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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Man-Eating Cow

A popular story, indeed an international tale (classified as ATU 1281A), once common throughout the Gaelic-speaking areas of the Highlands and Islands as well as elsewhere, concerns a man-eating cow. It is usually placed during the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden, the last battle to have been fought on British soil on the 16th of April 1746. It proved to be a decisive victory over the Jacobites by the Hanoverians and led to punitive ramifications throughout the Highlands and Islands. The following was recorded and transcribed shortly afterwards by Calum Maclean on the 8th of April 1951 from the recitation of John MacDonald of Highbridge, Brae Lochaber:

Am fear a’ teicheadh bho Chùil Lodair

An àm Cùil Lodair ’s iomadh duine a ghabh an ruaig. Agus bha aon duine a theich a Cùil Lodair agus bha triùir Shasannaich a’ cur ris gu math dlùth. Agus bha aige ri dhol seachad air beul-àtha. Thuirt e ris fhèin:
"Ma thèid mi a-mach air air a’ bheul àtha, tha iad cho dlùth orm is gu marbh iad mi a thaobh mo chùil, ach ’s fheàrra dhomh aig an abhainn tionndannach riutha olc air math mar a thachras dhomh. ’S e am bàs a bhios ann.”
Agus mharbh e na trì Sasannaich agus bha aon fhear dhiubh ann aig an robh inbhe anns an arm agus bha bòtainnean air an àird gu ghlùinean. Cha robh ùine aige air fosgladh na h-iallan, ach gheàrr e aig na glùinean iad, na casan. Agus thug e leis 'na phòc iad mar a bha iad, na casan agus na bòtainnean. Thàinig e gu math anmoch chun taigh iomallach ann an gleann. Is thuirt e am faigheadh e fuireach na h-oidhche is thuirt iad gu faigheadh.
“Ach chan eil àite againn dut ach sa bhàthaiche.”
"Nì sin an gnothach dhomh."
Chuir iad don bhàthaich e an deaghaidh dha a bhiadh fhaotainn. Agus bha e toileach falbh sa mhadainn mun tigeadh an latha. Agus air a shochair fhèin, thug e na casan aig an t-Sasannach às na bòtainnean agus chuir e air iad. Agus chuir e na brògan aige fhèin air casan an t-Sasannaich agus thilg e air beulaibh a' mhairt iad. Chaidh a’ bhean a mach sa mhadainn agus b’ uamhasach an oillt a chunnaic i nuair nach fhaca i ach na casan aig an duine air beulaibh a’ mhairt. Is thill i a-staigh is thuirt e ris an duine.
“Tha a’ mhart, nach do dh’ith i am bodach a tha siud. Chan eil nì air fhàgail dheth ach na casan agus na brògan.”
Och, cha do thachair a leithid sin riamh,” thuirt an duine.
Chaidh e a-mach. Agus nuair a chaidh e a-mach mar a thuirt ’s ann mar sin a bha. Cha robh ri fhaicinn ach na casan.
“Ma-tà,” thuirt e, “chan òl mi boinne dhe bhainne cho fad is a bhios i beò. Agus cha bhi i an seo. Agus chan eil aon duine a dh’itheas an fheòl aice. Chan eil dad air a son ach a marbhadh agus a’ cuir an toll.”
Agus ’s ann mar sin a chaidh a dhèanadh. Chaidh a’ mhart a marbhadh agus a cuir an toll. Agus tha iad air a’ bheachd gus an latha an-diugh gun do dh’ith a’ mhart an duine.

And the translation goes something like the following:

A man who fled from the Battle of Culloden

At the time of Culloden many men went on the run. And there was one man that fled from Culloden and three Englishmen were chasing him very hard. He had to go by a ford. He thought to himself:
“If I go over the ford and they are so close to me that they’ll kill my from behind, but I’d be best to turn on them for good or ill at the river. It will be the death of me.”
And he killed the three Englishmen and one of them held a high rank in the army and was wearing boots that went to his knees. He didn’t have time to untie then and so he cut them off at the knees. He took them with him just as they were, both the legs and the boots. He arrived quite late at a house in a remote glen. He asked them if he could get a place to stay for the night and they replied that he could.
“But the only place we’ve got for you is the barn.”
“That’ll do for me.”
They set up a place for him in the barn after he had some food. And he was happy enough to leave in the morning before daylight. And taking his time, he took the Englishman’s legs out of the boot and he put them on. And he then placed his own shoes on the Englishman’s feet and he threw them in front of the cow. The woman went out in the morning and was completely horror struck by what she saw on seeing a man’s legs in front of the cow. She went back in and told her husband.
“The cow, didn’t she eat the old man. The only thing left of him is his legs and shoes.”
“Och, such a thing has never happened,” said the husband.
He went out. And when he went out he saw what was said had actually happened. He could only see the feet.
“Well,” he said, “I’ll never drink a drop of her milk while she still lives. I’ll no longer keep her here. And no-one will ever eat her meat. There’s nothing for it but to slaughter her and bury her in a hole.
And that was what was done. The cow was slaughtered and buried in a hole. And they still believe to this very day that the cow ate the man.

A variant of the above which happens to be a translation was published in the periodical An Gàidheal. It is far longer and more polished but is essentially the very same story. It is here reproduced in full with unamended spelling that conforms to nineteenth century Gaelic orthographic standards:

PARA PIOBAIRE.
NAIDHEACHD EIRIONNACH.

