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Metadata for text 69
No. words in text101791
Title Aig Tigh na Beinne
Author G[rant], K[atherine] W[hyte]
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1911
Date Of Language 1900-1949
Publisher Hugh MacDonald (Oban) and Alex. M’Laren & Son (Glasgow)
Place Published Oban and Glasgow
Volume N/A
Location National and academic libraries
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Argyll
Register Literature, Prose and Verse
Alternative Author Name Catrìona Nic-'Ille-Bhàin Ghrannd
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 18.7cm x 13cm
Short Title Aig Tigh na Beinne
Reference Details EUL, Celtic Library: LI G KWG
Number Of Pages 283
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Katherine Whyte was born on 11th April 1845 to Henry Whyte from Bonawe and Mary MacIsaac from Oban. She was the fifth of twelve children, three of whom died at a very young age. Her father was a schoolteacher and Congregational lay missionary in Appin, and he later became minister to the Congregational church there, a post which his brother had previously held. At some point between 1848 and 1851, the family moved to Granite Lodge in Appin. In September 1863, Katherine married William Grant of Huntly in Aberdeenshire, and they set up home in Oban. Both William and their daughter Mary died early, and Katherine found herself childless and widowed at the age of twenty-one.

Although Henry Whyte was a Gaelic speaker, his other children seem not to have learned the language. However, Katherine developed a keen interest in Gaelic language and culture, learning the language to fluency, and becoming a prolific writer and translator of stories, poems, and short plays. Her first cousins, John Whyte and Henry Whyte, also became prolific Gaelic writers, as did Henry Whyte’s daughter, Annetta Campbell Whyte.

It is possible that at some point Katherine took a position as a governness. It is likely that she travelled extensively, and probably visited her brother Charles in New South Wales. Among her literary achievements, Katherine translated Schiller’s William Tell from German into Gaelic. An Fheadag was translated from The Whistler. She won a number of essay prizes from the Caledonian Medical Journal: in 1902 for ‘Influence of Climate and Scenery on the Music and Poetry of the Highlands’, and in 1904 for her essays, two of which were published in the Caledonian Medical Journal: ‘The influence of Climate … Highlands’ (1902) and ‘Old Highland Therapy’ (1904). She also won the Clan Macnab prize for her essay ‘Historic Notes … Macnab’ (1911). She also wrote a number of stories and plays for children, including Dùsgadh na Féinne and An Sgoil Bheag ’s a’ Mhaighdean Mhara. This volume, which contains a selection of stories, essays and poems, includes what she considered to be the best of her work. Katherine Whyte Grant died in Oban in August 1928.
Contents This volume begins with a Roimh-Ràdh by the author (p. 4), and a Clàr-Amais (pp. 5-6). There follows thirteen original stories and essays (pp. 9-180); two stories translated from Hans Andersen and two stories translated from English (pp. 183-94); thirteen original poems (pp. 197-229); and 26 poems translated from the works of a number of different authors, including Johann Friedrich Schiller and Paul Gerhardt (pp. 233-76). In the Fath-Sgrìobhadh (pp. 279-82), the author explains how she came to write three of the stories, Clach na Lànain, Mòrag, and Duilleag á Linn mo Sheanamhar. This volume finishes with a one-page Glossary (p. 283) giving us the Gaelic names for 6 types of shell, 8 types of bird, and four miscellaneous terms.

The first of Katherine Whyte Grant’s stories, Moileag (pp. 9-32), concerns a little girl who is kidnapped by gypsies but who is eventually reunited with her parents. There are three stories about Iain Ciar. In Iain Ciar agus an Robair (pp. 72-78), Iain’s estate is taken from him during the Jacobite Rebellions and he travels to Ireland to ask his friend for help. On the way, he kills a robber who had been terrifying people in the woods, and claims the reward. The other two stories are entitled Mu Iain Ciar ’s A’ Bhan-Fhrangach (pp. 79-84) and Ogha Iain Chiair an Eirinn (pp. 85-89). Turus Eoghain Bhain Do’n Roinn Eorpa (pp. 90-117) comprises a number of short chapters describing the different things that Ewen and his family saw and did in Europe.

Seann Sgeul mu Cholagainn (pp. 118-28) is described as being the true story of an event that took place between 1720 and 1740. The author claims to have heard the story from a descendant of one of the men who witnessed the event. The story is told in the form of a play and it follows the inhabitants of Colagainn as they divide up the peat banks and find the body of a merchant in one of the peat bogs. The men of the village are put on trial by touching the body in the church, in order that God might reveal who was guilty (p. 125). Cailleach Bheur (pp. 129-39) tells stories around the cailleach mhòr, mhòr, a thàinig a nuas a Lochlann with earth and rocks in her creel, with which to make Scotland. Tobraichean Seunta na Gaidhealtachd (pp. 140-49) begins by looking at the different peoples who have inhabited Scotland, from the Picts, to the Celts, and the Romans, before looking at some of the sacred wells that can still be found in the Highlands. It also looks at how they are, and were, used. Duilleag a Linn Mo Sheanamhar comprises 20 pages of beul-aithris which the author heard from her grandmother, who was born in 1774 in Latharn-ìochdrach (p. 150). The passage is written in her grandmother’s words, gach pung mar a dh’innseadh leatha fhéin (p. 150).

