#12 – John Francis Campbell of Islay or A Day in the Central Library of Edinburgh

John Francis Campbell (1821-1885) collected Gaelic Stories. Just about like the brothers Grimm did. But unlike the Grimms he wrote the stories down word for word as they were told to him.
He began his work in 1859.

And he didn’t pursue this just for the sheer joy of it

... but because even here in Scottland the telling of stories was about to die out. John Francis Campell tried to safe as many stories as he could find in the memories of the last remaining storytellers. And above all that he wanted Gaelic stories to be part of the world story traditions – just like those of the Grimms who he admired a lot.



“… as it is with driftwood in the Highlands, so, as I imagine, it has been with popular tales everywhere. They are as old as the races who tell them, but the original ideas, like the trees from which logs, masts and ships are made, have been broken up, cut, carved and ornamented – lost and found – wrecked, destroyed, broken, and put together again; and though the original shape is hard to find, the fragments may be recognised in books, and wherever else they may now be.”
John Francis Campbell of Islay

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