The Ugly Duckling
There is a child's story about an ugly duckling. Do you remember that one? An old Hans Christian Andersen story, a mother duck hatches all her eggs. Among them is a hatchling considered truly ugly by the other baby ducks and other farm animals. It is different from the others. The ugly duckling is the focus of horrible verbal and physical abuse. But in time, the little ugly duckling grows up to be more beautiful than all its siblings. In fact, the ugly duckling is a full grown swan. Of course, there is much to be learned from this story, but for now, let's just focus on swans because they are part of the MacFarlane history.
(free image from Pixaby)
The majority of swans that you will find in Scotland are the typical white swan. The Black swan is native to Australia, but according to wikipedia, the black swan is now in the UK. Don't ask me how a black swan from Australia made it to Scotland, but let's just roll with it. And THAT brings us to the MacFarlane connection.
There was a story retold in Charles McKinnon's book Scottish Highlanders that a seer foretold of the demise of the MacFarlane chief line. According to the story, when a black swan appeared among all the other MacFarlane white swans in Loch Lomond, the chief would lose everything. The story goes on to tell us that a black swan did actually show up in 1785. Then the 23rd clan chief sold all of Arrochar, the lands that had been in the possession of the MacFarlane line for 600 years. He then emigrated to North America, and that was the end of the chiefly line.