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Metadata for text 295
No. words in text25464
Title Gille a' Bhuidseir / The Wizard’s Gillie
Author Campbell, J. F. (John Francis)
Editor McKay, J. G. (John Gunn)
Date Of Edition 1914
Date Of Language 19th c.
Publisher Saint Catherine Press
Place Published London
Volume N/A
Location National and academic libraries
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Highlands and Islands
Register Literature, Prose
Alternative Author Name Iain Òg Ìle; Campbell of Islay; Iain F. Caimbeul
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 20cm x 13cm
Short Title Gille a' Bhuidseir
Reference Details NLS: T.167.g
Number Of Pages xii, 141
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context The editor of this volume spent a great deal of time working on the unpublished items, mainly oral narratives, collected during the mid-nineteenth century by John Francis Campbell of Islay (see Text 206 for a biography) and his assistants, when compiling his monumental Popular Tales of the West Highlands (1860-62). John Gunn McKay (1849-1942) was born in Knighton, Leicester, on 28 June 1869. He began to study Gaelic in 1887 and was associated with the movement for the preservation of the language all his life. On the death of Campbell of Islay in 1885, most of his unpublished collections, consisting of close on 1,000 tales, were bequeathed to the National Library of Scotland, and there for many years remained almost unknown, until again brought into the light of day through the work of McKay, who spent most of his leisure hours for over twenty-five years in transcribing and studying the tales. He also contributed a number of the tales in Gaelic, with translation into English, in Scottish newspapers, and in Gaelic magazines and journals (see Further Reading below). McKay knew Scottish Gaelic and modern Irish well, and was widely read in folklore literature in both languages and in English. He was entirely devoted to the memory of his beloved Campbell of Islay, and spent a large sum of money over the years in the cause. Amongst other activities McKay collaborated with Edward Dwelly (1864-1939) in his ambitious Gaelic Dictionary (1902-11), and published, at his own expense and at considerable loss, a number of tales from the Campbell of Islay MSS. Just prior to his death a selection of tales from the Campbell collection entitled More West Highland Tales (Edinburgh, 1940) was seen through the press. On 28 February 1942, McKay died suddenly at his home, Framwyn, Sidford, Sidmouth, Devon.
Contents Following the title-page, there appears a dedication to the memory of John Francis Campbell of Islay (p. v) after which the contents list appears (pp. vi-vii). After the preface (pp. viii-ix) and a list of illustrations (p. x), the main bulk of the text appears (pp. 12-141), divided into 11 chapters, where the Gaelic original appears on the left-hand page and the English translation on the opposite page, as follows: ‘Gille a’ Bhuidseir / The Wizard’s Gillie (pp. 12-31); ‘Sliochd an Trì Fichead Burraidh / The Sept of the Tree Score Fools’ (pp. 32-45); ‘Ròlais Chailleach na Cuinneige / The Cogie Carlin’s Rhapsody’ (pp. 48-57);‘Righil an t-Sìthein / the Reel in the Fairy Hill’ (pp. 60-67); Dòmhnull Caol Camshron / Donald Caol Cameron’ (pp. 70-77); ‘Claidheamh Soluis Rìgh Lochlainn / The King of Lochlann’s Sword of Light’ (pp. 80-85); ‘MacMhic Raonuill / MacDonald of Keppoch’ (pp. 88-95); ‘An Triùir a Chaidh a Dh’iarraidh Fios an Anraidh / The Three who Went to Find out what Hardship Meant’ (pp. 98-111); ‘An Saor MacPheigh / The Carpenter MacPheigh’ (pp. 114-29); ‘Fear Gheusdo / The Laird of Geusdo; (pp. 132-41); Each of the items is followed by some detailed notes.
Sources The transcriptions were written from the dictation of each contributor. This may help to explain some inconsistent spellings that appear throughout. Comparison of the manuscripts and the text from which they were extracted may well throw more light on John Gunn McKay’s editorial methodology. As stated in the notes, McKay occasionally collated a few versions to produce a text, but no indication is given by him in his preface with regard to his editorial methodology, other than various interventions. Many of the items, though not all, are given a source, which is usually mentioned in notes following each item. Names of contributors include Roderick MacLean, Kentangval, Barra; Duncan MacColl, dog-gillie, of the Earl of Breadalbane’s; Donald MacDonald, innkeeper, Stoneybridge, South Uist; Lachlan Robertson, Lussay; B. MacAskill, Berneray; and Malcolm MacLean, Lochmaddy, North Uist.
