Deerhound

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

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallowe’en

by Robert Burns

Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the route is ta'en,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up the cove, to stray and rove,
Among the rocks and streams
To sport that night.

Among the bonny winding banks,
Where Doon rins, wimplin' clear,
Where Bruce ance ruled the martial ranks,
And shook his Carrick spear,
Some merry, friendly, country-folks,
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, and pou their stocks,
And haud their Halloween
Fu' blithe that night.

The lasses feat, and cleanly neat,
Mair braw than when they're fine;
Their faces blithe, fu' sweetly kythe,
Hearts leal, and warm, and kin';
The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs,
Weel knotted on their garten,
Some unco blate, and some wi' gabs,
Gar lasses' hearts gang startin'
Whiles fast at night.

Then, first and foremost, through the kail,
Their stocks maun a' be sought ance;
They steek their een, and graip and wale,
For muckle anes and straught anes.
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift,
And wander'd through the bow-kail,
And pou't, for want o' better shift,
A runt was like a sow-tail,
Sae bow't that night.

Then, staught or crooked, yird or nane,
They roar and cry a' throu'ther;
The very wee things, todlin', rin,
Wi' stocks out owre their shouther;
And gif the custoc's sweet or sour.
Wi' joctelegs they taste them;
Syne cozily, aboon the door,
Wi cannie care, they've placed them
To lie that night.

The lasses staw frae 'mang them a'
To pou their stalks of corn:
But Rab slips out, and jinks about,
Behint the muckle thorn:
He grippet Nelly hard and fast;
Loud skirl'd a' the lasses;
But her tap-pickle maist was lost,
When kitlin' in the fause-house
Wi' him that night.

The auld guidwife's well-hoordit nits,
Are round and round divided,
And monie lads' and lasses' fates
Are there that night decided:
Some kindle coothie, side by side,
And burn thegither trimly;
Some start awa, wi' saucy pride,
And jump out-owre the chimlie
Fu' high that night.

Jean slips in twa wi' tentie ee;
Wha 'twas she wadna tell;
But this is Jock, and this is me,
She says in to hersel:
He bleezed owre her, and she owre him,
As they wad never mair part;
Till, fuff! he started up the lum,
And Jean had e'en a sair heart
To see't that night.

Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,
Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie;
And Mallie, nae doubt, took the drunt,
To be compared to Willie;
Mall's nit lap out wi' pridefu' fling,
And her ain fit it brunt it;
While Willie lap, and swore by jing,
'Twas just the way he wanted
To be that night.

Nell had the fause-house in her min',
She pits hersel and Rob in;
In loving bleeze they sweetly join,
Till white in ase they're sobbin';
Nell's heart was dancin' at the view,
She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't:
Rob, stowlins, prie'd her bonny mou',
Fu' cozie in the neuk for't,
Unseen that night.

But Merran sat behint their backs,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;
She lea'es them gashin' at their cracks,
And slips out by hersel:
She through the yard the nearest taks,
And to the kiln goes then,
And darklins graipit for the bauks,
And in the blue-clue throws then,
Right fear't that night.

And aye she win't, and aye she swat,
I wat she made nae jaukin',
Till something held within the pat,
Guid Lord! but she was quakin'!
But whether 'was the deil himsel,
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en',
Or whether it was Andrew Bell,
She didna wait on talkin'
To spier that night.

Wee Jennie to her grannie says,
"Will ye go wi' me, grannie?
I'll eat the apple at the glass
I gat frae Uncle Johnnie:"
She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt,
In wrath she was sae vap'rin',
She notice't na, an aizle brunt
Her braw new worset apron
Out through that night.

"Ye little skelpie-limmer's face!
I daur you try sic sportin',
As seek the foul thief ony place,
For him to spae your fortune.
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!
Great cause ye hae to fear it;
For mony a ane has gotten a fright,
And lived and died deleeret
On sic a night.

"Ae hairst afore the Sherramoor, --
I mind't as weel's yestreen,
I was a gilpey then, I'm sure
I wasna past fifteen;
The simmer had been cauld and wat,
And stuff was unco green;
And aye a rantin' kirn we gat,
And just on Halloween
It fell that night.

"Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen,
A clever sturdy fallow:
His son gat Eppie Sim wi' wean,
That lived in Achmacalla:
He gat hemp-seed, I mind it weel,
And he made unco light o't;
But mony a day was by himsel,
He was sae sairly frighted
That very night."

Then up gat fechtin' Jamie Fleck,
And he swore by his conscience,
That he could saw hemp-seed a peck;
For it was a' but nonsense.
The auld guidman raught down the pock,
And out a hanfu' gied him;
Syne bade him slip frae 'mang the folk,
Some time when nae ane see'd him,
And try't that night.

He marches through amang the stacks,
Though he was something sturtin;
The graip he for a harrow taks.
And haurls it at his curpin;
And every now and then he says,
"Hemp-seed, I saw thee,
And her that is to be my lass,
Come after me, and draw thee
As fast this night."

He whistled up Lord Lennox' march
To keep his courage cheery;
Although his hair began to arch,
He was say fley'd and eerie:
Till presently he hears a squeak,
And then a grane and gruntle;
He by his shouther gae a keek,
And tumbled wi' a wintle
Out-owre that night.

He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,
In dreadfu' desperation!
And young and auld came runnin' out
To hear the sad narration;
He swore 'twas hilchin Jean M'Craw,
Or crouchie Merran Humphie,
Till, stop! she trotted through them
And wha was it but grumphie
Asteer that night!

Meg fain wad to the barn hae gaen,
To win three wechts o' naething;
But for to meet the deil her lane,
She pat but little faith in:
She gies the herd a pickle nits,
And two red-cheekit apples,
To watch, while for the barn she sets,
In hopes to see Tam Kipples
That very nicht.

She turns the key wi cannie thraw,
And owre the threshold ventures;
But first on Sawnie gies a ca'
Syne bauldly in she enters:
A ratton rattled up the wa',
And she cried, Lord, preserve her!
And ran through midden-hole and a',
And pray'd wi' zeal and fervour,
Fu' fast that night;

They hoy't out Will wi' sair advice;
They hecht him some fine braw ane;
It chanced the stack he faddom'd thrice
Was timmer-propt for thrawin';
He taks a swirlie, auld moss-oak,
For some black grousome carlin;
And loot a winze, and drew a stroke,
Till skin in blypes cam haurlin'
Aff's nieves that night.

A wanton widow Leezie was,
As canty as a kittlin;
But, och! that night amang the shaws,
She got a fearfu' settlin'!
She through the whins, and by the cairn,
And owre the hill gaed scrievin,
Whare three lairds' lands met at a burn
To dip her left sark-sleeve in,
Was bent that night.

Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays,
As through the glen it wimpl't;
Whyles round a rocky scaur it strays;
Whyles in a wiel it dimpl't;
Whyles glitter'd to the nightly rays,
Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle;
Whyles cookit underneath the braes,
Below the spreading hazel,
Unseen that night.

Among the brackens, on the brae,
Between her and the moon,
The deil, or else an outler quey,
Gat up and gae a croon:
Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool!
Near lav'rock-height she jumpit;
but mist a fit, and in the pool
Out-owre the lugs she plumpit,
Wi' a plunge that night.

In order, on the clean hearth-stane,
The luggies three are ranged,
And every time great care is ta'en',
To see them duly changed:
Auld Uncle John, wha wedlock joys
Sin' Mar's year did desire,
Because he gat the toom dish thrice,
He heaved them on the fire
In wrath that night.

Wi' merry sangs, and friendly cracks,
I wat they didna weary;
And unco tales, and funny jokes,
Their sports were cheap and cheery;
Till butter'd so'ns, wi' fragrant lunt,
Set a' their gabs a-steerin';
Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt,
They parted aff careerin'
Fu' blythe that night.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Deerhounds know when they are in the doghouse

An interesting article was printed in todays Herald, not that we deerhounds need research to understand the subject . . . we just do!

Read below, and if this line of research interests you - follow through on the links to further expand your interest.

