A passionate little blog started by a deerhound dog in Scotland called Rogue ‘Brylach’ MacAllister and Passed to Rascal ‘Logan’ Dorrator Heath

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bairns, Hoonds n Scottish Corpus

In the quest for the history of what we now know as the deerhound, the Rogue journeys to many places in the virtual, the ethereal and the known world. We often find, that reference to the history of the deerhound is garnered from much in the way of written English and that many researchers never appear to consider seeking information recorded in the Gaelic, Scots or from ancient tribal tongues, and many hound historians accept from discovered Latin texts, that the translations are accurate and then associate them with modern ways of thinking.

The one that always amuses my family and I, is that repeated recent deerhound histories, dismiss the giant dogs to have been found amongst the Picts and Tribes of the North by the Ancient Romans of Britain, because Latin texts report of them as being vicious. It is then presumed that they could not possibly be that which we know as deerhounds.

But when one considers that much was made of the spectacle of large and unusual animals by the Romans and many, when displayed to be recorded in foreign lands and/or upon return to Rome, were poked and prodded with spear to create dramatic impression - I know I myself would be pretty vicious if someone stuck a spear in my rear . . . wouldn’t you?

Similar treatment was doled out to Tigers, Lions, Elephants, all of which were terrified and quite often had to be goaded into ferocity. Another thought to bear in mind and for one to ask oneself is this - when deerhounds kill - does it appear pleasant and restful? - or vicious and violent? - ‘I rest my case your honour’.

Anyway, we love ranting and today for fun, we thought we would point deerhounds born out of their homeland in the direction of a fantastic website to help brush up on their Scots language and culture. Produced by Glasgow University, this site gives a marvelous database of Scots and Scots/English language in the form of written and audio recordings.

If one has an abundance of time on their hands and are serious about researching the Scottish Deerhound - this would be somewhere for academic Deerhounds to loose themselves.

Visit the Scottish Corpus Of Texts & Speech and let your education commence.

Just as a taster, the Rogue here thought he would point hounds in the direction of one of the many excerpts that relate to Scottish hound culture - but be warned the website is a ‘work in progress’ and there are currently upward of four million Scots words cross referred.

Check out the tale below from the website and also the interesting image above which is from a blank card found in a gift shop in Edinburgh - neither the deerhound nor child’s name are credited and there was no information as to who created the card but I felt it pertinent to the play excerpt below, enjoy . . .


A Play in Two Acts
By David Purves

This is based on a rather grisly Highland tale set in the eighth century AD. The language is Scots, and although Gaelic would have been the language spoken in this area at this time, Scots places the action firmly in Scotland and produces some powerful emotional effects. It concerns Malcolm, said to be brother to Fingal, King of Morven, who had a beautiful daughter called Moula by his first wife. Moula’s wicked stepmother, Shona, is naturally jealous, and plots Moula’s downfall by committing a series of ill deeds and blaming them on Moula. Her most horrendous evil deed is to murder her own baby son by Malcolm and place the corpse in Moula’s bed. Despite Moula’s protestations of innocence, Malcolm is persuaded of her guilt and she is taken into the forest, seriously wounded and mutilated by Malcolm, who leaves her there for dead. However, her life is saved by an errant knight who discovers her, rescues her and eventually marries her. The knight visits Malcolm, who then discovers Shona’s perfidy and has her imprisoned and tortured to death.

The play has a gothic character and raises important moral questions about the validity of the concept of punishment and the justification of violence in role playing in our society. As in so many folk fairy tales, the grisly character of the story is mitigated by its folk character.


Eilidh: She’s a richt randie whan she gits stertit. Ah thocht she micht tak a turn for the better eftir hir bairn wes born, but no a bit o it. The’r nae betterment an if oniething, she’s waur.

Moula: Div ye think sae, Eilidh?

Eilidh: That’s whit Ah think. She’s growein waur.

Ye mynd whan Breinger, yeir faither’s favorite hoond, wes fund lyin deid wi his thrappil cut lest month. Ah’m thinkin yon wes Shona’s daein, tae. She wesna content wi haggin doun his favorite tree. She haed ti kill his favorite hoond anaw, an it a mukkil cannie beiss. Breinger uised ti lick yeir faither’s haund eftir, whanever he gied it a guid leatherin. Ah mukkil freinlie cannie craitur it wes.

Moula: Ye dinna ken Shona killed the hoond, Eilidh!

Eilidh: Ah canna prove it. Ah didna see hir dae it, but Ah ken she did it, for aw that. Ah’l sweir yon wes hir haundiwark. An whit is mair, it wadna surprise me if she’s putten the notion intil yeir faither’s heid that it wes you that killed the hoond.

Moula: It’s funny ye soud say that. Nou that Ah cum ti think on’t, ma faither is gey cauld wi me thir days, the mair sae, sen Breinger wes killed. He’l haurlie luik near me ava. He wes never lyke that afore.

Onie gait, he’s pleased aneuch wi his wee son. He’s fair the aipil o his ee.

Eilidh: The’r nae dout aboot that----! He fair dotes on the bairn.

if you didn’t quite understand the above excerpt about the murder of a large hound read it over several hundred times and eventually, if I remember I will translate to ‘Angle-ish

We’ll leave the hours of fun as you search the Scottish Corpus website for yourself - and don’t forget to listen to the audio samples - here’s a braw we poem aboot the hedgehog - I’m forever barking at them in my garden - follow the link and click the speaker symbol at the bottom of the webpage. The Hedgehog by Dr James A Begg.


Post a Comment

<< Home