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An Litir Bheag (The Little Letter) An Litir Bheag

Ruairidh MacIlleathain Sreath de litrichean a bheir taic do luchd-ionnsachaidh na Gàidhlig. Bidh iad seo cuideachail do luchd-ionnsachaidh a tha seachad air ìre-tòiseachaidh agus a tha ag iarraidh barrachd Gàidhlig a leughadh. Tha faidhle fuaim, teacsa agus eadar-theangachadh an cois gach litir. Sna tràth-litrichean, tha puingean cànain is abairtean a’ gabhail àite eadar-theangachadh slàn. A series of letters that offer support to Gaelic learners. These will be helpful to learners who are beyond a beginners’ level and want to read more. Audio, text and translation accompany each letter. In the early letters, language points and phrases are provided instead of a full translation.

Nature Nàdar

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The whales of Balallan (Litir Bheag 606) Mucan-mara Bhail’ Ailein (Litir Bheag 606)

The whales of Balallan Mucan-mara Bhail’ Ailein

It’s senseless whales that rejected their home

On the maritime face of the ocean

When they made course for the bay of Ballallan

Death was their reward

It’s [only] one of them that went back to the sea,

The others were stoned mercilessly

The local lads were in droves flaying

Till early on Monday morning.

Do you recognise that song? It’s about the hunting of whales. It happened in Lewis in 1934.

People would protect the whales today. But, at that time, matters were different. People were poor. When whales appeared in front of their houses, that was ‘the will of providence’.

It’s just one whale that returned to sea. ‘The others were stoned mercilessly’. There were 54 of them. Apparently, they were northern bottlenose whales.

They appeared in Loch Erisort near Habost. Some people went out in small boats. They followed the whales to Balallan. They drove the animals into the shallow water at the head of the loch. They killed them there. They boiled the blubber in large pots to extract oil. A terrible smell emanated from them. Here is the third verse:

On Tuesday morning, there was a terrible smell

High to the mountain tops

The deer themselves detected the bad smell

That was rising out of the glen

They made off with a leap and a sigh

It’s only compulsion that would keep them there

They wouldn’t eat any of the grass until they reached the hills of Hushinish [in Harris].

The person who wrote the song was of the opinion that the people there weren’t seafarers or fishermen. They were ‘lads of the tweed’ [weavers]. Usually, fish or sea creatures were not in danger from them. But this time it was different. I believe that was the last time that people were involved in a whale hunt in Scotland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mucan-mara Bhail’ Ailein (Litir Bheag 606)

The whales of Balallan

ʼS e mucan gun chiall chuir cùl rin dachaigh

Air aodann mharail a’ chuain;

Nuair chuir iad an cùrs air bàgh Bhail’ Ailein

ʼS e ʼm bàs a bh’ aca mar dhuais;

ʼS e aon a thàr gu sàl air ais dhiubh,

Chaidh càch a chlachadh gun truas;

Bha balaich an àite nam màl a’ feannadh

Gu tràth air madainn Diluain.

A bheil sibh ag aithneachadh an òrain sin? Tha e mu dheidhinn sealg mhucan-mara. Thachair e ann an Leòdhas ann an naoi ceud deug, trithead ʼs a ceithir (1934).

Bhiodh daoine a’ dìon nam muc an-diugh. Ach, aig an àm sin, bha gnothaichean eadar-dhealaichte. Bha daoine bochd. Nuair a nochdadh mucan-mara air beulaibh nan taighean aca, b’ e sin ‘rùn an fhreastail’.

ʼS e dìreach aon mhuc-mhara a thill gu muir. ‘Chaidh càch a chlachadh gun truas’. Bha caogad ʼs a ceithir ann dhiubh. A rèir choltais, ʼs e mucan-biorach tuathach a bha annta – northern bottlenose whales.

Nochd iad ann an Loch Eireasort faisg air Tàbost. Chaidh feadhainn a-mach ann an eathraichean. Lean iad na mucan gu ruige Bail’ Ailein. Dh’iomain iad na beathaichean chun an uisge eu-domhainn aig ceann an locha. Mharbh iad an sin iad. Ghoil iad an t-saill ann am praisean airson ola fhaighin. Bha fàileadh mòr a’ tighinn asta. Seo an treas rann:

Sa mhadainn Dimàirt bha fàileadh damait

Gu h-àrd air mullach nam beann;

Gun d’ fhairich na fèidh iad fhèin an samh

A bha ʼg èirigh mach às a’ ghleann;

Tharraing iad ceum le leum is osann,

ʼS e ʼn èiginn a chumadh iad ann,

Chan itheadh iad beum dhen fheur gun ruigeadh

Iad slèibhtean Hùisinis thall.

Bha an neach a sgrìobh an t-òran dhen bheachd nach e maraichean no iasgairean a bha anns na daoine an sin. ʼS e ‘balaich a’ chlò’ a bha annta. Mar bu trice cha robh èisg no creutairean mara ann an cunnart bhuapa. Ach, an turas seo, bha a’ chùis eadar-dhealaichte. Tha mi a’ creidsinn gum b’ e sin an turas mu dheireadh a bha daoine a’ sealg mhucan-mara ann an Alba.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PDF

Download the text of this week's letter as a PDF: Thoir a-nuas Litir mar PDF: Adobe PDF of this letter

PDF documents are especially suited for printing out. Most computers can open PDF files, but if you have problems viewing them you may need to install reader software such as Tha faidhleachan PDF gu sònraichte math airson clò-bhualadh. Tha e furasta gu leòr do chuid de choimpiutairean faidhleachan PDF fhosgladh, ach ma tha trioblaid agad ‘s dòcha gum biodh e feumail bathar-bog mar Adobe Acrobat Reader. fhaighinn.

Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh

This letter corresponds to Tha an Litir seo a’ buntainn ri Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh 910

Podcast

BBC offers this litir as a podcast – visit the programme page for more info and to download or subscribe. Tha am BBC a’ tabhainn seo mar podcast. Tadhail air an duilleag-phrògraim airson barrachd fiosrachaidh no airson podcast fhaighinn

Other Letters Litrichean eile

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Àireamh / Number

Facal / Word