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TITLE
Much can be achieved by energy but more by cunning
EXTERNAL ID
HC_GAELICSTORYTAPE_009
DATE OF RECORDING
1997
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
The Highland Council
ASSET ID
2342
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.

Much can be achieved by energy but more by cunning.

Once upon a time there was an old billy-goat called Grey William. He was so crafty and wise that he became well known all over the world. There wasn't a single other animal as wise as he was and he surpassed them all in cunning.

One day William was travelling the hills, all alone, far from home. Suddenly, without warning, a great storm arose and he went into a cave to get shelter. He was there for a little while before his eyes became accustomed to the darkness. Then he had a look around and did he not notice that the place was full of the bones of animals! It was then he understood where he was ... in a lion's den!

There was nothing on his mind now but to escape, but what did he hear but a fearful roar that stopped him in his tracks with terror. Who was this but the lion, having come back home!

"My horns are pretty hard and pretty sharp," said Grey William to himself, "but I'm afraid they won't do much good though I should attack this horrible creature. I won't defeat him with strength but I'll try and see what I can do with cunning."

In came the lion, cold, wet and hungry. When he saw the billy goat he stopped for a little while looking at him with surprise and then he made to spring at him.

Immediately Grey William raised his voice and shouted out aloud: "Amn't I well off!"

"You well off, you fool," replied the lion, "what on earth do you mean? I am the one who is well off. Was it not fortune and providence itself that brought it about that I found a big fat billy-goat in my den when I was just starving with hunger!"

"That's only your view of the matter," said the billy-goat. "I think there's nobody in the world as well off as myself. I am a lion hunter; and indeed it's not every day I see one in front of me that is just ready for me to fix my horns in him!" And William began to dance as if with happiness.

"What stupid, senseless blethering are you up to there?" said the lion, "an old dun-coloured billy-goat with a long grey beard a lion hunter! Who ever heard the like of that? I won't believe a word of it anyway!"

"You just wait, my friend," replied the other one. "It won't be long till you believe it; I'll promise you that. You have never seen a billy-goat that kills lions, you say. You see him now, then, and I shall guarantee you that you won't see another one. There is no escape for you now. It's a poor week I've had till now. I have killed only four lions. You are the fifth one."

William stood up on his hind legs and shook his head from side to side. He then bent down and took a leap over to where the lion was. This gave that one such a fright that he took to flight without delay, as fast as he possibly could. And as soon as he was out of sight off went the billy-goat, running and jumping.

Within a very short time whom should the lion meet but a wolf. The lion began to tell him about the strange billy-goat that he had met, the one that would be killing the lions. "He very nearly destroyed me completely," said the lion.

"You're telling me," replied the wolf, "that it was an old creature with a long beard and grey eyes. Well then, I have known that one for a long time. That was none other than Grey William. What a fool he made of you! You had better go back straight away and kill him." Off went the two of them in pursuit of William. He looked behind him and saw them coming after him. He took fright thinking he was now lost; but it wasn't long till he became confident again.

"I cannot escape from them," he said to himself, "but there's no point in my fighting them; but that is not to say that I cannot get the better of them. We shall see how good cunning will be again!"

He turned round and faced the pair of them.

"What's all this?" he said to the wolf. "Did you not promise me that you would bring me two lions? And all you have there is one lion ... and a pretty small, poor, hopeless one at that! Get out of here and get another lion for me at once, or else I'll knock your head off. But wait just a wee minute till I kill this one."

William then took a running jump at the lion. That one got the fright of his life and down the glen he went, as fast as he could. The poor wolf slunk into the wood. Grey William went back quietly and safely to his own house and family.

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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Much can be achieved by energy but more by cunning

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 /> Much can be achieved by energy but more by cunning.<br /> <br /> Once upon a time there was an old billy-goat called Grey William. He was so crafty and wise that he became well known all over the world. There wasn't a single other animal as wise as he was and he surpassed them all in cunning.<br /> <br /> One day William was travelling the hills, all alone, far from home. Suddenly, without warning, a great storm arose and he went into a cave to get shelter. He was there for a little while before his eyes became accustomed to the darkness. Then he had a look around and did he not notice that the place was full of the bones of animals! It was then he understood where he was ... in a lion's den!<br /> <br /> There was nothing on his mind now but to escape, but what did he hear but a fearful roar that stopped him in his tracks with terror. Who was this but the lion, having come back home! <br /> <br /> "My horns are pretty hard and pretty sharp," said Grey William to himself, "but I'm afraid they won't do much good though I should attack this horrible creature. I won't defeat him with strength but I'll try and see what I can do with cunning."<br /> <br /> In came the lion, cold, wet and hungry. When he saw the billy goat he stopped for a little while looking at him with surprise and then he made to spring at him.<br /> <br /> Immediately Grey William raised his voice and shouted out aloud: "Amn't I well off!"<br /> <br /> "You well off, you fool," replied the lion, "what on earth do you mean? I am the one who is well off. Was it not fortune and providence itself that brought it about that I found a big fat billy-goat in my den when I was just starving with hunger!"<br /> <br /> "That's only your view of the matter," said the billy-goat. "I think there's nobody in the world as well off as myself. I am a lion hunter; and indeed it's not every day I see one in front of me that is just ready for me to fix my horns in him!" And William began to dance as if with happiness.<br /> <br /> "What stupid, senseless blethering are you up to there?" said the lion, "an old dun-coloured billy-goat with a long grey beard a lion hunter! Who ever heard the like of that? I won't believe a word of it anyway!"<br /> <br /> "You just wait, my friend," replied the other one. "It won't be long till you believe it; I'll promise you that. You have never seen a billy-goat that kills lions, you say. You see him now, then, and I shall guarantee you that you won't see another one. There is no escape for you now. It's a poor week I've had till now. I have killed only four lions. You are the fifth one."<br /> <br /> William stood up on his hind legs and shook his head from side to side. He then bent down and took a leap over to where the lion was. This gave that one such a fright that he took to flight without delay, as fast as he possibly could. And as soon as he was out of sight off went the billy-goat, running and jumping.<br /> <br /> Within a very short time whom should the lion meet but a wolf. The lion began to tell him about the strange billy-goat that he had met, the one that would be killing the lions. "He very nearly destroyed me completely," said the lion.<br /> <br /> "You're telling me," replied the wolf, "that it was an old creature with a long beard and grey eyes. Well then, I have known that one for a long time. That was none other than Grey William. What a fool he made of you! You had better go back straight away and kill him." Off went the two of them in pursuit of William. He looked behind him and saw them coming after him. He took fright thinking he was now lost; but it wasn't long till he became confident again.<br /> <br /> "I cannot escape from them," he said to himself, "but there's no point in my fighting them; but that is not to say that I cannot get the better of them. We shall see how good cunning will be again!"<br /> <br /> He turned round and faced the pair of them.<br /> <br /> "What's all this?" he said to the wolf. "Did you not promise me that you would bring me two lions? And all you have there is one lion ... and a pretty small, poor, hopeless one at that! Get out of here and get another lion for me at once, or else I'll knock your head off. But wait just a wee minute till I kill this one."<br /> <br /> William then took a running jump at the lion. That one got the fright of his life and down the glen he went, as fast as he could. The poor wolf slunk into the wood. Grey William went back quietly and safely to his own house and family.<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'