It was the first day of May and Linnie was visiting with Nan McFann. Linnie enjoyed her visits with the old woman—she’d been kind to them since they’d retreated to the bothy on the north bank of Loch Lyon after the events on Drumossie Moor.

“’Tis Beltane today,” said Nan, “Time to bring the Cailleach and her family out into the sun.”

“The Cailleach?”

“Aye, the Goddess. She’s looked after our lands for longer than time remembers—as long as we look after the stones. She’s the Goddess of creation, though she’s not amiss to a bit of destruction when it takes her fancy. Mayhap you can tell her your wishes after.”

“I dinna think my wishes can come true,” said Linnie. What could she wish for? That Da hadn’t died at Culloden? That Charles Edward Stuart had never left Spain? That all the redcoats would die of the pox? That she hadn’t become a grown woman at the age of twelve? Defeated, she let her shoulders slump.

Nan led her up the glen until they came to a turf-roofed shieling.

“This is Tigh nam Bodach,” said Nan and reached inside the shieling, reverently pulling out a stone that was vaguely human-shaped. “And this is the Goddess Cailleach. She comes out with her husband, Bodach, her eldest daughter Nighean and her nine younger children every Beltane, where they remain under the light of the sun until Samhain.”

Linnie felt the power of the ancient stones as she helped Nan to stand them in front of the shieling.

“Now, tell Cailleach what is in your heart, child,” 

Linnie held her hands as if in prayer, losing herself in her thoughts for several minutes. With a sigh she said, “There’s been enough destruction already. We need Cailleach to help build a stronger Scotland, to help us recover.” She looked to Nan.

The older woman took Linnie’s hands in her own and nodded in approval. They walked back down the glen together and when they reached Nan’s croft, she gave her a warm embrace before gathering her basket and heading for home.

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
10 months ago

I like this story for the historical content and the fact I had to scramble for my dictionary.

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
Reply to  Carrie OLeary
10 months ago

Carrie, can you provide a little background on Culloden, please.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
10 months ago

Linnie’s hopeful and positive wish for the future of Scotland is the perfect ending to a story so rich in history. A history you bring so wonderfully to life, Carrie. I savoured every word!

Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
10 months ago

You never fail to inspire us to learn more while entertaining us, Carrie. A sobering, thoughtful story in many ways and a very satisfying ending. Well done  ? 

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
10 months ago

I learned a new word today, Carrie. I never knew what a Cailleach was, nor how to pronounce it! I especially liked the ending, where Linnie wished for something that was not just for herself, but for the whole of Scotland.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
10 months ago

Hello, Carrie. Thanks for the new words and for bringing me to Scotland. And the ending was really beautiful. I love it. Well done. 

Last edited 10 months ago by Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Carrie OLeary
9 months ago

You’re welcome, Carrie.

allinonefitness steven jenkins
allinonefitness steven jenkins(@allinonefitness-steven-jenkins)
10 months ago

Another wonderfully written story. Keep it up, Carrie. ? 

Bella Minyo
Bella Minyo(@bella-minyo)
10 months ago

A truly captivating story that immerses you in the culture of Scotland and the history that surrounds the beautifully crafted world you have built. Wonderful writing as always, Carrie!

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