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Aesop's Fables in Scots #7

Another free sample from our first ebook.

Friday, June 21, 2024
12 mins

The Hoolet and the Birdies

Aye, the Hoolet's a wise auld critter, nae doot aboot that. Back in the day, when the first aik sprang frae the earth like a bairn's giggle, she githered a' the wee feathered folk an' croaked, "See yon wee saplin'? Heed my words, an' nip it in the bud! When it grows tallsome, the mistletoe'll creep in, an' men'll fashion sticky traps frae its berries, meanin' nothin' but trouble for yer bonnie wings." Again, when the first flax seeds were scattered, she hooted, "Dinnae let them sprout! They'll grow intae nets, weaved by men's cunning hands, just waitin' tae snare yer feathered freedom!" Even when she spied the first fletcher, she screeched a warnin', "He's yer bane, mark my words! He'll pluck yer feathers, fletchin' his arrows, an' pierce ye through and through!"

But the wee birdies, they just chirped and flitted, thinkin' the Hoolet was daft as a bag of beetles. They laughed at her wisdom, flutterin' aboot like harebells in the breeze. But when the mistletoe's sticky fruit snagged their feathers, when flax nets tangled their wings, and arrows tipped with their own kin flew through the air, their chirps turned to mournin'. Then, they finally saw the truth in the Hoolet's words, and respect for her wisdom bloomed like a wild rose. Now, whenever she hooots, they gather close, hopin' for another glimpse o' the future, another chance to avoid misfortune. But the Hoolet, she just sits, a wise old soul ponderin' the folly of her kin, her words spent, her heart heavy with the knowledge they never heeded.

Moral:  Ignorin' wise words can sting ye later, but cynicism can also lead ye astray. Listen, but dinna be a fool, learn from mistakes, but dinna let them break yer trust.

The Donkey in the Lion’s skin

Aye, a wee doofus o' a Donkie stumbled upon a cast-off lion's pelt, see? He squeezed himsel' right into it, like a sausage in a skin, an' strutted off, actin' the terror o' the glen. Every critter he met, furred or featherless, fair jumped out their ain skin at the sight o' him, thinkin' they'd stumbled upon a fearsome king o' the jungle. The Donkie, puffed up as a haggis on Burns Nicht, bragged an' brayed like nae mornin' after, thinkin' he'd fooled the lot o' them.

But wee Foxy, clever as a bag o' spanners, heard his cloppin' hooves an' the triumphant hee-haw, an' recognised the silly sod in a heartbeat. "Och, aye," he chuckled, "fancy meetin' ye here, Dressed Up Daftheid! I might've been fooled myself, if it weren't for that ear-splittin' blether o' yours!"

Moral:  Borrowed feathers don't make a hawk, an' sometimes, the loudest voices hide the emptiest heads.

The She-Goats and their beards

Nae doot ye ken Jupiter, the big heid honcho o' the gods, aye giein' things a shake-up? Well, this time, he did somethin' a wee bit daft. The wee gimmer heids (she-goats, that is) came cryin' an' bleatin', beggin' him for beards o' their ain. Now, the billy heids (he-goats) near choked on their cud when they heard this! Beards were their thing, a mark o' strength an' masculinity! This was like Jupiter stickin' his horns in where they didn't belong.

So, the billy heids, horns blazin' an' hooves stompin', marched right up to Jupiter's pearly gates. "Och aye, big fella," they grumbled, "what in the name o' haggis are ye playin' at? Givin' beards to the gimmer heids? That's like puttin' lipstick on a pig!"

Jupiter, bein' a god an' all, just chuckled. "Dinnae fash yersels, laddies," he boomed. "It's just a wee tuft o' hair! Let them have their fun. Besides, they'll never be as strong as ye anyway, with or without beards."

Weel, the billy heids weren't exactly thrilled, but there wasn't much they could do. Jupiter had spoken, and his word was law. So the gimmer heids strutted their stuff with their new facial fuzz, while the billy heids grumbled and muttered about the indignity of it all.

Moral: Sometimes, you just gotta let folks have their wee quirks, even if they seem a bit daft. And remember, strength comes in all shapes and sizes, beards or no beards!

The Old Lion

Auld Leo the Lion, his teeth worn dull and his muscles stiff with age, could nae longer wrestle a decent dinner. But hunger gnawed at his pride, so he hatched a crafty plan. Hunkering down in a dark cave, he let out a rasping cough and whimpered like a wee bairn, faking a terrible illness.

Curious critters, from timid mice to brawny bulls, came peekin' in, offerin' help and sympathy. But as soon as they crossed the threshold, Leo would unleash a roar that shook the stones, pouncing on them with a burst of his last reserves of strength. Many a creature met their end in that grim cave, lured in by the old lion's deceitful groans.