Hounds may know if they’re in doghouse


Dogs seem to read emotion in human faces in the same way people do, scientists say.

It may be evidence that they can see at a glance whether we are happy, sad, pleased or - particularly - angry.

When humans look at a face their eyes tend to look left and fall on the right-hand side first.

This "left gaze bias" only occurs with human faces not with animals or inanimate objects.

Researchers at the University of Lincoln have shown that pet dogs also exhibit left gaze bias, but only when looking at human faces. No other animal has been known to display this behaviour.

A team led by Dr Kun Guo showed 17 dogs images of human, dog and monkey faces, and of inanimate objects, and found strong left gaze bias with human faces but not with other images, including those of dogs.

New Scientist magazine reported yesterday: "Guo suggests that over thousands of generations of association with humans, dogs may have evolved the left gaze bias as a way to gauge our emotions.

"Recent studies show that the right side of our faces can express emotions more accurately and more intensely than the left, including anger. If true, then it makes sense for dogs - and humans - to inspect the right hand side of a face first."

Whether left gaze bias means that dogs read human emotions is still uncertain.

Dr Guo believes he has some evidence that they can distinguish between emotional states. A follow-up study showed that angry human faces induce a much stronger left gaze bias in dogs than neutral or happy faces.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Peace in the Glen



Having just returned from a nocturnal jaunt, confused by the daft human ‘un-natural’ need for something called time - where their measuring devices were changed this weekend and now my natural routine is upset.

Still, I have just pursued Mr Badger into the bracken, he happily disapeared into the dark and this reminded me that coursing takes place one week from today at Rumbling Bridge.

If you are interested in attending this with your deerhound on Sunday the 2nd of November from 11am - email: (as before) sue@thehoundpad.co.uk and tell them Rogue sent you.

Watch the video footage above to see me in action at the last Rumbling Bridge Run Off event along with some of my friends.

Enjoy! From a Big Country where dreams stay with you!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl



Yes . . . them Hollywood types are at it again - using us highland hounds to represent the more likely ‘lymers’ or ‘greyhounds’ of the period, used in pursuit of the game of ‘auld’. This time Deerhounds appear in The Other Boleyn Girl. A Production lavish in costume and with ‘braw’ hounds. You can find out more about the movie or purchase it by following the link above.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

THE WITCH OF LAGGAN

With the approach of that ancient Celtic time of the season Hallowe’en - where the nights fill with all sorts of strange goings on . . . Rogue, thought he’d bring you this little tale from the book Scottish Fairy and Folk Tales by Sir George Douglas 1901. It’s relevant to deerhounds through the included characters that populate the tale.

And if you are of nervous disposition, approach the following tale with caution. Enjoy the embedded links to find out more about the area in which the tale takes place.

THE WITCH OF LAGGAN

A hero, celebrated for his hatred of witchcraft, was warming himself in his hunting hut, in the forest of Gaick, in Badenoch.

His faithful hounds, fatigued with the morning chase, lay stretched on the turf by his side, his gun, that would not miss, reclined in the neuk of the bothy, the skian dhu of the sharp edge hung by his side, and these alone constituted his company. As the hunter sat listening to the howling storm as it whistled by, there entered at the door an apparently poor weather-beaten cat, shivering with cold, and drenched to the skin.

On observing her, the hairs of the dogs became erected bristles, and they immediately rose to attack the pitiable cat, which stood trembling at the door. "Great hunter of the hills," exclaims the poor-looking trembling cat, "I claim your protection. I know your hatred to my craft, and perhaps it is just. Still spare, oh spare a poor jaded wretch, who thus flies to you for protection from the cruelty and oppression of her sisterhood." Moved to compassion by her eloquent address, and disdaining to take advantage of his greatest enemy in such a seemingly forlorn situation, he pacified his infuriated dogs, and desired her to come forward to the fire and warm herself.

"Nay," says she, "in the first place, you will please bind with this long hair those two furious hounds of yours, for I am afraid they will tear my poor hams to pieces. I pray you, therefore, my dear sir, that you would have the goodness to bind them together by the necks with this long hair."

