From John Campbell, Strath Gearloch, Ross-shire.
ON the day when O’DONULL came out to hold right and justice, he saw a young chap coming. His two shoulders were through his old SUAINAICHE (sleeping coat?) his two ears through his old AIDE, hat, his two squat kick-er-ing tatter-y shoes full of cold roadway-ish water, three feet of his sword sideways on the side of his haunch, after the scabbard had ended.
He blest with easy true-wise maiden’s words.
O’Donull blest him in the like of his own words.
O’Donull asked him what was his art?
“I could do harping,” said the Ceabharnach.
“There are twelve men with me,” said O’Donull, “and we will go to look on them.”
(Tha da fhear dheug agam fhéin, ‘s theid sinn a shealtainn orra.)
“I am willing to do that,” said the Ceabharnach.
(Tha mi toileach sin a dheanamh.)
When they went in O’Donull asked them to begin.
“Hast thou ever heard music, oh Ceabharnach, finer than that?”
(An cual thu ceòl riamh, a Ceabharnaich a ‘s brèagha na sin?)
“I came past by the Isle of Cold, and I did not hear a screech in it that was more hideous than that!”
(Thàinig mi seachad air Ifrinn; ‘s cha chuala mi sgread innte ‘s gràinnde na sin!)
“Wouldst thou play a harp thyself, Ceabharnach?” said O’Donull.
(An seinneadh tu féin cruit, a Cheabharnaich?)
“Here is her player, and who should not play!”
(So a sheinneadair! – agus cò nach seinneadair!)
“Give him a harp,” said O’Donull.
(Thugaibh cruit dha.)
“Well canst thou play a harp,” said O’Donull.
(Is math a sheinneas tusa cruit.)
“It is not as thou pleasest but as I please myself, since I am at work.”
(Cha’n ann mar thogras tusa, ach mar a thogras mi féin; oir is mi ‘tha ‘g obair.)
The music of the Ceabharnach put every harper O’Donull had asleep.
“I will be taking fare three well,” said the Ceabharnach to O’Donull.
(Bithidh mis’ a gabhail slàn leat.)
“Thou wilt not do that to me,” said O’Donull, “thou must awaken my men.”
(Cha dèan thu sin ormsa, feumaidh tu mo dhaoine ‘dhùsgadh.)
“I am going to take a turn through Eirinn,” said the Ceabharnach; “if I come the way they will see, and if I come not they will be thus with thee.”
(Tha mi ‘dol a thoirt sgrìob feadh Eirinn, ma thig mi ‘n rathad chi iad, agus mur d’ thig biodh iad mar sin agad féin.)
He left him, and he met with one herding.
“Thy master’s harpers are asleep, and they will not wake till they are awakened. Go thou and awaken them, and thou wilt get what will make a rich man of thee!”
(Tha clàrsairean do mhaighstir ‘nan cadal, agus cha dùisg iad gus an dùisgear iad. Falbh thus’ agus dùisg iad, ‘s gheibh thu na ni duine beartach dhìot!)
“How shall I do that?” asked the herd.
(Cionnus a ni mi sin?)
“Take a tuft of that grass and dip it in water, and shake it on them, and thou wilt awaken them.”
(Gabh bad de’n fheur sin, agus tum ann an uisg’ e, agus crath orr’ e, ‘s dùisgidh tu iad.)
He left the man, and he reached SEATHAN MOR MAC AN IARLE, great Seathan the son of the Earl, thirteen miles on the western side of Lumraig.
He saw a young chap coming; his two shoulders were through his old coat, his two ears through his old hat, his shoes full of cold roadway-ish water, three feet of his sword sideways on the side of his haunch after the scabbard was ended.
He asked him what was his trade? He said that he could do juggling.
“I have jugglers myself; we will go to look on them.”
(Tha cleasaichean agam fein; theid sinn a dh’ amharc orra.)
“I am willing enough,” said the Ceabharnach.
(Tha mi glé dheònach.)
“Shew thy juggling,” said the great Seathan, “till we see it.”
(Nochd do chleasachd, ach am faic sinn e.”
He put three straws on the back of his fist and he blew them off it.
“If I should get half five marks,” said one of the king’s lads, “I would make better juggling than that.”
(Na ‘m faighinn-sa, leith chùig mhairg, dhèanainn cleasachd a b’ fhearr na sin.)
“I will give thee that,” said the Ceabharnach.
(Bheir mise sin duit.)
He put three straws on the back of his fist and the fist went along with the straws.
“Thou art sore, and thou wilt be sore,” said his master; “my blessing on the hand that gave it to thee.”
(Tha thu goirt, agus bidh to goirt, mo bheannachd air an làimh a thug dhuit e.)
“I will do other juggles for thee,” said the Ceabharnach.
(Ni mi cleasachd eile dhuit.)
He caught a hold of his own ear, and he gave a pull at it.
“If I could get half five marks,” said another of the king’s lads, “I would make a better juggle than that.”
