In Inverness-Shire, Scotland, near a tiny hamlet named Blarmafoldach, stands a stone cairn erected 200 years ago to commemorate the end of the battle between the clan Macdonald and the clan Campbell. The original objective of erecting the cairn intended for the eternal friendship between the clans was short-lived. As a result, since the beginning a passing Macdonald would add a stone to honor his clan’s victory, but a Campbell would dourly knock one off out of frustration of his clan’s defeat.
Knowing I was to visit that part of Scotland recently, my friend Jean Macdonald Porter gave me a small stone from her rock garden, and asked me to add it to the cairn and to bring back a photo of it. The road to the cairn was rough, but as I had a friendly girl from my hotel accompany with me as a photographer and guide, I had no trouble reaching the cairn.
I placed the stone on the cairn, and she took a picture. Then she said, “Now it’s my turn. I didn’t tell you, but my mother was a Campbell!” The next thing I knew, she was knocking off the topmost stone, which was the one I had placed moments earlier.
Ever since she had accepted to accompany with me, she had pondered it over to have me experience the traditional ceremony in full, and she chose the most effective timing to do it.