The Gaelic Tradition: Creach Na Samhna

Click to enter photo gallery

Please enable Javascript and/or download Flash to hear audio and/or see video.

File Size: 6.99 MB [192 kbps]

Running Time: 05:05

Low bitrate for slow connections [2.04 MB / 56 kbps]

About this Song

This humorous song was composed by Angus Campbell who came to Cape Breton from the island of Benbecula in 1833, when he was 18 years of age. He composed the song in the early 1870s, after a group of youngsters had raided a cabbage patch near Salmon River at Halloween. Iagan, the victim of the raid, vowed he would get his revenge. The bard made it look as if the old men of the community had been the culprits and even mentions the parish priest, Father Archie Chisholm, as one of the raiders.

The singer of this recording is Angus MacLellan from Grand Mira, the grandson of Dòmhnall Gobha. He was one of Cape Breton's best tradition bearers. MacLellan died in 1968 at the age of 86. He was a nephew of Vincent MacLellan who published Failte Cheap Breatuinn, a collection of Gaelic songs printed in the 1890s.

Creach Na Samhna. Angus MacLellan. T-1084. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

Lyrics

Oidhche Shamhna rinn iad sprùilleadh,
Gàrraidhean càil air an spùilleadh;
Nam biodh agam beagan ùine
Rachadh na bh'ann a chunntadh:
Lachainn Bàn is Iain mac Ùisdein,
'S Alasdair mac Nìll mhic Dhùghaill.
'S i 'n Dubh Ghleannach a bh'ann,
Hò rò gheallaidh, na cò chuireadh i,
Trom oirre seinn.

B'e sud an càl a fhuair a riasladh
A bha fàs an gàrradh Iagain.
Cha robh gillean òga riamh ann
Ach bodaich 's an cinn air liathadh.
Chaidh chuid mhòr dhan Rudh' an Iar dheth;
Thug MacIlleBhràth mu chiad leis.
'S i 'n Dubh Ghleannach a bh'ann,
Hò rò gheallaidh, na cò chuireadh i,
Trom oirre seinn.

Cha chualas a leithid de stàplaich
Bhon gheamhradh a phòs MacPhàidein;
Cha robh duine beò 's an àite
Nach do thruis a ghoid a' chàil iad.
Thàinig Mòr 's Aonghas MacÀidh
'S Uilleam Dòmhnallach gu làidir.
'S i 'n Dubh Ghleannach a bh'ann, etc.

Tha na daoin' air fàs cho dàna,
Thàinig iad bho thaobh an t-sàile;
Bha Eòghainn MacIlleBhràth ann,
Alasdair Eòghainn 's a bhràthair;
Bha fear eil' ann 's fiasag bhàn air
Coltach ri Eòghainn an Tàilleir.
'S i 'n Dubh Ghleannach a bh'ann, etc.

Thuirt Iain mac Ùisdein ri Alasdair:
"Bhon tha oidhche bhriagha ghealaich ann
Bheir mi-fhèin 's tu-fhèin leinn eallaich às,
'S tiotaidh sinn a-null am "barren' leis;
Ach faigh an dùdach 's cuir am falach i
Air eagal gun dùisg iad Penny leatha.
'S i 'n Dubh Ghleannach a bh'ann, etc.

Mas a th'ann fìor tha m'amharas
Gu robh feadhainn ann à Mira;
Bha Ruairidh Eòin air an ceann ann,
'S e 'g iarraidh càl gu feòil a' gheamhraidh;
Calum MacCarmaig 's e cho sanntach,
'S thug e còrr is leth-chiad plannt leis.
'S i 'n Dubh Ghleannach a bh'ann, etc.

Nuair chaidh Iagan chur na fhaireachadh
Fiach an dèanadh e 'n aithneachadh,
Chunnaic e le soills' na gealaiche
Boillsgeadh de Sheumas mac Ailein ann.
Shìn e air cho luath ri dealanach,
'S chuir e ruaig gu Allt na Maiseadh air.
'S i 'n Dubh Ghleannach a bh'ann, etc.

