Author(s): Cecilia Grainger
Copyright holder(s): Cecilia Grainger
Play opens with the sound of a cock crowing. Della, Krista, Tess, Lori, Robby and Berna are grouped around an open grave: they stand quietly for several minutes. Tess has bandages wrapped around her neck arms and legs; Tess wears a blindfold
LORI. Robby is the sun up; is it shinin?
KRISTA. Sun’s rays warmed us the meenit she drew ur last braithe!
ROBBY. SSH! Krista hawd oan ti the sile fills hur lugs.
Lori lunges forward
DELLA. Grab Lori, Tess grip ur waist; / hawd ur ticht!
TESS. Bit she wants ti dae a jig, Della! / She wants ti…
BERNA. Yis uh’ll aw bi punished – goad uh’ll strike yis hard; / strike yis doon…
KRISTA. HIM! An us bruised blue the day wi wur born?
TESS. Della let ur dance? She’s been ever sae guid: shiney black bits tappin oan that…that screwed tight LID!
ROBBY. Mammy widnae like that – dancin a jig; hummin wicked music, aw, aw, naw, naw…naw she widnae like that.
KRISTA. How’s she gonnae hear it Robby? Doon there - aside the squiggly wriggly worms - she’ll noh even hear a whisper o gress sproutin…
BERNA. Ah’m awa up the hoose: noh staein here, listenin ti this blasphemey; yur dark herts uh’ll flair up sair when his lightnin strikes yis.
DELLA. Git the wreath Robby; bring it ower here!
TESS. Aw Della yi said Ah could dae that.
DELLA. STOP YUR FIBBIN TESS: Ah said nae sich thing.
TESS. Grave-digger says it’s gonnae rain Della.
Robby hands the wreath to Della.
KRISTA. Tess WE dug the plot…thur’s nae digger grave or otherwise.
DELLA. Wi aw suffered – suffered terrible so wi did: bit Lori felt the pain greater than oany o us – she gets the wreath.
ROBBY. Feel a rain drop?
DELLA. Let it come Robby: happy the bride that the sun shines on: happy the corpse that the rain falls on.
KRISTA. (Laughs loudly) Tell yi Della, Ah’m paein noh yin penny ti that wreath!
DELLA. An Ah say, where wur yi gittin the money oanywae?
KRISTA. Yi aye manage ti spoil mah dreams Della.
ROBBY. Aunty Berna jagged ursell useless weavin they thistles inti that wreath.
KRISTA. Auld skin flint; chargin us fur a wreath?
They all laugh loudly
They all sing: except Lori
"On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross the emblem of
suffering and pain / and I love that dear cross…"
TESS. Della – Della Lori’s shakin… / mibi yin o hur turns?
DELLA. Bring ur here Tess: guide ur ower.
KRISTA. Mak ur open ur een: stop ur fi thinking shis blind: / cause shi isnae!
ROBBY. Ah’m Lori’s een; Ah tell ur what she needs ti see.
TESS. Sich bonny thistles; sich a colour purple oan a wreath…purple…mournin colour fur royalty?
KRISTA. Will Ah gee ur the wreath Della?
DELLA. Ah’m the auldest sister: Ah’ll gee ur the wreath.
KRISTA. So, what’s the hymn fur the day?
ROBBY. Cherry Ripe!
TESS. She loved that yin!
DELLA. She hated it!
KRISTA. (Pause) Cherry Ripe it is?
Lori whispers to Robby
ROBBY TESS KRISTA. Sing "Cherry ripe cherry ripe ripe I cry, full and fair one come…"
DELLA. IS NAEBODY HEARIN ME? Ah’m the auldest: tradition dictates; Ah’ll be leadin the singin! (Pause) First things first – WREATH!
Della takes the wreath to Lori; places it in both her hands
Krista sets the wreath alight
KRISTA. Lori darlin the wreaths burnin nicely; noo throw it…wi aw yur might heave it inti the grave.
Tess helps Lori throw the wreath into the grave
ROBBY. Blue green rid orange flames Lori; sparks jumpin cracklin an dancing way up…way up in the air; jist like the Northern Lights dancing in the sky…tell mi, kin yi hear thum?
Lori nods her head furiously
Robby holds her tightly
KRISTA TESS. Sing "The Northern Lights o auld Abeurdeen mean / hame sweet hame ti me…"
ROBBY. AW AW! Singin wicked song: she’ll be angry… (Pause) What if the coffin burns; then turns ti ash?
KRISTA. Nae fear Robby: it’ll stae stane cauld ti it reaches the rid hot searin flames waitin on it.
TESS. Sich a shame aw they silky thistles curlin up; thurs me wantin a garland fur mah hair!
DELLA. Us pare cauld blooded sowls ur nothing athoot fire…an did she – hur doon there – an him, him ower there deid these last torturous years – did they noh tell us – us here, did they noh aye say, the wicked shall burn in the eternal fires o hell…? (Pause) Bit that wis what they were telt, they wur only sayin what they were commanded ti say.
Della coughs; covering her mouth with a rag; then looks at it: puts it in her pocket
KRISTA. Halleuia Della.(Pause) The mithir – hur doon there, an the faithir – him lyin rottin ower there – thur baithe gone baithe pit in the earth ti leave the earth, left us ti face oor freedom…an you spoutin keech…They wur telt they wur commanded?: (Pause) What they did ti us…lockin us up when wi wurnae breakin oor backs in they fields an wi they bastard animals…?
ROBBY. SSSSH! Swearin Krista? Wicked words like that fur oor Lori ti hear… / aw aw naw naw!
TESS. Will Ah git the picnic ready Della?
DELLA. Hear you Tess? A great comet could be hurtling toward us an there you’d be setting the table; polishin the cutlery…Ah’ll tell yi when, cause…
KRISTA. You’re the auldest sister; you’ll keep us aw in line; keep us aw fi dreamin.
DELLA. Git yursels ready, you unaw Robby: wur fur singin Cherry Ripe!
TESS. Will Ah git Auntie Berna?
KRISTA. Nae need: here she staggers…auld hag.
DELLA. Nae show athoot Punch; she’s sooy drunk, she’s been it the brew. Berna, Auntie Berna mind the brig?: side’s stanes ur loose. (Pause) KRISTA DEY JIST STAND THERE, gee ur a hand ower the brig.
KRISTA. Let the auld crone drop fi the brig; breck hur neck: thurs room doon there aside hur ugly sister.
ROBBY. SSSSH! She’ll hear yi; then she’ll punish us.
Lori whispers to Robby
KRISTA. Oan a day like the day we’re aw let of wi punishment! Happiness rises; sadness descends. (Laughs)
DELLA. Tess tak Lori ower the brig; lay ur doon oan the duck down quilt…duck down mind; noh hen’s feathers.
TESS. Wull noh hear yis singin Della.
KRISTA. Oan a day like the day wull be heard clean ower they hills; richt doon the glen.
DELLA. Krista sit Berna ower there: aw wi need is hur fawin in the hole.
KRISTA. Did shi faw…or wis shi shoved? (Laughs loudly)
DELLA ROBBY TESS. AAAAH! OOOOH!
Aunty Berna is carrying a large stone jug and a whip
Krista helps her to sit down
BERNA. Awa wi yi: git yur hands off mah jug: yur too young fur the brew. Forty yull hae ti be afore this tonic passes yur lips.
KRISTA. Yur dirty auld sister…aye hur that’s doon there…she hud Del an me tipplin it age six…mind Della? Gittin us well oiled…gittin us well prepared fur the sacrifical altar.
DELLA. Did she noh git that fi hur mother, handed doon fi generation ti generation…tradition: (Pause) forty when yi start the brew wis faithirs side o the famely (Pause) When wi wur bairns Krista, hur geein us the grog…that wis hur side o the famely; (Pause) they’d be telt that; telt ti hand it oan.
KRISTA TESS ROBBY. Tradition!
Tess goes to the bridge; looks at Lori
ROBBY. When wi singin Della when wi startin the hymn?
DELLA. Robby is that yur tambourine Ah see? Look it that Krista?: bonny: noh a mark oan it.
KRISTA. Ah’m noh surprised: only allowed ti play it oan Christ’s birthday. (Pause) Shake it Robby; bang it oan yur elbi: loved it when yi did that…sent they twa auld bastards inti a right rage…
DELLA KRISTA ROBBY. Sing "CHERRY RIPE, CHERRY RIPE, RIPE I CRY FULL AND FAIR ONES COME AND RISE…"
Tess shouts from the bridge
TESS. Della, Della…? Thurs a body comin up the track…it the big Yew…STOPPED IT THE BIG YEW… (Pause) Krista is it a man?: AH’M FEARED! (Pause) A shaman comin through the passage…comin through the Yew fi the underworld ti this world; settin sichts oan the upper world…AH’M FEARED!
BERNA. An you…you ya soppy half wit…you thits ay professing ti be the witch…aye an could be yull be hurled inti BOGGLE HOLE…chucked in wi aw the other witches…thame thit cast thur spells…thame thit got hunted doon an tried fur thur wickedness…BIG DEEP DARK BOGGLE HOLE waitin ower the hill; up bi the wee wid ti swally yi whole… (She laughs loudly)
Krista and Della hurry to the bridge
Aunty Berna falls on her back
Robby does a jig still playing the tambourine
Krista and Della stand on the bridge holding each other
DELLA. Goad in heaven Krista, is it…is it…?
KRISTA. See his left leg: still draggin it?
DELLA. Luck wis oan his side: swear the auld man wid huv broke it right off…mind it Del?
KRISTA. Berna gave it a fair clout tae! Still he managed ti pit yin fit in front o the other! (Pause) Wull he still hae the scars oan his face fi Berna’s whip?
DELLA. Noo where di yi think he’s been aw these years?
ROBBY. Is Tess fibbin again Della…?