The translated stories are fairly short (between 2 and 4 pages each). They include An Cruithneachd Sarrasin (pp. 183-85), which tells the story of how the buckwheat was struck by lightning and burnt because it was too proud to bend its head during a storm, and An Righ agus an Cocaire Albannach (pp. 193-94) about the cook who came to the King’s rescue by confirming a Bible passage that the King had recited, after the minister had said that it did not exist.

The author’s own poems include Ceilidh Dhun-I (pp. 197-205) in which Coibhi (a druid), Oisean, and St. Columba meet on top of Iona’s tallest hill, and discuss how the world has changed over the generations, and Briseadh na Faire (pp. 227-29) which tells the story of Iarl Roberts who, on his way home from Africa after leading a sucessful campaign against the Boers, stopped off at Port Elizabeth where he met with a carnival of people who had come to welcome him. The school children were arranged in a big circle which the Earl entered and rode around in his carriage.

The translated poems include Schiller’s Gearan a’ Bhàird (pp. 234-35) where the poet stays at home for the day while the rest of the family go out, only to find that all the cupboards have been locked and he has no access to food or drink, and Deanaibh Faire from Ezekiel and Other Poems (pp. 245-48). A number of the translated poems are on a religious theme, such as Dàn nan Aingeal, a translation of It came upon the Midnight Clear (pp. 252-53), An Eaglais agus an Saoghal (pp. 267-71), and Laoidh Do’n Chloinn (p. 276).
Sources
Language This volume contains a wide range of vocabulary. There are numerous descriptive passages, e.g. ‘Fo dhìon creige mòire, ri taobh deisearach Beinn Eilde, bha tighein beag tubha, le plèadan de fheur mìn mu choinneamh an doruis’ (p. 9), ‘Choinnich na neòil dìreach os cionn an t-srath, ’s mur ann a sin a bha ’n sadadh ’s an sracadh, mur ann a sin a bha ’n toirm ’s an tein’-adhair! Mac-talla nam beann, mar gu ’m b’ eadh, ’g am brosnachadh, agus na tuiltean ruadh a’ teàrnadh ’n an steallaibh a dh’ ionnsuidh nan tonn a bha ’beuchdaich a nìos, ’s ’g am briseadh fhéin ’n an caoir air a’ chladach’ (p. 72), and ‘Ach, mo thruaigh, a’ choille a bha cho àillidh gus a nis! Bha am beithe ’s an t-uinnseann air dhath an òir, bha na craobhan caorainn mar lasair am measg a’ chaltuinn, bràigh a’ ghlinne, ach cha bhiodh duilleag air fhàgail air géig dhiubh’ (p. 72-73).

The author states in the Roimh-Ràdh that she has kept to an t-sean dòigh-sgrìobhaidh (p. 4) as children are so used to it from reading the Bible, and because many of the stories in this book she heard as beul-aithris from her grandmother or from someone else. The stories are generally written in a style reminiscent of story-telling in the taigh cèilidh, as in ach bha ’n oidheirp air fuineadh mar nach b’olc (p. 10), Cha’n iarr mi na’s feàrr na cothrom na Féinne (p. 76), and Mur d’ fhuair Iain Ciar fàilte chridheil, agus an deagh ghabhail aige, ’s neònach leams’ e (p. 78). The author’s writing shows many effective turns of phrase, e.g. ‘Chaidh an éirigh a chur fodha, agus, mar a thachair do iomadh duin’-uasal eile aig an àm sin, chaidh ’oighreachd thoirt uaith, agus binn fògraidh a thoirt a mach ’n a aghaidh’ (p. 74), cha bhi feum air coingheall iarraidh (p. 75), na’m biodh fios aige nach robh ann ach aon bhonn sè sgillinn (p. 76), Tha i sin cho math nach toirinn seachad i air a dà luach (p. 119), airson té d’ a leth-bhreac (p. 120), cha dean e mùthadh air an t-saoghal leamsa (p. 121), and Cha d’ fhuair aon sgillinn—Uibhir ’s feòirling deth! (p. 126).

The direct speech in the text gives an effective representation of spoken Gaelic, e.g. A chiall mo chridhe, dean faighidinn (p. 10), Cuisd thusa, ’ghaoilein (p. 11), ’fheara (p. 15), Dean deas, ma tà (p. 76), ’de’n saod a th’ oirbh an diugh (p. 119), and cha ’n ’eil fhios nach deanadh iad suaip rium (p. 120).

