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Kirkintilloch Town and Parish
Willie Malenny


Was an eccentric old man, who lived in Hillhead, where the ruins of his house are still to be seen.

Amongst his other possessions were a calf and an iron pot; and one day the calf, in an exploring expedition, put its head inside the pot, which proved to be such a tight fit that no efforts of the animal could disengage it. Willie himself shortly appeared on the scene, and made vigorous but unsuccessful endeavours to take the pot from the head.

After due cogitation he came to the conclusion that the only way to free the calf from the pot was to cut off the animal's head, which dire remedy he at once carried into execution. When the deed was done, however, Willie saw that his remedy fell far short of being effectual, for the head was still firmly fixed in the pot, in fact, more firmly than ever, for it was now a dead head, and could not second his efforts to release it; while it was clearly the interest of the calf, as long as it lived, to use its utmost efforts to aid him in shaking off the encumbrance.

Willie, at last, was driven to smash the pot in pieces, and thus reached the goal of his efforts. Whether it occurred to him at this stage that he might have used the last remedy at first we do not know, but his proceedings show the danger of coming to rash and precipitate conclusions without considering all the premises.

Notwithstanding his apparent ruthlessness with the calf, Willie bore the character of a harmless, inoffensive, and simple old man. He had a strong belief in evil spirits, and one morning, possibly when they appeared to his imagination more numerous and powerful than usual, he resolved to make, as Samson did with the Philistines, a holocaust of the whole tribe of warlocks, which he did by fairly setting fire to his house.


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