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Carmina Gadelica, Volume 2, by Alexander Carmicheal, [1900], at


Badhar, placenta of cow.


Bainisg, a female satirist, a songstress, a singing naiad; from 'ban,' woman, and 'eisg,' satirist.


Baireachd, quarrelling, wrangling.


Balg bannaig, bannock bag; the sacred shrine in which the Host was carried; the bag in which the Christmas gifts, the Easter gifts, and

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the gifts of other sacred seasons were placed. The 'balg bannaig' is now used to carry the various kinds of food-stuffs given to carollers at Christmas and New Year.


Balgaire, thief, rogue, robber, the fox. A place in Badenoch is called 'Creag a bhalgaire,' rock of the rogue. The fairies came down and carried a newly-born child up this rock and away to fairy-land.


Ballan, a teat, a cup, tub, vessel. 'Ballan buirn,' water tub; 'ballan bainne,' milk tub; 'ballan blathaich,' butter-milk tub; 'ballan binndeachaidh,' the vessel in which milk is placed to curdle for cheese; 'ballan binndichte,' cheese press; 'ballan stiallach,' stocks; 'ballan iocshlaint,' vessel of healing, in which, according to the old tales, was kept the balsam for restoring to health and to life those wounded or killed in battle. 'Cur nam ballan,' applying the cups, is a term used in cupping for rheumatism and kindred complaints. This fragment of Highland surgery is occasionally practised in outlying places, and with much success.


Bannag, Christ, Eucharist, a cake, gift, offering, a wish, a blessing. Cf. 'bonnach,' a bannock, cake.

Certain cakes are made in certain ways and at certain seasons, and all significant, as 'bannag,' 'breacag,' 'bonnach,' 'bonnach-boise,' 'dearnagan,' 'poilean,' or 'moilean.' The 'bannag,' 'bonnach-Boise,' 'dearnagan,' and 'moilean' are made on the palm of the hand. There must be no 'fallaid,' loose meal left from a former baking, used. If the 'fallaid' is put back in the meal-chest, the 'cailleach,' carlin, will come and sit in the chest, eating up all the luck of the family, and will not leave till five o'clock in the morning. This is called 'a mhionaid mhi-fhortanach,' the unfortunate minute.

When the 'bannag' is finished it is placed on the left palm, and the thumb of the right hand is turned round sunwise through the centre. This is as a preventive of witchcraft. The 'bannag' is symbolic of Christ, and is broken and eaten by the family with becoming reverence and solemnity. After the bannock has been cooked the mother takes up the 'clach bhannag,' bannock-stone, against which the cake was supported before the fire, and tenderly hands it to her daughters, in emblem of Christ.

The 'dearnagan' and the 'moilean' are not perforated. The former is given to girls, and the latter, which is thicker, is given to boys.

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The first Monday after Christmas is called 'Diluain bannaig,' Monday of the bannock, while the first Monday of the New Year is 'Diluain sainnseil,' hansel Monday.


Bansgal, an unmarried woman, a masculine woman, an amazon; a whale, leviathan.

'A.D. 891. "A 'banscal' was cast ashore by the sea in Alba, whose length was 195 feet. The length of her hair was 17 feet, of a finger of her hand 7 feet, of her nose 7 feet. She was all white as a swan."'--Annals of Ulster.


Bārlait, barrlait, check, hindrance, prevention, suppression.


Beairdean, ordinarily 'boitean,' a pottle, a bottle, a buttle, a bundle of hay, straw, or reeds.


Beall, beoll, fire, glowing fire, glowing embers--hence 'beollag,' bright little flame, a word common in Uist. Cf. Eng. 'bale-fire.'


