Skye: The Island and Its Legends
by Otta Swire
‘To all the saints and sinners, heroes and Little People, giants, water-horses, and other curious creatures who look out from the past through these pages, and to all the sons and daughters of Skye, wheresoever they may have found a habitation, I dedicate this book, for of their deeds and thoughts is woven the spirit and the treasure of the Isle of Mist’ – from Otta Swire’s ‘dedication’
This is a fabulous treasury of legend and wonder; tales of monsters who dwell in lakes, of small people who trap humans in earthen mounds where time stands still; of dark, shape- shifting spirits whose cloak of human form is betrayed by the sand and shells which fall from their hair.
In the absence of a written tradition, for generations of Sgiannaich, these tales, handed down orally, contained the very warp and weft of Hebridean history. They take us far beyond Christian times, to the edge of the Iron Age, and interweave with threads from the wider Atlantic tradition of Gaelic heroic myth and legend.
Otta Swire was born in 1898 and spent many happy childhood holidays in Skye, where she became captivated by the island’s rich history of folklore and began recording them in notebooks. She had these formally published in 1949, after she had moved to Skye to live permanently. She died in 1973.
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: Origin, an imprint of Birlinn Ltd., 2018
Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm