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Aesop's Fables in Scots #9

More wee fables in Scots

Monday, June 24, 2024
17 mins

The Tortoise and the Eagle

A wee Tortie wisnae content crawlin' the earth like a slug on a stonie path. Seein' wee feathered pals soarin' in the clouds, his heart craved wings an' freedom. So, he pestered a braw Eagle like a midge at a haggis supper, beggin' tae be taught the secrets o' flight.

The Eagle, wise as auld Glenmorangie, tried tae explain. "Ach, wee feller," he hooted, "wings ye dinnae have, an' the sky's nae for shells an' stumpy legs!" But the Tortie, stubborn as a kilt in a kilt-liftin' competition, kept bletherin' aboot treasures an' promises, sure learnin' tae fly wis just a wee bit o' practice away.

Finally, tired o' the incessant squawin', the Eagle sighed an' agreed tae give it a try. He gripped the Tortie in his talons, soared high as a haggis on a firework, then, with a hesitant release, let the wee shell-beast go. Down plummetted the Tortie, faster than a haggis rollin' downhill, an' splattered like a dropped dram on a rocky crag.

Aye, friends, the tale o' the Tortie an' the Eagle is a cautionary wee yark – a reminder that some dreams dinnae fit yer feathers. Don't waste yer precious shell longin' for wings that aren't meant tae be. Instead, embrace the slow crawl, the steady climb, the unique joys o' bein' a Tortie in a world full o' Eagles.

So next time you find yourself starin' enviously at someone else's sky, remember the wee Tortie's tragic tumble. Appreciate yer own path, however humble, an' find strength in yer shell, however slow. The world needs all sorts o' creatures, crawlin' an' flyin', an' each has a tale worth tellin', a song worth singin'. So keep ploddin' on, wee Tortie, an' let yer slow journey be a testament tae the beauty o' bein' true tae yourself, even if it means never touchin' the clouds.

Moral:  Dinna chase dreams that dinna suit yer feathers. Envy can blind ye tae yer ain strengths, and tryin' tae be somethin' ye're no can lead tae a sore fall.

The Goat on the Roof

Wee Billy Gruff, a scallywag wi' horns an' a nose for mischief, clambered up the rickety roof o' the shed like a haggis climbin' a kilt. Drawn by the juicy herbs an' wildflowers sproutin' through the thatch, he perched there like a cheeky wee goat atop a birthday cake. Just then, he spied a scrawny Wolf slinkin' past below, an' Billy, never one tae miss a chance for a bit o' bletherin', started bleatin' an' baa-in', tauntin' the Wolf's inability tae join him in his leafy paradise.

The Wolf, wise as auld Glenmorangie in a kilt, just tilted his head, eyes glintin' like wee diamonds in the heather. "Dinnae think yer insults sting, wee billy," he rumbled, voice low but strong. "It's nae you mockin' me, but that rickety roof ye're perched on that casts the shadow o' yer bletherin'."

Aye, friends, the tale o' Wee Billy Gruff an' the Wolf is a wee reminder that the loudest voices dinnae always belong tae the biggest mouths. It's the platform we choose, the unsteady perch o' pride or mockery, that truly amplifies our words. So next time you find yerself tempted tae shout yer opinions from a rooftop, remember the Wolf's wise words. Take a step back, choose yer stance carefully, an' maybe, just maybe, instead o' hurlin' insults, you'll find a wee bit o' understanding, a bridge o' bleats built not on mockery, but on the shared ground beneath your feet.

An' who knows, that gentle understanding, like a wee bit o' sunlight shinin' through the thatched roof, might just be enough tae turn a grumpy Wolf into a friendly neighbor. So tread wisely, Wee Billy Gruff, an' remember, yer bleats, like yer beard, flourish best on solid ground, not shaky pride.

Moral:  A high perch can gie a false sense o' security, lad. Flauntin' yer advantages ower ithers winna last, true strength comes from within, no yer temporary position.

