One of the most powerful and oldest of the Clans of Scotland is the
Clan MacLeod.Now for over one thousand years the ancestral home of the
MacLeod's has been Dunvegan Castle near Loch Dunvegan a long time ago it
has been told a MacLeod chieftain named Malcolm wed a fairy woman and she
bore him a son but the fairy woman grew sad after a time for she missed
her home the mystical land of the fairies and Malcolm having a great love
for his wife set out across the loch with her alone and walked the path
with her to Annwn the land of the fairies leaving the infant heir to the
lands of Dunvegan.
Malcolm returned home his heart clouded with sadness even though
that very night there was to be a feast celebrating the birth of his son.
The feast was grand indeed with venison,duck and beef served to
all who came.Pipers from Clan MacCrimmon came to perform and there was
dancing and the ale flowed heavily all the while the infant slept
watched over by a nursemaid a young girl who heard the revelry and wished
to join in and taking one look at the sleeping child went to join the party.The
nursemaid came into the hall and joined in the celebration but Malcolm
saw her and thinking she had left the infant in the care of another bid
her to fetch the child so that he may see him.The nursemaid prayed to herself
that no harm had befallen the infant while she was away but as she was
returning an bird flew by with a screech and this awakened the infant and
the little heir to the MacLeods began crying and it's wails filled the
room but no one was around to comfort him.However the babe's mother heard
it's mourning and sought to comfort him so she passed across the night
sky in spirit form and although she could not hold him she weaved a blanket
of green silken thread with tiny spots and this soothed the infant and
set him off to sleep again.
The nursemaid came into the room and saw the baby relieved to see
it safe and took him to the chieftain but as she walked a eerie and beautiful
music followed her and it grew louder as she entered the hall the pipers
even stopped playing to hear and the music filled the hall and fairy voices
sang of the gift given to the infant the blanket was magical for when the
MacLeod's were in grave danger they were to wave the flag and they would
be delivered but only three times.However, if any MacLeod waved the flag
for reasons trivial then a great misfortune would befall them and with
that the music ended.
Malcolm ordered that the flag be placed in a iron case of great
workmanship and that only the chieftain be allowed to have the key or be
in possession of the flag.Malcolm never came across reason to wave the
flag nor did the infant son and as generations passed the flag was never
used but the legend was passed on and on.
One day the Clan MacDonald began to attack the lands of the MacLeods
for the two were old enemies but the MacDonalds outnumbered the MacLeods
and at Trumpan there was a long and fierce battle that the MacLeods were
losing.The clan chieftain remembered the legend of the fairy flag and decided
to use it.He held the flag aloft and waved it and at once it seemed that
the MacDonalds fell back and that the MacLeods were filled with an unearthly
strength and ferocity and the MacDonalds were driven away.The flag was
proven to have worked or was it?
Many years later a disease ran amongst the livestock of each clan
and with out the herds there would be little food or income when all seemed
lost the chieftain called for the flag and waved it across the land hoping
that it would work.Soon enough the sick cattle recovered and the disease
spread no longer on the land of the MacLeods.The flag seemed to work again.
Many years after this in 1799 a man employed by the MacLeods named
Buchman heard about the flag but dismissed it as superstition and sought
to prove it.When the chieftain was away he had an English blacksmith break
open the case for the chieftain always had the key and he waved it around.Naturally
disaster struck the heir to the MacLeod lands was killed in an explosion
on board the HMS Charlotte,the MacLeods had to sell some land to the Campbells
and others as their finances were in jeopardy and the chief's own family
dwindled.The clan lost it's old glory yet today is still around and still
strong in fact if you wish you can still go to Dunvegan castle and see
the green fairy flag locked in a case of glass perhaps never to be waved
here for another tale!