“Stories are something you carry with you, something to last your entire life, to be passed on to your children, and their children for evermore.” —Duncan Williamson
Duncan Williamson was one of Scotland's Travelling People, born on the shores of Loch Fyne. He has been celebrated as the bearer of Scotland's greatest national treasure: the richest trove of story and song in Europe. As a child, Duncan learned the ways of the world through stories: “Now my father would say, ‘Sit down there and listen carefully. Because by listening to this story you're going to learn something that will teach you in life. And remember, carry the story with you all of your days. Because this story was told to me by my father.’”
In this collection, he passes on some of these wonderful children's folk and fairy tales. For over sixty years Duncan travelled around Scotland -- on foot, then in a horse and cart, and later an old van—collecting tales, which not only come from the Traveling People but from the crofters, farmers and shepherds he met along the way.
This collection includes stories about silver horses and golden birds, cunning lions and trilling nightingales, brave princesses and magic scarecrows, the four seasons and old Father Time.
At the heart of each story is a lesson about life and what it means to be a good person. The stories have been written down as faithfully as possible to Duncan’s unique storytelling voice, full of color, humor, and life.
(Ages 8 to 12)
Duncan Williamson (1928-2007) was born on the shores of Loch Fyne. He was the seventh of sixteen children in a family of Travelers who set up camp in the same place every winter, wandering the Highlands in summer, hawking tin and natural willowwares. Duncan left home at fifteen and traveled for the next forty years, while continuing the traditional trades of his people. In 1980, he moved to a farm cottage in Fife with his second wife, Linda, who transcribed some of his vast repertoire of songs, stories, and family history. When Duncan died, he left behind a worldwide legacy. His reputation was extraordinary, and the impact of his storytelling continues in literary editions of his work, published by Canongate, Cambridge University Press, Penguin, Mondadori, and more recently by Birlinn, Luath Press, and Floris Books. Linda Williamson was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1949. She has a PhD from Edinburgh University, and is an American folklorist, storyteller, and editor. She has three children and five grandchildren—on both sides of the Atlantic.