Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Ewe Wi' The Crookit' Horn

One of the great tunes in the Strathspey repertoire is The Ewe wi' the Crookit' Horn, in Gaelic as A' Chaora Chrom, for the words in the accompanying song "'S galain aig a' chaora chrom (and the crooked-horned ewe has a gallon)"

What is this mystical beast, an ewe with a crooked horn? Well, it's a still. An illicit one, of course. 

And now it's easier than ever to envision, since a reenactor's sutler, Goose Bay Workshops, has begun producing a reproduction of an 18th century still:

The picture shows the still (right) and the condenser worm (left). When in use, the still would sit on a 3- or 4-legged trivet over a fire, which might look like this:

With the trivet as the legs, the handle as the head, and the vat as the body, you have your ewe; and the crookit' horn is the condensing tube from which the magical "water of life" emerges.

I'll drink to that!