AUNTY BERNA. So he’s come efter aw!
Berna struggles up
Robby throws down the tambourine
ROBBY. HE, he…?
BERNA. Gees a / hand Robby…A HAND NOO!
ROBBY. HE…? A man…man comin here, what’s he come fur Auntie Berna?
BERNA. Cause Ah telt um ti…wrote him Ah did…
DELLA. Promise yull noh upset um Krista?
KRISTA. Pleasure um wi yin o mah sugary sweet, smiles?
ROBBY. Della; Krista did yi ken he wis comin?
KRISTA. Kind considerate Auntie Berna’s been plannin ti surprise us, Robby.
Della starts coughing
BERNA. Aye Della’s lung blood micht noh be the only rid wi see the day?
KRISTA. Hush yur puss, ya auld crone. (Pause) Here’s a clean rag Della!
Della holds the rag to her mouth: coughing loudly
ROBBY. What’s he comin fur; what’s he wantin?
Robby picks up the tambourine; runs to the bridge; squeezes in between Krista and Della
BERNA. Simple that is Robby: HE’S WANTIN WHAT HE’S ENTITLED TI… (Sings) "Yes I’ll cling to the old rugged cross and exchange it some day for a crown…"
Robby bangs the tambourine: Tess appears, guiding Lori.
Lori starts to dance a jig
Scene opens with Robby and Tess watching Zeb lie sleeping on a quilt on the ground
TESS. Will wi ask him aboot his gammy leg? An they scars…?
ROBBY. SSSH! Askin him right oot like that…that micht mak um angry. Yi heard what Della and Krista said? leave him be.
TESS. Hus he a name?
ROBBY. What’s a man athoot a name? Sure did the auld man noh ay say, it’s aw in a name. (Pause) Ken he looks like the auld man…AWAW NAWNAW! what if he’s the same as him – the auld man - what if he’s the ghost o the auld man; come ti haunt us; come ti cairri oan where the auld yin left off?
TESS. Silly Robby: did Auntie Berna noh say shid wrote ti um: how could she write ti a ghost? Where wid she send the letter ti a gowk…? (Pause) Is ghosts noh ay oan the move hauntin folk; gawn ti different hooses; different places… (Pause) letter wid never catch up wi a gouly, slaverin Robby.
ROBBY. Ghosts stae pit; in the yin place…place where they cannae rest; cannae find peace…the punishment for ghosts is jist that: (Pause) spookin an rattlin thur chains is what they dae…dae it in thur prison…place where the sinfu wicked things happened.
TESS. He telt me he wis a ghost! Laughs
ROBBY. Fibbin again Tess!
ROBBY. Mibi he’s ay been here? Been here since the auld man died…aye if he’s the auld man’s ghost then he’s ay been here.
TESS. Silly, slaverin Robby! (Pause) Yin wae ti fund oot if he’s a bogey man or noh a bogey man?
Tess reaches down to touch Zeb
ROBBY. AW AW! yull git punished…punished bad Tess!
TESS. If mah hand goes richt through um…then he’s a ghost!
Zeb awakens; grabs Tess by the arm
ROBBY. REAL REAL! Like you; like me, he’s breathin; livin flesh an blood…NAW NAW AW AW!
ZEB. Angel, praise the lord I’m awoken by a beautiful angel…do you have a name sweet Seraphim?
ROBBY. Tess, ur names Tess.
TESS. Contessa, that’s mah richt name, Contessa, Contessa!
ROBBY. She’s tellin lees; tellin stories, dis it aw the time…Krista says she’s fu o imaginins; hur heids swelled up wi havers; brains like a fluffy cloud…
ZEB. Why what else would an angel have in such a delightful head;? but a fluffy cloud: (Pause) why anything else would be…be ridiculous!
ROBBY. You think…you sayin…sayin it’s noh wrong; noh bad ti tell lees: tell stories?
ZEB. (Pause) Suppose I am…yes, stories’ with passion; imagination are good for the soul: they lift the spirit; take it out of…of the here and now.
TESS. Kin you sing?
ROBBY. NAW NAW NAW NAW! She wants ti hear wicked music: noh allowed, naw naw, noh allowed: hur ower there…ower there in the grave she’d be angry; micht even curse us.
ZEB. She’s dead? (Pause) the dead don’t hear music of any kind.
TESS. That’s what Krista said.
ZEB. Krista? (Pause) Oh Krista!
ROBBY. Mah sister: Krista’s mah sister.
ZEB. Is that what she told you? Robby, (Pause) did she, did Krista tell you this?
TESS. Said Robby wis yin o us, aye, what shi said, Robby? Said wi wur aw famely…
ROBBY. Whey ur you?
ZEB. Well now…I’m not a ghost…
TESS. You wur listenin… (Pause) he heard us Robby?
ROBBY. Della said yi wur related!
TESS. Ah dreamed o you comin here…here ti see us – you thit wis somebody different; somebody thit talked different fi us; / somebody thit looked different fi us.
ROBBY. Awbody leavin the grave like that: when you appeared; awbody awa up the hoose: if yi wur yin o us…?
(Pause) Leavin the grave’s noh allowed: dinnae leave the grave unattended fur three days an nichts, wi eat;/ sleep
TESS. Kacky an pee pee.
ROBBY. stae pit; make shair that…well…make shair…
ZEB. The body’s safe?
TESS. (Laughs loudly) Make shair it disnae come back!
ZEB. And the others, there in the graves: were they guarded?
ROBBY. Dey ken aboot others: only the auld man: we stid guard ower him…(Pause) others wur awa afore Ah come along.
ZEB. Were you frightened…back then…frightened to sleep so close to an open grave?
ROBBY. Oan mah ain Ah’d huv been feared: (Pause) mah sisters’ wur here though an me bein the only man Ah’d noh be allowed ti show fear.
TESS. Big bag that…looks heavy…! (Touches the bag)
ZEB. You’d be very young then…then / when the old man died.
TESS. Strong cow-hide / bag that is; wid hud a lot?
ROBBY. Hoo di you ken this?
ZEB. Lori? Isn’t that she standing by the bridge? Does she want to come over here? / She looks…
TESS. Bag that big might hawd aw kindae things.
ROBBY. AW AW! Hawd oan Lori: Ah’m comin fur yi…AW AW hurry Robby…hurry.
TESS. An aw the labels; aw the letters…ur they names o places?
Zeb.(Pause) Sorry Contessa you asked about the bag?
TESS. (Jumps up and down) Heuch yiv cawed mi bi mah richt name?
ZEB. I like to get things right!
Zeb carry’s the bag nearer to Tess.
He sits down; then motions for Tess to sit beside him
TESS. Gae sair lookin that leg o your’s!
ZEB. (Pause) My heart knows greater pain!
ZEB. Now, Contessa you choose a label; then I’ll tell you all about it.
TESS. Hurry up Robby; bring Lori; he’s gonnae tell us aw aboot the bag; gonnae show us what’s in it.
Robby guides Lori to Zeb and Tess.
ROBBY. Move ower Tess; let Lori sit doon: hur legs are fare shakin.
ZEB. Before we begin I’ll tell you my name: it’s Zebediah; but you can call me Zeb.
TESS. Oo hud an uncle cawed Zebediah!
ROBBY. Oo wid need that confirmed bi Della!
ZEB. She would tell you the truth?
ROBBY. (Pause) Auld man hud a fine biblical name unaw: Solomon!
ZEB. Truly a royal name! (Pause) Unlike his brother Zebediah!
TESS. KING SOLOMON…we wur his loyal subjects, ay Robby?
ROBBY. SHUSH TESS: Lori’s shakin!
ZEB. Why’s she shaking?
TESS. Mention o HIM: sends her skew whiff.
ZEB. HIM? Bible’s King Solomon?
ROBBY. OOR KING SOLOMON…the auld man, shush noo: Lori uh’ll noh settle.
ZEB. Do you know of bible King Solomon and the two mothers?
TESS. Twa mothers wur fechtin ower a bairny; yin sayin it wis hurs; the other sayin the same…
ROBBY. Aw aw, naw, naw…Solomon the king commanded the bairn be cut in half.
TESS. Then the true mithir gret an gaed up hur claim ti the bairny…
ROBBY. Noh wantin hur bairn ti be hermed, aw aw, cut up, naw naw, slain, naw naw!
ZEB. A story of great courage and love!
TESS. Wid your mithir hae done the same?
ZEB. Would yours?
TESS. (Laughs loudly)
ROBBY. Coori in Lori: Aw aw Robby’s here…aw aw…
ZEB. Lori says nothing; (Pause) the sun…it pains her eyes…?
TESS. Disnae want ti scream; disnae want ti see oany mair horrors!
ROBBY. Tess hush yur gub will yi?
TESS. What’s this label here?
ZEB. If only Lori could see all these brightly coloured labels?
TESS. Aw she could if she wanted ti: jist needs ti slip the blindfold doon; ease it bit bi bit…
ROBBY. She cannae tak the chance: last time shi did that…that wis awfy…fine when shi saw the brig; saw the hills; saw the glen…(Pause) hoose loomed up…see it oan the hill ower there…when Lori fell under it’s shadey: thoucht wid hae ti caw a doctor…
TESS. (Laughs loudly) That wid’uve pit the cat amang the pigeons.
ZEB. So no doctor was called?
TESS. Awa wi yi…questions wid huv been asked.
ZEB. And answers would have to be given?
ROBBY. Mind what a telt yi aboot Tess…Tess an hur stories?
ZEB. With no doctor: who cared for Lori?
TESS. Ur you daft? We did: we cared fur hur…we’re famely!
ROBBY. An you Zeb: huv you famely?
TESS. Tell us aboot the labels; tell us aboot the bag?
ZEB. But Lori…Lori can’t see the labels; / can’t see the…?
