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Deirdìre

A black-and-white painting of a young, sad-looking dark-haired woman.

Chapter One

I

I

BHA fear ann an Eirinn uair ris an canaidhte Colum Cruitire. Bha an duine na dhuine còir agus cuid mhath de chuibhrionn an t-saoghail aige. Bha bean aige, ach cha robh duine teaghlaich orra. Rainig am fear agus a' bhean aois mhòr, air alt agus nach robh dùil aca ri duine sliochd gu bràth. THERE was once a man in Eirin of the name of Colum Cruitire-Colum the Harper. The man was a worthy man, and he had a goodly portion of worldly means. He had a wife, but the husband and wife had no children. The husband and wife reached a great age, so that they had no expectation of children for ever.
Gu de chuala Colum Cruitire ach gu'n robh fiosaiche air tighinn dhachaidh dha 'n àite, agus bho 'n a bha an duine na dhuine còir bha toil aige gu'n tigeadh am fiosaiche faisge dhaibh. Ge b' e co dhiù chuireadh fios air no thàinig e leis fhèin, thàinig am fiosaiche dh' ionnsaidh taigh Choluim Chruitire. What should Colum Cruitire hear but that a soothsayer was come home to the place, and, as the man was a hospitable man, he had a wish that the soothsayer should come near them. Whether it was that he was asked to come, or that he was come of his own accord, the soothsayer came to the house of Colum Cruitire.
an old beared man sitting across a rough table from another man, whose head is bowed.
Thànaig am fiosaiche dh' ionnsaidh taigh Choluim Chruitire.
"Am bheil thu a' dèanamh fiosachd?" orsa Calum Cruitire.

"Tha mi a' dèanamh beagan. Am bheil fiosachd ga do dhìth?" ors' am fiosaiche.

"An ta, tha mi coma ged a ghabhainn fiosachd uait, na 'm bitheadh fiosachd agad dhomh, agus gu'm b' e do thoil a dèanamh."

"Ma ta, nì mise fiosachd dhuit. Gu dè an seòrsa fiosachd a ta uait?"

'An ta, bha fiosachd uam fhèin thu dh' innseadh dhomh mo chor, no gu de bha ri èiridh dhomh, no na 'm faodadh tu fiosrachadh a thoirt dhomh air."

"An ta, tha mi dol a-mach, agus an uair a thilleas mi steach cuiridh mi ceist riut," agus chaidh am fiosaiche mach as an taigh.
"Art thou making soothsaying?" said Colum Cruitire.

"I am making a little; art thou seeking soothsaying?" said the soothsayer.

"Well, I do not mind should I take soothsaying from thee if thou hast soothsaying for me, and that thou wouldst be pleased to make it."

"Well, I will make thee sooth saying; what kind of soothsaying wouldst wish to have?"

"Well, the soothsaying that I myself would wish to have would be to know my condition, and what was to happen to me, were it permissible for thee to tell me."

"Well, I am going out, and when I come in I will put a question to thee," and the soothsayer went out of the house.
Cha robh e fada mach an uair a thill e steach. The soothsayer was not long out when he came into the house again.
"An robh duine teaghlaich ort riamh?" ors' am fiosaiche.

"An ta, cha robh," orsa Colum Oruitire; "cha robh duine sliochd orm fhèin no air an tè ta agam riamh, agus cha'n 'eil dùil-a'm gu'm bi gu bràth. Cha'n 'eil agam ach mi fhèin agus mo bhean."

"Ma ta," ors' am fiosaiche, "tha sin a' cur neonachais orm fhèin, agus mi faicinn anns an dailgneachd agam gur ann mu dheighinn nighinne dhuit is mutha dhoirtear a dh' fhuil a dhoirteadh riamh ann an Eirinn, o chionn re agus linn. Agus nì na trì òlaich is ainmeile bha riamh ri fhaighinn an cinn a chall air a tailibh."

"An e sin fiosachd a tha thu a' deanamh dhomh?" orsa Colum Cruitire le feirge, agus e saoilsinn gu'n robh am fiosaiche fanaid air.

"An ta, is e," ors' am fiosaiche.

