Happy Thanksgiving!

In honor of the holiday, here are some Thanksgiving-themed quotes:

1) Roger and Brianna, hunting turkeys:
"What a thing," he said. He held it at arm's length to drain, admiring the vivid reds and blues of the bare, warty head and dangling wattle. "I don't think I've ever seen one, save roasted on a platter, with chestnut dressing and roast potatoes."

He looked from the turkey to her with great respect, and nodded at the gun.

"That's great shooting, Bree."

She felt her cheeks flush with pleasure, and restrained the urge to say, "Aw, shucks, it warn't nothin'," settling instead for a simple, "Thanks."

(From The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 20 ("Shooting Lessons"). Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

I love this scene, both for what it reveals about Brianna's childhood (did Frank really find evidence that she would travel to the 18th century some day?) and for Roger's reaction. He's a little taken aback by her shooting skills, but his ego doesn't seem to be threatened by the fact that she's better at hunting (providing food for the family) than he is.

2) Jocasta and Duncan's wedding feast:
"Can ye not decide where to begin, Sassenach?" He reached down and took the empty wineglass from her hand, taking advantage of the movement to come close against her back, feeling the warmth of her through his clothes.

She laughed, and swayed back against him, leaning on his arm. She smelled faintly of rice powder and warm skin, with the scent of rose hips in her hair.

"I'm not even terribly hungry. I was just counting the jellies and preserves. There are thirty-seven different ones--unless I've missed my count."

He spared a glance for the table, which did indeed hold a bewildering array of silver dishes, porcelain bowls, and wooden platters, groaning with more food than would feed a Highland village for a month.

(From The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 46 ("Quicksilver"). Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Most major holiday dinners give me this same feeling, although I can't say I've ever seen thirty-seven different varieties of *anything* at one meal before. <g>

3) The "hearth blessing" on Fraser's Ridge:
We blessed the hearth two days later, standing in the wall-less cabin. Myers had removed his hat, from respect, and Ian had washed his face. Rollo was present, too, as was the small white pig, who was required to attend as the personification of our "flocks," despite her objections; the pig saw no point in being removed from her meal of acorns to participate in a ritual so notably lacking in food.

(From Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 19 ("Hearth Blessing"). Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Considering how successful that little homestead on the Ridge would prove to be, I think there must have been something extra-powerful in that blessing. <g> And I love the mention of the little white piglet, who will grow up to become the infamous White Sow. If this blessing was intended to ensure fertility on the part of that sow, it succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

4) The Selkirk Grace:
[Hamish] glared round the table to insure that everyone was in a properly reverential attitude before bowing his own head. Satisfied, he intoned,

"Some hae meat that canna eat,
And some could eat that want it.
We hae meat, and we can eat,
And so may God be thankit.

(From Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 6 ("Colum's Hall"). Copyright © 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

I have a great deal to be thankful for this year -- not least, the many new friends I've made in the OUTLANDER fan community, including those of you who've been kind enough to visit my blog and participate in the discussions here.

Happy Thanksgiving! (And to those of you outside the U.S., best wishes for the holiday season.)


Melanie said...

Hi Karen,
Growing up we had a family friend descended from Scots who taught us that same blessing when we were kids- The Selkirk Grace (I didn't know it was called that until reading your blog!) Imagine my astonishment when I read it in Outlander a few years ago, never having heard it anywhere else except from this one older scots lady back in the 1960's!! It was a rare moment, the first of many I've had since reading these books! I've almost finished FC......amazing, can't wait to see how it ends or how ABOSAA unfolds. Happy T'giving, Melanie

Karen Henry said...

Hi Arcana,

That's what Diana calls it in the OUTLANDISH COMPANION (p. 500). I'd never heard it until I read OUTLANDER.

If you haven't yet read ABOSAA, you may want to be cautious about some of the things you read on this blog. I wouldn't want to spoil anything for you inadvertently. I am finishing up a "re-listen" of FIERY CROSS myself at the moment, and will dive into ABOSAA (again) over the holiday weekend.


Karen Henry said...

To all:

On the subject of turkeys: Someone posted this link on Compuserve and I thought it was quite funny:



Jari Backman said...

Dear Karen,
The Selkirk Grace is interesting.

In OC Diana explains that Burns wasn't even born at the time. But an expert told her that it may well have been around before that time, so she should not be worried about the inconsistancy.

Indeed according to Wikipedia, the Prayer was known in the 17th Century. So she is quite safe with this.

Amazon Search is for some reasons unavailable to me, so I can't confirm the following issue.

In OC Diana says that Hamish is giving the Prayer, but in my Finnish Translation it is Jamie.

I'd appreciate a confirmation from the original text that who did say the prayer.

So the original Selkirk Prayer is

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
, audio from Scottish Radiance

And to me Diana's version is a more modern sounding.

The Gaelic version is:

Ha biadh aig cuid, 's gun aca càil,
acras aig cuid,'s gun aca biadh,
ach againne tha biadh is slàint',
moladh mar sin a bhith don Triath.
. I couldn't find an audio for this.
But what would been the Highland Scotch version?

Karen Henry said...


The English text is not specific; the book says "He" where I substituted "Jamie" -- but I don't think there is any doubt, from the context, that it is Hamish saying grace. Sounds to me as though that's something misunderstood or misinterpreted by the Finnish translator.


Jari Backman said...

Dear Karen,
My mistake.

I couldn't find Hamish's name at all on the page and realized that I was looking at the wrong place and the wrong grace.

The grace is given by Hamish also in the Finnish version.

Anonymous said...

A bit late here, but I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I would like to thank you for such a fun and insightful blog! I am honored that you included the song about Culloden I discovered on Youtube. :) I visit here regularly, and enjoy it so much.

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