Bean-nigh, bean-nighidh, washer, wash-woman; also 'nigheag,' little washer; 'nigheag na h-ath,' little washer of the ford; 'nigheag bheag a bhroin,' little washer of the sorrow. This is the naiad or water-nymph who presides over those about to die, and washes their shrouds on the edge of a lake, the bank of a stream, or the stepping-stones of a ford. While washing the shroud the water-nymph sings the dirge, and bewails the fate of the doomed. The 'nigheag' is so absorbed in her washing and singing, like the black-cock in his gyrations and serenading, that she is sometimes captured. When this occurs she will grant her captor three requests. Hence when a man is specially successful in some work or phase of life, it is said of him, 'Moire! fhuair an duine chuid a b’fhearr dh’an nigheig agus thug i dha a thri ragha miann'--Mary! the man got the better of the 'nigheag' and she gave him his three choice desires.

'Ann am marbh-thrath na h-oidhche bha gille-cas-fliuch Mhic ’ic Ailean Mor nan Eilean a dol dachaidh chon an Dun-bhuidhe am braigh Bheinn-a-faoghla. Agus d’ uair a bha e siaradh an loch co chunnaic e roimhe air fath a chlachain ach gum b’ i a bhean-nighe a nigheadh agus a strulladh, a gul agus a gal.

A leineag bheag bhais na dorn
A mialaran broin na beul.

[paragraph continues] Chaidh gille-cas-fliuch gu fiath failidh air a cul agus rug e air nigheag ’n a ghlac. "Leig as mi," orsa nigheag, "agus thoir cead mo choise dhomh agus gu bheil am fabhan dotha tha dluth dha

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t-f hiasaig chiaru chairtidh an annar stad a chur air anail mo bhraghaid. Is mor gum annsa le m’ shroin agus gum bu deoine le m’ chridhe aile tuise cubhraidh ceathach nam beann." "Cha leig mi as thu," orsa gille-cas-fliuch, "gun geall thu dhomh mo thri ragha miann." "Cluinnim iad a dhuine dhona," orsa nigheag. "Tha, thu dh’ innseadh dhomh co dha tha thu nigheadh na leineige agus a seirm na duaineige, thu thoir dhomh mo ragha ce, agus thu chumail tachair todhair an croic a bhail againn am fad agus a mhaireas bodach Sgeir-rois dha thuiream." "Tha mi nigheadh na leine agus a seinn na duaine do Mhac ’ic Ailean Mor nan Eilean, agus cha teid e tuillidh ri bheo mhaireann shaoghail a null no a nall air clachan an Duin-bhuidhe." Thilg gille-cas-fliuch an leine bhais a muigh dh’an loch air barr a ghaise agus leum e dhachaidh na dheann a chon taobh leaba Mhic ’ic Ailean. Dh’ inns e chuile car mar a chunna agus a chuala agus a dh’ eirich dha. Leum Mac ’ic Ailean na chruinn chruaidh leum na sheasadh bonn as an leaba fhraoich agus dh’ orduich e bo a spadadh agus curachan a chur air doigh. Spadadh ho agus rinneadh curachan agus chaidh Mac ’ic Ailean as an eilean a null thar an loch gu tirmor agus cha do thill e riamh tuillidh dh’ an Dhun-bhuidhe am braigh Bheinn-a-faoghla.'

'In the dead watch of the night 'gille-cas-fliuch,' wet-foot man, of Great Clanranald of the Isles, was going home to Dun-buidhe in the upland of Benbecula--ben of the fords. And when he was westering the loch, whom should he see before him in the vista on the 'clachan,' stepping-stones, but the washer-woman of the ford, washing and rinsing, moaning and lamenting--

Her little shroud of death in her hand,
Her plaintive dirge in her mouth.