ROBBY. Dey you worry aboot Lori, Zeb: Ah’ll tell hur aboot the labels…aw the pictures o aw the places.
Enter Berna; she picks up the jug of brew: takes a long drink from it; staggers, falls to the ground; then places the jug by her side; she cracks the whip on the ground
BERNA. Hope you’re noh gittin too settled there Zeb?
TESS. What did yi write ti him aboot, Auntie Berna?
ZEB. She calls you Auntie?
ROBBY. She’s mah mother’s sister! /Ay, Auntie Berna?
TESS. Auntie Berna tell us whit yi wrote in the letter?
ZEB. Auntie Berna’s letter had a lot of dark patches: spaces where grey clouds hid the sunshine… (Pause) shall I give Contessa the letter Berna; then she can read it for herself?
BERNA. CONTESSA…? (Pause) WELL HEN, YI HEAR UM…tak the letter; see fur / yursell? CONTESSA?
ROBBY. AW AW! Dey gee ur it: she’ll mess it up; crumple it…
BERNA. Aw she’ll dae aw that…oanythin bit read it!
ZEB. Why won’t she read it?
BERNA. Well Ah could say Robby wid read it fur ur…what di you say Robby?
ROBBY. Noh allowed…NAW NAW!…punished bad fur daein letters; words; numbers…
ZEB. HE…he kept them down right enough Berna…not even Bible reading? They faired worse than I!
BERNA. Here you three, awa up the hoose: Della wants yis! Move you scabby Tess: skin scalein off like a snake!
TESS. Bit the bag; the labels…?
BERNA. Lippin me? (Pause) Ah’ll tak this whip across yur back.
ROBBY. Clae up Tess, she’ll mark yi again.
TESS. An Krista said the day wi widnae git punished?
BERNA. Gawn…(she hits Tess across the back with the whip.) Away wi yi ya half witted loony: dae what Ah tell yi when Ah tell yi… (Pause) or Ah’ll knock the scabby’s fi yur skin.
ZEB. ENOUGH BERNA…Control yourself!
BERNA. Mind yur tongue you: Ah kin gee you the same!
ZEB. Of course: why would you change the habit of a lifetime…? After all this time my leg screams with pain.
Zeb fingers the scars on his face
ROBBY. AWAW! Lori’s gonnae tak a turn, aw aw!
Robby guides Lori away
Lori kicks over Berna’s jug
Tess crawls away on her hands and knees
TESS. This should be a happy day: Krista telt mi this wid be a happy day…wid aw sing wi happiness.
Exit Robby Lori and Tess
BERNA. She kicked this jug ower…pare pare Lori…spilt mah brew bit noh bi mistake…(Pause) pare pare blind Lori…awbody fussin; awbody worryin aboot pare Lori! (Falls on the jug; hugs it to her chest)
ZEB. Were you ever sober?
BERNA. (Pause) Funerals mak mi sad; then…then Ah tak the tonic…the brew:(Pause) it blunts the knife edge…knife thits stuck in mah hert…(she starts to cry)
ZEB. We need to discuss this situation…decide the best way forward; but with you in this state…?
BERNA. What’s aw the hurry dear Zebediah? Wiv waited aw these years… (Pause) how mony…kin yi tell mi how mony?
ZEB. Your letter stated that if I came back, then I’d get my share; get what’s rightfully mine!
Tess appears by the bridge; crouches down and listens to
Zeb and Berna
BERNA. AH KEN WHIT AH WROTE! (Pause) Aw they years back you did what the auld man…Solomon…bade yi ti dae; (Pause) aye yur seed provided whit he craved; therefore yi…
ZEB. Finally receive payment?
BERNA. Wull baithe git whit’s rightfully oors…aw in guid time… (Pause) Della uhll be the easy yin…aye wull manage hur…she’ll be talked roond.
ZEB. And Krista? (Pause) She had fire and will back then…
BERNA. Efter yi left…eftir yi did what Sol bade yi dae, she, Krista wis broken…widnae eat; widnae drink; widnae sleep. (Pause) Aw aye shi hud deep feelin fur you…so you kin work oan hur; (Pause) jist stert where yi left off.
ZEB. I felt nothing for her…her or Della…no love: nothing!
BERNA. LOVE…what the hell hus that ti dae wi oanythin? Jist mak sure yi git hur oan oor side… (Pause) Drink?
ZEB. After seeing what drink did to you…you and my father…you completely out of control ranting and raving…and father falling from that rock face and breaking his neck…no I don’t drink!
BERNA. YOU WILL, YOU WILL! (Pause) Yi think changing the wae yi talk taks awa what, whey an where yi cam fi…? (She takes a swig from the jug) Aye yi wur paed back then bi auld Sol…an then snuck awa in the deid o nicht…yur fi this bloodline…rotten through…through ti the core!
BERNA. (Sings) Yes I’ll cling to the old rugged cross and exchange it some day for a crown… (Pause) aaach aye: crown o diamonds an sapphires fur Berna? (Sings) "On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross the emblem of suffering and pain…"
Light Fades Slightly
Tess makes her way to Berna who lies sleeping
TESS. Mithir? Open yur een mithir…(she gently shakes Berna) sit yursell up; show mi a mithir’s love?
BERNA. (Stutters) Awa wi yi ya sappy…where’s mah jug?
TESS. Richt here; bi yur side
BERNA. Takes a swig from the jug You peenjin again Tess? (Pause) Mithir this; mithir that…
TESS. See here, Ah’ve broucht a shawl / so yi kin…
BERNA. What did Ah tell yi afore: (Pause) this game yur aye wantin ti play is fairy dribble; goblins blethers…
TESS. Others hae turned in fur the nicht: jist you an me here; naebody uhll see.
TESS. This shawl here is gae scratchy; noh like the yin Ah hud as a bairn. (Pause) Yi aye say Ah’m imaginin: yi kin say as yi like: bit, Ah ken fine: the babbie’s shawl yi shoogied mi in wis soft as duck down. (Pause) An fine Ah mind the muslin yi swaddled mi in…
BERNA. Thone skin o yours: ridder thun the rowan-berry. (Pause) Bit here, thones a long whiles back ti mind; yi see what Ah mean hen? Nae wae kin yi hae mindin o that…
Swigs from the jug
TESS. Aye Ah kin: Ah kin.
BERNA. It’s aw havers in yur heid TESS. (She swigs from the jug)
TESS. Hoo is it havers? Yur mah mithir; mithirs shoogie thur wee yins; mithirs soothe the bairny’s skin; soothe the bairny’s hert; soothe the bairny’s…
BERNA. Awa wi yi afore Ah git mah dander up; jist let mi sit here wi mah tonic.
TESS. (Sings) "Joseph an Mary walked thru an orchard green: thur wur berries an cherries is thick is micht be seen; thur wur berries an cherries is thick is micht be seen"
BERNA. (Sings) "An Mary spoke ti Joseph sae meek an sae mild: Joseph gaithir me some cherries fur Ah um wi child: Joseph gaithir me some cherries fur Ah um wi child."
TESS. (Sings) "An Joseph flew in anger in anger flew he; lit the faithir o the bairny gaithir cherries fur thee: lit the faithir o the bairny gaithir cherries fur thee."
TESS. (Sings) "An up spoke babby Jesus fi in Mary’s womb: bend doon the tallest branch thit mah mithir micht hae some: bend doon the tallest branch thit mah mithir micht hae some."
TESS BERNA. (Sings) "An bent doon the tallest branch tae it touched Mary’s hand: cried she o look thou Joseph Ah hae cherries bi command; cried she o look thou Joseph Ah hae cherries bi command."
TESS. See, mind yi fine the song yi sung ti mi!
BERNA. Aye, fine Ah mind (Pause) the cherry tree carol: the holy famely: makin thur wae oot the old testament: an Mary cairrin the main character o the new testament in hur very womb…
TESS. Times Ah thoucht Ah could taste they cherries. (Pause)
Hae you ever tasted cherries?
BERNA. Auld Gerda, noo she hud twa cherry trees; twa pare tree’s an twa plum tree’s, she wis alood ti mak the preserves…
TESS. Bit did yi taste the cherries…?
BERNA. Awa coorse oo did: tak thum strecht fi the tree (Pause) poo oot that long green stalk; an bite doon hard oan the cherry…
TESS. Taste whit wis the taste?
BERNA. (Pause) Soor as bile they wur!
TESS. Noh sweet like the wild strawberry?
BERNA. Like us nae enough sun: sun’s whit sweetens the cherry tree…(Pause) Crab apeuls wis oor reward!
TESS. Naw a bairny kin mind fine, awthins printed in its heid; pickturs…pickturs like in the big book; the holy bible, mair sharp an clear mind. (Pause) Noh jist that; noh jist the pickturs: smells an tastes unaw: bluebells; honey…
BERNA. SMELLS? TASTES? Ya slaverin bissim! Babby’s is like empty cauldrons: (Pause) aw they need is fed; aw they need is thur erse washed; aw they need is keepit warm: (Pause) thae hae nae pickturs in thur heids till thur gae near runnin aboot.
TESS. Then hoo come Ah mind layin oan the quilt; wi you sat aside mi showin mi the toadies an herbs; you huvin ti bring thum ti mi: nae where near runnin aboot wis Ah then.
BERNA. Thone far awa days! Seemed ti me sun shone baithe nicht an day. (Pause) Yi wur clever yin richt enough Tess: learned gae fast whit wis pooshind toadies; whit wis pooshind herbs an plants. (Pause) Thone sturdy legs o yours shovin an kickin it the quilt; me aye huvin ti wrap the muslin oan that tortured skin o yours.
TESS. Shoogy mi mithir: like then shoogy mi…?
Tess goes to Berna; tries to hug her
Berna pushes Tess away
BERNA. Here awa wi yi…near daft is you Ah um: got me haverin like yursell. (Pause) Come awa oot o fairy-land.
