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Thomas Mc Rae
[To Thomas Mc Rae’s index]

Ali Mc Aladeen an’ The Majick Lichtie

By Tomas Mc Rae, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, © 2008

Och, here ye are, cairyin’ three pints fur me tae! Cun ye no stey awa frae this pub? Whoat? Ye wat tae hear mair o’ ma fantastulus storeys, dae ye? Och, weel. Ye’ve been richt guid tae me wi’ a’ thae pints. Sit ye doon again an’ Ah’m gonnie tell ye aboot that wee shoap acroass the road.

OK! Whoat ye sees thair noo’s a lau­doo­rie­mat. But no aw that lang ago a man cawed Alistair Mc Ala­deen uset tae hae that shoap an’ ’e selt stuff suppost tae be okull­tick. Nae time mahsel fur aw thae Tcher­roa­ky cairts an’ saintit caun’les, But Ali’—we cawed ’im that fur shoart—did a great tirade wi’ aw thae daft Nyew Aijurs aroon’ the pulace.

Onywey, it aw stairtit lang afore that wi’ Ali’s unckul, Ebeneezer Mc Aladeen. We cawd ’im Eb. Eb went aff tae win the Wurruld Wawr Twa fur Jai­nu­rull Munt­gu­mum­ry at the Waistur­run Dessert. Yin day the Jairries ham­bushed him an’ ’is mates. Thay tuik aw the rest prizuners, but Ebeneezer rin tae sum big roacks an’ hided frae them. Efter they’d aw gawn awa ’e foond issel’ stuck amang thae roacks aw oan ’is ain. “Whoat’ll Ah dae noo?” ’e thinks. Seemunly the sun wiz blazin’ doon sae ’e foond a wee hole in a big roack an’ crawd intae it.

Tae ’is flabbergastument ’e foond thair wiz a muckle big cave ahint that hole. Luikin roon’ ’e saw a deid skellingtun oan the groon’ huddin’ a wee sma’ boax. Whain ’e tutched the skellingtun it turnt tae dust but ’e pit the wee boax intae ’is pack fur tae luik at it later. Jist thain a loat o’ British tanks pu’ed up ootside an’ tuik ’im back tae camp whaur they tellt ’im that ’ed juist wun the Waisturrun Dessert War.So thay wiz noo gawn tae Sissyly nixt.

Wi’ aw the hubbulshew ’e furgoat aw aboot that wee boax an’ it wiz only efter ’e beat the Eye Ties that he minded aboot it an opent the thing. In it wiz a verra auld bit o’ skin wi’ funny wurds oan it ’e cuildnae unnerstan’. So ’e juist pit it back in ’is bag, thain thocht nae mair aboot it.

Thain the War wiz dun, Munt­gu­mum­ry goat aw the maidulz an’ puir Eb, whae dun aw the wurk, nivver even goat a pint …—Oh, ta very much!—So hame ’e cam at last. Monie’s a Hugmanany cam an’ went, an’ frae time tae time ’e hud a luik at that auld bit o’ skin wi’ the funny writin’ an’ wunnert whoat it wiz aw aboot, but ’e nivver cuid mak heid nur tail o’ the thing. ’is naiphew Ali wiz sent tae Burrymyoor Skuil fur ’e wiz the cluvver yin o’ the faimily. ’is mammy wiz the yin whoat tuik in stairs tae wash. Mair Hugmanany’s ganged by an’ Ali opent ’is shoap acroass the road an’ did weel sellin’ magic buiks an’ funny herbs, an’ stickies o’ incest an’ aw that. Eb juist goat aulder an’ aulder. Thain yin day ’e goat a idea.

’e tuik that wee boax intae Ali’s shoap and showt the skin tae ’im … “Hey, son! Whoat dae ye mak o’ this funny skin whoat Ah foond oan the Waisturrun Dessert?” Ali tuik jist yin luik an’ tellt ’im, “Unck’ell, this is rit in La’in whoat Ah did at Bur­ry­moore. Leave it wi’ me an’ dootliss Ah cun tran­sub­stan­shi­shute it fur ye. Cum back the moarun.”

Oan that moarnun ’e tellt Eb sum richt ixcitin’ nyooz. “Unck’ell, whoat yew huz goat here is a messaidge frae a Kroosaydur o’ aulden times an’ a wee map anaw. Ack­cherly it’s ’is las’ wull an’ taistumunt. Seemunly aw thay years back ’im an’ ’is men goat abmushgated jist like yew goat dun tae yew. They wiz aw killt, but ’e manitched tae crawl intae that cave an’ rite a messidge oan the skin wi’ soot frae an auld fire that wiz thair. ’e wiz moartully wuindit, but that didnae hud ’im back an’ he tellt whae-ivvur foond ’is boady tae gie it guid Kurristyun burriuhl an mak guid use o’ whoat ’ed writ. yew is the hair o’ this noabul knight.”