The Fox Without a Tail

Aye, picture this: a sly wee fox, sharp as a dram o' whisky, tumblin' headfirst intae a trap. He wriggles an' wriggles, fightin' like a haggis at a ceilidh, till finally he pops oot, free but minus his bushy tail. Poor blighter! Shame gnawed at him like a Highland midge, makin' him think life wisnae worth a bagpipe's toot without his foxy finery.

So, what does the crafty critter do? He gathers his fellow foxes, a furry parliament o' tails an' whiskers, an' starts spinnin' a yarn as slippery as a kilt in a rainstorm. "Tails, friends?" he croons, voice smooth as butter on oatcakes. "Ugly wee things, aren't they? Dragging us doun, weighin' us like haggis stones! Think o' the freedom, the lightness, if we just…chopped them off!"

But one wise old fox, older than Ben Nevis wi' a beard o' moss, saw through the sly scheme. "Hold yer horses, laddie," he barked, eyes glintin' like wee Highland lochs. "If ye weren't missin' yer own tail, ye wouldn't be pushin' us tae trim oors!"

Aye, friends, the tale o' the tailless fox is a wee reminder that misery loves company, even in the furred world. Don't try tae drag others doun tae mask yer own misfortune. Embrace yer scars, yer missing tails, they're part o' yer story. An' remember, true friends won't judge ye by the length o' yer tail, but by the warmth o' yer heart.

So keep waggin' yer stump, wee foxy, an' let yer spirit shine brighter than any lost brush. An' if anyone tries tae push their problems onto you, just give them a wink an' a story o' a cunning fox who learned that true happiness lies in acceptin' yerself, tail an' all.

Moral:  A flegget fox tries tae trim the hale pack, but a crafty lad kens, ye cannae hide yer ain flaws by pointin' at ithers. Face yer mistakes and bide true, nae amount o' sly tricks will mak' ye whole.

The Vain Jackdaw

Aye, Jupiter, the wee feathered fellae in charge o' the clouds, decided it wis time tae crown a king o' the birdies. He sent oot a wee chirp o' an invite, tellin' them tae preen an' polish their wings, ready tae strut their stuff on a certain sunny morn.

Now, amongst the feathered hopefuls wis Jacquie, a cheeky wee blackbird wi' feathers duller than a haggis at the end o' a ceilidh. Seein' the flashy robins an' shimmerin' swallows, Jacquie knew his plain ol' coat wouldn't win any beauty contests. So, what did the crafty crow do? He waited till the rest o' the birdies flitted off, then scoured the banks o' the burn, gatherin' up the prettiest feathers his wee claws could grip. He stuck them all over himself, lookin' like a rainbow exploded on a kilt.

Come the big day, the birdies flocked tae Jupiter's throne, each struttin' their stuff like prize cockerels at a country fair. Jacquie, decked out in his borrowed finery, strutted even harder, thinkin' his disguise wis foolproof. He almost had it, Jupiter nearly cried "Crow King!", but then… disaster struck!

The other birdies, seein' through the feathered fib, squawked like a bagpipe orchestra gone wild. They descended on Jacquie, pluckin' an' proddin', till he was left standin' there, plain as day, a blackbird in borrowed feathers. Jupiter, nae fan o' cheatin', shook his head an' chirped aboot honesty bein' the best birdie-bling.

So, friends, Jacquie's tale is a wee reminder that borrowed beauty is like a haggis supper – tasty for a while, but soon leaves you empty an' ashamed. Embrace yer own feathers, however plain, an' let yer true colours shine, even if they're nae as flashy as a peacock's fan. Remember, Jupiter, an' everyone else, values a genuine chirp over a borrowed preen any day. So keep yer beak held high, Jacquie, an' sing yer own wee song, 'cause that's where the true beauty lies.

Moral:  Yer ain feathers are aye better than borrowed braws. Fae trickery can bring a short-lived shine, but the truth will always be revealed. Be proud o' who ye are, true beauty shines from within.

