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captain wheels Help: Who Was Kishmul? (Kishmul's/Riever's Galley) (29) RE: Help: WHO WAS KISHMUL? 13 Dec 01

Story from the Marjory Kennedy Fraser book

Kishmul's Galley

Una the lonely sat on a hill top on the isle of Barra, thinking of the queer things of life--the heath that is plucked ere it comes to bloom, the boat that goes down in the mouth of the harbour, the great sea that brings wealth to one and death to the other

She had drunk her fill of the three sorrows of a woman, the sorrow of the orphan, the sorrow of a widow and the sorrow of the mother, and sure, having nothing now to work or hope for in this life, it would be no sorrow at all for her to sleep with the other tired women in the quiet kirkyard.

Una the lonely looked out to sea and looking forgot her thoughts. The waves were boiling with rage because the wind was laughing and mocking them; and far out, Kishmul's Galley, with Macneill of Barra and the bravest of his lads on board, was turning her head towards the bay and the old castle of the clan. But Oh Great being of the graces, as soon as the waves and wind noticed the galley, they straightaway forgot their own quarrel and must need join hands to drown the pluckiest galley in the Isles. Let me swallow her said the sea, opening it, s great mouth--but like the mountain stag, Kishmul's galley bounded to the top of the nearest wave. Let me topple her over said the wind, loud blowing with all its might, but like the seal of Lochlann, the galley darted down into a sea-glen. Wild with anger the waves sprang at her planks and the wind tattered her sails and snapped her rigging--but let them do their worst, Kishmul's Galley was ever the darling to carry her dear ones safely home. And Macneill of Barra and his men began to sing a song of triumph--they could see the old castle now, where the good things in life were waiting for them; the red wine, the feasting, the harping, and the best of all, the love of women and the prattle of children. Don't be so sure said the wind, drawing its whole breath into its lungs. But ere the great effort came, the galley suddenly darted into the quiet of the bay, leaving wind and wave taunting each other with defeat.

And Una the lonely, watching from the hilltop, leapt to her feet and--O Mother of God cried she what if yon galley be me.

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