Stories from 1001 Arabian Nights retold as stories of Ross-shire
By Ewan McVicar
In a ceilidh house beside the Balblair ferry on the Black Isle in the North of Scotland, on a ferocious winter night in the 19th Century, six people keep telling Old Tales of magic, amazement and amusement, so they will not need to leave and face the blackness.
One of Scotland’s best-known storytellers retells stories from the 1001 Arabian Nights in Scottish settings, language, and traditional Scots story styles. Most of the tales are set by the tellers in their locality - the shores of Easter Ross, Dingwall, a Wester Ross glen, the town of Cromarty - but one is located in Dunstaffnage Castle and another in Linlithgow.
They include a post-Culloden tale of Ally the Noise (Aladdin), another of Alison Barbour (Ali Baba) who fell among thieves but won a fortune. There are the voyages of Big Shinny (Sinbad), dreams fulfilled or punctured, adventures of seatrolls and ploughmen, flying ebony ponies and golden apples. But every ceilidh night must end, and the last tale told.