[paragraph continues] 'Gille-cas-fliuch' went gently and quietly behind 'nigheag' and seized her in his hand. "Let me go," said 'nigheag,' "and give me the freedom of my feet, and that the breeze of reek coming from thy grizzled tawny beard is anear putting a stop to the breath of my throat. Much more would my nose prefer, and much rather would my heart desire, the air of the fragrant incense of the mist of the mountains." "I will not allow thee away," said 'gille-cas-fliuch,' "till thou promise me my three choice desires." "Let me hear them, ill man," said 'nigheag.' "That thou wilt tell to me for whom thou art washing the shroud and crooning the dirge, that thou wilt give me my choice spouse, and that thou

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wilt keep abundant seaweed in the creek of our townland as long as the carle of Sgeir-rois shall continue his moaning." "I am washing the shroud and crooning the dirge for Great Clanranald of the Isles, and he shall never again in his living life of the world go thither nor come hither across the clachan of Dun-buidhe." 'Gille-cas-fliuch' threw the shroud of death into the loch on the point of his spear, and he flew home hard to the bedside of Clanranald. He told everything that he saw and heard and that befell him. Clanranald leaped his hard round leap on to his feet from the heath-bed, and he ordered a cow to be felled and a little coracle to be made ready. A cow was felled accordingly, and a little coracle was constructed in which Clanranald went from the island over the loch to the mainland, and he never again returned to Dun-buidhe in the upland of Benbecula.'


Beinn a cheo, mount of mist. The term occurs in the following old songs:--

'Am beinn a cheo,
’S sinn ann ’n ar dithis,
        Challain cile,
        Na bho hi o.'

Is truagh nach robh mi ’s mo ghaol,
Muigh ri taobh beinn a cheo,
        Mo nigh’nn donn ho hu,
        Hi ill u ho ill au.'


In the mount of mist,
And we two together,
       Callain cile,
       Na vo hi o.

Would were I and my true love,
On the side of the mount of mist,
       My brown maid ho hu,
       Hi ill u ho ill au.

Probably 'beinn a cheo' is a particular name and not a general term. Similarly 'Eilean a cheo,' the Isle of mist, has come into use as a poetic name for Skye.


Beithir, adder, serpent, thunderbolt, lightning, a destructive deity dwelling in caves, corries, and mountain fastnesses. The great scholar Ewen Maclachlan makes effective use of this figure in his beautiful elegy on his friend Professor James Beattie:--

Bu tu craobh ubhal a gharaidh,
A chaoidh cha chinnich ni ’s aillidh fo’n ghrein,
Dealt an t-samhraidh mu blathaibh,
Luisreadh dhuileag mu chracaibh a geug;



Thou wert the apple tree of the garden,
Never more so beauteous shall grow beneath the sun,
The dews of summer bathed its blossom,
With abundant foliage spreading over its branches;


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Ach thilg dubh-dhoireann a gheamhraidh
A bheithir theintidh le srann as an speur,
Is thuit an gallan ur riomhach,
Is uile mhaise ghrad chrion air an fheur.'


But the black tempest of winter threw
The levin bolt with a whirr from the sky,
And the handsome fresh sapling fell,
And all its beauty quickly withered on the grass.


[paragraph continues] A family of two elderly brothers and a sister in Benbecula were known as 'Na Beithrich,' the thunderbolts, from their frequently saying: 'Sgrios na beithreach ort!'--The destruction of the thunderbolt upon thee! During a terrible thunderstorm, as the three were sitting round their fire, a thunderbolt came crashing through the roof of their little cottage, filling the room with a glare of light and a smell of sulphur, and the inmates with terror. None of the three ever used their singular imprecation again.

Some people allege that the serpent bursts the belly in bringing forth its young, hence the term used by one scold to another: 'Sgoltadh beithreach ort!'--The bursting of the serpent on thee! There is a similar belief regarding the salmon, hence: 'Sgoltadh bradain ort!'--The bursting of the salmon upon thee!


Beoir, spruce, spruce beer. Spruce beer is obtained from the spruce tree, as whisky was obtained from the birch tree.

Spruce was much used in olden times, and is often mentioned in the old songs and sayings of the people.

'Beoir is brailis b’eol domh agad,
  Mil is bainne buaile.'


Spruce and wort I know were thine,
  Honey and milk of cattle-fold.

[paragraph continues] A lover addresses his love--

'Gur a milse do phog
Na mil agus beoir,
Ge robhas ’g an of
  A gloineachan.'


Sweeter is thy kiss
Than honey and spruce,
Though we were drinking them
  From glasses.


