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Stories from Hector McNeill
Tenancy


A Lowland Scot settled near Carrickfergus under the Plantation Schemes set up by King Jamie. He built a loose stone wall all round his little plot and tended his mean crops and pigs. The wall was quite nicely built and the local children were fascinated by it. But every time a local child came near to his wall he would raise, whatever tool he happened to have in his hand, and shout, "Get away from the wall!!" and so they would run off.

This scenario would repeat itself every day because the children found this repetitive exercise somewhat amusing. But, one day, little Donald McNeill, expressed his concern about this business. He called his little friends together suggesting that perhaps, in the name of their community, they should all stop. They asked him why. Donald said, "Well by mam says that if someone does not want you to do something you should not do it". Donald then reflected a little and then added, "But my mam also says that it is wise to always try and understand why people want what they do. So maybe I had better ask him so, that way, we will all be a little wiser." The children looked at each other somewhat puzzled, one shrugged his shoulders, the other grinned, the smallest giggled. But matters suddenly got serious when little Donald smiled at his friends and turned. The other children looked in awe as brave little Donald's thin frame walked bare foot and with no company, towards the wall. When Donald got to the point where he knew the old Scot would bellow his usual warning, Donald surprised the Scot by calling out to him, "Please, Sir, each time we come towards your wall you tell us to get away from it. We would never harm the wall so why do you always send us away?"

The Scot walked forwards menacingly and shouted, in a louder voice than any had ever heard before, "Because its MY wall!!"


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