Tales and Traditions of the Lews

Tales and Traditions of the Lews

Tales and Traditions of the Lews

Tales and Traditions of the Lews


After his retirement from a career in medicine, Donald Macdonald turned his acute and wide-ranging mind to the study of the history and traditions of his native Lewis. Despite suffering from severe osteoarthritis, he was extremely active in the social and cultural life of the island, and contributed numerous articles to the Stornoway Gazette. However, much of his collection of tales, legends and history remained in private circulation until after his death in 1961, when his wife Emily arranged for the publication of this volume. With over sixty essays on people, places and tradition, it reveals the full range of the author's erudition, and is informed by his love and deep knowledge of his native island. To read through or simply to dip into this collection is a fascinating experience for anyone who loves Scotland and her islands.


On looking through my late husband’s collection of facts and legends of Lewis, I felt that this was much too valuable a source of information to be lost to all but the few to whom it might be lent from time to time.

Accordingly, with the substantial help of Mr Alex Urquhart, retired deputy rector of the Nicolson Institute, Stornoway, I have arranged these collections in chronological order as far as possible and decided to have them published in book form. I wish to thank him very much for his assistance and also my brother-in-law, Mr Albert Nicoll, present deputy rector of the Nicolson Institute, for his help, Mr Grayson, for his beautifully done genealogical tables, and Mr Longbotham of the Stornoway Gazette for his very useful advice.

The reader will realise that many tales are old ones re-told, and that a number could even be found in various other books, but that requires specialised knowledge of which books, and the expense of buying them or the trouble of borrowing them from a library.

In this volume the reader will find a collection of articles which can be read straight through or dipped into as interest or fancy dictates.

If the matter is sometimes rather brief and more in the nature of notes, that is because my husband did not live to amplify it for publication and I feel myself insufficiently knowl-

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