Gaelic Version  |  BSL Version

2022 has been designated Scotland’s Year of Stories – very apt for the Decoding Hidden Heritages Project! Scotland has such a rich history of storytelling and the School of Scottish Studies Archives can attest to this. For this week’s blog I’d like to share two stories I found in the Tale Archive that center around… storytelling!

(Click on the images to enlarge them)


Fear aig nach robh sgeulachd idir or Why Everyone Should be Able to Tell a Story, Translation from “Stories from South Uist” (Angus., Campbell, John Lorne. Stories from South Uist. United Kingdom: Routledge & Paul, 1961)

Listen to the original Gaelic version here.

‘A Man with no Story’, by Elizabeth Kerr, Maclagan Manuscripts, p.2391, c.1890

The manuscript reads: “Sometimes, at a Ceilidh, a person found himself severely pressed to relate an ursgeul, when perhaps he did not wish to do so, or felt unable. Here is an example of ingenuity in such circumstances. He would begin with all seriousness as follows: On one occasion a woman and her son had a Dun cow which they wished to sell, and so they set out with it to the market. They had a good long distance to go, and what but, before they reached the market, the cow stumbled, and fell into a hole, and could not come out. The boy got hold of its tail to pull it out, and when he was pulling, and pulling, away came the tail with him, and if the Dun Cow’s tail had been stronger, my ursgeul would have been longer.”

“The love of stories is hardwired into us all; it is one of the strongest ways we connect with one another and share our experiences. Great stories, well told, can evoke indelible images in our minds and bring contemporary and traditional cultures to life. Every culture has its stories to tell, and Scotland has a particularly rich heritage of stories and storytelling to spotlight and celebrate. These include our local tales, oral traditions, great stories told in books or on screen – all inspired by our country, our culture and reflected back by many diverse voices and across the widest range of forms.” (Museums Galleries Scotland)

Have a look at the Scottish Storytelling Centre for more information on the wonderful tradition of storytelling in Scotland.