Total Pageviews

Thursday 5 September 2013

A Priest, a Minister and a Devilish Question

The following is a rather humorous anecdote taken down by Calum Maclean on the 23rd of March 1951 from John MacDonald of Highbridge, Brae Lochaber:
Bha sagart agas ministear a’ coiseachd an rathaid mhóir. Bha iad gu briagha càirdeil, bàidheil ri chéile. Cha robh iad ann an droch-rùn ri chéile na gamhlas ’s am bith. Bha iad a’ bruidhinn, a’ deasbad air obair creidimh agas air a chuile seòrsa is a' bruidhinn air. Ach thuirt an darna fear ris an fhear eile:
“Gu dé a dhèanadh tu nan tigeadh an t-Aibhstear an-dràsda?”
“O, dé dhèanainn ach fuireach an seo fiach de thachras gun fhios có a’ fear againn a ghlacadh e an toiseach.”
“O, ghlacadh mise,” thuirt an sagart.
“Ciamar a tha thu a’ dèanadh a-mach gur h-e thusa a ghlacadh e an toiseach?”
“Tha thusa aige cheana,” thuirt e, “agas bhitheadh e airson mise fhaotainn cuideachd.”
Cha robh an còrr m’a dhéidhinn.
And the translation goes something as follows:
A priest and a minster were taking a walk along the way. They were both on extremely friendly terms with one another. They didn’t bear one another any ill-will or any hatred at all. They were conversing and debating about religion and many other subjects. And one of them said to the other:
“What would you do if the very Devil appeared right now?”
“Oh, what would I but to wait here to see which one he would seize first.”
“Oh, he’d take me,” said the priest.
“Why do you reckon that he’d take you first?”
“He’s got you already,” he said, “and so he’d wish to have me as well.”
No more was heard about it.
It may be noted that Brae Lochaber at this time was quite a stronghold of Roman Catholicism and this would help to explain why the priest happened to get the upper-hand on this occasion. However irreverent this humorous anecdote might be, it does show that the religious divide was not based on sectarian lines and that both religious communities would get on well with one another. There are numerous examples of this type of genre throughout the Highlands and Islands as well those that may be found in the New World such as in Nova Scotia where Catholic and Protestant communities were in some cases closer to one another than they would have been back home in Scotland.
SSS NB 6, pp. 527–28
Kenneth E. Nilsen, ‘The Priest in the Gaelic Folklore of Nova Scotia’, Béaloideas, vol. 64/65 (1996/97), pp. 171–94
The Devil / An t-Aibhstear. Licensed through Creative Commons

No comments:

Post a Comment