It would be sensible to ask why I gone to the trouble of writing this narrative. When I started I had no idea where it was going; it was simply something that I felt a need to do before shuffling off this mortal coil. Since then the story has taken on a life of its own, for better or worse, and I have learned from the journey.
It is obviously not history in the normal sense, although it is based on historical events, and, as I wrote in the Prologue, nothing in it is known to be false. So it is a story, not a history. It seems to me that stories have much more influence on our way of thinking and our perception of the world than dry historical facts, providing that they have the one essential ingredient, being some aspects of truth concerning the human condition. The truths do not need to be itemised or clearly stated but can be part of the weave, not necessarily discernible.
    There is now a phrase that resonates - “trauma manifests itself through generations”. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that trauma can effect the ways in which DNA expresses itself, not only in the immediate victim, but also echoing down further generations. And then the ways that we pass on our cultural heritage from generation to generation are subtle and sub-liminal and it is very possible that a trauma can be passed on unintentionally. The stories and traditions of our family, many in the Black Knee Chronicles, could be seen as symptomatic of such an occurrence.
    In this context, the key component of the story is of a teenage boy, raised under disrupted circumstances, who was finally denied by his mother who had abandoned him as a newborn, and then exiled from the clan that he had long seen as his family, at least in his hopeful dreams of a golden future. He survived the trauma and went on to make a life for himself, living to a good age and raising a family, but the sad shadow was always part of his life, giving him an underlying and continuing sense of melancholy and loss. Am I being absurd to say that I still have this feeling?
    Then our ancestors, with all best intentions, decided that we would be better off not knowing the details of the trauma, presumably in the belief that the unhappiness would then go away. In reality this made things worse because we then had to deal with the trauma without knowing its cause, so many and varied stories and theories were put together.
    To put things into perspective, everyone carries baggage from their ancestors, good and bad, often being a sub-conscious part of our personalities. And there are many much worse off than we are, such as the descendants of the survivors of the holocaust, and members of displaced indigenous communities in many parts of the world. Perhaps we are a little bit unusual in that all our stories are so tightly focussed on one individual, Archibald, even after seven generations.
It surprises me that many who have discussed the narrative with me assume that the motive behind putting in the effort is to establish a claim against the present Lord Lovat, at least for the remnant Lovat estates. This is absolutely not my intention, and I have no sense of entitlement in this regard. I am perhaps a tribal throwback in that I believe that the hierarchy of loyalties is family, kin and clan, and in that order, with other issues such as religion and nationalism being essentially background that we have to adjust to as best we can.
My motives are three:
Firstly to carry on the work of my grandfather, Wilson, who started this journey almost 100 years ago.
Secondly, it is a really interesting challenge and I enjoy solving complex puzzles.
And thirdly, our family tradition is that we have been denied our descendancy. Some see this as an injustice that denies our entitlements, but I see it as an exile from kin and clan. So I would consider that I have succeeded if our Family can establish an acknowledged kinship within the clan.

I was raised to consider myself an exile, as were my progenitors through seven generations. I never felt entitled to join in with highland heritage and events. I have a waistcoat of my father’s, faced with Fraser Hunting Tartan, but I never saw him wearing it. Now that I have published this story I have a sense that the exile is over, and I hope that others in our family can feel the same. The flag is now firmly nailed to the mast.