Ruairidh mac Iain Sheumais Dhòmhnaill Òig Iain Ruaridh
Barra Glen, Victoria County
Nìall Mór who was good at making songs; story about hard times on the hill
S: Agus bha fear, bha sinn a’bruidhinn air, bha sinn a’bruidhinn mu dheidhinn an fheadhainn a dheanadh òran, agus bha fear ann goirid dhan àite far a bheil Maxie a’fuireach –se, Niall Mòr, agus dheanadh esan òrain cuideachd.
R: Uill, rinn e òran cò dhiù, agus ma dh’fhaoidte gun do rinn e barrachd air a sin. Nach do rinn e òran nuair a chaidh mac Ruairidh Liùsaidh a mharbhadh sa chogadh?
M; Rinn, uill, eadar e fhèin agus bean Eògain Ghilios…
S; Bha’n dithist aca ga dheanamh?
M; Bha. Bha’d car ri chèile cur an òran ri chèile. Ach bha Niall Mòr glè mhath a thaobh a’Ghàidhlig is…Niall Mòr—se duine mòr àrd a bh’ann.
R; Duine mòr, làidir.
M; Se, o bha làidir. Tha cuimhn’agam bhith ga fhaicinn nar a thigeadh e staigh dhan stòr aig John R. Campbell, bhiodh e tighinn dhan stòr an seo—bhiodh e cho mòr, a’tighinn as Highland Hill agus bhiodh annas againn dha.
R; O, bha gu math duilich nuair a chaidh Donald…
M; Ach, cho luath’s a fhuair e pension…
R; Stad e’g obair.
M; Dh’fhàg e Highland Hill, ach tha mi cluinntinn –uill, bha uamhasach sean nar a dh’eug e ach tha t-seansa gun deach e car roimhe chèile, bha ’son tilleadh a Highland Hill. Bha Maxie ag innse dhomh gu robh e’son tilleadh.
S; Bha shìos baile Shidni, nach robh?
M; Uill, cha robh; thàinig e air ais gu Eilean na Nollaig còmhla ri bhràthair. Sin far na dh’eug e nuair a dh’fhàg e Highland Hill.
R; Bha àit’ aig’ an sin—bha gu math cas.
M; Bha cho fad o’n rathad.
R; Ri taobh àite Maxie, the fios agad. Bha cuideigin o Ontario a’cèilidh còmh’ri Maxie latha bha seo agus bha Niall Mòr ann agus bha’d a’coiseachd sìos agus bha taigh Niall air a’chnoc agus thuirt an duine a Toronto; “Wouldn’t I like to have a house like that—a place like that!” Agus thuirt Niall ris; “You got a dollar?”
M; Uill, bha ga chreic gu math saor ’air a dh’fhàg e. Uill, fhuair e, tha t-seansa—fhuair e hard times ’air a bha e shuas air a’chnoc as a’gheamhradh.
R; Agus fhuair e –chaidh a ghoirteachadh barrachd air aon turas cuideachd. Bha cho làidir ged a…
M; Bha deagh eich aige airson a’bhruthach mhòr a bha sin. Bha t-seansa gu robh –se each glè mhath a bh’aige agus bha—thuirt e gu robh e dol a chur dheth searrach bhuaithe agus cò dhiù, bith gu dè chanadh Niall Mòr a’s a’Ghàidhlig, bha beathach eich, bha tuigsinn a’Ghàidhlig’s a h-uile sian. Cò dhiù, ’air a thàinig an searrach, dh’fhaighneachd iad dha—do Niall Mòr, robh e dol a dh’ionnsachadh na Gàidhlig dhith. “O,” thuirt –thionndaidh e—thuirt e “Well, I’ll leave that to the mother!”
S: And there was one, we were discussing, we were discussing those who could compose a song, and there was one close to where Maxie lives—yes, Big Neil, and he could also compose songs.
R: Well, he made one song at least, and perhaps more than that. Didn’t he compose a song when Roddie Lucy’s son was killed in the war?
M: Yes, well, between himself and Hughie Gillis’ wife…
S: They were both involved?
M: Yes, they were sort of together in composing the song. But Big Neil was very proficient in regard to Gaelic and….Big Neil—he was a big tall man.
R: A big strong man.
M: Yes, oh, he was strong. I remember seeing him when he used to come into John R. Campbell’s store; he used to come to the store here—he was so big, coming from Highland Hill, and we considered him unusual.
R: Oh, he was very sad when Donald…
M: But, as soon as he got the pension…
R: He stopped working. M: He left Highland Hill, but I hear—well, he was quite old when he died but it seems that he was somewhat mixed up, he wanted to come back to Highland Hill. Maxie told me he wanted to return.
S: He was down in Sydney, was he not?
M: Well, no, he came back to Christmas Island with his brother. That’s where he died after he left Highland Hill.
R: His place there—it was quite steep.
M: It was so far from the road.
R: Beside Maxie’s place, you know. Someone from Ontario was visiting Maxie one day and Big Neil was there and they were walking down and Neil’s house was on the hill and the fellow from Toronto said; “Wouldn’t I like to have a house like that—a place like that!” And Neil answered him: “You got a dollar?”
M: Well, he was selling it quite cheaply when he left. Well, he got, apparently—he had some hard times when he was up on the hill in the winter.
R: And he got—he was also injured more than once. But he was so strong…
M: He had good horses for that steep hill. It seems that—his horse was very good and he said he was going to get a foal from it and anyhow, whatever Big Neil said in Gaelic, the horse understood Gaelic and all that. Anyhow, when the foal arrived, they asked him, Big Neil, if he was going to teach it (her)Gaelic. “Oh,” he replied, he retorted, “Well, I’ll leave that to the mother!”
Transcribed and translated by Effie Rankin.