Ali ganged oan tae tell ’im that the deid fellie hud livt in an auld caussle jist ootside o’ Edin­bur­rie an’ this wiz the saikund time thut ’e’d d focht in the Kroosayds.

Oan that furst time ’e foond sumthin’ o’ grate value in the dessert an’ brocht it hame wi’ ’im. But the Inglish cam up an’ burnt doon is caussle an’ ’e juist goat awa wi’ iz life. The yin thing ’e savet wiz that valyooble oabjick whoat ’e foond in the Wholly Laun’ an’ he tuik that tae the symmiturry at Roselin an’ birried it unner a new gurrave thair. Efter that ’e wiz awa back tae the Kroosayds whair yew foond ’is deid skellington. ’e sez in ’is wull that tho’ ’e nivver ivver foond oot whoat the thing o’ grate value wiz supposet tae dae. ’e wishiz whaeivver gits it weel. So thair ye are thain. Oh aye an’ thair’s a wee map o’ the symmiturry uz weel wi a croass tellin’ whoat grave the thing wi’s birried in.

Unckell Eb wiz awfy flub­ber­gub­bered, Ah cun tell ye. “Cum oan thain, Ali!” sez he, “Shut Yer shoap, git Yer caur, an’ we’ll awa tae Rose­lin tae git that traysyoor fur oorsels.” “Naw, naw, Unckell Eb! If we gang tae the sym­mi­tur­ry noo aw­bud­dy cun see us an’ thay’ll git the polis tae us. Naw! Wuh’ll gang ower thair at darkist nicht the nicht wi toarchiz, fin’ that gurrave, an’ dig up that tray­syoor this vairy nicht.”

An’ so it wiz that thay did juist that. But whain thay goat tae the sym­mi­tur­ry at Roselin, whoat shuid they fin’ but a shoodge big wa’ aw roon’ it an’ doe’urs that wiz aw loack’t up. “Och, Unckell, wuh’ll need tae climb ower that shoodge big wa’. But yew’ll nivver mannidge it. yew stey ootside an’ woatch fur polis, an’ Ah’ll gang ower mah­sel.” Sae ower the wa’ ’e climbt. Unckell kep’ woatch, but it wiz jist a minit oar twa afore Ali droappit back doon aside ’im, “Och, Ali! Ye’ve foond it awraidy. Ah aye sed yew wiz a clivvur laddie.” “Naw, Unckell. Ah’m back acoaz Ah furgoat that map.” Back tae iz caur ’e ganged an’ goat it thain back up ower that shoodge wa’ ’e waint yince mair.

It wiz uz daurk uz the Earl o’ Hell’s waiscoat amang aw thae graivez. Ali shinet ’iz toarch aroon’. But maist o’ thay stanes oan the map wiz aw fawen’ doon efter aw thae saintyooriez an’ that map didnae e’en tell whair noarth wiz. Whaur wiz the yin ’e hud tae fin’? Ali luiked an luiked tae nae evail. But oan that map wiz a messidge sayin’, “Luik fur the staunin’ stane wi’ the big kroass oan it.” Un La’in o’ course.

’e luiked an’ luiked, but naewhair wiz thair ony staunin’ stanes. Thain it wiz that the clivvur laddie railized thut aw the stanes hud lang since fawen’ ower. ’e luiked aw aroon’ an’ efter an’ oor o’ luikin’ thair wiz that stane wi the big kroass oan it lyin’ doon oan the groon’. No staun­in’ up at aw fur it hid fawen ower juist uz aw the ither yins hud tae. Ali hud a wee shuvvell stuck unner iz oaxtur fur diggin’. But what wiz ’e gawn tae dae tae lift that stane?

Thur wiz a shaid in the symmiturry fur the groondsmens. The doeur wiznae loackit an’ in it ’e foon’ a big shuffel an’ a kerrow baur tae. Takin’ a lain’ o’ baith thae things back ’e ganged tae the stane an’ maniget tae shift it so ’e cuid craw’ unnerneeth. Thair wiz a big shoodge hole whoat ’e crawlt doon intae an’ foon’ a deid skellington wi’ a wee boax aside it. This hud fur tae hae that traysyoor in it fur thur wiz naethin’ ailse in thair. Gittin’ the boax Ali crawlt back oot. Aw the time ’e wiz feart ’is unckell wid caw oot, “Shoat! Here’s the polis!” But bein’ the guid laddie like ’e wiz, that didnae stoap ’im frae pittin’ the stane back oan the gurrave an’ thae, toowulls back in that shaid.

