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These pieces are based on the song Hè na Filibhig, a variant of A Bheann Ud Thall (The Jealous Woman). Two women are gathering seaware at low tide and one fails to warn the other of the approaching sea, leaving her cut off on a rock to drown: she then takes the place of the drowned woman, marrying her husband. The song occurs in various forms from the Isle of Lewis to southern Ireland, and the story appears in folktales throughout Europe.

'A boat was seen
Crossing the channel
If there was anyone on board
My love was.
There were six of them
One baling.
The boat will arrive
Here tomorrow.
My father will be in it
And my three brothers
They will find me
Drowned
Lying face down
In muddy shallow water on the shore
They will lift me
Upon their oars.

Lucky will be the one
Who will get my loved one
She will have white houses
Swept closets
Boxed beds
In its upper rooms
Patterned curtains
Drawn around it.
A narrow chest there
Many could sit on it
An apple would roll
Up and down on it
Because of the slope
On its top.'

This version of the song was recorded in Ness, Lewis, from Annie Campbell by Morag Macleod for the School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh University. The transcription and translation are from the sleeve notes of Mary Smith’s CD, Sgiath Airgid.

A variant of the story is located in the landscape at Sgeir Mairead in Bragar on the west side of Lewis.
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Thig an t-eathar seo a-màireach
Ruitheadh ubhal sìos as suas oirr’
  
Return to: Gallery