The Traveller and his Dog

Aye, a weary traveller, his boots dusty an' his belly rumblin' like a haggis symphony, stood at the door, ready tae hit the road. He glanced at his trusty mutt, sprawled by the fire like a contented scone, stretchin' like a wee rubber band in the mornin' sun. "Hey, ya daft dug!" he barked, impatience tingin' his voice. "Quit yer yawnin' an' get a wiggle on! We've got places tae go, tales tae tell!"

But the dog, wise as auld Glenmorangie in a kilt, just thumped his tail on the hearth like a wee drumbeat an' replied, soft as a whisper, "Ready as rain, master. It's you I'm waitin' for."

Aye, friends, the tale o' the weary traveller an' his loyal hound is a wee gem o' a reminder. Sometimes, the greatest journeys start not wi' rushin' feet, but wi' a patient wait, a trust in the rhythm o' the pack. An' who knows, maybe learnin' tae walk at the pace o' our furry companions, noticin' the sun on their backs an' the wag o' their tails, might just lead us tae paths unseen, stories unheard, the true treasures hidin' in the gentle pauses o' life.

So next time yer wanderlust kicks in an' yer boots itch for the trail, take a moment tae check on yer shadow, yer four-legged friend. Maybe they're not yawnin' at all, but waitin' patiently, ready tae guide you on a journey far richer than any map can show, a journey o' hearts, o' shared moments, o' the silent language o' loyalty an' love. Remember, sometimes, the most beautiful landscapes are the ones we discover at the pace o' a dog's trot, tail waggin' like a compass, pointin' not just north, but towards the deeper secrets o' the world, an' the warmth o' companionship that makes every journey, however long, a walk in the park.

Moral:  Dinna bark louder than ye bite, mak sure yer ready for the journey afore ye even think about leavin'.

The Shipwrecked Man and the Sea

Och aye, imagine this: a puir fellae, a sailor tossed aboot by the storm, his claes in tatters an' his hair like seaweed, sprawled oot on the cruel sand. The ocean's roar has quietit, replaced by the tide's rhythmic whisper. He stirs, an' a wave o' bitterness washes ower him like the ane that smashed his ship. Wi' a clenched nieve, he shakes it at the endless blue horizon, his voice hoarse wi' anger.

"Curse ye, ye treacherous sea!" he cries, the words whipped awa' by the salty wind. "Yer surface smiles fair, like a bonnie lass at a ceilidh, but beneath it lurks a monster's hert! Ye lure us onto yer back, fill oor sails wi' false hope, only tae unleash yer fury whin we're weel an' truly at yer mercy! Whaur's the fairth in that? Whaur's the decency?"

Suddenly, the world shimmers, the air crackles wi' energy, an' the vast expanse o' the sea seems tae gather intae a figure. A wumman, tall an' strong as a cliff face, wi' hair like seaweed an' een that mirror the storm's fury, stands afore him. Her voice, whin it comes, is as deep an' auld as the ocean floor.

"Sailor," she booms, her words roarin' like thunder across the beach, "dinnae mistake my anger for treachery. By nature, I am as calm an' welcomin' as the green meadoes o' yer hameland. But the Winds… they are the fickle anes, the restless spirits that whip me intae a frenzy, twistin' my currents, raisin' my waves against my will."

She gestures towards the sky, her een flashin' wi' an eerie fire. "See them there, thae dancin' demons, forever whisperin' promises o' adventure, forever pushin' an' pullin' at my soul? They are the anes that turn my gentle caress intae a crushin' grasp, the anes that lure yer ships onto my back an' then dash them against the rocks in their endless game."

The Shipwrecked Man stares at her, his anger ebbing awa' like the tide. He sees, no a monster, but a bein' o' immense power, caught in a struggle aulder than time. A grudgin' respect stirs within him, a sense o' the shared dance between the elements, the delicate balance that can sae easily tip intae chaos.

