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the peat-fire flame
The Black-throated Diver's Language.
The black-throated diver's language also has been
committed to writing in the Isles. You know, of course,
that the nest of this bird is built within ready reach of the
water. If, in time of drought, the water recede out of easy
reach, the female bird on her nest may be heard uttering
the Gaelic equivalent of the words :
" Drink ! drink !
The loch is ebbing !
Water! water!
The power of limb is
leaving me !"
If, on the other hand, there be heavy rains, such as may
cause the waters of the loch to encroach upon her nest, she
will fly overhead, and cry in bewilderment :
" My sorrow !
My eggs !
My chicks !
My brood
In the flood !
My gifts !
My treasures!
My troubles ! "
A Legend of Eilean Donan,
And here is the pretty legend I have narrated in my
recent book, Someivhere in Scotland, of how Eilean Donan
Castle came to be built originally. There was an ancient
belief in the Scottish Highlands, and also in the Hebrides,
that a person became imbued with supernatural powers if
in infancy he received his first sip out of the skull of a
raven. The story goes that long, long ago there lived in
Kintail a petty chief who, in order to put this belief to the
test, saw to it that, when his infant son was old enough to
be weaned, he had his first drink out of a raven's skull, with
the result that, when the infant grew to man's estate, he
could understand the language of the birds. There came a

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