(Na ‘m faighinn-sa leith chùig mheirg, dhèannain cleasachd a b’ fheàrr na sin.)
“I will give thee that,” said the Ceabharnach.
(Bheir mise sin duit.)
He gave a pull at the ear and the head came away with the ear.
“I am going away,” said the Ceabharnach.
(Tha mi ‘falbh.)
“Thou wilt not leave my set of men so.”
(Cha ‘n fhàg thu mo chuid daoine-sa agam mar sin.)
“I am for taking a turn through Eirinn. If I come the way I will see them, and if I come not they will be so along with thee.”
(Tha mi ‘dol a thoirt sgrìob feadh Eirinn; ma thig mi ‘n rathad chi mi iad, agus mar d’ thig biodh iad mar sin agad féin.)
He went away, and he met with a man threshing in a barn. He asked him if his work could keep him up.
“It was no more than it could do.”
(Cha mhòr nach b’ uilear dhomh e.)
“I,” said the Ceabharnach, “will make thee a free man for thy life. There are two of thy master’s lads, one with his fist off, and one with his head off. Go there and put them on again, and thy master will make thee a free man for life.”
(Ni mis, duine saor dhìot ri d’ bheò. Tha dithis de ghillean do mhaigstir, ‘s fear ‘s an dorn dheth, agus fear eile ‘s an ceann deth; falbh thus’ agus cuir orr’ iad, ‘s ni do mhaighstir duine saoibhir dhìot ri d’ bheò.)
“With what shall I bring them alive?”
(Co leis a bheir mi beò iad?)
“Take a tuft of grass, hold it in water, shake it on them, and thou wilt heal them.”
(Gabh bad fodair; tum ann an uisg ‘e, crath orr’ e, agus ni thu ‘n leigheas.)
He went away and he came to FEAR CHUIGEAMH MUGHA,1 a nasty man that could not bear a man to go the way of his house, to look at him when he was taking his food. There were twelve men with axes at the outer gate, and twelve men of swords on the inner gate; a porter at the great door.
They saw a young chap coming, his two shoulders through his old coat, his two ears through his old hat, his two squat kick-ering tatter-y shoes full of cold roadway-ish water.
He asked their license in to see Fear Chuigeamh Mugha.
One of them raised his axe to drive his head off, but so it was that he struck it on his own comrade.
They arose on each other till they killed each other; and he came to the men of the sword, one raised his sword to strike off his head, but he cut the head off his comrade with it, and they all fell to slaying each other.
He reached the porter; he caught him by the small of the legs, and he struck his head on the door.
He reached the great man as he sat at his dinner; he stood at the end of the board.
“Oh evil man,” said the king, “great was thy loss before thou camest here!”
(O’ Dhroch Dhuine, bu mhòr do chall mu ‘n d’ thàinig thu ‘n so!)
As he rose to catch hold of his sword to strike his head off. His hand stuck to the sword, and his seat stuck to the chair, and he could not rise; no more could his wife leave her own place. When he had done all he wished he went away, and he met a poor man that was travelling the world.
“If thou wilt take my advice,” said the Ceabharnach, “I will make a lucky man of thee as long as thou art alive.”
(Ma ghabhas tu mo chomhairle-sa, ni mi duine sona dhìot fhad ‘s is beò thu.)
“How wilt thou do that?” said the man.
(Cionnus a ni thu sin?)
“The king and the queen are fast in their chairs; go thou and loose them, and the king will make a great man of thee.”
(Tha ‘n righ agus a’ bhan-righ le ‘m màsan ceangailte ri ‘n caithrichesan; falbh thus’ agus fuasgail iad, agus ni ‘n rìgh duine mòr dhìot.)
“How shall I loose them?”
(Cionnus a dh’ fhuasglas mis’ iad?)
“Shake water on them and they will arise.”
(Crath uisg’ orra agus eiridh iad.)
He went out of that, and he reached ROB MAC SHEOIC MHIC LAGAIN with a pain in his foot for seven years.
He struck palm to bar. The porter asked
“Who was there?”
(Cò bh ‘ann?)
He said there was a leech.
“Many a leech has come,” said the porter. “There is not a spike on the town without a leech’s head but one, and may be it is for thy head that one is.”
(‘S iomadh leighiche ‘thàinig, cha ‘n ‘eil ceann stop ‘s a’ bhaile gun cheann leighich’ ach an t-aon; agus, dh’ fhaododh e ‘bhith gur h-ann airson do chinn-sa ‘tha ‘m fear sinn.)
“It might not be,” said the Ceabharnach. “Let me in.”
(Cha ‘n fhaodadh, leig a stigh mi.)
“What is putting upon thee, Rob?” said the Ceabharnach.
(Ciod a tha ‘cur ort a Rob?)
“My foot is taking to me these seven years. She has beat the leech and leeches.”
(Tha, mo chas a’ gabhail rium o cheann sheachd bliadhna. Dh’ fhairtlich i air leigh agus leighichean.)