But the curious nature of the hair induced the hunter to dissemble a little. Instead of having bound his dogs with it, as he pretended, he threw it across a beam of wood which connected the couple of the bothy. The witch then, supposing the dogs securely bound, approached the fire, and squatted herself down as if to dry herself. She had not sitten many minutes, when the hunter could easily discover a striking increase in her size, which he could not forbear remarking in a jocular manner to herself.

"A bad death to you, you nasty beast," says the hunter; "you are getting very large." "Ay, ay," replied the cat equally jocosely, "as my hairs imbibe the heat, they naturally expand." These jokes, however, were but a prelude to a more serious conversation. The cat, still continuing her growth, had at length attained a most extraordinary size, when, in the twinkling of an eye, she transformed herself into her proper likeness of the Goodwife of Laggan, and thus addressed him:

"Hunter of the Hills, your hour of reckoning is arrived. Behold me before you, the avowed champion of my devoted sisterhood, of whom Macgillichallum of Razay and you were always the most relentless enemies. But Razay is no more. His last breath is fled. He lies a lifeless corpse on the bottom of the main; and now, Hunter of the Hills, it is your turn." With these words, assuming a most hideous and terrific appearance, she made a spring at the hunter.

The two dogs, which she supposed securely bound by the infernal hair, sprung at her in her turn, and a most furious conflict ensued. The witch, thus unexpectedly attacked by the dogs, now began to repent of her temerity. "Fasten, hair, fasten," she perpetually exclaimed, supposing the dogs to have been bound by the hair; and so effectually did the hair fasten, according to her order, that it at last snapt the beam in twain.

At length, finding herself completely overpowered, she attempted a retreat, but so closely were the hounds fastened in her breasts, that it was with no small difficulty she could get herself disengaged from them. Screaming and shrieking, the Wife of Laggan dragged herself out of the house, trailing after the dogs, which were fastened in her so closely that they never loosed their hold until she demolished every tooth in their beads. Then metamorphosing herself into the likeness of a raven, she fled over the mountains in the direction of her home.

The two faithful dogs, bleeding and exhausted, returned to their master, and, in the act of caressing his hand, both fell down and expired at his feet. Regretting their loss with a sorrow only known to the parent who weeps over the remains of departed children, he buried his devoted dogs, and returned home to his family.

His wife was not in the house when he arrived, but she soon made her appearance. "Where have you been, my love?" inquired the husband. "Indeed," replies she, "I have been seeing the Goodwife of Laggan, who has been just seized with so severe an illness that she is not expected to live for any time." "Ay! ay!" says he, "what is the matter with the worthy woman?" "She was all day absent in the moss at her peats," replies the wife, "and was seized with a sudden colic, in consequence of getting wet feet; and now all her friends and neighbours are expecting her desmission." "Poor woman," says the husband; "I am sorry for her. Get me some dinner; it will be right that I should go and see her also."

Dinner being provided and despatched, the hunter immediately proceeded to the house of Laggan, where he found a great assemblage of neighbours mourning, with great sincerity, the approaching decease of a woman whom. they all had hitherto esteemed virtuous. The hunter, walking up to the sick woman's bed in a rage, proportioned to the greatness of its cause, stripped the sick woman of all her coverings.

A shriek from the now exposed witch brought all the company around her. "Behold," says he, "the object of your solicitude, who is nothing less than an infernal witch. To-day, she informs me, she was present at the death of the Laird of Razay, and only a few hours have elapsed since she attempted to make me share his fate. This night, however, she shall expiate her crime by the forfeiture of her horrid life." Relating to the company the whole circumstances of her attack upon him, which were too well corroborated by the conclusive marks she bore on her person, the whole company were perfectly convinced of her criminality; and the customary punishment was about to be inflicted on her, when the miserable wretch addressed them as follows:

"My ill-requited friends, spare an old acquaintance, already in the agonies of death, from any further mortal degradation. My crimes and my folly now stare me in the face, in their true colours; while my vile and perfidious seducer, the enemy of your temporal and spiritual interests, only laughs at me in my distress; and, as a reward for my fidelity to his interest, in seducing everything that was amiable, and in destroying everything that was good, he is now about to consign my soul to eternal misery. Let my example be a warning to all the people of the earth to shun the fatal rock on which I have split; and as a strong inducement for them to do so I shall atone for my iniquity to the utmost of my ability by detailing to you the awful history of my life."