TESS. Cannae dae that mithir: Ah’m noh in fairy land: aw that mithir an babby…aw that happened; you ken fine it happened. (Pause) What fur will yi noh play the game; true an real game?
BERNA. (Sings) "On a hill far awa stood an auld rugged cross: the emblem o sufferin an pain…"
TESS. Tell mi mithir; tell mi hoo yi love yur dauchter? Tell mi hoo yi hudnae sacrificed yur dauchter: tell mi mithir?
BERNA. (Whispers) Yur mithirs deid…
TESS. Hur ower there: in the grave?
BERNA. This whiles back Tess yiv been diggin an gouging: clawin up a wheeng o clert fi the past…yur mithir’s deid.
TESS. Hur ower there; she’s noh mah real mithir…
BERNA. (Swigs from the jug) YUR MITHIR’S DEID! (Pause) Real, real what in tarnation is REAL? (Pause) Oor aw oot here; awa oot in the wilds an wastes o the land; separated fi humanity…rest o civilization; (Pause) cairrin oan a…a ritual; hearin stories telt…hearin thum een in the womb…hearin whit oor duty is ti cairri the burden o keepin the land; hearin songs been sung fi yin generation ti anithir (Swigs from the jug) it’s aw oo ken: bit is it REAL? (Pause) Yi see hen, oo’ve aw gotten ti be characters in the story; di oany o us ken whit REAL is?
Stories ay hae a bad, bad habit o gaithirin thur ain stories; yin started off a long, long whiles back; oor story; (Pause) an wull be skelpit sair if wi dinnae keep that story gawn; yi see athoot the story the…the folk in the story…passes awa, they dribble an dreep inti the grund; the land, bit they ner show leaves or blossoms.
TESS. Why noh tell mi mithir? You an me’s oan oor ain, here the noo…others dey need ti ken; dey need ti see; dey need ti hear…jist fur noo: be mah mithir?
ROBBY. NAW, NAW Tess: nae secrets; nae whisperin ahint the famely’s back…AW AW NAW NAW!
BERNA. Here’s the slitherin sleekit serpent; the yin dis aw the tale cairrin!
TESS. Here you Robby, whit ken you aboot the story maker?
BERNA. Yur gae near bein yin o the leadin characters in the story, Robby mah son…
ROBBY. A’hm noh your son: (Pause) slaverin auld hag!
TESS. Ner mind thone: whey wis the story maker; when did he stert the story?
ROBBY. Whey said it wis a he?
Robby and Berna laugh
BERNA. Times like this Robby A’hm prood ti hae yi is mah ain flesh an blood. (Laughs loudly; swigs from the jug)
Robby makes to hit Berna
Berna reaches for her whip
TESS. Jist cause the others urnae here Robby: Della an Krista, thur up the hoose, disnae mean you kin play the maistir…
ROBBY. Wheesht yur puss you: kin gee you a taste o the same…(makes to hit Tess)
BERNA. See hoo the story unfolds: thi yin wi the sleekit waes…him thit haes awbody thinking he’s a sappy…stutterin an stammerin ti Della an Krista: aye bit hear um noo?
ROBBY. Learned that trait gae weel, ih, MITHIR? Mithir, ya tonic soaked battle axe…wid this be the pert o the story you devised?
TESS. It’s me wants ti ken when the story got sterted!
BERNA. The bastard auld maistir: first yin mind: fower hunner years since: he wis the yin sterted the story: couldnae keep it gawn oan his ain though.
TESS. So whey geed um the help he needed?
ROBBY. The bastard auld mithir!
They all fall over laughing loudly
Berna swigs from the jug
BERNA. Yi see hoo wur addin ti the story: richt here; richt noo?
TESS. Kin wi pit laughin an singin in oor pert o the story?
ROBBY. Fah you Tess: is the kanglin an killin makin yi sad?
They all laugh loudly
BERNA. Sittin roon the fire wis where it aw stertit: story tellin, like. (Pause) The auld maistir, aw thone years ago…
TESS. Hoo mony years?
ROBBY. Fower hunner: yi ken aw that!
BERNA. Gaithirid roon the sparkin flames: efter a day o back breckin toil…
TESS. Wid that be reward: a story?
Berna and Robby laugh
ROBBY. You pittin yur pairt o the story in Tess?
BERNA. Story wis stertit ti keep us aw feart, ya sappy.
TESS. Feart? (Pause) Feart o what?
BERNA ROBBY. Bastard auld maistir; bastard auld mithir!
They laugh loudly
Berna swigs from the jug
BERNA. Aye, aw the folk in the story; aw feart; aw telt if they made awa…awa fi the land terrible things wid happen ti thum.
TESS. An if the staed pit: they’d be safe?
BERNA. Safe? (Laughs)
ROBBY. Best the deil yi ken!
Lori appears by the bridge
BERNA. (Swigs from the jug) Coorse the story maker wid tell other stories: sneakit yins…
TESS. Whit? Awa fi the fire; / awa fi the famely?
ROBBY. Oo best hawd wheesht: Lori’s bi the brig.
BERNA. Kep awbody agin each other; kep awbody thinking they wur the apeul o the maistirs ee…(Laughs loudly) yi see the maistir could hae oany o the folk in the story…could hae oany o thum dae whit he bade thum dae: makin thum aw his slaves…
TESS. Een the babbies?
ROBBY. Fur shair the bairns…easy thaed be ti tak an spile. WHEESHT! Lori uhll be comin ower.
TESS. Ah’m fair dumbfoonurt: (Pause) aw Ah wanted wis a mithir’s carin; a mithir’s love; simple pairt o the story…yid think ih?
BERNA. Ah best awa: Lori’s gae guid it sniffin me oot. (Pause) AWA WI YI: YA PAIR O HALF WIT LOONIES: AH’LL TAK THE WHIP TI YIS…GAWWWWN!
TESS. Aw mithir will yi ever shoogy mi?
BERNA. Yur mithir’s deid: (Pause) that pairt o the story wis telt when yi cam greetin an blubberin fi the womb…
Tess tries to hug Berna
Berna makes to hug her back; then pushes Tess to the gound
ROBBY. Lori, Lori? You stae pit: Robby uhll come fetch yi…hurry hurry Robby, NAW NAW you keep baithe feet off the brig…hurry hurry Robby…aw aw naw naw…stae pit Lori…
Tess struggles to her knees; throws her head back
TESS. AH’M HAEIN SINGIN AN DANCIN IN MAH PAIRT O THIS STORY. (Pause) DI YI HEAR MI BASTARD AULD MAISTIR?
Robby and Lori make there way toward Tess
Tess falls to the ground
Robby and Tess kneel beside her
Tess thrashes about crying loudly
Robby and Tess hold her
Della and Krista kneel by the grave.
DELLA. Well…fur how long’s he staein?
KRISTA. Yi heard Berna…he’s come fur his entitlement, so if we gee um what he wants then he’ll be awa.
DELLA. (Pause) We’ve nothing ti gee um.
KRISTA. He’ll be efter the siller; efter oanyhin he kin git money fur: (Pause) it wis money he took afore; he’ll tak it again!
DELLA. We cannae gee the famely siller: cannae gee um that Krista.
KRISTA. Whit choice di we huv? Got ti git um oan his wae…awa: oot the road!
DELLA. Famely siller…handed doon fi generation ti generation…tradition? (Pause) Whit hope wid thur be fur us, if wi broke wi tradition; broke wi the past?
KRISTA. Wull you flee inti the here an noo Dell?
DELLA. The past geid us oor shadeies; an when the shadeies got / inti oor souls we wur…
KRISTA. Awa Della: only the sun up there, see, the sun; the moon they cast the shadeies, or when the tally lamps ur burnin bricht an Robby maks the hand pickturs oan the wa?
DELLA. Faithir’s power cam oot they shadeies…power ti keep us aw thigithir…keep us united…keep us oan this land…land oor famely’s hud fur nigh oan four hunner year!
KRISTA. Yi blether havers it times, Dell! (Pause) Oov got HIM here: here the noo; wi dinnae want HIM here the noo an if the siller / gits HIM awa…?
DELLA. Siller cam fi the past; it hus ti be kept; cairried oan; its gleam an shine keeps the shadeies blinded; keeps thum in oor souls; stops oor loneliness!
KRISTA. Yi want um staein roond here; gabbin ti Robby; gabbin ti Lori?
DELLA. GABBIN? Whit wid he dae that fur? (Pause) He gave his word; made a promise ti auld Sol; ti the mithir…swore oan the bible – yince that’s done, well…?
KRISTA. See here Del? Wiv spent the day fillin hur plot in…see she’s doon there (Pause) – noo look ower yonder…him…the auld man – the same, boxed an buried…deid…she’s deid; he’s deid. Whit could they dae if Zeb decides ti loose his trap?
DELLA. (Pause) Shower curses oan us? We cannae go against tradition Krista; (Pause) oanywae the sillers noh oors to gee, awthin belongs ti Robby: he inherits siller; hoose; land an…
KRISTA. An us?
DELLA. That’s the wae o things Krista; you ken that fine! male heir is what Robby is; he taks the lead; cairries oan the…
DELLA. Hawd yur wheesht Krista! (Pause) Him…him comin back’s upset yi!
KRISTA. AN HIM COMIN BACK…hus’nae upset you?
DELLA. Back then Krista he wis the means ti an end…an me, Ah wis daein whit Ah wis bid dae: /command fi the faithir.
KRISTA. An Ah wisnae?
DELLA. Wis different fur you!
KRISTA. In what wae?
DELLA. You’d feelins fur him…feelins fur Zeb!
KRISTA. What in hell’s fire gave yi that idea?