Efter aw that, back ’e climt ower the wa’. “Did ye fin’ that traysyoor fur me?” wiz the furst thung Eb ast ’im. “Aye, unckell. Ah foon’ it, so Ah did, an’ Ah’ve goat it in mah poackit but noo lit’s awa back tae toon afore the polis cums. Back waint the twa o’ thum tae Ali’s shoap. “Cum oan noo!” sez Eb, “Gie me mah boax wi’ that traysyoor in it! Efter aw, it’s mines an’ no yewrs.” “Ah ken that richt weel, unkell. Here ye are thain. Opun it up, an’ wuh’ll see whoat that traysyoor iz.”

Wi traimlin’ hauns Unckell pued aff the lid o’ the boax. In it wiz sumthin’ sma’ wrapt in an auld durty bit o’ cloath. “Mah traysyoor ut lang lawst!” yaile’ Eb uz ’e pued aws that cloath … Aw thair wiz wiz a dirty wee aul’-fawshunt brauss lichty aw cuvvert in the glaur o’ sainturiez. Eb wiz black affruntit, Ah’d chuv ye keb, “Aw thae yairs an’ that’s aw ah goat” Gittin issel’ in a richt paddie ‘e flung it oan the flair and sed “Yew cun hae this lump o’ junk fur yairsel! Me? Ah’m awa hame … Efter aw, thae yairs juist that bit o’ dirty muck.” Awa ’e ganged uz faust uz iz waukin stick cewd tak ’im. Ali ganged aff tae iz bed in the back ruim fur sum sleep. Efter aw, ’e hud a shoap tae opun in juist a few mair ’oors. Aw that haird wirk fur naethin’!

Later oan that moarnin’ afore ’e went tae opun is shoap ’e pick’t the lichtie up aff the flair “Mibbie if Ah culleen this lichtie up Ah cun sell it tae sum Amairikun tewrist. Efter aw, it iz a jainyooin anteek. Ah cun thain gie the munnie tae Unckell Eb fur coampunsainuyshun. Efter ’e shut the shoap that nicht Ali tuik that auld lichtie an’ gied it a guid wash tae tak awa aw that glaur. It wiz burass richt enuff, but awfy tayrnisht. ’e gied it a haurd dicht wi a soaft culloath tae nae evil thain, uz a laust raysoart ’e goat oot the Brasso.

Noo maist o’ the pee’puhl roon’ this wey juist yaise Brasso fur drinkin’ whain thaive nae munnie fur the pub but seeminly ye cun yaise it tae fur poalishin’ stuff, an’ that’s whoat Ali stairtit daein’. Efter no aw that lang ’e hud the thing shinin’ bricht an’ luikin’ like it wiz braun nyoo. At lang laust ’e gied it another dicht wi’ that soaft cloth an’ it luikt brammer. “Ah’ll pit this in the windae tae sell the moarun,” sed Ali, “But fur noo it luiks sae guid Ah’ll pit it oan the mauntelpiece in mah back ruim.” An that’s whoat ’e did.

But that verrah nicht whain ’e wiz watchin’ the telly aw thing waint black. Ye see, ’e hadnae peyed iz ailuckturicity bill, so thay hud slinked up at nicht an cut it aff. That wiz whoat thay aye did fur awbuddy, ony yin cuttin’ it aff in daylicht wiz gonnae end up in the Infirmurry. Ali wiz aghawst. Nae telly, nae licht, nae naethin at aw but the daurk. “Oh, whoat cun Ah dae?” ’e shootit, “If Ah cuid juist git poower aw the time fur naethin’ it wid be smashin’.” Thair an’ thain back oan waint aw the pooer jist like that. “Och, thay’ve pit it back oan again. They iz shoomun efter aw. Ah micht e’en gang roon’ tae thayr oaffice yin day an pey mah urre’urs.

So ’e watch’t the telly fur a while langer thain cluckt oan the buttun fir tae pit it aff. It juist kep’ gawn. “Funny that” ’e thocht uz ’e cluckt oan the licht swutch but that didnae wurk an aw. In fawk, aw the lichts in iz pullace wiz oan an’ widnae gang oot! “Deary, deary me!” sez Ali, “Ah’ll nivver git tae sleep wi’ aw that licht. Hoo a wush that the pooer wuid gang oan an’ aff whain Ah tellt it tae!”

If Ah juist sed, ‘Licht or Telly gang aff an’ it wid’ un’ sae hailp me thay aw did! “Funny bizzniss this. Jist telly oan!” An’ oan it ganged. “Tel­ly aff!” an’ aff it ganged. “This licht oan!” an’ that’s whoat happint. “Aff, an’ mah baidruim licht oan!” an’ oan that licht ganged. “Amazin’!” sed Ali, “Thay muist hae pit in sum nyoo kumpyooteur thingie.” But efter aw ’iz wurk airly that moarnin’ ’e wis fair wabitt. Sae ’e went tae ’is bed an’ tellt that licht tae gang aff. Thain ’e hud a guid nicht’s sulleep.

