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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/254

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230 Ghost Lights of the West Highlands.

strong gives as "Teine Sionnachain." This has been spelled " seanachain," and possibly the Seonaid previously men- tioned is a mistake for the Sionnachain.

A long tale reciting the origin of this was got by Miss Kerr, Islay. On comparing it, however, with what the Rev. Mr. MacRury, of Snizort, gives as an Irish account of the origin of the Great Fire ^ they are found to be so very much alike, there being certainly no variation which is not trace- able to a slip of memory or a verbal alteration, except the ascription of it to the " Outer Hebrides," and the distinct statement that this was the origin of the Teine Sionna- chain, that the reciter's account may be at second-hand from Mr. MacRury's. However that may be, the following is the recited versionĀ :

Long ago there was a smith in the Outer Hebrides, who having a large family found it very difficult to provide for them. He tried and tried his best, but feeling at last as if he must give up the struggle, he exclaimed that he would accept of help, no matter where it should come from, whether from the gods or from the devil. The words had not been long out of his mouth until a stranger, appearing like a little old man, came in and offered to give him as much money and everything else as would keep himself and his family in comfort for a whole year, on condition that he would go with him at the year's end. The smith thought for a littleĀ ; and although he had the feeling that what was to be beyond the year was rather doubtful, still a whole year's comfort for a man in his straitened circum- stances was a great matter, not to speak of the chance of his not being alive at the year's end, when the time would have come for him to go with the stranger. So he agreed to the proposal, and the stranger went away.

That year the smith was getting on very well, and had every necessary comfort in the house for himself and his

' Trans. Gael. Soc. Inverness, vol. xix. p. 158.