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Aesop's Fables in Scots #3

Another ten of Aesop's Fables, presented in Modern Scots.

Friday, June 14, 2024
20 mins

The Lairdly Lion an' the Feathery Foot: A Yarn o' Tiny Teeth an' Big Favours

A grand lion, sound asleep in his cosy lair, got a rude awakenin' when a cheeky wee mousie tripped an' tumbled o'er his snoot. Furious as a piper wi' a leaky chanter, the lion snatched the wee critter in his paw, ready tae end its wee squeaky life.

The mousie, terrified like a haggis at a vegetarian ceilidh, squeaked a pitiful plea, "Oh, big fella, please let me go! One day, I promise, I'll repay yer kindness!"

The lion, amused by the thought o' the tiny beastie helpin' a hairy king o' the jungle, just roared wi' laughter an' tossed the mousie back onto the heather. But wee things can have big hearts, an' the mousie's chance to return the favour came sooner than expected.

One day, the lion found himself trapped in a hunter's sneaky net, roarin' in frustration like a haggis stuck in a bagpipe hole. The mousie, hearin' his cries, scurried towards the sound like a kilt-wearin' corgi on a mission. Wi'oot hesitatin', it started gnawin' at the ropes wi' its sharp wee teeth, workin' away like a piper tappin' his foot tae a jig. An' sure enough, before the lion could say "fish an' chips", he was free as a kilt in a hurricane!

The mousie, puffed up wi' pride like a haggis in a steamie pot, squeaked, "See, big fella? You laughed at my wee promise, but now ye ken, even a mouse can lend a paw… erm, tooth… tae a lion!"

So there ye have it, a wee reminder that no matter how big or small ye are, kindness an' wee deeds can have big consequences. Remember, even the humblest o' creatures can weave grand tapestries o' help, an' sometimes, the smallest bite can break the biggest o' chains.

Moral:  Aye, plant seeds of kindness wherever ye go, pal. You never know what good might grow from them, even for yourself.

The Caw an' the Crafty Wee Wattle: A Yarn o' Thirst an' Tricks

A parched wee craw spied a stoup glintin' in the sun, its belly plump wi' cool watter. But och, the neck wis lang an' the craw's beak wis short, nae matter how she stretched an' strained, the watter mocked her like a haggis at a vegetarian ceilidh. Thirst clawed at her throat like a piper wi' a leaky chanter, an' despair started tae settle in like mist on the lochs.

But this craw wis nae daft hen, she had brains quicker than a kilt-wearin' corgi on a mission. With a glint in her eye, she spied a wee pile o' pebbles nearby, smooth as bagpipes an' ready for action. One by one, she dropped them wi' a plop into the stoup. Up, up, up went the watter, inch by inch, like a ceilidh dance reachin' its peak. Finally, wi' a wee splash o' triumph, the watter brimmed o'er the edge, just within reach o' the clever craw.

With a contented chirp, she dipped her beak an' quenched her thirst, her wee heart singin' like a pipe band on a sunny day. So there ye have it, a wee reminder that need can spark genius, an' a bit o' thinkin' on yer feet can turn even the trickiest stoup into a refreshin' oasis. Remember, nae problem is too big for a crafty craw wi' a head full o' pebbles an' a thirst for a wee dram o' watter.

Moral:  Dinnae give up, pal! Just like the clever crow, a wee bit o' thinkin' can turn a hopeless situation around.

The Loons an' the Lochan Dwellers: A Tale o' Taunts an' Tears

There wis ance a gaggle o' wee loons, full o' mischief an' nae sense, playin' by a bonnie wee lochan. Spotting some cheeky froggies paddlin' aboot in the shallows, these daft wee blighters thought it would be grand fun tae pelt them wi' stones, their aim as crooked as a kilt on a clothesline. Alas, their cruel game left a trail o' wee green bodies floatin' still, lifeless as haggis skins on Hogmanay.

One brave, beety frog, seein' his pals perishin' one by one, poked his head oot o' the watter an' croaked in a wee voice, "Och, lads, please, enough o' this! What's a laugh tae you's a death knell tae us!"

