Marta ni'n Pheadair Mhòir Steabhain Mhìcheil
Sydney, Cape Breton County
fairies teaching music
TB: Sìthich, uell chuala sinn gu leòr mu sìthich.
JW: Seadh, gu dé bh’annda sin?
TB: Chan eil cuimhn’agam air neart dhiubh. An cuimhnich thusa rudeigin?
MR: Gu dearra, mu na sìthich!
TB: Seadh, mo sheanmhathair...
MR: Uh huh. Tha fhios a’m gu robh... gu robh an leithidean ann ‘s bhitheamaid a’ smaointinn gu robh ‘ad shuas a’s a’ chlach mhór, shuas a’s an abhainn
TB: Uh huh.
MR: Clach mhór a bha thall aig an drochaid air an àit’ againn, bha ‘ad a’ cantail gu robh sìthich ann a’ sin, gun tigeadh ‘ad amach ???? na h-oidhche. Tha mi cinnteach, mar tha a h-uile clann, bhitheamaid-e ri buraban a’falbh mu chuairt a’ deanamh fuaim???. ‘S mo sheanmhair, creutair truagh, bha i cho còir, m`thair m’athar. Gheobhadh i null dha ‘n rùm sin an dòchas an dòchas nach biodh m’athair crosda rith’ na ‘ga slaiseadh na sìon ??? Bhiodh i ‘g innse na rudan sin dhuinn, mu na sìthich ‘s rudan. Bhiodh ‘ad a’ cuir figheachain a’s na h-éich. Chan eil sin ann tuilleadh.
JW: Chan eil, chan eil.
MR: Tha cuimh’ agam, bhiodh ‘ad ag innse mu dheighinn sin.
TB: Cha ghabhadh ‘ad a’ toirt ás, na figheachain a bhiodh a’s a’ mhuing aig an each.
JW: Cha ghabhdh, cha ghabhadh.
TB: Cha ghabh. Chan fhaic thu each ann an dràsd’sin.
JW: Chan fhaic, chan fhaic,
TB: Chan eil na sìthich ann na ‘s motha.
JW. Chan eil. Chan fhaic, chan fhaic.
TB: Chanadh i ruinn gun a bhi muigh anmoch feasgar. Bha ‘ad... Bha ‘ad a’ cantail gu robh daoin’ ann a bhiodh ‘ad a’ feuchaiin ri ceòl dh’ionnsachadh...
JW: Um huh, um huh.
TB: Na rachadh tu amach air cnoc anmoch feasgar...
MR: Bha feadhainn ag ràdh gur ann a’ sin a dh’ionnsaich Granpa na puirt.
TB: Sheadh, gu na dh’ionnsaich na sìthich dhut.
JW: Seadh, ceòl.
TB: Ceòl. MR: Puirt,?? Puirt, start e ‘s cha b’urrainn dha ceòl a leughadh na sìon.
MR: Chluitheadh e fad na h-oidhche leis fhéin, ‘s cha sheinneadh e an aon phort dà thuras.
JW: Dé feum a bhiodh ann a leughadh a’ chiùil, tha fhios agaibh, seach air, air a bhi ‘ga, ‘ga, ‘ga thogail leis a’ chluais? Co dhiubh ...
MR: Sheadh, sheadh. Bha ‘ad ag ràdh ... Bhiodh ‘ad a’ ràdh gun dug sìthich leò ‘s gu na dh’ionnsaich ‘ad na seinn dha.
TB: Fairies, well we heard plenty about the fairies.
JW: Yes, what were they?
TB: I can’t remember much about them. Can you remember something?
MR: Of course, about the fairies!
TB: Uh huh, my grandmother. . . .
MR: Uh huh. I know that . . . that the like were there, and we used to think that they were up at the big stone, up at the river.
TB: Uh huh.
MR: A big stone that was over at the bridge at our place. They would say that fairies were in there, and that they would come out ??? at night. I’m sure, like all children, we would be irritating, going about making noise???. And my grandmother, poor creature, she was so kind, my father’s mother. She would go over to that room, hoping that my father wouldn’t be angry with her, or lashing out at her or something. She would tell us things, about the fairies and such. They would braid pleats on the horses. That doesn’t happen anymore.
JW: No, it doesn’t, no.
MR: I remember, they would tell about that.
TB: They couldn’t be taken out, the braids in the horses’ mane.
JW: They couldn’t, no.
TB: No. You don’t see horses with that now.
JW: No, no.
TB: The fairies aren’t about either.
JW: No. You don’t see them, no.
TB: She would tell us not to be outside late in the evening. They would say that people would be there that were trying to learn music.
JW: Um huh, um huh.
TB: If you were to go out on the hill late in the evening.
JW: Uh huh.
MR: There were some that said that it was that way that Grandpa learnt his tunes.
TB: Uh huh, that the fairies taught him.
JW: Uh huh, music.
TB. Music. MR: Tunes, ?? Tunes, he started and he couldn’t read music or anything.
JW: Uh huh.
MR: He would play the whole night long, by himself, and he wouldn’t play the same tune twice.
JW: What’s the point in reading music, you know, instead of, instead of picking it up by ear? Anyway. . . .
MR: Uh huh, uh huh. They said . . . they would say that the fairies took him with them and that they taught him the music.
Transcribed by Jim Watson, translated by Paul Geddes.