Document 628

Dipper: 16 - The Saumon an the Wee Broun Troot

Author(s): Dr James A Begg

Copyright holder(s): Dr James A Begg


No faur frae Ayr's auld honest toun
There's a deep dark puil on bonny Doon
Whaur the current swirls by an auld tree ruit
That's hame sweet hame tae a wee broun troot.

As wee troots go he's no that big,
But cocky, smert an unco trig,
Aa dressed up in a gowden coat
Spangled wi mony a bluid-rid spot
Like rubies on a royal blanket;
- My, hou that wee fish jinkt an swankit
An pit on siclike airs an graces
Kept minnons an peenheids in their places!
Aft-times he'd lowp heich oot the puil
Arch ower it's surface mirror-still,
Narcissus-like, tae luik an flatter
Himsel - reflectit in the watter.
A dizzen times or he said it yince
He'd cry oot 'I'm sic a braw wee prince,
Ower troots an fishes big an smaa
I'm shuir tae rise abune them aa;
Gin I grow big I maun be King,
For facts are chiels that winna ding!'
- Then efter cuttin sic a dash,
He'd faa back in - wi sic a splash!

Aa throu Spring an Simmer lang,
Ilk day wad fin oor wee troot thrang,
Nabbin nymphs, an gnats, an duns
Swept doun throu the shalla runs;
Or on the bottom micht he revel
At grabbin gadgers oot the grevel;
While ither times he had his feasties
O watter snails an caddis-beasties:
Gin gurly spates roart throu the dubs,
He'd guzzle worms an docken grubs,
That tummlt in an birlt aboot
His bield aneath the auld tree ruit.

For aa he acted like a daftie,
As months gaed by, he grew mair crafty,
An learnt gey quick whit worms were stuck
On the berbs o a Thomson-taikle heuk;
Yince jagged, twice shy, he sune cuid tell
The difference atween a heuk size twel',
Buskit tae luik like an Olive Dun,
An the real live flee floatin doun the run.
Life wis guid, an weel he kent it,
His wame wis fou, himsel contentit.

But Simmer days pass by sae sune,
An Autumn spates cam rummlin doun;
Syne aa his regal hopes were dashed,
Whan intae his wee bit puil there splashed
A fish whase like he'd niver seen -
- Wee troot cuid scarce believe his een;
The waves near tummlt him tail ower fin,
An knocked the rid spots aff his skin,
As he dertit aneath his auld tree ruit,
Whaur chitterin wi fricht he keekit oot.

Ae sicht o th' incomer's vast dimensions,
An he quick forsweirt his royal pretensions.
He luikt him ower frae kype tae tail,
'Guidsakes!' wunnert he. 'Is this a Whale?'
Then luikin again at his muckle jaw,
Thocht - 'He micht be big, but he's no that braw!'

As time gaed by he grew less feart,
Poked his wee heid oot an cannily speirt –
'Whit caa they you, ye muckle lump?
That's breinged in here wi sic a thump,
An frichtit troots richt oot their wits,
Near giein them aa aquatic fits!'

Wi that the big fish gied a froun,
Syne flickt his tail an luikit roun,
Tae spy the wee troot keekin oot
Frae's hidey-hole in the auld tree ruit.
'Wis it you that spoke, ye shilpit thing?
I'll let ye ken that I'm the King
O aa the fishes in this river;
I'm big, I'm braw, an unco clever,
An mebbe yet I'll tak the notion
Tae be King as weel o aa the Ocean!'

The wee broun troot cam oot his den,
Bou'd doun fou low, swam forrit, then,
Wi trimmlin vyce apologised –
'Guid Sir, I niver realised
That you were YOU, sae great an true,
Whan thae words cam oot my silly mou,
The likes o which I nou regret,
An hope an pray ye'll quick forget.'

King Saumon humphed an gied a grunt,
'Och, haud yer wheesht, ye daft wee runt,
It's mebbe juist as weel for you
I'm feelin aff my meat the nou!'

