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TITLE
The Small Piece with Blessing
EXTERNAL ID
HC_GAELICSTORYTAPE_005
DATE OF RECORDING
1997
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
The Highland Council
ASSET ID
2336
KEYWORDS
oral tradition
folklore
stories
Gaelic
story telling
audio

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This story is recorded in Gaelic and the following is an English translation.

The Small Piece with Blessing.

Long, long ago there was a poor woman who had three daughters.

One day the eldest one said to her mother, "I might as well go away now to seek my fortune."

"If you intend to do that", said her mother, "I shall bake a bannock that you will take with you."

When the bannock was ready her mother said to the daughter, "Which do you prefer - the little piece with my blessing or the large piece with my curse?"

"I shall take the large piece and your curse", replied the daughter.

She got what she had chosen. Off she went, quite heartily, and she continued walking all day. At nightfall, when she was worn out with tiredness and hunger she sat down in the shade of a wall to eat the bannock. As soon as she began to eat it who should appear but twelve puppies and the birds of the air, and they gathered around her.

"Will you not give us part of the bannock?" they asked.

"Indeed and I will not, you ugly brutes", she replied, "it's little enough for myself."

"May you have our curse", they all said, "but your mother's curse is the worst for you altogether."

The piece of bannock did not satisfy half her hunger but in any case she got up and set off again. After a while she saw a small house far away from her but though it was far from her she was not long in reaching it. As soon as she reached it she knocked loudly on the door.

"Who is out there?" shouted someone inside.

"A good servant looking for a master", she replied.

"That's exactly what we need", said the voice inside. "Come in here so that we can see you." She was taken on immediately. The work she was to have was to sit up every night, all night, with the brother of the woman of the house, as he was under a spell. The wages she was to have were a peck of gold and a peck of silver. But in addition to that she had as many nuts as she could break, as many needles as she could lose, as much thread as she could sew, as many candles as she could burn, a bed with green silk underneath her and over her and freedom to sleep all day.

The first night, when she was keeping watch did she not fall asleep. The woman of the house, her mistress, came in and struck her with the magic wand. She fell down in a heap, as if she were dead, and she was thrown out to the back of the house.

One day the second daughter said to her mother, "Don't you think that I might as well follow my sister now and go off to seek my fortune?"

"If that is what you intend to do I had better bake a bannock for your journey."

She did that, as she had done before. The second daughter asked for the larger piece and her mother's curse along with it, just as her sister before her had done.

Finally, the youngest daughter said to her mother, "Don't you think that I had better now follow my sisters and go to seek my fortune?"

If that is what you intend to do", replied her mother, "I shall bake a bannock for your journey."

When the bannock was cooked, her mother asked the daughter which she preferred, the little piece and her mother's blessing or the larger piece with her curse. She chose the little piece and her blessing, and she set off on her journey. She walked all day and she was worn out with tiredness and hunger. At nightfall she sat in the shelter of a wall to eat what she had taken with her of the bannock, and that was not much.

As happened before, the twelve puppies appeared, and the little birds of the air, and they gathered around her.

"Will you give us part of that?" they asked.

"Indeed I shall do so, you lovely creatures", she replied, "there is plenty here for all of us!"

She gave them their share of the bannock. They all ate their share and they and she got their fill.

They then came up close to her and they kept her warm all night.

When morning came she set off again and after a while she saw a little house far away from her. Although it was far away from her it did not take her long to reach it. When she reached the house she knocked loudly on the door.

"Who is outside there?" someone shouted, inside.

"A good servant looking for a master", she replied.

"That is just what we need", said the voice inside. "Come in here so that we can see you."

She was taken on immediately. The wages were a peck of gold and a peck of silver. But in addition to that she had as many nuts as she would break, as many needles as she would lose, as many thimbles as she would make a hole in them, as much thread as she would sew, as many candles as she would burn, a bed with green silk underneath her and over her. The work she was to have was staying up with a brother of the woman of the house, as he was under a spell.

She sat keeping watch on the dead man, and sewing. At midnight he woke up and made to get up.

"If you don't lie down right now I'll give you a knock with this stick", she said. He lay down but after a while he rose again on his elbow. He rose a third time and she gave him a hard blow with the stick. As soon as she did so the stick stuck to the man, her hand stuck to the stick, and off they went.

They carried on until they were going through the forest. When she was low, he was high and when she was high, he was low. The nuts were taking out their eyes and the sloes were taking their ears off; but at long last they got through the forest. After they got out of the forest they returned to her master's house. She got the peck of gold and the peck of silver. She also got a cure which she applied to her two sisters and she brought them alive again. The three of them returned home, and they are still alive - unless they have died!

