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It was hoped at one time, that a short preface to this work would
have sufficed, but in order to show properly the trend of the
author's intentions, it has had to be extended in the form of an
introduction farther than might be otherwise thought necessary.
For a long time a treatise on the various subjects hereinafter
dealt with has been a "felt want," and the present work owes
its existence to the efforts as after detailed to supply that want,
as also the humble, but sincere, desire to assist by placing even a
small stone on the ever-increasing cairn of Celtic Hterature.
A life-long love of Celtic subjects enabled material to be collected
by me therefor from time to time, and the work might have seen
the light several years ago, were it not that many persons were
under the impression that the late "Nether Lochaber" intended
writing a special work on Celtic natural history, than whom,
indeed, no one was more capable. Alas ! he died without fulfilling
that expectation, and the material for the present work is the
labour of upwards of a quarter of a century, collected not only from
an innate love of the subject, but in the hope that it might prove
of some use in the event of such a w^ork being undertaken by
" Nether Lochaber " as above referred to. In the course of inquiries
which were made as to this, and also as to whether " Nether
Lochaber" had left any MS. bearing thereon, it was suggested
that as I had made the collection, it should form the basis of such
a work, and great hopes were held out as to its ultimate educational
Though somewhat staggered at the suggestion, seeing no one
else was likely to take the matter up, I commenced the arrange-
ment of the material I had collected since 1873, and entered upon
a systematic search for more, with the result, after various vicissi-
tudes, and very great labour in the few intervals of a busy
professional life, latterly also much hampered by sickness, of
being now able to present to my fellow-countrymen, and others
at home and abroad, the first work of the kind. The work is not

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