I have two questions about the following passage. I am especially
puzzled about the two occurrences of "ma".
Three children are inadvertently spying on evil spirits sitting down to
a feast but they have terrible table manners.
Thòisich iad a’ tilgeil biadh agus soitheachan air a chèile. Rug aon
donas - a bha nas motha na na donais eile - air earball aon de
chompanaich agus thòisich e ga ruidhleadh timcheall ann an èadhar. Ma
(1) thòisich, chuir sin an donas (2) buileach air na donais eile agus
thionndaidh iad air an fhear mhòr. Bha iad a-nis mar ghràisg de choin a’
gabhail dha chèile gu garg colgach.
Rinn Alasdair gàire. Ma (1) rinn, stad an onghail sa bhad.
*An Triùir agus Lubag le Maoilios Caimbeul, dg 149*
My best attempt: [They began to throw food and dishes at each other. One
imp - who was bigger than the other imps - caught the tail of one of the
company and he began to twirl him about in the air. Then that inspired
absolute mischief in the other imps and they turned on the big guy. They
were now like a pack of dogs going at each other in savage rage.
Alasdair laughed and that stopped the contretemps immediately.]
1. So in these two contexts “ma” seems to mean something like “then” or
“with that”. Colin Mark’s dictionary discusses this a little but I just
don’t think I really get it.
2. Elsewhere in the passage “donas” seems to mean imp or demon or the
like but is “donas” in this spot better translated as “mischief”
something like, “this inspired mischief completely on the other devils
and they turned on the big one.” Do I have that right?
Ted Brian Neveln