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


Dailginn, dailgionn, prophecy, foretelling; 'dailgneachd,' auspices, prophetic vision, occurs in my version of the 'Children of Uisne.'


Dais, a musical instrument.


Daol, daolag, beetle, black beetle, gravedigger. This beetle is remorselessly killed in the Highlands. In some places this is done to prevent it from molesting the grave of the person's grandmother, but in Uist it is killed because of its officiousness in helping to betray Christ. (Vol. ii. p. 188 ff.)


Deabhadh (dea’ adh), act of drying up.

'Tha’n lir a deabhadh.'


The water is drying.


Dealan-De, butterfly, golden butterfly; lit, fire of God--'dealan,' fire, flame, lightning; and 'De,' God.

The golden butterfly is held sacred. It is said to be the angel of God come to bear the souls of the dead to heaven. If it be

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seen in or near the house where a person is dead or dying, the omen is good, and the friends rejoice. If it be not seen, a substitute is made by rapidly twirling a fire-pointed stick, moving the while from the dead or dying person towards the door or window. This is called 'dearban De,' 'dealan De.'

The ancient Egyptians represented the soul leaving the body as a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, sometimes from the mouth of the dead.


Dearb, dairb, an insect of the beetle tribe. 'Dairbeart,' water beetle; 'dairbeag,' tadpole; 'deairbean,' glowworm.


Dearg, an impression; hence, a wound; 'deargadh,' ploughing. 'Cha d’f huair mi dearg--deargadh eisg,' I did not get an impression--an impression of fish; 'Cha toir mi deargadh air,' I cannot make an impression on it.


Dearras, dearrais, obdurate, venomous, the serpent.

'Thig an dearrais as an toll.'


The serpent will come from the hole.


Dearshul, Darthula, the wife of Naoise, and the type of affection. Many places in the Highlands are called after this beautiful lady. (Vol. i. p. 8.)


Deis-de, girth, sanctuary, Godward, a place of safety, a point in 'tig' where the boy within is secure and cannot be touched, from 'deas,' right hand, and 'De,' of God.


Deor, deoir, diuir, tear, tears.


Deor, pilgrim, traveller, wayfarer, a poor person. 'Is to an deora truagh'--Thou art the miserable poor. 'Deor,' 'diuir,' an almoner, hence Dewar, a personal name. Probably Deer and the famous Book of Deer got their names from 'deor,' almoner. The Barons Livingstone of Bachuill, Lismore, were almoners to the church of St Moluag in Lismore, the cathedral church of the See of Argyll and the Isles, founded in 1200. They were known as 'deora,' almoners, while the site of the old residence of the family is still called 'Larach taigh nan deora,' the site of the house of the almoners, and the brae below the house as 'Bruthach taigh nan deora,' the declivity of the house of the almoners. These almoners were also keepers of the staff of St Moluag, and assessors and collectors of the tithes of the diocese. Whenever the custodian of the staff appeared with the staff as the emblem of his office, due obedience was given to him

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within his own special jurisdiction. Some interesting traditions are still current concerning some of the barons and their travels and the staff of the saint which they carried about, and to which miraculous powers were attributed. The custodian of the staff of St Moluag possessed a freehold estate for his varied services. The estate was of considerable extent, but is now reduced to a small piece of land through the fraud of 'Domhull Dubh nan Ard,' Black Donald of Airds. Sir Donald Campbell was a natural son of Campbell of Calder. He was an ecclesiastic when ecclesiastical affairs in Scotland changed complexion with the facility of the kaleidoscope, and Donald Campbell changed with them. When Catholicism was in the ascendant he was a Catholic, when Episcopacy superseded he was an Episcopalian, and when Presbyterianism was promising he was all for Presbyterian parity. He was nominated, possibly appointed, but not consecrated, Bishop of Argyll. Donald Campbell was a man of great ability, but utterly unscrupulous as to the means whereby to attain his ends. His conduct towards Baron Livingstone of Bachuill, Baron Carmichael of Sguran, and other small proprietors in his neighbourhood, shows him to have been a man of extraordinary stratagem, duplicity, and rapacity.

Dr David Livingstone was descended from these Barons Livingstone of Lismore, through a member of the family who had settled in Mull. The great traveller resembled his kinsmen and clansmen in Lismore in a remarkable manner, physically, mentally, and morally. The present venerable Baron Alexander Livingstone of Bachuill has been taken for his famous name-sake. The Baron however is taller, being nearly six feet in height.

The 'Clann an Leigh,' 'Gann an Leighean,' children of the physicians, Livingstones of Bachuill, are said to be descended, like the famous Beaton physicians of Mull, Islay, Skye, and Reay, from Beatan, the Columban medical missionary of Iona. (Vol. ii. p. 78 ff.) 'Sgoiltidh an dualchas a chreag'--Heredity will cleave the rock. David Livingstone cleaved his way through rocks harder than any that his kindred had ever faced.