Bialag, a person in front of another person on horseback.


Biast dubh, biast donn, black beast, brown beast, the otter, especially the female otter. The otter is also called 'dobhran,' from 'dobhar,' water. 'Dobhar-chu,' water-dog, is confined to the male otter. Otters and seals are instructive and interesting, and become much attached to those who feed them and teach them. They fish in the river, in the lake, and in the sea, and bring the fish ashore as retrievers bring birds.

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'Mar dhobhran am beul uisge,
Mar sheobhag am bun sleibhe,
Mar chu chon cait, mar chat chon luch,
Bidh bean mic gu mathair-cheile.'


As an otter at the mouth of water,
As a hawk at the base of hill,
As a dog to a cat, as a cat to a mouse,
So is son's wife to mother-in-law.


Binne-bheul, 'mouth of melody,' a character in Gaelic story. (Vol. i. p. 8.) The people say that the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, and the fishes of the sea stood still and listened when 'Binne-bheul' sang. 'Bile-Binn,' musical mouth, is also the name of a female character in the tales.


Biolair, biorlus, water-cress, water-plant, from 'bir,' 'bior,' water, and 'lus,' plant. The water-cress is also called 'dobhar-lus,' 'dubhar-lus,' and 'durlus,' from 'dobhar,' water, and 'lus,' plant--'biolair Moire,' water-cress of Mary. It was much prized, and was used as food, as medicine, and as an occult agent.


Bionn, symmetrical, well-featured, beauteous. The word occurs in the following old chorus:--

Is binne liom a guth na’n smeorach
Air na lointibh ri la ciuin;
  Ho mo leannan, he ma leannan,
  Is i mo leannan an te bhionn.'


More sweet to me her voice than mavis
On the plains in summer time;
  Ho my love, hé my love,
  My love she is the beauteous maid.

[paragraph continues] Possibly 'bionn' is a form of 'fionn,' fair.


Bith-eutrom, light-element, the lift, the atmosphere, the heavens; from 'bith,' world, globe, element, and 'eutrom,' light, buoyant, volatile.

The nearest term to this known to me is 'bith-braonach,' dewy-world, a term which occurs in a lament composed by a maiden on her lover slain by her three brothers. The song is very old and very beautiful. It was sung to a weird old air by a girl in the island of Miunghlaidh (Mingalay), Barra, in August 1868. As the girl rehearsed the history and sang the song her fine features glowed with subdued animation and sympathy for the distressed maiden.

'Tha mo ghradh ’s a gharadh lios,
De mu tha, chan ann he fios,
Marcaich an eich chrudhaich ghlais,
Shiubhlainn am bith-braonach leis.


My lover is in the garden of flowers,
But if he is it is not with knowledge,
Rider of the well-shod grey steed,
I would travel the dewy-world with him.


Blianach, a fish, bird, or beast that has died from want or from disease; from 'blian,' blanch. In Uist 'blianach,' 'blianadh,' is applied to exhausted land, especially to mossy land and to land overlaid with drift-sand or shell-sand.


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Bliochd, milk, whey, whey when in the curd; skimmed milk, sour milk, milk that has lost any of its original character. In Assynt 'bliochd' or 'bleachd' is the general term for dairy produce. E. Ir. 'mlicht,' cognate with English 'milk.'


Bochd, poor, indigent, weak, sick. In the islands of Barra, 'bochd,' poor, is declined in the same manner as 'boc,' a buck. 'Is misde na buic a bhi lionar'--Worse are the poor for being numerous. 'Na beirt a dol a suas, na buic a dol a sios'--The rich going up, the poor going down.


Bōchuin, swelling, bursting, protruding; from 'bochd,' swell. The month of May is called 'mi bochuin,' 'mios buchuin,' the month of swelling. May is also known as 'mi Moire,' 'mios Moire,' the month of Mary, and 'buchuin Moire,' the swelling of Mary.


Bōchuin, the sea, the ocean.


Bōchuin, the ripple at the bow of a moving boat.