Nixt moarnin’ Ali ganged roon’ the back o’ iz shoap tae chaick is meeter un’ aw its cunnaiykshuns hid been disconticaet. No juist that the meter wisnae muivin’ at aw. “Funny that!” ’e sez an’ gangs tae iz skullery whair the elaiktrick stove waint oan whain ’e tellt it tae, an’ ’e cuickt is brekkfust oan it. Efter that ’e played the gemme wi’ the lichts an’ telly an’ thay aw wurkit an’ daed whoat ’e tellt thaim tae. “This is aw verrah weel,” ’e seyt, “But Ah want tae ken hoo aw this is hauppenin, if ah only kent!”

Up oan ’is mauntelpiece smoke stairtit tae cum oot o’ the aind o’ that lichtie, “Oh, naw! Ah’ve goat a fieuhr! Place’ll git burnt tae the groon’!” Ali rin oot o’ the ruim in a richt flegg. But naethin’ ailse seemed tae be happenin’. Sae wi grate tridubilashun ’e luiked in. Aw that smoke hud gawn awa. But thair wiz a wee man whae luiked like a Paki staunin’ thair smilin’ at ‘im. “Hey, yew!” yells Ali, “Whoat ur yew daein’ in here? Hoo did ye git in an’ whoat dae ye wat? If ye wat tae buy this shoap ye’ve goat anuvver think cummin’! Oot ye gang the noo or Ah’m gottae mollicate yew!” The wee man bowed and smilt at ’im. “No, master of mine. I am no Paki intruder. Fact is I am the slave of the lamp on your mantelpiece.” “Awa ye go, fellih! Ah’d huv ye ken ah didnae cum up the Clyde in a bunnany skin.” The wee fellih bows, “No, master. I am now your servant for the rest of your life. I must serve you as I have so many other masters over many years. I have the power to grant your every wish. But you must use this gift with caution.”

Ali laughed, “Aw cum oan noo! This hiz tae be a joke, eh? Huv ma pals pit ye up tae this? Hoo cun yew grant wishes?” “Well, master, how do you think you now have electricity and appliances that go on and off at your command? You wished and I granted.” Ali thocht aboot this, thain sed, “OK. But whair dae ye cum frae?” “From that wondrous thing you call a ‘lichtie’ up on your mantlepiece. Thousands of years ago I was a powerful magician in Babylon. I challenged King Solomon to a magic duel and lost. He enslaved me to that ‘lichtie’ inside of which I live. It’s much bigger inside than outside you see and very comfortable. But there I must stay as a slave until a master liberates me.”

“Och, dinnae tell me ye’re Doaktur Who!” “No, I am a Jeannie and must be your slave. There was a knight a few years ago who found the ‘lichtie’. But though he was told its value he never learned to use it. Just kept rubbing it. Been some time since thain and I have had nothing to do. Very boring for a Jeannie.”

Weel, Ali really goat coanfumbulated thain, “Ye cun gie me onythin’ at aw?” “That I can, master” “Okay thain. Git me six boatells o’ Irn Bru!” And thair they wiz oan the taybull. The wee Jeannie turnt back tae smoke an’ went back intae the lichtie. “Ah wush fur a hunnert poonds uz weel, an’ thair the munnie wiz lyin’ oan the taybull. “Och, Ah’m sait up fur life!” sez Ali. But if he hud only kent …

’e wurkt in is shoap aw day. Uz yoozyooall, thain efter ’e’d shut up ’e went tae the Paki shoap fur sumthin’ fur ’is deener. Abdul whae hud the shoap wiz awfy dis­in­cun­cer­tedid whain ’e went in the door. “Deary me, Mr Alistair!” said distrochet Abdul, “Ah’ve goat tae woerrun yet hat thair is roabbers gawin aroon’ the pulace the noo! See me? Ah hud sux boat—ells o’ Irn Bru taen this moarnun’ un’ they tuik a hunner poonds oot o’ ma till furby! Watch yer shoap!” “Deary me, Abdul! That’s right awfy, so it is. Aye, Ah’ll keep a woatch an Goad hailp the naiaf if Ah catch ’im!”

’e bocht is dunner an’ went hame wurrit. “Hey, Jeannie! Cum oan oot! Ah wat tae tawk tae ye.” Oot cam the Jeannie, “Your servant, master.” “Oh, aye. Thain tell me whair ye goat that munnie an’ Irn Bru frae this moarnin.” The Jeannie bowed, “Master your wish is my com­mand. You asked for those items and I delivered them. But do you not realise that such things do not just appear? They must be collected from somewhere and that Paki shop was just the nearest venue.” “Dae ye mean tae tell me that awthin’ Ah ask fur huz tae be pinched frae sum­bud­dy ailse?” “Not exacty, master, but usually.” Hoanist Ali wiz flub­be­ry­gusted!

