Page 64 - A Visit with Frank & Margaret MacRae
ISSUE : Issue 46
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/8/1
in the dining room, you know, and Kenny would get the book and start reading the stories. That was every year. Every year. Next year again, one would tell Kenny, "Kenny, get the book." (You were together cutting wood....) Yes. From house to house. You know, we were (each) hauling the firewood home during winter. When everyone would have their firewood home, then Donald Garrett out here, he used to have a (portable) sawmill. And you would have to have maybe from 8 to 12 men chunking it up. That was about a day's work. You'd come in for a cup of tea at 10 o'clock. And then out again, the bunch, and then come in to dinner. Have your big dinner, you know, the best--lots of meat and gravy and potatoes and every? thing else. Then, if it was a big pile, maybe you'd be there for supper. But that was the carry-on every year. When Kenny would be with us, indeed you would have the Gaelic book. He'd read that story. Every year. After dinner. We were having a rest, and everybody smoking. We'd lay on the floor, you know. An hour for dinner. He would get the book and he would sit down. And everybody so interested in those stories. (And when you went around doing this work, was there any pay for it?) Pay? No. Pay-- nothing! No, we didn't get anything. But I'll tell you the way it was. A bunch would come here. And then I would have to go with them. Day for day. (Did you cut anybody's wood, that wasn't among the men doing the work?) Oh yes, in the neighbour? hood. Somebody was sick, you know, we'd all go there and help. (I noticed when you told your story that you kind of shook, you know, like the hen was drying off in front of the fire. Did Kenny MacLeod used to do that too?) Yes, yeah. (When the men were getting together to cut wood from house to house, and you'd have that big dinner, did the women also get to? gether to cook those dinners, or did the one woman of that house prepare it alone?) Margaret MacRae: One woman of that house did the cooking for that day. Perhaps if we had pickled beef; or if they'd killed a cow, maybe a roast of beef. Or maybe it'd be a big pot of stew. We'd have that. And then turnips and carrots and vegetables. And then we'd have some kind of dessert-- maybe cottage pudding or maybe pies, or whatever. Homemade biscuits and bannock and homemade bread. (But it wasn't that your friend next door knew they were coming the next day, and she'd help you get that stuff ready.) No, no. You were doing it. Then they'd know where they were going the next day, and that woman would be preparing for when they'd come to her. You'd have to be pre? pared (for supper) too, just in case they didn't finish, if something broke down. Perhaps you'd have a pot of beans that you'd cook for supper, or something like that, that you could serve them if it was necessary. Have them in at tea at 3 o'clock. Maybe they'd be through shortly after that and they'd go home and have their supper at home. Or maybe if some? thing broke down, they'd have to stay and have supper. So you had to be prepared for it all. (So the men would gather to get Frank's Story about the Hen: Chaidh an duine seo dhan a' choille muigh ann am monadh, agus 'se sealgair a bh'ann agus bha da chu aige. An oidhche seo, bha e 'sa champ aige 's bha teine mor aige anns a' champ, bha e ga chumail fhein blath 's bha'n da chu astigh agus bha uis- ge mor ann. Troimh'n oidhche, chuala e sgriobadh air choireigin aig an dorus. 'S dh'fhosgail e anJdorus 's leum cearc bheag astigh 's chaidh i ri taobh an teine. Leig e leithe, 's chrath a' chearc i fhein an drasda 'sa rithis, Chrath i i fhein a rithis 's 's ann a thoisich a' chearc air fas rudaigin mor. Thuirt an duine--bha bruidhinn aig a' chearc--"0 well, a' chearc, nach tu tha fas mor." 0, thionndaidh a' chearc 's thuirt i, "0 chaneil ann ach m'iolcagan is m'alcagan ag eirigh leis a bhlaths. ('Ge b'e de tha seo chaneil dad a dh'fhios ag- amsa.) Chrath i i fhein a,rithis, 's bha i sior fhas mor. Bha i 'n uairsin air fas cho mor is thoisich na coin air comhartaich. Bha eagal aig a' chearc roimh na coin. Thuirt i ris an duine, "Nach ceangail thu na coin tha sin? Tha eagal agam rompa," "0, chan? eil dad agamsa 's urrainn dhomhsa an cean- gal leis." "0, tha rud agam fhein--tha iall mhath, agus ceangail thus' iad." Dh'fhalbh an duine bochd 's cheangail e an da chu agus, a Thighearna, 'sann a thois? ich a' chearc a fas na bu mhotha nuair a cheangail e na coin--cha mhor nach robh i toir leithe'n camp. Bha i dol a leum air a' bhodach, air an duine--'s fhuair an duine gu na coin air ais is ghearr e'n teud. Theich a' chailleach--'se cailleach a bh'innte 'n uairsin--theich i mach. Dh'fhosgail esan an dorus 's chaidh na coin as a deidh. Thill na coin air ais, ach thuirt an duine ris fhein nach cuireadh esan oidhche eile seachad anns a' champ. Nuair a dh'eirich e 's a mhaduinn, thug e na buinn orra dhach? aidh. Rainig e, dhachaidh, e fhein 's na coin, 's thuirt iad ris aig an tigh gun robh an nabuidh ac' uamhasach tinn--gann gun robh i beo--'s gum feumadh e dhol a choimhead oirre. Dh'fhalbh an duine choimhead air a' bhoir- ionnach a bha seo, agus a Thighearna, 's ann a thuirt e, "Seo agad an donas a bha 'sa champ agamsa an raoir." Bha i air a riabadh aig na coin 's air a sgroidseadh as a cheile. Fhuair e 'n uairsin amach gum b'e droch chailleach a bh'innte, Margaret: De chanadh iad rithe? Frank: 'Se--cailleach na buisneachd.
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