Scope and Contents
Story entitled 'A Chromag a Ghabh Mu an Cuairt' collected from Ruairidh Camshron [Roderick Cameron], Carbost on 6 March 1861 and Donnacha Mac Dhiarmaid [Duncan MacDiarmaid], Fearan-na letha [Fearann an Leagha/Fernilea, both An t-Eilean Sgitheanach/Isle of Skye]. This is a story about an old man, who does not get on with his wife and in order to prove to her that he is not useless goes off on a journey. He happens upon a giant's house and on receiving hospitality from the giant's wife and being hidden from the giant discovers that they own a magic tablecloth which with the magic words provide food and drink. He steals the tablecloth and eventually reaches an inn where he tells the waiter to take care of the cloth but not to say the magic words. While the old man is asleep, the waiter disobeys him and on seeing the magic of the tablecloth, swaps it for an ordinary one. The old man returns home and produces the tablecloth to proudly display its magic. When the tablecloth fails to work, the old woman scolds the old man who heads off again. This time at the giant's house, the giant's wife explains the lack of magic tablecloth to the giant by saying that rats had eaten it and so the giant asks her to produce the magic purse, which produces endless amounts of gold and silver. In the same manner the old man steals the purse, is deceived by the waiter at the inn and on triumphantly declaring a magic purse but producing an ordinary one, is once again scolded by his wife and he leaves again. This time, when the giant gets home and his wife tells him that the purse has also been eaten by the rats, he is enraged and tells his wife to fetch the stick. He says to the stick 'A chromag gabh mun cuairt' ['Stick, go around'] and the stick strikes the giant's wife. The giant commands the stick to strike harder, which it does and continues to do so until the giant commands it to stop. The old man realises that the stick could be useful to him, so when the giant is asleep, he steals the stick and heads to the inn. There he threatens the people until they give him back the magic tablecloth and the magic purse. Then he goes home and is greeted by his wife calling him a fool and scolding him. He commands the stick to defend him and the says the magic words, so the stick starts beating the old woman until the old man decides she has had enough to teach her a lesson. Then he shows her the magic tablecloth and the magic purse. With the plenty they get from the tablecloth and the purse and the threat of the stick, the wife is always kind to the old man thereafter. Annotations and amendments have been made to the text in pencil.