The Tattie Bogle
by: Robertson, Stanley
What a place it wis for craws! The trees made it awfie easy for craws tae come doon and jist ramsack a new sown field. The scabby black skeelipers wid jist come doon and devour everything that hid bin sewn.It wisnae a braw place tae fairm intae but the land wis quite arable.Ony fairmer working here needed a guid scarecraw. Yet the craws here were fearless o ony tattiebogle and only a real body could frichten them awa, Acky Broon wis fair scunnered losing a half o the crop tae a puckly skitter magailions.
Noo he wis a lad in his late thirties and he wis a hard working stocky chiel.His wife wis a lot younger than he wis but a true grafter. Frae dawn tae gloaming she aye busied hersel roon aboot the fairmie and she wis a great helpmeat tae Acky. Noo her name was Lully and she wis a bit o a looker. Monies a glad ee she got frae passing yokels.Despite the scabbie craws they worked intae een anithers’ wyes and seemed tae hae a method tae their madness.Jist the flocks o craws made their lives miserable and at planting and sewing times they wid baith tak turns at chasing the craws awa wi sticks. They took shottie aboot for aifter aa their livelihood wis at stake.
Deprivation o their crop wis very high because o the craws so therefor something hid tae be deen tae resolve their problem.There wis a time whin Acky wid consult the Laird o the Black Airts.The wye things were gan for him he then thocht that he wid maybe gang to hae anither wee visit wi him again.Withoot telling Lully Acky made a visit tae see the auld Laird o the Black arts and telt him aboot his plight wi the craws destroying aa his hard labour.
Noo the auld laird held oot a sympathetic ear and telt Acky Broon that if he wid gie him a tenth o his crop earnings then he wid gie him instructions on hoo to mak a tattiebogle that wid fleg every craw in the region.This wis like music tae Ackie‘s ears cos he needed tae hae a guid harvest. Acky wis a grippy lad but he thocht that a tenth tae the auld laird wis better than nae crop ava.Weel he listened carefully at the instruction the auld man gaed him.
‘Ye maun tak a big neep and cut oot the sockets for the een and a mooth. Full up the een holes wi the yellow een o a barn owl and then get the eight different een oot o various deid animals. Sic like craturs o cuddies,rabits,coos,sheep,deer, snakes,salmon or badgers and sew them ontae a jacket. Stick the big neepy heid ontae a pole and add on the legs and get a pair o tackety beets and mak up aa the body. Whin ye hae deen that then get a pair o hands aff the gibbot and a rotten heart frae aff a mouldering corpse.Stick it aa the gither and tae mak it come alive repeat the words o the magic incantation and that will bring the tattieboggle tae life and every craw will flee for its bare death and life. The words o the incantation are.
‘a laird, a lord, a lily, a leaf, a piper, a drummer, a hummer, a thief.‘
It wisnae an awfie fine task tae dae but he hid deen worse things than that afore so withoot ony hesitation he got stuck intae the task a making the tattiebogle.
Finally he gaithers aa the bits an pieces o the scarecraw and everything made ready for it coming tae life and bringing fear tae the craws. Eence athing is ready he assembles the bits and bobs taegither and sticks it intae the middle o his field and he repeats the jingle.
A strange eerie scraping sound is heard and the big neepie heid starts tae turn aroon the pole and it made a lang dronie kind o sound as it moaned oot o it. It wis able tae move its hands and legs and everything on the field ran for its life.There wis nae a craw nor a bird o ony kind o description came near aboot the hideous tattie bogle.Acky didnae worry aboot it but he forgot tae tell Lily aboot the creepy scarecraw.
It so happened that Lily wis crossing ower the field whin she noticed the tattiebogle and curiosity made her ging an tak a guid look at it and whit she saw she didnae like. The horrible fiendish looking thing moved its airms and turned its heid upon the pole and looked it her wi its huge yella hoolet’s een and cried oot in a lang dirgeful moan, “Lully I love ye …’’
Lully screamed oot in sheer horror and ran back tae the fairmhoose and whin she came in her man says, “Whit a deil ill ails ye woman? Lully gaithers her pannicky breath and says, “Och an anoo and I darnae tell, something evil walks between Heaven and Hell.” “There’s no anything evil gan aboot woman; wid ye jist hud yer wheest“.
