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Story about Fenians and accompanying notes from the informant about story-telling, 24 April 1866

Identifier: Coll-97/CW104/28

Scope and Contents

Story about Art, a Fenian warrior, collected from Eachann Maciosaig [Hector MacIsaac], Iocar [Ìochdar, Uibhist a Deas/South Uist], who heard it from Ruari Rua [Roderick MacQuien, catechist] and accompanying notes from the informant about story-telling.

Hector begins with the sloinneadh [patronymic] of Caramag mac Art. The story then relates how Art married Nighean Rìgh Lochlann but cheated on her. Rìgh Lochlann was very angry so he banished Art overseas. He went travelling through Germany, Italy and Spain but while abroad he had bad dream and decided to go home without anyone knowing. He got help from Rìgh Calum [King Malcolm] in Scotland and they went to Ireland raising support. One day while out a mist came down and Art ended up at a blacksmith's house. The blacksmith only had one child a very beautiful daughter, who Art asked for a drink, which she gave to him in her father's cup, from which only he ever drank. When he had drunk from the cup it would fill up as it was before. No one else ever drank from ths cup. Art drank from the cup and enjoyed it and the daughter sent him to the top of the house to eat. When she returned he hadn't eaten anything and she asked him why not he said it was because he could only eat in company so the daughter sat down with him. Art produced a sword and said that it contained gold and told the daughter to summon her father to a battle at Maogh nam Mucram where he would. He left and when the smith came back home he could tell that the daughter was in love. The story is incomplete. Carmichael records that Hector thought little of mythological tales but thought that the fingalian tales were 'worthy [of] the attention of princes'. He describes his shame at hearing people he knows telling these tales in 'garbled and mangled' manner. Hector promises to give Carmichael a 'proper opp[ortunity]' of taking down tales 'when he is done planting his potatoes' and 'before he dies'. He states that he only has one daughter to whom he can leave his legacy of stories although she is reluctant to learn them 'And as he likes me better than any other person in the world he is desirous I should become poss[essed] of this invaluable legacy'. Reciters are referred to as 'the most egotistical set I have ever met'. Hector states that Ruaraid[h] Ruadh from whom he heard the tale died about forty years before aged about eighty years. A gentleman form Edinburgh came to take down lore from Ruaraidh and stayed for several weeks. As a result Lord MacDonald gave him house and land rent-free while he lived. He was probably the last reciter to receive such payment. Hector also notes that Ruaraidh was a catechist, who would go around people's houses stating that people were more interested in the lore that he had and that 'we believe the old man took more delight in reciting and expounding the Fing[alian] tales and poems than those of the Bible.


  • Creation: 24 April 1866

Language of Materials

English Gaelic

Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 91 folios ; 20 x 16.5 cm