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Elphinstone Kist   Stories for Bairns

Gordon an the Spells o Zaberdondee     by: Wheeler, Les

An owersettin o an aul European folk story that ye aa micht ken

Zaberdondee wis a wizard – nae a coorse wizard but a gweed wizard, forbye he kent a fyow spells that could, if he wintit tae mak eese o them, cause a puckle folk a gweed curn o bother. He wis a bittie like Thoth an Egyptian god o lear an magic or Melampus a skeely Greek chiel fa could spik tae beasts an unnerstan fit they wir sayin. Zaberdondee wis jisy an ordnar lad o pairts an a gweed wizard.

Zaberdondee did hae ae wee problem an that wis his orra loon Gordon Gingfort. Gordon wis weel-meanin but wis a bittie o a pest. He wis aye spierin at Zabrdondee tae show him fu tae cast spells an teach him a puckle magic wirds but the wizard said he widna dae that till he thocht Gordon wis ready for’t. That didna stop Gordon spierin an he wid fair get Zaberdondee’s dander up wis his constant priggin tae be let dae a puckle tricks.

Ae day a fermer sent wird tae Zaberdondee that his coos hid stoppit aitin girss an Zaberdondee set aff for the ferm tae hae a wird wi the coos as see fit wis botherin them. Afore he wint he gaed Gordon strict instructions nae tae touch onything an jist tae get on wi feedin the beasts an practicing his sums. Gordon wisna affa gweed at addin an even waur at takkin awa. Multiplication an intaes wir biggins Gordon kent nithin aboot.

Zaberdondee set aff on his wye an Gordon gaed tae look oot the feed for the beasts o the hoose. Zaberdondee hid a fair managerie o craturs an Gordon fair likit tae feed them an likit even mair tae play wi them. He thocht he wid stairt wi the cat fa wis sleepin or nae sleepin, ye can nivver tell wi cats, on Zaberdondee work bench. Gordon wint tae move the cat an he spied that Zaberdondee’s beuk o spells wis lyin open neist tae Grumpus the cat.

‘Aye, aye,’ thocht Gordon tae himself, ‘fit hae wi here.’ The wizards Spells for Beasts beukie an a rael prize for a nosey loon like Gordon.

He flickit throwe the pages an cam tae a spell that fair got him excited for he thocht he could see a bittie o fun in it an Gordon likit a gweed lauch. The spell wis een that changed the wye beasts soondit – like if ye cast it on a lion ye could stop its roar an mak it nyatter like a chimp. Gordon couldna wait tae try it oot but on fit een o the beasts wid he try it?He wid need tae tak tint
that he didna hairm ony o the beasts or leave ony clue that wid let Zaberdondee ken fit he’d been up till.

Jist then the first victim cam on the scene. Mollypops, een o the mooses that used Zaberdondee’s hoose as a hotel, wis jist aboot tae nip back tae her nest ahin the skirtin boord fan Gordon spottit her. Gordon, airm raised an finger pyntin at Mollypops, spak the spell:

First een, syne a pair
Spik like a cat foriver mair!

A funny feelin cam ower Mollypops an she cried oot, ‘Miaow!’ Mollypops couldna believe it. There hid tae be a cat richt ahin her an she sca mpered awa tae her nest as quick as she could rin. A moose gyan ‘miaow!’ fair tickled Gordon an he lauched an lauched. Nae sae gweed, though, for Mollypops. She got back intae her nest but fan she treid tae tell aa the ither mooses o ner narra squeak aa she could dae wis ‘miaow!’ an gaed her freens sic a fricht they aa run aff for they thocht a cat had got intae their hdin placie. Peer Mollypops wis left aa her lane.

Gordon thocht his ploys wi the spell hid bin a grand success an a great lauch for him. The cat wis gaein him a quare kine o a leuk sae he thocht it could hae the treatment as weel.

First een, syne a pair
Moo like a bull foriver mair!

Grumpus lookit at Gordon, thocht he micht say something, opened his mou an a muckle, bellowin ‘Moo!’ poored oot o the cat. Grumpus got sic a fricht that he shot aff o the desk, scooted outside an claad his wye up the nearest tree. Eence on a branch he tried tae spik oot eence mair but the ‘Moo!’ that cam oot fleggit him intae loupin doon tae the grun again.

Gordon wis jist fu o himself an lauched an lauched. This wis the best fun he’d hin in ages. He gaed nae thocht tae the feelings o Grumpus an Mollypops an he wis rarin tae hae a go at some ither beasts.

