Frequently Asked Questions


Q. I'd like to print out the chapters of the story (to read in bed/in the bath/in outer space), but when I do bits of text are chopped off the edge. Why don't you provide PDFs or something?

A. I might, if enough people ask for them. But really the problem is with your browser. Although I've made every effort to test that the pages display properly on most popular browsers and platforms printing is the responsibility of the your web browser. You should really use one with a decent print engine, such as the free, fab, funky (and lots of other f's if I could think of them) Firefox. It's only 4-odd MB of a download. And no, I don't get any money for punting it, you cynic.


Q. Surely using tables to lay out the text is a retrograde step. It makes it very difficult to copy and paste. Haven't you heard of CSS?

A. Well, yes, I have heard of it. In fact, I first laid out the text using two DIVs, one for the Gaelic text and one for the English. This made copying more than one paragraph at a time a cinch, and gave source code very pleasing to the eye. However it is, alas, impossible to line up a given English paragraph with a given Gaelic one, and guarantee they will stay lined up (whatever your screensize) using such a layout. Plus multi-column DIV layout is still poorly supported by older browsers, at least without all sorts of ugly hacks.


Q. Is it my eyes, or are there some Rorschach-like blots on all your pages? What are they supposed to be -- virtual coffee stains?

A. That's really there to give some texture to the page backgrounds. It is actually a faint tracing of two Scots Pines, for the significance of which see chapter five.


Q. Your pictures suck. Where did you get them anyway?

A. Illustration is very much amongst the host of talents I lack. So the pictures are mostly out-of-copyright paintings. A good few of them are by Pre-Rapaelites. But I've tinkered with most of them in one way or another, in ways which would be deleterious to the blood-pressure of any art lover. If you can't stand 'em, scroll quickly past -- there are only two per chapter. Personally I feel a story on the web is incomplete without some form of picture though.


Q. I really like the story. Is there anything I can do?

A. So do I! Good of you to offer your services. You can point out any of the (frequent) misprints. Or perhaps you might like to submit some artwork if you're that way inclined (though "conceptual" art will be treated with some suspicion by the webmaster). One thing I'd really like is for somebody with a decent voice to read the (Gaelic part of the) work aloud. If you see yourself in this rôle, send your MP3s (or Vorbis/Vorbii, or better yet, Speex files) this way.


Q. I don't like it. Why cumbreth it the web?

A. Hopefully the execution is what you don't like, and not the tale itself. I feel even an imperfect execution is better than none at all, and the book has been out-of-print for a long time now. If you disagree though, there is a world wide web out there -- it shouldn't be too hard to avoid


Q. Can I use this text in any way I please?

A. It being more than seventy years since Alasdair Carmichael's death, the text of the book is out-of-copyright as far as I understand the matter. You might consider that I have some rights over the text since I was responsible for digitising it and applying markup to it. If I do, then I apply the GNU GPL to it, which in essence states that you may use this text in any way providing you do not then apply restrictions on the way others may use your text. If you do use the text elsewhere, please consider crediting this website.


Q. What's all this "critical note" guff?

A. It seemed to me that a short critical introduction of some sort was needed, so I wrote one. I'd be the first to point out the flaws in it though. Again, let me state: don't read it if you don't want to.


Q. Are these questions really asked frequently?

A. Er, no. This kind of faux dialogue seems to be traditional though, and I like it. So there.

Q. I want to comment/praise/abuse your work on this site. How can I do this?

A. That's easy. Contact me by sending an email to Or invent your own first word, as will get to me.