Friday, July 27, 2007

Whippitie Stourie

A ken ye're fond o clashes aboot fairies, bairns; an a story anent a fairy an the guidwife o Kittlerumpit haes juist come intae ma mynd; but A canna verra weel tell ye nou whauraboots Kittlerumpit ligs. A think hit's somewhaur in amang the debatable grund; Onygate A s' no pertend tae mair nor A ken, lik awbody nou-a-days. A wiss thay wad mynd the ballant we uisst tae lilt lang syne:

"Mony ane sings the girse, the girse,
An mony ane sings the corn;
An mony ane clatters o bauld Robin Huid,
Ne'er kent whaur he wis born."

But hou-sae-iver, aboot Kittlerumpit: the guidman wis a vaigin sort o a body; an he gaed tae a fair ae day, an no only niver cam hame again, but niver mair wis haurd o. Some said he listit, an ither some that the wearifu pressgang cleikit him up, tho he wis claithed wi a wife an a wean forby. Hech-hou! that dulefu pressgang! thay gaed aboot the kintra lik rairin lions, seekin wha thay micht devoor. A mynd weel, ma auldest brither Sandy wis aw but smourt in the meal ark hidin frae thae limmers. Efter thay war gane, we poud him oot frae amang the meal, pechin an greetin, an sae white as ony corp. Ma mither haed tae pyke the meal oot o his mooth wi the shank o a horn spuin.
Aweel, whan the guidman o Kittlerumpit wis gane, the guidwife wis left wi a smaw fendin. Little gear haed she, an a soukin lad bairn. Awbody said thay war sairy for her; but naebody helpit her, whilk's a common case, sirs. Hou-some-iver, the guidwife haed a sou, an that wis her ae consolation; for the sou wis suin tae farrae, an she howpit for a guid bairn-time.
But we aw ken howp's fallacious. Ae day the wife gaes tae the ree for tae fill the sou's troch; an whit dis she find but the sou liggin on her back, gruntin an grainin, an readies tae gie up the ghaist.
A trow this wis a new stound tae the guidwife's hert; sae she sat doun on the knockin-stane, wi her bairn on her knee, an grat sairer nor iver she did for the loss o her ain guidman.
Nou A premeese that the cot-hoose o Kittlerumpit wis biggit on a brae, wi a fir-wid ahint hit, o whilk ye mey hear mair or lang gae. Sae the guidwife, whan she wis dichtin her een, chances tae leuk doun the brae, an whit dis she see but an auld wumman, awmaist lik a leddy, comin slaw up the gate. She wis buskit in green, an aw but a white cutty apron, an a black velvet huid, an a steeple crount beaver hat on her heid: She haed a lang walkin-staff, sae lang as hersel, in her haund - the sort o staff that auld men an auld weemen helpit thaimsels wi lang syne; A see nae sic staffs nou, sirs.
Aweel, whan the guidwife seen the green gentlewumman naur her, she rase an made curchy; an; "Mem," quo she, greetin, "A'm ane o the maist misfortunate weemen alive."
"A dinna wiss tae hear pipers' news an fiddlers' tales, guid-wife," quo the green wumman. "A ken ye'v tint your guidman - we haed waur losses at the Shirra Muir; an A ken that your sou's unco seek. Nou, whit will ye gie me gin A cure her?"
"onything your leddyship's mem likes," quo the witless guidwife, niver jalousin wha she haed tae deal wi. "Lat's weet thoums an that bargain," quo the green wumman: sae thoums wis weetit, A s' warrant ye; an intae the ree mem mairches.
She leuks at the sou wi a lang glower, an syne begoud tae mutter in til hersel whit the guidwife coudna weel lift; but she said hit soondit lik;

"Pitter patter,
Haly watter."

