Once upon a time

Once upon a time, on a faraway island,

There lived two little girls.

They were safe on their little island,

And could explore and roam the hills and shore.

There were very few cars in those days, so they walked everywhere.

One day, they walked with their mother

As they often did, across the island to visit their grandad.

While their mother talked with her family,

They would roam about the croft, explore and play.

Sometimes, they were allowed

To climb the stairway to the upper rooms.

There, in their grandaunts room,

Under the sloping coomb ceilings,

Were the kists (wooden chests).

Lifting the lid of a kist, they found her hats,

Chapel hats, black or navy blue, and try them on.

Finally, when the visit was over, they would set out to walk the long 4 mile walk home.

Past the fields with sheep, stopping next to talk to the Shetland ponies,

Looking out for seals on the rocks along the shore.

Then, they came to the long steep slope of wearisome hill,

Daunting to their tired little legs.

But then, the sound of something approaching.

Was it a knight in shining armour?

Was it a hero with a carriage and horses?

No., it was a wee Glaswegian fellow,

From the local air force station, in a land rover.

“Wid ye like a lift hen?” he asked their mother.

They were convulsed with laughter at the idea of their mother being addressed as “hen”.

But oh, they were mightily glad of the hero, in unlikely guise,

In his land rover, giving them a lift home.

2 thoughts on “Once upon a time

  1. I was born and raised in Glesca (Glasgow) – my paternal granny was from Shetland. ‘Hen’ is still used today in Glesca. It is derived from the Gaelic ‘fhein’ (dear or beloved one). After the Highland Clearances many Highlanders settled in the city and this word seemed to have stuck in the minds of non-Gaelic speakers.

    • I have since visited Glasgow many times, and love the friendliness of the folk there. Interesting to hear where the word was derived from. Thanks.

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