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TITLE
Who is best in charge?
EXTERNAL ID
HC_GAELICSTORYTAPE_015
DATE OF RECORDING
1997
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
The Highland Council
ASSET ID
2349
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.

Who is best in charge?

There was once a bad-tempered man who was forever complaining about the work that his wife was doing. He would say that she did not know how to do a proper task outside or in the house. On this particular evening, at the time of cutting the hay, the man of the house came home in a very bad mood. He did nothing but complain and scold all evening.

"Why are you so cross, now, my husband?" said his wife to him. "I'll tell you what we'll do. I'll go out tomorrow and I'll cut the hay. You will stay at home and take care of the house."

He considered that he would like that quite well, and he said that he was completely satisfied. They rose early the next morning. The woman of the house set off, with a scythe over her shoulder. Out into the field she went and she began to scythe. He stayed at home, taking care of the house and doing the housework.

The first task he had to undertake was the churning; but after he had been at this task for a while he became thirsty and he went out to the back of the house to take a drink of water from the barrel which he had there. He was just taking the water to him when he heard a fearful noise in the kitchen. What was this but one of his pigs having come in and rummaging through the place! In he went as fast as he possibly could in case she knocked the churn over. But there was the churn lying on the floor and every drop of cream spilt out of it. He leapt after the pig but did not catch it. He then remembered the water barrel, but he was too late! There was not a drop left. It was completely empty.

Then the poor fellow went to look for more cream. He filled the churn again and started churning afresh. He was not long at this task when he remembered that the cow had still to be let out and that she had had nothing to eat or drink although it was mid-day. He thought it was too late to take her to the machair, for the distance was too long. She would be fine on the roof of the house. It was a thatched house and there was plenty of grass growing on its roof!

But it would not do to leave the churn, for the baby was crawling about the place.

"If I leave the churn," he said, "as sure as I'm alive the little fellow will knock it over."

There was nothing for it but to put the churn on his back, and off he went with it. But then he thought that the cow must have a drink of water before he put her on the thatch. He took a pail with him to take water from the well, but when the poor fellow bent down beside the well out shot the cream from the churn and down into the well.

It was now almost dinner time and not a word about preparing food. He fetched the porridge pot, filled it with water and hung it above the fire.

He then became frightened that the cow might fall down from the roof of the house and that she might break her bones. Up he went to the roof of the house. He tied the end of the rope round the cow's neck and dropped the other end down the chimney. He then came down and tied the end of the rope round his leg.

He then began to stir the oatmeal around in the porridge pot but while he was engaged in this the cow fell down from the roof of the house and he himself shot up the chimney. The poor fellow was there, unable to move, with the cow hanging in the air between earth and heaven, unable to go up or come down.

Now time was running fast away, and his wife waiting and waiting till he would come and tell her that the dinner was ready. But though she was still waiting he would not come. At last she said that she might as well go back home. When the poor woman saw the cow hanging from the roof she just made for her and cut the rope with the scythe ... and down went the man of the house head-first into the porridge pot!

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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Who is best in charge?

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 /> Who is best in charge?<br /> <br /> There was once a bad-tempered man who was forever complaining about the work that his wife was doing. He would say that she did not know how to do a proper task outside or in the house. On this particular evening, at the time of cutting the hay, the man of the house came home in a very bad mood. He did nothing but complain and scold all evening.<br /> <br /> "Why are you so cross, now, my husband?" said his wife to him. "I'll tell you what we'll do. I'll go out tomorrow and I'll cut the hay. You will stay at home and take care of the house."<br /> <br /> He considered that he would like that quite well, and he said that he was completely satisfied. They rose early the next morning. The woman of the house set off, with a scythe over her shoulder. Out into the field she went and she began to scythe. He stayed at home, taking care of the house and doing the housework.<br /> <br /> The first task he had to undertake was the churning; but after he had been at this task for a while he became thirsty and he went out to the back of the house to take a drink of water from the barrel which he had there. He was just taking the water to him when he heard a fearful noise in the kitchen. What was this but one of his pigs having come in and rummaging through the place! In he went as fast as he possibly could in case she knocked the churn over. But there was the churn lying on the floor and every drop of cream spilt out of it. He leapt after the pig but did not catch it. He then remembered the water barrel, but he was too late! There was not a drop left. It was completely empty.<br /> <br /> Then the poor fellow went to look for more cream. He filled the churn again and started churning afresh. He was not long at this task when he remembered that the cow had still to be let out and that she had had nothing to eat or drink although it was mid-day. He thought it was too late to take her to the machair, for the distance was too long. She would be fine on the roof of the house. It was a thatched house and there was plenty of grass growing on its roof!<br /> <br /> But it would not do to leave the churn, for the baby was crawling about the place.<br /> <br /> "If I leave the churn," he said, "as sure as I'm alive the little fellow will knock it over."<br /> <br /> There was nothing for it but to put the churn on his back, and off he went with it. But then he thought that the cow must have a drink of water before he put her on the thatch. He took a pail with him to take water from the well, but when the poor fellow bent down beside the well out shot the cream from the churn and down into the well.<br /> <br /> It was now almost dinner time and not a word about preparing food. He fetched the porridge pot, filled it with water and hung it above the fire.<br /> <br /> He then became frightened that the cow might fall down from the roof of the house and that she might break her bones. Up he went to the roof of the house. He tied the end of the rope round the cow's neck and dropped the other end down the chimney. He then came down and tied the end of the rope round his leg.<br /> <br /> He then began to stir the oatmeal around in the porridge pot but while he was engaged in this the cow fell down from the roof of the house and he himself shot up the chimney. The poor fellow was there, unable to move, with the cow hanging in the air between earth and heaven, unable to go up or come down.<br /> <br /> Now time was running fast away, and his wife waiting and waiting till he would come and tell her that the dinner was ready. But though she was still waiting he would not come. At last she said that she might as well go back home. When the poor woman saw the cow hanging from the roof she just made for her and cut the rope with the scythe ... and down went the man of the house head-first into the porridge pot!<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'