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THE PEAT-FIRE FLAME
to examine a snare they had laid there. They had not
reached their destination when, in picking the best route
through the snows lying in a hollow, they heard the most
wonderful music issuing from underground. But fear soon
overtook them; and they fled home with all speed.
Many years afterwards, when the sister was an old
woman, she used to tell the natives of Tiree that she had
never forgotten the fear that took possession of her when
she heard in her childhood the wild strains of faery music
among the moonlit snows on Kennavarra.
Tee Silver Chanter of the MacCrimmons.
It was a faery who bequeathed to one of the first of the
MacCrimmons of Skye the Silver Chanter that afterwards
led to their proficiency as pipers, and to their appointment
as hereditary pipers to MacLeod of MacLeod, at Dun vegan
Castle. A faery chanced to find Iain Og MacCrimmon
seated on a mound near his home at Borreraig, in the west
of Skye, and he disconsolate that his playing had not been
adjudged meritorious enough to warrant his attending at
Dunvegan a competition promoted by MacLeod. So the
faery addressed Iain Og thus :
" Thy manly beauty and the sweetness of thy music
Have brought thee a faery sweetheart :
Now I bequeath to thee this Silver Chanter,
Which, at the touch of thy fingers, will ever bring
forth the sweetest music."
Thereupon the faery gave Iain Og MacCrimmon not only
the Silver Chanter for his pipes, but also the art of the
pibroch. Off to Dunvegan hastened Iain Og with his Silver
Chanter, to vie with other pipers from all over the High-
lands as to which of them would become hereditary piper
to MacLeod of MacLeod. The judges agreed that Iain
Og's piping was the best. They readily recognised that it
exhibited qualities possessed only by one who had the
gift of faery fingers on the chanter. Thus he became
hereditary piper at Dunvegan ; and from that day the
MacCrimmons of Skye produced many generations of
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