"So it's the Winds, then," he mutters, the words unfamiliar on his tongue. "The anes that whisper o' faraway lands an' hidden treasures, that fill oor herts wi' wanderlust an' then abandon us tae yer wrath."

The wumman, the Sea, nods slowly, a hint o' sadness in her voice. "Aye, sailor. The Winds are maisters o' deceit, their voices seductive but their herts cauld. They play their games across my back, an' we, caught in the middle, maun dance tae their tune, for better or worse."

The Shipwrecked Man falls silent, ponderin' the weight o' her words. He looks at the endless sea, nae langer wi' fear or anger, but wi' a newfound awe. He sees nae just a treacherous enemy, but a powerful force, a wild creature bound tae the whims o' anither. An' perhaps, he thinks, perhaps learnin' tae understand the dance, tae read the whispers o' the Winds, might just be the key tae survivin' it.

Moral:  Aye blame the surface, but the storm's the beast. Sometimes misfortune comes nae frae malice, but frae forces beyond control. Learn frae yer trials and nae be quick tae point fingers.

The Wild Boar and the Fox

A scrawny Fox went scrootin' through the woods, his nose twitchin' like a kilt in a gale, when he stumbled upon a braw Boar sharpenin' his tusks on a sturdy tree trunk. "Aye, ya hairy hooligan!" the Fox squeaked, eyebrows shootin' up like antlers. "What's all this tusk-twiddlin' about? No hunters on the prowl, nae wolves howlin', nothin' but sunshine an' saplings."

The Boar, wise as a dram o' Glenmorangie, grunted and paused in his tusk-takin' job. "Aye, wee feller," he rumbled, voice deep as a Highland drum. "But the moment danger bites at my tail, I'll need these tusks sharp as haggis knives. Nae time for polishin' when the hunt is on!"

Aye, friends, the tale o' the Boar an' the Fox is a wee gem o' wisdom for yer sporran pouch. Don't wait for the storm to sharpen yer swords, the mountain to climb yer legs, or the battle to train yer heart. Spend yer sunny days honing yer skills, buildin' yer strength, so when life throws a rogue boulder yer way, you're ready tae roll with it, tusks flashin' an' spirit fierce.

So next time you find yourself temptin' fate with a lazy nap when the sky's clear, remember the Boar. Keep yer tools sharp, yer mind nimble, yer spirit ready for the fray. Because true grit, like a well-polished tusk, shines brightest when the odds are stacked against you, an' that's when you show the world just what you're made of, eh?

Moral:  A wee bit o' prep can save ye a heap o' bother. Sharpen yer tools afore the storm hits, bein' ready is half the battle.

Mercury and the Sculptor

Wee Mercurius, bless his curious wee soul, itched tae ken how folks truly saw him. So, he donned a disguise, lookin' like a lad at a kilt-fittin', an' marched straight into a sculptor's workshop, where statues stood proud as pipers at a ceilidh, waitin' tae find a home.

Spying a mighty statue o' Jupiter, beard grander than a haggis supper, Mercurius croaked, "How much for that braw fellae?"

The sculptor, eyes sharp as a Highland midge, chuckled. "Only a crown, young friend."

Mercurius, never one tae miss a chance for a wee scoff, snorted. "Is that all? An' how much for the bonnie lady over there?" He pointed tae a Juno, poised as a kilt-flipper.

"For her," the sculptor winked, "half a crown, nae worries."

Eager as a bagpipe drone in a jig, Mercurius jabbed a finger at his own disguised statue. "An' that chap there, the cheeky wee one?"

The sculptor threw back his head an' boomed with laughter. "Ach, him? You buy the other two, he comes as a wee freebie!"

