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Sea Sounds

The notes by the Rev. Kenneth Macleod to Mrs. Kennedy-Fraser's remarkable " Songs of the Hebrides " are packed with interesting sidelights on the somewhat mysterious mentality of the Highlander. This passage describes, not a poetic fantasy, but a mood that is very much of a reality to those born and brought up within sight and sound of the Atlantic.

The sounds of the western sea are aye such as can be understanded of the folk. They foretell good weather and bad, birth and death in the township, the drowning of dear ones on faraway shores. In the storm they voice the majesty of the King of the Elements, and in the quiet evening they fill one with a longing which is hope born of pain. Perhaps other seas have voices for other folk, but the western sea alone can speak in the Gaelic tongue and reach the Gaelic heart.

And if the sea-sounds are sweet to the islesman at home, they are sweeter still when by faith he hears them in the heart of the mainland, with the unfeeling mountains closing him in. Centuries come and centuries go, but the sea-voices never lose their old charm. A few years ago a young Skyeman working in Glengarry suc-ceeded, by sleight of heart, in glorifying a very tiny waterfall into a mighty sea. " I sit in the heather and close my eyes," he said, " and me-thinks the waterfall is the western sea, and, O man of my heart, my heaven and my folk are in that music."

More wonderful still was the gift of the Lews servant girl in Glasgow, who could hear twelve different sea-sounds in the roar of the electric cars and the street traffic. Kenneth Macleod
In his Notes to "Songs of the Hebrides."

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