Morag and the Kelpie

Leggi in italiano

In the most placid rivers of Ireland and in the dark depths of the Scottish lakes live water demons, fairy creatures, that feed on human flesh: they are “kelpie”, “each uisge” (in English water-horse), “eich- mhara “(in English sea horse); to want to be picky kelpie lives preferably near the rapids of the rivers, fords and waterfalls, while each uisge prefers the lakes and the sea, but kelpie is the most used word for both. Similar creatures are also told in Norse legends (Bäckahästen, the river horse) – and Germanic (nix in the form of fish or frog). (first part)

MORAG AND THE KELPIE

At the summer pastures of the Highlands they are still told of the beautiful Morag (Marion) seduced by a kelpie in human form; she, while noticing the strangeness of her husband, did not understand his true nature, if not after the birth of their child and … she decided to abandoning baby in swaddling clothes and husband shapeshifter!

On the Isle of Skye they still sing a song in Gaelic, ‘Oran-tàlaidh an eich-uisge’ or ‘Oran each-uisge’ (The water kelpie’s song) the “Lullaby of the kelpie” a melancholy air with which the kelpie cradled his child without a mother, and at the same time a plea to Morag to return to them, both he and the child needed her.
Of this lament we know several textual versions handed down to today in the Hebrides. The melodies revolve around an old Scottish aria entitled “Crodh Chailein” (in English “Colin’s cattle) evidently considered a melody of the fairies.
Another song, sweet and melancholic at the same time, is entitled Song of the Kelpie or even ARRANE GHELBY

Dh’èirich mi moch, b’ fheàrr nach do dh’èirich

So translates from Scottish Gaelic Tom Thomson “I got up early, it would have been better not to” (see)

Julie Fowlis in Alterum 2017

Scottish gaelic
Dh’èirich mi moch, dh’èirich mi moch, B’fheàrr nach d’ dh’èirich
Mo chreach lèir na chuir a-mach mi.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
Bha ceò sa bheinn, Bha ceò sa bheinn, is uisge frasach
’s thachair orms’ a’ ghruagach thlachdmhor.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò
Bheir mi dhut fìon, Bheir mi dhut fìon, ‘S gach nì a b’ ait leat,
Ach nach èirinn leat sa mhadainn,
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
’Nighean nan gamhna, ’Nighean nan gamhna, Bha mi ma’ riut,
Anns a’ chrò is càch nan cadal
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
An daoidh gheal donn, An daoidh gheal donn, Rug i mac dhomh.
Ged is fuar a rinn i altram,
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
[instrumental]

Bha laogh mo laoidh, Bha laogh mo laoidh, ri taobh cnocan
gun teine, gun sgàth, gun fhasgadh.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
A Mhòr a ghaoil, A Mhòr, a ghaoil, Till ri d’ mhacan,
’S bheir mi goidean breagha breac dhut.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
English translation *
I arose early
I arose early –
would that I hadn’t.
I was distressed by what sent me out (1).
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
There was mist on the hill
There was mist on the hill
and showers of rain
and I came across a pleasant maiden
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
I’ll give you wine
I’ll give you wine
and all that will please you
but I won’t arise with you in the morning (2).
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
Girl of the calves (3)
Girl of the calves
I was with you in the cattle-fold (4)
and the rest were asleep.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
The fine brown wicked one (5)
The fine brown wicked one
bore me a son
although coldly did she nurse him
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
The calf (6) of my song
The calf of my song
was beside a hillock
without fire, protection or shelter (7).
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
Mòr, my love
Mòr, my love, return to your little son
and I’ll give you a beautiful speckled withes (8).
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
NOTE
English translation also here
1)  the kelpie, suffering from loneliness, leaves the lake early in the morning and takes on human form
2) the shapeshifter promises food and comfort to the girl to convince her to follow him, but he warns her, he is a nocturnal creature and will not wake up with her in the morning!
3) gamhna = cattle between 1 year and 2 years translates Tom Thomson stitks; that is heifer, the cow that has not yet given birth, the verse in addition to qualifying the work of the girl (herdswoman) also wants to be a compliment, in Italian “bella manza” as a busty woman, with abundant and seductive shapes
4) the kelpie remembers the night meeting when they had sex (and obviously nine months later their son was born)
5) after the good memories of the past it comes the present, the woman has discovered the true nature of her companion and she dislikes their child
6) continuing in the comparison the kelpie calls “calf” its baby, that is “small child”
7) A typical “exposition” of fairy children is described. A practice of “birth control” widespread in the countryside of Europe, was the abandonment of newborns in the forest, so that fairies would take care of them; once the practice was widespread both against illegitimate people, and newborns with obvious physical deformations or ill-looking. The custom of “exposing” the baby was connected with the belief that he was “swapped” or kidnapped by the fairies and replaced with a changeling, a shapeshifter who for a while resembles the human child, but ultimately always takes its true appearance.
8) breagha breac dhut. Tom Thomson translates = speckled band (of withy). I searched the dictionary: it is a crown made by intertwining the branches of willow; it reminds me of the Celtic crowns of flowers and leaves

 

