e-book The Lost Pibroch And other Sheiling Stories

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Awards for her past collections include the W. Smith Prize in the U.

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She lives in Ontario and British Columbia. Kindle Edition File Size: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a product review. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. All pipers know the maxim that it takes 7 years to learn to play the pipes. I traced the origins of this normally misquoted piece of wisdom to this wonderful book written around It is a book of short stories set in the Scottish highlands of a couple of hundred years ago and reveals, in the mode of writing of those times, the rivalry and lifestyle of the old Scottish clans.

The Lost Pibroch and other Sheiling Stories by Neil Munro on Apple Books

The stories are well told and reading them transports the reader into a world, very different from the one we know today. There are quite a few Gaelic words thrown in that make it dificult to follow at tiomes, but it it is for the main part possible to read around them and get the meaning. It is not the splendour of it, nor the riches of its folk; it is not any great routh of field or sheep-fank, but the scented winds of it, and the comfort of the pine-trees round and about it on every hand.


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My mother used to be saying when I had the notion of fairy tales , that once on a time, when the woods were young and thin, there was a road through them, and the pick of children of a country-side wandered among them into this place to play at sheilings. Up grew the trees, fast and tall, and shut the little folks in so that the way out they could not get if they had the mind for it. But never an out they wished for.

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They grew with the firs and alders, a quiet clan in the heart of the big wood, clear of the world out-by. But now and then wanderers would come to Half Town, through the gloomy coves, under the tall trees.


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There were packmen with tales of the out-world. There were broken men flying from rope or hatchet. They had seen Half Town from the sea — smoking to the clear air on the hillside; and through the weary woods they came, and the dead quiet of them, and they stood on the edge of the fir-belt.

Before them was what might be a township in a dream, and to be seen at the one look, for it stood on the rising hill that goes back on Lochow. The dogs barked, and out from the houses and in from the fields came the quiet clan to see who could be here. Biggest of all the men, one they named Coll, cried on the strangers to come forward; so out they went from the wood-edge, neither coy nor crouse, but the equal of friend or foe, and they passed the word of day.

I can play two or three ports. He took them to a bothy behind the Half Town, a place with turf walls and never a window, where a blind man sat winding pirns for the weaver-folks. Still and on, if pipes are here, piping there might be. A fair man has aye a soft bit in his speech, like the lapping of milk in a cogie; and a black one, like your friend there, has the sharp ring of a thin burn in frost running into an iron pot.

But, no matter, let us to our piping.

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To those who know not the pipes, the feel of the bag in the oxter is a gaiety lost. The bothy roared with the tuning, and then the air came melting and sweet from the chanter. The two men sat on, the stools, with their elbows on their knees, and listened. Splendid, my old fellow! The march came fast to the chanter — the old tune, the fine tune that Kintail has heard before, when the wild men in their red tartan came over hill and moor; the tune with the river in it, the fast river and the courageous that kens not stop nor tarry, that runs round rock and over fall with a good humour, yet no mood for anything but the way before it.

The tune of the heroes, the tune of the pinelands and the broad straths, the tune that the eagles of Loch Duich crack their beaks together when they hear, and the crows of that country-side would as soon listen to as the squeal of their babies. He put his fingers on the holes, and his heart took a leap back over two generations, and yonder was Glencoe!

The Lost Pibroch, and other Sheiling Stories. By Neil Munroe.

The grey day crawled on the white hills and the Mack roofs smoked below. Snow choked the pass, eas and corn filled with drift and flatted to the brae-face; the wind tossed quirky and and in the little bashes and among the smooring lintels and joists; the Mood of old and young lappered on the hearthstone, and the bairn, with a knifed throat, had an icy lip on a frozen teat. O God of grace — dogs and cowards! So the three stayed in the bothy and played tune about while time went by the door. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.

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