I recently wrote you over my sending you
some of my work, I was translating it into Modern Scots. I have
finished my first piece.
It is a short tale
titled, "Barin o' the Ben," or, "Child of The
Mountain." I am sending you both English and Scots versions.
What began as a simple exercise in Scots, turned into an actual story.
It is a very simple piece, it was very different from my usual novels.
However, I enjoyed writing it.
I have found it both
challenging and rewarding to learn this language. I have been familiar
with other Germanic languages, however have never attempted something
such as this. I am both surprised and amazed that so many usage's and
words from Scots are so familiar to our Appalachian English. We live
in Southwestern Virginia, and that is the language in our area. So
many words and pronunciations from Scots language, are used in ours.
That has helped greatly.
The Barin o The Ben
The nicht wis sour an awfu. A leuked
oot the windae tae ken whit wis ongaun. The wather wis waesome an waefu.
Doun the brae, awa fra ma hoose, a wee, tint lad, ettlin tae ma gairden.
He wauked throu the meidae an roond the watter. He wis aw bi hissel
an sae peetiefu taw me.
Ootby, whaur the loch wis froze. The glen
wis ayont ma yaird, an the snaw wis licht. A wisna feardie, a bided
ma hoose sin a wis a laddie. A wis awa uise tae a lane hoose.
He wis a bonnie, waefu bairn. He wis
greetin ower fra the loch. His wee heid, kenspeckle in the eenin snaw.
Weel, am thinkin a tak the lad an whit for nae? A wis bi masel and
dinna hae a guidman, nae wean o ma ain. A wis verra waesome an I
cry doun ower ma waefu laddie. Aw hairmless an cauld. Nae mither
an nae fither tae fess him hame. A puir wean, oot in a cauld an
A seen ma bonnie, orra veesitor, an a
thocht he wis hungert an hae nae tea. A byled ma kail an wadna ett
it aw. A thocht he wis awfu cauld oot wit only duddie breeks an
The nicht wis bleck, blecks a slae. A
wis guan oot tae fess him, an a cam bi the loch. The wee lad wis gane
aff o frae the brae. A leuked aw throu ma gairden. He wis gane.
I cam hame an a mynd tae leuk fur him
eenicht. Thare he wis, in the nicht. aye nicht he wis oot in the cauld.
Monie nichts wit snaw, monie nichts wit nae snaw. Whit for the wee
wean traivle in the nicht. A didna ken, a didna ken wit for he wis thare.
Thon treen aucht tae ma fither, an ma
gutchen, an siclike. A niver forgit fowk, an a didna ken the bairn.
A wis niver acquentd wit him. A ken ma braes an bens, wha wis
the we fremmit wha wis freends wit the muin? He leuked hame in the
A wis gaun in tae toun, sin a awa gang
thare tae fess ma melk an bried.It wis a cauld, cauld Januar day, an
a shak in ma shuin. The plainstaines war cauld and froze. A wis gang
hail-heidit fur the wee femmit, an whit wis he wantin? Whit wis
the wee lad leukin fur?
Hyne awa, doun the toun, thare wis a
widae wumman. A gang tae ken whit she ken. Fowks put her gas at a peep
an staund yount frae her. A wis staund like a stoukie, an a tak
the rue fut trystin her. Wis she the deil clashes lauch at?
Wis she daftie? Whit a muckle cry doun, I
thocht she wis naething tae me. She gae me a fremmit leuk, an than
she wis waesome. Afore innin, she ken whit wis in ma mynd. She rashed
ower tae whaur a wis an she poued me awa, in tae the close. She
greeted tae me wit awfu torn. "Thoo seen ma bairn! My bonnie,
A wis strucken wit the thocht of the
braw laddie. "Ay," a begoud. "A seen the bonnie lad. He
traivelt bi nicht an stoppit at the och, bi the gairden."
She shak fur a meenit, ant she smous.
"Ay, ma bairn."
"Whit for the bairn traivle wit
nae shaw an duddie breeks? Cauld wather is awfu."
She leuked at me an smous, a waesome
an yang smou. Fur the first time, she wis a bonnie wumman. Fowk
spak o her sae sour an gruesome. A snell swaw o sorrae happit
us. She drapped her poke an lauked awa. "My bairn deed lang
syne. He wis soumin in the loch an he drount. His fither deed
ayont the shallaes, leuking fur his bairn. Am no carin nae mair fur
oucht, awa. Ma bairn an ma guidman wis aathing tae me."