“Arise and stretch out thy foot with the stitch,” said the Ceabharnach; “and let’s try if thou canst catch the twelve leeches, or if the twelve leeches will catch thee.”
(Sìn do chas uait, dh’ fheuchainn am beir thu air an da leigh dheug, no ‘m beir an da leigh dheug ort.)
He arose, no man could catch him; and he himself could catch every other one.
“I have but one begotten, a champion of a girl, and I will give her to thee and half my realm.”
(Cha ‘n eil agam ach aon-ghin buadhach nighinn, agus bheir mi dhuit i, agus leith mo rioghachd.)
“Be she good or bad,” said the Ceabharnach, “let her be mine or thine.”
(Math no olc, bidh agamsa no agad fein.)
An order was made for a wedding for the Ceabharnach; but when they had got the wedding in order, he was swifter out of the town than a year-old hare. He came to TAOG O-CEALLAIDH, who was going to raise the spoil of CAILLICHE BUIDHNICHE.
A young chap was seen coming,
his two shoulders through his old coat,
his two ears through his old hat,
his two squat kick-ering tatter-y shoes
full of cold roadway-ish water,
three feet of his sword
sideways on the side of his haunch
after the scabbard was ended.
(Chuncas òglach a’ tighinn,
A dha ghualainn trìd a sheann suanaiche;
A dha chluais trìd a sheann aide;
A dha bhròig cheigeanach, bhreabanach, riobanach,
Làn a dh’ uisge fuar, rodanach;
Tri troidhean dhe ‘n chlaidheamh
Air an taobh siar d’a dheireadh.
An déigh do ‘n truaill teireachdainn.)
“What’s this that puts on thee?” said the Ceabharnach. “Hast thou need of men?”
(Ciod so ‘tha ‘cur ort? Am bheil feum dhaoin’ ort?)
“Thou wilt not make a man for me,” said O-Ceallaidh.
(Cha dèan thusa duine dhomh.)
“Shall I not get a man’s share if I do a man’s share?”
(Nach faigh mi cuid fir ma ni mi cuid fir?)
“What’s thy name?” said Taog.
(C’ ainm a th’ ort?)
“There is on me (the name of) Ceabharnach Saothrach Suarach Siubhail – the servile, sorry, strolling kern.”
(Tha Ceabharnach saothrach, suarach siubhail orm.)
“What art thou seeking for thy service?”
(Ciod a tha thu ‘g iarraidh airson do sheirbhis?)
“I am but asking that thou shouldst not forget my drink.”
(Cha ‘n ‘eil ach gun thu dhèanamh dearmad dibh’ orm.)
“Whence camest thou?”
(Co as a thàinig thu?)
“From many a place; but I am an Albanach.”
(A iomadh àit’m ach is Albannach mi.)
They went to raise the raid of the carlin. They raised the spoil, but they saw the following coming.
“Be stretching out,” said the great Taog to the Ceabharnach, “Thou wilt not make thy legs at least. Whether wouldst thou rather turn the chase or drive the spoil with thy set of men?”
(Bi ‘sìneadh as. Cha dean thusa do chasan so-dhiu. Co ‘is fèarr leat an tòir a philleadh na ‘chreach iomain le d’ chuid daoine.)
“I would not turn the chase, but if the chase would turn, we would drive the spoil at least.”
(Cha phillear an toir ach na ‘m pilleadh an toir dh’ iomaineamaid a’ chreach co-dhiu.)
The Ceabharnach cut a sharp, hard whistle, and the drove lay down on the road.
He turned to meet them. He caught each one of the slenderest legs, and the biggest head, and he left them stretched legs on head. He returned after the spoil.
“Thyself and thy lot of men can hardly drive the spoil.”
(Is dona ‘dh’ iomaineas tu féin agus do chuid daoine chreach.)
“The spoil will never get up,” said Taog.
(Cha ‘n éirich a’ chreach gu bràth.)
He cut a whistle: the drove got up, and he drove it home.
It happened that the great man forgot to give the first drink to the Ceabharnach.
“Mine is the half of the spoil,” said the Ceabharnach.
(Is leamsa leith na creiche.)
“That is more than much for thee,” said the king.
(Tha ‘n sin tuilleadh a’s cus duit.)
“Many a time was I,” said the Ceabharnach, “and Murcha MacBrian hewing shields and splitting blades; his was the half of the spoil, and mine was the other half.”
(Is minig a bha mis’, agus Murchadh MacBrian a gearradh sgiath ‘s a’ sgoltadh lann; bu leis-san leith na creiche, agus bu leam-sa an leith eile.)
“If thou art a comrade of that man, thou shalt have half the spoil,” said the Taog.
(Ma ‘s companach thu do ‘n duine dsin gheibh thu leith na creiche.)
But he went away, and he left themselves and the spoil.
“Health be with thee, oh Ceabharnach. Arise not for ever.”