Muckle Fleeman (A Scottish Folk Tale)
by: Wheeler, Les
Lang ago in the days fan the River Dee wis as clear as a drappie o crystal there wis a weaver chiel bade in Greystone caad Muckle Fleeman. He wis caad that because he wis say big an sae strang. But forbye he wis a strang chiel he wisna a coorse lad or bad neepor but he did hae an ill will at the Gordons for something they’d eence deen till him.
Noo, ae day he wis doon at Strathgirnoc wi a wab o wyvin for the Laird, Black Arthur Forbes. It wis a fine simmer day an the Laird fa wis a gey big cratur himsel spiert at Muckle Fleeman if he’d like a go at the swingletree. The Laird, strang as he wis kent he’d nae chunce agin Fleeman but he thocht he’d try a wee ploy for a bit o a lauch. The Laird hid tellt een o his servin men tae stan on his coat tails file him an Muckle Fleeman wir puuin the swingletree.
Sae doon they sat an grippit the swingletree. Fleeman took it gey easy at first but the Laird didna move. Sae Fleeman pullt a bittie harder, an still the Laird widna rise. Fleeman wis gettin roused sae he gaed ae tremendous pull. Up wint the Laird, ower wint the servin man an the Laird’s coat- tails wir left ahin on the grun!
“Weel,” said the Laird wi a glint in his ee, “I doot I’ll need tae be getting a better weaver if your wab canna staun a a bittie pullin! I’ll maybe need tae ging tae Johnnie Gordon o Scurrystane.”
The Laird kent that Fleeman hid a lang staunin grudge agin Gordon o Scurrystane.
“Fa?” say Fleeman, “wee Johnnie Gordon the laird o Knock’s weaver? I hope I’ll nivver live tae see the day that the Laird o Strathgirnoc will wear onything that’s come throwe the hauns o a Gordon!”
“Hae nae fear o that,” said the Laird fa only that mornin hid hin an argy-bargy wi Gordon o Knock aboot a brig ower the Girnoc an he wis tryin tae steer Fleeman up sae tae be sure o his help if ony trouble arose oot o the row.
Forbes o Strathgirnoc an Harry Gordon o Knock, hid aye bin neepors but aywis bad neepors, baith on accoont o thir femlies ae fechtin an for the quaarrels o thir ain. Forbes wintit tae bigg a brig sae that it wid be easy tae get tae his ain moss an Gordon wintit him oot o the moss aa thegither.
Efter thir row Forbes tellt Gordon he wid bigg his brig whither Gordon wis pleased wi’t or no. Gordon said that if he did pit up a brig he’d hae it knockit doon.
Weel, a puckle days later Forbes wint an pit up his brig. He an a fyow o his fowk cut doon some big trees an an made a brig o logs, but the next nicht Gordon an his fowk chucked it in ower the burn. Forbes accused the Gordon o takin advantage o the pit mirk tae dee thir cooardly wirk.
“Weel,” said Gordon, “next time ye can bigg yer brig at nicht an the next day we’ll send it efter yir first een!”
“I’ll jist dee that,” said Forbes, “ an wi the help o only ae man I’ll bigg a brig that it wad takk mair nur fower Gordons tae throwe doon!”
“Dee that,” said Gordon, “an I’ll let it staun!”
The Laird o Strathgirnoc wint aff tae see Muckle Fleeman. “D’ye ken fit the Laird o Knock his thowne in my face?” he spiert o Fleeman.”
“It’ll be lees if it cam fae a Gordon,” said Fleeman.
“Weel, he says that we twa couldna pit up a brig on the Girnoc afore mornin that Johnnie Gordon o Scurrystane wi ither three sic like widna chuck in the burn afore brakfaist time the next mornin.”
“We’ll seen teach the aul vratch that he’s wrang. He should ken better nor say the like o that aboot thee an me!’
Noo Forbes hid seen a muckle steen near haun the burn jist twa-three days afore an he an Fleeman wint oot that nicht tae grapple wi’t. Afore the sun hid keekit ower the hill the Girnoc wis rinnin unnernaith the muckle stten an Forbes hid his brig.
Jist afore brakfaist, Forbes wi Muckle Fleeman at his side stood an waatchit as Scurrystane an three o the strongest Gordons o Knock tries tae shift the steen. It widna budge an there Fleeman’s brig stood till the muckle spate o ’99 took it oot o sicht.