The Campbells of Bail-an-deor, in Lorn, were almoners to the Priory of Airdchattan. They were big powerful men. One of them is still spoken of as 'An Deora mor,' the big almoner, and 'Deora mor Bhail-an-deor,' the big almoner of the townland of the almoner.

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Robert Burns' ancestor was a Campbell descended from Walter Campbell, Bogjoram, Kincardine. It is almost if not wholly certain that this Walter Campbell was the son of the 'Deora Mor,' and had to flee from home on account of the storm he raised against himself, under extreme provocation, in his treatment of the 'char Sheanchain,' strolling satirists.

Here again heredity asserts itself, several of these Campbells of Bail-an-deor having been poets in olden and in modern times.

Near Bail-an-deor is the home of the 'Rusgain,' Ruskins. The Ruskins were in Glenlonain from time immemorial. Many pieces of sculpture have been found lying scattered about in various places in this beautiful glen. Some of these are still seen. 'Rusgan' means peeler, bark-peeler, hewer. A tradition still exists among the old people of the place that the Ruskins were 'luchd ceaird,' artisans; 'draoinich,' sculptors. There were schools of sculpture in the Highlands. One of these was in 'Innis-draoinich,' Lochawe, a few miles from Glenlonain, the home of the Ruskins. 'Innis draoinich' means isle of the artisans, isle of the sculptors--from 'innis,' isle, and 'draoineach,' sculptor. Within a few hundred yards of Innis-draoineach is 'Innis-ail,' beautiful isle. There had been a house of Cistercian nun-sisters here, and an ancient burying-ground. There are ancient sculptured stones here, probably unexcelled for beauty of design and of execution. Jewellery in gold and silver from designs on these ancient Celtic sculpturings is used by royalty.

'Ciorsdan Dhughuill fhigheadair,' Christina, daughter of Dugald the weaver, was the last of the Ruskins of Glenlonain. Her father was Dugald MacCalman, and her mother was a Ruskin--the last of the name.

The tradition of the Clerks of Duntannachain, Glenlonain, was that John Ruskin was descended from the Ruskins of Glenlonain. The Clerks were descended from educated parents and were an educated and intellectual family, one of them being the late Rev. Archibald Clerk, LL.D., the accomplished Celtic scholar. The father was the learned farmer spoken of by Dr Macleod in his Reminiscences of a Highland Parish, and the mother was Margaret Carmichael, Lismore, sister of Captain Dugald Carmichael, of the 72nd Highlanders, 'the father of marine botany' and the friend of Sir William Hooker.

The members of this family were unanimous in saying that John Ruskin was descended from a Ruskin who went south in one of

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the expeditions from Argyll, and who remained south. They said that the last of the Ruskins of Glenlonain who lived near them strongly resembled the distinguished writer mentally and physically.


Di, day. There is much lore connected with the days of the week. 'Di-luain,' 'Luan,' Monday, Moon; 'Luan mall,' tardy Monday; 'paighear Di-luain mall e,' it will be paid on tardy Monday--never. The people will not begin important work on Monday lest it should be tedious:--

[paragraph continues] They also avoid finishing the shearing on Monday, saying

'An rud ri ’n toisichear Di-luain,
Bithidh e luath, no bithidh e mall.'

That which is begun on Monday,
It will be quick or it will be slow.


[paragraph continues] They also avoid finishing the shearing on Monday, saying--

'Is mi-shealbhach ranch Di-luain
A dhol a bhuain na maighdinn.'


Unlucky it is on early Monday
To go to the shearing of the maiden.

[paragraph continues] (The 'maiden' is the last sheaf of corn cut for the season, and is dressed and decorated with flowers and placed in the best room in the house till spring, when it is given to the horses in their first flaring for luck of work and luck of corn, and to safeguard them against mishap.) The people therefore begin and finish any important work on Saturday. On the other hand, Monday is a good day to travel:--

'Imirich Sathurna mu thuath,
Imirich Luan mu dheas,
Ge nachbitheadh again ach an t-uan,
’S ann Di-luain a dh’ fhalbhainn leis.'


The expedition of Saturday to the north,
The expedition of Monday to the south,
Though I should only have the lamb,
It is on Monday I would go with it.

[paragraph continues] North and south represent respectively unlucky and lucky.

'Di-mairt,' Tuesday, Mar's day, is a lucky day to begin cutting corn, or doing any work requiring a sharp instrument. 'Mart gu gearradh,' Tuesday for cutting. In Uist marriages always take place on Tuesday or Thursday.

'Di-ciadaoin,' Wednesday, the day of the first fast, from 'ciad,' first, and 'aoin,' fast--Friday being the second and principal fast. Wednesday was considered a lucky day.

