With the Worlds Great Travellers, Volume 1
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First Part, Chapter I, part 2. First Part, Chapter II. Celebrated travellers from the 1st to the 9th century. Celebrated travellers between the 10th and 13th centuries. First Part, Chapter IV, part 1. Marco Polo. First Part, Chapter IV, part 2.
First Part, Chapter IV, part 3. First Part, Chapter IV, part 4. First Part, Chapter V. Ibn Batuta.
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Duncan Williamson was a Scottish Traveller, singer and 'one of the world's best-known storytellers' The Times. Duncan Williamson spent six decades of his life travelling around Scotland, collecting stories as he went. In The Coming of the Unicorn many of Duncan Williamson's best-loved Scottish folk stories, alongside previously unpublished ones, are brought together in a beautiful collection.
Duncan Williamson was born in Argyll, near Inverary, on the shores of Loch Fyne, in , in a large domed tent known as a 'barrikit'. The seventh of sixteen children, Duncan Williamson grew up in a large Scottish Travelling family where stories were told on cold nights around the fire. Duncan said about his childhood: 'My mother could not read, neither could my father.
Travel History: Marco Polo, the World’s First Great Travel Writer?
So, they told us these stories that were passed down from tradition which they had learned as children themselves. Duncan Williamson's father used to tell him and his siblings old stories, which could be very long. Sometimes his father would tell such a long story that the storytelling would last several nights.
Duncan Williamson remembers how the storytelling encouraged the children to do chores: 'He wouldn't tell us it all at once! But we had to work for it — we had to get sticks for the fire, get water, run messages and do everything before we got a bit o' our story! Although neither of his parents could read or write, Duncan Williamson's father wanted his children to get an education, so Duncan was sent to the school in Furnace, Argyll.
However, life was tough for Duncan as a child. His family were so poor that he often went hungry and at school he would sometimes excuse himself from classes, so that he could catch shellfish and cook them on a small fire on the shores of the loch. At fifteen Duncan Williamson left home with his older brother and began travelling around Scotland, berry picking and working as a farm labourer, at times meeting up with the rest of the Travelling community to tell stories and sing songs.
- With the World Great Travellers Vol 1 - 4 by Charles Morris;
- Duncan Williamson, Scottish storyteller - Floris Books.
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As an adult, Duncan Williamson continued to travel around Scotland, finding work where he could. Mostly he worked as a farm labourer and a horse dealer, travelling around intermittently, by foot, horse and cart and eventually by van.