Some Simple Truths
by Frances Watt
Aesop's fables have inspired generations of writers, artists and philosophers.
Like all great works, they are cherry-picked eagerly by those championing this or that cause. We have selected a few and redrafted them in Scots. They all contain 'messages' for the independence movement but we will leave interpretation to the reader.
While reading the stories (we used the Penguin Popular Classics version) we came across many others which could be used to make the case for Scotland remaining as part of the United Kingdom.
So, we're not claiming that Aesop would've been a part of the Yes movement. But that doesn't stop us enjoying his charming lessons and taking heart from those which seem applicable.
We hope you enjoy them and can forgive the inevitable mistakes in vocabulary/spelling.
The Lion and the Moose
Ance upon a time, a braw lion wis havin' a wee doze under a shady tree. A wee moosie, scutterin' aboot lookin' for somethin' tae eat, accidentally ran richt across the lion's neb. The lion woke up wi' a stramash and, roarin' angrily, trapped the wee moosie under his muckle paw.
The moosie, shakin' wi' fricht, squeaked, "Och, Maister Lion, I didnae mean tae waken ye! I beg ye, spare ma life! And wha kens, some day I micht even be able tae pey back yer kindness."
The lion chuckled. "You, a wee moosie, pey me back? That's the maist ridiculous thing I've ever heard!" But seein' the moosie's terror, he saftened his hert and liftit his paw, lettin' the wee critter gang.
A wee while later, the lion got caught in a hunter's net. He roared and struggled wi' aw his micht, but the mair he struggled, the tichter the rapes became. Juist whin he thocht aw hope wis lost, he heard a wee squeaky soond.
It wis the wee moosie! She had come tae the soond o' the lion's roars and, kennin' his pickle, scutterit up his leg and began tae gnaw at the rapes wi' her sharp wee teeth. Ane by ane, the straunds gied wey, and sune the lion wis free.
"Thank ye, wee frien'," said the lion, humbled. "Ye wis richt. Even the smawest o' us can be o' help."
Moral o' the story:
Kindness is niver wasted. Nae maitter how wee ye are, ye can aye mak' a difference. Even the maist pouerful creautures can need help frae time tae time. And mind ye, a guid deed can come back tae ye in unnexpectit weys.
The Housedog and the Wolf
In a bonnie wee fermtoun, livit a weel-fed and contentit Dug. He had a braw bed, a steady suppply o' delicious scran, and the luve o' his human faimly. Ane braw day, as he wis lyin' in the sun, takin' it easy, he wis stairtit bi a scrawny Wolf wha had slunk in fae the forest.
The Wolf, fair green wi' envy o' the Dug's roond belly and easy life, spiered aboot his guid fortune. The Dug, richt chuffed, telt him aw aboot his cosy existence, blawin' his ain trumpet aboot the mountains o' meat he got ilka nicht and the cracklin' fire he got tae sit beside. The Wolf, fair tempted bi this grand lifestyle, straucht awa said he wid gie up his wild weys and bide wi' the Dug as a pal.
As the Wolf traipsed efter the Dug intae the fermtoun, he cuidnae but notice a sair bit o' skint fur on the Dug's neck. Curius, he spiered the Dug whit wis up wi' that. The Dug, juist bein' casual, said it wis jist fae the coller he aye had tae wear, a wee price tae pey for aw the brawness and comfort he enjoyed.
Whenthe Wolf heard that, a licht bulb went aff in his heid. He realised that vaikka a life o' ease wis awsome, it came at the cost o' his precious freedom. He langit for the open glens, the thrill o' the hunt, and the wild spirit that made him a Wolf.
Sae, wi' a new clearness o' thocht, the Wolf politely said na tae the Dug's offer and skedditled back tae the forest. He micht hae been thin and hungry, but he wis free.
Moral o' the story:
True happiness aften comes fae bein' yersel' and cherishin' yer freedom, even if it means giein' up some comfort and convenience. The things that mak us unique and define oor spirit are aften mair valuable than ony material possessions or wee bits o' pleasure.
Hercules and The Wagoner
A braw Highlander, eident and strong, wis guidin' his cart alang a mucky track when, wi' a squelch and a groan, the wheels sank deep intae a boggy rut. The muck clawed at the spokes, the beasts o' burden balked and snorted, but budge it wouldnae.
The highlander, fair chuffed, threw doon his kilt and fell tae his knees, beggin' and pleadin' tae the mighty Hercules for succour. "Ach, Herc!" he cried, "Ye who slew Geryon the three-headed beast, lend yer een tae ma plight! Lift this cursed cart frae the mire, e'er I'm swallowed by the bog!"
A rumble filled the air, and before the man could blink, there stood Hercules, broad as a bull and tall as a fir. He looked doon at the highlander, a furrow in his brow. "Dinnae just sit yer lugs oot, ya gomeril!" he boomed. "Get yer brawny back tae that wheel and gie't a shove! Dinnae expect the gods tae do yer dirty wark for ye!"
Shamefaced, the highlander stood, wiped his snotty nose on his sleeve, and did as Herc bade. With a yell, he threw his weight against the cart, muscles strainin', knuckles white. The beasts, spurred by his newfound gumption, pulled wi' all their might, and finally, with a suck and a slosh, the cart lurched free.
Hercules watched, a faint smile curling his lips. "There ye go, lad!" he said. "See what a bit o' hard graft can do? Remember, the gods help those who help themselves. Now get on yer wee journey, and dinnae forget Herc when ye're toasting yer dram this nicht!"
With a grateful nod, the highlander clambered back onto his cart, the wheels churnin' happily through the mud. He'd learned his lesson well: self-reliance was worth more than any prayer, and a good shove was better than a hundred pleas. And as he rattled down the road, a wee tune on his lips, he raised a silent toast to the mighty Herc, who'd shown him the true meaning of strength.
Moral 'o the story:
A wee bit o' effort is aye better than a heap o' hope.