11th October

Jack and the Dog

‘Jack,’ his mother says one day, ‘that auld dug has had it. Aw she does is eat and sleep. Tak her doon tae the sea and droon her.’

‘Och, Mither, I canna,’ Jack cries, but she insists.

Down to the sea he trudges, with the dog limping at his heel. When they reach the water’s edge, Jack sits for an hour and the dog sits with him. Then they go back to the house.

‘I couldna dae it, Mither,’ Jack says. ‘She wasna ready for droonin.’

‘I’ll mak it easier for ye,’ she says. ‘Tak this auld sack wi ye and when ye get tae the sea pit the dug in it and droon her.’

So Jack trails down to the sea with the sack and the dog, but he still can’t do the job, so it’s back up to the house they go.

‘It’s hard, Jack,’ his mother says, ‘but the morn’s morn ye’ll hae tae dae it because I’ve tellt ye.’

The next morning, when Jack gets up, the sack is lying by the door. ‘The dug was fast asleep, Jack,’ she whispers, ‘so I just pit her in the sack and tied it. If ye cairry it tae the sea and haud it under, that’ll be the dug drooned.’

Well, Jack lifts the sack on his shoulder and away to the shore again. But he still can’t bear to drown the dog, even though she’s so quiet he thinks she might have suffocated. So he opens the sack to check, because if she’s dead then he’ll not need to drown her, and what is in there but a big round stone wrapped up in a blanket!

Back he runs to the house. ‘Mither, Mither, somebody’s stole the dug!’

‘Naw, Jack,’ she says. ‘Naebody’s stole it.’

In front of the fire is the old dog, snoring away like a train.

‘I was testin ye, Jack,’ she says. ‘I wanted to see if ye’d dae whit I tellt ye.’

‘I doot I’ve failed ye then, Mither,’ says Jack, ‘for I didna droon the dug.’

‘Naw, son, ye didna fail,’ she says. ‘Ye passed. Sit in at the table and I’ll gie ye yer breakfast.’

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Harmonium: Kit Downes
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