“Luik! Ah cannae hae that kinna thing heuhr. Tak that stuff back whair ye goat it frae.” “As thou wishest, master. But remember I told you to use my powers with caution. Anything else, master? No?” Back ’e ganged intae iz boattell an’ munnie an’ drinks ganged in tae.

Weel, Ah cun tell ye Ali wiz richt wurrit. Whoat cuid ’e dae wi’ that Jeannie that didnae breck the law? That nicht ’e wiz woatchin’ the telly whain oan the screen cam luv’ly Elsie Ca­meron, Darlin’ o’ Scoat­lan’. “Heh!” sez Ali, “Ah fancy that lassie, so Ah dae.” Nixt thing thair’s a haivy wecht oan iz knees and a lassie’s voice sayin’, “Whaur the bluidy hell am Ah?” Aye, oan is lap wiz a lassie an’ she wiz richt crabbit tae. Aff she goat an’ stairtit tae wurk it oan ’im. “Hey! Hing oan thair, hen!” sez Ali, “Whae ur yew? Whair did ye cum frae? An’ whoat fur is ye hit­tin’ me fur?”

“Oh, Ah’m awfy soarry, mister. But ye see, Ah juist panick’t … Yin minnit Ah’m oan the telly, the nixt Ah’m sat oan yer knee … Whoat happent? Whae ur yew?” Aye, it wiz the luvvly Elsie Cameron ’ersel ’weerin’ ’er telly claes tae! Ali kent fine what hud happent but ’e im­poverised, “That’s richt, mistyryuss, an’ Ah’m uz flummoxed uz yew iz. Dae ye no think ye goat abdicated by Aleyins in a soassur and thay droapped ye doon here? Ah’ll tak ye back whair ye need tae gang. But hoanisly, Ah’m aw shuik up. Whoat wi yew fawin’ oan me and thain thumpin’ me. Ah need a wee dram. Ur yew fur yin anaw?” “Oh, aye! Whoat a guid idea!” raispoantit the luvvly Elsie. So Ali fillt twa big tummlurz wi Haig & Haig an’ thay goat stuck intae thaim.

They goat tawkin’ an’ Ali tellt ’er is name in fu’. “That’s a richt guid name fur a nice-luikin’ laddie like yew. Me? Ah’m Elsie Ca­meron frae the telly an’ ye’ve nae idea hoo guid it is tae toak this wey tae sumbdy an’ no aw that plummy stuff Ah huv tae dae aw day.” Oan the twa o’ thaim tawkt an it wisnae aw that lang afore they foond oot thay’d baith gawn tae Bur­ru­moor an’ e’en dun La’n.

Elsie ast ’im whoat ’e selt in ’is shoap. So ’e tuik ’er in an’ lit ’er see. “Oh, okkultic stuff an’ that! Ah’m richt inneristit im aw that stuff.” Ali tuik a genyooin ainshunt Pershyin sturing o’ beads a man doon Leith made fur ’im cheap an’ hung it toon’ ’er neck. Aye, they wiz gittin oan brammerly. Back they ganged tae the back ruim. Oan the telly wiz a man tawkin’ aboot Elsie’s mystry­oos ab­dica­tion. “Ah better git ye back,” said Ali, “Cun Ah no see ye again tho’?” “Oh, Ah’d like that fine,” said Elsie, “I like yew fur wi’ yew Ah cun be mahsel’.”

Back owr tae the telly place ’e drivt ’er an’ left ’er at the doeur tae mak up a story. But she gied ’im a kiss afore ’e waint. “See ye the moarun!” sed she. Ali drivt hame oan clood nine. Awthin’ luiked real guid. Elsie tellt awbuddy hoo she goat abdicated by aleyins an’ wiz oan tellies aw ower the wurruld in nae time.

A hale bullissful munth ganged past an’they saw yin anither a loat an’ goat pallier an’pallier. Thain things chang’t fur the wurst. Thair ’e wiz airly yin moarnin’ whain sumbdy banged awa at ’iz doeur. Ali waket up aw crabbit … “Whae the hell iz yew cumin’ here ut this time o’ the day? Uf ye iz Joevaie’s Witnissiz ye cun git loast!” ’e shootet uz ’e flung the doeur opun.

