A Lowlands laird invited all his friends to his grand hall, newly built, for a feast celebrating its completion. The lairds came from all around, from the Lowlands, the Highlands, and the Islands, for the party.
At the dinner, the host grabbed one of his guests, a laird from the Isle of Skye, by the shoulders, and showed him around the room.
“Have you ever seen such a magnificent chandelier?” he asked his guest, pointing at the elaborate fixture with hundreds of brilliantly burning candles. His guest just smiled.
“And this food,” the host continued, “Have you ever seen such delicacies?” The guest looked over the stuffed meats, roasted vegetables, and sweet pies, and just smiled.
“What of this furniture?” the host asked. “I dare you to name one table so fine and sturdy as this one!” He smacked his hand against the table to proof its solidity. His guest just smiled.
After the party, all of the guests trailed off to their own halls and families, stuffed to the gills (and probably hungover – uisge beatha is served liberally at Scottish parties, after all). When they returned home, they slept off their festivities and dreamed of the day when they would have a hall so grand and a feast so sumptuous as the one they’d just attended. All but one laird.
The laird who’d been shown all the glories of his host’s wealth started planning his own party back up on the Isle Skye. He invited all of the guests who had been at the previous party, and extended a special invitation to his former host.
When the guests arrived, the Island laird took his guests up to the top of a mountain, where he’d had his men lay out a spread. As his guests were eating and making merry, he found his former host. He grabbed him by the shoulders and showed him around.
“Have you ever seen such a magnificent chandelier?” he asked his guest, sweeping his arm towards the stars in the sky.
“And this food,” he went on. “Have you ever tasted anything better?” He gestured to the open fires roasting freshly caught venison, the loaves of bread that were scattered about, and the casks of uisge beatha that had been hauled up the mountain for the occasion.
“What do you think of the furnishings?” he asked his guest. He stamped his foot against the mountaintop. “Find me a larger and sturdier table, if you can!”
His guest laughed and shook his head sheepishly. “Truly, you’ve put me in my place,” he told the Island laird. “No man could match the dining hall of God.”
The Island laird, the story goes, was the chieftain of the Clan McLeod. The mountain that served as his dining hall sits on the lands of Clan McLeod, on the Isle of Skye, and has ever since been known as McLeod’s Table. Whether or not this story is true, it serves to illustrate just how much the Highlanders love the land they live on and just how beautiful it is.