Boisileag, palmful, a small palmful of water; from 'bois,' 'bas,' the palm of the hand; hence 'basaidh,' a basin, 'baslach,' the full of the two palms placed side by side.


Brāc, curve, the curve of the wave immediately before breaking.


Brāc, a bellow, the roar of the stag.


Brāc, branch, applied to the horns of the deer.


Brāc, reindeer, red-deer, fallow-deer, deer in general. (Vol. i. p. 52 ff.)

The reciter, Catherine Mackintosh, said that 'brac' was 'creatair mor bracach ’s na duthchan thall'--a big branchy-horned creature in the countries beyond (the sea). The reindeer was in Scotland till the beginning of the thirteenth century, probably later, and reindeer moss grows on the Scottish mountains. The reindeer is implied in the following fairy lullaby, known as 'Bainne nam fiadh':--

'Air bainne nam fiadh a thogadh mi,
Air bainne nam fiadh a shealbhaich,
Air bainne nam fiadh fo dhruim nan sian,
Air bharr nan sliabh ’s nan garbhlach.'


On milk of deer I was reared,
On milk of deer was nurtured,
On milk of deer beneath the ridge of storms,
On crest of hill and mountain.

The late J. G. Campbell, minister of Tiree, held that a race similar to the Lapps lived in Scotland about the Glacial period.

In 1869 the writer opened an underground house at Valacuidh, North Uist. In 1871 the late Iain F. Campbell of Islay accompanied him to see it. Mr Campbell was familiar with Lapps and Lapp

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dwellings, and he said that this underground structure was entirely similar to those of the Lapps. Fragments of horns, bones, shells, and other debris found in the house were submitted to Sir Richard Owen, who discovered bits of reindeer horns and bones among them. 'Brae,' is mentioned in the following fragment, evidently the composition of one of the Macdonalds of the Isles, several of whom were poets:--

'A nighean righ nan roiseal soluis,
An oidhche bhios oirnne do bhanais,
Ma ’s fear beo mi an Duntuilm
Theid mi toirleum da d’earrais.

Gheobh tu ciad bruicean tadhal bruach,
Ciad dobhran donn, dualach alit,
Gheobh tu ciad damh alluidh nach tig
Gu innis ard ghleannaidh.

Gheobh to ciad steud stadach, luath,
Ciad brae bruaill an t-samhraidh,
’S gheobh tu ciad maoilseach maol, ruadh,
Nach teid am buabhall am Faoilleach geamhraidh.'


Thou daughter of the king of bright-lit mansions,
On the night that thy wedding is on us,
If living man I be in Duntulm
I will go bounding to thee with gifts.

Thou wilt get an hundred badgers dwellers in banks,
An hundred brown otters native of streams,
Thou wilt get an hundred wild stags that will not come
To the green pastures of the high glens.

Thou wilt get an hundred steeds stately and swift,
An hundred reindeer intractable in summer,
And thou wilt get an hundred hummelled red hinds,
That will not go in stall in the Wolfmonth of winter.

A few miles south-west of Inveraray there is a hill called 'Barr nam brae,' 'Barr a bhrac'--Ridge of the deer, ridge of the reindeer.


Brāchd, putrescence, putrefaction, effervescence, fermentation. 'Braich,' malt; 'braicheadh,' malting; 'brachadh,' 'brachach,' 'brachag,' and other forms. 'Brachd' assumes the form of 'brūchd,' a term applied in the Outer Isles to the red seaweed cast on the shore and collected in heaps and allowed to ferment. 'Bruchda dubh,' 'bruga dubh,' black putrefaction.


Brāchd, fat, rich, generous.


Bradan, salmon. The simple term is confined to the salmo salar, but qualified it is applied to the turbot and the sturgeon. The turbot is called 'bradan brathain,' round salmon, quern-like salmon, while the sturgeon is called 'bradan leathann,' broad salmon, 'bradan bacach,' halting salmon, and 'bradan cearr' or 'gearr,'

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left-sided or broad salmon. 'Stirean' and 'stiorasg' are modifications of the English sturgeon. Like the salmon proper, the sturgeon ascends rivers to spawn.

