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.

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