were going to kill him.

And I untied that poor man there, and, perhaps, because he took to the wide wordl that lay open before him when he got free, I saw not another glimpse of him.

But now, said he, I entered by a door, and went down to a chamber, and the very woman I was seeking was there, sitting in a chair of enamelled gold, and the chair of enamelled gold was revolving of itself, and she was weeping and laughing but turns.

“What,” said I to her, “is the cause of your gladness at one moment and the cause of your sadness at another?”

“Well,” said she, “I have great cause. I am glad because of seeing you, and I am sad because of seeing you.”

“What are you glad [sic],” said I, “because of seeing me?”

“Well,” said she, “because your head is the first thing that will be offered to me tonight.”

“Indeed,” said I, “my head will not be offered.”

“O yes!” said she, “who can prevent it?” Those ones, “said she, “are away fishing just now, and though you and I should go away now, we have to pass over the very stream on which they are fishing. And they will catch us in no time when they get their water-helmets. And there is a Hag-with-a-very-grey-Mantle here,” said she, “keeping ward over me, and I cannot stir without her knowing. But there is one thing in our favour; their water-helmets are at home, and if they were burned before we left, we would be certain that they could not pursue us. But as for making one fire and putting them into it,” said she, “the water-helmets would only become seven times better than they ever were. One must make a separate fire for each of them, and do you go out,” said she, “and start kindling the fires.”

I went out, said he, and I began to make the fires; and she would dart out now and again unkown to the Hag-with-a-very-grey-Mantle, and she would make two fires to my one. And when we had the fires ready, the water-helmets were put in them, one in each fire, and they were burned, and turned into charcoal, and the ashes were scattered to the winds. And I and the woman went away then.

And when we were passing a certain headland on which the giants were fishing, they cast the three black fishing-lines after me, and they fixed them right in the stern of my vessel. But, Murchadh son of Brian, said he, if my vessel was swift leaving the land, it was seven times swifter returning towards them.

“Don’t you think,” said the woman to me, “though there are spells on their three black fishing-lines, there are no spells on the gunwale of your vessel? Why don’t you let them have the piece of the vessel that is attached to the three fishing-lines, and put a piece of the habit in its place?”

I went over, said he, and drew the spiked club that never left the remnant of a blow in any place where it was struck, and I let them have the part of the vessel’s gunwale that was attached to the three black fishing-lines, and I immediately replaced it with a piece of the habit, and thereupon the giants fell on their paws in the brine.

“Just you wait,” said they, “it won’t take long for us to catch you when we get our water-helmets.” But I went on, said he.

However, said he, I heard the Hag-with-a-very-grey-Mantle calling the men home as she had noticed that the woman was missing; and the names she had for them were―Siobar Bheuldubh and Corran Ceaiflidh and Caraigeil Cosgail.

However, when they went home and went to seek the water-helmets in order to pursue us, and when they discovered they were missing, and saw that there was no trace of them, there was not a cow in calf, nor a sheep with lamb, nor a woman with child, nor a mare with foal, within seven miles of the door of the fort, that they would not make to miscarry by reason of every howl of weeping the made, mourning the loss of the water-helmets.

But I came back home that night with the woman, and I was put to sleep empty barn. And a voice came to the window to shout that I had to do another day of hunting and venery before I could have wedding-feast or marriage.

“That is so,” said I in reply, “and if there were more, you would not live to tell the tale.” “O, your share of the spells of the island would not be the less thereby;” said the man who was outside, “If I did not put those spells upon you, someone else would.”

But I arose, said the Man-with-the-Habit, on the morrow, and I went to the hill of hunting, and I made great, joyous heroic hunting, the like of which, I believe, was never made before in Ireland, and I hastened quickly home, for fear that the woman would be gone. But though I made haste, when I arrived home, the woman as gone.

I asked the Gruagach of the Stag and the Hound where she was this time.

“Well,” said she, “there came here, since you left for the hill of hunting, the Young Prince of Greece, and since you yourself were not at home for him to kill, he would not go to the hill of hunting to seek you out, and when he found the woman he took her with him.”

“Quite so,” said I.

There was no help for it. But when I had got ready, I set out, and I went down to the shore, and I launched the long-boat.

