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Elphinstone Kist   Maakers, History, Work, Fantasy

    by: Christie, William

It’s lang sin’ I was orra loon at Mains o’ Balnaskene,
I was bit a halflin laddie than, nae aulder nor fifteen;
Fan I begood my craft they passed me neth the horse’s belly,
An’ ower his back, an’ tween his legs an’ oot aneth his taillie.
I neist was second horseman, an’ as I turned ower the yird
I consithert sic a chiel I’d be gin I’d the Horseman’s Wird.

I noticed that the foreman haed a douce an’ canny pair,
But mine were geyan restive, an’ gaed breengin’ here an’ there;
Fan I slipped the collar ower their heids, they fyles lunged oot at me---
Or fan ruggin i’ the traces—for nocht that I cud see.
I’d never luck wi’ queynes, an’ fan I coost oot wi’ my third,
I spiert at Foreman Jamie gin I’d get the Horseman’s Wird.

So wi’ loaf an’ whisky bottle an’ a cannle to gie licht,
Fae the bothie to the barn I gaed at mirkest hoor o’ nicht,
A cloot was wuppit roon my een, an’ mony a question spiert:
“Fat are ye needin’ maist?” By luck I wasna sair misleart;
Wi’ duntin’ hert, I managed to habber oot, “Mair licht.”
“Haud up yer haun . . say efter me . . .“ I fairly did that richt,
Syne shook the Aul’ Chiel’s hairy haun, the Wird was whispered laich
Intill ma lug, the cloot taen aff; I watched the lave a’ pech
An’ hoast an’ habber throu. So noo, wi’ hert as licht’s a bird,
I kent I’d skeel wi’ ony horse—I kent the Horseman’s Wird.

I kent that I cud reist a horse farever he mith be,
Or gar him come to me at will, fae Deveron Banks to Dee.
I gaithert wit, an—aye ye ken—married a weel-faured queyne.
I can guide my pair, but it’s kittle sair to keep her on the reyne.
I’ve tried the Foreman, tried the Grieve, aul’ Windyedge an’ a’,
But the Marriet-Horseman’s-Wird—na, deil ane kens o’ it ava.



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