When I was hard at it learning Scottish Gaelic I used to get right into the old proverbs – songs, too, thanks to my teacher, Isabel MacDonald. But, I have to say, I loved the proverbs and poems (especially Duncan Ban MacIntyre).
Probably TMI (too much information), I’m sure.
One of my favourite proverbs:
Bithidh an t-ubhal as fheàrr air a’ mheanglan as àirde.
The best apple is on the highest branch.
PS. A sidelight: after one lesson, Isabel MacDonald loaned me one of her Gaelic song books, her treasured copy of: “A’ Choisir-Chiuil, The St. Columba Collection of Gaelic Songs” (I was learning ‘Oran Luaidh’ – a song in the book but also the generic Gaelic name for “waulking song“). Anyway, the thing was, this book had an ancient dandelion flower, of unknown age, pressed in the pages. When she loaned it to me I recall her removing the dandelion and carefully placing this delicate treasure in another book. Anyway, long-story-short – the dandelion was lost and I felt a huge sense of responsibility to find a suitable replacement. Months after the fateful occurence, on a trip to Edinburgh, I found myself rambling through Greyfriars Kirkyard and picked a dandelion from the gravesite of the great Duncan Ban MacIntyre. This is the dandelion now pressed in the pages of Mrs MacDonald’s copy of the St. Columba Collection.
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