OTS Readers, we're working hard to make this website a permanent fixture in the independence debate.  We're currently running a fundraiser to help cover costs. You can read our full breakdown on our GoFundMe page. If you can't donate, please share this link or contribute to the discussions. Thanks!
Help Keep OTS Going

Aesop's Fables in Scots #11

The final fables from our first ebook.

Thursday, June 27, 2024
11 mins

Hercules and the Waggoner

Pictur' this: wee Wullie the Wagoner, beard flecked wi' mud, strainin' like a caber-tossin' champion tae budge his cart stuck fast in a Highland quagmire. The wheels, sunk deeper than a haggis in a bog, wouldn't budge an inch, horses snortin' in frustration like bagpipes in a gale. Wullie, despair etchthin' his face like a kilt snagged on a thistle, starts beltin' out pleas tae Hercules, voice cracklin' wi' panic like a haggis skin at a ceilidh.

From a swirl o' mist appears Hercules himself, braw as a Highland bull an' twice as stubborn. He fixes Wullie with a steely gaze, an' booms, "Haud yer hoots, lad! Put yer shoulder tae that wheel, crack yer whip at yer horses, an' then ye can cry for Hercules! If ye dinnae lift a finger tae help yerself, dinnae expect a god or any soul alive tae pull yer cart frae the muck!"

Aye, friends, the tale o' Wullie an' Hercules is a wee gem aboot self-reliance an' the importance o' graft. Sometimes, we get so caught up in wishin' an' prayin' for miracles that we forget the simple power o' rollin' up our sleeves an' gettin' stuck in. Just like Wullie sprawled in the mud, waitin' for divine intervention, true progress often starts with a wee bit o' elbow grease, a can-do spirit, an' the willingness tae give it yer all before callin' for help.

So next time you face a mountain o' muck in your own life, remember Wullie. Take a deep breath, grab yer metaphorical wheel, an' give it a shove. For the sweetest victories, the ones that truly count, are the ones carved out with yer own sweat an' grit, the ones that whisper their worth in the creak o' the wheels rollin' forward, one inch at a time.

Moral:  Aye, a wee bit o' effort goes a lang way, lad. But even the strongest need a lendin' hand sometimes. Dinna be afraid to ask for help when ye need it, but remember, a wee bit o' yer ain effort shows ye're willing tae put in the work yersel'.

The Pomegranate, the Apple Tree and the Bramble

Aye, picture this: a juicy Pomegranate, plump as a haggis balloon, an' a snappy Apple tree, laden wi' fruit like a kilt pouch o' sweets, squared aff in a wee garden feud. Each puffing their chests like bagpipes at a ceilidh, boastin' aboot the superiority o' their own fruits – sweet pomegranate jewels or crisp, tangy apples? Nae a single bite could settle the score, an' harsh words, sharper than Highland dirks, hung in the air like smoke from a peaty fire.

Just when it seemed a full-blown war o' the fruits was about tae erupt, a wee Bramble, spiky as a kilt pin, poked its head through the hedge, voice squeaky as a chanter in a beginner's band. "Hold yer horses, friends!" it chirped. "Nae need for squabbles like hens at a ceilidh! Why dinnae we just enjoy our own wee flavours, an' leave the tastin' tae those wi' tongues tae tell the difference?"

The Pomegranate an' the Apple tree, faces flushin' like a dram in the afternoon sun, blinked in surprise. The Bramble had a point, sharp as a thistle. Each fruit, it seemed, had its own unique charm, its own wee burst o' sunshine on the tongue. Why waste time squabblin' when there was sweetness tae be savoured by all?

Aye, friends, the tale o' the Pomegranate, the Apple, an' the Bramble is a wee gem aboot acceptance an' appreciation. Sometimes, we get so caught up in comparin' ourselves tae others, braggin' aboot our own shiny apples or juicy pomegranates, that we forget the beauty o' difference, the joy o' simply bein' who we are. Just like the Bramble remindin' the bigger fruits, true peace often lies in celebratin' our own unique flavours, an' trustin' that our own wee corner o' the garden, however humble, holds its own sweetness, waitin' tae be savoured.

Moral:  Mind yer ain business. Nae point in interferin' in somethin' ye dinna fully understand. Sometimes silence is the wisest answer when arguments er aboot yer head.

