IAIN MAC SHEORAIS
MAC CALLEN MOR
MARQUESS OF LORNE.
MY DEAR LORNE,
I dedicate this collection of West Country Stories to you as the son of my Chief, in the hope that it may add to the interest which you already feel in a people, of whom a large number look with respect on “Mac Callen Mor” as the head of their tribe. I know that the poorest Highlanders still feel an honest pride whenever their chiefs, or men of their name, earn distinction; and many of “Clan Dhiarmid” take a warm interest in you.
Amidst curious rubbish you will find sound sense if you look for it. You will find the creed of the people, as shewn in their stories, to be, that wisdom and courage, though weak, may overcome strength, and ignorance, and pride: that the most despised is often the most worthy; that small beginnings lead to great results.
You will find perseverance, frugality, and filial piety rewarded; pride, greed, and laziness punished. You will find much which tells of barbarous times; I hope you will meet nothing that can hurt, or should offend.
If you follow any study, even that of a popular tale, far enough, it will lead you to a closed door, beyond which you cannot pass till you have searched and found the key, and every study will lead the wisest to a fast locked door at last; but knowledge lies beyond these doors, and one key may open the way to many a store which can be reached, and may be turned to evil or to good.
That you may go on acquiring knowledge, selecting the good, and rejecting the evil; that you, like Conal in the story, may gather gold, and escape unharmed from the giant’s land, is the earnest wish of your affectionate kinsman,
J. F. CAMPBELL.