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Sawney Bean, legend of a cannibal - written in broad Scots dialect

Thar was nae richt ae laddie sair wha heft a cave 'side Galloway, wi' nae jaiken he griftit dare as he was nae tae lippen tae. Ill-naitur'd fishwife he haud in wi', the twa 'greed tae gang the'gither. She haud her tryst, an' haud her wheesht, his ill-duin vext her wi' nae dither. Wi' dirk in hand at howe o' nicht in fu' ambush thay lay waitin', skilt o' fecht an' breukin' neck grantin' flesh for desecratin'. Than brochten hame an' ne'er spill tae weil wi' kale an' roastit wean, for Clootie's gut, ae meal an' yill 'afore wan cotchit Sawney Bean. King James the fourth heard o't a' an' sent oot four hunner men tae scour the Heid an' gaither a' o' Sawney's unco clan. Tae Tolbooth Gaol, than aff tae Leith whar nae mercy wad be seen wi' sic brutality tae bequeath at the quarterin' o' Sawney Bean. Rough translation, not nearly as poetic!: There was a crazy, angry man who inhabited a cave near Galloway with no skilled trade he dared to grift and he was not to be trusted. An ill-natured fishwife he gained in favor and the two agreed to marry. She kept her word and held her tongue, his ill-doing did not bother her. With dirk in hand at midnight in full ambush they lay waiting, skilled at fighting and breaking necks, granted them flesh for desecration. They brought it home with nothing wasted, to mix with kale and roasted child. For the devils gut, a meal and ale, before the capture of Sawney Bean. King James the fourth heard of it all and sent out four hundred men to scour the Head and gather all of Sawney's notorious clan To Tolbooth Jail, then off to Leith Where no mercy would be seen with such brutality to bequeath at the quartering of Sawney Bean GLOSSARY: nae richt- mentally unbalanced (literally 'not right') heft- to settle or establish a dwelling place nae jaiken- without a skilled trade or craft griftit-to use dishonest or illegal methods for personal gain nae tae lippen tae- not trustworthy haud in wi'- obtained favor from gang the'gither- unite as in marriage (literally 'go together') haud her tryst- kept her word haud her wheesht- kept her silence ill-duin- wrong, perverse or ill-behavior (literally 'ill-doing') howe o' nicht- midnight Clootie- the Devil ae meal an' yill-a traditional dish, served with whisky or ale, consumed at celebrations wan-one unco- strange, notorious, extraordinary quarterin'- punishment by severing the hands and feet (and usually genitals) resulting in a fatal loss of blood.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2010

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Date: 10/19/2017 8:39:00 AM
Phew ! You inspired me to write my Afrikaans poem now. Congratulations. You set the bar very high.
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Date: 9/13/2017 3:10:00 PM
A very good stab ;) at a dialect verse!! Light & Love
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Shetley Avatar
Thvia Shetley
Date: 9/13/2017 7:41:00 PM
Thanks Debbie. My husband, who is from Scotland, oversaw the writing of this which was invaluable!
Date: 1/20/2013 5:50:00 AM
Took a couple of readings (with help of the translation & glossary)... but it's worth reading and re-reading and... Wonderful, exquisite tale! Terry
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Date: 11/11/2010 11:40:00 AM
You were born to write like Walter Scott and Bobby Burns, and the universe has a hole when you conform to other crowds. Powerful!
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Date: 11/3/2010 10:32:00 PM
Congratulations on your fantastic win in the contest, Thvia! Love, Audrey
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Date: 11/1/2010 4:31:00 PM
Congratulations on your win..Sara
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Date: 11/1/2010 12:53:00 PM
An entertaining lesson for me in both history and the use of old Scottish (?), Thvia. Congratulations on you well-deserved win in Deb's contest! Love, Carolyn
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Date: 11/1/2010 5:17:00 AM
Congratulations on this well deserved win, Thvia
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Date: 10/24/2010 9:21:00 AM
how did I miss this one? This sure is a gem and so impressive! Enjoyed trying to read this one and I think this is definitely going to place high in Debbie's contest-- I've been trying to rack my brains how to write one for it-- this was just so cool, Thvia :) hugs nikko :)
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Date: 10/11/2010 4:35:00 PM
interesting, excellent write, enjoyed, have a nice one...P.D.
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Date: 10/11/2010 12:42:00 PM
Very impressive I must say. A excellent write, I throughly enjoyed this wonderful read. The Scots version was a bit cumbersome for me eventhough I have a bit in me, I still had trouble with the clear picture. I'm glad you put in the English version. Great write. Caryl
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Date: 10/10/2010 7:10:00 AM
I actually liked the translation better, though the orig. was very poetic. This is an extrodinary piece, Thvia! I'm REALLY impressed! It could very well be the best one I've ever seen in this style. Well done!
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Date: 10/7/2010 7:30:00 AM
that was so cool, thanks for the translation, I was going to run a copy to my mothers for translation till I got to that part.(she was born in Glasgow), I loved it
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Date: 10/7/2010 5:36:00 AM
Thank you for sharing your outstanding poetry with us Thvia. Looks like a contest winner to me. May your days always be filled with inspiration. Love, Carol
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Date: 10/6/2010 5:18:00 PM
Wowser!! Deb is going to love this one.....although I thank you kindly for your nice comment on mine, my own pales in comparison to this terrific effort! Wow! :)
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Date: 10/6/2010 9:54:00 AM
Chris, you asked about the word 'gang', it simply means 'go' or 'to go'. It's used as a verb rather than a noun... I hope that helps. Thanks for your comment on my entry by the way, I had to really brush up for this piece!
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Date: 10/6/2010 6:17:00 AM
A wonderful and thought provoking entry to the contest, Thvia
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Date: 10/6/2010 6:12:00 AM
Removed! Ha, this was fun to research and write!
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Date: 10/6/2010 6:06:00 AM
This is more than fine!!Just please leave your title withOUT the contest mention. Thanks so much! Light & Love
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