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Elphinstone Kist   Stories for Bairns

Hikoichi an the Aul Deen Nag (A Japanese Folk Tale)     by: Wheeler, Les

Hikoichi wis afa strong, affa fat an nae a that clivver - some even said that he wis a richt gype! Ae day the laird he wirkit for spiert at him tae gyang doon tae a neeborin village an collect a big steen jar. The steen jar wid hae bin ower big for ae chiel tae manage sae the Maister gave Hikoichi a horse tae help him cairry it back.

"Noo, that aul nag's nae verra strong," said the Maister, " he's nae muckle mair nor a rickle o beens noo but he wis a fine horse in his day. Ye're welcome tae ride the horse doon tae the village but eence ye've got the steen jar on its back ye'll need tae waak alangside it on yir wye back. We dinna wint tae pit ower muckle wecht on its back.

Hikoichi jist foldit his hauns across his muckle belly, lookit at the horse an said, "Aye, wi dinna wint tae pit ower mucke wecht on that peer cratur." The peer cratur wis that aul an worn oot it could hardly waak withoot onything on its back. Its ribs an shooder beens stuck oot that far that ye could near haun get yir fist in atween them an still nae hae touched its hide. Hikoichi got up on its back an set aff slowly doon the road.

Weel, the maister got a richt surprise that nicht fan he saa the aul horse craalin back intae the ferm yaird wheezin an gaspin for breath, near haun deid! Hikoichi wis sittin as prood as ye like on the saddle huddin the steen jar in his airms: the horse wis cairryin Hikoichi an the muckle steen jar as weel!

"Hikoichi! Hikoichi!" roared the Maister, " Ye muckle gype! Ye've deen exactly fit I tellt ye nae tae dee. Ye've nearly killt the peer aul horse wi aa that wecht on its back!"

"But, Maister," said Hikoichi, fa wis near tae greetin, " ye tellt me nae tae ride it eence it wis cairryin the steen jar. Weel, the horse wis ower shulpit a cratur for that, sae I thocht I wid cairry the steen jar mysel an syne the horse wid only hae tae cairry me!"

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