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Metadata for text 120
No. words in text17224
Title An Seòl air an Glacar agus an Gréidhear an Sgadan; agus air an Gréidhear an Trosg, an Langa, an Traille, agus am Falmair
Author (Lauder, Sir Thomas Dick)
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1846
Date Of Language 1800-1849
Publisher T. Constable
Place Published Edinburgh
Volume N/A
Location National and academic (Glasgow) libraries.
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Aberdeenshire
Register Education, Prose
Alternative Author Name Lauder, an Ridire Tomas Dic
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 16.3cm x 10cm. Bound in larger volume.
Short Title Seòl air an Glacar
Reference Details NLS: 3.2638(3)
Number Of Pages iv + 66 (Pages 1-66 are numbered 1, 1, 2, 2, … 33, 33, to take account of the fact that Gaelic and English text is printed on facing pages.)
Gaelic Text By MacGregor, Rev. Alexander
Illustrator N/A
Social Context This volume comprises Sir Thomas Dick Lauder’s Directions for Taking and Curing Herrings; and for Curing Cod, Ling, Tusk, and Hake together with a facing Gaelic translation by Rev. Alexander MacGregor.

Alexander MacGregor was born at Glengairn in Aberdeenshire in 1806. He was the only son of Robert MacGregor (born in Fortingall in 1767), who was a missionary at Glengairn, and who later became minister of Kilmuir in Skye (1822). At the age of 12, MacGregor began his studies at the University of Aberdeen and he became an esteemed scholar. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Skye, and ordained to the parish of Kilmuir in 1844, succeeding his father as minister there. It was Alexander MacGregor who wrote the entry for Kilmuir which was published in the New Statistical Account. In 1845, he turned down an offer to go to Applecross, and in 1846 he married Catherine MacGregor. They had 8 children: 3 boys and 5 girls. In 1853, MacGregor became minister of West Church in Inverness.

The Am Baile website informs us that MacGregor ‘wrote extensively in Gaelic on many subjects including Highland history, traditions, language and literature. He published articles in The Celtic Magazine, An Gàidheal, The Highlander, and the Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness. His books include The Life of Flora MacDonald and The Heroine of the ’45’. MacGregor’s pen name was Sgitheanach, and he also translated the Apocrypha into Gaelic, at the request of Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte. Rev. Alexander MacGregor died in 1881. More information about MacGregor can be found in TGSI 61, 1998-2000 (pp. 1-24) and information about his father can be found in TGSI 33, 1925-27 (pp. 2-43).

The Gaelic translation in this edition was approved by Rev. Norman M‘Leod in Glasgow. In a letter published at the beginning of the book, MacGregor declares that this translation was ‘one of the most difficult tasks I ever attempted. It would have been an easy matter to make a loose, free, and rambling translation, (as is too generally done in such cases) full of provincial phraseology, and such as would be intelligible only in certain districts of the Highlands. It was my first objective completely to guard against that, and to give a translation in pure classical language, which must be understood in all quarters where Gaelic is spoken. Another difficulty arose in rendering it pure, and at the same time plain to the capacity of the humblest reader. The number of technical expressions in the excellent Treatises, and the difference in the idioms in the two languages, made it no easy matter to convey the spirit of the original into translation, in plan, and at the same time, in almost literal terms. I flatter myself, however, that I have successfully attained that very desirable object’ (p. 4).
Contents This text consists of three chapters, the first of which is divided into a number of sections. The English and Gaelic texts are presented on facing pages, and the corresponding pages are given the same page number. Thus, p. 10 is given both to the English text and to the Gaelic facing text. The three chapters are as follows:

An Seòl air an Còir an Sgadan a Ghlacadh agus a Ghréidheadh (pp. 1-23), which includes sections on Iasgairean (pp. 3-10), Luchd-Gréidhidh (pp. 10-11), Luchd-Cutaidh (pp. 11-13), Luchd-Saillidh (pp. 14-16), Na Cùbairean (pp. 16-18), and Ath-Shailleadh an Sgadain (pp. 18-23). Pp. 21-23 look at the distinguishing characteristics of young herring, as opposed to Sprat or Garvie, and include an explanatory diagram.

An Seòl air an Còir an Trosg, an Langa, an Traille, agus am Falamair, a Ghréidheadh (pp. 24-31), which discusses different methods of curing various types of fish.

An Seòl air an Còir an Trosg, an Langa, an Traille, agus am Falmair, a Ghréidheadh, Fliuch, no ann am Piceal (pp. 32-33), which also discusses methods of curing various types of fish.
Sources A translation of Sir Thomas Dick Lauder’s English text, Directions for Taking and Curing Herrings; and for Curing Cod, Ling, Tusk, and Hake.
Language MacGregor’s writing is clear and concise, and closely follows the English text. The first paragraph explains the concept of the book, and shows MacGregor’s style: ‘Tha Sgadan ùr, an uair a bhitheas e ann an deagh chuladh, ’n a bhiadh saor, blasda, agus fallain, agus tha e luachmhor mar theachd-an-tìr, an uair a bhitheas e gu h-ealamh agus gu ceart air a ghréidheadh. Ach tha luach an Sgadain do thaobh so, gu h-iomlan an crochadh ri staid an éisg an uair a ghlacar e, agus ris an ealamhachd agus a’ chùram a ghnàthaichear ’n àm a bhi ’g a ghréidheadh’ (p. 1).

