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Tale entitled 'A Chaora Ghlas', 1861

Identifier: Coll-97/CW109/23

Scope and Contents

Tale entitled 'A Chaora Ghlas' probably collected in An t-Eilean Sgitheanach/Isle of Skye. A farmer is out by the shore when he sees a beautiful swan. Instead of shooting it, he catches it and it tells him that a grey sheep will become head of the flock. The [swan] will bear a lamb, that lamb will bear a girl and the girl will bring you much happiness. The sheep's daughter had many suitors but the nurse was vexed because none of them would look at her daughter. The nurse served food to the sheep's daughter which on one side was coal and the other bread. She refused to eat it thinking she would get better which the nurse said she would not. The nurse sent her out with her daughter to herd sheep and she fell asleep. When she awoke and went home she was fed a tankard of wine and some corn. The sheep asks its daughter to bury every one of its bones at the bottom of the well but as they are eating its meat, the nursemaid throws a bone to the dog. The girl retrieves the bone from the dog, losing the skin of her arm up to its elbow in the process. As she is burying the bones, she meets the most beautiful woman who asks the girl if she recognises her. The girl says she does not but the woman tells her that she is her mother, which the girl denies saying that she has just put her mother's bones in the bottom of the well. The mother's lame leg is blamed on the nurse throwing a bone to the dog. She gives her daughter a tankard of wine and corn at the foot of the well as she is in need of food. The sheep's daughter is told that a prince is coming the next day to marry her. The nurse offers the prince her own daughter, which the prince refuses because he does not love her. He and the sheep's daughter marry and get on his ship to go back to his kingdom. Out of kindness the sheep's daughter invites her nurse and the nurses's daughter onto the ship. The prince's thirst can only be quenched if he puts his finger in his wife's mouth so when, in the middle of the night, the nurse throws the sheep's daughter off the ship and replaces her with her own daughter, the princes realises it is not his new wife because she cannot quench his thirst. He takes to his bed and the ship returns to the kingdom. His shepherd tells him that he keeps seeing three swans who are singing and when he hears this he goes to see for himself. He realises that one of the swans is his wife and seeks advice on how to break the spell. He is told that if he puts a chain between the swans the spell will be broken. This he does and he gets his wife back. She says that she loves him, he loves her, she was under a spell, her mother was under a spell, and even he was under a spell and blesses him for rescuing her.


  • Creation: 1861

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 3 notebooks of 80 folios ; 21 x 25 cm

Physical Location


Physical Location

folio 48r, line 1 to folio 49v, line 23

Related Materials

Coll-97/CW112/4 - a copy of this item.

Coll-97/CW109/20 - a copy of this item.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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