Bairns' Rhymes an Stories — Bairns' Rhymes an Stories

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Bairns' Rhymes an Stories

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Helen B. Cruikshank


Clock-leddy, clock-leddy
flee awa hame,
Your lum's in a lowe,
Your bairns in a flame;
Reid-spottit jaiket,
An polisht black ee,
laund on ma luif an bring
Siller tae me!

Attercap, attercap,
Spinnin your threid,
Midges for denner, an
Flees for your breid;
Sic a mishanter
Befell a bluebottle,
Silk roond his feet-
Your haund at his throttle!

Mowdiwarp, mowdiwarp,
Howkin an scartin,
Tweed winna please ye,
Nor yet the braw tairtan,
Silk winna suit ye,
Naither will cotton,
Naething, ma laird, but the
velvet ye'v gotten.


Nancy Nicholson

Listen Tae The Teacher

He's five year auld, he's aff tae the schuil
Fermer's bairn wi a pincil an a rule
His teacher scoffs whan he says "hoose"
" The word is house, you silly little goose"
He tells his ma whan he gets back
He saw a "mouse" in an auld cairt track
His faither lauchs fae the stackyaird dyke
"Yon's a MOOSE ye daft wee tike"


Listen tae the teacher, dinna say dinna
Listen tae the teacher, dinna say hoose
Listen tae the teacher, ye canna say maunna
Listen tae the teacher, ye maunna say moose

He bit his lip an shut his mooth
Whit ane coud he trust for truith
He teuk his burden ower the hill
Tae auld gray Geordie o the mill
"An did thay mock thoo for thee tongue
Wi thaim sae auld an ye sae young?
Thay warna makkin a fuil o ye
Thay war makkin a fuil o thaimsels ye see"

Say hoose tae the faither, house tae the teacher
Moose tae the fermer, mouse tae the preacher
Whan yer young it's weel for you
Tae "do in Rome as Romans do"
But whan ye growe an ye are auld
Ye needna dae as ye are tauld
Dinna trim yer tongue tae suit yon dame
That scorns the langage o her hame

Than teacher thocht that he wis fine
He keepit in stap, he steyed in line
Faither says that he wis grand
He spak his ain tongue like a man
An whan he growed an made his chyce
He chuise his Scots, his native vyce
An A chairge ye tae dae likewice
Spurn yon puir misguidit cries




A canty wee lassie cried Menzies
Speirt, "Dae ye ken whit this thenzies?"
Her Maw, wi a gasp,
Reponed, "It's a wasp!"
An ye're haudin the end whaur the stenzies

Wee Willie Winkie

Wee Willie Winkie rins throu the toun,
Up the stair an doun the stair in his nichtgoun,
Tirlin at the windae, cryin at the lock,
Is aw the bairns in thair beds? it's past aicht o clock!

Wee Willie Winkie, are ye comin ben?
The cat's singin gray thrums tae the sleepin hen,
The dug's speldert on the fluir an disna gie a cheep,
But here's a waukrif laddie that winna faw asleep.

Onything but sleep, ye rogue, glowerin like the muin,
Rattlin in an airn joug wi an airn spuin,
Rummlin-tummlin roond aboot, crawin like a cock,
Skirlin like A kenna whit, waukenin sleepin fowk.

Hey, Willie Winkie, the wean's in a creel,
Whammlin aff a body's knee like a verra eel,
Ruggin at the cat's lug an raivelin aw her thrums,
Hey, Willie Winkie, see here he comes!


