A Look Back on Cuidinish (part 3)

A Look Back on Cuidinish (part 3)


with Neil MacCuish, Horgabost

Fair-haired Duncan the Tailor

Duncan Morrison, he was known as Donnchadh Bàn Tàillear – Fair-haired Duncan the tailor – there was himself and his wife, and they would read the Bible before going to bed. Sometimes the paraffin in the lamp ran out, and as the light went down, the old man would say to his wife, “Turn one of the peats on the fire for a minute.” She would turn it and it would blaze up, and then they were able to sing another psalm!

There was a story about Duncan Morrison. He used to go to the Lochs area of Lewis, working as a tailor, and he had a girlfriend there, in Marvig. He was good with his hands, and he made her a little wooden locket in the shape of a heart to wear around her neck. Unfortunately he fell ill with the smallpox, and could not go back to Marvig for a long time, and his girlfriend thought that he had forgotten her.

When he recovered, he grew a big beard to hide the pockmarks, and, as soon as he could, he headed for Marvig, but the first house he came to there was empty. In the next house there was only an old woman in a bed, and she told him that they had all gone to Ciorstaidh Alasdair’s reiteach – and that was his girlfriend! So off he went to the reiteach too, and sure enough there was his girlfriend going to marry someone else. Nobody recognised him with the big beard, but when the songs started he gave them a song – that he didn’t know where her heart was, but he knew where his heart was, and she was wearing it around her neck! She recognised him, and left the other man and went back with him to Sruth Mor. As the saying went – it was the other man who lost the scone, and it was Duncan who ate it!

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