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Fairy Tales
Mind the Crooked Finger


BILL ROBERTSON, aet. 71, residing in Lerwick, soberly narrated this trowy story :—

"My midder, God rest her soul, tauld me this, and she nedder could nor wid ha’ tauld me a lee. Shü wis staying wi’ freends at Kirgood-a-Weisdale; an’ ee nicht about da hüming (twilight) da guidman was sair fashed, for da honest wife haed just haed a pirie baby. An’ noo, my lamb ‘at ye ir (are), what sud he hear juist as he was gaein’ ta leave the lamb-house, but three most unearthly knocks, da sam as it haed a been frae onder da grund. Noo, he kent na what dis could be, but he made a’ fast, an’ gangs up intil de corn yard, and as he comes in sight of the screws he hears a voice ‘at said tree times, ‘Mind da crooked finger.’ Noo, his wife haed a crooked finger and he kent ower weel ‘at something wis gaen ta happen, for his grey neebors

wis apon da watch for da helpless infant, or midder, or baith. So he comes into da hoose, an’ lichts a candle, taks doon da Bible, an’ a steel knife. He opens da buik an’ da knife, when such a roaring and trilling, an’ onerthly stamping an’ rattling, an’ confusion comes frae da byre as made da whole hoose shak. An’ a’ body fell a-whaaking (quaking). Noo, he taks da open Bible, and maks for da byre, an’ dem ‘at wis i’ da hoos follows him trimbling an’ whaaking, only da wise-woman bein’ left with da poor wife an’ infant. Noo, whin he gets ta da door, he heaves in da Bible afore him, sticks da open knife in his mouth, edge ootwards, and da lowin’ candle in een o’ his hands. Da instant yon was dune da triilin’ an’ noise an’ din ceased all of a sudden, and da image ‘at haed been prepared for ta pit i’ da place i’ da poor wife an’ innocent pine lamb was a’ ‘at was left i’ da byre. ‘Weel,’ says da guidman, as he gripped in his airms da very likeness o’ his wife ‘at da trows had left i’ da byre, ‘I’ve then dee, and I’ll use dee.’ Weel, he tuk in ta da hoose da image left by da trows, an’ it haed every joint an’ pairt of a woman. An’ my midder tauld me shu saw it, an’ da honest folk for mony a year, an’ der children after dem, sat upon da stock, or image, or likness; an’ things was set on it, and wood was sawn on it. An’ dat’s as true as I’m spekin’ to you, and no a borrowed or handed story; for my midder tauld me it wi’ her am lips, an’ she wid no a tauld me a lee."


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