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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Family Feud

"What should we do tonight with the bairns?" Mungo said to his cat. "Itís too late to do any decorating or even making snacks. "Oh my." Mungo had been gone most of the week visiting his brother in Glasgow. Heíd only returned an hour ago. "Theyíll be here soon, Ginger. Maybe I should call it off. What do you think, girl?" He stroked her soft fur.

DING DONG! "I supposed its too late now. Theyíre here." He opened the door. "Hello and good evening to you, Andy, wee Fiona and Gavin. Come in. Iím afraid there are no snacks ready right now," he apologized. "I just returned from Glasgow this afternoon, but never mind that, come in and sit down."

DING DONG! Mungo opened the door again. "Hello, Morag. Howís Miss Campbell doing this evening?"

"Mr. McGee? You never call us by our last names," Morag said.

"Iíve been in Glasgow. I met so many people that I just got into the habit of calling them by their last names. Go and have a seat with the others. Weíre waiting for Gregor and wee Hamish." DING DONG! "And here they are now," he smiled, opening the door. "Welcome, bairns. Have a seat." The group was sitting on the couch. "Iím sorry my wee bairns but Iím not very prepared tonight."

"Itís all right, Mr. McGee. We donít need any snacks," Andy said.

"You bairns sit in there and talk and Iíll see what Iíve got in the refrigerator and cupboards. Iíll be back shortly." Mungo excused himself and went into the kitchen.

"Well, Miss Campbell," Gavin said, sarcastically, "you know that the Campbells were murderers, donít you?"

"What?" Morag said. "What are you talking about?"

"Moragís not a murderer," wee Fiona said, hugging Morag tightly. "Donít say things like that, Gavin."

"The Campbells are murderers," Gavin said again.

"Stop saying that," Andy interrupted. "Moragís mum and dad are very nice."

"It wasnít her mum and dad. It was her great great or whatever grandfather," Gavin said.

Mungo came back through. "All I could find were these chocolate covered biscuits. Iím afraid that will have to do."

"Mr. McGee," Gregor said. "Gavin is saying that Moragís grandfather was a murderer."

"What? Why would you say such a thing?" he asked Gavin.

"My dad told me about how the Campbells murdered the MacDonalds a long time ago. Iím a MacDonald and Moragís a Campbell," Gavin explained.

"All right, bairns. I see we need to talk. Iíll tell you the whole story, but enough of this murderer stuff, Gavin. Thereíll be no more of that in this house, do you hear?" Mungo said, crossly.

"Yes, Mr. McGee," he hung his head and mumbled.

"The tragic event took place over 300 years ago. Thereís a place not too far from here called Glencoe. Itís cold there in the winter. Bitter winds blow down the mountains and its not a place Iíd choose to live, but the MacDonalds built their homes there and did quite well living there. They say the MacDonalds were a hearty bunch."

"What does that mean?" asked wee Hamish.

"It means they were strong. Theyíd have to be to live in a place as cold as Glencoe. The men were strong and large in stature, very busy and quite patient in dealing with the cold weather. There was a lot of trouble going on in Britain and Europe at the time. William of Orange had the throne and the Campbell family from Glenorchy supported him."

"William of Orange? What a funny name," Gregor laughed.

"Did he eat oranges all the time, or was he orange?" wee Fiona chuckled.

"He was called William of Orange. He didnít eat too many oranges and no, he certainly wasnít the color orange. How silly. The Campbells lived near the MacDonalds and they had many arguments over land and other things. They didnít get along at all. Sometimes people donít get along. Very sad. William of Orange demanded that all the Clan Chiefs of Scotland were to obey him and accept him as their king. The MacDonalds of Glencoe was supposed to go to a town called Fort William and pledge his loyalty. Everyone had to do it before New Yearís Day of 1692."

"I know when New Yearís Day is. Itís January 1st," boasted Morag.

"Youíre right, Morag. The Clan Chief of Glencoe bundled up in his tartans and headed to Fort William. When he got there, William of Orangeís soldiers told him heíd have to go somewhere else to pledge his loyalty. He wasnít very happy. He had to ride on his horse to Inverary. It took him a whole week to get there and it was in the middle of winter."

"Iíll bet he was freezing cold," Andy said. "Did it snow?"

"Yes, it was snowing. By the time he got to Inverary, he had missed the deadline, but they decided to allow him to pledge his loyalty. Remember, he didnít want to, but did it anyway. He went back to Glencoe and to his clan. A while later a group of men from Argyll came to stay on their land. The leaderís name was Robert Campbell. He was from Glen Lyon."

"Glen Lyon?" laughed wee Hamish.

"Is there a lion in the glen?" Gregor chuckled.

Mungo looked around. He saw that Gavin was very serious looking. "No, Gregor, there are no lions in Scotland. Itís just the name of a place. The MacDonalds were very nice to the men. They let them into their homes. They fed them and let them sleep there. They stayed for two whole weeks."

"That was nice of the MacDonalds," Morag said.

"Yes, it was. Whatís sad is that one night, when it was very cold and dark, the men started going into the MacDonaldís homes and killing them. The Clan Chief was shot while trying to get out of his bed. They did all kinds of horrible things, which Iíll not tell you, because they are so horrible. They slaughtered 38 MacDonalds. Luckily 150 or so managed to escape. They had to run into the snow and cold without shoes on. More soldiers came to help the Argyll men, but still the MacDonalds escaped. The soldiers were very angry. They said they were going to hunt down and kill every MacDonald there was."

"Thatís horrible," said Morag. "Who said that? Robert Campbell?"

"The truth is that very few of the soldiers were Campbells. Most of them were not Campbells, Gavin. Robert Campbell was taking orders from William of Orange. He is the one who ordered the MacDonalds to be slaughtered. The men were simply obeying orders. Thereís more to the story, but thatís enough. Itís one of the sad things that has happened in Scotland," said Mungo. "So Gavin, you shouldnít blame Morag or anyone else named Campbell. The Campbells did a lot of good things for Scotland too."

That night the bairns learned something valuable. Gavin changed his attitude towards Morag and stopped blaming her family for what happened to his ancestors. "So, are we friends now?" Morag asked Gavin. She hoped they were. She really liked Gavin.

"Yes, weíre friends," he said, shaking her hand. "But stop making eyes at me, okay?" he begged.

"All right, Gavin. Friends," Morag smiled.

DING DONG! "Thatís your mums and dads come to pick you up now. Have a good night. Iím going to bed early. Itís been a long, busy week," Mungo said, opening the door.

After the bairns had left, Mungo climbed into bed. Ginger curled up in a ball near his feet. The wind picked up and Mungo could hear it blowing against the house. He thought about the MacDonalds and how they must have felt that night, sighed, and then fell fast asleep.

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