Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
Peter of the Hill
EXTERNAL ID
HC_GAELICSTORYTAPE_013
DATE OF RECORDING
1997
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
The Highland Council
ASSET ID
41194
KEYWORDS
oral tradition
folklore
stories
Gaelic
story telling
audio

Get Adobe Flash player

This story is recorded in Gaelic and the following is an English translation.

Peter of the Hill.

There was once a man who was called "Peter of the Hill." They gave him that name because he had a little farm on a hill-side. This man and his wife were quite happy with their lot. They were so attached to each other that she was really of the opinion that there wasn't a single man in the world who would do anything as well as Peter could.

The farm was very small, as if it were a croft, but it belonged to themselves, they had a little money put by and they had two cows in the byre. Thus, they were quite well off and the two of them were as happy as the day was long, themselves and wee Donald, their son.

One day did his wife not say to Peter, "I think, dear, that we ought to take one of the cows to the town, to sell it. If we get a good price for it we shall have a little money in addition to what we have put by. We don't need the two cows in any case. One of them has enough milk for us."

Peter never in all his life said that his wife was wrong. Thus, he set off straight away, himself and the cow, in order to sell it in the town. But, alas! When he reached the town there was nobody at all there who wanted to buy it.

"Yes indeed," said Peter to himself, "that's the way it is. It can't be helped, and there's nothing for it but that I'll have to go back home the way I came. The journey back home is no longer than the distance to the town." And Peter went back home at a gentle pace, with a peaceful, gentle, slow step, himself and the cow.

He had not gone too far on his journey when he met this man who had a horse to sell. Peter thought that it would be better for him to have a horse rather than a cow. He and the other man struck a bargain, and Peter went off home with the horse.

A little while after this he met another man who had a big fat pig, and who was on his way to the town. They made an agreement with each other: Peter took the pig and the other man had the horse. He had not gone much farther on his way when he met a man who had a goat. Before he knew where he was Peter had taken the goat in exchange for the pig and off he went on his way home again.

He carried on like that for a while and it wasn't long till there appeared a man who had a sheep on a rope, taking it to market. The two struck a bargain immediately and off went Peter with the sheep. But who met him then, but a man who had a goose. Peter took a fancy to the goose at once and he gave away the sheep in exchange for it.

Well then it wasn't long till he met a man who had a cockerel. The worthy Peter said to himself that the cockerel was much better than the goose; he struck a bargain with the other man and off he set with the cockerel.

It was now getting late and night was coming and Peter hadn't eaten a scrap of food since morning. The poor man was starving with hunger. The best thing to do was to sell the cockerel and to buy food with the money he got for it. That was not much but as Peter said to himself, "It is much better for a man to be alive."
As soon as he had a bite to eat Peter carried on till he reached a friend's house. In he went and immediately his friend began to question him about how the day had gone for him. "Och, fairly well," said Peter, "I don't have much cause for rejoicing without any doubt, but what's the use of complaining?" He then told his friend word for word everything that happened to him since he left the house in the morning.

"Just so," said his friend, "but pity you when you reach home. You'll get your come-uppance when your wife hears what happened. Indeed I wouldn't like to be in your place in any case. You're for it, my lad!"

"Och," replied Peter, "maybe things could be a lot worse than they are. I suppose I've done wrong, right enough. But whether I did or not my wife will not make any complaint about anything at all that I have done or will do."

"That is something that's very difficult for me to believe," replied his friend.

"Very well then," said Peter, "I know that you don't believe me, but I'll tell you what we'll do. I have £100 put by. If she scolds me when I go home you will have every penny of it all to yourself. Will you give me £100 if she doesn't complain to me?"

"Indeed I will, certainly," replied his friend. The wager was set like that. Peter stayed with his friend until nightfall and then they went together to Peter's house. In went Peter straight away and the other man stayed outside, eavesdropping.

"I've come back, wife," said Peter of the Hill. "It's good to be home."

"Indeed I'm glad to see you back," replied his wife. "I really am." She then asked him how he had got on while he was in the town.

"Och, not very well at all," replied Peter. "When I reached the town there was nobody there who was willing to buy the cow and I just gave it away in exchange for a horse."

"For a horse, did you say?" she answered. "Indeed you are a very wise man, Peter. Won't we be well off now...we can be like the other folk in the district. We won't need to walk to church any more. Out you go, little Donald, and harness the horse."

"But we don't have the horse any more," said Peter. "Did I not give it away and I got a pig in its place."

"Just think of that now," replied his wife, "you did just as I would have done myself. Amn't I glad! I can now put pork in front of people when they come to visit us. Out you go, little Donald, and feed the pig."