THA naidheachd agam duit, agus tha i neonach; ach iongantach ’s mar tha i, tha i cho fior ’s a tha e gu bheil mise am sheasamh ann an so, agus is breugach do ’n fhear a chuireas sin an ag—Thachair an ni so ann an am an Ar-a-mach, an uair a bha na laithean fada samhraidh, coltach ri beatha iomadh oigeir ghrinn, air an gearradh goirid leis na laghannan a chaidh a thoirt a mach ’n ar n-aghaidh—laghannan nach ceadaicheadh do dhuine sam bith math no dona bhi mach air dorus an deigh claonadh feasgair; oir an uair a bha obair an latha thairis, cha robh a chridh’ againn dol a ghabhail lan-beoil le caraid, no a dhannsadh le nigheanaig, ach dh’ fheumadhmaid falbh dhachaidh, agus sinn fein a chùbadh a suas fo ghlais, agus gun chrann a thoirt bharr doruis gus an eireadh a’ ghrian ’s a’ mhadainn.
Ach coma, gu tighinn gu m’ naidheachd:—Am feadh a bha sinn, oidhche de na h-oidhcheannan, ’n ar suidhe mu ’n chagailt agus a’ phoit-bhuntata a’ goil air an teine, agus na cuachan bainne lan, deas air son ar suipeireach, chuala sinn buille aig an dorus. “Cuist,” arsa m’ athair, “sin agad na saighdearan oirnn a nis; tha eagal orm gu ’m faca iad aiteal an teine troimh na tuill a tha air an dorus. Cha ’n ’eil math dhuinn a bhi ’cur am fiachaibh dhaibh gu bheil sinn ’n ar laidhe—falbh, a Sheumais,” thuirt e rium fhein, “agus seall co tha ann; ach air do bheatha na fosgail an dorus do dhuine beo ach do na saighdearan, agus feuch gu ’n slìog s gu ’m breug thu iad mar is fearr is urrainn duit.”
Air so thug mi ’n dorus orm ’s glaodhar, “Co tha sin?” “Tha mise,” thuirt am fear a bha mach. “Agus co thusa?” arsa mi fhein. “Nach ’eil thu ga m’ aithneachainn,” ars’ esan,— “do charaid. Para Piobaire?” “O, shiorraim ’s a righ,” arsa mise, “ciod a thug a so thu mu ’nam so dh’ oidhche?” “Ma ta,” fhreagair Paruig, “cha robh toil agam dol m’ an cuairt an rathad-mor, ghabh mi an t-ath-ghoirid, chaidh mi air seacharan, agus sin agad ciod a chum cho anmoch mi.” “Cha ghabhainn,” arsa mise, “crun an righ agus a bhi ann ad aite; oir tha fhios gle mhath agad fhein gur e crochadh do chuibhrionn ma chithear a mach thu ’s na h-amannan cruaidhe so.” “Tha fhios agam gu math air sin,” fhreagair am piobaire, “Ni-math ga m’ dhion! agus is e sin a chuir a’ so mi; leig a stigh mi air sgath seann eolais.” “O, air m’ fhacal,” arsa mise, “cha ’n ’eil a chridh’ agam an dorus ’fhosgladh air son an t-saoghail, mar is math tha fhios agad; agus ma bheireas na saighdearan ortsa tha do cheann an geall na ’s fhiach e—theid do chrochadh cho cinnteach ’s is e Paruig is ainm duit.” “Gu’n robh math agad,” ars’ esan, “ach tha dochas agam nach e sin is deireadh dhomh fhathast.” “Ma ta,” arsa mise, “rach agus falaich thu fein cho luath ’s is urrainn duit, neo ’s i binn ghoirid ’s teadhair fhada na gheobh thu bho na saighdearan—oir, ceartas cha ’n aithne do na slaightirean, agus trocair cha ’n ’eil aca!” “An tuilleadh aobhair air son gu ’n leigeadh tu stigh mi, Sheumais,” arsa Paruig bochd. “Is diomhain duit a bhi a’ bruidhinn,” arsa mise, “cha ’n fhaod mi an dorus ’fhosgladh. Thoir ort am bà-thigh cul an tighe, far a bheil am mart, agus gheobh thu an sin dais chonlaich air am faod thu cadal gu sona-bheairteach—leaba a dh’ fhoghnadh do fhear-fearainn, gun ghuth air piobaire.”
Air falbh ghabh Paruig do ’n bhà-thigh, agus, gu fior, rainig e ar cridheachan a dhiultadh, agus gu seachd sonraichte o’n bha am buntata bruich—agus cha bu sinn a bha riabh doicheallach ri duine bochd a thainig ’n ar caraibh. Coma co dhiubh, chaidh sinn uile a laidhe, agus neadaich Paruig e fein am measg na conlaich anns a’ bhà-thigh; agus a nis feumaidh mi innseadh dhuit mar a chaidh dha:— An deigh do Pharuig a bhi greis ’n a chadal, dhuisg e suas, agus a’ smaoineachadh gu ’n robh a’ mhadainn fada air a h-aghaidh,—ach is i a’ ghealach a thug an car as,—thog e air, oir bha toil aige bhi moch aig a’ bhaile ’b’ fhaisge dha, do bhrigh gu ’n robh faidhir ri bhi ann air an latha sin, agus bha mhiann air urad ’s a b’urrainn da de pheighinnean a chur cruinn air an fheill. Cha robh anns an duthaich m’ an cuairt piobaire a bheireadh barr air Paruig.
Mar bha mi ag radh, thog e air a dhol thun na faidhreach, agus ghabh e frith-rathad troimh na h-achaidhnean, ach cha deachaidh e ach gle ghoirid air a thuras an uair a thachair callaid thiugh air, agus an uair a bha e ’g a shlaodadh fein troimhpe agus e a’ sgiolcadh a mach air an taobh eile dhi, thug e gleadhar le ’cheann air rud-eigin a chuir tein’-athair as na suilean aige. Dh’ amhairc e suas—agus ciod a shaoileas tu bh’ ann, Ni-math g’ ar dion!—ach corp duine, crochte air meangan craoibhe. “Failte na maidne dhuit, fhir a th’ ann,” arsa Paruig, “cha bheag an clisgeadh a thug thu dhomh;” agus b’ fhior dha sin, ’s cha b’ iongantach e.
