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Story about a young man credited with prophetic abilities, 1861

Identifier: Coll-97/CW109/26

Scope and Contents

Story about a young man credited with prophetic abilities probably collected in An t-Eilean Sgitheanach/Isle of Skye, transcribed from a field notebook. The young man has left home to make his way in the world and arrives in Trotternish [TrĂ²ndairnis, An t-Eilean Sgitheanach/Isle of Skye] where he meets a nobleman. The nobleman has a very beautiful kiln, which the young man is encouraged to admire and in doing so states that it could easily go on fire. That night the kiln does go on fire and the nobleman hails the young man as a seer and asks him to stay on as his seer. The young man refuses and denies any prophetic abilities but the nobleman insists. The next day as the nobleman goes out hunting he asks the young man to tell him what he has caught on his return. The young man is fearful and wishes he was back home. The hunting trip is not successful and it is only on the way home that they see a cormorant by the shore and shoot it whereupon they find that it is a poor specimen. As soon as he arrives back, the nobleman asks the young man to tell him what they caught. The young man refuses saying that he has no idea but the nobleman presses him and his men grab the young man. In his protest at being man-handled the young man says that he is nothing but a poor cormorant [sgarbh bochd] compared to them, which the nobleman takes to be a correct predicition and produces the cormorant which they shot. Soon after this some of the nobleman's money goes astray and no one knows who the thief is so the nobleman tells the young man that he cannot refuse to tell him who stole the money. The young man having no idea who stole it but also sensing that he will die regardless refuses to say anything and is put in chains and thrown in a hole. The nobleman's butler, baker and footman are responsible for the theft and thinking that the young man knows this, each in turn goes to speak to him and each one is convinced that he knows they are the thieves. The footman, being the third to go, tries to make a deal with the young man, offering him half of the money. He refuses him and advises the men to run away with the money. Instead, they leave the money in the hole and run away. The nobleman comes to ask the young man again to prophesy for him and the young man says that he cannot prophesy but he knows that the butler, baker and footman all stole the money. The nobleman remains convinced of the young man's prophetic ability and asks him to stay as one of his companions. Reluctantly the young man agrees and soon the nobleman's three daughters fall in love with him and are constantly fighting over him. The nobleman is keen to have peace restored in his household so he sends the young man away. The three girls fall ill and in time the oldest and the middle daughter get better but the youngest remained ill so the nobleman sent a message to the young man who advised him to drink from a particular well. This was done and the youngest got better and the nobleman sent for the young man to come home. He arrived without any of the girls knowing so when the eldest daughter saw him she was delighted. There are gaps within the text where the main protagonist's name would be and the story is incomplete.


  • 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 53r, line 1 to folio 57r, line 16

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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