There was a son born to a wealthy chief of the Matheson race, who received his first drink from the skull of a raven. This gave him the power to understand the language of birds. As a youth he went to study and became a great linguist. One day his father asked him to explain what the birds were saying and was told that they were talking about how one day his father would be waiting upon his son like a servant. This so angered his father that the son was turned out of the house to make his way in the world.

Eventually he landed on the shores of France only to hear that the King there was greatly annoyed by the chirping of the birds around the palace. The boy offered his help in getting rid of them and soon discovered that the cause was a noisy dispute among the birds, which together with the King, he was able to resolve. The King was so pleased that peace and quiet had been restored that he presented the boy with a fully-manned ship. This took the boy to many distant lands.

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On one of his voyages he was invited by the ruler of a far-off country to dine at his palace. On arriving he found the place so overrun with rats that they even invaded the dining table during meals. The next evening the boy returned to the castle with a cat under his coat and when the rats gathered around the table he let it loose among them. The King was so pleased that he offered a hogshead of gold for the cat. After an absence of ten years the young man returned to Kintail and his ship anchored at Totaig. The sight of such a royal vessel  caused considerable stir in the district and all wondered who the richly dressed young man might be. Arriving at his father's door, no-one recognised him and he was received with great hospitality. His father set him at the table and waited upon the young stranger himself, thereby fulfilling the prophesy of the birds. His son revealed who he was, proving his identity by a birth mark on his shoulder and the father was reconciled with the boy whom he acknowledged as his heir.

His son's abilities and knowledge of the world brought him into the favour of Alexander II who commissioned him to build Eilean Donan Castle and protect his subjects against the Norwegians.