'Bradan breithinn'--the salmon of knowledge touched by Fionn.

It is ominous to see a dead fish when going to fish, to see a dead bird when going to shoot, or to see a dead beast when going to hunt. (Vol. i. p. 314.) Even sickly, weakly, maimed, or old persons were shunned when going to fish, shoot, or hunt, and men otherwise shrewd and sensible would turn home in displeasure if such crossed their path. Were a woman with red hair to meet them their mutterings would be deep and long. This is the colour of hair attributed to Judas Iscariot, for whom the people have a personal hatred.


Brāth, doom, judgment. 'Gu brath,' till doom, for ever; 'La Bhrath,' Day of Judgment. The 'Clacha Brath' of Iona were put round, and as long as they continued to move the Day of Judgment would not come.


Brāth, a quern, handmill, anything round, anything that has no end. 'Bonnach brathain,' a round bannock; 'bradan brathain,' a round salmon, turbot; 'liabag bhrathain,' round flounder.


Breideag, breideachag, little woman of the kertch; from 'breid,' kertch, 'breideach,' kertched.


Breun, sour, acid, fermented, putrid. 'Bainne breun,' soured milk, fermented milk. Travellers in Greece, Palestine, Syria, and other pastoral countries of the East, speak of the soured, fermented milk used by the people of those lands. The traveller in Uist may probably be offered milk similarly affected, but may not be able to take it. Seeing this, the kindly woman will say, 'Om toigh leibh bainne breun?'--You do not like soured milk? Our men prefer it sour, and the more sour the more they like it.'

Throughout the Shetland Isles whey is soured and used as a beverage under the name of 'blānd.' Cf. the 'koumiss' of other countries.


Brian, briain, angel, archangel, god, divinity, hence god of evil; a term of exclamation. 'A bhriain!' thou god! 'a bhriain Mhicheil!' thou god Michael!' 'a a bhriain Choibhi!' thou god Coivi! 'a bhrian dhonais!' thou demon god! Cf. Gaulish Brennos, also Brian, one of the 'tri dee dana,' three gods of fate. See Rhys' Hibbert Lectures.


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Brianain, Breannan, Brendan. St Brendan was a voyager going long journeys west and north in his missionary zeal. According to Matthew Arnold's short poem on St Brendan, the saint saw Judas Iscariot sitting on an iceberg in the far north. On inquiry he found that on account of his having given his cloak to a beggar, Judas was allowed an hour's respite from burning pain, and selected an iceberg as likely to be the most comfortable place.

Malcolm Maclean, smith, Ceanntangval, Barra, said that Brendan asked to be buried beside his beloved 'anam-chara,' soul friend, Moluag in Lismore, and that this was done. Malcolm Maclean, who was a man of quiet wit, natural intelligence, and independence of mind, told me the following story:

A man called 'Domhull Dubh,' sometimes 'Domhull Dubh Mor,' dwelt at Baile-na-creige, near St Brendan's church and burial-place in Barra.

Domhull Dubh had opinions of his own about Saints and Saints' Days, in consequence of which he and the priest of St Brendan had occasional rubs, sometimes bordering on anger. The man was neighbourly and industrious, but some said sceptical and irreligious, barely observing the Sunday, and hardly even the Feast Day.

On the day of the holy Brendan, when others becomingly went to morning mass, Domhull Dubh went away to plough. He chose a hollow out of sight, where he thought he might work unseen and unmolested of man, or of woman, or of tell-tale child, not thinking that the eye of Brendan would see him, nor that the wrath of Brendan would be upon him for disturbing his rest and breaking his day.

No sooner had Domhull Dubh called his horses to go on than a 'ceo draoi,' magic mist, came down, dark as the shroud of death, hiding the horses before him, and the 'crom-nan-gad,' single plough, in his hand. Feeling that he had offended the Saint, he called on his name:--

'A Bhrianain! a Bhrianain!
Tog dhiom an ceo.'


