Scope and Contents
Story entitled 'Ni[gh]ean Gobha Ghriminis' collected from Donacha MacanLeallain [Duncan MacLellan], mason and crofter, Carnan, Iocar [Càrnan, Ìochdar, Uibhist a Deas/South Uist]. The story tells how a blacksmith in 'Grim[inis] sa Cheanna tua' [Griminish, Uibhist a Tuath/North Uist] was a good man with no family but a daughter. He had cattle on Beinn Lee [Beinn Lì] and one winter when the snow came he sent his cow-herd off to fetch his cattle. The cow-herd got all the cattle except the smith's best cow for which he searched all night, eventually seeking shelter in the summer bothy. The blacksmith was surprised that his cow-herd had not returned so he made to go and find him but his daughter said she would go. She could not find the cow or the cow-herd and having fed the cattle went to rest in the summer bothy. While there she found the cow-herd dead and soon saw two big men coming to the bothy. She got a sword and as the first man put his head through the door of the bothy, she cut his ear off and the two men ran away. Eventually, she took the cow-herd's body home. Soon after that a rich man came to sell his horse and stayed with the blacksmith and he married the blacksmith's daughter. When she had left home with her new husband she noticed he had only one ear. They arrived at a cave, where there was an old woman. On being asked, the man told the old woman that he had found the girl he had been looking for. The old woman set off to get waterfor cooking and the blacksmith's daughter said she would go with her. When the old woman bent down to get water, the blacksmith's daughter put her head beneath the water and drowned her. She escaped and on arriving at Cairnish [Cairinis/Carinish] saw that the water was out so she ran across the ford to Bailevanaich [Baile Mhanaich/Balivanich, Beinn na Faoghla/Benbecula] where she bought a beautiful suit and in a secret place changed into it. Then disguised as a man she went to Creagorry [Creag Ghoraidh] and further south to Loch baoghastai[l] [Loch Baghasdail/Lochboisdale, Uibhist a Deas/South Uist] where a skipper took her on as a fisherman. She said she had never been to sea before but within a month she was as good as anyone else on board. When they arrived back on land, she refused to go ashore drinking with the crew and, after that, she was let go from her duties. Still in disguise, she went to the blacksmith's house in Lochboisdale and asked there was any work there. The blacksmith recognised her and said he didn't have work for a fisherman but he was lacking a boy in the smithy. After a year, she was as good as any of the smiths there but the Lochboisdale blacksmith's daughter had fallen in love with her as she thought she was a man. The blacksmith had to make a key for Cille Bhride [Cille Bhrìde/Kilbride], the home of Fear Loch Baghasdail, and he got the disguised blacksmith's daughter to make. She did so while locked away alone in the smithy. The smith then made her take it up to Fear Loch Baghasdail [the laird of Lochboisdale], who subsequently took a shine to this young blacksmith and wanted to keep her, not realising she was in disguise. She protested saying that she had to go back to her master, but Fear Loch Baghasdail kept her saying that he was the blacksmith's master so it was up to him. Meanwhile the Lochboisdale blacksmith's daughter was pining for the young blacksmith and hoping that she still had a chance with him. Fear Loch Baghasdail was delighted with his new boy [the Griminis blacksmith's daughter] and took him [her] everywhere. One day while Fear Loch Baghasdail and his brother in law were out hunting, the lady of the house sent for the young girl, now employed as a page and still disguised. After breakfasting, she invited him [her] to bed but her offer was rejected. This resulted in a fight and when the other servants arrived they found the lady of the house injured on the floor and so they imprisoned the page in a hole. When Fear Loch Baghasdail came home his wife said that the page had beaten her and so he said that the page should be burned to death. After three days when the Griminish blacksmith's daugter was to be burned, she asked to speak to Fear Loch Baghasdail. This is where the story finishes.