Margaret Stewart & Allan MacDonald recorded it under the title “Òran Tàlaidh An Eich-Uisge” in 2001 (from Colla Mo Rùn) following the collection of Frances Tolmie (‘Cumha an EichUisge’ vol I)

english translation *
I and III
Sleep my child, Sleep my child
Sleep my child, Sleep my child
Chorus
Hì hó, hó bha hó, Hì hó, hao i hà
Fast of foot you are
Great as a horse you are
II and IV
My darling son
Oh my lovely little horse
You are far from the township
You will be sought after (1)
scottish gaelic
I
O hó bà a leinibh hó, O hó bà a leinibh hà
Bà a leinibh hó bha hó, Hó bà a leinibh hao i hà
(chorus)
Hì hó, hó bha hó, Hì hó, hao i hà
‘S luath dha d’ chois thu, hó bha hó
‘S mór nad each thu, hao i hà
II
O hó m’eudail a mac hó
O hó m’eachan sgèimheach hà
‘S fhad ‘n ‘n bhail’ thu, hò bha hò
Nìtear d’iarraidh, hao i hà

NOTE
1) The kelpie sings the lullaby to its child abandoned by the human mother and comforts him by telling him that when he grows up he’ll be a little heartbreaker

With the title of ‘A Mhór, a Mhór, till ri d’ mhacan the same story is present in the archives of Tobar an Dualchais, from the voice of three witnesses of the Isle of Skye
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/99707/1
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/99703/1
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/99714/1

A similar story is told in the island of Benbecula with the title of Bheirinn Dhut Iasg, Bheirinn Dhut Iasg see


Caera
in Suantraighe, A Collection of Celtic Lullabies 2006 sings another fragment with the title “The Skye Water Kelpie’s lullaby” (see the version of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser below)

English translation *
Mór (1), my love! Mór, my treasure!
Come back to your little son
and you will get a speckled trout from the lake.
Mór, my darling! Tonight the night
Is wetly showering my son
on the shelter of a knoll.
Mór, my love! Mór, my treasure!
Lacking fire, lacking food, lacking shelter,
and you continually lamenting (2).
Mór, my love! Mór, my darling!
My gray, old, toothless mouth
to your silly little mouth,
and me singing  tunes by Ben Frochkie. (3)
Scottish gaelic
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Till gu d’mhacan is gheabh
thu’m bradan breac o’n loch.
A Mhór a shògh! Tha’n oiche nochd
Gu fliuch frasach aig mo mhacsa
ri sgath chnocain.
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Gun teine, gun tuar, gun fhasgadh,
is tu sìor chòineadh.
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Mo sheana-chab liath ri
do bheul beag baoth
is mi seinn phort dhuit am Beinn Frochdaidh.

NOTE
1) Mhórag or Mór is the name of the maiden loved by the kelpie
2) it is the incessant cry of the child abandoned by his human mother in the cold and without food
3) mountain between Gesture and Portree on the Isle of Skye

Skye Water Kelpie’s Lullaby

With the title “Cronan na Eich-mhara”, the same fragment sung by Caera is also reported in the book of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser and Kenneth MacLeod “Songs of the Hebrides” 1909 (page 94)

Kenneth MacLeod
I
Avore, my love, my joy
To thy baby come
And troutlings you’ll get out of the loch
Avore, my heart, the night is dark,
wet and dreary.
Here’s your bairnie neath the rock
II
Avore, my love, my joy,
wanting fire here,
wanting shelter, wanting comfort
our babe is crying by the loch
III
Avore, my heart, my bridet
My gray old mouth
touching thy sweet lips,
and me singing Old songs to thee,
by Ben Frochkie (1)
NOTE
1) between Gesto and Portree in Skye
Scottish gaelic
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Till gu d’mhacan is gheabh
thu’m bradan breac o’n loch.
A Mhór a shògh! Tha’n oiche nochd
Gu fliuch frasach aig mo mhacsa
ri sgath chnocain.
II
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Gun teine, gun tuar, gun fhasgadh,
is tu sìor chòineadh.
III
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Mo sheana-chab liath ri
do bheul beag baoth
is mi seinn phort dhuit am Beinn Frochdaidh.
 
Theodor_Kittelsen_-_Nøkken_som_hvit_hestARCHIVE
Skye Water Kelpie’s Lullaby
Dh’èirich mi moch, b’ fheàrr nach do dh’èirich
Òran Tàlaidh An Eich-Uisge
A Mhór, a Mhór, till ri d’ mhacan
Cronan na Eich-mhara
Song of the Kelpie
Up, ride with the kelpie

Sources
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=4374 http://mudcat.org/detail_pf.cfm?messages__Message_ID=48242 http://www.kidssongsmp3.twinkletrax.com/kids-song.php?c=C02T12&kids-song=O,%20Can%20Ye%20Sew%20Cushions http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/stewart/orantalaidh.htm
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stromkarlen_1884.jpg

Crodh Chailein (Colin’s cattle) a highlands milking song

Leggi in italiano

In the rural economy of the past milking the cows (as well as the preparation of butter and cheese) was a task performed by women. Thus the wisdom of the Celtic women has given rise to a whole series of work songs, which are also spells to ward off the evil eye and to calm the cows, so that the milk production is abundant and blessed. It is well known that goblins are fond of butter and milk, and folklore includes witches and disturbing animals like milk suckers with hostile intentions, or determined to make the milk sour, or to prevent the transformation of the cream into butter!

