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Aesop's Fables in Scots #5

Wise words from the past - Aesop's Fables in Scots #5

Wednesday, June 19, 2024
11 mins

The Bee and Jupiter

Aye, there wis this queen bee frae Hymettus, wings buzzin' wi' pride, flittin' up tae Olympus wi' a wee pot o' the freshest honey. Jove, sittin' on his hingly-bangly throne, wis fair tickled pink by the gift. "A braw offerin', wee queen!" he boomed, "Ask onythin' yer wee bee-heartie desires, an' it's yours!"

Now, this queen bee, bein' a wee bit fierce for her size, wished for stingin' weapons tae zap ony muckle gomerals who dared steal her honey. "Gif us stings, mighty Jove!" she buzzed, "So we can sting the snot oot o' thae honey-thieves!"

Jove, fair chunnered by this wish. He liked his humans, even the daft ones. But, bein' a god o' his word, he sighed an' granted the wish. He gae the bees their stings, aye, sharp as brambles an' potent as a witch's curse. But there wis a twist: whenever a bee used its sting on a human, the sting stuck fast, killin' the wee bee itsall.

Moral:  Nae guid comes frae wishin' ill on others, nae matter how sweet the honey they steal. Remember, a bit o' patience an' cleverness can go a lot further than a sting, an' kindness, even tae honey-thieves, can bring its own wee reward.

The Oak and the Reeds

Aye, there wis this braw oak, standin' tall on the riverbank like a king o' the forest. But then, whoosh! A fearsome gale came screamin' doon the glen, snappin' its mighty roots an' tossin' it like a twig across the stream. The oak crashed amang some wee reeds swayin' gently in the shallows, an' grumbled, "How come ye wee whippets haein' barely a stalk tae yer names survived the storm, while I, a titan o' the woods, got uprooted an' chucked in the river?"

One o' the reeds, wise as auld age, chuckled an' said, "Strength's no always the answer, big fellae. Ye fought the storm head-on, like a bull wi' a hornet, an' it kicked yer backside. We, on the other hand, just bent wi' the wind, dancin' an' bobbin' till the gale blew itself oot. So here we are, still standin', while ye're floatin' like a log."

Moral:  Sometimes, bein' stiff an' unbendin' is a recipe for disaster. It's the flexible folk, the ones who know when tae yield an' flow, that weather the storms an' come oot stronger on the other side. So next time the wind whistles a wild tune, remember the reeds: a wee bit o' give an' take can be the mightiest strength o' all.

The Blind Wumman and the Wolf Cub

There wis ance a blind wumman, her fingers fair magic wi' the feel o' things. Put ony wee critter in her haund, an' she could tell ye its kith an' kin just by a gentle touch. Now, one fine day, someone plonked a wee wolfin' cub in her palm, an' they says, "Wha's this wee beastie, eh?"

The wumman held the cub close, feelin' its soft fur an' twitchy paws. She pondered for a wee while, then shook her heid. "Well, I cannae say fur sure if it's a wolfie or a fox cub, but one thing's clear: ye'd be daft tae trust it in a sheepfold."

Moral:  Keep yer eyes peeled, an' trust yer gut: sometimes, the first whisper o' somethin' dodgy is all the warnin' ye need.

The Boy and the Snails

Aye, there wis this wee fermer's laddie, aye roamin' the fields wi' mischief in his eyes. One sunny morn, he set oot on a snail hunt, fingers itch'n' tae fill his pockets wi' the wee gowks. Nae sooner said than done, he had twa haundfuls o' snails wrigglin' aboot, fair chuffed wi' his haul.

His next trick? Makin' a wee bonfire! He piled up twigs an' leaves, lit a spark, an' watched the flames flicker. But the snails, nae sae keen on bein' toasted like marshmallows, started retreatin' deeper an' deeper intae their shells, makin' that wee hissin' sound they get when things get a bit toasty.

The laddie, hearin' the hissin', scoffed an' shouted, "Ye daft wee beasties! Yer hoose is blazin', an' all ye can dae is wheeshtle? Nae shame in ye!"

