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Stories from Gemma Howe
The White Dodo


This is a Scottish story, originally told in a Scottish accent. It will be told in English.

A young man was widowed with only his child left as family. They lived in the Highlands, where they had to travel about a mile to get to some shops. The man would get lonely sometimes but always had his daughter for company and she would always make him laugh. She was a lovely girl, always kind-natured and friendly. One day her father met a terrible woman, but he thought the world of her. She had a daughter, too, Jane. Soon this woman and child moved into the home which belonged to girl's father. The woman became her step mother and Jane became her sister, and best friend. The girl's father called her Appley and her sister Orangey. Whenever he saw them when he came home from working, as an axe man, he would call, "Appley, Orangey, Daddy's home!" and they would rush to greet him. When he was working, so would Appley be as her step mother made her work for hours, sweeping the kitchen, washing the dishes, and gardening. Her daughter Orangey was always getting the better things but Appley pretended not mind, as she was sweet natured and always polite. One day, when Appley was in the garden with Orangey making daisy chains, her mother called:

"Appley! Appley, come here right now, child!" and Appley would say back, "Yes, stepmother."

Her mother said nastily, "Go to the dairy and fetch some cream!" She handed the girl a pretty jug and some money. "You dare to break this jug, and I'll chop your head off!" This jug was a wedding gift from Appley's father. "It's my best jug!"

"Yes, stepmother," Appley replied.

Appley set off for a long walk to the dairy, skipping as she went. It was a long way to town. When she finally arrived at the Dairy, she said to the milk-maid, "Can I have some cream, please, Miss?" Appley asked, handing over the jug and money. "Of course, child," the maid smiled. "There you go." Appley thanked the woman and started to skip towards the door. Then she tripped, and there was a smash and cream was spilled all over the floor. "Oh, no!" the girl sobbed. The maid told her, "There, there, child! There's no use crying over spilt milk. You can use an old jug of ours." Appley sobbed harder. "You don't understand," she said, "this is a wedding gift. My mother will be ever so angry!" The maid told her not to be silly and that she was sure her mother would understand what had happened and would be more concerned about Appley's scraped knees. "Don't be so sure," Appley wept under her breath. The milk-maid handed Appley another jug, which was patterned with daisies and looked nothing like her stepmother's golden jug. Appley set of home. She was very scared what would happen so she took her time. Finally when she arrived, she handed her stepmother the jug full of cream. "You little wretch!" she cried, "this is not my jug! You wait here!"

Appley waited in the kitchen. Her stepmother came back with a gleaming axe of her fathers. Jane was in the kitchen too. "No, mother!" she gasped. She grabbed Appley's arm and threw her to the floor. She held the axe up high, and chopped the girl's head off. Then the horrible woman thought, I'll make a stew out of her. She started to cut off the meat off the girl's body and stewed her in a pot on the stove. "Janey, bury the bones! My husband will be suspicious if there's bones all over the floor." Jane looked disgusted, but she picked up Appley's bones and buried her on the lawn.

"Appley, Orangey! Daddy's home!" Jane rushed to greet Appley's father. Her mother followed Jane. "Where's Appley?" he asked, puzzled. The stepmother said that she was away into town for some bread. "I've made a grand stew for you, husband. Have some," she said to the father as he sat down to eat in the kitchen.

"It smells good," he said, eating the stew. "It's tasty." Then he found something in at the stew that he would never forget. It was his daughters finger with the ring that had belonged to his first wife (the only thing the stepmother hadn't taken from the girl). He kept quiet and didn't mention anything to his wife. He loved her too much for her to be jailed.

Christmas was now drawing near and it has been four months since Appley was murdered. A little white Dodo was hanging around on the lawn. It was ghostly white. What no one knew was that this Dodo was Appley's ghost, though she came back as a  living creature. She was back to get revenge on her stepmother. She went into town for presents as it was nearing Christmas. She went into a toy shop for Janey's present first. "Hello sir," she said to the first shopkeeper. "I would like a doll for my sister, a beautiful baby doll with grand clothes, but I am afraid I do not have any money. "Well," said he," sing me that song you were singing when you came into my shop." Appley was singing a song before she had entered the shop. "Very well," the Dodo sighed.

"Ma mammy kilt meh
Ma Daddy ate meh
Ma sister Janey buried ma banes
Bu' ah grew an' ah grew
Teh a Wee Doodoo" she sang.

The shopkeeper told her to sing again.

"Ma mammy kilt meh
Ma Daddy ate meh
Ma sister Janey buried ma banes
Bu' ah grew an' ah grew
Teh a Wee Doodoo."

He handed the Dodo a baby doll with short blonde hair and a lacy red dress. "Thank you, kind man," she said and set off for her Father's present.

"Good day, Jeweller. I would like a silver watch, only the very best, for my father. But I am afraid I have no money," Appley said. "Well then," said the jeweller. "Sing me that song you were singing when you came into my shop."

"Certainely. Ma mammy kilt meh
Ma Daddy ate meh
Ma sister Janey buried ma banes
Bu' ah grew an' a grew
Teh a Wee Doodoo."

"That was brilliant!" said the jeweller. "Here, a silver watch, only the very best. Good day, Dodo!"

"Thank you, sir," said Appley as she left the Jewellry Store. Next, she was going to a blacksmith.

"Hello, fair Blacksmith. I'd like a very sharp axe, very sharp. Quite big, too. But I am afraid I don't have any money," the Dodo said. "Well, little Dodo," said he, "sing me that song you were singing when you entered my shop." Appley burst into chorus once again. "Bravo, take the axe! It's very sharp," he added as Appley left the shop. Now Appley was going home again.

"Orangey," she sang down the chimney. "It's Appley! Hold your hands out, sister!" Janey laughed and ran to the chimney. She held her hands out. "Where are you, sister?" Jane called up the chimney. Appley ignored this question and dropped the doll down to her. Orangey gasped and ran from the fire place to play with her doll.

"Father, come to the fireplace. Lean in quite far to get your present!" she called. "Yes, Appley." She dropped the watch. He gasped. "Thank you!"

She called on her mother. She told her that she was to put her whole body into the fireplace and her stepmother was every so excited at seeing her family getting lovely presents so she jumped in there in less than a second. Appley dropped the axe down and chopped her mother's head off. Appley then left, and now she was free as a ghost ...


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