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Story entitled 'A Bhuileaistach' and accompanying song, 29 January 1875

Identifier: Coll-97/CW106/123

Scope and Contents

Story entitled 'A Bhuileaistach' [MacMhuirich and the Beast] probably collected from John MacInnes, aged 70 years, Stadhlaigearraidh/Stilligarry, Uibhist a Deas/South Uist. The story tells how Niall Mòr MacMhuirich found a small creature and took it home. The creature's mother, a fearful beast came looking for her young. MacMhuirich threatened her and said that he would not give it back to her unless he built a bridge or causeway from him so that he could get to Lainginis [Langinish]. The beast did this and came back to get her young. Again he threatened her and refused to give her back her young until she had built a house, which she duly did. A third time he refused to give her her young until she had turned a short stick into a long one. The beast protested saying that it was impossible and began shaking the beam of the house, for which Carmichael includes a diagram. MacMhuirich tells her to go away and she asks where she should go to which he responds carelessly that she could go to Beinn Eadaruinn. The beast heads there singing ''S fhada bhuam fhein bonn Beinn h eadar, S fhada bhuam buan Beal a Mhorghain' [Colann gun Cheann]. She encounters MacLeod of Harris wreaking havoc. On land they are eating roast meat while MacLeod is on his birlinn [ship] and as she looks inside the vessel, MacLeod strikes a heavy blow to her face. She retaliates, the men on land take to sea again to save the ship but the beast drowns them. She takes the remaining crew and birlinn to Staolaigearry [Stadhlaigearraidh] where she and her young sat down to the roast meat, which was the first meal she had had since her young were taken by MacMhuirich.


  • Creation: 29 January 1875

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 49r, line 3 to folio 51v, line 10

Related Materials

Coll-97/CW106/105 - another version of this song.

Coll-97/CW150/46 - another version of this tale.


Gillies, William, 'Alexander Carmichael and Clann Mhuirich', Scottish Gaelic Studies, vol. XX (2000), pp. 1-66

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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