Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 44 > Page 67 - Joe Neil MacNeil, Gaelic Storyteller

Page 67 - Joe Neil MacNeil, Gaelic Storyteller

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/1/1 (251 reads)

A demand for Gaelic stories came back, more or less, when Sr. Margaret Beaton was down in the Cape Bretoniana, and she wanted recordings made down there, and she wanted some stories • Well, they were scarce. People who were inclined to tell stories, they were pretty well gone. There were only a very few left. Well, I picked up myself--I started going over it, trying to remember stories that I heard. And I was going (to) some books and finding stories there--and I heard some of them before. And there were little changes made, but maybe I'd forgotten, or maybe they were like that when I heard them in the first place. A little bit different, but then I could put them together and go with them, pretty well the way I heard them. But that was on the. way out. It was just, the last load of hay. But all that's in the book is what I heard from people (the new book Tales until Dawn, collected, transcribed, and translated by John Shaw). There's nothing there that I read. Because what I was reading in books, anybody could read that.... (We had talked a little bit about old say? ings at one time.) Seanfhacail. (Were they a common part of people's speech at one time?) Oh gosh, yes. They were used so com? monly. If they were talking about people, and about one thing and another, they of? ten used those words, those old sayings. Any time that they were talking, you could hear them. They could always apply them. They weren't just attached to the one point. Even if they mentioned somebody that made a contribution--if they were taking up a collection or going around--like for United Appeal, or anything at all. And somebody put in a tidy sum--somebody put in $10. Well, he was well-to-do, he was a wealthy man. Well, "isn't it easy enough to make a big batch of bread when you have lots of meal alongside of you"--when you have the flour. "Is furasda fuine a dhean? amh nuair a tha thu lamh ri mhin." "When you're alongside of meal, it's easy enough to make scones," or whatever you're making. A person wouldn't be satisfied, they'd be grumbling about something. They didn't have the facilities or what-have-you. But it was useless to grumble about it. "Row with the oar that's next to your hand," or nearest to your hand. "lomair leis an ramh is fhaisg air do laimh." All of those sayings were used here and there. They referred to them. It's just-- like parables, Of course, the parables, in our teaching of Christianity, it referred to the King? dom of God. And when it referred to it, it was something that the people were famil- Best Western Clapmore ifnn and Conference Centre ANTIGONISH, N. S. (902)863-1050 Indoor Pool / Sauna / Hot Tub / Licensed Dining Room & Lounge Keppoch Mtn. 15 Min. * Weekend Ski Packages Available ~ Cape Breton's Newest Gaelic Record ~ A Tribute To THE NORTH SHORE GAELIC SINGERS (Featuring traditional Gaelic songs from Cape Breton Island) Now available in stores, and by direct mail from: Rosemary McCormack, P.O. Box 3, lona. Nova Scotia BOA ILO (Phone 622-2013) Cost: $9.95 (N. S. residents add $1.00 sales tax) plus $1.00 (postage and handling)
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