The Fechtin Dugs

Author: W G Lyttle

Date: 1996

Source: Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots, Nummer 4 Spring 1996

The Meer lukit at the megistrates, an’ sez he —

“Wull yer honour purtect me frae this man?”

A pokit the Meer’s coat tail. He lukit roon, an’ sez he —

“Oh, Rabin, A’m glad tae see ye, cum an’ tak my place.”

Sez I, “Sur, wull A get a wheen o’ the polis tae stan’ roon ye?”

A think he didnae hear me, fur he turned tae the megistrate agen, an’ it micht hae been a lesson tae ignerant fowk the nice respectfu’ wae he spauk. “Yer honour,” sez he, “A’ll hae tae gang hame, fur A’m no terble weel this mornin’, but there’s an auld gentleman here, a Mister Gordon, that can tell ye iverything. Treat him wi’ ivery respect,” sez he, an’ wi’ that he slippit awa oot o’ the coort.

A polisman helpit me up intae the box, an’ a returney man got up, an’ sez he tae me, sez he —

“What dae you know aboot this case?”

“Weel,” sez I, “as A wuz gaun doon the street fur a bowl o’ broth —.”

“Noo, dinna bother us wi’ broth,” sez he.

“Ye’ll mebbe be gled o’ a guid bowl o’ them sum cauld day,” sez I.

“Tell uz what ye seen,” sez he.

“A saw a big bull-dug worryin’ anither dug,” sez I, “jest as A wuz gaun fur a bowl o’ broth,” sez I.

“Confound yer broth,” sez he, “hoo big wuz the dug?”

“Oh,” sez I, “it wuz a brave big yin.”

“What size wuz it?” sez he.

“It wuz a guid lump o’ a dug,” sez I.

“Wull ye tell me hoo big it wuz?” sez he, gettin’ cleen mad.

“Deed,” sez I, “it wuz as big as ony dug o’ the same size iver A seen.” “Whaur dae ye leev?” sez he.

“Doon in Bellycuddy,” sez I.

“A think there’s a guid wheen cuddies there,” sez he.

“No as mony as A see here,” sez I.

“Dae ye mean tae say that A’m an ass?” sez he.

“Weel,” sez I, “A hae as guid a richt tae ca’ you an ass as you hae tae say A’m a cuddy; hooaniver, if the shoe disnae fit ye, why ye neednae pit it on.” “Very good, my man,” sez John Rea.

“Go on wi’ yer story,” sez the megistrate.

“Weel,” sez I, “the Meer axed that man there tae sayperate the dugs, an’ whun he refused, then he said tae me that if A wud catch him by the heid he wud tak him by the tail.”

“Noncense, man!” sez the returney, “wha iver saw a man haudin’ on by a dug’s tail; yer thinkin’ aboot cuddies noo.”

“Deed A em not,” sez I, “there’s John Rea whun he’s bathin’ at the Pickey Rocks taks his big dug by the tail an’ lets it poo him through the water.”

“Its a fact,” sez John Rea, “an’ A’ll not alloo this dacent man tae be bulleyed.”

“Hae ye treveled much?” sez the returney man.

“A hae went ower a guid bit o’ grun in my day,” sez I, “an’ mebbe A hae seen as muckle as you hae.”

“Did ye iver see the Cleekypatra Needle?” sez he.

“Mony a time,” sez I, “oor Peggy keeps yin o’ them tae dern my socks wi’.”

The fowk gied a yell o’ a lauch at that, an’ sez John rea, jumpin’ tae his feet, sez he —

“A tell ye A’ll no alloo this man tae be bulleyed.”

“Sit doon, sir,” sez anither man, “yer deleyin’ the coort.”

Your nae returney,” sez John.

“A em,” sez the tither, “but you’re a low unmennerly fellow, an’ yer a ragin’ bully, yer a —.”

A cudnae tell a’ that wuz said. Five or six o’ them wuz argeyin’ an’ yellin’ through ither. The megistrate cudnae mak himsel’ heerd, so he left the bench cleen disgusted. Then A saw the polismen winkin’ an’ lauchin’ at yin anither, an’ the fellows in the coort wur yellin’ an’ cheerin’, an’ as A saw naebuddy mindin’ me, A slippit awa oot, an’ startit fur hame.

That dug case cummed on agen a guid wheen times, an’ the Meer sent me letters axin’ me tae gang up an’ gie evidence, but Peggy wudnae heer tell o’ it. She said A had din plenty, an’ that if A did won the case A wud get terble little thanks fur it, an’ mebbe a guid dale o’ abuse.

A tuk her advice, an’ A beleev she wuz richt. Ivery time the Meer met me efterwards he lukit a weethin’ dry wi’ me. Hooaniver A didnae care, fur A’m just as guid as he is. But frae that day till this Mister Mackerlane an’ me haes been great freens. Mony a time, whun A’m up in Bilfaast, A call at his offis, an’ mony a wee bit letter he haes writ fur me. A maun tell ye sum day aboot the bathin’ match him an’ me had at Pickey Rock yin day.

Robin Gordon

(W G Lyttle)

• • • • •


Thaim as gets tha name o risin earlie can lee aa day.

Let ivery herrin hing wi its ain tail.

A whang aff a cut kebbuch winnae be missed.

W G Lyttle as Robin Gordon


W G Lyttle — author of “Robin’s Readings” dressed up as a “prosperous Co Down farmer” and ready for one of his many performances as ‘Robin’ in Newtownards during the late 19th century.



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