An onkerry for a kerry oot
I dunna ken whit grippit Meenie. She fell mad tae celebrate Chinese New Year. Hiv you heard da laek? I tocht she’d hiv hed enoch hilarity wi wir ain Yule Festivals.
She startit wi an early spring clean. “Chinese traditions irna dat different fae wir ain,” she telt me. “Dey believe in sweepin awa ill luck an makin wye for guid luck.”
Dat took my interest, I niver lippened Chinese traditions tae be onything laek wir ain.
Meenie even managed tae convince da bairns tae help oot. Muttontief cleared da speeder’s webs fae da röf an Snurtysleeves strippit da beds. Him an Uggledlugs platched aboot in da tin bath supposedly washin da bedlaes wi dir claas. Meenie wisna convinced an got dem da washboard. An Gutteryaggle dichtit aathing wi a weet swaab.
Eence da howe wis sheenin laek a preen Meenie reesled in a draaer an came oot wi some lanterns.
“Fokk hing up red lanterns tae scare awa da Nien wha comes oot at da start o da Chinese New Year. Da Nien is a beast wha tiefs animals, maet an even bairns,” said Meenie.
“Has he iver taen a trow?” axed Gutteryaggle wi wide een.
“Naebody kens,” replied Meenie.
“But da tief o da Neean fae Wast Burrafirth might aesy aet a trow,” I warned.
“We really hae a Nien in Shetland?” axed Gutteryaggle in a panic.
“We do,” I warned. But he’s no a beast, he‘s a man laek a beast. He used tae bide in caves at Wast Burrafirth when I wis a boy. He kidnapped sheep, coos an even bairns. He might still be dere.”
“But did he tak ony trows, Da?” axed Uggledlugs looking as worried as his sister.
“Oh, I doot he wid glaep a trow in a moothful” I smeegit.
Meenie shook her head. “Niver leet your faider. Wir Chinese kerry oot will be here in nae time.”
“A Chinese kerry oot? Ir dey willin tae deliver tae a hole in da grund?” I hed tae ax.
“Da promise o a trowie shillin can wirk wonders,” said Meenie.
We couldna believe da poly bags foo o maet left on da hill. Meenie hockit in da first bag.
“Wir starter is spare ribs,” she declared.
Snurtysleeves glowered at da ribs, no sure whit tae dae.
“Hadd him in dee claa an showe,” instructed Meenie.
So he took een an wis in a slester o saace in nae time.
“So do dey git spare ribs fae fokk wi spare tyres?” axed Muttontief inquisitively.
Nedder me nor Meenie hed a clue but he wis laekly richt, he’s a clever peerie trow.
Den Meenie startit tae lay oot da main coorse. “Dis een is Shu Chiu shicken. You can git a lok o dis saaces wi ony kind o flesh,” she said.
“Do dey mak ony wi trow?” axed an anxious Gutteryaggle.
“Na, joost shicken, coo, pig or praans,” gaffed Meenie.
I wis as relieved as Gutteryaggle, I can tell you. Eence we fan oot da noodles wirna wirms we took a chance on da rest an tuckit in. Oh, hit wis da fine!
I couldna git enoch o da chilli shredded beef. Da boys glaepit da honey duck an Gutteryaggle wis truly aggled. No in gutter, but in sweet an soor saace. We aet. An aet . . .
“A’m stentit, I can aet nae mair,” I said lyin back tae aese da pressure.
“Wir no feenished,” said Meenie. “I paid a weel earnt trowie shillin for dis.”
“Da leftovers wunna be wasted,” I said gaddered dem. “We’ll laeve hit on da hill in case da Nien is aboot. Dis’ll taste better as ony trow.”
Keep an eye oot for da Nien,
Tushie Truncherfaece x