'Cha robh Ciadaoin riamh gun ghrian,
Cha robh geamhradh riamh gun smal,
Cha robh Nollaig Mhor gun fheoil,
Cha robh bean da deoin gun mhac.'


Never was Wednesday without sun,
Never was winter without gloom,
Never was New Year without flesh,
Never was wife willingly without son.

'Di-ardaoin,' Thursday; 'di-eadar-aoin,' the day between the fasts; 'di-eadar-da-aoin,' day between the two fasts. Being dedicated to the beloved Columba, Thursday was propitious for all good work, especially for work connected with sheep, cattle,

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and wool-working. It is a good day to be born, to die, and to go forth to battle:--

'La gu breith, la gu bas,
La chur gais chon na meirgh.'


Day to bear, day to die,
Day to place the staff to the banner.

[paragraph continues] Witches and all evil things are powerless on Thursday.

'Di-aoin,' 'Di h-aoine,' Friday, day of the fast, from 'di,' day, and 'aoin,' fast. The people were averse to the counting of men, or of flocks, or of anything, on a Friday. Monday or Sunday, especially the first Monday or the first Sunday of the quarter, was the auspicious day for counting flocks.

'Thuirt a Mhuime ri mo Shlan’ear,
Nach e’n Aona bha ’g an aircamh,
Ach an Luan an tus an raithe,
No an Domhnach, La na Sabaid.'


His Foster-mother said to my Redeemer,
That it was not the Friday they were counted,
But the Monday at the beginning of the quarter,
Or the Lord's Day, the Day of the Sabbath.

[paragraph continues] Next to these, and sometimes preferred to them, was Thursday, the day of Columba.

Friday is unlucky and banned because Christ was put to death on that day. It is not permissible to begin ploughing, reaping, cutting peats, clipping sheep, nor even to cut hair on Friday. If peat-cutting is begun on Friday, some one will remark, 'Tha cuideigin an seo an diugh nach faic a mhoine seo loisgte'--There is some one here to-day who will not see these peats burnt. All feel more than they say.

No burial occurs on a Friday, nor any other work necessitating the use of iron. Even the fairies were not allowed to appear on Friday:

'Luchd nan trusganan uaine,
’S nan tulachan cluanach reidh,
Beannachd nan sion ’s nan siubhal dbaibh--
An diugh an Aona ’s cha chluinn iad sinn.'


The tribe of the green mantles,
And of the hillocks reposeful and smooth,
The blessing of the spell (?) and of the travelling be theirs--
To-day is Friday and they cannot hear us.

There are many sayings about Friday:--

'An Aona an aghaidh na seachdain.'

'Aona bagarrach,
'Sathurna deurach.'

'An Aona an aghaidh na glaic.'

'Ma gheobh ’n a Aona na bhial e.'


The Friday against the week.

Friday threatening,
Saturday tearful.

The Friday against the grasp (palm).

If the Friday gets it in its mouth, i.e. it will rain.

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Till recently no iron was used in the harrow for harrowing the corn, nor in the dibble with which the potatoes were planted. It was permissible, therefore, and even commendable, to sow and plant on Friday:--

'Aona gu fas,
Mart gu gearradh.'

Friday for growing,
Tuesday for cutting.


On the other hand, the 'reiteach,' formal betrothal, always takes place in Uist on Friday.

'Di-sathuinn,' Saturday, Saturn's day, is never praised except by implication:--

'Sathurna gun athadh, gun iasad, gun f hiachan,
Deireadh seachdain gasda, geal, grianach.'


Saturday without reproach, without borrowing, without debts,
End of a week gladsome, bright, sun-shiny.

'Gealach Sathurna foghair
Gabhaidh an caothach seachd uairean.'


An autumn Saturday moon
Will take (give?) madness seven times,
i.e. madness will be seven times worse.

'Is leoir gealach ur Shathurn
Truth ’s na seachd bliadhna.'


Enough is the new moon on Saturday
Once in the seven years.

'Ma thoisicheas a bhuain Di-sathurna
Bithidh e seachd Sathurna gun bhuain.'


If the reaping begin on Saturday
It will be seven Saturdays before it is reaped.

'Deireadh nan seachd Sathurn ort!'


The end of the seven Saturdays upon thee!

'Sonas nan seachd Sathurn ort!'


The joy of the seven Saturdays upon thee!--used derisively.

[paragraph continues] These are maledictions much resented, though their meaning is not now quite clear.

'Di-domhnaich,' Sunday, day of the Lord. Sunday was a lucky day to be born:--

'Leanabh an Domhnach
Comhnartach ceum.'


The child of the Lord's Day
Even of step.

The child born 'between watches' sees the unseen. The child born on the stroke of midnight has second-sight. 9 P.M. is the most unlucky time to be born.