The stories and poems contain frequent references to nature and the weather as can be seen from some of the above quotations. Other examples include ‘B’ fhada ’bha ’n latha gun triall, bha ’ghrian aig iomall nan cuaintean, \ Dh’fhosgail rionnag a sùil ’s an liath-ghorm a b’àluinne shuas, \ Mar chloinn air broilleach am Màthar, le anail na sìth’ air an cluaintean, \ Bha na h-Innse-Gall ’n an laidhe ag éisdeachd ri crònan nan stuadh’ (p. 197), and ‘Is trom ’tha ’n t-uisge ’sileadh \ O speura gruamach, ciar, \ Is tuirseach fuaim na gaoithe \ A’ séideadh fuar o’n iar’ (p. 206).

The translated poems also contain terms and expressions relating to religion, e.g. Aingeal na Tròcair (p. 169), ‘Eirich, a Thrian nam feart; \ Eirich, a Dhé ar neart’ (p. 272), and ‘Gabh ri m’ bheatha, O a Dhé, \ Biodh i coisrigte Dhuit Féin’ (p. 273). Tobraichean Seunta na Gaidhealtachd (pp. 140-49) includes such statements as eadar linn Bhreitheamhan Israeil agus linn Mhaois (p. 140), am measg nan slòigh neo-Airigheanach an Africa, ’s na h-Innsean, agus Eileanan lìonmhor Cuan-na-Sìthe (p. 140-41), na Cruithnich (p. 141), air na h-Iberianaich (p. 141), and ‘anns na leigheasan a bhuineas do shaobh-chreideamh ar dùthcha, agus chuidich leth-oireachd nam beann ’s nan gleann gu so uile a chumail an cuimhne nan Gàidheal’ (p. 141).

Other expressions of interest include Bidh tu air fannachadh (p. 14), ciste mhòr mhine ris an abrar geàirneal (p. 18), B’ fheudar do Shìne seasamh air leth-taobh (p. 20), tha sibh air tighinn chuige (p. 21), a bha an dlùth-chàirdeas ri (p. 74), slighe ath-ghoirid (p. 74), toirisgian (p. 118), suidheagan (p. 119), sgian sheoc (p. 119), bho’n mharsanta-phac (p. 119), bac ‘peat bank’ (p. 123), fir eile ’n an cròithlein a’ cur croinn, an déigh dhoibh an t-áite-mòine ’roinn ’na chuibhrionnan co-ionann (p. 120), a’ gluasad ’s a’ guracail (p. 121), Am Breitheamh Uile-léirsinneach (p. 125), and b’ i cùbhrainn bhàn a bhiodh e ’caitheamh (p. 151).

The text also contains a number of words and phrases that have, or may have, been borrowed from English. For example, we find ribein (p. 19), ’S tusa, ’Ghràidh, a rinn an tùrn math dhomhsa ’n diugh (p. 21), boinionnach a thàinig á tigh dlùth aig làimh (p. 75), and Cha robh tiota ri chall (p. 77).
Orthography The author’s dialect may be reflected in the use of such terms as na h-uile (p. 4), urball (p. 9), thoir a stigh fòid no dithis (p. 10), innseadh (p. 14), and faraid (e.g. p. 119). The author frequently uses aon for emphasis, e.g. aon smid tuilleadh (p. 79) and gach aon againn (p. 79). Note also Tha mi duilich nach tiuc “Uilleam Tell” ’s an leabhar so (p. 4), los nach toireadh i sguidse do churrac geal grinn a màthar (p. 9), bha fadal oirre a h-athair fhaicinn, cuideachd; oir bha a cridhe leagta air (p. 10), matà (p. 10), na figheadairean crìona (p. 10), Cha bhi gu ceann fhada (p. 10), a’ gluasad a suas agus a nuas (p. 12), Chual’ i guthanna nam fear (p. 14), Mu’m b’ urrainn di (p. 14), gun dol a chòir na h-aibhne (p. 15), ’s e sin a h-uile car (p. 15), am feadh a bha iad a’ rùrach a’ bhùth (p. 20), A nunn ghabh Marsaili far an robh i (p. 22), ’S maith (p. 72), fhuair se e fhèin (p. 74), an déigh Eirinn a ruigheachd (p. 74), ri smuainteachadh (p. 76), an dùbhra na coille (p. 77), cha robh a h-aon diubh a’ buidhinn air an aon eile (p. 76), cò an t-eascaraid a rinn an gnìomh (p. 77), “An e sin na bheil ann” (p. 78), air an là màireach (p. 79), and gus an là-diugh (p. 13). Also of interest is the author’s use of a chionn nach robh (p. 73) but also a chionn bha (p. 75).

Other points of linguistic interest include the following: feàrr is sometimes lenited, e.g. ’s fheàrr dol ann, but sometimes not, e.g. ciod is feàrr (both p. 15). The impersonal-passive form of the imperfect-conditional tense ends in -teadh, e.g. chluinnteadh (p. 16), theirteadh (p. 151).

The orthography of this volume is characteristic of the early twentieth century.
Edition First edition.
Other Sources
Further Reading Macbean, Lachlan, The Celtic Who’s Who (Kirkcaldy, 1920: The Fifeshire Advertiser Limited).
Black, Ronald, An Tuil (Edinburgh, 1999: Polygon).
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