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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Weeping Glen


"Why do they call this the ĎWeeping Glení?" Bonnie, the butterfly, asked her friend Bruce. The two of them stood on a rock at the edge of Rannoch Moor. "Is it because itís so cold that it makes you weep?" she asked, shivering.

"Itís not a good place to come in the winter, thatís for sure. Itís bitter cold then and even now, in the summertime, itís still chilly. Sometimes snow lies on the ground right up until July," Bruce said. "It is called the ĎWeeping Glení because of its history."

"What happened?" Bonnie wondered.

"In the cold month of February, in 1692, there was a horrible massacre. The people who lived in this area were mostly from the MacDonald clan. Some government troops were invited into their homes for warmth and food and, under orders, slaughtered the families. Many were chased out of their houses in their nightclothes, in the bitter cold. It was a sad time and not quickly forgotten by the MacDonalds," Bruce explained.

"That is sad. Itís very pretty here though. Look at all the grasses. I see bog myrtle, cotton grass and there are so many colorful flowers. I love wild hyacinth and violets. Remind me to have a sip before we leave. I love the rugged look," Bonnie noted.

They fluttered about the glen. Bruce pointed and said, "Thatís Glencoe. The mountains around here are spectacular, arenít they?"

"They are at that. What types of animals live around here?" Bonnie asked.

"I saw some red deer earlier and I thought I saw a wild cat. I know there are badgers and mice and blue hare," Bruce said.

"Blue hare? What is a blue hare?" Bonnie questioned.

"Blue hares are indigenous to Scotland. They run about in the mountains and glens. They love the moorland and they arenít really blue, in case youíre wondering. In the summer the hareís hair is gray mixed with black and brown, but in winter it turns from brown to white. I suppose the white can have a tinge of blue to it. They have smaller ears than most hares and have to watch out for foxes, which love to eat them. The buzzards do too. The hares can run very fast."

"Iíd love to see one anyway," Bonnie said.

"They mostly come out at night, when itís safe, to eat the grasses and weeds. Maybe we can go to Loch Leven and see the ducks and swans. You like swans, donít you, Bonnie?" Bruce asked.

They landed on a rock near the loch. "Itís so clear but the water is so dark and cold looking," Bonnie noted. Just then several swans floated up to the shore where the butterflies were resting. "Look how pretty they are," Bonnie said. "Their necks are so long and elegant."

"Would you butterflies like a ride?" one of the swans asked, after hearing Bonnieís comments.

"I would," she quickly replied.

"Me too," Bruce added.

"Why donít you flutter over and make yourselves comfortable and Iíll swim around the loch. You can get a good view of everything and if you start to get cold, just cover yourself with my feathers," the swan said. "My name is Shauna," she told them.

The Weeping Glen

"Hello, Shauna. Thanks for the ride," Bruce said.

The butterflies looked around as they floated on the deep water. The swan told them all about the mountains. "That mountain ridge is called Aonach Eagach Ridge. Itís volcanic and glacial and very ancient. See those three peaks? Those are called ĎThe Three Sistersí. Itís a beautiful place, Glencoe. If youíre lucky youíll see a deer come for a drink, or maybe a sheep or two."

"Itís lovely," Bonnie said. A cold wind blew and she covered herself with Shaunaís feathers. "Oh, these are soft feathers," she smiled, feeling cozy.

"I warned you it might get nippy here," Shauna laughed. "In the spring you see huge waterfalls plunging down from the mountains. Och, itís just a grand place for a swan to stay. Over there is Rannoch Moor. Itís covered with heather and moorland grasses. You might find yourself some butterwort or sundew. Now, Iíd better get going. The others are planning a wee flight over to Loch Achtrochtan and I need to let you off here," Shauna said.

"Thanks for the ride," Bruce and Bonnie called. The swan quickly swam to the other side of the loch and the flock flew into the air. The butterflies could hear them honking as they headed for the other loch.

"That was a nice day. We got to see a lot of pretty things, but I say we head south. Iím freezing cold. Whoíd ever believe it was the middle of summer with this cool air," Bonnie said.

"I agree with you," Bruce said and the two butterflies fluttered south, to warmer temperatures.


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