THE SYMBOLS OF THE GODDESS

A maiden milking a cow is a figure found carved on the walls of many medieval churches, and is a very old presence in the land of Ireland, or more generally along the coasts of Europe: already in the megalithism there are names like The Cow and Calf attributed to particular rocks.. see more

MILKING SONG: Colin’s cattle

In the peasant world there existed a whole series of prayers and invocations, often in the form of songs, which were part of the cultural baggage dating back to the time of the Druids; these Ortha nan Gaidheal in Scottish Gaelic, come from the bardic tradition that survived in the folklore, through the centuries of Christianity and despite the English cultural hegemony, and were collected and translated at the end of 1800 by Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912), who published them in his book “Carmina Gadelica”.

Adriaen_van_de_VeldeCrodh Chailein” ( “Colin’s cattle”) is classified as a “milking song” and recorded on the field by Alan Lomax (South Uist) in the 1950s: it is a lullaby whispered to the cows to keep them quiet during milking, and to stimulate them magically in the production of a lot of milk. Scottish cows are so used to this treatment that they do not give milk without a song !!
Listen these three milking songs in sequence:: “Crodh Chailein”, “Chiùinan Ghràidh” e “a’ Bhanarach Chiùin”

Ethel Bassin in her “The Old Songs of Skye: Frances Tolmie and her Circle” (1997) shows two verses of the song collected by Isabel Cameron of the Isle of Mull (internal Hebrides) along with the legend of its origin reported by Niall MacLeòid , “the Skye bard.”
Who sings is the woman kidnapped by the fairies on her wedding day and yet she gets permission to go every day to milk the cows of her husband named Colin: the husband can hear her singing but he can not see her. The bard assures us that the woman will return after one year and a day to her human husband! The abduction of the bride on wedding day was not so remote a possibility according to the beliefs of the time and there were many tricks to keep the fairies away in that occasion! (see more).
According to another legend, Colin’s wife dies at a young age and comes back a few months after her burial for the evening milking of the cows singing this song

Mary Cameron Mackellar writes in her essay ‘The Shieling: Its Traditions and Songs’ (Gaelic Society of Inverness 1889 from here) “Weird women of the fairy race were said to milk the deer on the mountain tops, charming them with songs composed to a fairy melody or “fonn-sith.”  One of these songs is said to be the famous “Crodh Chailein.”  I give the version I heard of it, and all the old people said the deer were the cows referred to as giving their milk so freely under the spell of enchantment. .. Highland cows are considered to have more character than the Lowland breeds, and when they get irritated or disappointed, they retain their milk for days.  This sweet melody sung – not by a stranger, but by the loving lips of her usual milkmaid – often soothes her into yielding her precious addition to the family supply.”
Mary Mackellar lyrics
Seist (chorus)
Chrodh Chailein, mo chridhe,
Crodh Iain, mo ghaoil,
Gun tugadh crodh Chailein,
Am bainn’ air an fhraoch.
I
Gun chuman, gun bhuarach,
Gun lao’-cionn, gun laogh,
Gun ni air an domhan,
Ach monadh fodh fhraoch.
II
Crodh riabhach breac ballach,
Air dhath nan cearc-fraoicb,
Crodh ‘lionadh nan gogan
‘S a thogail nan laogh.
III
Fo ‘n dluth-bharrach uaine,
‘S mu fhuarain an raoin,
Gun tugadh crodh Chailein
Dhomh ‘m bainn’ air an fhraoch.
IV
Crodh Chailein, mo chridhe,
‘S crodh Iain, mo ghaoil,
Gu h-uallach ‘s an eadar-thrath,
A beadradh ri ‘n laoigh

The melody (see) also called Crochallan is also known as My Heart’s In The Highlands . The oldest version in print (text and score) is in “The Elizabeth Ross Manuscript” (1812)

Donald Sinclair from Tiree 1968

Between the Times

Scots Gaelic (from here)
Seist (chorus)
Crodh Chailein mo chridhe
Crodh chailein mo ghaoil
Gu’n tugadh crodh Chailein
Dhomh bainn’ air an fhraoch
I
Gu’n tugadh crodh Chailein
Dhomh bainn’ air an raon
Gun chuman(1), gun bhuarach
Gun luaircean(2), gun laugh.
II
Gu’n tugadh crodh Chailein
Dhomh bainne gu leoir
Air mullach a’ mhonaidh
Gun duine ‘nar coir
III
Gu bheil sac air mo chridhe
’S tric snidh air mo ghruaidh
agus smuairean air m’aligne
Chum an cadal so bhuam
IV
Cha chaidil, cha chaidil
cha chaidil mi uair
cha chaidil mi idir
gus an tig na bheil uam.
The cattle of Colin my dearest,
The cattle of Colin my love,
Colin’s cattle would give me milk
Upon the heather
I
Colin’s cattle would give me milk
Upon the field,
without a cogue(1), without a shackle,
without a luaircean(2), without a calf.
II
Colin’s cattle would give
plenty of milk to me,
on top of the moor
without anyone near us.
III
There is a weigh on my dart,
and often tears on my cheek,
And sorrow on my mind
That has kept sleep from me.
IV
I will not sleep, I will not sleep,
I will not sleep an hour,
I will not sleep at all
until what I long for returns.

