Local News

‘I Wanna Tell You A Story’

By Bernie Bell

I’m not sure how many people reading this will remember all-round entertainer Max Bygraves, whose catchphrase was “I wanna tell you a story”. He knew what he was doing – that line would catch anyone’s attention, as people love a story.  All  kinds of stories – humorous, historical, horror, re-assuring and, as I keep saying  – there’s always a story.

And now Dr. Ragnhild Ljosland of the UHI Archaeology Institute  is gathering together Orkney stories – stories of the origin of the names of people, families and places.  Not only old tales, she’d also like to hear the tales which are always developing and which might not be so well known – yet.

Entitled Vikings, Pirates, and Shipwrecked Princesses, the project will see Raggie work with volunteer researchers from the Orkney Blide Trust. Over the next few months, they hope to speak with as many people as possible to record stories that relate to surnames and placenames.

As well as interviewing people in person, they are also using an online survey to be sure of reaching as many potential contributors as possible.

I’m from a race of storytellers – my Dad had many pints bought for him in Dirty Nelly’s next door to Bunratty Castle, by visitors to Ireland keen to hear  some tales.  He also sat with his friend, the gravedigger at Drumcliffe churchyard, in the pub at Rosse’s Point and told hair-raising tales of what had been seen and found at that ancient site.  His policy was ‘Why spoil a good story by telling the truth?’

Many a good tale has benefitted from a bit of …embroidery.  Sure, where’s the harm?

If you’d like to find out more and maybe take part in Raggie’s project ……..


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