The Piper and the Cow
This story comes from a 1906 Gaelic book "The History of the Prince" by Iain MacKenzie (who also wrote "Sār Obair nam Bārd Gāelach"). The tale is set in the immediate aftermath of Culloden as a contingent of fleeing MacRaes pass through Glenmoriston on their way back to Kintail. Variations on this tale are found in other districts of the Highlands, so don't take it too literally.
|* Mu' n àm chiadna bha dà-fhear dhiag as piobair de Chlann-Rath a' teicheadh le cabhag as an àrich, rinn am pìobair suidhe ann am badan beag de phreis sheilich a bha ri taobh na slighe chum a phìob a phasgadh suas 'na bhreacan. Cha robh e fàd anns an ionad so 'nuair a thug trùpair a thainig an rathad an aire dha, agus theirinn e bharr an eich chum a mharbhadh, cha robh arm sam bith air a phiopair ach a bhiodag, agus mu 'n deach an trùpair na earalas bha i sàite gu léirg na chorp. An deigh do'n phiobair na bha 'dh'airgead ann am pòc an t-Sasunnaich a thoirt aiste thòisich e air toirt dheth nam bòtan a bha cho teann ma luirgnean is nach tigeadh iad a nios le tarruinn; air ball thug am pìobair làmh air a bhiodaig agus ghearr na casan dheth an t-Sasunnach ma na glùinean, agus thilg se iad ann an lùib a bhreacain maille ris a phiob. Thug e sin as, an deighe chàich, ach cha d'fhuair e fradharc orr'. Ràinig Clann-Rath an òidhche sin Torra-Ghoill ann an Gleann a-Moireaston, far an robh taigh-òsda beag ri taobh na slighe tha treòrachadh gu Cinn-tàile. A thaobh nach robh aite cadail ac' do na h-urraid sin a dhaoine anns an taigh-òsd' chaidh iad a laidhe anns an t-sabhal, agus thuirt iad ris an òsdair, nan rachadh duine sam bith a chuir bruailean orra gu madainn, nach biodh aig ach am bas air son a shaoithreach. Ma mheadhon òidhche ràinig am pìobair Torr a-Ghoill na làn fhalas, agus dh'fheòraich e de 'na mhnaoi-mhuinntir a dh'fhosgail an dorus dha, am fac i "dà Rathach dhiag a gabhail sios an Gleann." Thuirt an cailin gum fac ach nach deach iad fathast seachad gun robh iad nan cadal anns an t-shabhal ud thall; "thèid mi còladh riu," ars am pìobair ; "cha tèid," ars an cailin; "dh'iarr iad gun duine leigeadh air an sgàth gu madainn agus cha bhi e sàbhailt dhut a dhol nan còir, ach ni mis àite laidhe dhut anns a bhà-theach mòran nas seisgeire na th'aca-san." 'Nuair a ghabh am pìobair a bhiadh sa dhrama chaidh e fèin san cailin a mach a thaigh a chruibh, bh'an òidhche ro fhuar agus thuirt am pìobair gun laidheadh e anns a bhualaidh air bial-thaobh na bà-riabhaich, dh'fharraid an cailin, c'arson a dhianadh e sin? Thuirt am piobair gu'n cumadh anail na bà anabharrach blàth e; mar sin shìn se e-fhèn anns a bhualaidh air bial-thaobh na bà, agus chuir a bhean-mhuinntir ultach math feòir air uachdar. Cha luath sa' dh 'fhàg an cailin am bà-theach, chaidh am pìobair air cheann a ghniomha, agus mu'n tàinig an latha chaidh aig air luirgnean an t-Shasunnaich a thoirt as na bòtan, agus thilg e iad anns an fhrasaich air bial-thaobh na bà riabhaich, agus shuain e na bòtan anns a bhreacan maille ris a' phiob. M'a ghlasadh an latha thriall e-fèin agus na Sàilich eile air an turas, agus chaidh nighean an taigh-òsd do'n bhà-theach chum fàilte na madainn a chuir air a phìohair. 'Nuair a rainig an t-àit' an robh fear a cridhe na laidhe, cha'n fhac i an "ionad a Gràidh" ach Luirgnean an t-Sasunnaich. Bhuail i na basan as thog i iorom na truaighe, chaidh i steach far an robh an t-òsdair anns a ghal; dh'fharraid fear an taighe ciod a bha cuir oirre? "Och nan och !" ars ise, “dh'ith a bhò riabhach am pìobair gu lèir bho'n raoir, cha'n 'eil mìr a làthair dheth ach na casan." Air ball leum an t-òsdair a mach le thuaigh na làimh, ghlan spad e bhò agus thiodhlaic se i-fèin agus luirgnean caol' an t-Sasunnaich san aon uaigh !
*Mu'm àm seo bha na Finneachan gu lèir aithichte dha chèile a thaobh a bhreacan sònrachte a bhi air gach duine.
*About the same time, there were 12 men and a piper from the Clan MacRae fleeing from the place (Culloden). The piper took a rest in a willow grove beside the trail in order to wrap his pipes in his plaid. He wasn't long there when a mounted redcoat coming up the road noticed him, and attacked him. The piper had nothing but his dagger, but before the trooper could put up his guard, he was stabbed to death. After the piper had taken the money from the Sasunnach's bag he started trying to remove the boots that were so tight round the knees that he could not pull them off. He took his dagger, cut the legs off the Sasunnach at the knee and threw them in his plaid with his pipes. He took off after the others but didn't manage to catch up with them. That night, the MacRaes reached Torgoyle in Glenmoriston where there was a small inn beside the road to Kintail. Because there wasn't enough space for them all in the inn, they slept in the barn, saying to the inn-keeper that no-one should disturb them till morning or they would be killed for their trouble. About midnight, the piper reached Torgoyle in a sweat and asked of the servant girl would she open the door to him and had she seen 12 MacRaes heading up the Glen. The lass said she had but they hadn't left yet and were asleep in yonder barn. “I'll come with you”, says the piper. “You'll not”, says the lass, “they asked not to let anyone in till morning and it would not be safe for you, but I'll make you a bed in in the stable that will be much more comfortable than they have. After the piper had eaten and had a dram, he and the lass went out to the stable. The night was cold and the piper said that he would lie in the stall in front of the brindled cow. The lass asked why would he do that? The piper said that the breath of the cow would keep him warm. So, he stretched himself out in the stall in front of the cow and the servant girl put a good heap of hay over him. As soon as the lass had left the stable, the piper got on with his task and before daybreak he had managed to extract the Sasunnach's legs from the boots, thrown them in the trough in front of the brindled cow, and bundled the boots with his pipes in his plaid. In the twilight, he and the other MacRaes departed on their road. The daughter of the house went to the stable to wish the piper good morning. When she reached the place where her sweetheart lay, all she saw in her lover's bed were the legs of the Sasunnach. Crying and in great distress she went in to the inn-keeper who asked what was the matter? “Och nan Och”, she says, “the brindled cow has eaten the piper completely last night, there's nothing left except his legs. The inn-keeper leapt up with an axe in has hand, killed the cow and buried it and the Sasunnach's legs in the same grave!
*At this time, the clans knew each other by the distinctive plaids that each one wore.