A newly qualified doctor
arrives for his first day at a hospital, deep in the Welsh valleys. He is
met by one of the sisters, who has been given the task of showing him
around the hospital and introducing him to the staff and patients.
It is a large hospital and
it takes the whole day to get round. By late afternoon they are working
their way through the psychiatric block and as the time approaches for the
evening meal they arrive at the last ward. They follow the dinner trolley
into the ward and wait while one of the nurses lifts the lid on the food
tray. To the doctor's surprise there is but a single haggis on the tray to
feed a whole ward.
One of the patients moves
towards the trolley in a purposeful manner addressing the haggis,
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.
Before he can reach the
haggis another patient sprints forward, grabs the simple repast and dashes
up the ward. He proudly holds the haggis aloft and cries out in a
Some hae meat and cannae
Some cannae eat that want it:
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
At this, a kilted dervish
leaps from his bed, whips a skien dubh out of his sock and lunges at the
haggis carrier. With a deft movement the haggis bearer fend off the
flashing blade with the haggis. Although this prevents any injury it
does result in the top of the haggis being hacked off. A small mouse
obviously waiting upon this event dashes out from under a bed, grabs the
loose piece of haggis and scampers up the ward, running the gauntlet of
slashing claymores and hurled dirks from various patients. At the end of
the ward stands a bent and wizened old man with a wild fire in his eyes.
He screams at the mouse,
Wee sleekit, cow'rin,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an chase thee,
Wi murdering pattle!
And then dives upon the
poor little mouse. With a left dummy and a right feint, the mouse dodges
between the old man's legs, through a hole in the skirting board and to
safety with his prize. The doctor turns to the sister and asks, "Why is
this psychiatric ward so full of Scotsmen?"
"Oh no, doctor, these are
not Scotsmen, they are genuine valley dwellers born and bred", she
replies, "and, anywa, this is not a psychiatric ward, it is the serious