Brither Ringan’s bogie tale
Uisually, whan I write here on Mak Forrit it’s airticles that I’m writin, but this time, I hae a wee story for yese:
The day is the twinty-fowert o Mairch, 1350. I masel, Brither Ringan, Benedictine monk at Dunfermline Abbey, am herein settin furth a bogie tale ootwi ma relígious duties.
Whan we rose for nocturnes (wir nicht prayer), I wis haein a awfie frichtsome bogie tale o a dream. I haed awaukent wi a stert in maugre o the silence necessar for wirship o wir Lord. I wis black affrontit at ma ain reaction, distractin masel an ma brithers in wir contemplation o wir Lord an Saviour.
Deed, in thir pestiferous times, we ar fair careous. The streets is fou o them that is dreein fae the plague. Wir infirmarian is gey an busy carin for wir ain brithers that is seek. In maugre o his care, they ar deein an aw. Whit for haes the Lord wisht this upo us?
Nou that I hae fulfilt ma daily duties o prayer, meditation an study, it’s free time. Sae I thocht I wad tak a few minties for tae pit in writ the nichtmare in question. I haed lit a peerie ingle. I teuk ma pen, ma ink an ma pairchment an sat by the brennin ingle. I say the ingle is ‘peerie’ acause, juist whan there’s the plague aboot, wir abbey is owercome wi anither pest: financial difficulties. An me a lad o pairts, thinkin I will can come oot o the puirtith by becomin a monk! I will no be burnin ony claes agin this disease. I am gled that I hae ma kaip on agin the Scots weather an that I am here in a stane biggin tho. I wadnae want tae think hou the puir fowk in bourachs is tholin the sítuation.
Uisually, I gang ootby for tae dae a bit gairdenin. I aye fain the plantin o kale an aits in wir gairden. Housomiver, in thir pestiferous times, we need tae keep inby, for tae no catch the pestilence plague. This fearsome, scunnersome disease is comin fae England an the Continent, but I hear tell that it cam initially fae the East. This is pairt o whit wis merksome anent this dream.
In ma dream, there wis a new pest atour the Yird. Mass graves is bein howkit in Persia, Spainie an ither kintras I hae niver even haurd o lik ‘Brazil’ an ‘Americae’. The warld seems iver sae muckler nor we wad hae iver imagined, an it is a shame tae discover the thocht in a siclike circumstance. Some o the ither awa launds is mair god-fearin nor Scotland, whilk seems tae hae forgot its Christianity.
I say there ‘wis’ a new pest, but I haed the impression that this dream wis happenin in the forrit an ayont. The fowk haed aw new-farrant objects an war talkin anent the year 2020. Juist yet anither pruif that that auld wifie Meg is wrang whan she says that the warld will end in 2000 acause a wee bog.
An whit a 2020 it is! The warld is mebbes muckler, wi aw thae new kintras, but things is fair símilar acqueesh the different kintras an aw. Fowk the warld ower wears the breeks an eats meat acqueesh twa sclice o breid. I wad like tae taste thae new vegetables awbody wis eatin, tho. I think they cried them ‘tatties’. An even fowk fae faur-aff launds spiks like they come fae London.
Spikkin o London, in the London o this dream, a Englishman is tellin, no juist England but Wales an Scotland an Northern Ireland an aw, that they need tae stey inby an tae theirsels acause o a new pest comin ower fae the East. Scotland unner London rule! The great umwhile kíngs o Scotland, buiried in this verra abbey, wad birl in their graves gif they wad ken that! King Rabert Bruce maist o aw. King Rabert bravely focht for the freedom o wir kintra for a decade, as set furth in the Declaration o Arbroath. We Benedictines at Dunferminline Abbey ar girnin yet at the fate o wir abbey at the haunds o Edward Langshanks o England: brent tae the grund sae it wis! An masel a bit mair nor a bairn at the time, newly brocht intae the abbey.
Whit’s the waur o it is that this heich heid ane cannae stey inby aw by hissel: he haes the pest hissel. May God hae mercy on his saul! An wi the abbeys in a even mair sorra state than they ar thir days, it will be nae help. Some o them haes been turnt tae haens for debosherie.
But, as I say, it wisnae juist here in Scotland. Persia, Cheenae an Italy is amang the maist affectit. An that’s nae surprise acause they ar aye the Empires o Auncient Times, the anerly places wi nae rarity o tradin contact. But the fowk o this time disnae seems tae be lettert in the same wey that we ar hereawa. There is a fair feck mair fowk that can write, but no sae mony as can listen. An nane o them seemed tae think that history wad repeat itsel.
Whit really stamagasters me is hou swith the disease gangs the warld ower. I hear tell that the plague haes been in England for mair nor a year afore it cam here. But, in this bogie tale, fleein cairiages cairies the pest the warld ower in juist a few days. An fowk can talk aboot it by writin wi letters prentit on metal boxes that is then sent by magic. Metal boxes that they uise fair aften like. Some o them cannae stap aw day. It will be deil’s wark, that.
Juist as orra is the swith reaction fae the governments an doctors. They ken whit tae dae awmaist sae suin as it kythes, no like the doctors ye see thir days. The doctors that we hae aye disnae ken whit causes this plague, gif it’s the mirk air or the dugs. The fowk o the warld disnae seem blythe o that tho; they wad hae howpit that the decísion wis taen suiner. For whit I wad gie tae be in their place!
Nou that I hae descrivit in detail ma eldritch dream, I can emphasise that this is juist a wee bogie tale. Gif ye wad believe that auld spaewife Meg that hings aboot the abbey, this wad be a omen o whit will actually happen in the forrit an ayont. She wad tell ye that ye need tae warn awbody in the neebourheid o the apocalypse. Gif she wadnae tell ye that ma dream isnae sae reliable as her herrin membranes, that is. That daft auld wifie! She believes awthing she hears that Nostradamus will say. I amnae even siccar the chiel will exist.
But that’s juist haivers. It’s the deil’s wark distractin me awa fae ma prayer. An, onywey, awbody writin on a block o letters an sendin it by magic? Whaiver wad believe a siclike thing! An I will wait on the abbot or the Pape mentionin ony apocalypse afore I blether anent a siclike thing tae ma neebours or even tae ony brithers faurer aff. Gif ye speir at me, whit appeared in this dream wad niver happen.
Wi ma bittock ingle turnin tae greeshoch, I hereby end ma bogie tale, wishin the readers weel in their fortunes agin aw kins o pest.
An that’s the end o the story. Sae that sud help yese keep yer minds aff things!