DELLA. Thone bad spell yi hud…noh eatin; noh sleepin; noh…
KRISTA. Awa wi yi: bad spell? Petrified Ah wis…terrifed o haein a bairn…worried seek it wisnae gonnae be a laddie; auld man aye askin mi aboot mah bleedin; hud it stopped; hud a fell…? an you swellin bi the meenit; big as the mountain ahint the top field: you an yur rosie cheeks an you an yur contented grin… (starts to cry) an me crampin up wi every move hopin Ah wisnae wi bairn…bairn thit could be noh richt; an imbecile (Pause) it the same time crampin up wi every move if Ah wis wi bairn…
DELLA. Hush noo Krista; quiet yursell. (Pause) Me an you wur bits o lassies…me only bleedin a year an you jist stertitn; Auntie Berna sniffin roon us like wi wur dugs…an the mithir daein; sayin nothing: takin hur orders fi the auld man…cairrin oan the tradition Krista. (Pause) Here sit yursell doon aside me, we kin let the sun beams play oan us…nae mair sittin oan edge; nae mair listenin fur the mithir cawin oot orders.
KRISTA. Whits ti dae aboot HIM…ZEB?
DELLA. Runes uh’ll tell us?
KRISTA. Easy seein the mithirs departed. (Starts to laugh)
DELLA. Ach you’ll spoil it aw…laughin…runes huv ti be tane serious.
Della and Krista move by the bridge; sit down
Della casts the runes
Krista starts bunching; tying herbs
Two baskets of fungi are beside her
DELLA. Thur aw thigihtir – see Krista – a guid sign fur us! (Pause) Runes tell us ti stick thigithir…see here this yin tells tread carefu…hawd oor wheesht… (Pause) an this yin tells us truth uh’ll shine through…oo’ve to bide oor time this yin tells us… /awthin cams ti thame thit hing oan
KRISTA. Truth comes fi richt; noh wrong Del!
DELLA. oo’ve ti hae patience. (Pause) Bairns wi wur Krista: daein whit wi wur bid dae: the wae o things…oo did nae wrong: we wur honouring the mithir; the faithir; keeping the Commandments; cairrin oan what’s aye been cairried oan. (Della gathers up the runes: puts them in her pocket) Settle that in yur heid an stop this fechtin wi yursell yince an fur aw. (Pause) Us weemin wur born ti suffer: did the Bible itsell noh say wi aw hud the CURSE. The mithir reading ti us every nicht…reading fi the guid Holy Book?
Della takes crochet from a bag; starts crocheting
KRISTA. Wi could huv broke awa Della…thur wur nae chains roond us…mony times did Ah beg yi…mony times hud Ah planned an easy wae oot…?bit you…naw you wur feared…quaking ti yur very soul…quaking fi them; Tess wi the solution ti hand…
DELLA. THOU SHALT NOT KILL!
KRISTA. Kin yi shout oany louder Del: Dey think they hear yi ower the border?
Della and Krista fall over laughing
Della starts coughing; Krista hugs her tightly
KRISTA. That hackin cough…passed doon; handed doon fi generation ti generation?
DELLA. Tess made an infusion! Drink it doon in a whiles!
KRISTA. Yur needin mair herbs; mair plants gaithirin. (Pause) You kin rest here an Ah’ll tak Tess.
Krista starts to look through the baskets of fungi
DELLA. Mind they toadies Krista? Let Tess handle thame; dey stir thum thigithir!
KRISTA. Here, see Della? That’s the Death Cap!
DELLA. Yi ken fine ti leave that be…Tess’s task that is.
KRISTA. It’s awhiles since she gaithired oany Death Cap?
DELLA. She’s the yin daes the magic wi the toadies, wi best leave her be! (Pause) Potions need special handling!
Della and Krista hug each other; then laugh and giggle; clasp hands and dance around
DELLA. Whaur ur they? (Pause) Yull need an mind Zeb: if what yi said aboot him gabbin…? Tess an hur weedlin waes; askin this; askin that? (She coughs again)
KRISTA. He’s awa up the bothy wi Berna…she’ll be settlin him in; fillin hur jug it the same time. Tess an Robby uh’ll be mendin the fishin nets; Lori uh’ll be right aside ROBBY. (Pause) So you rest easy.
DELLA. Dabble yur taes Krista – feel the trickle o spring water tickle the soles o yur feet?
KRISTA. SPLASH! SPLASH! Bad as Tess you ur: tellin stories: suppose wiv aw been guid it that: stories ti shield the bairns fi… (Pause) Oanywae this here burn, like us twa: dried up.
DELLA. Ken yi wur aye oot o step Krista; aye breakin rank; aye… /flowin against the…
KRISTA. Teasin the auld yins tempers? (She tickles Della) Mind oan this burn Del? Fast flowin – crashin an gurgling ower yon slippery slimey stanes? (Long Pause) Live in hope; die in despair Della? (she looks at Della’s crochet work; then takes Della’s hand; holds it to her cheek) Whey wid imagine sich calloused hands could create sich beauty? Awa, yull be needin another kist Della?
DELLA. Noh aw fur me: yours is tucked awa unaw.
KRISTA. A bottom drawer gaithirn cobwebs!
DELLA. An oanywae wrong is when yur daein suhum intentional; suhum wi malice. Bairns like we wur cannae comprehend malice…oor taught it, yi see that’s the wae o things Krista…wae it’s aye been.
Krista.Della, when yi lay wi him…bedded doon wi Zeb…?
DELLA. Wid thur hae been enough water ti cairri aw the minnows awa? Could’nae bear ti think o thum aw fossilised.
KRISTA. Richt richt aw richt – when yi wur telt ti lie wi him – tell mi true mind? (Pause) Yur feelins…feelins oan him…wur they feelins fi the hert?
DELLA. Aw Ah hud dae wis produce Krista – oo keep gawn ower an ower…Krista every wee whiles yi drag us back an back…
KRISTA. You wur wi bairn richt off: luck wis wi yi!
KRISTA. Nae time fur feelins ti tak hawd!
DELLA. Aw water under the brig Krista – aye, bit Ah kin unerstan hoo yi wur fixed – gae long whiles afore yi fell wi bairn…
KRISTA. Three an half month – lassie kin git well attached bi that kindae time.
DELLA. WHEESHT UP! Here’s Robby!
Robby is playing a penny whistle
KRISTA. See here Robby? Play us yon jig – aye mind Del – us aw up working the big field; snatchin time, hidden ahint the dyke? Git yursell up Della; wull dance!
ROBBY. Ah’ll noh play ower here: too near her; too near hur plot…aw aw naw naw!
Krista and Della dance
Then they all fall to the ground laughing
They remain lying and stay silent for a few minutes
DELLA. Auld man – mind – in a state; slaverin aboot Pan an his pipes. (Pause) Oo got the brunt o his wrath sair, thon days!
ROBBY. AW AW NAW NAW! Noh fair: auld man, other side o the loch hearin mah whistle?
They all get up; sit by the bridge
KRISTA. Wind wis up the day da; she laughs loudly whistling ower they furrows like a great feathered winged bird – whistling fit ti burst…(Pause) daelt auld bastard! (Laughs)
DELLA. Hawd yur tongue Krista!: auld Sol wis mindin his religion – devil’s music worms it’s wae inti yur heid; plays tricks wi yur brain!
They all laugh
KRISTA. Leather herted Berna: she wis the yin aye smoolyin, ‘Sol thur traipsing wi the Deil again; cavortin wi yin anithir ti that music.’ (Pause) Play oan Robby, an if auld coo’s udder puss says oanyhin, wull…wull…
ROBBY. Pour hur brew doon the shunky?
DELLA. Goad: preserve us: Aunty Berna wi the tremens?
KRISTA. Shakein; shitein; shiverin,: punishment fur hur; reward fur us?
Robby wanders to the bridge playing his whistle
DELLA. Reward Krista? Tak oor mind back awhiles ti HIM…Zeb wantin his entitlement?
KRISTA. Talk o the Deil an he’s sure ti appear, see um yonder?
DELLA. He’s wi Lori; he’s got hur bi the airm!
ROBBY. LEAVE HUR BE YOU; TAK YUR MITTS FI HUR: Ah’m Lori’s guide!
Robby makes his way toward Lori and Zeb
DELLA. Thur heids ur gae close thigithir! (Pause) Aw Krista Ah’m git bad feelins; (Pause) if your richt an he lets his tongue wander loose…?
KRISTA. We’ll git rid o him Del!
DELLA. He’s noh gittin the siller: (Pause) what else hae we got ti mak um gawn awa?
KRISTA. A speedy journey inti yonder twilight!
DELLA. Yur awa doon another track: yiv lost me.
KRISTA. (Draws her finger across her throat) POTTED HEID!
Robby rushes at Zeb and starts to beat him
ROBBY. LEAVE HUR BE…LEAVE HUR AH SAY!
Lori falls to the ground
Della and Krista run to help Lori
LORI. NAE MAIR, NAE MAIR…beatins ur ti stop…bruising hus ti stop…Della; Krista stop thum fechtin?
ZEB. Lori I feared…thought you’d no voice? (Pause) Hold it now boy…just back away…
Zeb pushes Robby: knocking him down
ROBBY. You dey tell me what ti dae: you’re noh mah faithir! He’s deid, mah faithirs ower there…DEID!
ZEB. Tess may not be the only story teller here Robby; when the times right I’ll tell both Lori and yourself a true story: (Pause) story of pure fact; not fiction.
Della drops to the ground beside Robby
Krista helps Lori as she has an attack
ZEB. Only wanted to help Lori: make sure she was safe crossing the bridge…Lori, words…your words sang out loud…loud and clear…
BERNA. Fine Ah kent you’d be the cause Lori…noh satisfied ti yi huv awbody in a state ower you…pare Lori an things she’s hud ti pit up wi; things she’s hud ti witness; things she’s hud ti hear… (she makes to hit Lori and Krista with her whip) An me; whit aboot me…?
