Document 635

Dipper: 23 - The Red Sea Crossing

Author(s): John Reid

Copyright holder(s): John Reid


The brickwork ran like a weel-gaun mill,
Wi bricks piled up in a muckle hill,
An Moses wiped the sweit frae his broo
As he keekit tae see gin the kiln wis fou.
A sodger chiel cam up at his back
An leant on his spear an stopped for a crack,
Syne Moses caad ower tae his brither Aaron,
‘Juist see that the wark gangs on - nae sparin.
This sodger says I've tae gang tae the palace
Tae hear whit Pharoah has tae tell us.'

Sune he chapped on the door o Pharoah's ha
An gaed straucht in at Pharoah's ca.
‘Guid mornin, Pharoah,' says he, no blate.
‘Guid mornin,' says Pharoah. 'Tak a sate.
I’ve caad ye in aboot these bricks,
For things are gettin in a fix.
Whit wi pyramids an palaces
Your lads will hae tae rax their galluses.
Tae meet my plans in ilk iota
They maun pit oot a bigger quota,
An juist tae free a cairt or twae
They'll hae tae gether their ain strae.'

‘This is a maitter for the union,'
Said Moses, ‘but, in my opeenion,
It's fair yont sense! Mair bricks! Nae strae!
Wad ye hae us workin nicht an day?'
He daudit the door near aff its hinges
Syne back intae the brickwork breenges,
Caas oot the men an tells them stark
Bauld Pharoah's plan for increased wark.

‘Tae Hell wi this,' cries ae heid ganger,
‘We'll thole Egyptian rule nae langer!
Let's gether aa the graith we can,
An set aff for the Promised Lan!'
Sae Moses, wi his kith an kizzens,
Herdit their nowt in droves an dizzens,
Yokit cairts, filled bynes an barras,
An fettled gairds wi bows an arrows.
(But naebody seemed tae tak the notion
They micht need boats tae cross the ocean.)
Sae, wi a steir wad deave a miller,
Sheltered tween clood and fiery pillar,
Wi wives an weans, doos, hens and bestial,
They set oot on their path celestial.

Days later, tired o stour an heat,
They ettled sair tae rest their feet
An soum or paidle in the sea,
But that, alas, wis no tae be.
For ill-set Pharoah had renagit,
Forgettin hou he had been plaguit,
An nou, for aince, wis aff his hunkers
Tae chase his Israelitish plunkers!
His chauriots drave as though gane wud,
An Moses saw they meant nae guid.
Wi's muckle stauve he gied a blatter
An jauped his goun wi saun an watter,
But, Goad be here, the reamin tide
Gaed rowin back on aither side!

An sae, oot ower the shinin saund
They crossed intae the Promised Land.
But time wis short. 'Chase on thae laddies,'
Moses cried. 'Nae time for haddies,
Or guddlin 'mang the kelp for cod.
There's Pharoah comin doun the road!'
The Israelites stood on the shore
An watched as Pharoah cursed an swore,
While aa his drivers, near an faur,
Sank aye the deeper in the glaur.
‘Ach, boys,' said Moses, 'it's a sin,
They'd aa be better happit in.'
Wi that he struck aince mair the watter,
An feenished, mair or less, the maitter.

graith/possessions, wealth
blatter/heavy blow
guddlin/catching fish by hand
happit in/covered over

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Dipper: 23 - The Red Sea Crossing. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 21 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Dipper: 23 - The Red Sea Crossing." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 21 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Dipper: 23 - The Red Sea Crossing," accessed 21 July 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 635

Dipper: 23 - The Red Sea Crossing


Text audience

General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1975
Word count 595
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 51-52

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 738
Forenames John
Surname Reid
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1910
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Retired Head Teacher
Place of birth Dalry
Region of birth N Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Lockerbie
Region of residence Dumfries and Galloway
Residence CSD dialect area Dmf
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Commmercial Traveller
Father's place of birth Dalry
Father's region of birth N Ayr
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Beith
Mother's region of birth N Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Home, socially
French Yes Yes Yes Yes As necessary
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Home, socially