Folk Tales

Who doesnt love a good tale. Stories and folk tales are intrinsic to Scottish and other Gaelic cultures, its how communities bonded and how they passed the dark winter nights together around the fire. There is a saying in Gaelic, “A cheud sgeul air fear an taighe, is sgeul gu làth’ air an aoidh”, translated which means “First a story from the host, and tales till morning from the guest.” Tales were how folks of old explored ideas of morality, satire and community bonding. A great story teller was held in great esteem by its local community and folks would come far and wide to her their tales round a fire at night. 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.

  • It’s the time of year when we are around family and we celebrate the holidays and the winter moves in.  As the winter comes fast and hard we huddle with our nearest and dearest and folk we might not have seen for a long time. A time where we share stories round the fire safe in the warmth of family …. and i say this now … don’t trust anyone at Christmas. One of my own stories of this time of year, goes back to when I was around 7 or 8. I recall a cozy house and a christmas tree of …

  • The Cailleach is a very interesting figure in Gaelic even possibly Celtic myth and beyond.The above video represents some of the Cailleach’s folk stories, the first about the priest who tries to count the bones in her house and dies of old age because he can’t count them all there are that many. The other part of the tale about the encroaching of man signified by the barking dog and her need to renew herself to become young again. In the previous post I discussed some of the background to the Cailleach and some of the folk tales that relate to …

  • On my travels through both life, herbalism and academia I have the pleasure of meeting a lot of people, on the whole everyone is delightful, down to earth, filled with wit and mirth, splashes of brilliance and amazing to be around, but there is on occasion, a time when you meet someone who makes such haughty claims to things mundane, that i just can’t help to …

Looking for something ?

 © 2022 – All Right Reserved. 

Sign up for my Newsletter