by: Flann, Anne
Suggested by the etching Moray Firth by James McBey
Nine bairns perched abein the tiny harbour haein the time o their lives. Or so it wid appear. But each hae their ain thochts that windy summer day.
For Eckie it wis a day o triumph. His Da had presented him wi a fine kite for his birthday and efter much trachle and, nae doot, an occasional muttered sweir word, he’d got it soarin high and clear. The triumph swelled his very soul and he hung on there, the tug on the line garrin him lean back and cling on wi a his strength.
Tight behind, body tense wi envy, his sister kept up a steady whine, “Gies a shotty, Eckie, go on – I’ll tell Da ye wis sweirin, I will. Go on, dinna be mean.” But Eckie in his bliss ignored the constant plea, barely hearin the persistent yammer. Fit wie would a mere quine cope wi the force o the wind? And in his mind he imagined the heidline in the Elgin Courier: “Local boy flies kite right across the Firth.”
Perched behind, green wi envy the neighbour’s bairns waited their turn to show their stuff. But somehow their efforts to catch the win wi their hame made kite had been in vain and now they’d lost their place near the edge far the uplift was greatest. Baith were, a the same, filled wi admiration but secretly hoping the twa successful flyers got entangled wi a sudden gust of win, a nae unusual hazard.
The thoucht had occurred to Wullie Donald and the intensity o his concentration, trying to steer his kite weel awa frae Eckie’s, wis something to see. Up to noo he’d been champion but it looked like Eckie wis going to beat him hollow wi that new kite of his. Already Bella Munro wis paying more attention to Eckie than himsel and she’d aye been his best friend up to noo. Mind you she’d tae keep an eye on her wee sisters, perched so near the edge, and she wis telling them a story tae keep them quiet.
Peer Maggie, the only quine wi a kite, and look at the snorl she’d got hers intae. Right doonhearted she looks and jist wait til her brither, Dod, comes back. He tellt her nae tae tak a shottie lest he wis there. She’ll get her licks – he’s a richt bully. Oh weel, she should ken better by noo. Like as no he’ll be ower feart at his Ma tae tak it oot on her ower hard.
Seen it’ll be teatime and they’ll a hae tae pack it in for the nicht. The fishin fleet’s on their way back an some o they funcy yachts forbye. School holidays will seen be ower and its back tae homework. Mak the best o this gran day while ye can my bonnie bairns.