Reference Number289
TitlePara piobaire, agus Sgeulachdan Eile
AuthorWhyte, John
Date Of Edition1925
Date Of Languageearly 20c
Date Of Language Ed1900-1949
DateMacroEarly 20th c.
Date Of Language Notes
PublisherA. MacLaren (A. Mac Labhruinn)
Place PublishedGlasgow
LocationNational, academic, and local libraries
Geographical OriginsEasdale, Argyll
Geographical Origins EdArgyll
GeoMacroArgyll mainland
Geographical Origins Notes
RegisterLiterature, Prose (Narrative)
Register EdLiterature, Prose
RatingB (TBC)
A representative example of the writings of a fine prolific Gaelic journalist and translator.
Contains a mixture of anecdotes, mainly humorous, suitable for a ceilidh house.
Reflects the Gaelic dialect of Easdale, Argyll.
Alternative Author NameIain Bàn Òg
Manuscript Or EditionEd.
Size And Condition18.1cm x 13cm
Short TitlePara Piobaire
Reference DetailsNLS: 21/1925
Number Of Pages40
Gaelic Text ByN/A
Social ContextJohn Whyte (1842-1913), who wrote under the pen-names Iain Bàn Òg (I.B.O.) and ‘MacMharcuis’ was a prolific Gaelic prose writer. He was a journalist, translator and librarian, and also edited the periodical An Gaidheal. His younger brother was Henry Whyte (1852-1913), ‘Fionn’, who was also a prolific Gaelic writer of stories, songs and essays as well as a translator and editor (see Text 77). John Whyte’s father, also called John Whyte, was manager of the Easdale slate quarries. Moving at an early age to Glasgow from Easdale, Whyte took up employment as a clerk, becoming later an editor of The Gael, a monthly bi-lingual production issued in Glasgow. He contributed to this publication some of the finest pieces in the Gaelic language, as well as numerous translations into that language. Whyte came to the attention of John Murdoch, around 1873, who offered him the job as sub-editor of The Highlander. On The Highlander’s discontinuance, he was then appointed librarian of Inverness Public Library, a position for which he was eminently suited. Having received a post on the staff of the Scottish Leader, he moved to Edinburgh, where he remained for a number of years, returning afterwards to Inverness as editor of The Highland Times. Whyte later joined the staff of The Highland News.
Whyte was best known for his works in the Gaelic field, and as the author of a popular and witty series of articles known as Lachie’s Letters, printed on a regular basis in The Highland News and eventually printed as a volume entitled Lachie’s Letters and the Smiddy Parliament (1911). As a Gaelic scholar he stood high, being an authority of Gaelic orthography. He took a leading part in the production of the revised edition of MacEachen’s Gaelic Dictionary, and collaborated with Alexander MacBain in the production off How to Read Gaelic. Whyte also collaborated with Mary Macpherson (Màiri Mhòr nan Òran) to bring her songs into print, and therefore to a wider public attention. He also rendered assistance on the texts in Reliquiae Celticae (1892-1894). As a translator he had few equals, and gained numerous prizes at Mods of An Comunn Gaidhealach for metrical translations.
Whyte was also an authority on Gaelic music, contributing numerous airs to various periodicals. Both he and his brother Henry were awarded civil list pensions for their services to Gaelic literature. After a long illness, Whyte passed away on 1 August 1913 at his residence in Inverness, and was survived by his widow, a daughter of J. Mackintosh, teacher, Culduthel. They had a family of two sons, one of whom died in 1907, the other being Campbell Whyte, M.A., LL.B., an assistant in the office of Messrs W. and G. Burness W.S., Edinburgh. He was interred in Tomnahurich Cemetery.
ContentsThe contents list appears at the end of the volume (p. 40) and the main text appears after the title page (p. i), divided into the following short chapters: ‘Para Piobaire. Naidheachd Eireannach’ (pp. 1-7); ‘Alnascar’ (pp. 8-9), ‘Am Buachaille-Laogh agus am Ministear’ (pp. 10-11), ‘Blar na Stairsnich’ (pp. 11-15), ‘Mairi agus an t-Admiral’ (pp. 15-17), ‘Turus Pharaig do’n Tigh-Mhor’ (pp. 17-20), ‘Alasdair Sgiobalta, Taillear Lag-an-Droighinn’ (pp. 20-23), ‘An Crannchur. (The Lottery)’ (pp. 23-30), ‘Ciontach—Ach air Mhisg’ (pp. 30-34), ‘Mar Chaidh a Chiad Sionnach do Mhuile’ (pp. 34-36), ‘Damon agus Pitias’ (pp. 37-39).
LanguageAll these short and fairly humorous anecdotes are written with an engaging style and are easy enough to comprehend. Overall the stories are similar to those which would have been once common during ceilidhs, and thus the influence of a story-telling register is easily discernible. At least one of the stories is a migratory legend and contains an animal legend. A moral message (and thus having a didactic influence), appears to inform some of these anecdotes. Two chapters appear to be translations into Gaelic, presumably from unnamed English sources.
There appear a number of idiomatic phrases such as oidhche de na h-oichcheannan (p. 1), ach air do bheatha na fosgail an dorus do dhuine beò (p. 1), “O shiorram ’s a rìgh,” (p. 1), Ni-math ga m’ dhìon! (p. 2), facal air an fhacal mar fhuair mise i (p. 15).
The copula is realised as follows: ’s e (p. 4), chan ann (p. 6), An e (p. 7), chan e (p. 7), gur e (p. 9), ma ’s e (p. 19). Occasionally the passive voice appears such as chithear (p. 2), togar (p. 4), faicear (p. 4), chualas (p. 8), feumar (p. 11), gabhar (p. 33), faighear (p. 38), chunnacas (p. 38). Occasional use of the second plural imperative, e.g., cumaibh (p. 7), Beiribh (p. 7). There is the occasional appearance of an English word usually italicised, e.g., glebe (p. 10), tea (p. 14), pension (p. 23). Very few loan words appear, e.g., cóbuil (p. 3). The text also contains some rare or unusual words, e.g., lunndaire (p. 8), miadhor (p. 8), a’ bhrionglaid (p. 12), eachan (p. 14), ciobhull (p. 14).

The language reflects the Gaelic dialect of Easdale, Argyll.
OrthographyThe spelling conforms generally to the orthography of early twentieth century. Acute and grave accents are both retained. Accents do not appear on capital letters.
EditionFirst edition.
Other Sources
Further ReadingAnon., ‘Death of Mr. John Whyte, Inverness, a well known Gaelic scholar’, The Oban Times, no. 3063 (09 August 1913), 3.
Anon., ‘Death of Mr John Whyte: Creator of “Lachie”’, The Highland Times, no. 893 (07 August 1913), 5.
Anon., ‘The Late Henry Whyte: A Noted Celtic Figure’, The Oban Times, no. 3085 (14 January 1914), 3.
M. M. [MacDonald, Murdoch], ‘Henry Whyte: Fionn’, The Celtic Review, vol. 9, no. 36 (Apr., 1914), 332-36.
Watson, Moray, An Introduction to Gaelic Fiction (Edinburgh, 2011: Edinburgh University Press).
Whyte, John, How to Read Gaelic: Orthographical Instructions and Reading Lessons (Inverness, 1897: The Northern Chronicle Office).
Whyte, John, Lachie’s Letters to the Smiddy Parliament (Inverness, 1911: Walter Alexander).
Link Label
Download File289.pdf