Language The stories in the main reflect an informal, story-telling register and range from fairly simple tales, such as those concerning animal lore, which are told in colloquial style easy enough to comprehend and contain a large amount of direct speech, which lends immediacy to any given theme contained in any given text. The following are examples of the story-telling register, such as in formulaic opening and ending lines, as well as other idiomatic phrases, e.g. O CHIONN tiom fhada (p. 32), BHa cailleach ann uair-eigin a roimhe so (p. 48), Agus sin agaibh mar a fhuair mise an eachdraidh bho sheann seanchaidh a tha beò fhathasd anns a’ Ghleann (p. 66), BHA banrighinn air Lochlann uair, ’s bha triùir mhac aice (p. 80), BHA Triùir Chlann Righ [Bana-phrionnsachan] ann an siod roimhe so, ’s cha robh an athair no am màthair beò, ’s bha iad a’fuireach ann an tigh leò fhéin (p. 98). Very occasionally the subject pronoun occurs with an initial s- stem, e.g., mharbh se e féin (p. 42) and thilg se i (p. 122). Other spellings of note are among the following: co dhiubh (p. 12), dh’ionnsuidh (p. 12), dhuit (p. 12), so (p. 12), a rithisd (p. 14), gu’n (p. 14), gheabh (p. 14), seachduinn (p. 14). chan’eil (p. 14), là’r na mhàireach (p. 14), dhachaidh (p. 14), Am bheil (p. 16), a stigh (p. 16), duitsa (p. 18), siod (p. 20), uait (p. 22), gnothuch (p. 22), mu’n (p. 24), t’athair (p. 24), diubh (p. 26), di (p. 26), tigh (p. 26), daibh (p. 26), de’n (p. 28), domh-sa (p. 28), Ma ta (p. 34), leò (p. 36), turus (p. 36), bitheadh (p. 36), darna (p. 36), tra (p. 36), air bith (p. 38), le bhi (p. 38), nach’eil (p. 40), na ta (p. 40), bho’n and o’n (p. 48), h-aghart (p. 48), an dràdsa (p. 48), fathasd (p. 48), deth (p. 50), airgiod (p. 50), mu chò (p. 52), dhòigheannan (p. 52), a’smuainteachadh (p. 52), tràth-nòin (p. 54), féin (p. 54), rud-eigin (p. 54), solus (p. 60), ciod (p. 60), beulaobh (p. 60), fagus (p. 70), Cataobh (p. 70), ràdhuinn (p. 70), maith (p. 72), saighid (p. 72), coillidh (p. 74), naigheachd (p. 76), dara (p. 80), comh-chruinneachadh (p. 82), uirre (p. 84), nunn (p. 88), cheudna (p. 88), diot-maidne (p. 102), staighir (p. 102), luigh (p. 102), air ni air bith (p. 116), cia air bhith (p. 116), troimh (p. 118), air dhòigh (p. 120), leithsgeul (p. 126), pilleadh (p. 126), trath-oidche (p. 132), duinn (p. 134), gu brathach (p. 134). The text appears to be free of typographical errors and neither does it contain rare or unusual words.

An attempt has been made to reflect the different dialects of Gaelic from the various reciters.
Orthography The orthography conforms to the late-nineteenth century whereby the grave and acute accents are retained. Accents are shown very occasionally on capital letters.
Edition First edition.
Further Reading Bennett, Margaret, ‘John Francis Campbell of Islay: Iain Og Ile’, Journal of the Clan Campbell Society, no. 29 (2002), 1-7.
Campbell, John Francis, More West Highland Tales, vol. 1, ed. by John G. McKay, W. J. Watson, Donald Maclean and H. J. Rose (Edinburgh, 1940: Oliver & Boyd).
Campbell, John Francis, More West Highland Tales, vol. 1, ed. by John G. McKay, Angus Matheson, John MacInnes, H. J. Rose and Kenneth H. Jackson (Edinburgh, 1960: Oliver & Boyd).
Delargy, James H., ‘Three Men of Islay’, Scottish Studies, vol. 41(1960), 126-33.
Delargy, James H., ‘Review: Gaelic Folktales’, The Scottish Historical Review, vol. 41, pt. 2 (Oct., 1962), 144-48.
Dorson, Richard M., The British Folklorists: A History (London, 1968: Routledge).
Evans, D. Wyn, John Francis Campbell, of Islay, 1822-1885, and Norway ([n.p.], 1963: [n. pub.]).
McKay, J. G. ‘Gaelic Folktale’, Folklore, vol. 36, no. 2 (Jun., 1925), 151-73.
McKay, J. G., ‘Uisdean Mór MacGille Phàdruig’, Béaloideas, vol. 9, no. 1 (Jun., 1939), 36-37.
McKay, J. G., ‘Baillidh Lunnainn’, Béaloideas, vol. 8, no. 2 (1938), 226-32.
McKay, J. G., ‘Scottish Gaelic Parallels to Tales and Motifs in “Béaloideas”, vols. I and II’, Béaloideas, vol. 3, no. 2 (1931), 139-48.
McKay, J. G., ‘Nighean Righ na Frainge / The Daughter of the King of France’, Béaloideas, vol. 4, no. 3 (1934), 292-98.
McKay, J. G., ‘Three West Highland Tales’, Béaloideas, vol. 4, no. 4 (1934), 396-402.
Mackay, Margaret A. ‘Here I Am in Another World: John Francis Campbell and Tiree’, Scottish Studies, vol. 32 (1993), 119-24.
Maciver, Iain F. Lamplighter and Story-teller: John Francis Campbell of Islay 1821-1885 (Edinburgh, 1985: National Library of Scotland).
MacThomais, Frang, ‘The Fairy Egg—And What Came Out Of It’, For A Celtic Future: A Tribute to Allan Heusaff (Dublin, 1983: The Celtic League), 27-40.
Nutt, Alfred, ‘The Campbell of Islay MSS, at the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh’, Folk-Lore, vol. 1 (1980), 369-81.
Pratt, James A., ‘Campbell, John Francis, of Islay (1821?-1885)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 9 (Oxford, 2004: Oxford University Press), 835.
Rose, H. J., ‘John George McKay’, Folk-lore, vol. LIII, no. 3 (Sep., 1942), 174.
Shaw, John, ‘The Collectors: John Francis Campbell and Alexander Carmichael’ in Isla Jack (ed.), The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature: Enlightenment, Britain and Empire (1707-1918) (Edinburgh, 2007: Edinburgh University Press), 347-52.
Thompson, Frank G., ‘John Francis Campbell’, Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, vol. LIV (1984-86), 1-57.
Thompson, Frank G., ‘John Francis Campbell’, Folklore, vol. 101 (1990i), 88-96.
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