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TITLE
Gaelic Arts Agency Storytelling Project - clip 14
EXTERNAL ID
PC_LEWIS_STORY_TELLERS_2_6
DATE OF RECORDING
1999
PERIOD
1990s
SOURCE
Essie Stewart
ASSET ID
2699
KEYWORDS

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Another story from Essie Stewart, this one was her mother's learned from her own mother in turn. Essie's grandmother died at the age of twenty-seven, when her daughter was only eight years old, at a time when her father was fighting in France in the First World War. So Essie's mother was very young when she learned this story, one she told to the School of Scottish Studies recording project with students of John Shaw present. And when she finished recounting the tale, Shaw told her that that was a very precious story to have, as it was also told in parts of Europe. Essie believes the story to be more than eight hundred years old.

This is the story of the three counsels, pieces of advice.

There was once a very poor family, and this day the man said he must leave his family and go to seek work. He was away for a number of years. He had got work on a farm and this day he decided he really must return home to his wife and family, and told the farmer this. Before he left he saw the farmer's wife and she asked him which he would prefer - his wages, or three pieces of advice. After some thought he responded that he would take the three counsels. At that, the farmer's wife gave him some bread, a commodity very scarce in his own family, wrapped up in paper, and then she told him the advice. 'When you leave here,' she said, 'you will come to a division in the road. One road will lead straight ahead, one will be to the left and a short one will lead to the right. Now, remember not to take the short road. And at nightfall you will come to a long blackhouse. You will go to the door and a young, tall, red-haired woman will come to the door and invite you in. When you go in, there will be an old person sitting beside the fire who will bid you stay the night. Remember that you must not stay the night. And my last piece of advice - when you get home, remember that you must look before you strike.' And with that, he set off.

And as the farmer's wife had said, he came to the road division and started on the short road, but then remembered the woman's words, so he turned and instead continued on the road straight ahead, for a long number of hours. Likewise at nightfall he came to the house, but refused to stay, saying he had a long way to go and had better leave. But when he came out of the house there was a haystack and he decided to sleep there. He was hidden in the hay when he was awoken by the sound of voices nearby. He could not make out what they were saying, but it was the young woman from the house and a young lad with her. They were so close that the man in the hay was able to cut a small piece from the coat of the lad. And at daybreak he headed off home, reaching so early that no-one in the house was up and about. So he made for the bedroom at the top of the house, but when he opened the door he saw a young man in the bed with his wife. He rushed out and grabbed the wood-cutting axe and back he went, ready to strike the young man in the bed, but he stopped. His wife woke and asked what he was doing, and it turned out that the man in the bed was actually his own small son that he had left so many years before a child in the cradle, now grown. They all got up and he told his wife the story of how he had no pay since he had opted to take the three pieces of advice from the farmer's wife. 'Well, maybe that was just as well,' she said. But he gave his wife the loaf of bread from the farmer's wife and she started to cut slices off it, and there inside the loaf was his pay. However, shortly after that the police came and started to question him, and arrested him. It seems they thought he had murdered the old man in the long black-house where he had called that night. He was taken to court, but was able to prove, with the piece he had cut from the lad's coat, that there was someone else there that night and that he was not guilty.

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Gaelic Arts Agency Storytelling Project - clip 14

1990s

Essie Stewart

Lewis Storytellers (short films)

Another story from Essie Stewart, this one was her mother's learned from her own mother in turn. Essie's grandmother died at the age of twenty-seven, when her daughter was only eight years old, at a time when her father was fighting in France in the First World War. So Essie's mother was very young when she learned this story, one she told to the School of Scottish Studies recording project with students of John Shaw present. And when she finished recounting the tale, Shaw told her that that was a very precious story to have, as it was also told in parts of Europe. Essie believes the story to be more than eight hundred years old.<br /> <br /> This is the story of the three counsels, pieces of advice. <br /> <br /> There was once a very poor family, and this day the man said he must leave his family and go to seek work. He was away for a number of years. He had got work on a farm and this day he decided he really must return home to his wife and family, and told the farmer this. Before he left he saw the farmer's wife and she asked him which he would prefer - his wages, or three pieces of advice. After some thought he responded that he would take the three counsels. At that, the farmer's wife gave him some bread, a commodity very scarce in his own family, wrapped up in paper, and then she told him the advice. 'When you leave here,' she said, 'you will come to a division in the road. One road will lead straight ahead, one will be to the left and a short one will lead to the right. Now, remember not to take the short road. And at nightfall you will come to a long blackhouse. You will go to the door and a young, tall, red-haired woman will come to the door and invite you in. When you go in, there will be an old person sitting beside the fire who will bid you stay the night. Remember that you must not stay the night. And my last piece of advice - when you get home, remember that you must look before you strike.' And with that, he set off.<br /> <br /> And as the farmer's wife had said, he came to the road division and started on the short road, but then remembered the woman's words, so he turned and instead continued on the road straight ahead, for a long number of hours. Likewise at nightfall he came to the house, but refused to stay, saying he had a long way to go and had better leave. But when he came out of the house there was a haystack and he decided to sleep there. He was hidden in the hay when he was awoken by the sound of voices nearby. He could not make out what they were saying, but it was the young woman from the house and a young lad with her. They were so close that the man in the hay was able to cut a small piece from the coat of the lad. And at daybreak he headed off home, reaching so early that no-one in the house was up and about. So he made for the bedroom at the top of the house, but when he opened the door he saw a young man in the bed with his wife. He rushed out and grabbed the wood-cutting axe and back he went, ready to strike the young man in the bed, but he stopped. His wife woke and asked what he was doing, and it turned out that the man in the bed was actually his own small son that he had left so many years before a child in the cradle, now grown. They all got up and he told his wife the story of how he had no pay since he had opted to take the three pieces of advice from the farmer's wife. 'Well, maybe that was just as well,' she said. But he gave his wife the loaf of bread from the farmer's wife and she started to cut slices off it, and there inside the loaf was his pay. However, shortly after that the police came and started to question him, and arrested him. It seems they thought he had murdered the old man in the long black-house where he had called that night. He was taken to court, but was able to prove, with the piece he had cut from the lad's coat, that there was someone else there that night and that he was not guilty.