The Two Soldiers and the Robber

Aye, picture this: Two braw laddies, kilts swayin' wi' every stride, traipsin' down a Highland path when, bam! A rogue leaps oot o' the heather, blade flashin' like a dram in the sunlight. One o' the soldiers, legs as shaky as a haggis balloon at a ceilidh, takes one look at the glint o' steel an' vanishes quicker than a dram disappearin' down a thirsty throat.

The other lad, though, stands his ground, beard bristlin' like a thistle in a kilt-fecht. He swings his sword with the fury o' a piper possessed, clangin' and parrying till the rogue, squeakin' like a trapped bagpipe, scampers off faster than a kilt in a Highland gale.

The runnin' soldier, heart still thrummin' like a bodhrán at a feis, comes scurryin' back, brandishin' his blade like a caber at a games day. "Where is he?" he roars, voice as shaky as a kilt caught on a bracken bush. "Let me at him! I'll show him the bite o' a true Highland hero!"

But the standin' soldier just shakes his head, a slow smile creasin' his weathered face. "Aye, a wee touch late, lad," he says, voice steady as a loch at dawn. "I only wish ye'd been at my side when the battle was hot, even if just tae yell encouragement. Your words, believin' them true, would have been like a dram o' courage in the heat o' the fight.

"But as it is, lad, sheath yer blade an' calm yer spirit. The danger's passed. Ye can fool everyone else with yer lion's roar, but I ken the truth. When the wind o' fear stirs, ye run like a startled stag across the moors."

Aye, friends, the tale o' the two soldiers is a wee gem aboot true courage an' the fickle nature o' bravery. Sometimes, we get so caught up in lookin' the part, pumpin' ourselves up like haggis balloons, that we forget the quiet strength that comes from standin' yer ground, even when yer knees are knockin' like spoons on a flagstone.

So next time you find yourself tempted tae puff yer chest an' roar like a Highland stag, remember the two soldiers. Take a deep breath, let yer shoulders settle, an' ask yourself: will ye be the one standin' strong when the storm hits, or will ye vanish like mist on a mountainside? For true courage lies not in the loudest yells, but in the steady heart that keeps beatin', even when the world around you trembles.

Moral:  True bravery shows itself in the face o' danger. Empty threats and boastin' efter the fact are nae substitute for standin' yer ground. Be the kind o' friend ye want tae have, and yer actions will speak louder than yer words.

The Lion and the Wild Donkey

A fearsome Lion, mane floppin' like a kilt in a Highland gale, an' a stubborn Wild Donkey, hooves drummin' on the earth like a piper's kilt, team up for a hunt. The plan? Donkey, wi' his legs faster than a dram disappearin' down a thirsty throat, chases down the prey, an' Lion, teeth sharp as a Highland dirk, finishes it off.

Aye, the hunt went like a haggis on a plate – rabbits fallin' faster than kilts at a ceilidh! Time to share the spoils, an' that's where the fur starts flyin'. Lion, puffed up like a bagpipe drone, divides the feast into three equal piles. "The first is mine, lad," he roars, voice deep as a loch in winter. "King o' the beasts, after all! An' the second, as yer partner in crime, half o' what's left is rightfully mine. Now, as for the third..." He fixes the Donkey with a glare sharper than a thistle. "Unless ye hand it over an' scurry off quicker than a wee dram leakin' from a cracked glass, this third pile, lad, will be the reason for a right royal regret!"

Aye, friends, the tale o' the Lion an' the Donkey is a wee reminder o' the age-old truth: might often makes right, even in the wild world o' beasts (or the not-so-wild world o' humans, for that matter). Sometimes, the strong bully their way to the biggest pile, leavin' the less fortunate with nothin' but scraps an' simmerin' resentment.

But here's the thing, friends: just because a Lion roars doesn't mean a Donkey has to cower. True strength lies not just in muscles an' claws, but in the grit hidden between the hooves, the spark o' defiance that whispers, "Maybe I can't overpower them, but I can stand my ground, hold onto my share, and make sure my voice is heard, even if it trembles a wee bit."

Moral: Beware the false promises o' the powerful. Those who use muscle to bully their way will likely leave ye empty-handed. True strength lies na just in might, but in fair play and respect for others.