NOTE
1) cogue = wooden vessel used for milking cows
2) luaircean = a substitute calf, an inanimate prop over which the skin of a milk cow’s deceased calf was draped, in order to console her with it’s scent, thus encouraging her to continue to produce milk

Morvyn Menzies


English translation Charles Stewart*
I
I won’t sleep, I won’t sleep
I won’t sleep one hour,
I won’t sleep at all
Until what was taken returns.
II
May Colin’s cattle give me
Milk for their love of me,
At the top of the hill
With no one nearby.
Chorus
Cows of my beloved Colin
Iain’s cows, my dear;
Cows that would fill up the milking bucket,
Cows that rear the calves
III
My heart is heavy,
Tears frequently on my cheeks,
My mind is dejected,
And this stops me sleeping.
IV
I won’t go to the birch wood
Or gathering nuts;
On a brown, ragged plaid
I wait for the cows.
Scots Gaelic (from here)
I
Cha chaidil, cha chaidil,
Cha chaidil mi uair,
Cha chaidil mi idir
Gus an tig na bheil bhuam.
II
Gun toireadh crodh Chailein,
Dhomh bainn’ air mo ghaol,
Air mullach a’ mhonaidh,
Gun duine nar taobh.
Seist (chorus)
Crodh Chailein mo chridhe,

Crodh Iain, mo ghaoil;
Crodh lìonadh nan gogan,
Crodh togail nan laogh.
III
Gu bheil sac air mo chridhe,
’S tric snigh’ air mo ghruaidh,
Agus smuairean air m’ aigne,
Chùm an cadal seo bhuam.
IV
Cha tèid mi don bheithe,
No thional nan crò;
Air breacan donn ribeach
Tha mi feitheamh nam bò.

NOTE
* in “The Killin Collection of Gaelic Songs”


typical pipe band version

second part

SOURCE

http://www.skyelit.co.uk/poetry/collect21.html
http://www.lochiel.net/archives/arch116.html
http://scotsgaelicsong.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/scots-gaelic-song-crodh-chailein/ http://plover.net/~agarvin/faerie/Text/Music/54.html
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/57427/8;jsessionid=97E1C046ADC0124A757755FF5E401B2F
https://thesession.org/tunes/11647

Crodh Chailein (le mucche di Colin) una milking song dalle isole Ebridi

Read the post in English

Nell’economia rurale di un tempo mungere le mucche (come anche la preparazione del burro e del formaggio) era un’incombenza svolta dalle donne. Così la saggezza delle donne celte ha originato tutta una serie di canti di lavoro, che sono anche incantesimi  per far allontanare il malocchio e per calmare le mucche, in modo che la produzione del latte sia abbondante e benedetta. E’ risaputo che i folletti sono ghiotti di burro e di latte, e nel folklore si annoverano anche streghe e inquietanti animali come succhiatori di latte dalle intenzioni ostili, o determinati a far inacidire il latte, o a impedire la trasformazione della panna in burro!

I SIMBOLI DELLA DEA

La figura di una fanciulla che munge una mucca si ritrova scolpita sulle mura di molte chiese medievali, ed è una presenza molto antica in terra d’Irlanda, o più in generale lungo le coste d’ Europa: già nel megalitismo si trovano nomi come  The Cow and Calf attribuiti a particolari rocce. continua

MILKING SONG: Colin’s cattle

Nel mondo contadino esistevano tutta una serie di preghiere e invocazioni, spesso in forma di canzoni, che facevano parte del bagaglio culturale risalente al tempo dei Druidi; questi Ortha nan Gaidheal, i Canti dei Gael ovviamente in gaelico scozzese, provengono dalla tradizione bardica sopravvissuta nella tradizione orale di un popolo, attraverso i secoli del Cristianesimo e nonostante l’egemonia culturale inglese, e sono stati raccolti e tradotti alla fine del 1800 da Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912), che li pubblicò nel suo libro “Carmina Gadelica”.

Adriaen_van_de_VeldeCrodh Chailein” ( le mucche di Colin, in inglese “Colin’s cattle”) è classificata come una “milking song” e registrata sul campo da Alan Lomax  (South Uist)  negli anni 1950: è una ninna-nanna sussurrata alle mucche per tenerle tranquille durante la mungitura, e per stimolarle magicamente nella produzione di tanto latte. Le mucche scozzesi sono così abituate a questo trattamento che non danno il latte se non le si canta una canzone!!
Ascoltiamo durante la mungitura tre canti in sequenza: “Crodh Chailein”, “Chiùinan Ghràidh” e “a’ Bhanarach Chiùin”

Ethel Bassin nel suo “The Old Songs of Skye: Frances Tolmie and her Circle” (1997) riporta due versi della canzone raccolta da Isabel Cameron dell’isola di Mull (Ebridi interne) insieme alla leggenda dell’origine della canzone riportata da Niall MacLeòid, “il bardo di Skye”
Chi canta è la donna rapita dalle fate nel giorno delle sue nozze e costretta a rimanere nel loro regno per un anno e un giorno; e tuttavia ottiene il permesso di recarsi quotidianamente nella sua casa da sposata per mungere le mucche del marito di nome Colin: il marito può sentire il suo canto ma non riesce a vederla. Il bardo ci assicura che allo scadere del tempo la donna ritornerà dal marito umano! Il rapimento della sposa nel giorno delle sue nozze era una possibilità non poi così remota secondo le credenze del tempo e molti erano gli accorgimenti del giorno per tenere alla larga le fate! (continua).

