Story telling has a huge history in Scotland, an ancient celtic art form (one of the “High Arts” formerly). It’s important to realise the difference between oral storytelling and other forms of narrative: The ancient art commits all Tales to memory, in very exacting ways.
Storytelling has a multifaceted history of use including, education of both children and adults, history keeping, law making, conflict resolution, community decision-making and mental healing. Many of these uses are still applied by tellers today.
As such, storytellers were (up until the last 300 years) members of the elite class in many cultures including Celtic, where Brehons / Bards / Seanachaidhean / Storytellers were valuable advisors to the Clan Chiefs and leaders. The Scottish tradition comes from our Irish ancestry. Tales and the culture were brought over in around 500AD with the Irish invasion. That said, there is something common to the storytelling from all of the Celtic nations.
Though not such a storied tale in itself, a really good programme was recently aired on radio 4 about tales of the land. Sadly not entirely based in Scotland but covers some of the tales of how places came to get their names, some of the ideas are very traditional and similar to folk tales you’ll hear in Scotland.
I thought i would put them here for folks to listen too. I hope you enjoy them as much as i did ..
The first two episodes of Audio Tales | Lore of the land are found below:
Episodes three and four of Audio Tales | Lore of the land are here: (in these episodes they go up to Orkney!)
And finally episode five of Audio Tales | Lore of the land is here:
All in all its about an hours listening, sit back with a cuppa and enjoy.