Tess grabs Berna’s whip; starts to beat her with it
TESS. Yur noh hurtin hur oany mair ya an auld hag! NAW YUR NOH HERMIN MAH SISTERS OANY MAIR! (She continues whipping Berna)
BERNA. (Laughs) Oan yi go Krista tell hur…tell hur aboot bein sisters…tell hur?
Tess falls to the ground; starts to crawl around
KRISTA. Yi held yur tongue whilst the auld yins wur breathin, Berna: mibi fur yur ain guid, yi best hud it again?
ZEB. YOU STUPID DRUNKEN OLD WOMAN! You’ll spoil everything; RUIN MY PLAN…! (He takes the whip from Tess; throws it by the bridge)
KRISTA. YOUR PLAN…PLAN FUR WHIT?
Della straddles Zeb;
Light fades slightly
Zeb and Della are making love;
Della falls alongside Zeb
ZEB. We should have gone up to the house…anyone might come…
DELLA. Oo’ve tasted freedom noo Zeb…wi spend aw the day licht oors oo kin oot here. (Pause) Air an licht seems different when yur backs noh bent ower they stents. Him an hur ower there…kep us in the dark far too long a time. (Pause) Work fi wi opened oor een ti wi shut thum…an him an her wi the keys rattlin an jinglin fi thur belts.
Zeb starts to make love to Della again
Della laughs and pushes him away
ZEB. Was it different this time?
DELLA. Ah hae ti puzzle oan that yin…twenty years…long whiles back ti remember!
ZEB. You’ve never been with another since?
DELLA. Whey wid thur huv been?
ZEB. With Sol standing guard – no one!
DELLA. Kin Ah ask where yi went…went efter leavin here? (Pause) thur wis naebody fur yi ti gan ti! An yi talk si different?
ZEB. The sea took my fancy…unlike the land…needed to feel the sway under my feet; taste salt; not soil.(Pause) I signed up with a cargo ship: (Pause) merchant seaman was what I became!
DELLA. Aw these last twenty years? Sailing in a ship? (Pause) Did yi tak another wummin: mairrie; hae other bairns?
ZEB. (Pause) Wanted to…could have…didn’t though…knew in my heart I would return here to you…you an Robby!
DELLA. Berna wrote yi? (Pause) Hoodid shi ken whaur to write?
ZEB. Oh, I wrote to her first: needed my birth certificate: for the merchant navy. (Pause) How did you know she wrote to me?
DELLA. Hur sojourns ti the toon…it the market, sellin oor wares…an Tess wi hur…Tess watchin hur gan ti the post mistress;(Pause) how else wid yi ken the laddy’s name? She’d hae telt yi in a letter: an wid a mithir noh wanti mind ur ain son?
ZEB. MOTHER? In name only DELLA. You know her of old…your own mother’s sister, my mother; your own father’s brother my father. (Pause) MOTHER? Standing by whilst her only son was dragged in like a prize bull to service you and Krista…(Pause) you two treated like cows waiting to be…if my father had lived he would have put a stop to her madness…(Pause) Forgive me Della but when Berna gave birth to me…why that was all she did, gave me life with no love! How does a loveless heart beat…?
DELLA. Auld Sol aye said love wis fur the weak an sappy; that oany love yi got cam fi hard work an the simple wae o life! (Pause) Aw handed doon ti us fi elders o the past, we wur pit here ti serve the land, in daein that we serve oorsells; we ur the land; we cam fi the land; ate an drank off it.
Oo ur the strong; noh the weak; noh the sappy! (Pause) Yur faithir oor uncle wid hae ti huv gave his blessin ti you…you wur cairrin oan the line; cairrin oan the tradition: you kent this fine? (Pause) Dis yur hert ken hate…hate fur Berna?
ZEB. Worse…much worse than that, Della!
DELLA. Kin thur be oanythin worse than hate?
ZEB. Nothingness; emptiness; indifference Della!
ZEB. Is that Krista: over by the bridge?
DELLA. Tess trailin ahint! (Pause) Wi best tell Krista?
ZEB. Tell Krista…(Pause) tell her what?
DELLA. ‘Boot you…you an me…you me an Robby; hoo yur gonnae mairrie mi…hoo yiv felt aw these years…felt aboot me!
ZEB. Hold on a minute Della…did I say anything about marriage?
DELLA. Bit yi said…
ZEB. Why would you marry me? (Pause) I have nothing…no house; no land nothing: what could I provide for you? (Pause) If I had this (Pause) all of this / then marriage with you…!
DELLA. THIS? Robby hus inherited THIS…he cairries aw THIS…tradition; his birthright!
ZEB. Truth Della? You know what you say isn’t true: Robby wasn’t Sol’s son…Robby is my son; if it weren’t for me…why there would be no ROBBY!
Enter Krista and Tess
TESS. See Della? Fly Agaric; red, sae firey red!
ZEB. Isn’t that very poisonous Tess?
KRISTA. Thur micht be greater danger; greater poison close by?
TESS. Ah aye feel bad pickin the red toadies: imps an goblins cannae sit oan thum; fairies cannae mak thur rings roon thum; cannae dance thur jigs, ay Della, ay Krista?
KRISTA. Della micht hae mair testing subjects oan hur mind than the goblins an fairies Tess?
ZEB. Time I made my way back to the cottage!
TESS. Ti fetch yur bag; ti let us see what’s in sich a fine bag?
KRISTA. Micht wi ken awready…could be a bag o tricks?
TESS. Sorcery; magic; makin things disappear?
DELLA. Ah’m haein nae secrets Zeb…nae secrets fi mah sister Krista.
TESS. Secrets? Whit kind? Guid or bad?
ZEB. I’m taking my leave…heading back to the cottage…
KRISTA. YOU’LL STAE PIT ZEB: yi broucht trouble wi yi; noo yull stae an face it!
TESS. Awch let um go fur the bag Krista; let us see his tricks?
DELLA. Tell ur Zeb…tell Krista?
TESS. Could be he hus a cat in the bag?
KRISTA. We hae patience Zeb; we kin wait till yi tell us!
ZEB. You had this planned Della? You set a trap and I fell into it?
DELLA. He’s efter awthin Krista…hoose land awthin!
TESS. Awa wi yi…aw this is Robbys: he’s auld Sol’s son; he inherits awthin.
ZEB. My son Tess…Robby is my son!
TESS. This you tryin a trick oan me, an you athoot yur magic bag? (Pause) Whit di yi say wi feenish the last o the tonic? Ah’m startin / oan a new…
KRISTA. Oo need an / occasion Tess?
ZEB. Do you hear / me…hear what I said…?
DELLA. Suhum ti celebrate?
TESS. Aw Hallow’s Eve? Winter Solstice?
KRISTA. Awch Tess oo’ve jist seen the back end o September!
DELLA. A farewell celebration!
TESS. Di yi think yi micht show us whit’s in yur bag, Zeb? Yull hae kep aw the letters aw these last years…aw fu o Berna’s stories…(Pause) shid bi guid it that, telling stories…aye shi wis a guid teacher auld BERNA. (Pause) Ah wanti ti hear yi read they letters afore yi leave us!
ZEB. LEAVE, ME LEAVE HERE; LEAVE ALL OF THIS? (Laughs loudly) I don’t think you simpletons quite understand…(Pause) my son Robby is going to hear: hear from his father the truth about: about what went on here all those years ago…time he knew the facts; (Pause) Lori as well: they must know who they really are; who they really came from…(Pause) not Sol; not Morna but Della, Krista and ME!
DELLA. Thurs ayewis a high price ti be paed fur keeping ti tradition an keeping a blood line intact…you kent that fine
Zeb…kent fine when auld Sol bade yi produce a son! (Pause) Oan that Holy Bible yi swore ti let Sol an Morna bring Robby an Lori up as oor brother an sister.
KRISTA. Me jist fourteen an Della fifteen what did we ken aboot bringin up bairns: oo wur needed oot there in the fields an wi the livestock.(Pause) As Della says yi swore oan the big book.
TESS. Robby kin play aw the jigs he wants when we hae the celebration, ay Della, ay Krista?
Tess starts to sort through the baskets of fungi
DELLA. An then yi left…deserted us; takin the money Sol paed yi!
Della starts coughing; she has to sit down
Krista and Tess comfort her
ZEB. I’d broke my back long enough; had enough of the beatings from Sol and that hag who called me her son, HA! Yes, yes I got away; (Pause) escaped…made another life; found the world; saw differently; thought differently, why even spoke differently…(Pause) you could have done so as well?
And what happens now? Does the inbreeding continue: (Pause) is it Lori and Robby next: will they lie together like we did: (Pause) we’re first cousins: that’s bad enough; but they are half brother; half sister…
Tess gives Della a drink of the herbal infusion
KRISTA. You’ll never fund that oot: you’ll be long gone!
ZEB. Look you in bred half wit…I AM GOING NOWHERE; I AM NOT LEAVING HERE!
TESS. Mind Ah asked yi if yi could sing Zeb? Ah jist kent wi wur gonnae hae occasion ti dance an sing…they twa deid an boxed, an we kin be happy an Ah’ll pour mah special tonic an oo’ll bi able ti swig it athoot fear o gittin nabbed.
KRISTA. An oanywae who said oanythin aboot yi leavin here?
TESS. There’s Robby an Lori, ower the brig!
DELLA. Mibi Zeb’s richt…mibi they twa should ken the facts?
KRISTA. Aw aye Della…aye yur richt: (Pause) bit wid it noh be better comin fi us first…you tell yur son Robby; (Pause) Ah tell mah dauchter Lori?
ZEB. Quicker it’s done the better! (Pause) Robby needs his father’s guidance: what with all the field work and the house, (Pause) why he’s only a boy…a boy needs his father’s guidance!
TESS. Bit Lori’s noh long since hud a turn Della!
