There have been several compilations of Scottish stories over the years but this one is rather special. It is not just Â a collection of stories, but of morals and attitudes, of the lessons that children learn about right and wrong and how to behave in such a way that the world keeps going round.
Duncan Williamson was a traveller and spent 52 years of his life as a traveller, like his father and mother and brother and sisters, unable to read or write. Round the fire at night, fathers told their children these stories, explaining the seasons, the ways of the world and what happens when you go against the natural order of things. These tales include mythical creatures such as silver horses and golden birds, but they have the voice of authority, handed down in a tradition that those of us who did learn to read and write have lost.
In his sixth decade, Duncan settled down with his American folklorist wife, Linda Williamson, and it is she who wrote down his stories, enabling us all to share this amazing legacy of what has been described as the richest trove of story and song in Europe. She has written them down as faithfully as possible to Duncan’s unique storytelling voice and created a delightful collection of tales that any child will love.