One day, a sly wee Foxy, nose twitching with suspicion, stopped at the cave mouth. He peered into the gloom, but kept his paws firmly planted outside. "A fine day for lyin' in, Leo," he chirped, his voice laced with mock concern. "How fares yer health?"

The old lion, surprised by the fox's caution, coughed harder, trying to sound even more pitiful. "Terrible, terrible, Foxy," he croaked. "Come in, come in, and see for yourself."

But Foxy just chuckled. "Nae need for that, Leo," he winked. "I see yer troubles clear as day. The tracks, ye see, they all point inwards, but none ever lead out. Seems yer illness is only catching for those who visit."

Leo's face fell, his charade exposed. Shamefaced, he slunk back into the shadows, his reign of terror finally over. Foxy, with a flick of his tail, trotted off, a smirk playing on his lips.

Moral:  Even the mightiest can fall prey to their own deceit.

Wee Laddie in the Linn

A wee laddie wis splashin' in the cool, gurglin' watter o' the linn, havin' the time o' his life. But the current wis stronger than he reckoned, an' afore he knew it, he wis bein' swept oot o' his depth. Panic grippin' his wee heart, he let out a yelp for help that pierced the air.

A gruff auld fellae, walkin' alang the path, heard the laddie's cryin' an' hurried tae the bank. Seein' the wee one flailin' in the fast-flowin' watter, he bellowed, "Ye daft wee gomeril! What were ye thinkin', gettin' yersel' in sic a pickle?"

The laddie, sputterin' an' coughin', could barely get his words oot. "Help me, mister!" he pleaded. "Please help me first, an' gie me yer earful later!"

But the auld fellae just stood there, his face thunderin'. "Dinnae expect me tae rescue ye for yer own foolishness!" he boomed.

Just then, a young lass nearby heard the commotion an' saw the laddie strugglin'. Without a second thought, she plunged into the linn, her strong strokes cuttin' through the current. In no time, she reached the frightened laddie an' pulled him safely to shore.

The auld fellae's face softened a bit seein' the lass's bravery. He helped haul the laddie up the bank, who sputtered a grateful "Thank you!" between coughs.

The young lass just smiled an' shook her head. "Aye, well," she said, her voice laced with a friendly lilt, "next time, mind yer step near the deep bits. Now, run along an' warm yersel' up, wee man."

The laddie, shamefaced but alive, scampered off, drippin' like a drowned kitten. The auld fellae stood there, watchin' him go, a lesson learned etched on his gruff face.

Moral:  A wee bit o' kindness can go a long way, especially when someone's in a pickle.

The Quack Frog

Aince upon a time, a wee glaikit Froggie hopped oot o' his mucky marsh, puffing his wee chest like a bairn blawin' bubbles. "Gather round, gather round!" he croaked, loud as a bullfrog on steroids. "I, Dr. Quackers McRibbit, am a physician o' the finest kind! I ken ma herbs, I ken ma potions, I can cure yer coughs, yer colds, yer bunions an' boils, aye, even the dreaded lurgy o' the lizards!"

Now, amongst the wee critters gawkin' at this self-proclaimed quack (pardon the pun) was a sly auld Foxy. He cocked his head, eyes narrowed like marbles. "A doctor, ye say?" he chuckled, his voice dripping with skepticism. "How can ye heal the world, wee Frogface, when yer ain legs wobble like jelly an' yer skin's as mottled as a haggis on Burns Night?"

Dr. Quackers' boastful bubble burst faster than a midge hit by a kilt flap. He puffed and stammered, trying to cover his embarrassment. But Foxy had spoken the truth – a physician who cannae heal himself has as much use as a chocolate teapot!

So remember, friends, before ye go spoutin' about curin' others, make sure yer ain house is in order first. An' as for you, Dr. Quackers, maybe stick to catchin' flies instead o' catchin' diseases!

Moral:  Before ye try to fix the world, fix yersel' first!

The Swollen Fox

A scran-hungry Foxy, belly rumblin' like a haggis on Burns Nicht, stumbled upon a wee treasure trove. Nestled in a hollow oak, left by some clueless shepherds, was a feast fit for a king – bread piled high an' meat dripping with fat. His eyes gleamin' like wee diamonds, Foxy squeezed through the narrow gap, his tongue lolling out in anticipation. He devoured the lot, faster than a kilt-clad laddie on a gravy-drippin' tattie scone.

But alas, when he tried to squeeze back out, his belly, now full to bursting, stuck fast like a haggis in a too-tight casing. He wriggled and squirmed, whimpering and groaning like a lost lamb, his feast turned to a curse.

Just then, another Foxy, nose twitching with curiosity, trotted by. "Och, what's all the fuss, ya daft git?" he quipped, seein' his pal's predicament. Foxy, red-faced and embarrassed, spilled the beans about his gluttony and his newfound predicament.

