Frae: R. De Bruce Trotter, Galloway Gossip (1901), pp. 269-270

ON the day o’ the burial it wus an awfu wat mornin, for it rains thereawa whun it iss wat, an a’ the bits o’ burns, an the water an a’, wus in spate, an the burial folk could harly wun forrit.

The minister’s kailyard wus alangside the kirkyaird, an there wus a bit stran atween them, maybe fowr fit wide, an aboot as deep; an the minister had twa powls laid across’t, wi some truffs on them, for a brig, tae get ower tae the kirk on the Sundays; an the gush had unnermine’t the en’ o’t.

Weel, the minister wus a verra heavy man, an tae save cairryin the corrp roon by the front yett, an ower tae the muckle yett at the ither side o’ the kirk, an roon tae the grave near the stran, in sic a doon-pour, they agree’t tae cairry’t ower the stran by the fit-brig, an richt tae the grave an yince.

The wife, or widda rather, wus in an awfu wey, an billy’t like a he-goat, an made an awsome too-hoo ower the loss o’ her bonnie man, an the Rev. Mr. Kim an the aul’ wifes did a’ in their pooer tae comfort her.

Sae they cairry’t him ower the stran feet formost, but joost whun them yt wus cairryin the shouthers wus at the middle o’ the brig, the wecht o’ them wus ower muckle for the bank whaur it wus unnermine’t wi the water, an doon they gaed intil the burn, – brig, bearers, corrp, an everything.

Weel, no exactly the corrp aither. The heid o’ the coffin wus the heaviest, an gaed doon first, an fell on a muckle stane in the stran wi sic a dunt, yt the en’ o’ the coffin wus dung oot o’t. Three o’ the bearers wus wesh’t doon the burn an maist droon’t, an efter the wur got oot, they set-to tae rescue the coffin, for fear the minister wud be droon’t as weel as chokit. Saw they pu’t an haul’t at at it by the cords till the hanles cam aff, an than they gat a haud o’ the kist itsel an trail’t it tae the lan.

Whun they they wur harlin’t up, they notice’t a lot o’ hey an stanes comin oot o’ the heid o’t, an yin o’ them try’t tae stuff they hey in again, an discover’t yt the minister wusna there ava; an they wur mair nor astonish’t.

Some o’ them thocht yt the minister been translatit tae heaven like the prophet Elijah, an ithers o’ them swure yt Aul’ Sandy had come for him through the nicht, an flown awa wi him, like aul’ Grier o’ Lag, richt through the air tae Hecklebirnie; but thae yins belang’t tae a different kirk; but onywey, they took they empy coffin back tae the manse, an the widda declare’t yt thae villans o’ Burkers had come through the nicht an stown the corrp tae sell tae the doctors; an she wus wild aboot it, an roar’t an grat like onything.



Partial Glossar

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

  • Thereawa ‘Of place: away to or in that district, over there, in that general direction.’ [THERE]
  • Water ‘A river.’ [WATER]
  • 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]
  • Forrit ‘Forward(s)’. [FORRIT]
  • Stran ‘1. A little stream or run of water, a rivulet. 2 An artificial water-channel or gutter, a street gutter.’ [STRAND]
  • Truff ‘A sward, or a piece of it, a sod.’ [TRUFF]
  • Yett ‘A gate.’ [YETT]
  • Billy ‘To bellow, cry, weep loudly.’ [BELLY]
  • Shouthers ‘Shoulders.’ [SHOUDER]
  • Wecht ‘Weight.’ [WECHT]
  • Dunt ‘A heavy, dull-sounding blow or stroke, a knock.’ [DUNT]
  • Dung (past participle of ding) ‘To knock, beat or strike: to drive; to push suddenly and forcibly; to displace or overturn by shoving.’ [DING]
  • Kist ‘A coffin.’ [KIST]
  • Harl ‘To drag, pull, trail behind, haul.’ [HARL]
  • Ava ‘At all.’ [AVA]
  • Aul’ Sandy ‘The Devil.’ [SANDIE]
  • Hecklebirnie ‘A euphemism for Hell.’ [HECKLEBIRNIE]
  • Burker ‘A murderer.’ [BURKER] This is derived from William Burke, who along with William Hare, who sold the bodies of their victims to Robert Knox for use in his anatomy lectures. Here, Burker is used in the more specific sense of ‘a murder who sells bodies to doctors’. See the Wikipedia article on Burke and Hare murders.
  • Stown ‘Stolen.’ [STEAL]
  • Grat (past tense of greet) ‘To weep, cry.’ [GREET]