And I set her prow to the sea, and her stern to the land:
I hoisted the lofty speckled sails
To the tall tough masts,
So that there was not a mast unbent or sail untorn,
Speeding over the white teeming(?) seas
The music that lulled them to sleep and rest
Was the mewing of gulls and the threshing eels,
The bigger whale eating the smaller whale,
And the smaller whale doing as best it could.
The curved dusky whelks of the deep
Coming rattling in on her floor-planks
With the excellence with which he steered her.
He would steer her from the prow, guide her from the stern;
He would cast loose the rope that was belayed in her
And he would belay the rope that was loose in her.

And he did not follow a crooked path, but said straight for Greece.

And when he went ashore, he took a grip of the breast-hook(?) (lit. gizzard) of the vessel, and he drew it up seven times its own length on grassland, where the wind would not weather it, and where the sun would not warp it, and where an impudent little rip from the town would not get at it to make fun or sport of it, so that he himself should find it again. And he pressed on inland, and said, he I met a herdsman there teanding a herd of cattle.

“What is your news, herdsman?” said I.

“But you have not given me a fee for my story,” said he.

“Have I not, my bold fellow?” said I.

“No, indeed,” said he.

I went and put my hadn in my pocket, said he, and I gave him a handful of godl and a handful of silver.

“Well, may success and bendediction attend to you for that,” said the little herd, “and may you be a successful man, and your descendants after you. There is a wedding-feast and solemn marriage tonight in the City of Athens between the Young Prince of Greece and the Daughter of the Gruagach of the Fountain, and they have sworn that if a Man with a Black Habit, a Spiked Club, a String of Ivory Beads and a String of Brozne Beads be seen approaching within seven miles of the gate of the city, he will be dead long before he reached at.”

“Well, indeed, my bold fellow, you are not without news.” said I.

“No,” said he.

“Here is for you,” said I, “another handful of gold and another handful of silver and doff your clothes, and I shall don them, and you shall put on my clothes.”

We did that. We exchanged clothes. But, Murchadh son of Brian, said he, if you had seen me, said he, with the little herd’s clothes on me, not reaching my houghs, and my clothes trailing for several feet all over the hill behind the little herd!

However, I went on, said he, and when I drew near the king’s residence, I saw a pretty, neat little house, cut off completely from the rest (of the buildings), and I made for it and went in, and there was no one in there but an old woman, sitting by a fire there, and she burst into a loud laugh when I appeared.

“Why,” said she, “were you not up at the mansion up there along with the other poor folk, so that you might get your portion?”

“Why,” said I to her, “were you not up at the mansion up there yourself among the poor folk, so that you might get your portion?”

“No, I am not there,” said she, “I am only, “said she, “a poor old woman, who cannot walk far or fast, and my portion will come home to me.”

“Well,” said I, “since my portion will not come home to me, I had better go where it is.”

And off I went, and I went up to the mansion. And there was a table out in front of the main door, and it was covered, and every kind of drink and food that you could think of was on the table. And the poor folk of the kingdom were sitting on either side of it. And they had fully served with the food and drink, and what was happening was that silver was being scattered (among them). I was not interested in the silver, sad the Man-with-the-Habit, for it was easy for me to get plenty of silver, but I fell to eating and drinking. And at this point I was only sitting at the outer end of the row, but as my drinking waxed deeper, I would lift the one who was next to me, on the other side nearer the door, and I would put him on my other side, and so with one after another until I get right to the door post.

And when I did, I was then keeping a close watch on the door, to see if I might spy it being opened slightly, or if I could get in. But no, I could not. But at long last, I saw the door being opened slightly, and I jumped towards it and put my shoulder to it. And the man who was inside began to push the door outwards, and I was pushing it inwards. But, Murchadh son of Brian, I believe it would be as easy for them to push out the nethermost foundation-stone in the gate of the city as to push my shoulder from the door once I got it against it.

But the Young Prince of Greece became aware of the uproar down at the door, and he shouted out (to ask) what the uproar was. And he was told that it was some one or other of the poor folk who wanted in.

“O, let him in,” said the Young Prince of Greece. “He is just a poor man who was used to being in company.”

I was allowed in, said the Man-with-the-Habit, and I proceeded bashfully down to the other end of the house, where there was no one sitting but myself.

And I was there but a very short time when a fierce swarthy man came down and stood in front of me, and he performed a reel there, and when he had finished, he swung his fist over and struck me with it on the brow. But, Murchadh son of Brian, if he was quick in striking me with his fist, he thrust it into his mouth seven times more quickly, and where he had struck me but on the string of bronze beads that was above my brow.

