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Story about Airi-na h-aon-oiche, 1871

Identifier: Coll-97/CW119/20

Scope and Contents

Story about Airi-na h-aon-oiche [Airidh na h-Aon Oidhche, Beinn na Faoghla/Benbecula] telling how the sheiling got its name. A man by the name of MacPhie, who lived in Benbecula had a dog which was very large but never barked and which brought him renown as 'MacPhie a choin duigh' [MacPhee of the black dog]. He and twelve cousins went to build a sheiling on Staireval [Stiaraval] and when they were finished and each lying in their beds 'each said that he wished he had now his leannan with him Don[a] e Don[a] e bad bad have you wished said MacPhie to have bro[ugh]t this upon us & he flew out of the airi[dh] to the utter astonishment of his coaltun & the cu-dugh [black dog] after him'. Almost immediately twelve witches in the form of women with beaks entered the sheiling and attacked the men, while another went after MacPhie. When he arrived home he asked for four boynes of milk to be put on the doorstep and when the black dog arrived it drank three of the four boynes and 'on the fourth burst. He was raving mad and not a hair left upon him'. Early the next day people went to the sheiling to see if everyone was all right but found '12 stack[ed] dead some say with their throats cut & drained of their blood & others say with not a wound but the wounds the gob-chnamha the bone-beaked inflicted upon them & not a drop of blood left in them'. Airidh na h-Aon Oidhche was abandoned and got its name from this incident.


  • 1871

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 1 volume ; 17 x 20.5 cm

Physical Location


Physical Location

folio 45v, line 1 to folio 46r, line 23

Bibliography - Norman MacLean recalling the tale Airigh na h-Aon Oidhche.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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