Chualas staraban 's a' ghàradh;
Cò bha sud ach Maighstir Eàirdsidh,
Lachainn Iain air a shàiltean,
A-measg nan sagart mar a b'àbhaist;
Leum e deich troighean a dh'àirde,
'S thug e leis na cliathan slàn às.
'S i 'n Dubh Ghleannach a bh'ann, etc.

Nuair thruis iad ann às gach àite
Cha toilleadh trian dhiubh 's a' ghàrradh;
Sgianan ac' cho giar ri ràsoran,
'S iad fiachainn cò bu mhutha thàrradh.
Aonghas Mòr mac Ailein Ghràinnseir,
Spìonadh e na craobhan slàn leis.
'S i 'n Dubh Ghleannach a bh'ann, etc.

Bha MacÌosaig an taobh eile dheth,
Bha esan na roinn 's gun deireas air,
Fad na h-oidhche 's i ro ghoirid leis,
'S e cho luath, 's e 'n luathmharc bheireadh air.
Dòmhnall Bàn a bha 's an eilean,
Gun sguab e leis na dhà mu dheireadh dhiubh.
'S i 'n Dubh Ghleannach a bh'ann, etc.

Beagan ro èirigh na grèine
Chunnacas dithis às an lèintean
'N an ruith as dèidh a chèile,
'S iad feuch an tàrradh iad fhèin dad.
An tàillear à Beinn na Fadhla,
'S Ùisdean mac Aonghais mhic Raghnaill.
'S i 'n Dubh Ghleannach a bh'ann, etc.

Translation:

The Halloween Raid

On Halloween night they plundered,
Cabbage gardens were robbed;
If I had a little time
Those there would be counted:
Fair-haired Lachlan and John, son of Hugh,
And Alasdair, son of Neil, son of Dougall.
It was the Dubh Ghleannach that was there, etc.

The cabbage that was taken
Was the cabbage in Iagan's garden.
Young lads were not there,
But old grey-haired men.
Much of it went to the West Point;
MacGillivray took about a hundred.

Such a stampede was not heard
Since the winter of MacFadyen's wedding;
There wasn't a living person in the place
Who didn't gather to steal the cabbage.
Marion and Angus MacKay were there,
And William MacDonald in his vigour.

The people had become so daring
That they came from the sea-coast.
Ewen MacGillivray was there,
And Alasdair son of Ewen and his brother.
There was another fellow with a white beard,
Like Ewen the Tailor.

John, son of Hugh, said to Alasdair:
"Since it's a beautiful moon-lit night
You and I will take a load with us
And we will rush across the barrens with it.
But take the horn and hide it
In case we waken Penny with it."

If my suspicion is true
There were people from Mira there;
Roderick John was in charge,
Looking for cabbage to supplement his winter meat.
Malcolm MacCormick was so greedy
He took more than fifty plants with him.

When Iagan was put on the alert
To identify them,
He saw in the moonlight
A glimpse of James son of Allan;
He took off after him like lightning
And chased him as far as Allt na Maiseadh.

A rustling noise was heard in the garden;
Who was there but Father Archie,
With Lachie John at his heels,
Among the priests as usual.
He jumped ten feet high
And tore the panel-fence apart.

When they assembled there from all over
Not even a third of them could find room in the garden.
They had knives as sharp as razors,
Each trying to grab the most cabbages.
Big Angus, son of Allan the Farmer,
Was uprooting whole trees.

MacIsaac was on the other side of him,
Dividing the spoil relentlessly;
The whole night was too short for him;
He was so fast that only a swift steed could catch him.
Fair-haired Donald from the island
Grabbed the last two remaining ones.

Shortly before sunrise
Two men in shirt-sleeves were seen
Running after each other;
Trying to get something for themselves.
The tailor from Benbecula
And Hugh, son of Angus, son of Ranald.