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TITLE
The Widow's son and the Fairies
EXTERNAL ID
HC_GAELICSTORYTAPE_006
DATE OF RECORDING
1997
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
The Highland Council
ASSET ID
2337
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 Widow's Son and the Fairies.

There was a poor widow, long ago, who had one son. On a fine spring day he set off intending to go to the hill to have a look at the sheep. He had just got new shoes and he put them on. His mother told him that he had no need of shoes for going to the hill and that he would be much better going barefoot. He paid no attention to his mother. He got ready and off he went, himself and the dog.

That evening the dog came home but the boy did not. Nor did he come home the next day. The news spread throughout the village that the dog had come home without its master. The village turned out and people searched high and low but not a sign was there of the widow's son.

After seven years did the boy not come home with his clothes in rags and his beautiful shoes quite ruined. He told how he had fared the day he left his mother's house. Out on the hill he heard the loveliest and sweetest music he had ever heard previously, coming out of a pretty green hillock. He sat there listening to it, unaware of anything else. But it wasn't long till a door opened in the hillock. Out came the fairy and she gave him a kind, warm invitation to go inside.

"I'll certainly do that", said he, and he did so. If he did, the music and the dancing started. In the middle of all the activity the fairy asked him if he would be willing to stay and work for them. He said that he certainly would. "The day you finish", said she, "is the day your shoes are worn out."

He put his hand to every task that the fairies had to do, between ploughing and sowing and reaping and everything else. Every evening when the work was over he cleaned his shoes and left them outside to dry.

There was a little old man always sitting beside the fire and one day he said: "My boy, do you know how long you have been here?"

"I've been here for a week", answered the lad.

"You have not", said the old man, "but you've been here seven years."

The boy was speechless with the surprise he got, for the time seemed to him like a week.

"I'll tell you", said the little old man, "how you will get out of here. You will put your shoes out without taking the mud off them at all; and I'll guarantee you that you won't have them for long."

That is exactly what the boy did. It wasn't long until the shoes were old wrecks. He showed them to the fairy and asked her permission to go home.

"Off you go, then", said she, "and my blessing goes with you; but I don't care much for the one who instructed you!"

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 Widow's son and the Fairies

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 Widow's Son and the Fairies.<br /> <br /> There was a poor widow, long ago, who had one son. On a fine spring day he set off intending to go to the hill to have a look at the sheep. He had just got new shoes and he put them on. His mother told him that he had no need of shoes for going to the hill and that he would be much better going barefoot. He paid no attention to his mother. He got ready and off he went, himself and the dog.<br /> <br /> That evening the dog came home but the boy did not. Nor did he come home the next day. The news spread throughout the village that the dog had come home without its master. The village turned out and people searched high and low but not a sign was there of the widow's son.<br /> <br /> After seven years did the boy not come home with his clothes in rags and his beautiful shoes quite ruined. He told how he had fared the day he left his mother's house. Out on the hill he heard the loveliest and sweetest music he had ever heard previously, coming out of a pretty green hillock. He sat there listening to it, unaware of anything else. But it wasn't long till a door opened in the hillock. Out came the fairy and she gave him a kind, warm invitation to go inside.<br /> <br /> "I'll certainly do that", said he, and he did so. If he did, the music and the dancing started. In the middle of all the activity the fairy asked him if he would be willing to stay and work for them. He said that he certainly would. "The day you finish", said she, "is the day your shoes are worn out."<br /> <br /> He put his hand to every task that the fairies had to do, between ploughing and sowing and reaping and everything else. Every evening when the work was over he cleaned his shoes and left them outside to dry.<br /> <br /> There was a little old man always sitting beside the fire and one day he said: "My boy, do you know how long you have been here?"<br /> <br /> "I've been here for a week", answered the lad.<br /> <br /> "You have not", said the old man, "but you've been here seven years."<br /> <br /> The boy was speechless with the surprise he got, for the time seemed to him like a week.<br /> <br /> "I'll tell you", said the little old man, "how you will get out of here. You will put your shoes out without taking the mud off them at all; and I'll guarantee you that you won't have them for long."<br /> <br /> That is exactly what the boy did. It wasn't long until the shoes were old wrecks. He showed them to the fairy and asked her permission to go home.<br /> <br /> "Off you go, then", said she, "and my blessing goes with you; but I don't care much for the one who instructed you!"<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'