This story is from a collection of stories available on tape, with an accompanying book, under the title 'Am Bloigh Beag le Beannachd'

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The Small Piece with Blessing

1990s

oral tradition; folklore; stories; Gaelic; story telling; audio

The Highland Council

Am Bloigh Beag le Beannachd (Cassette)

This story is recorded in Gaelic and the following is an English translation.<br /> <br /> The Small Piece with Blessing.<br /> <br /> Long, long ago there was a poor woman who had three daughters. <br /> <br /> One day the eldest one said to her mother, "I might as well go away now to seek my fortune."<br /> <br /> "If you intend to do that", said her mother, "I shall bake a bannock that you will take with you."<br /> <br /> When the bannock was ready her mother said to the daughter, "Which do you prefer - the little piece with my blessing or the large piece with my curse?"<br /> <br /> "I shall take the large piece and your curse", replied the daughter.<br /> <br /> She got what she had chosen. Off she went, quite heartily, and she continued walking all day. At nightfall, when she was worn out with tiredness and hunger she sat down in the shade of a wall to eat the bannock. As soon as she began to eat it who should appear but twelve puppies and the birds of the air, and they gathered around her.<br /> <br /> "Will you not give us part of the bannock?" they asked.<br /> <br /> "Indeed and I will not, you ugly brutes", she replied, "it's little enough for myself."<br /> <br /> "May you have our curse", they all said, "but your mother's curse is the worst for you altogether."<br /> <br /> The piece of bannock did not satisfy half her hunger but in any case she got up and set off again. After a while she saw a small house far away from her but though it was far from her she was not long in reaching it. As soon as she reached it she knocked loudly on the door.<br /> <br /> "Who is out there?" shouted someone inside.<br /> <br /> "A good servant looking for a master", she replied.<br /> <br /> "That's exactly what we need", said the voice inside. "Come in here so that we can see you." She was taken on immediately. The work she was to have was to sit up every night, all night, with the brother of the woman of the house, as he was under a spell. The wages she was to have were a peck of gold and a peck of silver. But in addition to that she had as many nuts as she could break, as many needles as she could lose, as much thread as she could sew, as many candles as she could burn, a bed with green silk underneath her and over her and freedom to sleep all day.<br /> <br /> The first night, when she was keeping watch did she not fall asleep. The woman of the house, her mistress, came in and struck her with the magic wand. She fell down in a heap, as if she were dead, and she was thrown out to the back of the house.<br /> <br /> One day the second daughter said to her mother, "Don't you think that I might as well follow my sister now and go off to seek my fortune?"<br /> <br /> "If that is what you intend to do I had better bake a bannock for your journey."<br /> <br /> She did that, as she had done before. The second daughter asked for the larger piece and her mother's curse along with it, just as her sister before her had done.<br /> <br /> Finally, the youngest daughter said to her mother, "Don't you think that I had better now follow my sisters and go to seek my fortune?"<br /> <br /> If that is what you intend to do", replied her mother, "I shall bake a bannock for your journey."<br /> <br /> When the bannock was cooked, her mother asked the daughter which she preferred, the little piece and her mother's blessing or the larger piece with her curse. She chose the little piece and her blessing, and she set off on her journey. She walked all day and she was worn out with tiredness and hunger. At nightfall she sat in the shelter of a wall to eat what she had taken with her of the bannock, and that was not much.<br /> <br /> As happened before, the twelve puppies appeared, and the little birds of the air, and they gathered around her.<br /> <br /> "Will you give us part of that?" they asked.<br /> <br /> "Indeed I shall do so, you lovely creatures", she replied, "there is plenty here for all of us!"<br /> <br /> She gave them their share of the bannock. They all ate their share and they and she got their fill.<br /> <br /> They then came up close to her and they kept her warm all night.<br /> <br /> When morning came she set off again and after a while she saw a little house far away from her. Although it was far away from her it did not take her long to reach it. When she reached the house she knocked loudly on the door.<br /> <br /> "Who is outside there?" someone shouted, inside.<br /> <br /> "A good servant looking for a master", she replied.<br /> <br /> "That is just what we need", said the voice inside. "Come in here so that we can see you."<br /> <br /> She was taken on immediately. The wages were a peck of gold and a peck of silver. But in addition to that she had as many nuts as she would break, as many needles as she would lose, as many thimbles as she would make a hole in them, as much thread as she would sew, as many candles as she would burn, a bed with green silk underneath her and over her. The work she was to have was staying up with a brother of the woman of the house, as he was under a spell.<br /> <br /> She sat keeping watch on the dead man, and sewing. At midnight he woke up and made to get up.<br /> <br /> "If you don't lie down right now I'll give you a knock with this stick", she said. He lay down but after a while he rose again on his elbow. He rose a third time and she gave him a hard blow with the stick. As soon as she did so the stick stuck to the man, her hand stuck to the stick, and off they went.<br /> <br /> They carried on until they were going through the forest. When she was low, he was high and when she was high, he was low. The nuts were taking out their eyes and the sloes were taking their ears off; but at long last they got through the forest. After they got out of the forest they returned to her master's house. She got the peck of gold and the peck of silver. She also got a cure which she applied to her two sisters and she brought them alive again. The three of them returned home, and they are still alive - unless they have died!<br /> <br /> This story is from a collection of stories available on tape, with an accompanying book, under the title 'Am Bloigh Beag le Beannachd'