THE LAIRD’S HEID

Frae: R. De Bruce Trotter, Galloway Gossip (1901), pp. 133-135

LANG, lang syne, there wus yin o’ the lairds o’ C-n-e gaed wrang in the heid, an eventually dee’t, an everybuddy thocht that wus the last o’ him.

He had a housekeeper they ca’t Jenny M’Kinstrie, an she wus the only yin yt could manage him, an he use’t tae sit an clatter tae her for hoors.

Efter the burial Jenny gaed tae the doctor’s at Creebridge tae be housekeeper there, an the doctor, like ower mony o’ his claith, wus raither ower fond o’ a dram, an sae they didna get on weel thegither; an whun they quarrel’t he use’t tae say yt she had been tae lang wi a mad maister yt she wusna verra thorough hersel.

Yae nicht he got awfu glorious, an ca’t her everything, an she said he wud never be sic a man as the deid laird, though he wus a wee oot o’ the ord’nar.

“Aye,” says she, “daft an a’ though he wus, ye’ll be rinnin whinnin efter him whun ye’r deid, fleechin wi him tae try an smuggle ye inta heaven; but ye needna fash. If ever the like o’ you gets there, it’ll be cause they can get naebuddy else tae gang.”

“Heaven!” says the doctor, “for an aul’ lunatic like yon? But whatever bit he gangs tae, he’ll gan wantin the heid. His body may wun tae its appointit place, but A’m hang’t if the heid’ll get, till A like tae let it. Sit doon ya randy,” he continued’t, “an A’ll show ye the jaws yt clatter’t tae ye sae often, an see whut they’ll hae tae say tae ye noo.”

An wi that he open’t a press an took oot a heid, an set it on the table, an speir’t – “D’ye ken that?”

A dinna ken wha’s heid it wus, but onywey the minute she saw’t she loot siccan yells, ye micht ‘a heard her at Jerusalem, an oot o’ the hoose scraichin a’ she wus fit, an rais’t the clachan.

In the mornin the bit wus like a Keltonhill wi folk come tae demolish the doctor; an A dersay they wud ‘a haen his life, only he gat oot o’ a back wunda, an ran for’t. He had tae rin the country ower’t, an the folk chase’t him as far as Leith, whaur he manage’t tae jeuk them, an wus never seen again.

They took the heid an bury’t it aside the laird’s coffin; but whuther the heid wus the laird’s, or wha’d aught it, naebuddy ever ken’t.

It’ll be kin’ o’ curious if the laird haed tae appear i’e next worl wi twa heids, an maybe some ither puir morta’’ll hae tae appear wi nane, an affront hissel.

They said yt the doctor an his boy hokit up the coffin, an open’t it, an cuttit aff the heid, but whuther it wus true or no, wus never richtly ken’t.

GALLAWA FOLK

THE GOOLD MILLS

Partial Glossar

Definitions frae DSL (links are tae the relevant entries).

  • Clatter ‘To gossip, talk scandal; to chat, to talk familiarly.’ [CLATTER]
  • Thorough ‘Mentally alert, sane, “all there”. [THOROW]
  • Glorious ‘In a state of high spirits or elation from drink.’ [GLORIOUS]
  • Sic ‘Such’ [SIC]
  • Fleech ‘To coax, wheedle, flatter; to beseech, entreat, importune.’ [FLEECH]
  • Fash ‘To trouble, bother oneself, to take pains.’ [FASH]
  • Wun ‘= Eng. get: (1) to make or find one’s way, to proceed, pass on, to succeed in arriving at some destination, freq. with the notion of surmounting obstacles on the way.’ [WIN]
  • Randy ‘A sturdy beggar, a vagrant of domineering and hectoring character, a ruffian; any wild, unruly, good-for-nothing man or animal.’ [RANDIE]
  • Press ‘A large cupboard, gen. one built into a recess in the wall but also applied to free-standing cupboards of all kinds.’ [PRESS]
  • Speir ‘To ask (a piece of information, a question), inquire, make inquiries.’ [SPEIR]
  • Siccan ‘Such, of such a kind, of a sort already mentioned.’ [SICCAN]
  • Scraich ‘To shriek, scream, shout.’ [SKRAICH]
  • Clachan ‘A hamlet, village, gen. containing a church; “a small cluster of cottages”. [CLACHAN]
  • Keltonhill ‘At Castle Douglas in June.’ [KELTONHILL FAIR] Mactaggart’s Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia gives more detail: “KELTON-HILL-FAIR. – This is one the largest meetings or gatherings of Gallovidians that are to be met with. […]” [FULL ENTRY]
  • Jeuk ‘To dodge, evade, elude, give the slip to (someone or something) by a quick sideways movement; to escape or take refuge (from); to slip into concealment; to move about furtively, slink.’ [JOUK]
  • Aucht ‘To own.’ [AUCHT]