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TITLE
Good Promise and Bad Payment
EXTERNAL ID
HC_GAELICSTORYTAPE_008
DATE OF RECORDING
1997
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
The Highland Council
ASSET ID
2340
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.

Good Promise and Bad Payment.

There was once a man who used to go to the forest every day to fetch wood for the fire. One day, whom did he meet but a bear!

"You will give me that horse of yours", said the bear, "or else I shall kill every sheep that your have!"

"Can I not take this wood home first?" said the man. "I shall bring you the horse in the morning." The bear gave him permission to do this. On his way home did the man not meet a fox!

"You are down in the dumps!" said the fox, "what on earth is wrong?"

"A great deal", answered the man. "Did I not meet a bear in the wood and he made me promise to bring him the horse tomorrow otherwise he would kill every sheep that I have."

"Are you telling me that that is what is worrying you?" said the fox. "I'll soon fix that for you, my boy, if you promise me the best lamb that you have."

The man was delighted to promise this.

"Now then", said the fox, "when you come here tomorrow with the horse, I'll make a little noise and disturbance in that heap of stones over there, and when the bear asks what noise that is, you will need to tell him that it is James the hunter and that there's no-one in the world as sure a shot as him. You will then need to do for yourself as best you can."

The man set off the next day, and when he and the bear met, this noise was heard among the stones.

"Quiet!" said the bear, "what noise is that?"

"Never mind", answered the man, "it's only James the hunter; they tell me that there is no-one in the world as sure a shot as him. I recognise his voice."

A voice was heard in the wood. "Have you seen any sign of a bear here, Peter?"

"Say you haven't", said the bear quietly.

"Indeed I haven't seen any", said Peter. "What is that, then, standing beside your horse?" said the voice.

"Say that it is an old tree stump", said the bear.

"Never mind," said the man, "that's only an old tree stump."

"We just cut down trees like that with our axes", shouted the voice.

"Pretend that you are hitting me", said the bear to Peter.

Peter lifted the axe and hit him for six, and down fell the bear stone-dead on the ground.

The fox then said, "I'll stay here till you bring me the lamb. Now see that you bring me a good fat one."

The man went back home, released the horse and prepared to go out.

"Where are you expecting to go now?" said his wife.

"I'm going to fetch a good lamb that I'll give to the fox", said the man. "He really was a champion. He and I fairly got the better of the bear."

"Indeed you'll do nothing of the kind", she replied. "He'll get no such thing as a lamb here. You will put two good fast hunting-dogs in a sack, and you'll take that to him."

The man considered that this was not bad advice at all. Off he went, with the dogs in a sack.

"Have you brought me the lamb?" said the fox.

"Indeed I have" replied the man, "come and take it away from here", opening the sack and releasing the dogs.

"Well now", said the fox to himself while running at full speed, with the dogs at his heels, "it's now you realise how true the saying is ... Good promise and bad payment!"

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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Good Promise and Bad Payment

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 /> Good Promise and Bad Payment.<br /> <br /> There was once a man who used to go to the forest every day to fetch wood for the fire. One day, whom did he meet but a bear!<br /> <br /> "You will give me that horse of yours", said the bear, "or else I shall kill every sheep that your have!"<br /> <br /> "Can I not take this wood home first?" said the man. "I shall bring you the horse in the morning." The bear gave him permission to do this. On his way home did the man not meet a fox!<br /> <br /> "You are down in the dumps!" said the fox, "what on earth is wrong?"<br /> <br /> "A great deal", answered the man. "Did I not meet a bear in the wood and he made me promise to bring him the horse tomorrow otherwise he would kill every sheep that I have."<br /> <br /> "Are you telling me that that is what is worrying you?" said the fox. "I'll soon fix that for you, my boy, if you promise me the best lamb that you have."<br /> <br /> The man was delighted to promise this.<br /> <br /> "Now then", said the fox, "when you come here tomorrow with the horse, I'll make a little noise and disturbance in that heap of stones over there, and when the bear asks what noise that is, you will need to tell him that it is James the hunter and that there's no-one in the world as sure a shot as him. You will then need to do for yourself as best you can."<br /> <br /> The man set off the next day, and when he and the bear met, this noise was heard among the stones.<br /> <br /> "Quiet!" said the bear, "what noise is that?"<br /> <br /> "Never mind", answered the man, "it's only James the hunter; they tell me that there is no-one in the world as sure a shot as him. I recognise his voice."<br /> <br /> A voice was heard in the wood. "Have you seen any sign of a bear here, Peter?"<br /> <br /> "Say you haven't", said the bear quietly.<br /> <br /> "Indeed I haven't seen any", said Peter. "What is that, then, standing beside your horse?" said the voice.<br /> <br /> "Say that it is an old tree stump", said the bear.<br /> <br /> "Never mind," said the man, "that's only an old tree stump."<br /> <br /> "We just cut down trees like that with our axes", shouted the voice.<br /> <br /> "Pretend that you are hitting me", said the bear to Peter.<br /> <br /> Peter lifted the axe and hit him for six, and down fell the bear stone-dead on the ground.<br /> <br /> The fox then said, "I'll stay here till you bring me the lamb. Now see that you bring me a good fat one."<br /> <br /> The man went back home, released the horse and prepared to go out.<br /> <br /> "Where are you expecting to go now?" said his wife.<br /> <br /> "I'm going to fetch a good lamb that I'll give to the fox", said the man. "He really was a champion. He and I fairly got the better of the bear."<br /> <br /> "Indeed you'll do nothing of the kind", she replied. "He'll get no such thing as a lamb here. You will put two good fast hunting-dogs in a sack, and you'll take that to him."<br /> <br /> The man considered that this was not bad advice at all. Off he went, with the dogs in a sack.<br /> <br /> "Have you brought me the lamb?" said the fox.<br /> <br /> "Indeed I have" replied the man, "come and take it away from here", opening the sack and releasing the dogs.<br /> <br /> "Well now", said the fox to himself while running at full speed, with the dogs at his heels, "it's now you realise how true the saying is ... Good promise and bad payment!"<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'