His plea hung in the air like the mist o'er the hills, but did it reach the loons' ears? Did it touch their hearts? That, my friend, is a story still bein' written, a yarn dependin' on the kindness o' each wee loon an' the respect they show tae all creatures, be they furry, feathered, or flippin' fantastic froggies.

Nae need tae preach or point fingers, pal. This tale whispers its own lesson, as gentle as a kilt rustlin' in the breeze. Just remember, a bit o' empathy can go a long way, an' the joy o' life, even froggie life, is worth protectin' with every step we take.

So next time ye find yerself by a burn or a lochan, keep yer ears peeled for a wee froggy plea, an' choose kindness, laddie, choose kindness. It's the true mark o' a braw Scot, aye?

And if ye fancy yersel' a dab hand at Scots, why not gie it a try an' spin yer ain version o' the story? Maybe the loons learn their lesson, maybe they become protectors o' the lochan. The choice, like the tale, is in yer hands. Make it a good one!

Moral:  Aye, nature's full o' amazing creatures, each wi' their own wee life. Treat them all wi' respect, like you'd want to be treated.

The Blazin' Sun an' the Blustery North Wind: A Brawl o' Bree an' Brilliance

There wis ance a grand blether 'tween the North Wind, strong as a kilt-wearin' corgi on a rampage, and the Sun, shimmerin' bright as a dram on a Hogmanay. Each boastin' they were the mightiest force, they agreed tae settle their wee tiff wi' a game o' cloak-strippin'. Nae swords or fists, mind ye, just the power o' their elements.

First up wis the North Wind. He puffed up his cheeks like a bagpipe wi' nae chanter, gatherin' his strength, then let out a roar that could deafen a haggis! He barreled intae the traveller, yanking at his cloak like a kilt caught in a gale. But the harder he blasted, the tighter the fella gripped his trusty garment, his teeth chatterin' faster than a piper wi' a leaky chanter.

Next, the Sun took his turn. He started wi' a gentle caress, warm as a wee dram on a frosty morn. The traveller, feelin' the heat, loosened his cloak, lettin' it drape o'er his shoulders like a tartan scarf. Then, the Sun unleashed his full glory, blazin' like a bonfire on a summer night. In nae time, the traveller was shuckin' his cloak faster than a haggis at a ceilidh, happy tae stride on in the cool breeze.

So there ye have it, a wee reminder that a kind word an' a bit o' warmth can win ye o'er faster than a blustery gale. Remember, force might knock ye down, but kindness, like a gentle sunbeam, can melt even the thickest o' cloaks an' guide ye on yer way.

Moral:  Aye, kindness goes a long way, and understanding even further. Be gentle, be patient, and watch the world open up to you.

The Widow and her Servants

A weel-scrapin', diligent widow haed twa wains wha she flet fair haurd. Nae lyin' lang i' the bed for them, nae, she'd hae them up an' at it the meenieute the crawer cockt his craw. Now, the puirs sules loathed risin' at sic an ungodly hour, especially in the cauld winter days. They reckonit gin it no wisnae for the blasted craw waukin' the mistress wi' his racketin' crawin', they'd hae a wee bit mair shut-eye. So, they gat haud o' the critter an' wrung its neck.

But oh, the daftness o't a'! Wi' nae cockerel's cry tae rouse her, the mistress woke them even earliere, haein' them luggit oot o' their beds an' pit tae the wark in the dead o' the nicht. Nae mair sleep, nae mair peace, jist mair misery an' mair o' the same!

Moral:  Aye, life's full of choices, and wise ones are better than quick fixes. Be thoughtful, be responsible, and ye'll avoid a lot of unnecessary trouble.

The Guids and the Ills

Aince, in the young days o' the warld, the Guid an' the Ill gaed haund-in-haund wi' humankind. Nae ower muckle o' aeither, mind ye, nae blissfu' paradise, nae awfu' hell, jist a fair dinkum balance. But eh, the daftness o' folk! The Ills, bein' sly an' breedin' like rabbits, grew stronger an' faster, fillin' the earth wi' their darkness. It seemed like the Guid wad be driven oot the back door, never tae return. Nae wonder the poor blighters flegged up tae Jupiter, greetin' an' grumblin' aboot their lot. "Help us!" they cried, "Keep the Ills at bay! Tell us how tae bring back a wee bit o' sunshine!"

