23rd February 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Tochts fae Tushie Truncherface

A Hamefarin hero

I niver tocht dis Hamefarin wid come wi wird o a freend I lost contact wi twa hunder year ago. Jeemie wis wan o my few human freends. As a bairn I wis ey weel warned tae bide clear o dem. So wir freendship wis a weel kept secret.

Da year wis 1803, an aabody faered da sight o a press gang ship. Da press gang forced young men tae join da Royal Navy. Dey wid raid hooses tae fin strong, fit men tae help da Navy fecht Napoleon. Maist wir niver seen agaen.

Da press gang laekit Shetlan men for dir seamanship. An wi bein dat far awa fae da mainland, dey could git awa wi takin dem by force. Officially da government said dey wir enrolling volunteers, no kidnappin dem.

Jeemie an me becam freends when he wis hoidin fae da press gang. Mony a nicht he slept oot on da hill, in da lea o a muckle ston.

“I canna bide in da hoose,” explained Jeemie. “Dat mony young men hiv been press ganged.”

“Dey surely widna tak a boy as young as dee, Jeemie,” I said. “Du’s ony sixteen.”

“Mam says A’m joost whit dey’re lookin for. A’m big for my age an fit. Wid du believe, dey’ve been in da Bressa schul an took twa boys younger dan me,” said Jeemie looking worried.

“Niver!” I said fairly taen aback.

“So A’m best here. Men ir hoidin aa ower Shetlan in caves an on da hills. Wir even heard o a boy wha’s sleepin in his paet stack maist nichts.”

“Ir dey maist laekly tae come at nicht?” I axed.

“Dey come when you’re niver lippenin dem. Dey laek tae reesel men fae dir beds an tak dem when dey ir ramished an canna fecht back.”

I shook my head. I wis blyde dey wirna eftir ony trows tae fecht Napoleon.

So me an Jeemie spent some splendid nichts sharin yarns. Sometimes we wid race siggy boats doon da burn. For a start he wis comin ivery nicht. Jeemie kent HMS Carysfort wis anchored in Bressa Soond. Da press gang aff her wir usin peerie boats tae geng aa aroond Shetlan.

“I am missin my bed,” Jeemie telt me ee nicht as he tried tae git comfy under da lea o his muckle ston. Thankfully his midder wis pitten some fairdie maet wi him tae lift him oot his dorts.

“Dy mam can mak splendid brönnie,” I telt him.

Da following nicht Jeemie wis niver laek tae appear. Hit wis weel past his usual time. So I ran doon ower da broo til I hed his hoose in sight. Whit a gluff I got when I saa six press gang men in dir white breeks an navy jackets dart across Jeemie’s back green. I heard da roar o his midder as dey draggit him oot o da hoose an shackled him wi a chain.

Dat wis da last I saa o Jeemie. Dat nicht I laid me in da lea o Jeemie’s ston an gret. I couldna even tell Mam an Da whit wis wrang.

As da years an centuries passed I aften windered whit cam o Jeemie. Did he help defeat Napoleon? Did he live or dee? I wid dae onything tae fin oot.

So imagine hoo I felt when I got a letter fae some o his faimily dis week! Dey ir comin aa da wye fae America for da Hamefarin. Fower generations on dey still spaek aboot hoo dir great great grandfaider med freends wi a peerie trow on a Shetlan hillside. Even wi da excitement o settlin on da idder side o da wirld, he niver forgot aboot me. I ey kent Jeemie wis a guid freend. I canna wait tae meet his family.

Enjoy da Hamefarin!

Tushie Truncherfaece x

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