A nis, is iad na reubalaich a chroch an duine truagh, agus bha fhios aig Paruig air so gu lan mhath, oir dh’ aithnich e air a chulaidh co ’n dream d’ am buineadh e. “Air m’ fhacal,” ars’ esan, “is eireachdail a’ phaidhir bhòtainnean a tha air do luirgnean, agus is i mo bharail nach cuir thu bheag a dh-fheum tuille orra; agus is narach ri ’innseadh gu ’m bithinnsa—am phiobaire is fearr anns na seachd sgireachdan—a’ siubhal an rathaid le paidhir de sheann chóbuil bhrog orm nach togadh an diol-deirce is bochda ’s an duthaich as an dunan.” Rug Paruig air na botainnean agus thoisich e air an slaodadh dheth, ach dheth cha tigeadh iad; mu dheireadh thug e thairis dhiubh agus bha e brath togail air, an uair a thug e an ath shuil air na botainnean aluinn, ’s chuir e roimhe gu ’m biodh iad aige, dheoin no dh’ aindeoin. Thug e mach sgian mhor, gheur, agus ghearr e na luirgnean bharr a’ chuirp, chairich e ’n a achlais iad, a’ cur roimhe feuchainn ris na botainnean a thoirt diubh a’ chiad chothrom a gheobhadh e. Cha b’ fhada rainig e an uair a chunnaic e ghealach a’ caogadh a mach fo sgéith neoil; thug e nis fainear mar thug i an car as, agus, dh’ aithnich e nach robh e ach ro mhoch ’s a’ mhadainn; bha sgàth air, agus air eagal gu ’m beirteadh air ’s gu ’n rachadh a ghiollachd coltach ris a’ chorp a bha e fein an deigh a ghnathachadh cho neo-laghail,—thill e air a shail, thug e air am bà-thigh far an robh e toiseach na h-oidhche, agus an uair a chuir e falach na botainnean agus speirean a’ chuirp am measg na conlaich, laidh e sios agus chaidil e. Ach ciod a th’ agad air no dheth, cha b’ fhada bha e ’n a laidhe ’n uair thainig na saighdearan agus ’s e bh’ ann, glacar agus togar iad leotha am piobaire beo, slan—agus bu gheal a thoill e sin an deigh mar mhi-ghnathaich e an corp.
An uair thainig a’ mhadainn, arsa m’ athair rium fhein, “Falbh a mach an bhà-thigh, a Sheumais, agus abair ri Paruig bochd tighinn a stigh a chum ’s gu ’m faigh e cuid d’ an bhuntata; is neonach leamsa mur ’eil an t-acras air roimhe so.”
A mach an bhà-thigh ghabh mi agus ghlaodh mi am piobaire air ’ainm, ach smid fhreagairt cha d’ fhuair mi. Ghlaodh mi a rithist ’s a rithist ach, facal cha chualas. “An ainm an àigh, a Pharuig,” arsa raise, “c’aite bheil thu?” Sheall mi shios a’s shuas ach mir de Pharuig cha robh agam. Mu dheireadh, faicear, thar leam, a dha chois am measg na conlaich. “Fhir mo chridhe,” arsa mise, “is tu tha toigheach air oisinn bhlath; mur ’eil thu an deigh thu fhein a tholladh a stigh anns a’ chonlaich cho seasgair ri deargainn ann am plaide! ach cuiridh mise stad air do chuid bruadar.” Le so rug mi air chaol da chois air—mar shaoil mi fhein— thug mi an spionadh sin air, an uair a dh’ fhalbh mi an comhair mo chuil, ceann thar thulchainn, anns an inne.
An uair a thainig mi gu seorsa mothachaidh bha mi am laidhe air leud mo dhroma agus da rud am lamhan coltach ri paidhir dhagaichean—agus ’bheil fhios agad nach mor nach do chaill mi sealladh nan sul an uair a chunnaic mi ’d é bh’ agam; da chois duine mhairbh! Thilg mi bhuam iad mar gu ’m biodh iad r’a theine; thug mi duibh-leum asam, agus ghlaodh mi mort a’s milleadh. “O, a bhana-mhortair gun iochd,” arsa mise, ’s mi maoidheadh mo dhuirn air a’ mhart—“O, a bheist mhi-nadurra, dh’ ith thu Paruig bochd, a bhrùid gun mhathanas; is miosa thu na na daoine dubha;—agus, an droch bhàs ort, nach tu bha àilgheasach an uair nach foghnadh dhuit gu d’ shuipeir ach an t-aona phiobaire b’ fhearr eadar da cheann na rioghachd! Mo thruaigh sinn uile! ciod a their an duthaich gu leir ri ’leithid de mhort mi-chneasda? agus thusa an sin a’ sealltainn cho seimh, neo-chiontach ri uan, agus a’ cnàmh do chir mar nach biodh sion air tachairt.” A mach ghabh mi, oir gu cinnteach mheas mi gu ’n robh mi fada gu leoir an cuideachd na beist. Thug mi an tigh orm agus dh’ innis mi dhaibh gach ni mu ’n chuis.
“Cuist, cuist,” arsa m’ athair, “cha ’n urrainn da sin a bhi fior.” “Cha ’n ’eil facal breige ann,” arsa mise. “An e gu ’n d’ ith am mart Para piobaire?” ars’ iadsan. “Mar is beo mi, cha ’n ’eil facal agam ach smior na firinn; cha d’ fhag an t-ainmhidh gun iochd mir d’ an Phiobaire ach a dha chois ’s a bhot- ainnean.” “Agus an d’ ith i a’ phiob cuideachd?” arsa m’ athair. “Is i mo bharail gu’n d’ ith,” arsa mise. “An droch bhàs air a’ bheist,” ars’ esan, “nach ann aice bha an déigh air ceol.” “A nis,” arsa mo mhathair, “na mallaich a’ bhó a tha ’toirt bainne do’n chloinn.” “Mallaichidh mi,” thuirt m’ athair, “c’arson nach mallaichinn a leithid a bheist mhi-nadurra? Cha bhi i na ’s fhaide agamsa; cuiridh mi a dh-ionnsaidh na faidhreach i gun tuilleadh dàlach, agus reicidh mi i air ciod sa bith tairgse ’gheobh mi. Gabh air falbh, a Sheumais,” ars esan, “cho luath ’s a ghabhas tu greim bìdh, agus thoir leat i thun na faidhreach.” “Ma ta, a dh-innseadh na firinn,” arsa mise, “b’ fhearr leam aon-eigin eile ’dhol leatha.” “Cuist,” ars esan, “agus na dean amadan diot fein.” “Is ann da-rireadh a tha mi,” thuirt mi ris; “is sibh fein a b’ fhearr a bheireadh an aire dhi na mise.” “Tha ’n gnothach gu math,” ars’ esan; “cha ’n eil fhios agam c’arson a bhithinn a’ gleidheadh coin ma dh’ fheumas mi fhein an tathunnaich a dheanamh; na cluinnean facal tuilleadh, ach tog ort leatha, ’s na faiceam ceann no crodhan di tuille.”
