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The story of 'Fionladh Choinnachain' and accompanying note, c1862

Identifier: Coll-97/CW112/6

Scope and Contents

The story of 'Fionladh Choinnachain' and accompanying note which states that the reciter, who is not named, 'heard the story from an old man Donull MacPhee [Donald MacPhee] who lived at Talamh-sgeir [Talaisgeir/Talisker, An t-Eilean Sgitheanach/Isle of Skye], a man the like of whom he never at all heard for Sgialacun [sgeulachdan or tales]. The reciter remembers only a mere fraction of what he heard'. The story was collected at Ferann-an-le [Fernilea] on 21 February 1862. The story is about what happens to the giant killer after the old woman who helped him and his wife die. He loses everything and goes to the king for help. He is recognised as the giant killer especially by the king's daughter who had fallen in love with him. In order to be sure that it is him, the king's daughter tests him, and so he hits a rick with his stick and it turns into the most beautiful young man ever seen and then on hitting the young man with the stick it turns back into a rock. The king's nobles had never believed that the giant killer had been able to do this so he calls them all to see this miracle worker for themselves. All the maidens fall in love with Fionnladh, the giant killer, and are heart-broken when he marries the king's daughter. He does not tell the king's daughter that he was married before but her nurse does and when she asks him directly, he does not deny it. The king's daughter is upset and gets the nurse to send the two sons away. As she lets them go the nurse puts a spell on them and they turn into two white dogs who wander the moors. Fionnladh, unable to rest, sets out to find them. He encounters three brothers separately and discovers that in order to break the spell he must make two shirts and lay them on the moor but it will take him nearly two years and the help of a band of women. He then encounters robbers with a dead body and is forced to help them dispose of the body. He escaps, returns to the robbers' bothy and finds a plaid and a sword. Further on his journey he is invited into a nobleman's house by servants, who are taken with his beauty. They take fright when they see the sword and plaid and call the nobleman, who tells him that the items belonged to his son. Together they seek vengeance on the robbers and the nobleman's daughter falls in love with Fionnladh. They marry and when two white dogs are seen, Fionnladh tells his wife the whole story. She helps him to make the shirts and in time they disappear and two young men appear at the door but Fionnladh does not recognise them as being his sons. At this point the story is broken and a section starts with 'Ath-sgriobhadh' which then tells how a woman finds her foster-sons and a nobleman leaves all his possessions to his daughter and Fionladh mac na ban-traich. The transcription of the second half of the story is incomplete.


  • c1862

Language of Materials

English Gaelic

Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 183 folios ; 20 x 23.8cm

Physical Location


Physical Location

folio 29r, line 1 to folio 41v, line 12

Related Materials

GB237 Coll-97/CW109/4, GB237 Coll-97/CW109/5, Coll-97/CW109/7, GB237 Coll-97/CW422, GB237 Coll-97/CW460 - versions or fragments of the same item.

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

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