The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #67594   Message #1731065
Posted By: GUEST,thurg
01-May-06 - 01:32 AM
Thread Name: oral tradition - 'celtic' singing in usa
Subject: RE: oral tradition - 'celtic' singing in usa
Sandy (if you're still following this thread) - I'm a little puzzled over the stories of the Gaelic-speaking black twins, and I'm starting to wonder if there were actually two (or more?) different sets of such twins, and whether some of the stories got melded ... I remember reading an article in Cape Breton's Magazine (or was it still "Down North"?) about "the" twins, which sounded almost identical (so to speak) to your (and Kipling's) story, but if I remember correctly there was an interview presumably done by Ron Caplan with one of the twins, so he at least would have been alive in the 1970's. One of these twins worked as a sea-cook; the other worked more on land. My uncle told me he worked with that twin in the steel plant and that he lived in Whitney Pier. My uncle is 80 or so now, and I got the impression that the twins were more or less of his generation.

Anyway, my uncle told me a story that his brother told him about this guy:

My uncle's brother worked in the steel plant too, and one Saturday he and this black Gael and a couple of other guys were going off on some sort of an excursion. When they came to catch the Englishtown(?) ferry, there was no sign of action, so the driver got out to see what was happening. He came back looking unhappy. "What's wrong?" "We can't go across." "Why not?" "The captain says it's too rough." So, as you can imagine, there were a few sad and silent moments as this sunk in. Then the black fellow said, "Wait a minute", and he got out, walked up to the ferry and went on board. He was gone for the longest time as the others sat and waited. Finally, he came back and hopped into the car. "Okay, boys, let's go; he's taking us across." "What? How come? What did you tell him?" "Oh, nothing in particular; I just had a big talk with him in Gaelic, and he said he'd take us across."

I always liked the idea of that crusty old captain who would accept any man for what he's worth regardless of race, religion or creed - as long as he had the Gaelic.