Air falbh ghabh sinn, fada an aghaidh mo thoil, creid mi; cha robh tlachd sam bith agam a bhi mar fhad na laimhe do ’n bhrùid neo-chneasda. Ach coma co dhiubh, ghearr mi cuaille laidir, fada, de bhӑta, los gu ’n rachadh agam air a’ bhanasgail mhortail iomain gun a bhi dluth dhi idir, idir.
Mar bha sinn a’ gabhail an rathaid bha an sluagh a’ dumhlachadh a dh-ionnsaidh na faidhreach. “Madainn mhath dhuit, ’ille oig,” arsa duine rium ’s an dol seachad, “is math coltas a’ mhairt a tha thu ag iomain.” “Tha i,” arsa mise, “cho math r’a coltas,” am Freasdal ’thoirt mathanais dhomh, is dona thainig e ri m’ chridhe facal math a radh as a leth. “A bheil thu dol g’ a reic?” ars’ esan. “Tha,” fhreagair mi. “Ciod tha suil agad a gheobh thu air a son?” dh’ fheoraich e. “Ma ta, cha ’n ’eil fhios agam,” thuirt mi—rud a bha fior gu leoir, chionn bha mi ann an seorsa imcheist mu ’n bhruid mhosaich uile gu leir. “Is boidheach an gnothach dhuit a bhi dol gu margadh,” ars’ esan, “’s gun fhios agad ciod is fhiach do chuid feudail.” “O,” arsa mise—’s gun toil agam amharus a bhi aige gu ’n robh beud air a’ mhart—“cha bhi fios aig neach ’d é gheobh e gus an ruig e an fhaidhir, ’s am faic e ciod na prìsean tha dol.” “Ceart gu leoir,” ars’ esan, “ach na ’m faigheadh tu tairgse mhath m’ an ruigeadh tu ’n fhaidhir idir, nach gabhadh tu rithe?” “Gun teagamh,” arsa mise. “Ciod tha thu ag iarraidh oirre, ma ta?” ars’ esan. “Cha bu mhath leam a bhi mi-reusanta,” thuirt mi ris—oir, a dh-innseadh na firinn, bha mi toileach a bhi reidh ’s i— “gabhaidh mi ceithir puinnd Shasunnach air a son, ’s cha ghabh mi peighinn na ’s lugha na sin.” “Cha chreid mi,” ars’ esan, “nach ’eil i saor gu leoir; ach tha eagal orm gu bheil rud-eigin cearr oirre; cha ’n ann air an t-suim sin a reiceadh tu mart-bainne a coltais na ’m biodh i gun choire.” “Gu dearbh,” arsa mise, “air m’ fhacal, tha i math gu bainne.” “Theagamh,” ars’ esan, “gu ’n deachaidh i bharr a bainne—a bheil i air son a bìdh!” “Moire, ’s i th’ air son a bidh!” fhreagair mi, “cha ’n ’eil a leithid eile air uachdar na cruitheachd, is i mo bharail; bheir mi mo mhionnan gu ’n ith i.” “Cha ’n ’eil duil agam gu ’n gabh mi an dràst i,” ars’ esan; “feithidh mi gus am faic mi cia mar theid do ’n mhargadh.” “Tha mi toileach,” arsa mise, a’ gabhail orm a bhi caoin-shuarach, ach air chinnt bha seorsa amharuis agam gu ’n robh daoine ’faicinn rud-eigin mi-chneasda ann an aogas na béist, agus nach faighinn bharr mo lamhan idir i. Mu dheireadh rainig sinn an fhaidhir, agus b’ e sin an sealladh gun a leithid—shaoileadh tu gu ’n robh an saoghal uile cruinn air an aon fhaiche, gun ghuth air gach riomhaidh eile ’bh’ ann. Bha bùithean an sin anus am faighteadh an deoch a b’ fhearr, agus na fidhlean a’ cluich a chur spreigidh anns na caileagan agus anns na gillean oga; ach chuir mi romhan nach gabhainn gnothach riu gus am faighinn saor ’s a’ bheist mhosach a bha air mo churam; uime sin dh’ iomain mi stigh i gu teis-meadhoin na faidhreach. Ach, a mhic chridhe, mar a bha sinn a’ dol seachad air dorus aon de na bùithean, sheid piobaire air chor-eigin suas port-dannsaidh, agus m’ an abradh tu “Deis-de” bha ’h-earball a suas agus thug i an roid sin aisde a dh-ionnsaidh a’ bhùth.
“O, mort a’s marbhadh!” arsa mise ris na bha m’ an cuairt, “cumaibh oirre, cumaibh oirre—dh’ ith i aona phiobaire an diugh cheana, agus an droch bhàs oirre tha i air son fear eile bhi aice.”
“An e gu ’n d’ ith mart piobaire?” arsa fear dhiubh.
“Gun fhacal breige, dh’ ith,” arsa mise, “oir chunna mi fhein a chorp ’s gun mhir a lathair dheth ach an da chois; cha ’n ’eil ann ach amaideachd dhuinn a bhi strith ris a’ ghnothach a cheiltinn; tha mi faicinn nach gabh i cur bho ’n chleachdainn —mar is daor tha fhios aig Para piobaire bochd—mo bheannachd as a dheigh!”
“Co tha ’n sin a’ luaidh air m’ ainm-sa?” ghlaodh fear-eigin lamh rium; agus, an uair a thionndaidh mi m’ an cuairt, co bh’ ann, a reir coltais, ach Para piobaire e fhein.
“Beiribh air-san cuideachd,” arsa inise, “cumaibh uam e, oir cha ’n e fhein a th’ ann idir, ach a thannas ; chaidh a mhort an diugh ’s a’ mhadainn, do m’ dhearbh fhiosrachadh fein, ’s cha d’ fhàgadh oirleach dheth ach a chasan.”
An uair a chuala Paruig sin—oir is e fhein a bh’ ann, mar fhuair sinn a mach a rithist—cha mhor nach do sgain e a’ gaireachdaich; agus an uair a lasaich air, thoisich e agus dh’ innis e dhuinn gach car, mar dh’ innis mise nis; agus na ’n cluinneadh tusa ’n fhochaid a bha ’n sin ormsa, air son bhi cur air a’ bhó bhochd gu ’n d’ ith i am piobaire. Chaidh sinn a stigh do ’n bhuth ’s dh’ òl sinn fad-shaoghal do Pharuig ’s do ’n mhart; chluich Paruig an lath a sin air dhoigh a thug barr air na chluich e riabh; agus is iomadh aon a thuirt nach cualas a leithid riabh roimhe no ’n a dheigh. Chaidh am mart neo-chiontach, bochd ’iomain dachaidh a rithist, agus is iomadh latha math a bha aice fein agus againne ’n a dheigh sin.—Cha di-chuimhnich mi gu brath mu ’n mhart a dh’ ith am piobaire!
Eadar. le
IAIN IAIN MHIC UILLEIM.