Secondo un’altra leggenda la moglie di Colin muore in giovane età e ritorna indietro alcuni mesi dopo la sua sepoltura per la mungitura serale delle mucche cantando questa canzone

Mary Mackellar scrive nel suo saggio ‘The Shieling: Its Traditions and Songs’ (Gaelic Society of Inverness 1889 qui) “Si diceva che le donne della schiera fatata mungessero i cervi sulle cime delle montagne, ammaliandoli con canti composti su una melodia magica (“fonn-sith”). Uno di questi brani era il famoso “Crodh Chailein”. Io do la versione che ho sentito e tutte le persone anziane dicevano che i cervi erano le mucche indicate a dare il loro latte così liberamente sotto l’incantesimo.
Le mucche delle Highlands sono considerate avere più carattere rispetto alle razze delle Lowlands e quando si irritano o sono deluse, trattengono il latte per giorni. Questa dolce melodia cantata – non da un estraneo, ma dalle labbra amorevoli dalla solita mungitrice – spesso la induce a cedere il suo prezioso contributo all’approvvigionamento della famigli
a.”

La melodia (vedi) detta anche Crochallan è nota anche come My Heart’s In The Highlands . La versione più antica andata in stampa (testo e spartito) si trova in “The Elizabeth Ross Manuscript” (1812)

ASCOLTA così come raccolta sul campo nel 1968 sull’isola di Tiree (Ebridi interne)

Between the Times

Gaelico scozzese (da qui)
Seist (chorus)
Crodh Chailein mo chridhe
Crodh chailein mo ghaoil
Gu’n tugadh crodh Chailein
Dhomh bainn’ air an fhraoch
I
Gu’n tugadh crodh Chailein
Dhomh bainn’ air an raon
Gun chuman(1), gun bhuarach
Gun luaircean(2), gun laugh.
II
Gu’n tugadh crodh Chailein
Dhomh bainne gu leoir
Air mullach a’ mhonaidh
Gun duine ‘nar coir
III
Gu bheil sac air mo chridhe
’S tric snidh air mo ghruaidh
agus smuairean air m’aligne
Chum an cadal so bhuam
IV
Cha chaidil, cha chaidil
cha chaidil mi uair
cha chaidil mi idir
gus an tig na bheil uam.
Mary Mackellar lyrics
Seist (chorus)
Chrodh Chailein, mo chridhe,
Crodh Iain, mo ghaoil,
Gun tugadh crodh Chailein,
Am bainn’ air an fhraoch.
I
Gun chuman, gun bhuarach,
Gun lao’-cionn, gun laogh,
Gun ni air an domhan,
Ach monadh fodh fhraoch.
II
Crodh riabhach breac ballach,
Air dhath nan cearc-fraoicb,
Crodh ‘lionadh nan gogan
‘S a thogail nan laogh.
III
Fo ‘n dluth-bharrach uaine,
‘S mu fhuarain an raoin,
Gun tugadh crodh Chailein
Dhomh ‘m bainn’ air an fhraoch.
IV
Crodh Chailein, mo chridhe,
‘S crodh Iain, mo ghaoil,
Gu h-uallach ‘s an eadar-thrath,
A beadradh ri ‘n laoigh
traduzione inglese
The cattle of Colin my dearest,
The cattle of Colin my love,
Colin’s cattle would give me milk
Upon the heather
I
Colin’s cattle would give me milk
Upon the field,
without a cogue(1), without a shackle,
without a luaircean(2), without a calf.
II
Colin’s cattle would give
plenty of milk to me,
on top of the moor
without anyone near us.
III
There is a weigh on my dart,
and often tears on my cheek,
And sorrow on my mind
That has kept sleep from me.
IV
I will not sleep, I will not sleep,
I will not sleep an hour,
I will not sleep at all
until what I long for returns.
traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
Le mucche di Colin, l’amore mio,
Le mucche di Colin, l’amore mio,
Le mucche di Colin daranno il latte
nella brughiera.
I
Le mucche di Colin daranno il latte
nel campo
senza bisogno di secchio, pastoie,
finto-vitello e vitello.
II
Le mucche di Colin daranno
per me un mucchio di latte
in cima alla brughiera
senza nessuno a starci attorno.
III
C’è un peso sul mio cuore
e spesso lacrime sulle mie gote
e sofferenza nella mia mente
che non mi lascia dormire.
IV
Non dormirò,
nemmeno un’ora,
non dormirò affatto
finchè colui che amo non riavrò

NOTE
1) cogue = secchio di legno usato nella mungitura
2) luaircean = un sostegno inanimato sul quale è stata drappeggiata la pelle del vitello defunto per consolare la mucca con il profum del vitellino, incoraggiandola a produrre latte

Morvyn Menzies

Gaelico scozzese (da qui)
I
Cha chaidil, cha chaidil,
Cha chaidil mi uair,
Cha chaidil mi idir
Gus an tig na bheil bhuam.
II
Gun toireadh crodh Chailein,
Dhomh bainn’ air mo ghaol,
Air mullach a’ mhonaidh,
Gun duine nar taobh.
Seist (chorus)
Crodh Chailein mo chridhe,

