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Elphinstone Kist   Stories for Bairns

    by: Wheeler, Les

Ye see, there was an old wumman, and she had a little wee craftie placie, and she’d one son, and they called him Jack - but he was really right off, but she idolized him just the same, it was aa the company that she had, and of course he did aa the work aboot the place. But they were very, very poor, very, very poor; it just took them to keep theirsels.

But one day she was gan awa fae hame, and she said, “Now Jack,” she says, “A’m gyan awa fae hame the day, but A’ll maybe be back in time before the factor gings awa. He’ll be in by here, maybe, in the efternoon sometime. And hae on a big peat fire, so that the factor’ll get a good heat while he’s sitting waiting upon me, because he’ll maybe be here before I come back. And you’ll mind and pit on a good fire.’

And he says, “Ay, mither, All pit on a good peat fire,” he says, “And I’ll hae the fire ready for the factor comin in past.”

“Ah well,” she says. “laddie, what’s whit to dae, an I winnae be awfu lang.” But awa his mither gins onywey.

And ... ‘course, she’d been awa an oor or twa, when in by comes the factor, lookin for his six-monthly rent, ye see?

And the factor says, “Your mither in, Jack?”

“Na, na,” he says, “my mither’s awa the day. But she tell’t me to tell ye, sit doon and take a rest, and ye’ll get a heat, an she maybe winnae be awfu lang. She disnae want ye tae gang awa,” he says, “until she comes back, and ye’ll get your money.”

“Ah well,” he says, “Jack, I’ll sit doon an I’ll take a rest.”

So, of course, the factor sut doon upon the chair in front of this big peat fire, and it was a very cauld day, and he made hisel as comfortable as he possibly could. But wi the heat o this fire, the factor fa’s asleep.

So poor Jack, he was sittin at the ither side of the fire, tryin to mak hisel as comfortable as he could, till his mither would come in. And of course he’s sitting watchin the factor, an the factor fell sound asleep, wi the heat of the fire ... an Jack sittin lookin intil his face.

So suddenly there was a great big flee lichtit on the factor’s broo, you see, his baldy broo, and Jack got fascinated at this flee, traivellin back and forrit oot owre the factor’s baldy heid, ye see, an upon his broo. So he watched it for a good while, but bein nae very right, God help us, he couldnae help hissel, and he says:

“Come aft the laird’s bree, mun”

But, of course, the flee didna come aff.

He waits for a wee whilie, he says - this flee still gaein round about the tap of the factor’s baldy heid an his baldy broo - so he says:

“Come aff the laird’s bree, mun!”

But this flee’s still sittin on his broo, and he sits for a whilie longer, and he watches it, and he’s beginnin to get a wee bittie agitated noo at this flee, so he says:

“Come aft the laird’s bree, mun! - Oh God,” he says, “ye winna come aff, will ye?” So up gets poor Jack, an he lifts the aix that he wis the way o hackin up a’ the sticks wi, and he hits the flee, for to knock it aff the laird’s bree but of course, he hits the flee, richt enough, but he killed the factor! Ye see?

Of course, when his poor mither came hame, she gets the factor lyin wi his heid hammered in two wi the aix. Now she realised what he poor silly son had done, and she knew that this wis one thing that we couldnae get aff wi - it’d be the means o takin her son awa fae her, and pittin him intae some place. Well, naturally, him bein aa that she had, she was gyan tae put up a fight for to save her son.

So they had a bit goat, a big billy goat, and they cried hit “The Factor”. That was its name.

So now, he wisnae very wise, but he wisnae sae silly as she made him oot to be. So she thocht things oot owre, so as there was only one wey she could save her son; mak him look worse than what he wis, and really mak things look as if he was aa muddled richt.

So they took the factor, and they buriet him, him and her. See? But she kent that he would tell the police when they come roon aboot questioning about the factor, ye see, she kent that he would tell the police. So she killed the billy goat, and she put it ... she took the factor oot o the grave that him and her buriet him intil, and she put the billy goat into the same grave - ye see? And she went awa further, and she made a new grave, and buried the factor hersel in the new grave - ye see? Withoot Jack’s help.
So she went up the lum, and she tell’t him to look up the lum, but afore she went up the lum, she made a pot o porritch an milk - ye see? So she
tell’t him “look up the lum”, and when he lookit up the lum, she teem’t doon the pot o cauld porritch and milk. An as it was comin doon the lum,
the poor fool was gobblin it up - ye see? So she tell’t him it was rainin porritch and milk, and he thought it, when it was comin doon the lum.

So, whitever, anywey or another, a whilie passes, onywey, and the police was gyan roon every one of the hooses, makin enquiries tae everybody did they see the factor, when they had seen him last, and what time, and what oor,

So of course they come to Jack an his mither. So they askit her, so she tell’t them what time she saw him at. (And of course, remember, she hidit the bag wi the money!)

So whatever, anywey or another, the police question’t them upside doon and backside foremost onywey or another, but poor silly Jack says: “God, aye, man,” he says, “I killed the factor!” (His mither kent that he would say that, ye see, that he would tell the truth).

“Oh, you killed the factor.” the police say. “An whar did ye pit him?”

“Oh God, min, “he says, “me an ma mither buriet him up here, Come on” he says,”and I’ll let ye see,” he says, “whaur I buriet the factor.” So, of course, the police went up wi him, for tae see whar he had buriet the factor. And his mither come up with him.

“Ma God,” she says, “would you mind that poor silly laddie,” she says. “He disnae ken what he’s speakin aboot.” She says, “It’s nae right,” she says, “you should nae be questionin him, an he’ll say “aye” tae aathing,” she says, “but of course,” she says, “yeez can dig up,” she says, “the grave.” “But” she says, “yeez’ll get a surprise.”

“Noo, haud your tongue, noo mither,” he says. “I killed the factor,” he says, “an me an you buriet him in here.”

“Well, well,” she says, “it’s a’ richt. What nicht,” she says, “wis’t - when did you killed the factor?”

“God, mither,” he says, “A mind fine,” he says, “it was yon day,” he says, “it was rainin porritch and milk,”
“0 God bliss me,” the policeman says, “this man,” he says, “is far,” he says, “fae bein richt,” he says (when they heard him sayin it was rainin porritch and milk,” “But,” he says, “nevertheless, we’ll hae to dig up this grave,” he says. “He insists” he says ‘that he killed the factor, an we’ll hae tae dig up the grave.”
So they saw it was a new dug-up grave. So of course they aa started to dig, an they dug up the grave. So they did take oot the thing that wis
buriet in the grave. So when they pull’t it oot, this was the billy goat, an it had horns, ye see?

So as they were pullin it oot, the poor fool lookit don on tap of the thing that they were pullin oot of the grave - he was expectin to see the deid man, but when he saw the billy goat comin oot - he still thocht it wis the man, because he said:

“Good God Almichty.” he said, “Mither, he’s growed horns and whiskers since we buriet him here last,”

So therefore the police said, “Oh God bliss me,” he says. He says, “The poor laddie,” he says, “ye hinnae tae mind him.”

So therefore the case was droppit, and the factor was never seen or heard tell o. And the whole thing wis, that the authorities thought that the factor had skeddaddlet awa wi aa the money, and wisnae tae be gotten. And therefore it left poor Jack an his mither wi a’ the money, and him free o the murder, an aye left tae bide wi his poor auld mother.

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