This text is a valuable source of words and expressions relating to the process of catching and curing herring and other types of fish. It includes words and expressions relating to boats, nets, catching and handling fish, gutting and packing fish, types of fish, and fish anatomy. For example, Lauder distinguishes three ‘classes’ of herring: ‘Maties’, ‘Full Fish’ and ‘Spent or Shotten Fish’, which MacGregor translates as sgadan glan, sgadan salach and sgadan ruithte (p. 1). MacGregor also uses the terms Sgadan saillte no Sgadan piceilte (p. 2) and Sìol an sgadain, agus an Gearr-sgadan (p. 21).

With regard to the fishing boats, we are told ‘Bu chòir an t-eithear a bhi air a deagh uidheamachadh, agus gu h-iomchuidh air a tearradh, agus an tearr a bhi gu maith air a tiormachadh mu’n tig àm an ìasgaich. … Tha e ’na nì ro fhéumail gu’m biodh na h-eithrichean gu leír air an uidheamachadh le pìobaibh-taosgaidh leis am féudar gach eithear éu-dìonach a chumail tioram’ (p. 4) … ‘Tha bùird-rongach, sparran-coise, agus clàran-siubhail, ’nan nithibh ro fhéumail ann an eithrichibh chum an t-ìasg a ghleidheadh tearuinte’ (pp. 4-5). Technical terms used include crànn-mòr, a’ phiob-thaosgaidh, crànn-sgoìd, and na crannaibh-tiormachaidh (p. 8).

Under the heading Iasgairean (pp. 3-10), Lauder mentions the most suitable type of clothing for fishermen at sea: ‘Bn [sic] chòir còta agus triubhas cainbe, air an deagh ùilleadh, agus mar an céudna bòtan freagarrach a bhi aig gach fear;—agus nam faigheadh gach ìasgair fa leth an comhdach-cìnn sin, ris an abrar Currachd-tearnadh Dhunédin, air son an d’fhuair Mr. Simpson, a dhealbh e an toiseach, litir-còrach o’n chrùn;—agus maille ri so, ’nam faigheadh gach ìasgair an t-uidheam-tearnaidh sin, a ta nis air a dheasachadh air son Freiceadain a’ Chòrsa, rachadh iomadh beatha a thearnadh, a bhiodh a’s éu’gais sin, air an call’ (p. 5).

Under Luchd-Cutaidh (pp. 11-13), we find a description of the Dutch method of gutting fish, which includes the following advice: ‘Is còir an sin, an greallach a ghlùasad gu socarach, agus gréim a ghabhail do’n mhionach, agus do na h-itibh-broillich eadar uilt na coraig agus a’ mheoir-meadhoin, agus le spìonadh grad fàgar am mionach an crochadh a mach as an ìasg, agus tuitidh na giùrain, na h-ite-toisich, an cridhe, an grùan, agus gach ni eile, a stigh ann an glaic na làimh’ (p. 13). We also find the terms suidheachadh na h-ite-dhroma and air an ite-bhléin (p. 22).

With regard to barrels for storing salted fish, the advice includes: ‘Bu chòir do na baraillibh a bhi air an deanamh a dh’ fhiodh air a dheagh chaoineachadh, agus bu chòir aire a thoirt gu’n deanar dìonach iad aig an eàrr, agus eadar na clàran, leis an luibh-uisge sin ris an abrar an gàll-sheilisdeir, no an luachair-mhòr, a chum gu’n gléidhear a’ chéud phiceal, ge b’e ciod a thachaireas’ (p. 16) … ‘An sin, tha’m baraill air a dhùnadh, air a dhìonachadh, agus air a theannachadh. Cuirear na cearcaill gu gramail air an dà cheann, agus daingnichear iad le cearcall làidir ìaruinn, òirleach air léud, a chur air gach ceann. Tha na cearcaill-eàrra, an sin, air an tàirneadh, agus le sin criòchnaichear làn-cheangladh nam baraillean’ (p. 19).

Lauder also mentions drying fish, and explains the method used in Yorkshire: ‘Tha luchd-gréidhidh Siorramachd York a’ gnàthachadh bhearta-tiormachaidh, a ta air an deanamh le spealtaibh fiodha air an togail air puist tri troidhean air àirde’ (p. 29).

Other terms of interest include a’ [recte á] soitheach-tomhais a’ Chrainn anns an t-soitheach-cudaidh (p. 10), na sgeinean-cutaidh (p. 11), na clabhacha-masgaidh (p. 15), bùill chòrcaich (p. 20), cromagaibh-gramachaidh (p. 20), and na biadhannan agus na magharan (p. 24).
Orthography The orthography is typical of the mid-nineteenth century. Both accents are used. The translator’s dialect is not apparent in this text. As noted in Social Context above, MacGregor sought to ‘give a translation in pure classical language, which must be understood in all quarters where Gaelic is spoken’ (p. 4).
Edition First edition.
Other Sources
Further Reading Kidd, Sheila, ‘The Rev. Alexander MacGregor: The writer behind the pen-names’, TGSI 61, 2003, pp.1-24.
Robertson, Rev. Charles M., ‘Gaelic Poems collected in Braemar, and Original Songs composed by the Rev. Robert MacGregor and Mr Alex. MacGregor’, TGSI 33, 1925-27, pp. 2-43.
Scot, Hew, Fasti Ecclesiae Scotticanae, Vol. VI, 1926, p. 463.
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