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A Flame of Wrath for Squinting Padruig

 

Donald Mor MacCrimmon, hereditary piper to MacLeod, had a younger brother, Padruig Caogach, who was most foully slain in Kintail by his foster brother as he knelt at a stream to wash. Donald took an oath “on the dirk’ to avenge the murder.

 

Donald Mor sought immediate revenge but his patron MacLeod of Harris and Dunvegan interceded; he assured Donald Mor that justice would be delivered within a year's time. When 12 months came and went without satisfaction, Donald Mor decided to take matters into his own hands.

 

He and a few supporters traveled to the village of Squinting Patrick's murderer in Kintail and knocked on many doors, demanding the murderer's surrender. At each house, he was told that the murderer was not there. This was too much for Donald Mor “dancing in the black anger of his heart”, to paraphrase R.L. Stevenson. He set fire to the thatched roofs of 18 houses, at a cost of several lives.

 

Donald Mor was forced into exile and took refuge in MacKay country. He came under the protection of Uisdean MacKay, 13th Chieftain and the father of Donald Duaghal MacKay, all the while sought by Mackenzies who wanted their pound of flesh. MacKay history has it that Donald Mor was Uisdean MacKay's piper from 1605 to 1620. It was during his time in exile from Skye that he is thought to have taught a family of MacKay's who later moved to Gairloch and became an important piping family.

 

A Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick demonstrates very clearly the power of bagpipes to invoke human emotions, including the extreme of slow-burning anger bursting into a flame of pure rage.

 

 

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