Here the Wife of Laggan detailed at full length the way she was seduced into the service of the Evil One, all the criminal adventures in which she had been engaged, and ended with a particular account of the death of Macgillichallum of Razay, and her attack upon the hunter, and then expired.

Meanwhile a neighbour of the Wife of Laggan was returning home late at night from Strathdearn, where he had been upon some business, and had just entered the dreary forest of Monalea, in Badenoch, when he met a woman dressed in black, who ran with great speed, and inquired of the traveller, with great agitation, how far she was distant from the churchyard of Dalarossie, and if she could be there by twelve o'clock.

The traveller told her she might, if she continued to go at the same pace that she did then. She then fled alongst the road, uttering the most desponding lamentations, and the traveller continued his road to Badenoch. He had not, however, walked many miles when he met a large black dog, which travelled past him with much velocity, as if upon the scent of a track or footsteps; and soon after he met another large black dog sweeping along in the same manner. The last dog, however, was scarcely past, when he met a stout black man on a fine fleet black courser, prancing along in the same direction after the dogs.

"Pray," says the rider to the traveller, did you meet a woman as you came along the hill? The traveller replied in the affirmative. "And did you meet a dog soon after?" rejoined the rider. The traveller replied he did. "And," added the rider, "do you think the dog will overtake her ere she can reach the church of Dalarossie?" "He will, at any rate, be very close upon her heels," answered the traveller.

Each then took his own way. But before the traveller had got the length of Glenbanchar, the rider overtook him on his return, with the foresaid woman before him across the bow of his saddle, and one of the dogs fixed in her breast, and another in her thigh. "Where did you overtake the woman?" inquired the traveller. "Just as she was entering the churchyard of Dalarossie," was his reply. On the traveller's return home, he heard of the fate of the unfortunate Wife of Laggan, which soon explained the nature of the company he had met on the road.

It was, no doubt, the spirit of the Wife of Laggan flying for protection from the infernal spirits (to whom she had sold herself), to the churchyard of Dalarossie, which is so sacred a place that a witch is immediately dissolved from all her ties with Satan on making a pilgrimage to it, either dead or alive. But it seems the unhappy Wife of Laggan was a stage too late.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

White Fang


Did you know, that a deerhound along with a collie, attacks White Fang the Wolfdog from Alaska in Jack London’s novel White Fang ?

Chapter 11 - check it out.

Forest Sketches

The joy of being a Scottish deerhound in Scotland in the midst of this current global economic meltdown, is that; all the money in the world doesn’t buy the beauty of the Highlands, nor the life in it. Nor does anyone outlive this land long enough to own it forever.

Monies come - monies go - careers appear and disappear, the human race changes with every shot of the starter pistol, but we deerhounds just go on doing what we always have done, and always will do . . . hunting the hart.

And where else does one hunt for deerhound histories other than Rogues blog (write and tell us)?

And if you wish to read of the Scottish Highland Hounds from two hundred years ago (the Napoleonic period) click on the Title of the book listed below for a free pdf download of this book.

The excellent sketches featured as part of this post are a selection from several contained within the pdf download. But be patient as this is an 8.5mb download and the document has three hundred plus pages included in the book and it may take some time to download dependent upon your connection speed.

Enjoy . . .

Forest Sketches: Deer-stalking and Other Sports in the Highlands Fifty Years Ago
By William Robertson
Published by Edmonston and Douglas, 1865
Original from the New York Public Library
Digitized Nov 26, 2007
352 pages

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Summer’s Gone . . .

. . . but we’re still here. It’s been an ultra-busy five weeks since the last posting, between the coursing, kennel redocorating, retiral parties, recording an album, marathon and extreme trail running, being part of the Hampden Roar as part of the Tartan Army on the journey to the Fifa World Cup finals.

More deerhound posts soon.