This was a translation, if rather a loose one, but no source was given for the above story. It is more than likely that the story came from a version entiled ‘Paddy the Piper’ by Samuel Lover (1797–1868) that appears in The Cylopaedia of Wit and Humor (1859) edited by William Evans Burton. The story had been in circulation before that as it also appears in Legends and Stories of Ireland (1853) by the same Samuel Lover. The story is here reproduced in full and reflects the Irish brogue or dialect in which it had been told and with more than hint of blarney:

“I’ll tell you, sir, a mighty quare story, and it’s as thrue as I’m standin’ here, and that’s no lie:—It was in the time of the ’ruction, whin the long summer days, like many a fine fellow’s precious life, was cut short by raison of the martial law,—that wouldn’t let a dacent boy be out in the evenin’, good or bad; for whin the day’s work was over, divil a one of uz daar go to meet a frind over a glass, or a girl at the dance, but must go home, and shut ourselves up, and never budge, nor rise latch, nor dhraw boult until the morning kem agin.
“Well, to come to my story: ’Twas afther nightfall, and we wor sittin’ round the fire, and the pratees was boiln’, and the noggins of butther-milk was standin’ ready for our suppers, whin a knock kem to the door. ‘Whisht,’ says my father, ‘here’s the sojers come upon us now,’ says he; ‘bad luck to thim the villains, I'm afeard they seen a glimmer of the fire through the crack in the door,’ says he. ‘No,’ says my mother, ‘for I’m afther hanging an ould sack and my new petticoat agin it, a while ago.’ ‘Well, whisht, any how,’ says my father, ‘for there’s a knock agin;’ and we all held our tongues till another thump kem to the door. ‘Oh it’s folly to purtind any more,’ says my father—‘they’re too cute to be put off that-a-way,’ says he. Go, Shamus,’ says he to me, ‘and see who’s in it.’ ‘How can I see who’s in it in the dark,’ says I. ‘Well,’ says he, ‘light the candle, thin, and see who’s in it, but don’t open the door for your life, barrin’ they break it in,’ says he, ‘exceptin’ to the sojers, and spake thim fair, if it’s thim.’
So with that, I wint to the door, and there was another knock. ‘Who’s there?’ says I. ‘It’s me,’ says he. ‘Who are you?’ says I. ‘A friend,’ says he. ‘Baithershin,’ says I— ‘who are you, at all ‘Arrah I don't you know me?’ says he. ‘Divil a taste,’ says I. ‘Sure I'm Paddy the piper,’ says he. ‘Oh, thundher and turf,’ says I, ‘is it you, Paddy, that’s in it?’ ‘Sorra one else,’ says he. ‘And what brought you at this hour?’ says I. ‘By gar,’ says he,’ I didn't like goin’ the roun’ by the road,’ says he, ‘and so I kem the short cut, and that's what delayed me,’ says he. ‘Oh, bloody wars!’ says I—‘Paddy, I wouldn’t be in your shoes for the king’s ransom,’ says I; ‘for you know yourself it’s a hanging matther to be cotched out these times,’ says I. ‘Sure I know that,’ says he, ‘God help me; and that’s what I kem to you for,’ says he; ‘and let me in for old acquaintance sake,’ says Poor Paddy. ‘Oh, by this and that,’ says I, ‘I darn’t open the door for the wide world; and sure you know it; and troth if the Husshians or the Yeo’s [Yeomen] ketches you,’ says I—‘they’ll murther you, as sure as your name’s Paddy.’ ‘Many thanks to you,’ says he, ‘for your good intintions; but, plaze the pigs, I hope it’s not the likes o’ that is in store for me, any how.’ ‘Faix then,’ says I, ‘you had betther’ lose no time in hidin’ yourself,’ says I; ‘for troth I tell you, it’s a short thrial and a long rope the Husshians would be afther givin’ you—for they’ve no justice, and less marcy, the villians!’ ‘Faith, thin, more’s the raison you should let me in, Shamus,’ says poor Paddy, ‘It’s a folly to talk,’ says I, ‘I darn’t open the door.’ ‘Oh then, niillia murther!’ says Paddy, what’ll become of me at all, at all,’ says he. ‘Go aff into the shed,’ says I, ‘behind the house, where the cow is, and there there’s an illigant lock o’ straw, that you may go asleep in,’ says I, ‘and a line bed it id be for a lord, let alone a piper.’
“So off Paddy set to hide in the shed, and throth it wint to our hearts to refuse him, and turn him away from the door, more, by token, when the pratees was ready—for sure the bit and the sup is always welkim to the poor thraveller. Well, we all wint to bed, and Paddy hid himself in the cow-house; and now I must tell you how it was with Paddy:—You see, afther sleeping for some time, Paddy wakened up, thinkin’ it was mornin’, but it wasn’t mornin’ at all, but only the light o’ the moon that deceaved him; but at all evints, he wanted to be stirrin’ airly, bekase he was going off to the town hard by, it bein’ fair-day, to pick up a few ha’pence with his pipes—for the divil a betther piper was in all the country round, nor Paddy; and every one gave it up to Paddy, that he was iligant an the pipes, and played ‘Jinny bang’d the Weaver,’ beyant tellin’, and the ‘Hare in the Corn,’ that you’d think the very dogs was in it, and the horsemen ridin’ like mad.
‘Well, as I was sayin’, he set off to go to the fair, and he wint meandherin’ along through the fields, but he didn’t go far, until climbin’ up through a hedge, when he was comin’ out at t’other side, he kem plump agin somethin’ that made the fire flash out iv his eyes. So with that he looks up—and what do you think it was. Lord be marciful unto uz, but a corpse hangin’ out of a branch of a three.
‘Oh, the top of the mornin’ to you, sir,’ says Paddy, ‘and is that the way with you, my poor fellow? throth you took a start out o’ me,’ says poor Paddy; and ’twas thrue for him, for it would make the heart of a stouter man nor Paddy jump, to see the hke, and to think of a Christhan crathur being hang-up, all as one as a dog.