Rashie-coat wis a keeng's dochter, an her faither wantit her tae be mairit; but she didna like the man. Her faither said she buid tak him; an she didna ken whit tae dae. Sae she gaed awa tae the hen-wife, for tae speir whit she shoud dae. An the hen-wife said: "Say ye winna tak him binna thay gie ye a coat o the beaten gowd." Weel, thay gied her a coat o the beaten gowd; but she didna want tae tak him for aw that. Sae she gaed tae the hen-wife again, an the hen-wife said: "Say ye winna tak him unless thay gie ye a coat made o the feathers o aw the birds o the air." Sae the keeng sent a man wi a great heap o corn; an the man cried tae aw the birds o the air: "Ilka bird tak up a corn an pit doun a feather; an thay teuk aw the feathers an made coats o thaim, an gied it tae Rashie-coat; but she didna want tae tak him for aw that. Weel, she gaed tae the hen-wife again, an speirt whit she shoud dae; an the hen-wife said "Say ye winna tak him unless thay gie ye a coat o rashes an a pair o slippers." Weel thay gied her a coat o rashes an a pair o slippers; but she didna want tae tak him for aw that. Sae she gaed tae the hen-wife again, an the hen wife said she coudna help her ony mair.
Weel, she left her faither's hoose, an gaed faur, an faur an faurer nor A can tell; an she cam tae a keeng's hoose an she gaed til't. An thay speirt at her whit she wis seekin, an she said she wis seekin service; an thay gied her service, an set her in tae the keetchen for tae wash the dishes, an tak oot the ess, an aw that. An whan the Saubath day cam, thay aw gaed til the kirk, an left her at hame for tae ceuk the denner. An the fairy telt her tae gang, an she wad ceuk the denner for her. An she said:

"Ae peat gar anither peat burn,
Ae spit gar anither spit turn,
Ae pat gar anither pat play,
Lat Rashie-coat gang til the kirk the day."

Sae Rashie-coat pit on her coat o the beaten gowd, an gaed awa tae the kirk. An the keeng's son fell in luve wi her; but she cam hame afore the kirk skailt, an he coudna find oot wha she wis. An whan she cam hame she fund the denner ceukit, an naebody kent she haed been oot.
Weel, the neist Saubath day, the fairy cam again, an telt her tae pit on the coat o feathers o aw the birds o the air, an gang til the kirk, an she wad ceuk the denner for her. Weel, she pit on the coat o feathers, an gaed til the kirk. An she cam oot afore it skailt; an whan the keeng's son seen her gaun oot, he gaed oot an aw; but he coudna find oot wha she wis. An she wun hame, an teuk aff the coat o feathers, an fund the denner ceukit, an naebody kent she haed been oot.
An the neist Saubath day, the fairy cam til her again, an telt her tae pit on the coat o rashes an the pair o slippers, an gang til the kirk again. Aweel, she did it aw; an this time the keeng's son sat naur the door, an whan he seen Rashie-coat slippin oot afore the kirk skailt , he slippit oot an aw an grippit her. An she gat awa frae him, an ran hame; but she tint ane o her slippers, an he teuk it up. An he gart cry throu aw the kintra, that onybody that coud get the slipper on, he wad mairy thaim. Sae aw the leddies o the coort ettelt tae get the slipper on, an hit wadna fit nane o thaim. An the auld hen-wife cam an fuish her dochter for tae ettle an get it on, an she nippit her fit an she clippit her fit, an gat it on thon wey. Sae the keeng's son wis gaun tae mairy her. An he wis taen her awa for tae mairy her, ridin on a horse, an her ahint him; an thay cam tae a wid, an thare wis a bird sittin on a tree, an as thay gaed by, the bird said:

"Nippit fit an clippit fit
Ahint the keeng's son rides;
But bonny fit an pretty fit
Ahint the caudron hides."

An whan the keeng's son haurd this, he flang aff the hen-wife's dochter, an cam hame again, an leukit ahint the caudron, an thare he fund Rashie-coat greetin for her slipper. An he tried her fit wi the slipper, an it gaed on fine. Sae he mairit her.

An thay leeved happy an happy,
An niver drank oot o a dry cappie.

Whippitie Stourie

A ken ye're fond o clashes aboot fairies, bairns; an a story anent a fairy an the guidwife o Kittlerumpit haes juist come intae ma mynd; but A canna verra weel tell ye nou whauraboots Kittlerumpit ligs. A think hit's somewhaur in amang the debatable grund; Onygate A s' no pertend tae mair nor A ken, lik awbody nou-a-days. A wiss thay wad mynd the ballant we uised tae lilt lang syne:

"Mony ane sings the girse, the girse,
An mony ane sings the corn;
An mony ane clatters o bauld Robin Huid,
Ne'er kent whaur he wis born."

