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Elphinstone Kist   Stories for Bairns

How Some Wild Beasts BecameTames Ones (A Finnish Folk Tale)     by: Wheeler, Les

Eence a lang, lang time ago fan the ale wis niver thin, there wis a verra weel-aff miller. Noo, the miller wis gettin mairriet an forbye his ain freens he invited aa the wild beasts fae the hills an wids tae the waddin feast. Noo the beasts, kye, horses, tods, wolves, yowes, bears an mony ithers wir aa fair pleased, nae bein eesed tae gettin waddin invitations an sent back wird that they wad aa be gyan.

The bear aye liket tae be on time an he set aff afore aabody else for the
waddin. Forbye that, his hair wis thick an gey teuch tae comb an it needit
a lot o wirk afore he wis smert eneuch for the waddin. He hadna traivelt
far fan he met a loon fa cam fusslin alang hittin the taps o the flooers wi
a stick.

“Far ye gyan?” spiert he, fair surprised tae see the bear leukin sae weel turnt oot.

“Och, I’m awa tae the miller’s waddin,” said the bear. “I’d raither bide at hame, but he wis that keen on me gyan I thocht I’d better dee that.”

“Dinna gyang, fativer ye dee,” said the Loon. ”lf ye dee, ye’ll niver come back. Yiv that fine a pelt, jist the kine aabody wints, that thir shure tae kill ye an skin ye faniver they spy it.”
“I hadna thocht o that,” said the bear, fas face turnt fite at the thocht, but naebody could see it. “If yir shure they wad dee that ...but yir nae jist sayin that cos yir nae invited yersel?”

“Na, dinna be feel. But it’s yir ain skin. I dinna care fat becomes o it!” An aff daunert the loon wi his heid in the air.

The bear thocht for a filie, syne followed ahin the loon. He kent the loon wis richt but wis too prood tae admit it.

The loon seen left the road an began tae wanner throu the wid an he’d nae gaed far fan he met in wi a wolf.

“Far ye gyan?” spiert he, for they wir acquaint wi een anither.
“I’m aff tae the miller’s waddin,” says the wolf. “It’s a richt pest, aa the same, waddins aye are, but I couldna say na tae the miller.” “Dinna gyang, fativer ye dee,” said the loon. “If ye dee an the fowk see yir thick, warm pelt thir shure tae kill ye an skin ye. Winter’s nae far awa ye ken!”

The wolf’s face drappit wi terror. “Dae ye raelly think that wad happen?” he spiert.

“Och aye, nae doot aboot it,” said the loon. “But it’s yir ain skin. I dinna care fat becomes o it!” An awa on his road he wint.

The wolf thocht for a wheen meenits syne crept cannily an craftily hame tae his hoose.

The neist beast the loon ran intae wis the tod. “Weel, yir leukin weel, freen tod,” said the loon. “Ye’ll be aff tae the miller’s waddin as weel?”

“Aye,” said the tod. “It’s a gey lang wye but the miller’s freens are a gey driech lot an I thocht I’d jist gyang alang an gie them a bit sang tae cheer them up.”

“Ach, ye peer chiel,” said the loon, “Tak my advice. Bide awa fae thon waddin. Fan iver ye gyan throu the Miller’s yett his dogs will rip ye intae wee wee bitties.
“Michty!” said the tod,”I’ve heard o siccan things. I think I’ll jist gyang awa back hame.” An that’s jist fat he did.

The tod hid nae seener left than wi’ a muckle crashin an poondin o hooves up loupit a muckle black horse.

“Mornin tae ye, loon,” roared the horse as he galloped past the loon shakkin aathing he hid tae shak. “Canna stop evnoo: I’m aff tae the miller’s waddin.”

“Stop! Stop!” cried the loon chasin efter the horse. “Dinna gyang fativer ye dee!”

The horse stoppit an spiert at him aboot fat wis the maitter.

“Ye dinna ken fit yir deein,” said the loon. “Eence the miller an his freens get haud o ye ye’ll niver gallop throu the wids again. Yir stronger than men, but there’s a lot o them an they’ll hae the theats on ye an hae ye atween the stilts o thir cairts an ploos afore ye ken fat’s happenin.”

The horse gaed a muckle lauch. “Niver!” he said. “I’m stronger than aa they chiels. Jist ye wait an see. They can try, but I’ll seen be free an back in the wids rinnin aboot jist as afore.”

An wi a whisk o his tail the horse galloped aff fester nor afore tae the miller’s hoose.

Fan the horse got tae the miller’s hoose aathing happent jist as the loon hid said. He wis jist haein a bittie ile cake fan a raip wis flung ower his held an a bit shuvved atween his teeth. Vrocht as he micht he couldna get awa an wis dragged tae the stable an shut in for a gey mony days wi nae maet nor fodder. That fair knockit the fecht fae him an it wisna lang afore the saddle an chines hid him yokit tae the ploo. He’d plenty o time tae remember fit the loon hid said till him an fan he wis tchaavin on wi the cairt ahin him he affen thocht o the loon’s wirds.

Seein that the horse widna listen the loon jist daunnert alang, pickin an aitin a puckle geans noo an again till he cam tae a clearin in the middle o the wids. Crossin the openin wis an affa bonnie fite coo wi a spray o flooers roon her neck.

“Mornin,” said the loon. “Far are ye aff till in sic a hurry?”
“I’m aff tae the miller’s waddin an I’ll need tae rin for I’m late.”

“Dinna gyang, fativer ye dee,” said the loon. “Faniver they taste yer milk wi its thick cream on the tap they’ll keep ye for iver an ye’ll serve them for the rest o yer mortal days.”

“Nivver,” said the coo. “Fat div ye ken aboot it ony wye? I kin rin quicker nor the miller nor his freens. I’m a gey swack quinie, I kin tell ye. I’m awa tae enjoy mysel wi aabody else.”

An aft wint the coo tae the miller’s steadin an aathing turnt oot jist like the loon said. The miller an his freens hid aa heard o fu gweed the coo’s milk wis an seen persuaded her tae gie them some tae taste. Weel, jist as ye’d expeck, her fate wis sealed. She wis haltered an pit in a byre afore she’d time tae think aboot it. They did let her oot aa day in a park near the byre, but they kept her tied tae a stake wi a lang bit tow.

An the same thing happened tae the goats an the yowes an the hens. Neen o them wad listen tae the loons warnin. Mair feel them.

The last o the beasts tae meet in wi the loon wis the reindeer. The loon warnt him but the reindeer said, “I’m invited tae the miller’s waddin an he priggit wi me tae be sure tae come sae I’ll nae bide awa efter haein gaed my wird. That wadna be richt.”

“Yir feel!” cried the loon. “Hae ye nae sense at aa?” Fan ye get tae the waddin they’ll hae ye hobbled an tied fest, for nae bird nor beast is as strong as ye are nor as eesefae tae man.”

“But I’m that strong an fest that I’ll be as safe as kin be,” said the reindeer. “I’m ower strong tae bine or haud an sae quick that naebody can catch me. Cheerio for noo. I’m aff tae the miller’s waddin an I’ll see ye on my wye hame fan it’s feenished.”

But neen o the beasts that gaed tae the miller’s waddin ever cam back tae the wids. They wir ower prood an too ful o themsels tae listen tae gweed advice an they an thir bairns hae bin servants o men tae this verra day an fan ye see them noo thir aye tied up in a stable or byre or fenced in by wier in a park.



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