反諷的是，蘇格蘭的民族英雄，打勝仗的不多。可能跟他們嗜酒有關。六世紀時，三百位勇士在愛丁堡山頭石壘的廳堂痛飲一年，豪氣萬丈的衝下山與英格蘭奮戰，全數陣亡。勇抗英格蘭欺凌的威廉華勒斯(電影Brave Heart 中Mel Gibson飾演)，高大、孔武有力，最初打過勝仗。但他在1305戰敗，被俘、受審、吊死、分屍。
精靈傳說流傳普遍。是否由蘇格蘭常見陰鬱的天氣、四處濃郁的叢林培育出來的? 是否因此影響到愛丁堡之子也是超級理性的福爾摩斯探案作者柯南道爾居然在晚年致力通靈的研究? 押韻的湯姆 (Thomas the Rhymer 1220 – 1298)是歷史上有案的預言家。據說他在樹林裡遇到精靈之后,因而獲得先知能力。數年後他回到鄉里，用押韻的詩句暗喻未來事件。曾準確告示國王亞歷山大三世將於次日死亡(1286)。之後，他遁入密林投向精靈之后，不再出現。
Scotland is the land of castles, fairies, and rainbows, although it is better known as the country of golf, whisky, and bagpipes.
Scotland claims to have more than a thousand castles, which is the most any European country can declare to have. That may have reflected the historical bravery and belligerence of the Scottish people. Before the battle of Culloden on April 16, 1746, where the Scots were decisively defeated by the English, fighting among Scottish clans and between the Scots and the English were almost never-ending. Today, purplish pink heathers spread all over the fields in Scotland. According to the folklore, they grow where blood was shed and soaked by soil. Very rarely, so said our guide, one would find a patch of white heathers marking the virgin soil underneath untainted by human gore.
Scottish history recorded a number of heroes. It seems that apart from the successful “guerrilla” fighter king Robert Bruce (1274-1329), few among them were consistent victors in battles. My guess is that the national passion on drinking might have done them in. In the sixth century, three hundred warriors drank for a year in the hall of Edinburgh Castle before charging downhill to be totally wiped out by the English. The most celebrated national hero, William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson in “Brave Heart”), who rose against the English high-handed rule, did win battles initially, but was eventually, in 1305, defeated, captured, tried, hanged, and quartered!
The legends of elf fairies are popular in Scotland. Could they have been induced by the gloomy weather, and the mystic atmosphere in the widespread dense forests? Could this be why the super-analytical and ultra-scientific author of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Conan Doyle, an Edinburg celebrity, turned to spiritualism and séance sessions during the last ten years of his life? According to legends, Thomas the Rhymer (1220 – 1298), who wrote rhyming verses that revealed the future, met the fairy queen in the woods who bestowed on him such ability. He accurately predicted the forthcoming death of King Alexander III (1214-1249) on the next day. After that, he returned to the woods to join with the fairy queen and never was seen again.
The weather of Scotland is famously unstable. Four seasons might occur on just one day. The interplay of sun and rain gives rise to rainbows, seen almost daily. Our guide said he had seen three arches of rainbow one time. I luckily caught even a horizontal rainbow lying close to the surface of water in distance with my camera by the waterfront of Edinburgh.
The Scottish scenery varies from the pristine to the powerful under a temperamentally atmospheric weather. No wonder Scotland has been the source of inspiration for a number of composers to write memorable works. Have a taste of the following two pieces：
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL-IMCpSRFM Anne Akiko Meyers Bruch Scottish Fantasy Finale with Slatkin/St.Louis Symphony in Tokyo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNn71y4OFt8 Felix Mendelssohn - The Symphony No. 3 "Scottish" - 2nd movement
You are invited to take a look at around eighty of my photographic attempts in my album on this blog by clicking the following link:
Chong-Pin Lin October1, 2015