Brendan! O Brendan!
Lift off me the mist.

[paragraph continues] The fog lifted, but instead of his stout, steady, short-eared, long-maned, long-tailed garrons, he had but slim, frail, long-eared, short-maned, short-tailed asses before him in the furrow, and instead of his plough he had now but his wife's distaff in his hand, while he himself had dwindled down to a mere manikin no bigger than a dwarf. Domhull Dubh Mor marvelled much at the

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transformation, and was sorely perplexed what to do. But, thinking to make the best of the worst, he called to the asses to go on. Immediately the magic mist came down, rendering the light around him as black as the sea around the cuttle-fish, hiding the asses in front, and the distaff in his hand. Again he called on the Saint:--

'A Bhrianain! a Bhrianain!
A dheoin Dhia ’s a mhiann dhaoine,
Tog dhiom an ceo.'


Brendan! O Brendan!
With God's will and men's wish,
Lift from me the fog.

[paragraph continues] The fog cleared away, but instead of the asses and the distaff he had now long-eared, maneless, tailless coneys in front of him, and his wife's spindle in his hand, while he himself was no bigger than a fairy man of the knoll. Domhull Dubh marvelled much at the transformation, and was sorely perplexed what to do. He, however, began again to plough, but again the magic mist descended. Being now convinced that he had offended the Saint, he earnestly called upon his name in contrition of heart:--

'A Bhrianain! a Bhrianain!
Eisd ri mo bhriathran,
A dheoin Dhia ’s a mhiann dhaoine,
Tog dhiom an ceo.'


Brendan! O Brendan!
Listen to my prayer,
With God's will and men's desire,
Lift from me the fear.

[paragraph continues] Domhull Dubh Mor having shown repentance of soul and a spirit of prayer, the fog lifted up, and instead of the coneys and the spindle he had now his own sturdy garrons in front of him and his own good plough in his hand, and he himself, from being as small as a fairy man of the knoll, was become himself again.

When Domhull Dubh Mor found that he could not contend against the Saint, he was much cast down, and wended his way home 'fo naire, ’s fo mhasladh ’s fo rudha gruaidh'--under shame, and disgrace, and flushing of cheek. His neighbours found him out and mocked him, while his best friends upbraided him, saying that it was futile for a sinner to contend against a Saint, and that he deserved all that had come upon him, and more, for disturbing the rest of the blessed Brendan, and breaking his holy day. But there was one who did not upbraid Domhull Dubh Mor, but who cleaved to him the more closely the more he was reviled, and who sang in her heart if not with her voice:--

'My loving dark-haired one,
Let sharp tongues assail thee,
One heart will not fail thee
That knows to be true. p. 237

Dark-haired one, dark-haired one,
Though poor, poor we be,
No rich old man could please me
Like thee, love, like thee.'

[paragraph continues] The comely young wife of Domhull Dubh ran to the priest, and besought him for the sake of the Holy Mother, the Virgin of sorrows, to come and sprinkle 'the water' on Domhull, and remove from him the ban of Brendan.

'Let Domhull Dubh Mor revel in his agony,' said the priest, 'till he shows by his good deeds contrition for his evil ways.' But the good priest came notwithstanding, and, after administering a rebuke to Domhull Dubh, sprinkled on him the water of peace, and bade him go and give alms to the poor and the needy made in the image of God, and sin no more.

'Chunna Brianain Domhull Dubh,
Is faide an la an diugh na ’n de,
Ge mor ’s gun cunnta tu dha d’ ni
Is beag am pris an tigh Mhic De.

Cha dean mis, no ciob, no uan,
Cha dean curachd, buain, no feur,
Cha dean mare, no earc, no buar,
Dhusa buanachd la an eug.

Tha suil Bhrianain ort am muig,
Tha chruth a dubhradh ort ’s an neul,
Tha chlaidhe geur a chon do sgruid,
Ann an taigh na diumb ’s na pein.