Thair staunt a man in a soot an’ tie. “Wid yew be Mr Alistair Mc Aladeen, sir?” “Aye. An’ whoat’s that tae yew?” “Weel, sir, ye see, Ah’m frae the Ai­lec­teri­city Cum­pun­ny an’ we wat tae ken hoo ye huv been yaising oor poour fur weeks noo tefter we huz cut it aff. Ah’m here tae tell ye Ah’m cumin back wi’ the polis an’ a Cum­pun­ny tayknishyin fur tae chaik it aw oot. See ye in an ’oor oar twa. Ye be’er hae a guid story fur me whain Ah cum back. Pinchin’ ai­lec­te­ri­ci­ty iz a seriuss curiminul affence.” Aff ’e went back tae ’is caur an durrove awa.

Ali ganged back in richt feart. “Whoat am Ah tae dae?” ’e cried disparagately, “Ah’m fur the jael, so Ah am!” Smoke cam oot o’ that lichtie an’ the wee man stuid thair smilin’. “No, you are not, master. Do not you fash yourself about this. “When the polis comes just keep quiet and I shall speak to them through you. Trust me! Good will come from this.”

So Ali made ’issel’ a cuppa tea an’ sat doon tae wait fur the polis tae cum. An ’oor oar twa la’er unuther noack cums tae ’iz doeur. Ootside wiz a muckle big polis ick­spec­tur an’ twa coan­sta­byewels tae. Ahint thaim wiz the man in the soot an anither man in dongareez. Ahint thaim wiz a big truck an’ a paddy waggin reddy tae tak Ali awa.

“Noo, sir,” sez the ick­spec­tur, pu’in oot iz hawn­di­cuffs, “Whoat huz yew been pinchin’ the Ai­lecte­ri­city Cum­pun­ny’s pooer fur?” The twa coan­sta­byewels pued oot thair baytunz raidy fur ackshun tae. Ali felt ’iz lips move and a voeyice frae in ’im sayin’, “Cum awa noo! Whoat ailectericity ur ye tokkin’ aboot? Ah’ve nivver tucht a droap o’ yewr stuff. Ye see, Ah um no yaising ony ai­lec­te­ri­city, just the grait pooer o’ the Yoo­ni­vairse itsel’.”

“Git thay feklih’s thair tae chaik oot the curryneckshuns oan thair meter boax an’ see whair Ah’m gittin ony ailectericity frae thair. Efter that tell thaim tae git in sum aixpairts tae chaick mah pooer an’ thay’ll fin’ it’s no e’en ailectericity ah’m yaisin. Whaur’s the law that sez Ah must yaise ailectericity fur mah pooer, onywey?”

The polissses didnae ken whoat tae dae nixt. So they tellt the Cum­pun­ny’s men tae check up oan the meter. They cuildnae fin’ ony wey Ali hud cunaictit onythin’ tae thair supply. Ali tellt aw iz lichts tae gang oan but nane o’ thae cloak things oan the meter birled aroon’. Thae wiz fair fullumoxid, Ah cun tell ye. Awa they ganged in the big truck an’ cam back wi’ twailve mair men whae checked awthin’ oot but foond naethin’. Yin o’ thum stuck a musheen in a poour poeint an’ ast Ali tae pit it oan. ’e turnt tae iz boass, “Sir, poour is cumin’ oot o’ here. But naethin’ shows oan mah unsturimint. Woat ivver this iz, it’s no ailectericity.”

The boass ast Ali, “Whoat iz it thain, clivver yin?” The Jeannie spoke thurough Ali, “If ye luik ut ma shoap ye’ll see that Ah sell things occultic an’ ah study alchemicalky tae. A thoosan’ yeers back thae al­che­mi­chists foond the poouer o’ the Yoo­ni­vairse an efter yairs of wurk Ah’ve goat it tae. Jist yin wee boax in mah hoose an Ah’ve goat poouer furrivur an’ ivver. Nae mair bills, nae mair ick­spain­siz frae poouer cum­pun­nies eether. Noo git loast, the loat o’ ye!”

The boass yin ast, “Cun Ah hae a luik at yer boax thain?” “No the noo, Ah’m bizzy. Cum back the moarun an’ Ah’ll show ye.” “Richt, hoaffissyurs,” sez the boaas yin, “arraist this man!” “Whoat fur, sir?” ast the ick­spec­tur pu’in awa iz hawndicuffs, “Ah cannae see whoat curriminull deed this man hiz coammitted. Cum oan, coan­stay­byewels! Pit awa yer baytunz! We iz fur gawn back tae the stayshun.” The boass yin sed, “Richt, yew, Ah’ll be back the moarun tae see yer boax.” Awa he an’ aw ’iz men went an’ Ali wiz reliefed. Weel, a bit onywey. “But Ah’ve no goat ony boax at aw,” sez he. “Oh, master! Did I not tell you not to fash yourself? Look on the table.” Aye an’ oan the taybuhl woz a widden boax aboot a fit lang and the same wide.