Aye, friends, the tale o' Mercurius an' the sculptor is a wee reminder that sometimes, our worth isn't measured in crowns or trophies. It's in the genuine connections we forge, the friendships we build, the smiles we bring. So next time you're tempted tae compare yourself tae the statues on someone else's shelf, remember Mercurius. Focus on your own spark, your own unique melody, an' the right folks will see your true value, without a price tag in sight.

Moral:  Finery and titles dinna guarantee respect. True worth comes from within, nae from the price tag. Bide humble and let yer actions speak for themselves, true value will shine through in the end.

The Fawn and his Ma

Aye, picture this: a wee fawn, sleek an' strong as a young stag, grazin' alongside his wise auld ma in the heather. "Lad," she mooed, her voice low like a Highland burn, "ye've grown into a braw wee fella, hooves sturdy, antlers sharp. So why, in the name o' oatcakes an' whisky, do ye flinch at the mere whisper o' a hound?"

Just then, a distant echo broke the peace – the baying o' a hunt, faint but growlin' closer like a storm on the horizon. The wee fawn's ears twitched, his eyes wide as lochans in the sun.

"Stay put, my bairn," his ma urged, her voice calm as a summer breeze. "Don't you fret aboot me." With that, she sprang through the bracken, fleet as a Highland dancer, disappearin' into the woods.

Aye, friends, the tale o' the fawn an' his ma is a wee gem o' wisdom for young an' old alike. Sometimes, courage isn't about standin' yer ground an' roarin' like a stag in rut. It's about trustin' your instincts, knowin' when to stay hidden, when to let the wiser ones lead the way. The mother deer, she knew the land, the tricks o' the hunt, an' by lettin' her son stay camouflaged, she gave him the best chance o' survival.

So next time fear nips at yer heels, an' the hounds o' doubt seem hot on yer trail, remember the fawn. Seek shelter, listen to your gut, an' trust that sometimes, the bravest choice is the quietest one. For true courage, like a stag in the mist, often lies in knowin' when to fade into the shadows, waitin' for the sun to rise on a brighter day.

And who knows, maybe when the storm passes, you'll find your own path, your own strength, ready to leap into the light, a braw stag in your own right, head held high, antlers sharp, ready to write your own chapter in the grand tale o' the forest.

Moral:  Experience teaches ye. Yer mither kens the dangers better than ye, sometimes fleein' can be the bravest choice.

The Fox and the Lion

Wee Foxy, bless his whiskered soul, had never crossed paths with a Lion, the king o' the jungle wi' a roar like a haggis-hurlin' contest. So, when they finally met, Foxy froze tighter than a kilt in a blizzard, fear gnawin' at his bones like a Highland midge.

One day, fate tossed them together again. Foxy still felt a wee shiver o' fear, but nothin' like the first time. He kept his distance, mind you, but at least he could hold his breath in the same room as the mighty beast.

Then, come a sunny mornin', the third time's the charm, aye? Foxy, bold as a kilt worn with the knees untied, marched right up to the Lion, tail flickin' like a wee flag in the breeze. He chatted an' chuckled, friendly as a dram o' whisky shared at a ceilidh, like they were long-lost pals catchin' up on gossip.

Aye, friends, the tale o' Foxy an' the Lion is a wee reminder that fear, like a Highland fog, can clear with every sunrise. The more we face our anxieties, the more they shrink in the face of our courage. So next time you're faced with a daunting beast, whether it's a real Lion or just a metaphorical monster under your bed, remember Foxy. Take a deep breath, take a step forward, and you might just find yourself havin' a friendly wee blether with the critter before you know it.

Just keep yer tail held high, yer voice strong, an' who knows, maybe one day you'll be the one offerin' a dram o' friendship to the biggest fearsome beastie around, proving that courage, like a wee bit o' Highland sunshine, can melt even the icicles o' deepest dread.

Moral:  Fear can be a fearsome beast, lad, but familiarity can tame even the fiercest lion. Nae need tae judge a book by its cover, sometimes what seems scary at first can become nothin' mair than a blether by the third meetin'.

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