Four corpses on one sword? Easy peasy
A big tent in Charlotte Square at teatime last night. Packed, warm, full of children with their parents. On one side of me, a young mum who almost vomited (she said) when the slim hero on the stage, Chris Bradford - dresed in black with his face hidden behind a black mask - began to explain in English how many corpses a top-flight ninja could get his sword through with one good thrust and how he'd pull the sword out again. On my other side was a wee lad of about ten who almost exploded with desperation about ten times to get up on the stage to take part in the challenges the black figure presented. Unfortunately for him, the black figure (I guessed) chose the children who'd been smart enough to come along dressed as ninja. My heart was bleeding for him but he didn't complain. He definitely had ninja spirit.
Also on the stage were Mairi Kidd and Donald William Stewart, who read chapters from Ninja: a' Chiad Dùbhlain, written by Bradford and translated by Donald William, and Abigail Burnyeat, who kept things under control in both languages.
This was entertainment of the highest quality for kids, thanks to Edinburgh Book Festival and the new group 'Cuilean Craicte' [Mad Puppy] which is doing so much to promote 'reading for pleasure in Gaelic' - their slogan is 'mad about reading'.
The Cuilean folks had found a brilliant recipe to promote Gaelic, and I hope something like 'Chris Bradford in Ninja: a' Chiad Dùbhlan' can be taken right across Gaelic-speaking areas, because it links Gaelic with something so cool that it drives kids wild - this was very clear. Sheets of the two chapters were available in English but neither the mother nor lad beside me needed them.
We'll be reviewing Ninja: a' Chiad Dùbhlan and other books from the Cuilean Craicte club soon. But hang on - four corpses on one sword? Our own Cu Chulainn and Finn MacCool would have a go at that...