Joe Corrie


OH, here comes wee Pate Snoddy, I'll juist jouk into the close till he gaes by.

Noo, wee Pate haes juist missed bein something, mibbie bein a writer, far he's the biggest "story" teller 'atween here an the Yetts o Muckart, if ye ken where that is. But I'll say this much for him, his "stories" never dae onybody ony herm ; an I'll say this much for him again-he haes never duin a day's work that I ken o ; sae them wha think he's daft are nae better themsels.

He's got the funniest heid ever I saw in my life, twa inches o a beem, an frae there his skull gaes back as flet as a pancake. He aye haes aboot hauf a dizzen copies o The Gallowa' Gazette inside his bunnet, an haes to wier it back to front or he wadna see for the snoot. Sae where he Keeps his brains is a mystery to me, mibbie he sits on them.

But there's nae mistak he's a man o idea. For instance, he haed been to Ayr by the railway a week or twa back, an haed a while to wait on his connection at Dunragit. Sae when he got back hame he wrote to the Donragit station maister tellin' him it was time he built a pictur hoose there for the convenience o the stranded public. Efter that he teuk a trip to Blackpool to see the illumination, an wanted the Provost o Newton Stewart to put coloured lichts on each side o the Cree as far as Bargrennan, an a big wheel put up at Minnigaff, sae that insteed o the Newton Stewart folk gaun to Blackpool, the Blackpool folk wad come to Newton Stewart, which wad help the toon considerably, no forgettin the pubs. But let me tell ye his masterpiece. Pate haed an uncle in Liverpool, an he teuk a notion to see him. It was a aboot the time when thae roller skates cam into fashion, sae he boucht a pair, an fixed twa wee motors to them, syne fixed a petrol tank to his back, an twa motor horns alow his oxter, sae that he could 'Toot-toot!' ithoot takin his hands frae his pooches.

He hot to Liverpool in a very short time-aboot an oor, I think-an started to leuk for his uncle Wull. But when he did finnd oot where he leived he was informed that his uncle an auntie haed gane to Australia a lang time ago. Sae Pate sat doon on the steps o a big hoose to put some ile frae his pourie on his skates sae that he could get back hame again for his denner. But juist as he was aboot ready to gae a young wumman stopped an shouted oot, "Shairly it's no wee Pate Snoddy frae the Toon!" Sae Pate jumps to his feet an shouts, "Shirly its no Amy!"

It was. Sae she says to him, "What are ye dain' in Liverpool ?" Je telly her abbot his uncle Wull. "An have ye got his address in Australia ?" she asked. He haed. "Very weel, then," said Amy. "We'll start aff the morn's mornin-I want to photi in the papers onywey. Hae ye ony money ?" Pate said that he haedna ; but it wad be nae bother to run hame for some ; but Amy said, "Dinna bother, I'll see ye richt for the nicht. Juist come wi me, Pate."

Frae this on we hear nae mair aboot the roller skates. Sae she teuk him to the biggest hotel in Liverpool-up to the knees in carpets-an said to the manager. "This is a particular freend o mine, attend to him an see that he gets naething but the very best. I'll caa for him at eicht o'clock to-morrow mornin prompt." An the manager said, bouin to her till his coat tails were pointin' to the ceilin', "An honour, Madam, juist leave him to me."

Sae Pate ett naething but chicken an salmon, drank naething but whisky an soda, an smoked naething but cigars, an slept as soond as a tap. Promptly at eicht o'clock Amy caa'd for him in, what Pate ca'd it, a muckle Rollers Royce car, an wheeched him aff to the aerodrome, an stopped beside an aeroplane. "Juist get in, Pate," she said, " an we'll mak a start. I'm oot to brak a world's record wi this auld bus, sae we'll gae some."

Sae aff they went, Amy an Pate Snoddy, on their warld-breakin' flicht to Australia Pate haed his mooth trump wi him sae he played "Bonnie Gallowa'" wi variations, an a' the auld Scots tunes he could think o, which made Amy 'Hooch!'

Then Amy sand, "I think we're on the desert noo, Pate, what d'ye say if we come doom an streetch oor legs for five meenits." That was a' richt wi Pate sae doon they hovered an landed on the Sahara. But if they'd kent! For nae suiner did they get oot the plane than they were surrounded by thoosan's o black savages, juist wearin' wee hankies roon' their middle, wi lips like sausages an rings throu their noses, an a' carryin' spears ten feet lang.

"What can we dae noo?" said Amy, fair scared to daith. "Juist leave them to me," said Pate, "till I think." Pate stuck oot his chest an faced them fearlessly, tho their mooths were a' waterin' to eat them an their spears were pointed at him, till Pate shouted to them, in their ain language o coorse, "Eneuch! Gae an get your big chief at wanst! I demand to speak to him."

Sae yin o them was sent aff to get the big chief, an the rest o them sat doon on their houchs. "Dae ye ken the chief, Pate?" said Amy. "No," said Pate, "but he must ken o me."

Sae doon comes the big chief, a great big man, six feet ten, wi shouthers on him like a muckle black bull, an a hat fou o feathers, wi a spear in each hand, an leukin very hungry. Sae he says to Pate, "You wanna see me, Pard ?" An Pate said, pointin' to the savages, "What's the meanin' o this?"

Then the chief an Pate started to leuk at each ither, till the chief yelled oot, "Honkey-dorey! If it's no wee Pate Snoddy frae Newton Stewart!" An Pate yelled oot, "By a' the treacle that was ever made at Palnackie, if it's no Prince Congo!" The chief put his airms roon' him, an kissed him, then he sent for his twa douchters-a rale pair o black beauties-an wanted Pate to mairy them baith an bide in the desert. But Pate said his faither haed been an elder o the kirk an he couldna dae that ithoot bringin disgrace to the guid. name o Snoddy. An baith the lasses fell doon on the desert an started to greet.

Then the chief asked him where he was gaun, an Pate said Australia, an it was time they were gaun because they were oot breakin' records. Sae the chief said that was a' richt, but he'd be seein him in Newton Stewart suin for he was gaun back again wi the circus. Sae Amy an Pate got back in the plane an the chief shouted to his savages, "Shuv!" An aff they went.

"Yin guid turn deserves anither, Amy," said Pate. "Hoo did ye come to ken him, Pate ?" "Oh, the last time he was in Newton Stewart, he was wi the circus, a lion tamer, an that nicht yin o the lions went mad an was aboot to eat him, but I jumped doon frae my sate, rushed throu the crood, an shot the lion throu the hert wi my revolver." "What a God's blessin I broucht ye, Pate." said Amy, "for I'd been in the soup-pot by this time."

Weel, they got to Australia in time to brak the record, an the first folk he saw when he stepped oot amang the kangaroos was his uncle Wull an his auntie Jean. Sae they juist said, "Come up to the hoose, Pate, an hae a cup o tea." An that was hoo Pate ended his story.

But hoo mony o us, wi a' oor brains, could invent a thing like that. As I was sayin... But here he comes again. I'll juist slip into the Cree Inn, as guid an excuise as ony.