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Elphinstone Kist   Doric Prose, History

Jamie Fleeman, 1713-1778. (The Laird o'Widney's Feel.)     by: Johnston, William G

Jamie Fleeman is probably Widney's maist faamous chiel. He wis born in e pairish o' Langside in e 'eer o' 1713. He wis fit wis caad in those airly days, a bittie fey, he wis lookit on as bein'glaiket n' simple. Bit wis he? Fin he wis a young loon he started wirkin' for the Laird o' Widney. Wirkin is maybe nae the richt wirdie tae eese, ye see in aalden days gey weel aff kinna fouk like lairds wid keep these haimalt kyn o' craiturs tae be their personal servants n' tae provide as weel a wee bittie o' enterteenment for them in the dark nichts. Noo appearantly the claes at Jamie wore wis maist oot o' the ordinar, a blue sark wi' a seckclaithe kyn o' coat. He seldom wore a bonnet nor a hat, n' so, wi his hair stunnin' on eyn n his starin', probin' een, he lookit as if he wis aye fleggit oot o' his wits. Wir telt asweel aat he hid an afa loud vyce n' aat it soonded as tho' he wis spikkin through his cooter.

In 1734 fin he wis twinty-one 'eer aul he fair dammered aabidy wi his great strength. Knockha' Castle jist ootside Neebra belanged til' the Laird o' Widney. On the nicht aat it wis burned doon Jamie saved the Laird's kist by pickin' it up n' throwin' it oot through the winda. Eeswally it nott three men tae lift it! Lots o' stories are telt aboot Jamie, aboot foo he cwid tell some o' the maist prodeegious o' lees, n' aboot foo he cwid mak feels oot o' fouk aat wis tryin' tae get the better o' him. Een o' m' faavrit examples o' this wis the time aat Jamie wis leadin' a donkey, as he gid by, ae lad cried aat him; 'Is that yer brither, Jamie?'
"Na, na, jist a casual acquaintance - like yersel", wis Jamie's reply.
There wis anither time fan some weel aff lads, fa's paatroneesin' menner fair turkit Jamie, met him on the road. In an afa posh vyce een o' them asked, "Hullo, Jamie, where are you going today?"
Withoot stoppin' or lookin' at them Jamie jist said, "A'm gaun tae hell."
Later on that day the same fouk met him fin he wis returnin' an' shouted at him, "Well, Jamie, and what were they doing in hell?"
Bit Jamie hid his answer ready for them. "Ye ken, jist the same's their daein here, lettin' in the rich an' keepin' oot the peer".

A young upstart o' a Laird hid eence miscomfitted Jamie, n' of coorse Jamie nivver forgot that. So ae day es young Laird wis on his wey tae visit the Laird o' Waterton, jist ootside Ellon, n' he needed tae ford the River Ythan. Seein' Jamie sittin' on the opposite bunk he shouted ower n' asked far the best placie wis tae cross. Jamie directed him tae the bittie o' the river far the deepest pool wis tae be fun. The young Laird jist managed tae scramble oot fair soakin' weet n' of coorse he wis gey ill teen wi' Jamie. 'Mercy, Laird", exclaimed Jamie, "A've seen geese n' dyucks crossin' there hunners o' times n' A'm sure yir horse his much langer legs than they hiv!"

The Laird o' Widney hidna been an afa hard maister tae wirk for, weel nae as far as Jamie wis concerned, n' so he wis free tae gyang n' come as he pleased. There wis naethin' Jamie liket mair than tae gyang stravaiggin' aboot the kwintryside. Ae day in the Simmer o' 1778 Jamie hid been daen jist aat fin he got fair soakit in an afa shooer o' rain, come nicht he lay doon in a barn tae dry, here a plank o' wid fell on his heid n' cut it open. Ae thing led tae anither an eventually a gey sick, weak Jamie fun his wye til' his sister's hoosie at Kinmundy. Jist afore Jamie deet he opened his een n' said in a strong, clear vyce, 'I am a Christian, dinna bury me like a beast."

Jamie is beeriet in the Kirkyaird at Langside far, in 1861, a gravesteen wis erected tae his memory wi' his last wirdies screived on it, 'Dinna bury me like a beast."



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