Crodh Iain, mo ghaoil;
Crodh lìonadh nan gogan,
Crodh togail nan laogh.
III
Gu bheil sac air mo chridhe,
’S tric snigh’ air mo ghruaidh,
Agus smuairean air m’ aigne,
Chùm an cadal seo bhuam.
IV
Cha tèid mi don bheithe,
No thional nan crò;
Air breacan donn ribeach
Tha mi feitheamh nam bò.

traduzione inglese di Charles Stewart*
I
I won’t sleep, I won’t sleep
I won’t sleep one hour,
I won’t sleep at all
Until what was taken returns.
II
May Colin’s cattle give me
Milk for their love of me,
At the top of the hill
With no one nearby.
Chorus
Cows of my beloved Colin
Iain’s cows, my dear;
Cows that would fill up the milking bucket,
Cows that rear the calves
III
My heart is heavy,
Tears frequently on my cheeks,
My mind is dejected,
And this stops me sleeping.
IV
I won’t go to the birch wood
Or gathering nuts;
On a brown, ragged plaid
I wait for the cows.
traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
IV
Non dormirò,
nemmeno un’ora,
non dormirò affatto
finchè ciò che è stato preso non ritornerà
II
Le mucche di May Colin mi daranno
latte perchè mi amano
in cima alla brughiera
senza nessuno attorno.
Coro
Le mucche dell’amato Colin
Le mucche di John, l’amore mio,
mucche che riempiranno un secchio da latte
mucche che crescono i vitelli.
III
C’è un peso sul mio cuore
e spesso lacrime sulle mie gote
e sofferenza nella mia mente
che non mi lascia dormire.
IV
Non andrò al bosco dei betulle
o a raccogliere le noci;
su un plaid logoro e marrone
aspetto le mucche

NOTE
* in “The Killin Collection of Gaelic Songs”

e siccome siamo nelle Highlands scozzesi è inevitabile l’arrangiamento della melodia per cornamusa

e con l’arrangiamento di una tipica pipe band

continua

FONTI
http://www.skyelit.co.uk/poetry/collect21.html
http://www.lochiel.net/archives/arch116.html
http://scotsgaelicsong.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/scots-gaelic-song-crodh-chailein/
http://plover.net/~agarvin/faerie/Text/Music/54.html
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/57427/8;jsessionid=97E1C046ADC0124A757755FF5E401B2F
https://thesession.org/tunes/11647

Morag e il Kelpie

Read the post in English

Nei fiumi più placidi d’Irlanda e nelle profondità oscure dei laghi scozzesi vivono dei demoni acquatici, creature fatate mutaforma, che si nutrono di carne umana: sono “kelpie“, “each uisge” (in inglese water-horse),  “eich-mhara” (in inglese sea horse), cavalli d’acqua e del mare; a voler essere pignoli il kelpie vive preferibilmente nei pressi delle rapide dei fiumi, dei guadi e delle cascate, mentre l’each uisge preferisce i laghi e il mare, ma kelpie è la parola più usata per entrambi. (prima parte)

MORAG E IL KELPIE

Ai pascoli estivi delle Highlands ancora si narra della bella Morag (Marion) sedotta da un kelpie in forma umana; la fanciulla pur notando delle stranezze del marito non si accorse della sua vera natura, se non dopo la nascita del loro bambino e … se la diede a gambe abbandonando bambino in fasce e marito mutaforma!

Nell’isola di Skye  si canta ancora un canto in gaelico,  ‘Oran-tàlaidh an eich-uisge’ oppure ‘Oran each-uisge’ (The water kelpie’s song) la “Ninna nanna del kelpie” una nenia malinconica con cui il kelpie cerca di far addormentare il bambino rimasto senza mamma, e nello stesso tempo una supplica verso Morag perchè ritorni da loro, sia lui che il bambino hanno bisogno di lei.
Di questo lamento si conoscono diverse versioni testuali tramandate fino a oggi nelle Isole Ebridi. Le melodie girano intorno ad una vecchia aria scozzese dal titolo “Crodh Chailein” (in inglese “Colin’s cattle) evidentemente considerata una melodia delle fate (qui)
Un’altra melodia dolce e malinconica nello stesso tempo è intitolata Song of The Kelpie o anche ARRANE GHELBY

Dh’èirich mi moch, b’ fheàrr nach do dh’èirich

Così traduce Tom Thomson (vedi)”I got up early, it would have been better not to” (mi sono alzato presto ma era meglio se non lo facevo)

Julie Fowlis in Alterum 2017

Dh’èirich mi moch, dh’èirich mi moch, B’fheàrr nach d’ dh’èirich
Mo chreach lèir na chuir a-mach mi.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
Bha ceò sa bheinn, Bha ceò sa bheinn, is uisge frasach
’s thachair orms’ a’ ghruagach thlachdmhor.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò
Bheir mi dhut fìon, Bheir mi dhut fìon, ‘S gach nì a b’ ait leat,
Ach nach èirinn leat sa mhadainn,
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
’Nighean nan gamhna, ’Nighean nan gamhna, Bha mi ma’ riut,
Anns a’ chrò is càch nan cadal
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
An daoidh gheal donn, An daoidh gheal donn, Rug i mac dhomh.
Ged is fuar a rinn i altram,
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
[instrumental]