Aa that nicht Lully felt uneased wi whit she saw and heard and she jist kent that Acky wis back in league wi the black airt. She felt strange shaddows crossing roon her bedroom and she could hear the cauld neepie lips saying, “I love ye Lully“
All night she rested uneasy that whin morning came she was deadly tired.Lully avoided the tattieboggle like the plague and never crossed the field where it stood,Still she knew she couldnae rin awa forever.
At times whin she did cross its path it would aye say in a lang spooky voice, “Lully I love ye“...
Every nicht she could see the creepy shadows sprawling over the waas at nicht and she could smell its deid hands and heart.Even through the deid ceilings o the nicht she felt its eerie presence.
Lully learned tae live wi it but she never made closse contact wi it.She felt that the scarecraw wis stalking her.She wid aye say tae her man, “Och an anoo and I darnae tell there’s something walks between heaven and hell.” Acky wid jist tell her she wis a sully woman.
Aa that year the crops did weel and the laird got his tenth and aabody wis pleased except Lully cos she felt the secret stalking o her and she wis unnerved.Pitting on aa her strength she jist managed tae cope wi the situation.Aa she ever said wis, “Och an anoo and I darnae tell theres something evil walks between heaven and Hell.“
Things werenae richt the following year cos the crops didnae grow. It wisnae the fault o the tattiebogle because he could frichten awa the craws but it wis a blight that killed the crops. The failure resulted in disaster for the fairmer. The Laird still expected his share o money but there wis nane tae gie.Acky started tae drink and bad use Lully. She wis sic a hard working woman and he showed her nae love.Money wis the true love o Acky‘s life.
Ae nicht he wis blin drunk and he wis lashing oot at onybody and aabody and Lully ran for fear o getting a puncheon. Acky wint richt up tae the tattie bogle and he got a scythe and he sliced aff a deid hand. The tattieboggle squealed oot o it and the deid hand moved on the grun. Acky ran awa frae it because it moaned sae loud but as he wis rinning back tae the fairm he fell full force richt ontae a very shairp scythe and he cut his am hand aff frae the wrist. Lully hid tae get the wound bandaged and the doctor wis feart for Acky‘s life. He survived but a fairmer wi one hand is nae muckle use.
She wis getting tortured wi this man noo wha wis losing the plot. One nicht Acky again swept oot and he lifted a sickle and he cut aff the heid o the tattie boggle. The thing jist roared oot o it and the heid turned aboot ontae the grun. The shock drove Acky aff his heid and he wis taken awa tae bedlam.
Lully wis noo on the fairmie her leaf alane and she wis terrified. She felt the tattie bogle spik tae her and she aye felt its movement and shadows flickering.The gig neepie heid wis turning upon the grun and it aye said as she passed it by,“ I love ye Lully”
She screamed and said that she could never love it back and she pleaded wi it tae leave her alane.
He replied “If ye will gie me a kiss on the neepie lips then I will vanish frae ye forever.“ She thought if she could get release eence an for all then she wid kiss it on the neepie lips. She picked up the neepie heid and she kissed the sharp foul lips o the tattieboggle and she felt the hale neepie breath gang doon her thrapple. The scarecraw fell intae bitties and then it burned up. There wis nae trace o it. Lully wint hame and at last hid a guid nicht’s sleep.
Intae the morning Lully arose early cos she hid a heap o extra things tae day noo that her man wis in bedlam. Tae her utter surprise aa the jobs she wis gan tae do were already deen. There wis very little for her tae dae.Whin she opened the back door o the fairmie she noticed a tall handsome fella nicely dressed and he wis grafting awa on the fairmie. She asked him wha he wis and this good looking fella looked richt up tae her face and said,
“Och anoo and I darnae tell there’s something guid noo walks between Heaven and Hell.”
The young man looked at her and said, “I love ye Lully.”
And he winked at her.