But hou-sae-iver, aboot Kittlerumpit: the guidman wis a vaigin sort o a body; an he gaed tae a fair ae day, an no anely niver cam hame again, but niver mair wis haurd o. Some said he listit, an ither some that the wearifu pressgang cleekit him up, tho he wis claithed wi a wife an a wean forby. Hech-hou! that dulefu pressgang! thay gaed aboot the kintra lik rairin lions, seekin wha thay micht devoor. A mynd weel, ma auldest brither Sandy wis aw but smuirt in the meal ark hidin frae thae limmers. Efter thay war gane, we poued him oot frae amang the meal, pechin an greetin, an sae white as ony corp. Ma mither haed tae pyke the meal oot o his mooth wi the shank o a horn spuin.
Aweel, whan the guidman o Kittlerumpit wis gane, the guidwife wis left wi a smaw fendin. Little gear haed she, an a soukin lad bairn. Awbody said thay war sairy for her; but naebody helpit her, whilk's a common case, 'ser's. Housomeiver, the guidwife haed a sou, an that wis her ae consolation; for the sou wis suin tae ferrae, an she howpit for a guid bairn-time.
But we aw ken howp's fallacious. Ae day the wife gaes tae the ree for tae fill the sou's troch; an whit dis she find but the sou liggin on her back, gruntin an grainin, an readies tae gie up the ghaist.
A trowe this wis a new stoond tae the guidwife's hert; sae she sat doun on the knockin-stane, wi her bairn on her knee, an grat sairer nor iver she did for the loss o her ain guidman.
Nou A premeese that the cot-hoose o Kittlerumpit wis biggit on a brae, wi a fir-wid ahint hit, o whilk ye mey hear mair or lang gae. Sae the guidwife, whan she wis dichtin her een, chances tae leuk doun the brae, an whit dis she see but an auld wumman, awmaist lik a leddy, comin slaw up the gate. She wis buskit in green, an aw but a white cutty apron, an a black velvet huid, an a steeple crount beaver hat on her heid: She haed a lang walkin-staff, sae lang as hersel, in her haund - the sort o staff that auld men an auld weemen helpit thaimsels wi lang syne; A see nae sic staffs nou, 'ser's.
Aweel, whan the guidwife seen the green gentle-wumman naur her, she raise an made curtchey; an; "Mem," quo she, greetin, "A'm ane o the maist misfortunate weemen alive."
"A dinna wiss tae hear pipers' news an fiddlers' tales, guidwife," quo the green wumman. "A ken ye'v tint your guidman - we haed waur losses at the Shirra Muir; an A ken that your sou's unco seek. Nou, whit will ye gie me gin A cuir her?"
"onything your leddyship's mem likes," quo the witless guidwife, niver jalousin wha she haed tae deal wi. "Lat's weet thoums on that bargain," quo the green wumman: sae thoums wis weetit, A s' warrand ye; an intae the ree mem mairches.
She leuks at the sou wi a lang glower, an syne begoud tae mutter in til hersel whit the guidwife coudna weel lift; but she said hit soondit lik;

"Pitter patter,
Haly watter."