Bha laogh mo laoidh, Bha laogh mo laoidh, ri taobh cnocan
gun teine, gun sgàth, gun fhasgadh.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
A Mhòr a ghaoil, A Mhòr, a ghaoil, Till ri d’ mhacan,
’S bheir mi goidean breagha breac dhut.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
Traduzione inglese *
I arose early
I arose early –
would that I hadn’t.
I was distressed by what sent me out (1).
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
There was mist on the hill
There was mist on the hill
and showers of rain
and I came across a pleasant maiden
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
I’ll give you wine
I’ll give you wine
and all that will please you
but I won’t arise with you in the morning (2).
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
Girl of the calves (3)
Girl of the calves
I was with you in the cattle-fold (4)
and the rest were asleep.
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
The fine brown wicked one (5)
The fine brown wicked one
bore me a son
although coldly did she nurse him
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
The calf (6) of my song
The calf of my song
was beside a hillock
without fire, protection or shelter (7).
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
Mòr, my love
Mòr, my love, return to your little son
and I’ll give you a beautiful speckled withes (8).
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
Mi sono alzato presto,
mi sono alzato presto
non l’avrei fatto,
ma fu l’angoscia che mi mandò fuori
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
C’era nebbia sulla collina,
nebbia sulla collina
e piovigginava
e mi sono imbattuto in una graziosa fanciulla
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
Ti darò del vino
ti darò del vino
e ogni cosa che vorrai
ma non mi alzerò con te al mattino
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
bella manza
bella manza
ero insieme a te al pascolo
mentre gli altri dormivano
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
la bella moretta malvagia
la bella moretta malvagia
che mi ha dato un figlio
anche se lo ha allevato con freddezza
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
il bimbo della mia canzone
il bimbo della mia canzone
era accanto a una collinetta,
senza fuoco, protezione o riparo
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
Morag amore mio
Morag amore mio, ritorna dal tuo piccino
e ti darò una bella ghirlanda variopinta
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.

NOTE
si veda anche la traduzione qui
1)  il kelpie, soffrendo di solitudine, esce dal lago di mattina presto e prende forma umana
2) il mutaforma promette cibo e agiatezze alla fanciulla per convincerlo a seguirlo, però l’avvisa, è una creatura notturna e non si sveglierà con lei al mattino!
3) gamhna= cattle between 1 year and 2 years traduce Tom Thomson stitks; in italiano= giovenca, la mucca che non ha ancora partorito, il verso oltre a qualificare il lavoro della fanciulla (mandriana) vuole essere anche un complimento, per dirla in italiano “bella manza” come donna procace, dalle forme abbondanti e seducenti
4) il kelpie ricorda l’incontro notturno quando i due hanno fatto sesso (e ovviamente nove mesi dopo è nato il loro figlioletto)
5) ecco che dopo i bei ricordi del passato arriva il presente, la donna ha scoperto la vera natura del compagno e ha voluto meno bene al bambino generato con lui
6) proseguendo nel paragone il kelpie chiama “vitellino” il suo bambino, un termine vezzeggiativo per small child
7) Morag nel fuggire ha abbandonato il bambino sotto una balma al freddo e senza protezione. Si descrive una tipica “esposizione” dei bambini delle fate. Una pratica di “controllo delle nascite” diffusa nelle campagne d’Europa, era l’abbandono dei neonati  nel bosco (senza cibo e al freddo) affinchè se ne prendessero cura le fate; la pratica era diffusa un tempo sia nei confronti degli illegittimi, che dei neonati con evidenti deformazioni fisiche o dall’aspetto malato. L’usanza di “esporre” il neonato era connessa con la convinzione che  fosse stato “scambiato” ovvero rapito dalle fate e sostituito con un changeling, un mutaforma il quale per un po’ assomiglia al bambino umano, ma alla fine riprende sempre il suo vero aspetto.
8) breagha breac dhut. Tom Thomson traduce= speckled band (of withy). Ho cercato sul dizionario: si tratta di una corona fatta intrecciando i rami di salice; in italiano = coroncina di vimini, mi richiama le coroncine celtiche di fiori e foglie

Margaret Stewart & Allan MacDonald la registrano con il titolo di “Òran Tàlaidh An Eich-Uisge” nel 2001(in Colla Mo Rùn) dalla collezione di Frances Tolmie (‘Cumha an EichUisge’ vol I)

I
O hó bà a leinibh hó, O hó bà a leinibh hà
Bà a leinibh hó bha hó, Hó bà a leinibh hao i hà
(chorus)
Hì hó, hó bha hó, Hì hó, hao i hà
‘S luath dha d’ chois thu, hó bha hó
‘S mór nad each thu, hao i hà
II
O hó m’eudail a mac hó
O hó m’eachan sgèimheach hà
‘S fhad ‘n ‘n bhail’ thu, hò bha hò
Nìtear d’iarraidh, hao i hà
III=I
IV=II
Traduzione inglese *
I and III
Sleep my child, Sleep my child
Sleep my child, Sleep my child
Chorus
Hì hó, hó bha hó, Hì hó, hao i hà
Fast of foot you are
Great as a horse you are
II
My darling son
Oh my lovely little horse
You are far from the township
You will be sought after (1)
traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
I
Dormi bambino mio
Dormi bambino mio
Coro
Hill ò bha hò, Hill ò bha hò.
piè veloce
come un grande cavallo sei tu
II
Caro figlio mio
mio bel cavallino
sei lontano dalla cittadina
sarai il più rinomato

