From a stone at Inverness.--Sculptured Stones of Scotland, Pl. xxx viii.
The following is a very good gloss upon the language of bulls. The imitation can be made very close by any one who will repeat the Gaelic conversation of the champions, with the intention of imitating the sound of their angry bellowings. These go by the name of "Boor-eech" in Gaelic, and oo, ee, and r, express the prevailing sounds. I have tried to spell these sounds, but I have small hopes of conveying an idea of them by letters.
Whether this is a story founded on some old battle between tribes, which fought near the "Stone of the Bulls," or if so, who these may have been, I will not attempt to guess.
There are bulls and bulls' heads in the armorial bearings of several of the Highland clans; and the nickname of "John Bull" must have had some origin. There is a bull sculptured on an old stone near Inverness, which is figured in "The Sculptured Stones of Scotland," from which work the drawing above is copied. The story is certainly the invention of some one familiar with bulls, whatever it means.
From John Dewar, November 17, 1860.
THERE came before now a red bull from Sasunn (England), to put Albainn to shame. He stood on the shoulder of Bein Voorluig, and he bellowed,
"StrooAh n dooaich! StrooAh n dooaich! The country is pitiable!"
There was a black Gaelic bull on the other side of Loch Loimein (Loch Lomond), opposite the top of Dun Polachròdh (Castlepool Castle), and he bellowed,
"KeeA AS A HA oo? KeeA AS A HA oo? Whence, art thou?"
Quoth the red bull, "A tjeer do nAvaid. A tjeer do nAvaid. From thy foe's land."
Said the black bull, "Cud ê hêchd an tjeer? Cud ê hêchd an tjeer? What is thy land's produce?"
"KruinAchd s Feen. KruinAchd s Feen. Wheat and wine," said the red bull.
"Hoorin oo n coir do hooil. Hoorin oo n coir do hooil. I'd drive thee backwards," said the black bull.
"KAtche n do roogatoo? KAtche n do roogatoo? Where wert thou born?" said the red bull.
"An craw an dooin. An craw an dooin. In the castle fold," said the black bull.
"Cud boo veeA gooit on VA oo d laogh? Cud boo veeA gooit on VA oo d laogh? What was thy food since thou wert a calf!" said the red bull.
"BAine s bAr fraoich. BAine s bAr fraoich. Milk and heather tops," said the black bull.
"An aorAchd chrom shaw am bêl do chlêv. An
aorAchd chrom shaw am bêl do chlêv. This crooked horn in the front of thy chest," said the red bull.
"Hoogad mee! hAn êgal do. Hoogad mee! hAn êgal do. Shun me! no fear of me," said the black bull.
And the black bull went round about the upper end of Loch Lomond, and the two bulls met each other on the upper shoulder of beinn Voorluig, and they set heads to each other, and they struggled.
The black bull drove the red bull backwards as far as a great stone that was there, and they rolled the stone over, and the stone rolled down to a level place that is at the side of the road, about five miles on the upper side of the Lomond Tarbet, and three miles on the lower side of the upper end of the Loch of Lomond.
The black bull put his crooked born into the front of the chest of the red bull, and he killed him; and "clach nan tarv," the stone of the bulls, is the name that is on that stone till this day's day, and that is the greatest stone that is in the three realms.