Jupiter, bein' a decent sort o' fella, listened tae their woes. He agreed tae guard them, but no' in the same oafish way. No mair prancin' aboot in a grand parade, gettin' battered by the Ills. Naebody said life wis fair! So, he decreed the Guid wad appear nae mair as a gang, but einzeln, like a wee dandelion pushin' up through the cracks. Unseen, unexpected, a wee spark o' joy blinkin' in the gloom. That's why the Ills seem tae rule the roost - they're aye near, scutterin' aboot like rats. But the Guid, bless their souls, they hae tae make the long trek frae heaven, and even then, they pop up one at a time. So, cherishthemt wee draps o' sunshine, for they're precious as diamonds in this muckheap o' a world.

There ye have it, the Guid an' the Ills, Scots style. A wee bit o' colour, a wee bit o' bite, an' a message as auld as the hills: keep an eye oot for the wee glimmer o' hope, even when the darkness seems endless.

Moral:  Aye, life's not always sunshine and rainbows, but neither is it just storms. Look for the good, make an effort, and you'll find a happy balance.

The Hawses an' the Froggies

Aye, there wis ance a time whin the hawses githered in a huddle, greetin' an' gnawin' aboot their rotten lot. See, they wur like wee fluffy targets, rinnin' aboot wi' nae claws, nae fangs, naethin' but their wee legs tae save them. Men, dugs, birdies, even the muckle fearsome beasts o' prey, a' o' them saw hawses as a tasty snack. Day in, day oot, they'd get chased, nipped, an' gobbled up. It wis enough tae mak onybody want tae jump in a lochan an' call it a day.

So, that's jist what they planned tae dae. In a frenzy o' despair, the hawses set aff in a wee furry stampede towards the nearest burn, ready tae dunk themselves an' be done wi' it. But as they skittered alang the bank, guess who they saw chillin' oot on a lily pad? A wheen o' froggies, that's who! An' as soon as the hawses made a peep, these wee green gits gied a almighty leap an' plonged themsels beneath the scummy wee waves.

Now, there wis this yin auld hawse, a bit mair switched on than the rest. He skidded tae a halt an' bellowed, "Haud yer hoorses, ya daft sods! Dinnae fling yersels away jist yet! Look at yon lot! Scared o' us? They maun be even greetin'er wee timorous beasties than us!"

An' d'ye ken what? The auld hawse wis spot on. Seein' the froggies jumpin' like popcorn at the mere rustle o' hawses fur, the hale wee stampede stopped dead in their tracks. A bit o' courage seeped back intae their fluffy paws. Maybe things weren't quite as hopeless as they seemed. Maybe bein' a hawse wasn't such a curse after all.

Moral:  Aye, life's full of ups and downs, but keep yer chin up. Change your perspective, appreciate the good, find yer inner strength, and choose courage over despair. The world needs your unique light!

The Sly Tod and the Lang-legged Steerie

Ah, the sly tod an' the lang-legged steerie! Nae mates, these twa. See, the tod, wee chancer that he wis, haed invited the steerie roon for a bite. Nae roast beef and tatties, mind ye, jist a muckle flat plate o' soup. The tod, wi' his greedy wee gub, lapped it up like a bairn at the sweetie jar. But the steerie, puir lass, her beak as lang as a ruler, couldnae get within a whisker o' the brothy goodness. The tod, bein' the wee devil he wis, couldnae help but cackle at her plight.

Wee did the tod ken whit fate haed in store. No lang efter, the steerie gied him a richt posh invite tae her hoose. When he arrived, starvin' an' cocky, she sat him afore a lang, thin pitcher, the neck sae narrow a midge would struggle tae squeeze through. Nae muckle bowls o' soup this time, nae sir! The steerie, wi' her nimble beak, dipped in an' oot o' the pitcher like a ballerina in a puddle. The tod, starvin' like a wolf in a sheepfold, couldnae dae a peep. His wee snout couldnae reach the tasty bit within, an' there he sat, fumin' an' frustrated.