"Wait," shouted Peter, "wait a minute till I tell you; I don't have the pig at all. I got a goat in its place."

"Bless me," shouted his wife, "what a sensible man you are! What use would a pig be to me though I had a pig? Now we have a goat and we'll never again be without milk or cheese."

"Hold on a minute," said Peter "we don't have the goat at all. I gave it away and I got a sheep in place of it."

"Och, Peter," said his wife, "I understand perfectly well. You just wished to please me. What would a goat do for us though we had one? You and I would just be climbing the hill all the time and dragging it home on a rope. The sheep itself is a lot better, for it will give us wool and milk and it will have lambs as well."

"That is if we had it" answered Peter. "Did I not give the sheep away and I took a goose in its place."

"Weren't you wise!" said his wife. "A sheep would be just a trouble to us. Although we had killed it we would not have enjoyed its meat very much. There's no meat at all that I prefer myself to the meat of a roast goose. Off you go, little Donald, and bring in the goose."

"Hold on now, hold on!...the goose has gone and I don't have it at all now. I met a worthy man who had a cockerel and I gave him the goose for it."

"There is nothing at all, Peter, that you would not do in order to please me. That is exactly what I myself would have done. Indeed we will not now need to say that we don't have a clock. There will be no morning now that that cockerel will not wake us up at four o'clock. We'll be up in time every day; he'll fairly keep us on our toes!"

"But how stupid I am!" replied Peter." Do you know that I don't have that cockerel at all! I had to sell it for a shilling; otherwise I would have given up with hunger."

"And indeed, my dear, am I thankful that you did so," said his wife. "There's not a thing you do that you don't do it exactly as I myself would wish. What need is there here of a cockerel or a clock? We can stay in bed as long as we please. Indeed I myself am thankful that you have come back yourself safe and sound and that you have done everything sensibly, methodically and properly."

Peter then opened the door and shouted to the one who was outside. "What do you think now? Did I win the wager?" His friend was obliged to admit that he had done so without any doubt at all, and be paid him the wager.

This story is from a collection of stories available on tape, with an accompanying book, under the title 'Am Bloigh Beag le Beannachd'