Now, a wee robin perched on a nearby branch, hearin' this, chirped in, "Aye, but wee laddie, maybe they're no' whistlin' a happy tune. Maybe it's a wee song o' fear an' pain, singin' o' their wee shell homes bein' scorched an' their lives turnin' tae smoke."

The laddie, taken aback, paused for a thought. He looked at the snails, shrinkin' back in the heat, an' the flames lickin' at the edges o' their wee world. Shame crept intae his eyes, an' he quickly scattered the fire, sendin' the snails scurryin' back tae the cool damp earth.

Moral:  Sometimes, what seems like nothin' more than a wheeshtle can be a cry for help, a whisper o' pain we dinnae hear.

The Apes and the Two Travellers

Aye, there wis these twa wanderers, roamin' the world wi' tongues as different as a thistle frae a rose petal. One spun yarns like auld wives' tales, truth be damned, while the other, honest as a kirk elder, dealt only in the straight and narrow. Their paths took them tae the land o' the apes, a hairy kingdom ruled by a king wi' a crown o' leaves and a temper hotter than a haggis in June.

Hearin' o' their arrival, the ape king, all puffed up wi' pride, commanded the travellers tae stand before his furry throne. Apes lined up like hairy hedges on either side, as he sat perched on a pile o' banana peels, lord o' all he surveyed. "Wee fellas," he boomed, voice cracklin' like twigs in a fire, "What say ye o' yer king? Am I no' a sight tae behold?"

The lyin' laddie, smooth as a river pebble, piped up, "Aye, yer Majesty! A king fit for legends, strong as a mountain, wise as a wizened owl!" The king, his vanity strokin' like a cat, beamed wider than a pumpkin moon. "An' what o' my hairy subjects?" he purred.

"Oh, sir," gushed the liar, "Yer troops are braver than Highland cattle, smarter than a bag o' foxes!" The king, fair chuffed at this flattery, showered the liair wi' gifts: jewels brighter than sunbeams, fruits sweeter than honeycomb.

Meanwhile, the honest fellae was watchin' this, feelin' a wee twinge o' envy. Thinkin' truth wad surely earn him an even grander reward, he cleared his throat when the king's gaze fell on him. "Your Majesty," he said, voice quiet but steady, "Ye're a braw ape, no doubt, an' yer subjects are a fine-lookin' bunch too."

Now, the king, used tae gushy praise, wisnae prepared for this bluntness. His ears twitched, his face reddened like a rowan berry in autumn. "What?!" he roared, clawing at his makeshift throne. "Ye call me an ape? Me, the mighty ruler o' this jungle realm?"

The poor honest fellae found himself thrown oot, dragged away tae be torn tae shreds by the enraged simian mob. Aye, a harsh lesson, eh? 

Moral: Sometimes, a wee bit o' sugar goes a long way.

The Cuddy an' His Loads

A pedlar fellae haein' a puckle o' a cuddy bocht a heap o' saut ane fine day, an' ladled it on the wee beastie's back as thick as it could manage. Nae lang on the hamewart traivel, the cuddy gowked while crossin' a burn an' splashed recht in the watter. The saut got a richt dookin', mony a chunk wushin' awa', leavin' the cuddy's burden fairlichtier. Owerjoyed, the packman drave it back to the toon an' piled mair saut onto what stayed in the panniers, headin' aff again. Nae sooner did they reach the burn than the cuddy sprawled recht in it, risin' up wi' a licht erse like afore. But the packman smelt a rat, sae back he went, buyin' a muckle kist o' sponges an' platerin' them atop the cuddy. At the burn, the cuddy plopped doon again, but this time, wi' the sponges suckin' in the watter like thirsty weans, the wee fellae stood up wi' a bigger kist than ever!

Moral:  Dinna fash yersel', a wheech can only wark sae mony times, eh?

The Hirdy's Lad an' the Fause Cry

A wee laddie tendin' his sheep near the clachan thought it braw fun to bamboozle the folk wi' a fause cry o' danger. "Wolf! Wolf!" he'd yowl, an' when the villagers cam rovin' he'd crack his sides at their wasted hurry. He played this daft trick mair than ance, aye sendin' them back in a tither wi' nary a beast in sight. At long last, a true wolf slinked near, and the lad, fear gnawin' at his gut, let oot a screamin' "Wolf! Wolf!" as loud as the hills. But the villagers, ower used to his lies, paid him no heed. And so, the wolf feasted at his leisure, pickin' aff the sheep ane by ane.