“Now ’twas the rebels that hanged this chap—bekase, you see, the corpse had got clothes on him, and that’s the raison that one might know that it was the rebels,—by rayson that the Husshians and the Orangemen never hanged any body wid good clothes an him, but only the poor and definceless crathurs, like uz; so, as I said before, Paddy knew well it was the boys that done it; ‘and,’ says Paddy, eyein’ the corpse, ‘by my sowl, thin, but you have a beautiful pair of boots an you,’ says he, ‘and it’s what I’m thinkin’ you won’t have any great use for thim no more ; and sure it’s a shame to see the likes o’ me,’ says he, ‘the best piper in the sivin counties, to be trampin’ wid a pair of ould brogues not worth three traneens, and a corpse wid such an iligant pair o’ boots, that wants some one to wear thim.’ So, with that, Paddy lays hould of him by the boots, and began a pullin’ at thim, but they wor mighty stiff; and whether it was by rayson of their bein so tight, or the branch of the three a-jiggin’ up and down, all as one as a weighdee buckettee, and not lettin’ Paddy cotch any right hoult o’ thim—he could get no advantage o’ thim at all—and at last he gev it up, and was goin’ away, whin lookin’ behind him agin, the sight of the iligant fine boots was too much for him, and he turned back, determined to have the boots, any how, by fair means or foul; and I’m loath to tell you now how he got thim—for indeed it was a dirty turn, and throth it was the only dirty turn I ever knew Paddy to be guilty av; and you see it was this a-way: ’pon my sowl, he pulled out a big knife, and by the same token, it was a knife with a fine buck-handle, and a murtherin’ big blade, that an uncle o’ mine, that was a gardener at the lord’s, made Paddy a prisint av; and more be token, it was not the first mischief that knife done, for it cut love between thim, that was the best of friends before; and sure ’twas the wondher of every one, that two knowledgeable men, that ought to know betther, would do the likes, and give and take sharp steel in friendship; but I'm forgettin’— well, he cuts with his knife, and what does he do, but he cuts off the legs av the corps; ‘and,’ says he, ‘I can take aff the boots at my convaynience;’ and throth it was, as I said before, a dirty turn.
“Well, sir, he tuck’d up the legs undher his arm, and at that minit the moon peeped out from behind a cloud—‘Oh! is it there you are?' says he to the moon, for he was an impident chap—and thin, seein’ that he made a mistake, and that the moon-light deceaved him, and that it wasn’t the airly dawn, as he conceaved  and bein’ friken’d for fear himself might be cotched and trated like the poor corpse he was afthar malthreating, if he was found walking the counthry at that time—by gar, he turned about, and walked back agin to the cow-house, and, hidin’ the corpse’s legs in the sthraw, Paddy wint to sleep agin. But what do you think? the divil along Paddy was there antil the sojers kem in airnest, and, by the powers, they carried off Paddy—and faith it was only sarvin’ him right for what he done to the poor corpse.
“Well, whin the morning kem, my father says to me, ‘Go, Shamus, ‘says he,’ to the shed, and bid poor Paddy come in, and take share o’ the pratees, for I go bail he’s ready for his breakquest by this, any how?’
Well, out I wint to the cow-house, and called out ‘Paddy!’ and afther callin’ three or four times, and getting’ no answer, I wint in, and called agin, and divil an answer I got still. ‘ Blood-an-agers!’ says I, ‘Paddy, where are you, at all, at all?’ and so castin’ my eyes about the shed, I seen two feet sticking out from undher the hape o’ sthraw—‘Musha! thin,’ says I, ‘bad luck to you, Paddy, but your’re fond of a warm corner, and maybe you havn’t made yourself as snug as a flay in a blanket? but I’ll disturb your dhrames, am thinkin’, says I, and with that, I laid hould of his heels, (as I thought, God help me,) and givin’ a good pull to waken him, as I intindid, away I wint, head over heels, and brains was a’most knocked out agin the wall.
“Well, whin I recovered myself, there I was, on the broad o’ my back, and two things stickin’ out o’ my hands, like a pair o’ Husshian’s horse-pistils —and I thought the sight ’d lave my eyes, whin I seen they wor two mortial legs. My jew’l, I threw them down like a hot pratee, and jumpin’ up, I roared out millia murther. ‘Oh, you murtherin’ villian,’ says I, shaking my fist at the cow—‘Oh, you unnath'ral baste,’ says I, ‘you’ve ate poor Paddy, you thievin’ cannable, you’re worse than a neyger,’ says I; ‘and bad luck to you, how dainty you are, that nothin’ ’id serve you for your supper, but the best piper in Ireland! Weirasthru! weirasthru! what’ll the whole country say to such an unnath’ral murther? and you, lookin' as innocent there as a lamb, and eating your hay, as quite as if nothin’ happened.’—With that, I ran out, for throth I didn’t like to be near her; and goin’ in to the house, I tould them all about it.
“Arrah! be aisy,’ says my father. ‘Bad luck to the lie I tell you,’ says I. ‘Is it ate, Paddy?’ says they. ‘Divil a doubt of it,’ says I. ‘Are you sure, Shamus?’ says my mother. ‘I wish I was as sure of a new pair of brogues,’ says I. ‘Bad luck to the bit she has left iv him, but his two legs.’ ‘And do you tell me she ate the pipes too?’ says my father. ‘By gor, I b’lieve so,’ says I. ‘Oh, the divil fly away wid her,’ says he, ‘what a cruel taste she has for music!’’ ‘Arrah!’ says my mother, ‘don’t be cursing the cow, that gives the milk to the childher.’ ‘Yis, I will,’ says my father; ‘why shouldn’t I curse sitch an unnath’ral baste?’ ‘You oughtn’t to curse any livin’ that's undher your roof,’ says my mother. ‘By my sowl, thin’ says my father, ‘she shan’t be undher my roof any more; for I’ll sind her to the fair this minit,’ says he, and sell her for whatever she’ll bring. Go aff, says he, Shamus, the minit you’ve ate your breakquest, and dhrive her to the fair.’ ‘Troth I don’t like to dhrive her,’ says I. ‘Arrah, don’t be makin’ a gommagh of yourself,’ says he. ‘Faith, I don’t,’ says I. ‘Well, like or no like,’ says he, ‘you must dhrive her.’ ‘Sure, father,’ says I, ‘you could take more care of her yourself.’ ‘That’s mighty good,’ says he, ‘to keep a dog and bark myself;’ and faith I rec’llected the sayin’ from that hour —‘let me have no more words about it,’ says he, ‘but be aff wid you.’