Treig a dhaolaire do chealg,
Treig do mhearrachain is do bhreuig,
An teampull De dean-sa t’ earb,
An deachu fial ’s an nasgu deirc.

Threig an t-aithreachan a chearb,
Thill chon tearmad teach Mhic De,
Air altair fein thug deire dha ainm,
’S bha ait is aoibh air ainghle neamh.'


Brendan saw Black Donald,
Longer is to-day than (was) yesterday,
How many soever thou wouldst count of thy flocks,
Small is their price in the house of God's Son.

No goat, no sheep, no lamb,
No sowing, no reaping, no grass,
No horse, no cow, no cattle,
Shall avail thee on the day of death.

The eye of Brendan is on thee in frown,
His form is darkening on thee in the cloud,
His sword is sharp to scourge thee,
In the house of wrath and pain.

Forsake, thou grub, thy deception,
Forsake thine errors and thine evil ways,
In the temple of God place thou thy reliance,
In liberal tithes and in free alms.

The penitent forsook his errors,
He sought the protection of the house of God's Son,
On His own altar he gave alms to His name,
And there was joy and delight on the angels of heaven.

p. 238

In the Roman Catholic isles of the West the Sunday is more observed, and the Saints' Days are less observed than was the case some years ago.

A Protestant girl from South Uist married a miller in South Harris. Some time after the marriage a Roman Catholic companion of the young wife came to visit them. On Sunday the miller and his wife went to church, and, there being no Roman Catholic service in Harris, the friend stayed at home. On their return from church the young couple found their guest busily baking. The young wife chided her friend, who replied, in much astonishment: 'O Mhoire! Mhoire! nach to tha gun doigh a nighean! A Righ! chunna mise mnathan a bhail againn fhein a fuinne La Feile gun ghuth air La Domhnach! 'O Mary! Mary! art not thou the girl without reason! King! I saw the women of our own townland baking on a Saint's Day, to say nothing of the Lord's Day!'


Broth, breast, breast-bone, stem of 'brollach,' breast. Cf. 'broth,' eruption, rash, pimples, swollen, projecting; hence 'duine brothach,' a man swollen up with anger, pride, or from some other cause.


Bun-dearg, red swelling; 'burn dearg,' red water; 'galar dearg,' red disease; 'earna dhearg,' 'earnach dhearg,' red murrain; 'earna dhubh,' 'earnach dhubh,' black murrain. The red and the black murrain are two stages of this disease, which is produced by several causes. On the mainland it is generally caused by the cattle eating the young leaves of shrubs and trees, especially the bog myrtle, the alder, and the birch, and by drinking water impregnated with them. In the Isles the disease is caused chiefly by eating the sundew (drosera rotundifolia). Wherever sundew prevails red pleura is common. A place in South Uist is known as 'Bogach na fala,' marsh of blood, from the prevalence of sundew and its deadly effects.


Bun-feann, bun feam, bun-feaman, rump-tail, root of the rump. A wolf was destroying the sheep of the crofters of Kintail. Two old men went to kill it. One entered the den of the wolf, while the other stood guarding the entrance. When the wolf came home the man at the entrance seized him by the tail as he was entering his den and held him fast. The man within called out:--

'’IlleChriost chaim,
Co dhruid an toll?'


One-eyed Gillchrist,
Who closed the hole?

[paragraph continues] The other answered:--

'Ma bhriseas am bun-feann,
Bith fins sin aig do sgall.'


If the rump-tail should break,
Thy skull shall know that.


p. 239

Būrn, water. In Scots and English the Gaelic 'burn' means a river, and occurs as a river-name, as do also the Gaelic 'uisg,' 'abhuinn,' in Esk, Avon, and other forms.

'Burn' is used in the following lullaby:--

'Brochan buirn, buirn, buirn,
Brochan buirn gheobh mo leanabh,
’N uair a bheireas a bho mhaol,
Gheobh mo ghaol brochan bainne.'


Porridge of water, water, water,
Porridge of water shall my child get,
When the hummel cow shall calve
My darling shall get porridge of milk.


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