Ali ganged ower tae that taybull fur tae lift up the lid oan the boax … “Desist thou forthwith!” shootit the Jeannie, “Just open that lid and terrible things will happen. Keep away from that box!” Jist thain whae shuid cum threw the doeur but luvvly Elsie ’ersel’. “Hiya Ali! Juist droapped past fir a wee chat an’ cuddell. But whoat’s that Paki daein’ here wi ye? ’es no tryin’ tae buy yer shoap iz ’e? Hey, Paki! If ye are ye kin git loast!”

The Jeannie tellt ’er, “Luvvly lady, I am not a Paki but a Babylonian. As you are Ali’s lassie I think I can trust you with our big secret.” Sae thair an’ thain ’e tellt Elsie aw aboot issel’ an’ hoo ’e steyed in that lichtie. “Biggur inside thun oot, is it? Dinnae tell me you is Doaktur Who?” “Naw, ’e’s no,” Ali tellt ’er, “’e’s a Jeannie whae kin gie me awthing whoat Ah wat.”

Elsie wisnae envinced at this. “Cum oan! Thain bring me sumthun valyooble the noo!” “I am unable to do so,” said the Jeannie, “You see, you are not my master, and I obey just his commands.” “Oh, awrigh’ thain! Ali, tell ’im tae bring sumthin’ richt valyoobull here this vairy meeinit!” “It cuid gang richt wrang,” sed Ali, “but Ah’ll tell ye whoat … Hey, Jeannie, dae whoat she asts but efter a meenit oar twa send it back whaur ye goat it frae.”

Thair wix yin hail o’ a thump an a shooge big stane wiz lyin’ oan the flair. Nixt minit a croon’ an ither gold oabjikts wiz leein oan the tap o’ it. Elsie screamt, ”Oh, mah Goad! ’e huz brocht us the Stane o’ Daistiny an’ the Scoats Croon Jules furby! Ah dun a spayshul feetyur oan thaim at The Cawsl las’ yeeur. If the polis cums noo we is in richt trubbell. Hey, Jeannie! Ah bleeve ye noo tak thae things back whair ye goat thum frae.” Aw the stuff vanisht.

Elsie hud juist cam past tae tell Ali she’d be awa oan telly beeziniss fur the raist o’ the day an the moarun. Ye see, she hud tae dae sum telly stuff oan loculashun up Noarth an’ hud tae stey ower nicht at Drumnadroachit. Aff she ganged efter giein ’er Ali a big kiss oar twa. “Just as well we will be alone, master,” sed that Jeannie, “We have plans to make for tomorrow. From now on things will work in your favour. Just go and open your shop and leave things to me!”

Bizniss wiz bad that day an’ efter ’e shut the shoap up ’e foond that Jeannie hud goat anithir boax like the first yin an’ a big bit o’ rollt-up paypur. Whoat ’e tellt Ali wiz a puhlan fir tae bumbudboozle that boass yin nixt day. “Just like this morning, master, I shall talk through you. Trust me.” Ali ganged tae is baid richt airly. Whoat wid happen nixt day?

It wiz nixt day. But naebuddy cam past that moarnin’. Mebbe they didnae wat tae tak the mauh’r furvur. ’e’d juist loackit the shoap doeur when thair wiz a knoack oan it. Staunin’ thair wisnae that boass yin but a richt aix­tung­wished man wi six ither men aw wi burreef caysis uz weel. “Good evening, Mister Mc Aladeen,” sez the aix­tung­wished man whae soondit like a Yank, “May I and my associates please come in? We have business to discuss.” In they aw cum an’ ahint tem cam fower ither fellihs in black suits an’ dairk glesses. Thae fower juist stuid roon’ the wa’.

“All right, Mr Mc Aladeen,” sez the Yank, “I am James Harding, Chief Executive of the Universal Power Corporation and I just flew in from the US of A. Let us get down to brass tacks. We are concerned that your new power source would lose us billions and even put us out of business. So we wish to buy the patent, plans and all energy boxes so far produced. My associates here are lawyers who will draw up a contract here and now for you to receive one million pounds. Agree and you will be rich. Disagree and my men standing by the wall will help you change your mind.”

Ali heert issel’ sayin’, “Ye think Ah’m daft, Jimmy? It’ll be five hunner mullyun oar nae deal. An’ Ah wat that munnie in mah accoont richt noo. Try ony hard stuff an’ ye’ll ne’er git onythin’, fur ither folks is interristit.” Mr Hardin’ sed, “One hundred million.” “Nae deal! Fower hunnert,” but in the aind thay settl’t fur three hunner mulliun an’ Ali obsessed ’is bank accoont oan line. Thair wiz fower poond ten in it thain uz ’e woatch’t ’e seed ’e hud three hunner an fower mulliun poonds an’ ten pee in it.