The second Foxy, a sly wee fellae with a twinkle in his eye, just chuckled. "Well then, ya big-bellied buffoon," he said, "there's nothin' for it but to wait till yer belly shrinks back to its normal size. Then, poof, ye'll be out like a wee puff o' smoke!"

Foxy, deflated and deflated (and still stuffed to the gills), had to accept his fate. He spent the next few hours camped out in the oak, his belly grumbling like a bagpipes in a hurricane, a constant reminder of his greed. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, his belly began to shrink, and with a triumphant wiggle, he squeezed back through the hole, a wee bit wiser and a lot less hungry.

So remember, friends, greed can be a tricky trap, and sometimes the tastiest treats come with the most embarrassing consequences. And if you find yourself stuck in a pickle, it's best to face the music and wait it out, rather than tryin' to force yer way through.

Moral:  Moderation is key, even when faced with a feast fit for a king.

The Boy and the Nettles

Wee Billy wis rakin' the brambles, huntin' for juicy blackberries, when WHAM! A sneaky nettle lashed oot, its wee prickly fangs sinkin' intae his paw. He yelped like a startled rabbit, tears streamin' doon his cheeks like wee hailstones, an' ran straight tae his ma.

"Mammy! Mammy!" he wailed, wee fists clenched around his stung hand. "Ow, it hurts sooo much! An' I barely even touched the meanie!"

His ma, bless her, took one look at his red, swollen paw an' chuckled a wee bit. "Och, Billy," she said, "that's the whole point, ye daft wee sod! If you'd grabbed it right an' proper, held it firm like a wee hedgehog, the sting wouldn't have had a chance! It's the gentle touch that sets the pricks on edge, see?"

Billy's eyes widened. So it wisna his fault he was in agony? All it took was a bit o' bravery? He took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, an' marched back tae the brambles. This time, he approached the nettles like a fearless warrior, eyes squinted, hand outstretched. And guess what? No sting! He plucked the plump berries, one by one, a smug grin spreadin' across his face.

Moral:  Sometimes, the things that scare us most just need a wee bit o' courage, a firm grip, an' they lose their power. 

The Peasant and the Apple Tree

Aye, there was this wee crofter fellae wi' an apple tree in his garden that was as useful as a chocolate teapot. Nae a single juicy apple did it ever bear, just a shady spot for sparrows and grasshoppers to chirp an' flit aboot. Fed up wi' its uselessness, the crofter grabbed his axe, ready to chop the bramble useless thing down.

But the wee birdies an' bugs, seein' their shady haven in peril, raised a ruckus. "Och aye, friend," they squeaked and chirped, "if ye chop us down, where'll we go for a wee blether? Yer garden'll be as quiet as a kirk on Monday mornin'!"

But the crofter, stubborn as a highland stoor, just scoffed. He swung the axe, whack! Whack! And then, something strange happened. The wood gave way like rotten cheese, and out came a buzzing swarm o' bees, followed by a golden river o' honey.

The crofter's eyes nearly popped oot his head. Naebody expected a treasure chest disguised as a useless apple tree! He flung the axe aside, his frown turned upside down like a haggis on Burns Nicht. "Aye," he chuckled, "this old fellae's worth keepin' after all!"

Moral:  Sometimes, what seems useless on the surface holds a sweet surprise. Don't be so quick to judge a book by its cover, or an apple tree by its lack of apples. 

The Jackdaw and the Pigeons

Wee Jackie Crow, perched on a dykepost, glared at the plump pigeons pecketty-peck in the farmyard. His black feathers itched with envy at their feast o' grain an' grubs. "Och, to be a pigeon!" he squawked, a wee bit daft wi' desire.

So, in a fit o' feathered fancy, Jackie grabbed a bucket o' whitewash an' slathered it a' over himself, beak tae tail. He looked like a pigeon dipped in cream, nae doot aboot it. He strutted intae the feathered throng, pretendin' tae peck an' coo like the best o' them. As long as he kept his yap shut, nae pigeon batted an eyelid.

But pride cometh before a peck, aye? One sunny mornin', Jackie couldn't help himself. He cawed a loud, proud "Caw!" an' the jig was up. The pigeons, feathers bristlin', saw through his disguise quicker than a hawk spots a field mouse. They swarmed him like wee feathered furyballs, peckin' an' proddin' his borrowed white feathers, sendin' him screamin' back tae his ain kin.

But alas, his wee black pals nae haein' seen his DIY pigeon makeover, couldn't believe their eyes. They screeched an' chased him off, thinkin' he was some daft pigeon imposter. Poor Jackie, banished frae both flocks, ended up a lonely wanderer, nothin' but whitewash an' regret for feathers.

Moral:  Don't go pretendin' tae be somethin' yer no, even if the grass (or in this case, the grain) seems greener on the other side. 

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