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Haggis and the ancient Romans


It is a well known fact that the ancient Romans built two walls across the country here, called Hadrians Wall, and Antonines Wall. Historically, these walls were built to keep the marauding Picts out of "civilised" Roman "England", but perhaps there was another more sinister motive.

While out on a reconnaissance mission one day, a group of Roman soldiers stumbled on to a haggis during the mating season, and in the ensuing panic, they ran back to the camp and reported they were being pursued by the devil.

The camp commander, being an unimaginative type of Roman, not given to all this namby pamby philosophy that was all the rage at the time, slapped them in irons for a few weeks. Unfortunately, rumours began to circulate round the camp that the devil was alive and well, and living just up the road. Discipline wore a little thin, and the commander decided to do something about it.

It so happened that in the camp at the time was a Greek slave, who among his many other duties, was employed as a part time interrogator of prisoners because he seemed to be able to understand the locals a lot better than the Romans.

He was kitted out with all the latest designer gear - leather skirt, Roman Army Approved safety helmet, sandals, the lot, sent to the chariot pool, where he was issued with the new model Fiat single horse power chariot, and sent off to scorch the rumours.

Off he went, marvelling at the air conditioning in the new model chariot, the fixed axle suspension, and the acceleration of the single horse power plant. The handling too was superb - a lot better then the standard issue Skoda models he had previously driven.

Eventually, he arrived at the place the soldiers had described earlier, and crawling through the heather, came upon a wonderful scene - a haggis with four wee yins!

This man, being a slave, and far from his own family, was touched by the scene, and decided such a noble beast should be allowed to live in peace, so he slowly backed out of hiding and back to the chariot.

Imagine his dissapointment when he found the damn thing wouldn't start - no amount of kicking or poking would help, it the power plant had died, and he was now faced with a long walk back to the camp.

Off he set, but as luck would have it, he was caught by a group of Picts returning from a Picts versus Celts football match. Fortunately, the Picts had won on this occasion, and were in good spirits, so he was allowed to live, with only a few superficial bruises, and flesh wounds.

Suddenly a sound rent the air - the sound of a Haggis call - sensing a carry out around, the Picts disappeared in the direction of the noise, shouting, "Haggis", "Cairry oot", and "We are ra boyz", leaving the little Greek lying in the road.

Shortly after that, he was rescued by a fleeing Roman patrol who had just encountered a group of disgruntled Celts who had also been at the match, but as their team had not been so successful, had not been in quite such a forgiving mood.

The Greek, and the battered patrol arrived back at the camp, and were interrogated by the commander, but in view of his weakened condition, all the Greek could say was, "Hags". (His command of the local dialect was still poor).

Now, as everyone knows, at the time, hags in Roman terms referred to witches, and this, combined with the state of the returning patrol, convinced the commander the devil indeed was living in this strange land, so he command a wall be built to keep these evil creatures from invading civilisation. The Greek, in honour of his bravery, was awarded an honourary plebiscite, and given a new model twin horse Lancia chariot. The Romans never could pronounce his name of Onissopolis however, and took to calling him Hagis instead.

The name obviously stuck, and perhaps your friend is a descendant of this brave little man.

Information provided by john@wilsonjo.demon.co.uk


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