“OK, aw mah stuff is noo yourn. Here is the boaxiz an’ the plans. But Ah warrun ye nivver tae opun thae boaxiz fur that wid be disasterous fur ye.” “Thank you.” sez the Yank, “Now sign the contract here, here, here, and here! Be warned that if you ever try making another such box my boys behind you will come calling. That boass man who called on you yesterday talked too much, he ended up in the canal. Here is your copy of the contract. Look at Clause 2007. We will see you again soon. Now it’s back to our private Lear Jet and away to the US of A.” Oot thay a’ trawchlt an’ durrove awa in a shooge big straitch linomazine. Ali wid nivver see ony o’ thaim again! Efter they went aff ’e luiked at that Clause 2007 an’ wiz hoarificated tae see it sed if ’e goat deid aw ’is assits wid gang tae that Harding man, an’ ’e’d sed ’e’d be back …

Nixt moarnin’ thir wiz a riport o’ a Lear Jet blawin’ up ower the Glantish oshun. “Well, we did warn them not to open the boxes. So die evil men,” sed the Jeannie, “They will not be bothering you ever again. And now you are a very rich man indeed. You deserve this as you have proved yourself an honest man. Most people, after finding out where things I brought came from, would have been tempted to keep them but not you.”

Ali wiz richt happy, so ’e wiz, “Och, Jeannie, mony mony thanks! But Ah jist wish Ah cuid dae sumthin’ fur yew. Ye’ve goat naethin’, e’en that lichtie whoat ye stey in belangs tae me. Cun Ah no gie it tae yew pulleez?” The Jeannie smilt, “Yes, Ali, you can give it to me. But if you do you will free me from my thousands of years as its slave. Do you really want to do that?” Aw Ali did wiz tak the lichtie aff the mantelpeece an’ haun’ it tae ’im. The Jeannie tuik it an’ gied a wee daunce, “Slave no more! Now where is that King Solomon? I want a return bout.” “Hate tae tell ye, Jeannie,” sez Ali, “But ’e deed a year oar twa back. Weel, onywey, noo ye cun gang whairivver ye like an’ dae whoat ye like. But Ah’m gonnae miss yew.”

The Jeannie luiked at ’im, “Do you think I am leaving you when I have just stairted your good fortune, Alisitair? No longer am I your slave. Now I am your friend and I will guide you for a while yet. Now what are we going to do with all this money?”

That nicht Elsie goat back frae Drum­na­drao­chit. The meenit she cam in the doeur Ali goat doon oan ’is knees an sed, “Ah luv ye! Elsie, wull ye merry me?” “Aye, Ah will that,” sez Elsie, “Ah ken ye’ve no goat much munny. But Ah git inuff frae the telly stayshun fur baith o’ us.” Ali goat oan is feet, tuik ’er in ’is airms. an’ kissed ’er, “A loat happen’t here when ye wiz at Drum­na­droa­chit,” an’ ’e tellt ’er the hale story frae the stairt. Aboot thain smoke cam oot o’ the lichtie and the Jeannie stuid thair “Con­gra­tu­la­tions, you two!” ’e sed huddin’ oot yin o’ is hauns. Oan the pahm wiz a luvvly gold ring cuvvert in dimundz, “Here’s your en­gage­ment ring, Elsie. Fear ye not to take it as it comes from a long lost city of ancient times.”

So aw aindit weel. Ali goat isel’ a feenanss adveeser fur tae haunle is munny an’ gied a loat tae guid coazis uz weel. Course ’e shut doon ’is shoap. But ye’ll no bleeve me whain Ah tell ye that Jeannie tuik it ower an’ made it intae a laudooriemat. Naebuddy kens whoat seekrit detairunt ’e yaises. But claes washt in ’is misheens is the claenist in Edinburry. ’e still likes livin’ in ’is lichtie, tho. Heh! See that wee Paki-luikin fellih ower thair drinkin’ pints? Weel, that’s ’im. Oh, thanks! Ye seed mah gless wiz aimpty.

‘Whoat aboot Unckul Ebeneezer Mc Aladeen?’ ye micht ask. Weel, Ali bocht ’im a luvvly place in Spain whaur ’e steys tae thus ver­rah day. Ilk nicht ’e gangs tae the taw­vur­run an’ tells aw the loculs aboot iz ad­vaint­yoors in the dessert. Trubbul iz nae­bud­dy cun un­ner­staun’ whoat ’e sez, an’ ’e juist gits steamin’, an thay tak ’im hame. Ali an’ Elsie iz livin’ happy noo an’ ivver efter wi’ loats o’ bairnies tae keep thum bizzy. Uz fur me, Ah’m awa ower tae see mah Jeannie pal. ‘e’s aye guid fur twa oar three pints, an’ ye wid nivver bleeve the storeys ’e cun tell when ’e’s hud a bevy.


[To Thomas Mc Rae’s index]

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