DELLA. Yi think it micht wait ti the morn Zeb? (Pause) Lori’s gae shakey efter a turn; (Pause) she’s a fragile blossom; yi dinnae want ti damage hur petals, (Pause) noo di yi?
KRISTA. Aye an bi then…the morn…Tess uh’ll hae awthin ready; then wiv got a celebration?
TESS. Thone tonic made oot the toadies kin mak yi reel an jig aw nicht Zeb.(Pause) Bit you bein a sailor: yu’ll hud yur tonic awright?
ZEB. Not one drop of tonic will pass my lips! (Pause) Poor Lori: yes…yes we should wait until tomorrow: she seems so delicate…to cause her any more distress would be heartless: but it will be done…truth will be told…
Enter Robby and Lori
LORI. Will he stae…this Zeb will he stae much longer Della?
Robby starts to play the penny whistle
Krista takes Lori by the hand; they dance around
DELLA. Help mi up: we need ti hear music; need ti hear Lori sing;(Pause) wi aw need that sweet voice tip toeing through oor herts.
Tess helps Della
TESS. Awa Della Ah’ll hae ti tend mah still: wull need a special tonic fur the farewell celebration
Tess picks up the basket of fungi
LORI. Is it him…is it that Zeb, is he awa soon?
KRISTA. Fine he wishes he could stae longer Lori: bit Ah reckon he’ll be awa quite soon…(Pause) He’s a naval man yi see…time an tide wait fur nae man…(Pause) aye he’ll be awa soon!
DELLA. Mib even the nicht?
ROBBY. AW AW! Wid best start noo: afore Berna appears: thone rantin an ravin shi dis when shi hears us makin music; makin song…aw aw naw naw…dis shi ken the Zeb manny’s takin his leave?
KRISTA. Wi best noh say oanythin…he micht want ti sneak awa; noh upset her, ken?
ROBBY. AW AW! Aye, shi fair empties the jug when shis upset!
They all laugh
DELLA. Oor ready Lori…ready when you ur…what’s it ti be?
ROBBY. Will oo best wait fur Tess?
KRISTA. She’ll be gae busy wi the still!
DELLA. Makin up a special brew fur the Zeb manny!
ROBBY. Bit disnae he noh touch the brew?
DELLA. Tess uhll soon change his mind where the brew’s concerned! (Pause) Ah’d fair like ti hear cousin Mary’s song, mind when wi wur bairns Krista we’d awa an veesit the mithir’s brother, uncle Hector an his pare wife auld Gerda…(Pause) thone wis a wummin fair trauchled…only time hur een sparkled wis when hur dauchter, cousin Mary wid sing?
LORI. Athoot cousin Mary oo widnae ken oany other music than the hymns!
KRISTA. Thon wur fine days…days afore auld Sol took the brain fever, aye his cravin ti hae a son lodged in his heid, drove um near ti bedlam…(Pause) near took us aw wi um! Auld sod!
ROBBY. An whey wid cousin Mary hae learned hur singin an music fi?
DELLA. Why Robby, hur ain mother auld Gerda, handed doon, tradition.
LORI. An wid cousin Mary hand the singin an music doon?
DELLA. Naturally, shid hae tae, (Pause) singin music story telling aw handed doon; tradition carried oan fi generation ti generation.
KRISTA. Mary’s dauchter, young Gerda, she’ll hae learned the singin an music, jist like you twa, Robby an Lori.(Pause) Oan yi go Lori; sing oot; lit yur voice float ower the top o they big yew trees.
LORI. (Sings) "Oh, oh sad is the fortune o aw wimmin kind: thur ayewis controlled thur ayewis confined, a slave ti thur faithir until thur a wife; a slave ti thur husband the rest o thur life.
Oh Ah’m jist a pare lass mah fortune is nane and Ah’ve ayewis been coorted bi the wagoner’s lad he’s coorted mi daily bi nicht an bi day; noo he is leavin an goin away."
KRISTA DELLA LORI. "Oh sad is the fortune o aw wimmin kind thur ayewis controlled thur ayewis confined: a slave ti thur faithir until thur a wife: a slave ti thur husband the rest o thur life"
LORI. "Yur horses ur hungry gan feed them some haye then sit doon aside mi as long as yi maye. Mah horses aint hungry they won’t eat yur haye so fair thee weel darlin Ah’ll be on mah wae."
KRISTA DELLA LORI. "Oh sad is the fortune o aw wimmin Kind thur ayewis controlled thur ayewis confined: a slave thi thur faithir until thur a wife: a slave ti thur husband the rest o thur life."
ROBBY. AW AW NAW NAW! Yi best stae aside me the nicht Lori: Della; Krista an Tess hae work ti dae!
Robby leads Lori across the bridge
Della and Krista clasp their hands together and dance a jig
Zeb is nearly naked; he’s lying on the ground;
Tess is holds a jug of brew to his lips; he’s drinking from the jug.
Della, Krista and Tess are all half naked; they are seducing Zeb.
DELLA. Oo’ll tak yi up the wee wid Zeb?
KRISTA. Oo’ll bathe yi in the wee pond Zeb?
ZEB. Don’t make me drink…if I drink I get madness fever here in my head!
TESS. Here Zeb, gee us yin o the sailors jigs…up…up come oan…let’s be huvin yi?
DELLA. Oo’ll aw dance an jig oor wae ti the wee wid an the wee pond?
KRISTA. Glowin the wee pond uh’ll be…shimmerin an glimmerin under the moon licht!
ZEB. Can’t get steady; I’m too drunk; I told you I musnt touch the brew… (Pause) it’s too dark; can’t make my way…
TESS. Awa Zeb, we’ll be yur guide…yi mind fine the wae…up past Boggle Hole?
ZEB. Tonight? Not tonight: it’a full moon…Boggle Hole on a night like this…WOOOO, WOOOO, great gaping hole full of witch ghosts? (Pause) We can stay here…stay and make love under the moon? (He laughs)
Krista Della and Tess fondle Zeb
KRISTA. Oo’d better watch fur auld Berna, Zeb!
DELLA. She’d tak a stick ti us an nae mistake if she got us!
ZEB. SSSH! (Pause) Quite right, we best make our way to the pond: (Pause) but don’t let the boggles get me… (He laughs)
TESS. Ah’ll gan aheid wi the lantern; mak sure yi dinnae loose yur fittin Zeb?
ZEB. Ah Contessa…yes you be my guiding light?
Della and Krista kiss and fondle Zeb; they all laugh as Krista and Della help Zeb away
Scene re opens with Tess holding a bundle of letters
Lori sits close by
A small heap of soil and spade can be seen
LORI. Is that diggin Ah heard Tess?
TESS. Yur een micht bi dull Lori, bit yur hearins gae sharp!
LORI. Will yi tell mi what’s fur the diggin?
TESS. Thone herb gairdin Ah aye wanted! (Pause) Ah’ve broucht a fair gaithirin fi ower the hill; (Pause) noo when Della needs an infusion Ah jist git masell doon fi the hoose; pick fresh whit Ah need.(Pause) Sweet smellin blossoms uh’ll be next planted.
Oo’ve waited a gae long whiles fur perfumed petals; aye tattie blossom hus nae delicate fragrance!
Tess puts the letters in a basket; then cover them with bunches of herbs
LORI. Kin Ah noh gee yi a hand?
TESS. Awa wi yi: efter you strippin aw that birch bark? Jist you rest they hands. (Pause) Warm yursell wi the last o the sun.
LORI. Ah fair like the aroma fi the Russian oil! (Pause) Aw they guid properties fi birch bark; (Pause) yiv aye said the best comes fi the simple treasures: nature’s treasures.
TESS. Aye ood be sair pushed athoot the birch bark geein us the Russian oil…
LORI. The glue!
TESS. Grease fur wheels an tools!
LORI. Ointment fur yur blighted skin!
TESS. Soothes the itch; soothes me!
LORI. An the birch wid?
TESS. Maks braw cradles!
LORI. An broomsticks?
TESS. Yur mindin fine the tales fi the ancestors.
LORI. Birch is the tree o new beginnins; first tree ti growe efter the Ice Age; birch tree hawds the life-givin power o Oor Lady, the Earth Godess…
TESS. (Pause) Aye, yiv tane aw mah teachins in! Oan yi go…
LORI. Birch is the tree o purification, birth an renewal…(Pause) Fly Agaric growes under it…the red toadies yi yase in yur potions an brew…(Pause) an it nicht the northern lichts fair enhances the birch branches…
TESS. An fur it ti work its true poour…?
LORI. (Pause) Yi keep it growein;(Pause) treat it wi reverence: fur deep in the earth its power o growth is still working;(Pause) an we mak sure ti clear away aw obstructions ti allow new events ti tak thur course.
TESS. (Claps her hands) Wheys the clever yin then?
Tess and Lori hug each other
LORI. (Pause) Ah’ll be takin some birch bark: Robby an me hae shin ti mak!
TESS. An fine shin they ur: (Pause) aw oor calloused feet free fi the work bits; us toastin oor taes bi the fire come winter; aw shod wi sweet smellin birch bark. (Pause) winter’s gae near oan us!
LORI. Leaves ur turning, Ah kin hear the colour drainin fi thum.
TESS. Nature aye dis hur dyin slow like! (Pause) Chinejin o colour; dryin up o leaves; (Pause) cept the holly, aw they berries startling scarlet… like a fresh opened wound; ginst shiney green leaves. (Pause) Oo’ll hae holly garlands this year Lori; an Robby kin tak yin o the firs fi the wee wid (Pause) oo could mak some ornaments ti hing fi it; Krista kin mak wee candles; (Pause) the flames uh’ll set the scent o the fir waftin through the hoose.
LORI. Why did it tak the auld man si long ti die, an hur the mithir…hur livin even longer thun him?
