“Oran Na Caillich (Our Auld Wife)”


Scottish Gaelic. My wife is dour, sour, and the devil's own. I must have been bewitched to be drawn to her. She's so ugly. I have to drink to stand it.


Peacock notes that this "is called a milling song ... used to accompany the work of shrinking wool homespun. The wet cloth is alternately kneaded and pounded on a large table by several people either seated or standing. A leader sings the verses, and everyone comes in on the chorus." "Milling wool" and "waulking tweed" is the same process. For a note on the process and the songs see "Waulking" by Craig Cockburn at the Silicon Glen site.

The description is based on a translation by Malcolm MacFarlane available in the hard-cover edition of _The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Highlands_ ed Alfred Moffat (Bayley & Ferguson, London & Glasgow, ca 1908), pp. 76-77. This song is not in the soft-cover edition issued ca. 1960. - BS


  1. Peacock, pp. 793-794, "Oran Na Caillich" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Pea793


Author: Allan McDougall [Ailean Dall] (1750-1829)
Earliest date: 1959 (Peacock)
Found in: Canada(Newf)