The Man and the Satyr

Aye, picture it: A braw lad an' a mischievous Satyr, swearin' friendship by a cracklin' peet fire. For a wee while, life was a grand ceilidh, filled wi' shared stories an' hearty laughter. But then, winter's frosty fingers crept in, an' one mornin', the lad, breath puffin' white like a piper's kilt, blew on his numb hands.

The Satyr, eyes wide as a haggis balloon, cocked his head. "Why ye doin' that, lad?" he asked, voice scratchy as a kilt caught on a thistle.

"Warmin' them up, o' course," the lad replied, fingers still glowin' from the puff.

Later, the firecracklin' supper arrived, steaming bowls o' porridge temptin' them like a dram in a frosty hand. The lad lifted his bowl, a sigh of anticipation escapin' his lips, and blew on it.

The Satyr's brow furrowed like a kilt snagged on a bracken branch. "But ye just warmed yer hands!" he sputtered. "Why blow on yer porridge now?"

The lad, spoon poised mid-air, blinked in confusion. "To cool it down, silly!" he chuckled.

But the Satyr had heard enough. He pushed back his stool, the wood screechin' like a bagpipe gone awry. "Farewell, lad," he said, voice firm as a Highland oath. "I dinnae trust a friend who blows hot an' cold in the same breath. One minute ye're a warm fire to share, the next a frosty wind that chills me to the bone!"

Aye, friends, the tale o' the lad an' the Satyr is a wee gem aboot consistency an' the fickle nature o' human hearts. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the moment, blowin' hot one minute, cold the next, that we forget the chill our inconsistency casts on those around us.

So next time you find yourself tempted to change tunes like a piper mid-song, remember the lad an' the Satyr. Take a deep breath, steady your heart, and ask yourself: will ye be a warm fire, burnin' with steady warmth, or a fickle breeze, leavin' everyone shiverin' in yer wake? For true friendship, like a good dram, demands a consistent warmth, a flavour that stays true, even when the winds of change blow through.

Moral:  Be true tae yer word and consistent in yer actions. Fickleness and changin' yer tune like the wind can leave others confused and drive them away. Honesty and reliability are key tae buildin' strong friendships

The Image Seller

Aye, picture this: A wee crofter, eyes glintin' like mica in the midday sun, stands in the market, a carved wooden goddy o' Mercury perched on his stall. But the hours tick by, slow as a kilt dancer wi' lead boots, an' nary a soul offers a dram for the wee idol.

Frustration boils over like haggis water, an' the crofter bursts out, voice blazin' like a bonfire at a Hogmanay: "Goddy for sale! Lucky charm on stilts! Buy an' banish yer bad luck!"

One weary bystander, beard flecked wi' market dust, pauses, scratchin' his chin like a kilt caught on a bracken branch. "If this goddy's the real deal, why not keep it yerself an' watch yer pockets overflow?" he drawls, voice slow as a Highland mist.

The crofter throws his hands up, exasperation writin' itself on his face like rain on a windowpane. "Sure, he brings riches, but slow as a snail crawlin' up Ben Nevis! Me, I need dough now, fast as a dram disappearin' down a thirsty throat!"

Aye, friends, the tale o' the crofter an' his goddy is a wee gem aboot patience an' the fickle nature o' fortune. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the chase for quick wins, the instant gratification, that we forget the slow, steady burn o' real good fortune, the kind that builds like a peat fire, one peat at a time.

So next time you find yourself tempted to hock yer soul for a gold-plated goddy, remember the crofter. Take a deep breath, let the impatience settle like dust in the wind, an' ask yourself: can you trade a wee bit o' waitin' for the rich, burnin' glow o' earned luck, the true fortune that comes not from wooden idols, but from the sweat o' yer brow an' the steady beat o' a patient heart?

Moral:  Dinna let the promise o' future riches blind ye tae the present. Sometimes waitin' for a big payoff can leave ye empty-handed. True value lies in both long-term goals and enjoyin' the journey alang the way.

                                                    THE END!

Off-Topic Newsletter
No spam. Just the latest releases and tips, interesting articles, and exclusive interviews in your inbox every week.
Read about our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Download Aesop's Fables!
Download Now!
Get The Off-Topic Scotland Newsletter

Get Off-Topic Scotland in Your Inbox

No spam or ads, just the latest posts and updates from Scotland's newest pro-independence blog.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.