A mother closed all days of the week to her son who wished to go away:--

'Na falbh ’s an Luan,
Na gluais ’s a Mhart,
An Ciadaona daobha,
An Daorn dalach,


Go not on the Monday,
Move not on the Tuesday,
The Wednesday is false,
The Thursday dilatory,

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An Aona mi-bhuadha,
An Sathurna mi-ghradhach,
Leig dhiot sgriob na truaighe;
Cha dual dut falbh am maireach--
An Domhnach gu fois tamha.'


Friday is unlucky,
Saturday is unloving,
Give up thy journey of misery;
Unseemly for thee to go to-morrow--
The Lord's Day is for peaceful rest.

Another version says:--

'Domhnach eirig dh’ an Re,
Diluan na eirich moch,
Dimairt ar agus eug,
Diciadain creuchd is croch,
Diardaoin daoch agus lochd,
Diaoin ire na di-bhuaidh,
  Cha dual dut falbh a nochd.'


Sunday tribute to the King,
Monday arise not early,
Tuesday is slaughter and death,
Wednesday is wounds and blood,
Thursday is hateful and evil,
Friday of dire ill-deed,
  Ill-timed to leave to-night.

Much more folk-lore on the days of the week might be added.


Di-baigh, dim-baigh, loveless, merciless; from 'di,' want of, and 'bagh,' love, mercy.


Di-bith, dim-bith, lifeless, luckless; from 'di,' want of, and 'bith,' life.


Dōchaidh, comparative of 'dōgh,' 'dōigh,' trust; hence more trustful, more hopeful, more likely.


Doilisg, vexation, annoyance, grief, state of death.


Domhnach Ceusda, Easter Sunday, Crucifying Sunday; from 'Domhnach,' Lord's Day, and the old genitive of 'ceusadh,' crucifying.

The people say that the sun dances on this day in joy for a risen Saviour.

Old Barbara Macphie at Dreimsdale saw this once, but only once, during her long life. And the good woman, of high natural intelligence, described in poetic language and with religious fervour what she saw or believed she saw from the summit of Benmore:--'Bha ghrian or-ghil an deigh eirigh air sgeith nam beann mora agus i a caochladh dath--uaine, purpaidh, dearg, cra-dhearg, geal, gile-gheal, agus oir-gheal, mar ghloir Dhe nan dul do chlanna dhaona. Bha i a dannsadh a sios agus a suas ann an gairdeachas ri aiseirigh aigh Slanuighear gradhach nam buadh.'--The glorious gold-bright sun was after rising on the crests of the great hills, and it was changing colour--green, purple, red, blood-red, white, intense-white, and gold-white, like the glory of the God of the elements to the children of men. It was dancing up and down in exultation at the joyous resurrection of the beloved Saviour of victory.

'To be thus privileged, a person must ascend to the top of the highest hill before sunrise, and believe that the God who

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makes the small blade of grass to grow is the same God who makes the large, massive sun to move.'


Dōrnan, a handful, a glove without separate fingers. 'Dornag,' 'doirneag,' a round pebble, a handful of a pebble. 'Dornan,' 'beum,' 'slathag,' 'dlo,' 'sineag,' 'glac,' are some of the names applied to a handful of corn cut with one stroke of the reaping-hook. Three stalks of corn are used to bind a handful, and there are twenty-four handfuls in the 'raoid,' sheaf.


Dorn-gheal, Dor-gheal, Whitehand.

This was the name of the man who clothed 'Murachadh Mac Brian'--Murdoch the son of Brian, in his war vestments, and equipped him with his war weapons. The description of this equipment is an extraordinary piece of word-painting--probably unsurpassed.


Drābhachd, debauchery, indelicacy of speech; from 'drābh,' dark, black, smut.


Dris, druis, bramble. The bramble was much valued by the old Highlanders, and where not indigenous was cultivated. The fruit was used for food, the root for dyeing, and an infusion of the leaves was used for medical purposes. Alone, and in combination with the ivy and the rowan, the bramble was placed above the lintel of the byre door to ward away witches and evil spirits.

It is spoken of as 'an druise beannaichte'--the blessed bramble. It is said that a branch of the bramble was the wand with which Christ hastened the ass when going into Jerusalem, and the rod with which He drove the money-changers from the Temple.

The bramble is mentioned in several proverbs:--

'Is fearr an druise na ’n draighionn,
Is fearr an draighionn na ’n donas.

'Am fear a readhadh ’s an druise domh,
Readbainn ’s an draighionn da.'


Better the bramble than the black-thorn,
Better the black-thorn than the devil.

He who would go in the bramble for me,
I would go in the thorn for him.


Duailisg, fraud, deceit, stubbornness.


Duine, 'the mortal one,' man, husband, man of children, and the counterpart of 'bean,' woman, mother of children.


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