“So, aff I went, and it’s no lie I’m tellin’ whin I say it was sore agin my will I had any thing to do with sitch a villian of a baste. But, howsomever, I cut a brave long wattle, that I might dhrive the man-ater iv a thief, as she was, without bein’ near her at all, at all.
“Well, away we wint along the road, and mighty throng’d it wuz wid the boys and the girls, and, in short, all sorts, rich and poor, high and low, crowdin to the fair.
“God save you,’ says one to me. ‘God save you, kindly,’ says I. ‘That’s a fine beast you’re dhrivin’,’ says he. ‘Throth she is,’ says I; though God knows it wint agin my heart to say a good word for the likes of her. ‘It’s to the fair you’re goin’, I suppose,’ says he, ‘with the baste?’ (He was a snug-lookin’ farmer, ridin’ a purty little gray hack.) ‘Faith, thin, you’re right enough,’ says I, ‘it is to the fair I’m goin’.’ ‘What do you expec’ for her’?’ says he. ‘Faith, thin, myself doesn’t know,’ says I—and that was thrue enough, you see, bekase I was bewildhered like, about the baste, intirely. ‘That’s a quare way to be goin’ to market,’ says he, ‘and not to know what you expec’ for your baste’. ‘Och,’ say I—not likin to let him suspict there was any thing wrong with her— ‘Och,’ says I, in a careless sort of a way, ‘sure no one can tell what a baste’ ’ll bring, antil they come to the fair,’ says I, ‘and see what price is goin’. ‘Indeed, that’s nath’ral enough,’ says he. ‘But if you wor bid a fair price before you come to the fair, sure you might as well take it,’ says he. ‘Oh, I’ve no objection in fife,’ says I. ‘Well thin, what will you ax for her?’ says he. ‘Why thin, I wouldn’t like to be onraysonable,’ says I—(for the thruth was, you know, I wanted to get rid iv her)—‘and so I’ll take four pounds for her,’ says I, ‘and no less.’ No less?’ says he. ‘Why sure, that’s chape enough,’ says I. ‘Throth it is,’ says he; ‘and I’m thinkin’ it’s too chape it is,’ says he; ‘for if there wasn’t somethin’ the matther, it’s not for that you’d be sellin’ the fine milch cow, as she is, to all appearance?’ ‘Indeed thin,’ says I, upon my conscience, she is a fine milch cow.’ ‘Maybe,’ says he, ‘she’s gone off her milk, in regard that she doesn’t feed well?’ ‘Och, by this and that,’ says I, ‘in regard of feedin’, there’s not the likes of her in Ireland; so make your mind aisy, and if you like her for the money, you may have her.’ ‘Why, indeed, I’m not in a hurry,’ says he, ‘and I’ll wait till I see how they go in the fair.’
“With all my heart,’ says I, purtendin’ to be no ways consarned, but in throth I began lo be afeared that the people was seein’ somethin’ unnath’ral about her, and that we’d never got rid of her, at all, at all. At last, we kem to the fair, and a great sight o’ people was in it—throth you’d think the whole world was there, let alone the standin’ o’ gingerbread and iligant ribbons, and makins o’ beautiful gownds, and pitch-and-toss, and merry-go-roun’s, and tints with the best av drink in thim, and the fiddles playin’ up t’ incourage the, boys and girls; but I never minded them at all, but detarmint to sell the thievin’ rogue of a cow afore I’d mind any divarshin in life, so an I dhriv her into the thick av the fair, whin all of a suddiut, as I kem to the door av a tint, up sthruck the pipes to the tune av ‘Tattherin’ Jack Walsh,’ and my jew’l, in a minit, the cow cock’d her ears, and was makin’ a dart at the tint.
“‘Oh, murther!’ says I, to the boys standin’ by, ‘hould her,’ says I, ‘hould her—she ate one piper already, the vagabone, and, bad luck to her, she wants another now.’
“‘Is it a cow for to ate a piper?’ says one o’ thim.
“Divil a word o’ lie in it, for I seen its corpse myself, and nothin’ left but the two legs,’ says I; ‘and it’s a folly to be strivin’ to hide it, for I see she’ll never lave it aff—as Poor Paddy Grogan knows to his cost. Lord be marciful to him.’
“‘Who’s that takin’ my name in vain?’ says a voice in the crowd; and with that, shovin’ the throng a one side, who the divil should I see but Paddy Grogan, to all appearance.
“‘Oh, hould him too,’ says I; ‘keep hin av me, for it’s not himself at all, but his ghost,’ says I; ‘for he was kilt last night, to my sartin knowledge, every inch av him, all to his legs.’
“Well, sir, with that, Paddy—for it was Paddy himself, as it kem out afther—fell a laughin’, so that you’d think his sides ’ud split; and whin he kem to himself, he ups and he tould uz how it was, as I tould you already; and the likes av the fun they made av me, was beyant tellin’, for wrongfully inisdoubtiu’ the poor cow, and layin’ the blame of atin’ a piper an her. So we all wint into the tint to have it explained, and by gor it took a full gallon o’ sper’ts t’ explain it; and we dhrank health and long life to Paddy and the cow, and Paddy pkyed that day beyant all tellin’, and mony a one said the likes was never heerd before or sence, even from Paddy himself—and av coorse the poor slandered cow was dhruv home agin, and many a quiet day she had wid uz afther that; and whin she died, throth my father had sich a regard for the poor thing, that he had her skinned, and an iligant pair of breeches made out iv her hide, and it’s in the fam’ly to this day; and isn’t it mighty remarkable, what I’m goin’ to tell you now, but it’s as thrue as I’m here, that from that out, any one that has thim breeches an, the minit a pair o’ pipes sthrikes up, they can’t rest, but goes jiggin’ and jiggin’ in their sate, and never stops as long as the pipes is playin’—and there, there is the very breeches that’s an me now, and a fine pair they are this minit.”