TESS. If wid kent whit the auld man wis it wi you, aye, then mibi he’d huv pegged oot sooner…an hur Morna…oor bitch o a mithir, geein um…geein auld Sol leave ti defile yi…
LORI. His braithe stingin mi Tess; his stubble tearin mi; they great hands like heavy shovels…(She starts to cry)
TESS. Come oan mah bairny: thur awa noo; cannae herm yi oany mair!
Enter Berna: she’s very drunk
BERNA. WHAURS MAH LADDIE: HE’S NOH TI BE FUND OANYWHERE: ZEB, ZEB MAH SON MAH LADDIE WHERE UR YI? (Pause)
LORI. Tak mi ower aside yi Tess: she maks mah flesh creep!
BERNA. THAT YOU PEENJIN AGAIN LORI? Molly coddled is what you ur… she goes ti hit Tess and Lori: misses and falls to the ground BAH!
Enter Della Krista Robby; they stand at the bridge
BERNA. Ya pair o half bred loonys: uh’ll noh see yis in mah road:(Pause) mah laddies cum ti tak care o me, aye he’ll be a grand maister o aw this; (Pause) mak you dafties tow the line he will…thull be nae mare byre work for Berna (Pause) Ah’ll jist sit back in mah rocker starin doon the glen an ower they hills.(Pause) Well, an what di yis say ti that? SPEAK UP LORI: Ah ken yi stae dumb when Ah’m aroond, whisperin ti that daft bat Robby…(Pause) aye bit yull tak orders fi Zeb…why? Ah’ll tell yi why, cause he’s yur real…
TESS. SHUSH YUR TRAP BERNA!
BERNA. (Goes toward Tess; Tess cowers down like a dog) You wantin back ti where auld Sol hud yi…tied ti the table leg; eatin oot the same dish as a dug…(Pause) aye yi scrubbed an polished the hoose an kitchen aye an yi set the table; couldnae sit there though,(Pause) you an yur scabby skin…an noo yur sittin up there aw high an mighty…(Pause) bit Ah kin huv yi tied back there oany time ah wanti ti: mah laddie Zeb uh’ll see ti that…(Pause) here times gan oan, where is mah son Zeb…where is he?
Lori starts to shake and moan loudly;
Tess holds Lori
Berna starts to cry
Della Krista Robby come from the bridge
BERNA. Aye, yull pae noo fur aw / yur badness: Zeb uh’ll…
KRISTA. Oo seen um…seen Zeb headin doon the road gae early this morning Berna.
DELLA. Skippin an whistling he wis.
ROBBY. Ah shouted ti um Aunty Berna: wis like he couldnae hear mi! Aw aw, in great hurry he wis! AW,AW, Naw Naw!
KRISTA. Here Della hope he’s noh run off again?
DELLA. Awa Krista an leave his pare auld mithir…
ROBBY. AW,AW! An he’s tane his big bag!
BERNA. Haverin blethers: he’s cam back ti tak ower here; ti be the maister…he’ll be sendin you an you an you awa. You mark mah words!
KRISTA. What yi need Berna is a swig o the brew…(Pause) here
Tess gee Aunty Berna that jug wi yur special tonic.
DELLA. Glug oan that Berna: that’ll set yi up.
Berna takes the jug; then takes a swig from it
Della Krista Robby laugh loudly as they gather around Berna
BERNA. Thurs something noh richt here…Zeb widnae jist up an leave athoot telling me…NAW he’ll be here the noo and send you raggle taggle bunch oan yur wae…aye yull be telt ti follow his commands or CLEAR OFF THIS LAND…!
DELLA. Tess’s brew hae loosened ur tongue awready!
Berna laughs; then staggers around
TESS. He cannae dae that, send us fi the land, ih Krista?
KRISTA. Awa Tess, oo ur the land, hen…oo’ve fed an drank fi the land an pit oor piss shit blood an tears back inti it…an even when wi cease breathin wi still dey leave the land: wi git buried in it ower there wi aw the others.
DELLA. An oany body thit tries ti separate us fi oor lifes blood? What then Krista?
KRISTA. They best watch oot; mak sure what they drink an eat husnae been bewitched!
Berna staggers and falls to the ground
DELLA. What say yi Krista: even the brew, it could hae a spell oan it?
Berna staggers up; then makes her way toward the heap of soil and spade
BERNA. YIV POISONED THE BREW (Pause) Yiv did the same wi mah laddie? NAW, NAW: he widnae touch the brew…? He took a pledge; never ti touch the drink…(Pause) NAW, NAW…yis…yis hae spelled um; forced it doon his thrapple…goad in heaven Morna said yid done the same wi auld Sol, poisoned Sol…didnae believe ur…Ah telt hur yis didnae hae the gumption; didnae hae the brains…wis his hert thit petered oot…wis it then…WIS IT THEN?
Berna throws the jug down; then grasps her throat, choking
Della Tess Robby Krista and Lori all laugh
KRISTA. Aye Berna the brew’s daein fine tricks wi yur brain!
ROBBY. AW AW! Braw stories yi kin tell tae, Berna!
Berna stumbles to her feet
TESS. Better thin mine?
BERNA. MAH LADDIE UH’LL COME BACK…aye he’ll come back fur his laddie, aye, an dauchter: faithirs hae the richt ti thur dauchters, aye been that wae…thur ayewis the first man a dauchter haes!
Della and Krista chase Berna; she staggers to the bridge
DELLA. MIND THE STANES OAN THE BRIG BERNA!
KRISTA. Still loose they ur: dey want yi breckin yur neck!
Robby plays his penny whistle
LORI. Tak they rags fi yur body Tess?
DELLA. Aye lit the air whisper ower yur skin!
Krista Let the last o the sun rays warm yur neck an yur airms an yur legs!
TESS. Bit she’ll punish mi; tak the whip an stick ti mi?
DELLA. Like shi said she’ll be sat in her rocker; starin doon the glen an ower the hills! Quiet as the grave!
KRISTA. Aye, hur days fur geein oot punishment an torture ur long gone, ower an done wi; thurs potions see ti that, is thur noh Tess?
DELLA. Yur bein let oot yur prison Tess.
KRISTA. Oo’ve aw been set free…free ti gee this land oor very souls…bit hus it thame awready?
DELLA. Tradition dictates Krista: oor herts in the land; oor souls close by it. Wae it’s aye been!
LORI. Gee us yin o yur stories Tess?
ROBBY. Gee us the yin Berna telt yi…yin she first telt ti yi when yi wur a bairn? A handed doon story!
Tess stands; she’s pulls off the bandages. She holds her arms to the sky
TESS. Legend hus it that yin man cawed Sol hud nae male seed in his sperm. Morna – his wife- could only gee um dauchters – twa mind – when Sol hudnae a son he pit aw the blame oan Morna. Haein nae son irked the Sol manny, so, he took his brothers wife Berna, he lay wi hur… (Della Krista Lori Robby all gasp loudly) bit she gaed life ti yit another lassie. Noo this dauchter wis shunned wi Sol an Berna…
ROBBY. Fur why Tess?
TESS. Hur skin wis blighted sair, aye bit Morna took peety oan hur an kept hur an broucht hur up ti dae the scrubbin an polishin. Then Berna haed a son ti Sol’s brother Zebediah an Sol hated this brother…then Zebediah wis killed.
ROBBY. An wis this true Tess…true thit Berna haed a dauchter?
TESS. Awa, Robby, she hud nae dauchter: whit mother waed gee hur only dauchter beatins an whippins; whit mother wid shun hur dauchter?
KRISTA. What say yis…oor sister Tess tells the bestest o stories?
DELLA. Aye, stories thit kin be passed oan; passed doon in true tradition!
LORI. Noo, Tess tell us yin o your stories; paint mi a picture wi your words?
KRISTA. Come oan yous yins; git cooried in!
Della Krista Lori Robby all sit huddled togther
TESS. Yin day as the sun shone bricht in the sky a lassie…bonnie lassie mind…hair like spun gowd an eyes violet coloured as blubells cam ower the wee loch in a row boat…shid oan a frock green as the fern leaves; aw flouncy an laced. Ah asked her fi where she cam fi? A ferm noh far say's she. An huv yi a name, Ah asked agin? Gerda say’s she. An what Ah asked ur yi daein here? Ah’ve cum fi mah faithir; he bade me. Fur what did he bade yi dae? Why ti tak Robby fur mah husband, say’s she. An why Robby say’s I? Fur the bloodline; fur the land…oor second cousins Robby an me, says Gerda. Cairrin oan tradition…the wae it’s aye been say’s I? The very words mah faithir telt ti me, says she.
Robby plays the penny whistle
DELLA KRISTA TESS LORI (Sing) "Oh fair is the fortune o aw wimmin kind they’re ayewis controlled they’re ayewis confined a slave ti thur faithir until thur a wife a slave ti thur husband the rest o thur life…"
Tess brings Zeb’s bag from her side
DELLA. Fine big bag that Tess!
KRISTA. Strong; sturdy; hawd aw kindae things?
Robby Della Krista and Lori all gather around Tess
Tess brings a sailor’s uniform from the bag
They all touch the uniform
Lori removes her blindfold
LORI. Midnicht blue, dark as a winter sky…an see silver here…silver glintin; twinkling like heaven’s dazzlin stars?
Robby plays the whistle
Robby, Tess, Krista and Della all walk to the bridge; stand looking back to Lori
Loris stands alone holding the uniform: she walks to the bridge singing
LORI. (Sings) When Ah wis a lass a tiny wee lass, mah faithir telt ti me, come see the Northern Lights mah lass: they’re bricht as they kin be. They caw thum the heavenly dancers; dancers in the sky; Ah’ll never forget that wonderful sicht: they made the heavens bricht…(She carries the uniform; walks after the others)
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Bruised Blue. 2022. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved August 2022, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=597.
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