How the Giantess of Kintyre met her End
|Hail to all and all hail and a tale I will tell if perchance there
> be a lack of them of the Giantess of Kintyre and of how she met her
> > Cast yourself back with me now if you will ,body and mind.Wander
> with me through the mists of forgotten years,thoughts,dreams,words
> and deeds.Backwards,backwards,backwards,until Cuchalain is a boy
> again and the Seven Sisters of Kintail still beautiful,and fair and
> true and breathing. We ourselves will be like a mist on the
> mountain,seeing,not being seen,hearing,not being heard,till like dew
> in the morning, the story falls into the company like the smoor of the
> summer rains.
> > It was on a day of days that the Grand Council of Ciuntyre,an area in Scotland
> once boldly claimed by the Norwegian King Magnus Barelegs in 1098,
> were sitting passing various
> > ordinances and laws as was their wont when a loud voice uttered
> these words.
> > What,yes what, I say is to be done about the Giantess of Kintyre
. She without let or
> hindrance is rendering the broad swathes of good meadow into
> veritable valleys with her steps,the mountains are stepped into the
> > and the valleys to the skies.Sheep are scoffed in handfulls and
> Cow bones are flying everywhere being spitted out by this harridan
> of unusual size and strength.
> > People of unquestionable probity and standing are getting lost in
> the ever changing landscape. And we are fed up with it.When will you
> act and make an end of her.?"
> > So it was debated, decreed and decided, wrote about and written
> down that something should be done but what that was to be no one
> knew for certain. Opinions were
> > divided One sagelike presence stood up in the company and lifting his voice that all would hear he said "What we require God preserving us is a hero and who here could
dispute the claim of Setanta,son of Sualdam and Dechtire who slayed the hound of Culann and was renamed by Cathbad the Druid the name of Cuchulain, the Hound of Culann.?
"None here to be sure" replied the wise ones in unison "But he is but a stripling lad and has not yet entered into his full strength."said yet another" what of Fionn himself-will he not come over and help us for a consideration.?" So it was debated and decided,decreed and written down that Fionn's help should be sought.A Birlinn filled with mighty men broad of back and thick of sinew should be hired to make the sea voyage to Ireland and find Fionn.After the requisite days of feasting, jousting and merriment were over to raise the matter with him and bring him to Kintyre for the great Combat to take place.This though was not to be. Fionn, though he was greatly swayed by the loquacious arguments from both chieftains and clansmen after having sucked his tooth of wisdom was unwilling to take on this harridan of great size and hunger.She would surely best him in combat and ruin his burgeoning reputation forthwith.He then spoke out to the deputation "The King of the Fairies of Scotland owes me a favour,go and see him, say that I sent you, and have a plan to put to him when you arrive.Listen now and bend your ears to my counsel and I will tell you the way to find him, the where and the When and the How to greet Him. He is just a little sensitive about his height in relation to mine,ha, ha, ha." The company laughed politely in front of such a Hero but privately questioned his powers of discretion.Be that as it may they were soon back in their Birlinn speeding back to Kintyre as fast as strong oarsmen and a large sail with a filling wind would let them. So it was on a day of days that they were seen from Tarbert Castle sailing in to that natural harbour.
Soon great activity commenced.The provisioning of men,the saddlery of horses,and clink of armour gave loud account of plans to move a force of men up
through the Carse of Stirling ,the gateway to the Highlands and from there through the wilds of the Moor of Rannoch itself to the great mountain of Schiehallion.The Mountain of the Faeries. So it was planned,so it was done.Before the dawning the armored host,for it was wild country (with wolf and bear and landless men,robbers all) they were travelling through. Soon though they were, facing the slopes of that conical mountain
awaiting the first rays of the Summer Sun to bring its darkness under subjection.So they camped,fires lit,and guards posted.So they watched,so they waited.Those not on guard slept
on the heather,wrapped in their plaids,swords to hand.Silence reigned
Each restless hoof was stilled before that silence
So it was that as the host was gathered,horse and rider,knight and serving man they watched and they waited,stilled and expectant and perhaps not a little afraid. These were the fairy folk,not to be dismissed easily,not to be disrespected. They had no time for fools,for a piper they had too much perhaps. If a piper was cajoled into playing for them and was forgetful of stabbing his dirk into their oak doors he could be there for a hundred years and it seem like a day of gladness.It was as well they were silent on this day of days.It was as some of them were dwelling on friends they had known who had disappeared that they failed to notice the first fine flakes of dawn stealing over the moor towards the mountain.Soon the black of the night retreated in dismay.The sky was coming radiant in victory and expectation.The black force of the night was retreating from the mastery of the light.The first large ray of the emergent Sun struck the side of Schiehallion and the sound of gaiety and laughter could suddenly be heard coming from that heather strewn hillside.