As stated previously this story is an international tale and the summary of it may be given as follows:

Getting Rid of the Man-Eating Calf. A man who likes shoes on the feet of a man hanging from the gallows, cuts off the swollen feet in order to carry off the shoes. In the room where he sleeps that night there is a newborn calf. The next morning the man takes the hoses but leaves the feet (he leaves the feet in the shoes). The people in the house think that the calf has eaten the man all but the feet. They kill the calf (burn the house to destroy the calf) [K1815].

According to the above entry, one of the earliest versions of this particular tale goes as far back as the sixteenth century. Variants of the tale have been identified throughout Scandinavia, Ireland, Scotland (Highlands and Lowlands, the latter represented by Willie McPhee and given in Scottish Traditional Tales entitled ‘The Wandering Piper’, pp. 244–50), as well as others parts of Europe and as far afield as America and Africa.

References:
Alan J. Bruford & Donald A. MacDonald, Scottish Traditional Tales (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1994)
Iain Iain Mhic Uillieim, ‘Para Piobaire: Naidheachd Eirionnach’, An Gàidheal, vol. 43, no. 4 (July, 1875), pp. 205–10
SSS NB 7, pp. 673–75

Image:
Paddy the Piper’ as illustrated from The Cylopaedia of Wit and Humor (1859)

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