“Blast!” said he, “I am hurt. He may have traversed the universe or the world, but I have right in here on the floor, a Man with a Black Habit, a Spiked Club, a String of Ivory Beads and a String of Bronze Beads.”

But, Murchadh son of Brian, said he, when I heard my name being uttered, I searched up and down, hither and thither, and I found an old rusty sword, that had not been used since who knows when, and I belaboured all who were within with it, and I left not a head on neck but those of the Young Prince of Greece, and of his father and his mother, and of that woman there.

And the Young Prince of Greece wsa then pleased to grant for my wedding-feast that night all that he had unconsumed at his wedding-feast.

And on the morrow I went home with the woma. And when I brought her home, another wedding-feast and solemn marriage were made for me here. And there you have it now, how I got the woman, and not with cost to me!

And when Murchadh son of Brian got ready now, he returned to the hunting-station, and he was fro some time on the hunting-station awaiting those who had gone to the hill of hunting before they returned, and when they returned from the hill of hunting, they and Murchadh son of Brian went home.

And I parted company with them.

It seems as if Calum Maclean did not record a variant of the above tale on the reasonable grounds that it had already been covered and thus there was little point in replicating work that had already been done. The above tale was but one of the many other long romantic stories that Duncan MacDonald held in his retentive memory. MacDonald’s skill and virtuosity as a storyteller was such that Maclean claimed that he had not met anyone of his like in either Gaelic Ireland or Scotland. Of the many scores of people recorded by Maclean then his statement rings trues and leaves but little doubt that he had captured one of the very great last seanchaidhs. Many of those who heard his recital at the conference may have been of a similar mind. It may also be noted that MacDonald himself was fully aware of the need for the work to be done before it was to late as he recited to Maclean when recording his life-story:

Agus ’s ann a 1942, tha mi a’ smaointinn a thàinig a’ chiad dhuine nam lùib fhìn airson sgeulachdan. Thàinig Mr Craig nam lùib fhìn agus e a’ cruinneachadh sgeulachd agus theann mi rin toirt dha cuideachd, ach a thaobh mi a bhith air falbh an siud agus an seo ag obair agus cha bhiodh aige-san ach treisean de dh’ ùine. Bha e às a’ University an Dùn Eideann as an àm. Cha robh e a’ faighinn dad de sgrìobhadh a dhèanamh. Agus ’s ann ann an 1944 a dh’fhan e as dùthaich na b’ fhaide agus bha mise ag obair air càrnan an tochdair as an àm agus bhiodh e daonnan a’ tighinn a-nuas far an robh mi feuch cùine a bhithinn ullamh agus dh’fhan e fad an fhoghair a bh’ ann a shin as dùthaich agus sin nuair a thug e sìos cus dhen t-seanchas bhuam-sa. Agus bhiodh a làmh a’ toirt fairis a’ sgrìobhadh agus tha a-nist 1950 ann agus bha na sgeulachdan a fhuair e bhuam-sa gun tighinn a-mach fhathast. Ach tha làn-dhùil riutha a dh’aithghearrachd. Ach tha dhà a-mach mar tha ach ’s e Commission Èirinn a chuir a-mach sin agus nam biodh e air a thoirt air fad, bha iad a-mach o chionn fada aige.

In 1942, I think that was when the first person came to my notice to collect stories. Mr. Craig came to see me when he was collecting stories and I gave them to him, but as I was travelling due to work here and there he only had a short time. He was at the University of Edinburgh around that time. He didn’t get anything to write about. And in 1944 he stayed longer in the district and I was working gathering manure and he always used to come down to me to see when I’d be finished and he stayed all that autumn in the district and that is when he took down traditions from me. But he used to get writer’s cramp writing and it is now 1950 and the stories that he got from me have still not come out yet. But they fully expect them to come out soon. But two have come out already published by the Commission in Ireland and if they had put them all out, they would be very long.

References:
Anon, ‘Uist Seanachaidh At International Conference’, The Stornoway Gazette (13 October 1953), p. 6
Martje Draak, ‘Duncan MacDonald of South Uist’, Fabula: Journal of Folklore Studies, vol. 1 (1957), pp. 47–58
Ruaraidh MacThomais, ‘Co-Chruinneachadh Luchd Bial-Aithris an Steòrnabhagh’, Gairm, air. 6. (1953), pp. 156–61
NFC 1180

Image:
‘Three Noted Gales’ from The Stornoway Gazette (20 October 1953), p. 6