"An ta, ma 's e sin fiosachd a ta thu dèanamh dhomh faodaidh tu a cumail agad fhèin; cha mhòr is d' fhiach thu fhèin no do chuid fiosachd, agus bi gabhall rathaid eile."

"An ta," ors' am fiosaiche, "tha mise ga do dhèanamh cinnteach gu leòr as sud; tha mi ga fhaicinn sud glè riochdail am inntinn fhèin."

"An ta," orsa Colum Cruitire, "cha'n urrainn sin cinneachadh; tha mise agus mo bhean aois mhòr, air chor agus nach urrainn gu'm bi duine sliochd gu bràth oirnn. Cha'n 'eil mi a' dìteadh d' fhiosachd -- cha'n 'eil còir agam air -- ach sud an ni as am bheil mi cinnteach, nach robh agus nach bi duine sliochd orm fhèin no air mo mhnaoi gu bràth. Ach foghnaidh sud; tuilleadh cha sir agus cha ghabh mise bho 'n a rinn thu an fhiosachd gun dòigh." Agus leig Colum Cruitire am fiosaiche air falbh, ma thug no nach d' thug e bàidse dha.
"Hadst thou ever any offspring?" said the soothsayer to Colurn Cruitire.

"Well, no," said Colum Cruitire, "there has never been offspring upon me or upon her whom I have, and we never expect any now; I have only myself and my wife."

"Well," said the soothsayer, "that surprises me much, and that I see in my augury that it is about a daughter of thine that the greatest amount of blood will be spilt that has been spilt in Eirin for generations and ages past, and the three heroes of the greatest renown in the land shall lose their lives on her account."

"Is that the soothsaying that thou art making me?" said Colum Cruitire with anger, he thinking that the soothsayer was mocking him.

"Well, it is," said the soothsayer.

"Well, if that be the soothsaying that thou art making me, thou mayest keep it to thyself, for neither thou thyself nor thy soothsaying is worth much, and be taking another road."

"Well," said the soothsayer, "I make thee sure enough of this ; I see it very clearly in my augury."

