Skip to main content

Story entitled 'Sithein a Phiobaire', September 1872

Identifier: Coll-97/CW106/88

Scope and Contents

Story entitled 'Sithein a Phiobaire' [Sìthein a' Phìobaire] collected from Kilpheadair S Uist [Cille Pheadair/Kilpheder, Uibhist a Deas/South Uist]. The story relates to Clann an t saoir Smearcleit [MacIntyres of Smeircleit/Smerclate] who were a talented family. One of their sons was a 'lecheallach' [leth-chiallach or half-wit] who was not fit to be a piper so was sent to watch cattle. He saw the light in the fairy hill and went in remembering to place a knife or nail in the door and said to the fairies 'Rath is ealain rath is eal[ain]' to which the fairy pipers replied 'Rath gun eal[ain] rath gun eal[ain]' and tried to shut him in but could not because of the knife/nail and so were obliged to give him the ealain [art]. They told him to get a pipe made from the bones of the dead, black horse outside his father's door, which he did, learned piobaireachd and 'eclip[sed] them all'. His father and brother said that they would stop playing so they sent him out into the world, warning him not to mention them, which he did and 'he was celebr[ated].' The story ends with a note to get the story of the man 'who got the bannock fr[om] the bean chaol chot[a] uaine [thin woman in the green coat]'


  • Creation: September 1872

Language of Materials

English Gaelic

Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 117 folios ; 20 x 16.5 cm

Physical Location


Physical Location

folio 22v, line 13 to folio 23r, line 20


Carmichael, Ella C., '"Never was Piping so Sad, and Never was Piping so Gay"', The Celtic Review, Vol II (1905-1906) pp. 345-384.
D.M.N.C., 'Uamh an Oir', An Ròsarnach (1917), pp. 159-171.
McDonald, Fr. Allan, 'Pìobairean Smearclait (The Pipers of Smerclait)'The Celtic Review, Vol V (1908-1909), pp. 345-347.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379