The Wayfarer - This week:The job of the Sennachie was to provide all the information

In the old days particularly in the Highlands, long before there were books and TVs there was a story teller known as the Sennachie who travelled around from castle to castle, village to village telling tales around a welcoming fireside.

However the main purpose of his visit was to provide information on all that was happening in the country in particular that pertaining to the area of his listeners. This information was followed by tales designed to entertain his listeners and perhaps raise the hairs on the back of their necks.

The Sennachie did all this in exchange for hospitality including bed and food for as long as he could stretch his tales.

He was very welcome as it was the main form of information and entertainment, at that time, but he had to be a very good teller of tales and his tales had to be believable. At the same time the story teller was taking in information of the places he visited to pass on at his next port of call.

He had to have a very good memory as he did not have the availability of even pencil and paper let alone a dictating machine. He was also used to pass messages from one castle or village to the next. A very important person in those days, but also a precarious life as he could perhaps be considered a spy. Well, a job was a job and he was well looked after everywhere he went.

However even in these days tales are still entertaining whether in books or on TV, or even when told when in good company around a warm fireside on a winter’s evening.

If you have the vision and understanding you can still find interesting and amusing facts in every day life wherever you go.

For example in Aberdeen back in 1890 there was an exhibition of Zulus and their way of life which would be of interest to the Scots who have a preference for travelling the world.

A gentleman who had spent many years in South Africa went along to the exhibition and talked to the Zulus in their own language. However one of the men was exceptionally shy and kept turning away from him. On closer examination he recognized the Zulu as someone who had worked for him in Natal and had run away after stealing a pair of his trousers It is a small world and you never know who or what you will meet around the next corner. Life is full of surprises and with the Commonwealth Games just past there will be plenty of tales to tell to an avid audience pleased to have been part of this wonderful showpiece for Scotland, particularly Glasgow. See you next week with more tales.