War of the One-Eyed Woman

Here is another story I met in Scotland, and I’m using it as my creative post for today because I can’t be bothered thinking of something else.

So, for many centuries, the Isle of Skye was home to 2 warring clans, the MacDonalds and the MacLeods. Around 1600, it seemed that the rivalry would be ended, as Margaret, the daughter of the MacLeod’s clan chief, Rory, fell in love with Donald Gorm Mor MacDonald, the son of the rival clan chief. After much arguing and gnashing of teeth and threats, the clan chiefs gave in to their children and agreed to the wedding. They were kind of like ‘Romeo & Juliet’, except it worked out better. At least, it worked out better to begin with.

See, it was tradition in the Isle of Skye at this point, to have a one-year trial marriage before the marriage was actually formalised. So, Donald and Margaret had a wonderful year, they seemed to be a perfect match – he was handsome, she was gorgeous, they were the Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie of their day. However, Margaret failed to bear a child during the year (and overseas adoption in the 17th century was a nightmare, to say the least), and to make things worse, an accident took one of her eyes, making her less like an Angeline Jolie and more like… more like… more like Angeline Jolie without an eye.

So, Donald, being an upstanding and honourable young gentleman, decided that he didn’t really like his new wife as much as he had thought he had, now that she was kind of funny-looking and couldn’t make him any babies that looked like him to make him feel like a manly, virile, invincible and everlasting man, and so he told his dad he wanted to call the wedding off. This was much to the delight of his father, who hadn’t relished the idea of calling of all the warfare with his rival clan. He didn’t quite know what he was going to do with all the free time, quite frankly. Chief clan MacDonald said, ‘No worries, Donald. We’ll handle this in a sensitive and appropriate manner, to make sure that no-one gets hurt or upset, I mean, the last thing we would want to do is to provoke another horrific war with our rival clan.’ It was in this spirit that he sent his not-quite-daughter-in-law who had just lost her eye home to her family on a one-eyed horse, led by a one-eyed man, and accompanied by a one-eyed dog.

Surprisingly enough, chief clan MacLeod took offense to this treatment of his daughter and a huge bloody war ensued, which resulted in large losses on both sides and is now known as ‘The War of the One-Eyed Woman.’

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Filed under NYWM, Scotland

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