Therefter for a while at least,
The twa fish kep a canny peace;
While wee troot listened aa intent,
Tae Saumon's spiel o hou they went
Awa tae sea as wee-bit laddies,
'Mang herrins, mackerel, cod, an haddies;
Hou they journeyed faur an lang an late,
Past the Faroes Isles tae Denmark Strait,
Whaur they steyd, an ate an grew like kings,
On squid, an prawns an siclike things.
He tellt o these an ither tales;
O escapes frae seals an killer whales,
Frae baited lines, an great lang nets
Streitcht 'cross the river mous like yetts,
Whaur he'd strugglt an threshed till net wis torn,
Tae win the burn whaur he wis born.

‘Sae nou ye ken, ye puir wee troot,
Why I'm King o Fish withoot a dout;
Bauld, fearless, haunsome, that's my style,
An blessd wi mair'n my share o guile.'
Wee Troot said nocht, but let him blaw,
Whan sudden across the puil he saw
Dert an hover in the stream,
The saumon gourmet's wildest dream –
- A size six Thunner an Lichtnin flee!
The Wee Troot stared wi frichtent ee,
An ere he'd warnt his freen - 'Tak tent!'
The big yin flickt his tail an went
Mooth-wide, heid-furst, richt intae trouble,
Whan his kype gat huikit by the 'Double'!

For a saicont or twa there wis a pause,
Till he jaloused whit jagged his jaws,
Wi fearsome wrath at sic abuse,
He lost the heid, aa Hell broke loose:
He streakt across an doun the stream,
While up abune a purn did scream
As line wis strippit tae the backin;
He stoppt an turnt, the line did slacken,
Then up the puil again he surged,
Wi thochts o freedom onwards urged;
Three times he lowpt tae sic a hicht,
His mortal foe near de'ed o fricht –
- Whase hert a-race wi palpitations,
An thochts o early celebrations,
Near gied him an apoplectic fit -
- Whan his fish fell in by the auld tree ruit;
Whaur, by a bonny stroke o luck,
Line fanklt roun an firmly stuck!
Auld Saumon heaved wi aa his wecht
On the feathert huik, an poued it strecht,
He shook his heid an muckle mou,
Then yae last tug - an oot it flew!

Feart his freen had come tae grief,
Wee Troot luikt on wi great relief,
Tae see him let aff wi nocht beside
A gowpin jaw - an duntit pride!

King Saumon, it wis plain tae see,
Wis nae the fish he uised tae be;
A lot mair ceevil an unco quait,
'Twas nae surprise gin anither spate,
The big fish bade Wee Troot 'Adieu',
An tootled aff tae pastures new!

Wee Troot tae wis less conceitit -
- Nae wish tae see that tale repeatit,
Nor ettlt for 'Kingship' abune them aa,
- Lest Pride suid come afore a faa!

peenheids/minnow fry
winna ding/won't be defeated
kype/hooked lower jaw
haud yer wheesht/be quiet

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APA Style:

Dipper: 16 - The Saumon an the Wee Broun Troot. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Dipper: 16 - The Saumon an the Wee Broun Troot." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 23 February 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Dipper: 16 - The Saumon an the Wee Broun Troot," accessed 23 February 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 628

Dipper: 16 - The Saumon an the Wee Broun Troot


Text audience

General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1982
Word count 1191
General description Anthology of prizewinning and other Scots poems, and short stories in Ayrshire Scots.

Text medium

Other Audiocassette

Text publication details

Publisher Luath Press
Publication year 1991
Place of publication Barr, Ayrshire
ISBN/ISSN 0946487227
Edition First
Part of larger text
Contained in The Dipper an the Three Wee Deils: Tales and Poems in Ayrshire Scots
Editor Authors: Dr. J. A. Begg and J. Reid
Page numbers 36-40

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 623
Title Dr
Forenames James
Initials A
Surname Begg
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Medical Practitioner
Place of birth New Cumnock
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Ayr
Region of residence S Ayr
Residence CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Clerical Officer, NCB
Father's place of birth Sandbank
Father's region of birth Argyll
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Arg
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Primary Teacher
Mother's place of birth New Cumnock
Mother's region of birth S Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
Danish No No No No A little
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Home, socially, at work
French Yes Yes Yes Yes Holidaying in France
Norwegian No No No No A little
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Home, socially, at work