All looked in awe as the great cone of Schiehallion split itself down the middle.Out of that maelstrom of grinding tumult came a wee wee man in a big green coat,wee green stockings,buckled shoon and a hat on his head fit for a King.Around him a retinue or tail clad more humbly stood looking at him and waiting.This was only right for was not he the very King of Faery himself. King of all fairies.He addressed the company from Kintyre forthwith" Be not afraid friends,news has come to me of your errand and that I may fulfil my pledge to Fionn by some deed we can do for you. What pray tell is your request?."
"Hail and all hail to thee"the speaker began" Great King of the fairies under the Mountain ,hail to thee and all hail"
"What we respectfully submit we require and request is all the butter of Scotland taken to one place"
"Aha, some great work afoot I deem" "Oh Sire (for it was ever thus that Scots address their King) you are as always close to the Mark" the spokesman replied with some astonishment for was it not with great secrecy and cunning their plans had been laid. The King of the Fairies smiled and turning to his retinue spoke out swiftly,
"Tak ten't and heed me, fairy folk
and all kin who to me are yoked
all milk frae kine belongs tae me,
today all butter it shall be,
today all haste to Ailsa Craig,
For there the butter must be laid."
The small retinue surrounded their King and he walked with them into the open mountain.Soon came the sound of laughter and gaiety again and out poured host upon host of fairy folk some had clappers for working butter,some had knapsacks for carrying it,some had coracles of sea shells for sailing with it and some were playing pipes and drums for the general happiness of the company and the joy of the jape."This will be a day of days never fear" says one to the other,"we can settle some old scores while we are at it." Thus it was when old Mrs Mactavish of the sour mouth lifted her jug for a drink of fresh foaming milk her mouth for once was sweet and full with freshly made butter.As she ran inside to wash her mouth out a fairy could be seen helping herself to the butter and smiling a beautiful smile.All over Scotland it was the same. Some grudged the giving so it was taken anyway.And they had trouble brewing.Some vowed they would never miss it knowing well who took it and there a double portion awaited them the morn's morning.Through the land and into the gathering dusk were seen wee wee figures with a strange yellow light on their backs.Knapsacks filled with golden treasure.Passing ships saw thousands of small craft with neat pats of butter stacked high riding the waves,all heading for Ailsa Craig,the quietest woman in Scotland, the rocky Islet between the Kingdoms of Scotland and Ireland. Soon the island was not be seen,clumps of heather,even the bare rock itself was covered ,one pat of butter after another being laid.The whole islet piled high,covered with butter.The fairies looked and swam and flew all around the island and seeing a job well done and their King's word carried out they were content to wend their way homewards where a good old ceilidh awaited them.Timing was all and excellent. For two more days the Giantess despoiled Kintyre and on a certain day decided Ireland was a place of good pickings and had fierce foes to conquer. Off Scotland came one Giant foot,stepping on Ailsa Craig the other was to go on Ireland.It was not to be.For that was the start of her great undoing,she slipped,she fell and she started to sink, sink she did, for there was no one to save her.She writhed and she roared but no one came and she was drowned.Her forehead
sticks out the water yet and they named it an island with the name of Mull.Her great bosom forces itself in great pinnacles out of the sea and they likewise call them the Paps of Jura and an island too but how they got these names is another story.