Moral:  A bletherer's word rings hollow, e'en when truth spills frae their lips.

The Tod an' the Gowkit Goat

A sneaky tod tumbled inty a well, his paws scrabblin' at the slippery sides but nae luck clamberin' oot. Alang cam a dry-moothit goat, spotted the tod trapped below, an' piped up, "Is the watter braw doon there, matey?"

The tod, seein' a chance tae escape, gowked, "Braw? Naethin' like it! Pure nectar, I tell ye! Jump on doon an' taste for yersel'."

The goat, thinkin' o' nothin' but a cool gulp, lepped in without a flicker o' doubt. Once his thirst eased, he looked aroond, panickin' like the tod, clamberin' for a way oot but findin' naught.

The tod, sly as ever, chirped, "Got an idea! Plant yer hooves like wee columns, then I'll scramble up yer back, use yer horns as rungs, an' hop oot like a charm. Promise I'll pull ye up after!"

The goat, bamboozled, obeyed, an' the tod, quick as a flash, scampered up his back an' oot the well. He turned, coolly as a cucumber, and strolled away, leavin' the goat bleatin' like a stuck lamb.

"Hey!" the goat blethered, "Yer promise, ya scunnerl! Help me oot!"

The tod, without breakin' stride, threw back a cheeky remark, "If ye had half the gumption in yer head as ye've got hair on yer chin, ye wouldn't hae jumped in without a plan fer climbin' back oot!"

Moral:  A wee bit o' thinkin' can save a heap o' heartache.

The Creel an' the Sprat

A fisher chibbled his net oot intae the roarin' sea, hopin' for a haul o' plump cod or sleek mackerel. But when he hauled it back in, nae muckle treasure did he find, just a wee sprat blinkin' back at him frae the mesh.

"Ach, dinnae fash yer wee fins," squeaked the sprat, "I'm just a bairn o' the deep, no' ready for yer creel yet. Gie me back tae the briny, an' I'll grow fatter than a seabird's belly! Then, when I'm a grand fella like yer dad, ye can catch me an' fill yer boat till it sinks!"

The fisher scratched his beard, lookin' at the sprat like it was a riddle wrapped in a mystery. "Aye, maybe ye'd be a braw catch later," he muttered, "but what's the guarantee I'll ever see ye again in this vast ocean?"

The sprat wriggled, its voice full o' hope. "Trust me, gudeman! The sea remembers, an' fate has a funny way o' bringin' folks like us together again. Just gie me a wee chance, an' ye'll be singin' my praises when yer belly's full o' sprat pie!"

The fisher pondered, weighin' the sprat's words against the hunger in his gut. In the end, greed won out. With a shrug, he tossed the sprat back intae the waves, watchin' it disappear in a flash o' silver scales.

"Maybe ye're right, wee fella," he sighed, castin' his net once more. "But a bird in the hand's worth two in the bush, eh?"

Moral: Even the smallest creature can hold the weight of a big decision.

The Braggin' Brawdler

A fellae, haein' wandered the warld far an' wide, came hame wi' tales taller than Ben Nevis. He spun yarns o' his exploits in lands nae Scot had touched, boastin' o' feats that would mak' even Hercules blush. "Aye," he crowed, "I even took part in a jumpin' contest on the isle o' Rhodes, leavin' every competitor eatin' my dust! Just ask anyone in Rhodes, they'll tell ye!"

But a keen wit in the crowd piped up, "Hold yer horses, laddie! If ye jump like a Highland stag on Ben Lawers, nae need to sail tae Rhodes for proof. Let's pretend this very pub is Rhodes for a wee minute, an' show us yer mighty leap!"

The braggart, face turnin' the colour o' a haggis after a dram too many, stammered an' stuttered. His grand words o' victory shrivelled up like a kipper in the sun. Nae jump did he manage, no further than a bairn on a hopscotch court.

Moral:  Actions speak louder than empty boasts, an' a wee bit o' humility goes a long way.

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