The subjects throughout this book are timeless - local belief and superstition, pastimes, work, health and cures, tales and proverbs. They are
taken from a wide range of sources and periods, from Martin Martin in the seventeenth century to writing which dates from the end of the
Second World War, a time which saw much change in Gaelic society as a whole. The material covers traditions and accounts of a very practical
and often harsh existence, variations on tales which are more obscure as well as those that are well known. The stories illustrate the sharpness
of phrase, shrewdness of observation and humour, characteristic of the Highlands and Islands in the west.
This book is a celebration of a people who are often excluded from the standard historical accounts of the clans and Highlands, but who have
endured much and safeguarded an important heritage.
Ann MacKenzie was born in Argyll but has strong family connections to Mull, Ulva (where her father was brought up) and Lewis. After studying in Edinburgh, where she was involved in museum, photographic archive work and research, she returned to Mull to work on the Muile air Mheamhair oral history project. She is currently gathering material on the natural world in the traditions of the Highlands and Islands. Her father wrote As it Was - a best-selling account of his upbringing on Ulva.