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Smooth John Macnab

Smooth John Macnab

One Christmas, the chief of the Macnabs had sent his servant to Crieff for provisions, but, on his return, he
was waylaid, and robbed of all his pur chases. He went home, therefore, empty handed, and told his tale to the
laird. Macnab had twelve sons, all men of great strength, but one in particular exceedingly athletic, who was
called for a byname, Lain mien Mac an or “Smooth John Macnab.” In the evening, these men were gloomily
meditating some signal revenge on their old enemies, when their father entered, and said in Gaelic, “The night is the night, if the lads were but lads!”

Each man instantly started to his feet, and belted on his dirk, his claymore and his pistols. Led by their brother John, they set out, taking a fishing-boat on their shoulders from Loch Tay, carrying it over the mountains and glens till they reached Loch Earn, where they launched it, and passed over to the island. All was silent in the habitation of Neish. Having all the boats at the island secured, they had gone to sleep without fear of surprise. Smooth John, with his foot dashed open the door of Neish’s house, and the party, rushing in, attacked the unfortunate family, every one of whom was put to the sword, with the exception of one man and a boy, who concealed themselves under a bed.

Carrying off the heads of the Neishes, and any plunder they could secure, the youths presented themselves to their father, while the piper struck up the pibroch of victory.



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