She crack tae me, "Mynd ye, a ken
thare thegether wit Nyod. A misst ma barin an ma guidman sae awfu.
A disna ken aabodie seen eething o thaim. Thenk ye fur spurin."
A acquented a freend, an a lairnt o
ma veesitor. He awa trysts aanicht. Awa leukin fur his mither.
Efter a time, a wis wantin tae ken whit
wis thare. Ootby ma loch. Whit wis the wean leukin fur? A cam tae the
watters an I seen wee buits hae traivled ma gairden. Wee feet had
gane throu ma flouers, an comed tae the watter.
A aft mynd, he wis leukin fur his
mither. A mynd that she wis leukin fur him an aw. The morn a fess ma
crummock an grue in the cauld. The loch wis bonnie in the glen, an aw
happit wit snaw. A bonnie morn wit a bricht an braw sin. A lat
be the lad. He wisna daein eething tae me...
The Child of The
The night was bleak and sickly. I looked
out the window, to see what was going on. The weather was lonely and
sad. Down the hill, away from my house, a little, lost boy was going
towards my garden. He was all by himself, and so pitiful to me.
Out there, where the lake was frozen. The
valley was beyond my yard, and the snow was light. I was no coward, I
had lived in my house alone, since I was a boy. I was always accustomed
to an empty home.
He was a sweet, but sad child. He was
crying over from the lake. His tiny head was conspicious in the evening
snow. Well, I am thinking that Ill take in the child, why not? I
lived by myself and didnt have a husband, nor any children. I was
very sad with my life, and the sad child. He was out there, harmless and
cold. No mother or father to bring him home. A poor child out in such a
cold and vicious night.
I watched my pretty and odd visitor, I
thought he was probably hungry and had not ate dinner. I prepared my
cabbage soup earlier, and didnt eat much at all. I thought he would
have to be awfully cold, out in the night with only ragged breeches and
The night was black, black as coal .I was
going out to get him and I came by the lake. The little child was gone
far off the hill. I looked all through my garden, he was gone.
I came home and I remembered to look for
him, every night. There he was, in the night, and every night he was out
in the cold. Many nights with snow, many nights with none. Why did the
child travel in the night? I didnt know, I didnt know why he was
Those forests belonged to my gather, and
my grandfather, back for hundreds of years. I didnt know the child, I
was niver acquainted with him. I knew my hills and my mountains, who was
the little stranger who was friends with the moon? He looked at home in
I was going to town, since I always go
there to buy my milk and bread. It was a cold, cold January day, and I
shuddered in my shoes. The pavement was cold and frozen. I was always
thinking of the small stranger, and what was he looking for?
Far away, down town, there was a widow
woman. I went to see if she would know about it. People always try to
make her look bad, and avoid her. I was standing there, not knowing what
to say. Was she the devil that gossips laughed at?
Was she mad? What great sadness, I
thought she would be nothing to me. She gave me a strange look, and then
she was sorrowful. Before even an introduction, she knew what was in my
mind. She rushed over to where I was and she pulled me in the courtyard.
She cried greatly as she said, "You seen my child! My beautiful,
I was stricken with the thought of the
fine lad. "Yes," I began. "I watched the little boy. He
traveled by night at stopped at the lake, by the garden."
She sobbed for a minute and she smiles
,"Yes, my child."
"Why does he travel with no coat and
ragged breeches? Cold weather is harsh."
She looked at me and smiled, a
melencholoy smile. For the first time, she was young and beautiful.
People talked about her so horribly. A fierce wave of sadness covered
both of us. She dropped her bag and looked away. "My baby died
years ago. He was swimming in the lake and he drowned. His father died
beyong the shallows, looking for his child. I dont care none for
anything, anyways. My baby and my husband were everything to me.
She continued, "Mind you, I knew
their together with God. I missed my child and my husband so terribly. I
didnt know anybody had seen anything of them. Thank you for telling
I had acquainted a friend, and I learned
of my visitor. He always visits every night. Always looking for his
After a time, I was wanting to know what
was there, out by my lake. What was the baby seeing? I came to the water
and I saw tiny boots had traveled my garden. Little feet had gone
through the flowers and came to the water.
I often think he was looking for his
mother. I know she was looking for him as well. That morning I got my
walking stick and shuddered in the cold. The lake was beautiful in the
valley, all covered with snow. A beautiful morning with a bright and
fine sun. I left the child alone, he wasnt doing anything to me.