Mile marbhaisg ort, a radain!
A shlaideare nam badan arbhair;
Cha leòr leat sop ach an lán sguab dheth,
Dh-fag thu ’m bualadh dhomb nêo-tharbhach.
Rinn thu gradan de’m chuid eòrna,
A mhéirlich gur mōr do cháil dheth;
Na’n robh do cheann agam air innean,
’Smise nach tilleadh mo lámh dhiot!
The minister also gives a rather ‘loose’ translation aiming to keep the rhythm of the piece rather than supplying a literal version of ‘A Rat-Expelling Incantation’:
A thousand ills befall thee, greedy rat!
Expertest thief that ever yet was born!
In barn and stack-yard, maugre trap and cat,
Sad is the state of all my stock of corn;
Nor does a handful serve thee, shameless thief,
Unblushing rogue, thou claimest the whole sheaf!
Although the following anecdote does not explicitly indicate whether a satire was used against the rats it may well be taken to be understood. Donald MacKinnon, mentioned by Carmichael, was a crofter and fisherman from Taransay itself, an isle just off the west coast of Harris:
Rats can[no]t live in Taransay, so says Don[ald] MacInnon my
guide & cont[inued] in Lews when he was much troub[led]
with these pests. He made a wish that they were
anywhere The Cail[l]each Leo[tha]sach asked
him what would he give her to send them
away for him. He pro[mised] her so much but gives
her power. She askt [asked] him if he knew of any
pl[ace] where there were no rats. He told her that
a rat was no in Tar[ansay] & that they c[ou]ld not live
there so she sent them here greatly to his
relief – not none reap[peared?]. In 2 y[ea]rs they left not a
single thing in Tar[ansay] He then entreated her
to take them fr[om] his fr[e]inds & send them else
where which she did obligingly did & not one was left here.
Two rats were taken here by some fish[er]men
& in the course of 3 days 1 & in 4 days the 2 we[re]
found dead over at Aird nan Ceall
Plenty of mice here thou[gh]
CW 116, f. 9v
CW 116, f. 9v
Morrison, John A, ‘Drumming Tunes: A Study of Gaelic Rat Satires’, Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, LVII (1990–92), pp. 273-364
Image: Rat / Radan