NOTE
1) Il kelpie canta la ninna-nanna al figlioletto abbandonato dalla madre umana e lo conforta dicendogli che da grande sarà un ruba-cuori

Con il titolo di ‘A Mhór, a Mhór, till ri d’ mhacan la stessa storia è presente negli archivi di Tobar an Dualchais, dalla voce di tre testimoni dell’isola di Skye
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/99707/1
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/99703/1
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/99714/1

Una storia analoga è raccontata nell’isola di Benbecula con il titolo di Bheirinn Dhut Iasg, Bheirinn Dhut Iasg vedi


Caera
in Suantraighe, A Collection of Celtic Lullabies 2006 ne riporta un altro frammento con il titolo di “The Skye Water Kelpie’s lullaby” (vedasi la versione di Marjory Kennedy-Fraser più sotto)

GAELICO SCOZZESE
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Till gu d’mhacan is gheabh thu’m bradan breac o’n loch.
A Mhór a shògh! Tha’n oiche nochd
Gu fliuch frasach aig mo mhacsa ri sgath chnocain.
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Gun teine, gun tuar, gun fhasgadh, is tu sìor chòineadh.
A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh!
Mo sheana-chab liath ri do bheul beag baoth is mi seinn phort dhuit am Beinn Frochdaidh.
 

Traduzione inglese *
Mór (1), my love! Mór, my treasure!
Come back to your little son
and you will get a speckled trout from the lake.
Mór, my darling!
Tonight the night
Is wetly showering my son
on the shelter of a knoll.
Mór, my love! Mór, my treasure!
Lacking fire, lacking food, lacking shelter,
and you continually lamenting (2).
Mór, my love! Mór, my darling!
My gray, old, toothless mouth
to your silly little mouth,
and me singing  tunes by Ben Frochkie. (3)
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
Morag amore mio, Morag mia cara,
ritorna dal tuo piccolo bambino
e avrai una trota maculata dal lago!
Morag mia cara,
questa notte è umida
e piovosa per mio figlio
in una balma della collinetta,
Morag amore mio, Morag mia cara!
Lasciato senza fuoco, senza cibo e rifugio,
ti lamenti senza sosta.
Morag amore mio, Morag mia cara!
La mia bocca grigia da vecchio sdentato
alla tua sciocca bocca,
e io che canto ninnananne sul Monte Frochkie

NOTE
1) Mhórag o Mór è il nome della fanciulla amata dal kelpie è anche scritto A Mhór a ghaoil! A Mhór a shògh (Mhor mia, amore, mia gioia)
2) è il pianto incessante del bambino che ha freddo e fame, abbandonato dalla mamma umana. Anche se non esplicitato presumo che la madre abbia “esposto” il figlio, cioè l’abbia abbandonato all’aperto (senza cibo e al freddo) affinchè se ne prendessero cura le fate o il kelpie; la pratica era diffusa un tempo sia nei confronti degli illegittimi che dei neonati con evidenti deformazioni fisiche o dall’aspetto malato. vedi
3) montagna tra Gesto e Portree sull’isola di Skye

Skye Water Kelpie’s Lullaby

Con il titolo di “Cronan na Eich-mhara”, lo stesso frammento cantato da Caera è riportato anche nel libro di Marjory Kennedy-Fraser e Kenneth MacLeod “Songs of the Hebrides” 1909 (pag 94)

ASCOLTA la versione classica nell’arrangiamento di Marjory Kennedy-Fraser

trasposizione inglese Kenneth MacLeod
I
Avore, my love, my joy
To thy baby come
And troutlings you’ll get out of the loch
Avore, my heart, the night is dark,
wet and dreary.
Here’s your bairnie neath the rock
II
Avore, my love, my joy,
wanting fire here,
wanting shelter, wanting comfort
our babe is crying by the loch
III
Avore, my heart, my bridet
My gray old mouth
touching thy sweet lips,
and me singing Old songs to thee,
by Ben Frochkie (1)
NOTE
1) between Gesto and Portree in Skye
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Amore mio, mia gioia
vieni dal tuo bimbo,
e le trote guizzeranno dal lago in abbondanza
Cuore mio, la notte è buia,
umida e piovosa.
Ecco il tuo bambino nella balma
II
Suvvia, amore mio, mia gioia,
c’è bisogno di fuoco qui,
bisogno di riparo e conforto
il nostro bambino sta piangendo accanto al  lago.
III
Sposa mia, cuore mio!
La mia bocca grigia da vecchio
che bacia le tue dolci labbra
e io che canto vecchie canzoni per te
sul Monte Frochkie
Theodor_Kittelsen_-_Nøkken_som_hvit_hestARCHIVIO CANTI
Skye Water Kelpie’s Lullaby
Dh’èirich mi moch, b’ fheàrr nach do dh’èirich
Òran Tàlaidh An Eich-Uisge
A Mhór, a Mhór, till ri d’ mhacan
Cronan na Eich-mhara
Song of the Kelpie
Up, ride with the kelpie

FONTI
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=4374 http://mudcat.org/detail_pf.cfm?messages__Message_ID=48242 http://www.kidssongsmp3.twinkletrax.com/kids-song.php?c=C02T12&kids-song=O,%20Can%20Ye%20Sew%20Cushions http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/stewart/orantalaidh.htm
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stromkarlen_1884.jpg