Wee bit o' karma there, eh? Nae laughs frae the tod that day. An' the lesson? Dinnae dish oot what ye cannae tak', an' mind yer manners, especially when ye're the guest!

Moral:  Aye, be kind and fair, even if it means not always getting your way. It fosters friendships, trust, and avoids future awkwardness.

The Tod in Sheep's Claes 

Aye, there wis ance a wolf, crafty as a crow, decided tae play a wee trick. He skinned a poor wee sheep (rest its wooly soul), donned the fleece like a macabre disguise, an' slunk intae the midst o' a flock grazin' on the hills. The shepherd, bless his gullible heart, couldnae tell a fanged fiend frae a fluffy friend, an' happily ushered the wolf-in-sheepskin intae the fold tae spend the night.

But fate, she's a fickle lass, an' the shepherd, hankerin' for a mutton roast, happened upon our disguised villain in the dark. Thinkin' he'd snagged a plump baa-er, he whipped oot his trusty blade an' dispatched the wolf wi' a clean swipe. Nothin' left but a whiff o' wolfy fur an' a lesson learned the hard way.

Moral:  Nae matter how well ye mask yer true colours, the truth has a way o' shinin' through. An' besides, preying on the innocent never ends well, even if ye dress like a wee fluffy cloud. Remember, honesty is the best policy.

The Hunted Hart an' the Stoorie Staw

Ae braw day, a bonnie hart, chased oot o' his hame by a pack o' yowlin' hounds, fair skited. He ran like the wind, his broad hooves thumpin' the earth, antlers glistenin' in the sun. In his panic, he stumbled intae a farmyaird, seekin' refuge frae the bayin' beasts. Spottin' a muckle stable fu' o' stoorie staws, he squeezed himsel' in, divin' headfirst under a pile o' hay. Wi' nae mair than his antlers peekin' oot, he lay there, heart thumpin' like a trapped rabbit.

One o' the auld staws, a grizzled beast wi' horns like driftwood, eyed the hart wi' suspicion. "Hey there, stranger," he mooed, his voice thick wi' hay dust. "Whit brings ye tae this humble byre? Dinnae ye ken ye're walkin' intae a maelstrom o' muckle boots an' clankin' pails?"

The hart, tremblin' but tryin' tae sound brave, mumbled, "Just a wee rest, y' ken. Come nightfall, I'll skedaddle oot afore ye can say 'baa!'"

Throughout the afternoon, the farmyaird bustled wi' folk. Muckers tossed fresh hay, maids clattered milk pails, an' the wee laddie chased chickens, squawkin' wi' glee. But naebody, no' a single soul, caught a glimpse o' the hidden hart. He started tae relax, a wee bubble o' hope bloomin' in his chest. He even mumbled a gruff thanks tae the stoorie staws for their silence.

"Aye, lad," grunted the auld stow, "wee bit o' peace is naething tae sneeze at. But dinnae count yer feathers afore they hatch. If the maister himsel' comes snoopin' aboot, yer wee game's up. Naethin' gets past his hawk-like eyes."

As if summoned by the stow's words, the farmyaird door creaked open and in strode the maister, a gruff man wi' a bushy beard and eyes like chips o' flint. He scanned the staws, frownin' at the state o' things. "These beasts are skinnier than kestrels!" he boomed. "More hay, I say! An' fresh straw, a muckle pile o' it!"

Grasping a hefty armful o' hay, he yanked it frae the very pile where the hart lay hidden. And just like that, antlers an' all, the poor creature was exposed. The maister roared, callin' his men tae grab the hapless hart. Soon, the farmyaird echoed wi' the clang o' steel and the sad bellow o' the once-mighty stag.

Moral:  Weel, sometimes even the best-laid plans o' mice (or harts) can gang astray. Trust in yer instincts, but dinnae underestimate the sharpness o' yer neighbours' eyes. An' lastly, remember, a wee bit o' kindness, even in a stoorie staw, can go a long way.

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