"Well," said Colum Cruitire, "that cannot come to pass; I and my wife are of great age, so that it is not possible that there ever shall be offspring upon us. I do not revile thy soothsaying -- I have no right to do that -- but that is the thing of which I am sure, that there never has been and that there never shall be offspring upon me or upon my wife. But that will suffice; more of thy soothsaying I will neither seek nor receive, since thou hast made the soothsaying without sense." And Colum Cruitire allowed the soothsayer to go away, whether or not he gave him a gift.
Dh' fhalbh am fiosaiche. Cha b' e sin ri ailis air an sgeul, ach cha robh am fiosaiche fada air falbh an uair a thoisich bean Choluim Chruitire ri fas trom. Agus mar bha ise fas lethtromach bha eisean fas doltromach, agus e diumbach, dòrranach dheth fhèin nach do rinn e an corr seanchais ris an fhiosaiche ri linn dha bhi na chainnt. Bha Colum Cruitire fo smuairein là agus fo chnamhan oidhche nach robh ann fhèin ach duine gun dòigh, gun tuigse, agus e gun chaomh charaid, gun chùl-taic aige ris an t-saoghal, agus na 'n tigeadh an tùrlach so air a nis -- nì bha coltach gu'n tigeadh -- agus e fhèin cho fada na aghaidh an toiseach. Bha e nis a' creidsinn gu'n tigeadh a' h-uile dad gu crìch mar a chunnaic am fiosaiche anns an dailgneachd, agus bha e fo champar agus fo chàs. Cha robh fios aige dè aon dòigh an domhan a dhèanadh e gus an dòrtadh fala seo a chur seachad air an tìr; agus is e an smaoin a chinnich na cheann na 'n cuireadh Nì-math an urra bha so air aghaidh thun an t-saoghail -- nì bha coltach gu'n cuireadh -- gur h-ann a dh' fheumadh e a cur air falbh fad as, far nach faiceadh sùil sealladh dhi, agus far nach cluinneadh cluas gabadh oirre. The soothsayer went away. That is not ridiculing the story, but the soothsayer was not long away when the wife of Colum Cruitire became pregnant; and as the wife grew more heavy the husband grew more dolorous, and vexed at himself that he did not make more conversation with the soothsayer the time he was talking to him. Colum Cruitire was under pain by day and care by night, that he himself was but a man without sense, without knowledge, without trusted friend, without back-support in the world, and should this burden come upon him now, a thing likely to come, and he himself so much against it at first. He now believed that everything would come to pass as the soothsayer said in his augury, and he was in sore distress and dismay. He did not know of one way in the wide world that he would do to ward off the spilling of blood from the land, and it was the thought that grew in his head that, should the Good Being send this infant into the world -- a thing he was likely to send -- that he himself would need to put her away to a far-off place, where no eye would see a sight of her, and no ear would hear a sound of her.
Dhlùthaich an seo àm a h-asaid air bean Choluim Chruitire, agus thugadh i thun na leaba-làir. Dh' asadeadh am boirionnach agus rug i leanabh nighinne. Cha do leig Colum Cruitire duine beò dhachaidh thun an taighe aige a thoirt aire d' a mhnaoi, ach e fhèin agus a' bhean-ghlùn. Chuir Colum Cruitire an sin ceist ris a' bhoirionnaich seo an gabhadh i fhein a mhentil ris an leanabh a thoirt a-nìos, agus a cumail am falach fad air falbh far nach faiceadh sùil sealladh di agus nach cluinneadh cluas guth mu deighinn. Thuirt am boirionnach gu'n gabhadh, agus gu'n dèanadh i an dìchioll a b' fhearr a b' urrainn dhi. Now the time of her delivery drew upon the wife of Colum Cruitire, and she was brought to the floor-bed. The woman was delivered, and she brought forth an infant girl. Colum Cruitire did not allow a living creature to come home to his house, to give attendance to his wife, but the knee-woman alone. Colum Cruitire then put a question to this woman if she herself would undertake to bring up the child, and to keep her in hiding in some remote place, where no eye could see her and no ear could hear word about her. The woman said she would, and that she would make her utmost efforts.
A green, grassy mound with one entrance, surrounded by trees.
Cnoc cruinn, gorm agus an còs a chomhdach gu grinn mu 'n cuairt.
Fhuair an sin Colum Cruitire triùir fhear, agus thug e leis air falbh iad gu monadh mòr falachaidh fad o làimh, gun fhios, gun fhàth, gun fhaireachadh do neach air bith. Thug e ma-near ann an sin cnoc cruinn, gorm, a threachailt as a bhroinn, agus an còs a chomhdach gu grinn mu 'n cuairt, air chor agus gu'n dèanadh coisridh bheag cuideachd còmhnaidh ann. Rinneadh so. Then Coluin Cruitire got three men, and he led them to a great mountain far away, without knowledge, without hint to any person. He there betook him to dig out the inside of a green conical mound, and to line the hollow thus formed right round, so as to enable a small party to dwell therein comfortably. This was done.
Chuir Colum Cruitire a' bhean-ghlùn air falbh leis an leanabh gu ruig am bothan beag am measg nam beann mòra, fiadhaiche, fàsaiche, fad o làimh, far nach faiceadh sùil sealladh agus nach cluinneadh cluas guth air Deirdìre; oir b' e sin ainm an leinibh. Chuir e h-uile dad dòigheil air an cinn, agus chuir e lòn là agus bliadhna leo; agus thuirt e ris a' bhean-ghlùn gu'n reachadh lòn thuca a-rithist an ceann na bliadhna, agus mar sin o bhliadhna gu bliadhna am fad a bhiodh esan beò. Is ann mar seo a thachair. Colum Cruitire then sent the knee-woman away with the infant to this small low sheiling among the great hills in the wild distant desert, where no eye could see and no ear could hear Deirdìre, for that was the name of the child. He put everything in order before them, and he sent food and raiment with them to last them for a year and a day, and he told the knee-woman that food and clothing would be sent to them again at the end of the year, and that way from year to year as long as he was alive. And this was so.
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