Rab an tha Hare

Author: Conal Gillespie

Date: 1999

Source: Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots, Nummer 7 Wunter 1999


Conal Gillespie

A wheen uv iz wur sittin i Crockett’s yill shap efter wee Rab McMillen wuz kibbed.

“Thon new clargy hed a richt notion aboot wee Rab gien that he onie cum aboot tha place lest beck enn”, reckoned Geordie Smyth.

“Yer erse Geordie,” says big Victor, gurnin frae tha enn uv tha bar fernenst tha feg machine. “Listenin tae yer mon ye wouldnae hae jaloused Wee Rab wuz tha cauldest, meanest wee buck iver kittled.”

“Ye shouldnae spak ill uv tha deid Victor,” A chipped in. “Houl you yer tongue an stan a roun fur newins.”

Victor wuz aye a suble big christian.

Noo A hae tae aloo tha Victor wuz mair nor haflins richt. Wee Rab wuz as mean as a tinker’s doagan fu uv aul notions forbye. Howiniver he made tha best drap uv wee still ben Inishowen an wuz aye ready tae drap wark an heid aff wi tha gun onie hoor uv onie day. A shud knaw fur a drunk his whiskey an tuk Rab frae his ferm tae shuit snipes an deucks ower tha blek Braes aften eneuch.

Rab, me an a wheen uv bucks tha wusnae ower gospel greedy used tae trie tha tods ben Meenaharnish Plantain uv a Sunday moarn. Tha mair tha wee Rab hed a gey deid ee niver haed near nor eneuch cartridges an wuz aye scroungin tha len uv a wheen frae his cronies til all hans wuz wel scunnered. Yin Sunday aboot tha turn uv tha yeir we seed a big quhyt buck hare hoappin aboot tha fut uv Lyle’s parks. Ivry week we dannered up thae fiels tae tha plantain an thon big quhyt hare wuz aye thair. Noo wheens uv aul boadies hes a notion tha quhyt hares is Ghaists ur spey weemin ur some sich spunkies, an if ivir onieboadie wuz rife wi thae notions wuz wee Rab. Later on we wuz warmin oorsels ben Hugo’s Bar. Wee Rab hed tuk hissel awa hame no wantin tae lave catter ben tha pub. Victor wuz smilin awa til himsel an wuz, fer him, in gey good foarm. “Houl yiz wee Rab’ll no be scrannin shells fur mich langer,” says he, “A’m awa tae tha hoose fur av a wee joab tae dae.”

Tha niest Sunday moarn we wur headin up throo Lyle’s parks tae tha plantain abeen an we seed tha big quhyt hare leppin aboot as iver.

Victor luks a Rab an seys, “Ah’ll warrant ye that ye havnae tha courage tae shuit yon buck.” Rab wouldnae heir tell uv shuitin tha hare. Victor miscalled him fur all tha glakit aul heatherblates an A cud see tha wee Rab wuz getting gey an angeret. “Ah’ll shuit thon hare ur onie ither baste you want til pit up Victor Cunningham, ur A wud gif a hadnae lef ma shells ben tha hoose. Fur tha first time tha onie uv us cud min Victor tuk twa shells oot uv his belt an handled thim tae Rab. Rab bruk his gun, put in tha cartridges an coveret tha hare that wuz still happin aboot tha drill heids at tha tap uv tha fiel. Ye cud jalouse that tha wee mon’s hert wusnae i tha shoat but his bluid wuz het an he wusnae goin fur tae loss face tae Victor.

Tha hare wuz mebbe twenny ur thirtie yairds aff, no a haird shoat ava. Rab fired his richt barrel an tha hare jist set quiet wi his lugs up tha wie thae silly brutes daes whin the hears shuitin. Rab blinkt his een, curst an let fly wi his left barrel. Tha hare jist lookit up an hoappit awa. A queer lookin smir uv mist cum driftin beck frae whur tha hare wus sittin a minnit afore an a rare sweet hoag wus i tha air. Puir Rab dropt his gun, joined tae gulder aboot Goad an tha deid, tuk tae es heels an ran fur hame. Victor was lyin atween twa drills laughin his heed aff. He had tuk tha pellets frae twa cartridges an put in talcum pooder. Tha hare wusnae a ghaist but wuz as safe as a hoose whin wee Rab fired.

A wus near ready fur hame frae wee Rab’s kibbin drink whin Freddy Wilson cum intae tha yill shap. “Hi Victor; hev ye tha gun i tha cair?”. “Whit wud A be daein wi tha gun an me wi tha guid clathes on?” says Victor. Freddy smiled. “Thas an awfu pity cuz thiers a big quhyt hare happin aboot tha buryin grun.”



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