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Tha Ruaraidh a' bruidhinn air Gilleasbuig MacDhòmhnaill à Uibhist a Tuath agus mar a chaidh e a thiodhlaigeadh ann a Cille Chuimein. Week's letter for learners from Roddy MacLean.

5 minutes

Last on

Christmas Eve 2014 22:30

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Litir 805: Magnus Eunson

Càite a bheil an taigh-staile uisge-bheatha as fhaide tuath ann an Alba? An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, ’s dòcha, far a bheil Talisker air a dhèanamh? No Leòdhas, far a bheil an Abhainn Dearg? Tha sin nas fhaide tuath na Talisker. Agus, gu dearbh, ’s e an Abhainn Dearg an taigh-staile as fhaide siar ann an Alba. Ach chan e am fear as fhaide tuath.

            Dè mu dheidhinn Inbhir Ùige ann an Gallaibh, far a bheilear a’ dèanamh Old Pulteney? Tha sin fada tuath, ach feumar cuimhneachadh gu bheil eileanan gu tuath air sin far a bheilear a’ dèanamh uisge-bheatha. Tha mi a’ ciallachadh Arcaibh. Tha cuid gu math dèidheil air uisge-beatha Highland Park a th’ air a dhèanamh ann am Baile na h-Eaglaise, no Kirkwall. ’S e, fhad ’s as aithne dhomh, an taigh-staile as fhaide tuath ann an Alba.

            Chaidh ainmeachadh ‘Highland Park’ oir ’s e ‘High Park’ a bh’ air an àite far a bheil an taigh-staile bho shean. Agus tha e co-cheangailte ri fear Magnus Eunson no ‘Mansie’. Thathar ag ràdh gun robh Mansie a’ dèanamh uisge-bheatha gu mì-laghail air an làraich sin aig deireadh an ochdamh linn deug.

            Agus cha robh e leis fhèin. Bha feadhainn eile ann an Arcaibh an sàs ann an dèanamh agus cùl-mhùtaireachd uisge-bheatha. Agus bha iad nan uaislean aig an aon àm!

            Bha Mansie na bhùidsear agus na oifigear eaglais tron latha agus na chùl-mhùtaire air an oidhche. Bha fios aig na h-oifigearan cusbainn gun robh e an sàs ann an gnothaichean mì-laghail. Bha fathann ann gun robh e a’ falach baraillean uisge-bheatha mì-laghail anns an eaglais far an robh e ag obair. Agus bha!

            Aon turas bha am ministear a’ searmonachadh. B’ e a cheann-teagaisg ‘olc na dibhe’. Fhad ’s a bha e sa chùbaid, bha sia baraillean de dheoch làidir fo a chasan!

            Latha a bha seo, roghnaich na h-oifigearan cusbainn reud a dhèanamh air an eaglais, feuch an t-uisge-beatha a lorg. Ach fhuair Mansie fios gu robh iad a’ tighinn. Ghluais e na baraillean don taigh aige agus chuir e ann am meadhan seòmar falamh iad. Chuir e ceann ciste-laighe air am muin, agus siota bàn glan thairis air a h-uile nì. Bha e a’ coimhead coltach ri eileatrom, le corp anns a’ chiste.

            Nuair a bha na h-oifigearan air an rathad chun an taigh’ aige, chruinnich Mansie grunnan còmhla anns an t-seòmar. Shleuchdaich iad mar gun robh iad ag adhradh. Bha Bìoball mòr aig Mansie, agus bha leabhar-ùrnaigh aig a h-uile duine eile. Nuair a chuala iad na h-oifigearan a’ tighinn a-steach don taigh, thòisich iad air caoineadh.

            Thàinig a’ chiad oifigear a-steach. Nuair a chunnaic e na bha a’ dol, thug e a bhonaid dheth. Choimhead Mansie suas bhon Bhìoball aige. Bha coltas bròin air. Ann an cagair, thuirt e aon rud sìmplidh ris an oifigear – ‘a’ Bhreac’. ’S e galair uabhasach a bha sin, agus theich na h-oifigearan cusbainn gun rannsachadh sam bith a dhèanamh. Cha deach iad faisg air Mansie airson greis an dèidh sin!

Faclan na Litreach

Inbhir Ùige: Wick; Gallaibh: Caithness; gu mì-laghail: unlawfully; a’ searmonachadh: preaching; eileatrom: funeral bier; a’ Bhreac: smallpox.

Abairtean na Litreach

as fhaide tuath: most northerly; ’s e X an taigh-staile as fhaide siar: X is the most westerly distillery; feumar cuimhneachadh gu bheil eileanan gu tuath air sin: it must be remembered that there are islands north of that; fhad ’s as aithne dhomh: as far as I know; cha robh e leis fhèin: he wasn’t alone; dèanamh agus cùl-mhùtaireachd uisge-bheatha: the making and smuggling of whisky; bha iad nan uaislean aig an aon àm: they were gentlemen at the same time; bha X na bhùidsear agus na oifigear eaglais tron latha: X was a butcher and a church officer through the day; bha fathann ann gun robh e a’ falach baraillean anns an eaglais: there was a rumour that he was hiding barrels in the church; fhad ’s a bha e sa chùbaid: while he was in the pulpit; bha sia baraillean de dheoch làidir fo a chasan: there were six barrels of alcoholic drink below his feet; roghnaich na h-oifigearan cusbainn reud a dhèanamh: the excise officers chose to raid; ann am meadhan seòmar falamh: in the middle of an empty room; chuir e ceann ciste-laighe air am muin: he put a coffin lid on top of them; shleuchdaich iad mar gun robh iad ag adhradh: they knelt as if they were worshipping; thòisich iad air caoineadh: they started to keen; thug e a bhonaid dheth: he took his hat off; coltas bròin: a look of sadness.

Puing-chànain na Litreach

taigh-staile uisge-bheatha: [a] whisky distillery. Whisky is uisge-beatha; there is no lenition of beatha following the masculine noun uisge. And, anyway, beatha in a compound sometimes doesn’t lenite in the nominative case following an initial feminine noun eg eachdraidh-beatha ‘biography’ rather than eachdraidh-bheatha. But it is correct to lenite beatha in inflected forms eg the dative anns an uisge-bheatha ‘in the whisky’ and the genitive prìs an uisge-bheatha ‘the price of the whisky’. In modern Gaelic, we tend not to inflect the adjective when it qualifies a masculine noun in the indefinite genitive singular, so one would expect botal uisge-beatha ‘a bottle of whisky’. But many people would still be more comfortable with the traditional inflection (for this very traditional Gaelic product) ie botal uisge-bheatha. That’s the model I’ve stuck with in this Litir.

Gnàthas-cainnt na Litreach

B’ e a cheann-teagaisg ‘olc na dibhe’:  the subject of his sermon was ‘the evil of drink’.

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