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Story entitled 'Cailleach Bheag an fhasaich', 12 February 1895

Identifier: Coll-97/CW1/87

Scope and Contents

Story written down by John Ewen MacRury, Beinn na Faoghla/Benbecula entitled 'Cailleach Bheag an fhasaich' [Little Carlin of the Wild]. There was a poor soul living in Benbecula called Iagan-lom, because he had never managed to grow a beard. He wanted to marry someone like himself who was neither too big nor too small so he decided to go away to find her so that if she rejected him no one would know. So he set out whereupon a crow told him to go to Na Hearadh/Isle of Harris as that's where he would find his match. On arriving there he met a woman who asked him where he was from and who his people were so he told her he was from far away and he had few relatives. She invited him to stay with her and her child to which he agreed. He was asked to stoke the fire and heard a voice but did not see anyone until the flames grew brighter when he saw that there was a son that looked just like him. Iagan-lom married the daughter in the most elaborate wedding and on their way home, because the woman did not have a tocher for Iagan-lom, she gave him a lock of hair from her belt and another lock from under her mutch, which she tied around him. They went back to Benbecula and people were amazed that poor, ugly Iagan is married and had a son who looked just like him. One day Iagan-lom's son came home and told him that he had fallen in love. His grandmother, Eoraidh told him to go and get a lock of his sweetheart's hair. He set off to do this but found his sweetheart and her family asleep, so he quickly and quietly took a hair from her head and ran home. Eoraidh tied it around him and sent him home to sleep but he was unable to sleep as his sweetheart's grandmother comes after him because he had mistakenly cut her hair not his sweetheard. He went back to Eoraidh who told him to try again but this time he accidentally cut her mother's hair and so then he had both his sweetheart's mother and grandmother pursuing him. On the third occasion, he mistakenly cut hair from a hide and end up with the mother, grandmother and hide chasing him because of the enchantment. The community found out about this and held a court whereby Eoraidh's hair was shaved, she was stripped of her belts and sent to Na Hearadh/Isle of Harris. In the sand where the belts were buried a great sandstorm blew up for a year and a day, creating Dungaimhneachadh [Dùn Gainmhich/Dunganichy].


  • Creation: 12 February 1895

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 114 folios ; 14 x 20 cm

Physical Location


Physical Location

folio 81v, line 1 to folio 95v, line 17


Carmichael, Alexander, Carmina Gadelica, Vol II (Edinburgh, 1900) p.282.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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