22nd April 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Tochts fae Tushie Truncherfaece

, by , in Shetland Life

Birsie’s Brunt Bed

Aabody is blyde o a guid freend. We coont Birsie da Hedgehog as een o wir best. Wir used tae seein him ivery day as he nests no far awa. We see even mair o him as da nichts draa in as he’s nocturnal laek wirsels.

Birsie aften comes alang for a yarn an a peerie coarn tae aet. We ey watch whit we feed him. A bit o maet tae showe is fine. But we ken tae lay aff o da mylk an bread. Dere’s naethin waar for gaein a hedgehog da scoor.

Da bairns laek naethin better as a game o catchie wi Birsie. Hit’s surprisin hoo quick a hedgehog can shift. Anidder thing dey dae wi him is fin creepy craalies. Forkitails, sclaters, clocks, worms; he glaeps dem laek sweeties!

Noo, wi aa dis aetin Birsie wis fairly fattened up an ready for hibernation. So wance November cam in, he cam for his last veesit. He hed a guid feed o raa liver an a puddin o forkitails.

“Does du hae tae hibernate, Birsie?” axed Gutteryaggle.

“Dat I do,” he said gantin. “A’ll fin somewye waarm, birse intae a baa den faa asoond.”

Gutteryaggle lookit disappointed.

“Niver leet,” said Birsie. “Hit’ll be voar afore du kens hit, an A’ll be back for a feed o creepy craalies an a game o catchie.”

He patted aa da bairns wi his paa. Gutteryaggle wis aboot tae gie him a cuddle den she minded aboot his bristles. She settled for blaain him a smoorikin.

Twartree nichts laeter we wir feenishin wir supper.

“I winder whaar Birsie is hibernatin?” said Snurtysleeves.

“He’ll be somewhaar dry an waarm. Somewhaar quiet an oot o aabody’s wye,” I replied.

“Feth, surely no …” said Gutteryaggle risin tae her feet. “Dat’s whit he said: dry, waarm an quiet …”

“Whit is du on aboot lass?” I axed.

“Birsie is hibernatin in da hert-holl o a bonfire! We wir playin aside een. Yon’s da very wirds he said!” said Gutteryaggle in a dirl.

“Is du sure?” I axed, takin her on my knee.

“Yea, Da,” she said nearly greetin. “An danicht is da 5th o November!”

Afore you could say “Guy Fawkes” we wir aa riggit oot an headin for dis bonfire.

Gutteryaggle wis aboot to run ower a broo when I heard humans. I med aabody hoid. I hed a skoit tae see whit wis gaein on. I couldna believe my een.

“Dey’re dowsing da bonfire wi petrol,” I whispered. “Bide here …”

Thankfully da man wi da petrol turned an headed for da crood o fokk.

As dey hockit fireworks oot o da back o a van, I took my chance. I crept doon ower laek a whitrit eftir his prey. I cruggit ahint da bonfire an den crept trowe da wid an pallets. Richt enoch, dere he wis birsed up laek a baa.

“Birsie!” I said shaakin him. “Waaken up or du’ll be brunt!” I rubbit my claa wishin I hedna yockit his bristles sae herd. But I hed nae idder option dan tae grab him agaen. He blinked his een an gantit.

“Follow me afore du’s hedgehog toast,” I instructed, as I started tae fecht my wye oot. A wabbit Birsie followed ahint me. We med hit tae da rest o dem ahint da broo joost as Birsie’s bed took lowe.

Birsie wisna himself eftir sicca onkerry. We took him back tae wir howe. Aside da fire Snurtysleeves axed him “Whit wye does du need tae hibernate?”

“Wi aa dis bristles an nae fur I struggle tae keep a grain o haet in me ower da winter. An dere’s a lok less creepy craalies tae aet in da winter an aa.”

“So does du hae nae idder option?” axed Gutteryaggle.

“No, my jewel, I hae nae option,” he replied.

“Weel, du can dae hit here!” said Meenie in her wye dat laeves little choice. “A’ll maak dee a gansey tae keep dee waarm an du can neeb afore da fire. Du’ll waaken up fantin an da bairns will be here tae help dee fin dy favourite forkitails.”

“Och, I couldna dae dat . . .” said a blate Birsie.

“Hit’s nae budder, Birsie boy, bide du here!” I said shaakin his claa. “A’m ey blyde tae help a guid freend.”

Your freend,

Tushie Truncherfaece