Syne she teuk oot her pootch a wee bottle, wi something lik ile in't, an rubs the sou wi't abuin the snoot, ahint the lugs, an on the tip o the tail. " Get up, beast," quo the green wumman. Nae suiner said nor duin - up bangs the sou wi a grunt, an awa tae her troch for her brakfast.
The guidwife o Kittlerumpit wis a blythe guidwife nou, an wad she hae kisst the verra hem o the green mem's goun-tail, but she wadna lat her. "A'm no sae fond o fashions," quo she; "but nou that A hae richtit your seek beast, lat us end oor siccar bargain. Ye'll no find me an unraisonable greedy body - A like aye tae dae a guid turn for a smaw rewaird - aw A aks, an will hae, is that lad bairn in your bosie."
The guidwife o Kittlerumpit, wha nou kent her customer, gied a skirl lik a stickit gryce. The green wumman wis a fairy, nae dout; sae she prays an greets, an begs, an flytes; but aw wadna dae. "Ye mey spare your din, "quo the fairy, "skirlin lik A wis sae deif as a door nail; but this A'll lat ye tae wit - A canna, by the law we leeve on, tak your bairn til the thrid day efter this day; an no than, gin ye can tell me ma richt name." Sae mem gaes awa roond the swine's ree end, an the guidwife faws doun in a swarf ahint the knockin-stane.
Aweel, the guidwife o the Kittlerumpit coud sleep nane that nicht for greetin, an aw the neist day the same, cuddlin her bairn till she naur squeezed oot its braith; but the seicont day she thinks on takkin a walk in the wid A telt ye o; an sae, wi the bairn in her airms, she sets oot, an gaes faur in amang the trees, whaur wis an auld quarrel-heuch, growen ower wi girse, an a bonny spring wall in the mids o't. Afore she cam verra ney, she hears the birrin o a lint-wheel, an a vyce liltin a sang; sae the wife creeps quatelike amang the busses, an keeks ower the brou o the quarrel-heuch, an whit dis she see but the green fairy kempin at her wheel, an singin lik ony precentor:

"Little kens oor guid dame at hame
That Whippitie Stourie is ma name!"

"Ah, ha!" thinks the wife, "A'v gotten the dorbie's wird at last; the deil gie thaim joy that telt it!" Sae she gaed hame faur lichter nor she cam oot, as ye mey weel jalouse, lauchin lik a madkaip wi the thocht o begunkin the auld green fairy.
Aweel, ye maun ken that this guidwife wis a joco wumman, an aye canty whan her hert wisna unco sair owerlaiden. Sae she thinks tae hae some sport wi the fairy; an at the appyntit time she pits the bairn ahint the knockin-stane, an sits doun on't hersel. Syne she pous her mutch ajee ower her left lug, creuks her mou on the tither side, as gin she war greetin, an a filthy face she made, ye mey be shuir. she haedna lang tae wait, for up the brae munts the green fairy, naither lame nor lazy; an lang or she gat naur the knockin-stane, she skirls oot: "Guidwife o Kittlerumpit, ye ken weel whit I come for - staund an deleever!" The wife pertends tae greet sairer than afore, an wrings her nieves, an faws on her knees, wi: "Och, sweet mem, mistress, spare ma ae bairn, an tak the weary sou!"
"The deil tak the sou for ma share," quo the fairy; "A comena here for swine's flesh. Dinna be contermacious, hizzie, but gie's the get instant!"
"Ochone, dear leddy mines," quo the greetin guidwife; "forbeir ma puir bairn, an tak masel!"
"The deil's in the daft jaud," quo the fairy, leukin lik the faur-end o a fiddle; "A'll wad she's clean dementit. Wha in aw the yirdly warld, wi hauf an ee in thair heid, wad iver meddle wi the likes o thee?"
A trowe this set up the wife o Kittlerumpit's birse; for tho she haed twa blearit een, an a lang reid neb forby, she thocht hersel sae bonny as the best o thaim. Sae she bangs aff her knees, sets up her mutch-croun, an wi her twa haunds fauldit afore her, she maks a curtchey doun tae the grund, an, "In truith, fair mem," quo she " A micht hae haed the wit tae ken that the likes o me isna fit tae tie the warst shae-strings o the heich an mauchty princess, Whippitie Stourie!" Gin a fluff o gunpouther haed come oot the grund, it coudna hae gart the fairy lowp heicher nor she did; syne doun she cam again, dump on her shae-heels, an whirlin roond, she ran doun the brae, scraichin for rage, lik a houlet chased wi the witches.
The guidwife o Kittlerumpit leuch till she wis like tae rive; syne she taks up her bairn, an gaes intae her hoose, singin til't aw the gate:

"Aw gou an a gitty, ma bonny wee tyke,
Ye s' nou hae your fower-oories;
Sin we'v gien Nick a bane tae pyke,
Wi his wheels an his Whippitie Stouries."