Syne she teuk oot her pooch a wee bottle, wi something lik ile in't, an rubs the sou wi't abuin the snoot, ahint the lugs, an on the tip o the tail. " Git up, beast," quo the green wumman. Nae suiner said nor duin - up bangs the sou wi a grunt, an awa tae her troch for her brakfast.
The guidwife o Kittlerumpit wis a blythe guidwife nou, an wad she hae kisst the verra hem o the green mem's goun-tail, but she wadna lat her. "A'm no sae fond o fashions," quo she; "but nou that A hae richtit your seek beast, lat us end oor siccar bargain. Ye'll no find me an unreisonable greedy body - A like aye tae dae a guid turn for a smaw rewaird - aw A ax, an will hae, is that lad bairn in your bosie."
The guidwife o Kittlerumpit, wha nou kent her customer, gied a skirl lik a stickit gryce. The green wumman wis a fairy, nae dout; sae she prays an greets, an begs, an flytes; but aw wadna dae. "Ye mey spare your din, "quo the fairy, "skirlin lik A wis sae deif as a door nail; but this A'll lat ye tae wit - A canna, by the law we leeve on, tak your bairn til the thrid day efter this day; an no than, gin ye can tell me ma richt name." Sae mem gaes awa roond the swine's ree end, an the guidwife faws doun in a swarf ahint the knockin-stane.
Aweel, the guidwife o the Kittlerumpit coud sleep nane that nicht for greetin, an aw the neist day the same, cuddlin her bairn till she naur squeezed oot its braith; but the seicont day she thinks on takkin a walk in the wid A telt ye o; an sae, wi the bairn in her airms, she sets oot, an gaes faur in amang the trees, whaur wis an auld quarrel-heuch, growen ower wi girse, an a bonny spring wall in the mids o't. Afore she cam verra ney, she hears the birrin o a lint-wheel, an a vyce liltin a sang; sae the wife creeps quatelike amang the busses, an keeks ower the brou o the quarrel-heuch, an whit dis she see but the green fairy kempin at her wheel, an singin lik ony precentor:

"Little kens oor guid dame at hame
That Whippitie Stourie is ma name!"

"Ah, ha!" thinks the wife, "A'v gotten the dorbie's wird at last; the deil gie thaim joy that telt it!" Sae she gaed hame faur lichter nor she cam oot, as ye mey weel jalouse, lauchin lik a madcaup wi the thocht o begunkin the auld green fairy.
Aweel, ye maun ken that this guidwife wis a joco wumman, an aye canty whan her hert wisna unco sair owerlaiden. Sae she thinks tae hae some sport wi the fairy; an at the appyntit time she pits the bairn ahint the knockin-stane, an sits doun on't hersel. Syne she pous her mutch ajee ower her left lug, creuks her mou on the tither side, as gin she war greetin, an a filthy face she made, ye mey be shuir. she haedna lang tae wait, for up the brae munts the green fairy, naither lame nor lazy; an lang or she gat naur the knockin-stane, she skirls oot: "Guidwife o Kittlerumpit, ye ken weel whit I come for - staund an deleever!" The wife pertends tae greet sairer than afore, an wrings her nieves, an faws on her knees, wi: "Och, sweet mem, mistress, spare ma ae bairn, an tak the weary sou!"
"The deil tak the sou for ma share," quo the fairy; "A comena here for swine's flesh. Dinna be contermacious, hizzie, but gie's the get instant!"
"Ochone, dear leddy mines," quo the greetin guidwife; "forbear ma puir bairn, an tak masel!"
"The deil's in the daft jaud," quo the fairy, leukin lik the faur-end o a fiddle; "A'll wad she's clean dementit. Wha in aw the yirdly warld, wi hauf an ee in thair heid, wad iver meddle wi the likes o thee?"
A trowe this set up the wife o Kittlerumpit's birse; for tho she haed twa blearit een, an a lang reid neb forby, she thocht hersel sae bonny as the best o thaim. Sae she bangs aff her knees, sets up her mutch-croun, an wi her twa haunds fauldit afore her, she maks a curchie doun tae the grund, an, "In truith, fair mem," quo she " A micht hae haed the wit tae ken that the likes o me isna fit tae tie the warst shae-strings o the heich an mauchtie princess, Whippitie Stourie!" Gin a fluff o gunpouther haed come oot the grund, it coudna hae gart the fairy lowp heicher nor she did; syne doun she cam again, dump on her shae-heels, an whirlin roond, she ran doun the brae, scraichin for rage, lik a houlet chased wi the witches.
The guidwife o Kittlerumpit leuch till she wis like tae rive; syne she taks up her bairn, an gaes intae her hoose, singin til't aw the gate:

"Aw gou an a gitty, ma bonny wee tyke,
Ye s' nou hae your fower-oories;
Sin we'v gien Nick a bane tae pyke,
Wi his wheels an his Whippitie Stouries."


No comments: