1. At the heid o' the glen whaur the burnie rins doun,
An' the bushes rise up faur awa' frae a toun,
Whaur lang jaggy brambles, wi' brackens an' broom,
Are warpin' an' weftin' like wabs i' the loom.
2. There aince stood a biggin' o' canny expense,
A hallan dividet the kitchen an' spence ;
The floor, tho' a clay ane, was soun as your loof,
While fail an' bog-rashes protecket the roof.
3. The lintel was laigh. an' the door was but strait,
There wad aye be a chirt when twa muckle anes met,
Or the taen boost tae staun' till the tither wan thro',
An' five feet an' a hauf had tae mak' a bit bou.
4. Tho' the winnocks were wee, there war twa on ilk side;
Tho' the lum was but laigh, yet the mouth o't was wide ;
Sae the licht thro' the housie, an' down on the bink,
Was better at times than a body wad think.
5. The folk wha possest it for mony a year
Had part o' importance, but nae muckle gear.
The man's name was Peter, tho' folk ca'd him Pate,
An' his twa maiden sisters were Janet an' Kate.
6. 'The lassies were thrifty, they cardet an' span,
Bleached lang wabs o' sarkin' as white as a swan;
At least it was said that the lady hersel' "
Said, "The lassies could do a piece cloth very well."
7. But a' things connecket wi' time ha'e an' en',
An' sae had the folk at the heid o' the glen ;
For Peter an' Kate were ta'en aff, ane by ane,
An' auld Janet was left by the ingle her lane.
8. Syne the Laird for himsel', an' for Janet an' a',
Gat the orra auld plenishin' roupet awa',
An' Janet was set whaur the nei'bo'rs were near,
An' the rent no sae muckle by something a year.
9. But whether for grief at the loss o' her kin,
An' at leavin' the hame that she liket, ahin',
Or something forebye, there was nane that could say,
But they saw she fell aff her bit ordinar' way.
10. Syne the Minister cam' tae enquire whit was wrang,
He made exercise, too, an' converst wi' her Lang ;
Till, lang-at-the-length, he thocht proper tae speer,
Gin a will was made oot aboot heirin' her gear ?
11. "Ou, ay, sir," quo' Janet, " the Laird an' my brither
Were grit when by chance they forgather't thegither ;
Sae Pate at his death left the chairge on the Laird,
An' he's aye ta'en the fashrie, an' I ha'e been saird.
12. "Thae things that you see, sir, I ettle tae lea'
Tae the nei'bo'rs aboot wha's been kindest tae me;
An' gin ony thing's left wi' the Laird at the en',
He maun jist mak' the dredgie the r'ugher, ye ken."
13. "Just so," said the Priest, " but had it been your pleasure
'To have added a part to a much better treasure,
By leaving with me a few pounds to the poor,
'Twou'd have yielded a happy reflection, I'm sure.
THE MINISTER AND JANET’S HEN
The Village of Chryston - North Lanarkshire - Scotland
14. "Yet wishing that order and peace may prevail,
If you'll mention your friends and their lots in detail
I shall be your executor, free of expense,
To disburden your mind of the trifles of sense."
15. She hankert awee, tho' her prospects were sma',
Yet she couldna fin' oot hoo tae get him awa' ;
Sae wi' words an' by signs, as her strength wad allow,
Wi' the help o' the Priest her bit will was gaen thro'.
16. But jist as his rev'rence was dichtin' the pen,
What think you cam' in but a fine bunshie hen ?
She had come tae leuk after her dish for a pick,
An' the Minister steekit the door wi' his stick.
17." Noo, Janet," quo' he, " I must bid you good-day,
The work is gone through, and I'm going away ;
But that we have made an omission, 'tis plain,
The roll is completed, but here is a hen."
18. " Ou, ay, sir," said Janet, " I canna weel tell,
But I'm thinkin' o' leavin' the hen tae yersel'."
" Indeed," says the Priest, " then my service is due,
An' I'll just tak' her with me to save more ado."
19. A string was providet, an' a' was made dark,
Sae the Minister soon got a haud o' his mark ;
Her legs were made fast wi' the string in a glance,
An' the Minister took her awa' tae the Manse.
20. Example gaes farer than precept, 'tis said,
An' as Janet was maistly confin'd tae the bed,
A few o' her oot-an'-in nei'bo'rs began
To mak' use o' their haun's on the Minister's plan.
21. Ha ! but Janet grew better, wan oot tae her chair,
An' speert after some things she couldna see there;
Syne ilka bit article, better or waur,
Was return't, an' set doun without jumble or jar.
22. Some spak' o' a chicken an' some o' a hare,
Tae put strength in her legs tae get cot tae the air,
An' some recommendet an egg noo an' then;
" Aweel, then," quo' Janet. " we'll send for the hen."
23. " The hen !" quo' the Howdie, " the banes o't are bare,
'Tis roastet an' snappet, as sure as yer there;
Bid a Minister tak', an' he'll soon dae yer bidden,
'Deed she ne'er got a scart at the Minister's midden."
24. "He's kill't her then, has he?" quo' Janet, an' grat ;
" He needna ha'e been just sae clever as that,
It's been mair for himsel' than a likin' for me ;
Sae, for fear I wad men', my bit hen boost tae dee !
25. " I ha'e bid the de'il tak' it, again an' again,
Yet greedy's they ca' him, he let it alane;
But, hegs, when the Minister body cam' in,
The sorry a biddin' he needit but ane."