Angus the bull hid spied Grumpus rin up the roddin tree an heard the soond he made. ‘I didna ken he could dae imitations,’ he thocht. ‘He sounded jist
like me.’ Angus wis tae find himself the neist victim. Gordon pyntit the finger.

First een, syne a pair
Squeak like a moose foriver mair!’

Tae say that Angus wis fair bumbazed at the result o Godon’s trick wis pittin it mildly. Here he wis, the laird o aa he could see. His roar could frichten the bravest o men or beasts an noo aa he hid wis a ‘squeak’! The coos lookit at their laird an maister, heard him ‘squeak’, lookit worried kine an syne stertit tae lauch. It stertit quietly, only een or twa o the mair forcey coos, but it seen spread. Angus wis fair affrontit. Fu could he be the laird o the byre fan aa he could dae wis ‘squeak’! He taen himself aff tae the bottom o the park an hung his muckle heid in misery.

Gordon hid hin een or tw run ins wi Angus afore sae he nivver cared aboot hurtin Angus’ feelings. Anither een fa hid snappit at him fan he’d bin oot o order wis neist on his list, Snapjaa the dog! Gordon wis fair gyan tae enjoy this een an pyntit his finger.

First een, syne a pair
Quack like a deuk foriver mair!

Snapjaa felt a shiver rin throwe himself. He felt affa odd. Weel if onything wis botherin ye jist gie a gweed bark tae set aathing richt again. ‘Quack!’ gaed Snapjaa. Tae say he wis dumfoonert isna the half o’t an being a dog thocht that if he did it aften eneuch it wid disappear. ‘Quack!…quack! quack-quack!.. Quack-quack!’ rung oot aa ower the ferm close. Nithin byordnar aboot that, ye micht say, on a ferm that keepit deuks but the quacking didna affen come fae a dog!

By noo Gordon wis ower the meen. He’d nivver hid sae muckle fun in aa his life. A moose wis miaowin, the bull wis squeakin, the cat wis mooin and the dog, this wis Gordon’s favourite, the dog wis quackin. Fit a boon tae a loon.

But, file Gordon hid bin haein some fun makkin on he wis a wizard, Zaberdondeehid made his wye hame. He opened the yet an wis met by Snapjaa fa ‘quacked’ a welcome.

‘Fit on earth’s wrang wi ye, Snapjaa?’ spiered Zaberdondee. But Snapjaa could anely ‘quack’ again.
Syne Angus lookit ower the palin an gaed a peely-waally ‘squeak.’
‘Angus? Fit’s wrang wi ye min? Hiv ye a sair thrapple?’
Angus ‘squeaked’ as best’s he could but he’d nae idea fit wis wrang wi him.

But Zaberdondee thocht he jaloosed fit hid bin gyan on. He wis jist aboot tae cry oot for Gordon fan the cat gaed a lood, blarin ‘Moo!; That wis aa Zaberdondee needit tae be siccar aboot fit hid bin gyan on. He pyntit his lang, wizardy finger at Snapjaa,

Een, twa, three, fower
Spik jist like ye did afore.

He sortit oot Angus an Grumpus an syne set aff tae find Gordon. Gordon wis sittin in the kitchen lauchin awa tae himself but the lauch dribbled awa fan he spied the wizard stridin in throwe the door. He kent by the leuk on his face that his maister wisna best pleased.

Zaberdondee glowert at Gordon, ‘Yiv bin meddlin wi ma spells! Fu aften hae I te tell ye nae tae ficher wi things that hae nithin tae dae wi ye? Weel, noo I’ve pit aathing richt I can settle wi you! Ye didna like the soond o my beasts did ye? Thocht ye micht change them sae ye could hae a gweed lauch? Weel, noo ye’ll find oot jist fit it’s like. This spell will lest for a wik!

First een, syne a pair
Bray like a donkey for a wik or mair!

Gordon tried tae spik up for himself but aa that camoot wis, ‘Hee-haw, hee-haw!’ Gordon had fair bin pit in his place for interficherin far he’d nae business.

But mind you Zaberdondee hidna put aathing richt, hid he? Fa hid he missed oot? Aye, that’s richt, he didna ken aboot Mollypops the moose. Neen o the ither mooses wid come near her cause she soonded like a cat. She wis affa lonely an sad. Dae ye think we micht help her oot? I think we caan. Form a circle looking ootwards, for wir nae aathegither sure far Mollypops is at the meenit. Noo, pynt stracht in front o yersel an say efter me:

Een, twa, three, fower
Mollypops squeak like ye did fore!

Weel, I think aathing will be aaricht noo an mind ye o this – dinna gyan interficherin wi things ye dinna unnerstaun or ye micht jist mak a richt donkey o yersel.

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