Here's a description of a cattle raid. (I couldn't find it on the web)
By Dee-side came Inverrai whistling and singing,
and he's down to Brackley's yetts ere the day's dawning
Saying 'Baron of Brackley oh are ye within?
Here's sharp swords doon at y'r yetts will gar y'r bluid spend...
"Oh rise up my husband and turn back your kye
young Inverrai's duinewassails are driving 'em by"
"Oh how can I rise up and turn them again?
For every man I hae, wae's me he has ten."
"Oh if I had a husband the like I hae nane
He'd no lie in his bed and watch his kye taen"
And then up spak the baron saying "Gie me ma sword!
There's no a man in Scotland, but I'd tak at a word!"
When the Baron was buxit tae ride over the close
No gallanter Gordon ever rode on a horse,
Saying, "Kiss me ma Peggy, dinna think me tae blame
For I maun gang oot lo'e, but I winna win hame.
There rode wi fause Inverrai fu' thirty and three;
alang wi the Baron, just his brither and he.
No gallanter gordons did e'er the sword dra
But against three and thirty, wae's me, what is twa?
Wi swords and sharp daggers they did him surround
and they pierced his dear body wi mony a sair wound
Frae the banks o the Dee, tae the sides o the Spey
The gordons will mourn him, and they'll burn Inverrai.
"Oh cam ye by Brackley's yetts? Cam ye by there?
Saw ye his Peggy, a-reeving her hair?"
"Oh yes, I cam by Brackley's yetts, I cam by there
and I saw his bonnie Peggy, she was making guid cheer!
She was talking, she was laughing, she was ranting wi joy!
And she swore ilka nicht she wad feast Inverrai!
Oh she dined wi him, danced wi him, talked wi him then
lay wi him till morning, he that slew her guid man!
There's mirth in the kitchen, there's grief in the ha
for the Baron of Brackley lies deed and awa.
And then up spake his young son on his nurse's knee
"Gin I graw tae be a man, 'tis revenged he'll be!"
Of course, they change a bit, these old ballads, from mouth to mouth but the
atmosphere's there, I think.
(and then I just found several links googling Baron of Brackley, which look
like yielding several versions of the ballad.
http://ingeb.org/songs/downdees.html This one even offers an mp3, and a
quite different version.)
To envisage it better it helps to remember that the cattle were usually
pretty tame, used to being milked, and/or stalled over winter, or else young
beef too young to be very feisty, so they didn't need a lot of driving. You
could do it on foot, but you'd be easily caught, so you'd need a handy horse
to get you away. The Baron of this song went after them on a horse, but
seems to have met them on foot. In one version he took a sword, but in
others a gun. And no doubt they varied from place to place.
From: CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Kevin Tolley
Sent: Saturday, 6 September 2008 12:52 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
This is the strangest thread I have run across in a long time. Thank you.
> Hm. So how did people cattle raid, if they didn't have
Really, I don't see how one would raid cattle with swords. Horses would
work better. They're faster. Dogs might help too, but a sword? Actually,
I did fence once and quite well, thank you. I am very keen on swords in
general and once thought them indispensable to any task, however,
horse-raiding is stretching it. Wouldn't you just hurt the cattle?
> Sheep, also are more difficult to move to new pasture ...
<snicker> I just have an image of hoisting sheep bodily and tying them to
horses. If there's a will...
> Did the Celts use horses or chariots in cattle raids?
You see, who needs swords when you have horses. And think of how many sheep
would fit in a chariot!
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