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

Peter of the Hill

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 /> Peter of the Hill.<br /> <br /> There was once a man who was called "Peter of the Hill." They gave him that name because he had a little farm on a hill-side. This man and his wife were quite happy with their lot. They were so attached to each other that she was really of the opinion that there wasn't a single man in the world who would do anything as well as Peter could.<br /> <br /> The farm was very small, as if it were a croft, but it belonged to themselves, they had a little money put by and they had two cows in the byre. Thus, they were quite well off and the two of them were as happy as the day was long, themselves and wee Donald, their son.<br /> <br /> One day did his wife not say to Peter, "I think, dear, that we ought to take one of the cows to the town, to sell it. If we get a good price for it we shall have a little money in addition to what we have put by. We don't need the two cows in any case. One of them has enough milk for us."<br /> <br /> Peter never in all his life said that his wife was wrong. Thus, he set off straight away, himself and the cow, in order to sell it in the town. But, alas! When he reached the town there was nobody at all there who wanted to buy it.<br /> <br /> "Yes indeed," said Peter to himself, "that's the way it is. It can't be helped, and there's nothing for it but that I'll have to go back home the way I came. The journey back home is no longer than the distance to the town." And Peter went back home at a gentle pace, with a peaceful, gentle, slow step, himself and the cow.<br /> <br /> He had not gone too far on his journey when he met this man who had a horse to sell. Peter thought that it would be better for him to have a horse rather than a cow. He and the other man struck a bargain, and Peter went off home with the horse.<br /> <br /> A little while after this he met another man who had a big fat pig, and who was on his way to the town. They made an agreement with each other: Peter took the pig and the other man had the horse. He had not gone much farther on his way when he met a man who had a goat. Before he knew where he was Peter had taken the goat in exchange for the pig and off he went on his way home again.<br /> <br /> He carried on like that for a while and it wasn't long till there appeared a man who had a sheep on a rope, taking it to market. The two struck a bargain immediately and off went Peter with the sheep. But who met him then, but a man who had a goose. Peter took a fancy to the goose at once and he gave away the sheep in exchange for it.<br /> <br /> Well then it wasn't long till he met a man who had a cockerel. The worthy Peter said to himself that the cockerel was much better than the goose; he struck a bargain with the other man and off he set with the cockerel.<br /> <br /> It was now getting late and night was coming and Peter hadn't eaten a scrap of food since morning. The poor man was starving with hunger. The best thing to do was to sell the cockerel and to buy food with the money he got for it. That was not much but as Peter said to himself, "It is much better for a man to be alive."<br /> As soon as he had a bite to eat Peter carried on till he reached a friend's house. In he went and immediately his friend began to question him about how the day had gone for him. "Och, fairly well," said Peter, "I don't have much cause for rejoicing without any doubt, but what's the use of complaining?" He then told his friend word for word everything that happened to him since he left the house in the morning.<br /> <br /> "Just so," said his friend, "but pity you when you reach home. You'll get your come-uppance when your wife hears what happened. Indeed I wouldn't like to be in your place in any case. You're for it, my lad!"<br /> <br /> "Och," replied Peter, "maybe things could be a lot worse than they are. I suppose I've done wrong, right enough. But whether I did or not my wife will not make any complaint about anything at all that I have done or will do."<br /> <br /> "That is something that's very difficult for me to believe," replied his friend.<br /> <br /> "Very well then," said Peter, "I know that you don't believe me, but I'll tell you what we'll do. I have £100 put by. If she scolds me when I go home you will have every penny of it all to yourself. Will you give me £100 if she doesn't complain to me?"<br /> <br /> "Indeed I will, certainly," replied his friend. The wager was set like that. Peter stayed with his friend until nightfall and then they went together to Peter's house. In went Peter straight away and the other man stayed outside, eavesdropping. <br /> <br /> "I've come back, wife," said Peter of the Hill. "It's good to be home."<br /> <br /> "Indeed I'm glad to see you back," replied his wife. "I really am." She then asked him how he had got on while he was in the town.<br /> <br /> "Och, not very well at all," replied Peter. "When I reached the town there was nobody there who was willing to buy the cow and I just gave it away in exchange for a horse."<br /> <br /> "For a horse, did you say?" she answered. "Indeed you are a very wise man, Peter. Won't we be well off now...we can be like the other folk in the district. We won't need to walk to church any more. Out you go, little Donald, and harness the horse."<br /> <br /> "But we don't have the horse any more," said Peter. "Did I not give it away and I got a pig in its place."<br /> <br /> "Just think of that now," replied his wife, "you did just as I would have done myself. Amn't I glad! I can now put pork in front of people when they come to visit us. Out you go, little Donald, and feed the pig."<br /> <br /> "Wait," shouted Peter, "wait a minute till I tell you; I don't have the pig at all. I got a goat in its place."<br /> <br /> "Bless me," shouted his wife, "what a sensible man you are! What use would a pig be to me though I had a pig? Now we have a goat and we'll never again be without milk or cheese."<br /> <br /> "Hold on a minute," said Peter "we don't have the goat at all. I gave it away and I got a sheep in place of it."<br /> <br /> "Och, Peter," said his wife, "I understand perfectly well. You just wished to please me. What would a goat do for us though we had one? You and I would just be climbing the hill all the time and dragging it home on a rope. The sheep itself is a lot better, for it will give us wool and milk and it will have lambs as well."<br /> <br /> "That is if we had it" answered Peter. "Did I not give the sheep away and I took a goose in its place."<br /> <br /> "Weren't you wise!" said his wife. "A sheep would be just a trouble to us. Although we had killed it we would not have enjoyed its meat very much. There's no meat at all that I prefer myself to the meat of a roast goose. Off you go, little Donald, and bring in the goose."<br /> <br /> "Hold on now, hold on!...the goose has gone and I don't have it at all now. I met a worthy man who had a cockerel and I gave him the goose for it."<br /> <br /> "There is nothing at all, Peter, that you would not do in order to please me. That is exactly what I myself would have done. Indeed we will not now need to say that we don't have a clock. There will be no morning now that that cockerel will not wake us up at four o'clock. We'll be up in time every day; he'll fairly keep us on our toes!"<br /> <br /> "But how stupid I am!" replied Peter." Do you know that I don't have that cockerel at all! I had to sell it for a shilling; otherwise I would have given up with hunger."<br /> <br /> "And indeed, my dear, am I thankful that you did so," said his wife. "There's not a thing you do that you don't do it exactly as I myself would wish. What need is there here of a cockerel or a clock? We can stay in bed as long as we please. Indeed I myself am thankful that you have come back yourself safe and sound and that you have done everything sensibly, methodically and properly."<br /> <br /> Peter then opened the door and shouted to the one who was outside. "What do you think now? Did I win the wager?" His friend was obliged to admit that he had done so without any doubt at all, and be paid him the wager.<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'