2nd draft: Jan Dougherty’s Microfiction #5: the Door.
With some very useful advice from Jane, I have revised my story. I hope that in the process, I achieved the desired goal: to set the stage for my characters from Burning Angel and Shapes in the Mist. The original story for Microfiction Challenge #5, the door: mynedfa is still up, and as Wild Child 47 points out, has it’s charms, too. So read one, or both. I’m always open to suggestions on ways to tweak the tale.
A glossary of Scots Gaelic to English follows the story as does my reason for wanting to include it.
“Where am I from and what is my work, you ask.” I take a long drink from my mug of dark ale and begin:
Look up in the twilightish sky for a single star, Aonar Rionnag, shining bright enough for a billion. Then down for a faint rectangular glow; a propped up fence gate without a fence. Paint worn, hinges rusted, it is doras to Seann Choille where the Old Ways and Elder Age still exist. The eastern winds, wet with moss, pine and sodden earth, carry draoidheach chants beyond the doras. Inviting the unwary to step through and wander as one lost in soul and in body. Carry charms, utter incantations, tattoo maps on your arms. Only then will the Old Ways allow you to roam with purpose.
I am a sgeulaiche, traveling both sides of the doras gathering tales. You desire a story? Tis thirsty work telling euchd-dhàn. Another ale, why yes.
This is my most recent mhòr. I am telling much from my own eyes:
Two weary bodies approach the doras. One, of the forest called Chorragan, his return from daonna an t-saoghail indicating failure. In rescuing a daonna from fire’s desire, he brings her through to bracknell rookery. The ancient grey birds that protect Elder Age and the doorway in the grey mists their breath produces. Her presence excites the birds and arouses the suspicions of madadh-allaidh who follows the pair.
Chorragan hesitates at the doras. His companion is intelligent and crafty, but has no charms to protect her, nor tattoos to guide her. Already, the eastern wind is grasping her hand. Her eyes wild with the lure of the draoidheachd, she pushes past Chorragan, and before he can catch her, she is through the doras and gone . . .
I take a long draught of this pleasant ale.
This glossary gives the English equivalent of the Scots Gaelic words peppered in the story. I used Google Translator.
Aonar Rionnag = lone star
doras = doorway
Seann Choille = ancient forest
draoidheach = magical
sgeulaiche = storyteller
Chorragan = Fingers
daonna an t-saoghail = human world
daonna = human
draoidheachd = magic
euchd-dhàn = epics
mhòr = epic
Google Translator recently added Scots Gaelic to it’s list of languages. I have a soft spot for it. My paternal family is from Nova Scotia (an Albainn Nuaidh). Beginning in the 1700s, Scots migrated to Cape Breton Island (Eilean Cheap Breatainn) with a landscape reminiscent of their highlands home. Here, Gaelic flourished and was kept alive well into the 20th century. But as the Gaelic speakers aged and dwindled, a group of people set out to ensure it’s continuation. Courses available at University of Cape Breton allowed other generations to learn the language, the songs and the lore. Folks from Scotland came to learn the language of their ancestors.
My Scots background is not of the highlands of Cape Breton. My maternal roots go back to around 1765 when the lowly end of a clan arrived in the Eastern Townships of Québec, only conquered by the British from the French 5 years before. When my paternal relatives arrived in Nova Scotia, I don’t know. But in both cases, my immigrants were Protestant, lowlanders and Gaelic was not preserved if even spoken.