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

Hard Man Tam an’ the Four Tie Thieves

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

[The seequel o’ “Flo White an’ the Sivun Wee Teuchters”]


Och, it’s Yew back here again, Sir! Thanks fur the pint! Wull Ye no sit yersel’ doon noo? Back tae lern mair aboot Hard Man Tam efter ’is trubbell wi’ Flo White, eh? Ah cuid tell Ye a richt tale, but Ye’d nivver b’leeve me. Hoanist … Oh, anither pint? Verrah nice o’ Ye … Weel, hae a bit o’a lissen an’ ah’ll tell Ye whoat ah cun. This is aw aboot Edinburrie’s daurkest side.

Ye see: Tam hud only goat hame oan the bus a few days when the groond in the Glen dried oot enuff fur Sammy’s caur tae drive awa. So hum an’ Flo went back tae Edinburrie. Furst thing they did wiz tae git the polis tae Tam whae goat is sel’ airristit fur kidnappin’ an’ that. Flo telt the polis that the really bad yin wiz Nellie an’ that Tam hudnae killt ’er, juist made ’er run awa.

Kidnappin’s a bad thing tae dae tho’. So the court gied ’im three years in the Bar L. Och, that’s whoat folk caw Barlinnie Jael. An’whain Tam goat thair ’e foond thair wiz a loat thair mair hard thun he wiz. But afore ah tell Ye mair aboot Tam ah must tell Ye aboot the Four Tie Thieves. Ye see: a cupple o’ years afore the trubbel wi’ Flo an’ Nellie a bad cureem wave stairted up at Edinburrie.

Fower cruiks wid fin’ a bank near a close an’ three wid hide thairsel’s up it. The ither yin watch’t, an’ whain a man cam oot the bank wi’ a loat o’ munny ’e gied ’is pals the noad an’ aw fower shuvved the puir fellie up the close an’ tied an’ ’im up an’ gawgged ’im. Efter that they nicked aw ’is munny, an’ ’iz watch as weel if it wiz a guid yin, an’ laift ’im up the close ’till ’e wiz foond ’oors efterwurd. Thain they stairtit daein’ the same thing at nicht whain the shoaps shut and sumb’dy cam ower tae pit the day’s munnie in the nicht daipoasit safe.

Edinburrie wiz richt fashed at aw this an “The Evenin’ Nyooz” stairted cawin’ the cruiks “The Four Tie Thieves”. That’s a’coaz thay aye tied thair victums up, Ye ken. Weel, this aw ganged oan for munths an’ the polis cuildnae catch thum. They goat sum big hauls tae an’ this wiz the days afore we hud ABCTV cameruz in aw placis. Ah mus’ say they wiz pro’pur gaintlymen tho’, nivver ivver roabbed a lassie.

The polis catched thum aw at lang last an’ the villunz wiz saint tae the Bar L for fifteen yairs. Seems thay’d aw been coal miners at Newcraighaw Pit an’ whain it goat shut doon thay gaed intae crime tae pass the time. Noo they were tae pass a lang time awa’ at the Queenz Barlinnie Hoatel.

The gang wiz twa brithers: Frankie an’ Joannie Farquar and thair pals Roaddie Brass an’ Jummy Tamsun. But naebuddy cuid ivver fin’ aw the munnie thay goat, sae it wiz thocht that they’d blew it aw in the Bettin’ Shoap. Yit time wid tell.

Whain Tam wiz pit intae the Bar L thay fower wiz kings o’ the jayull an’ ’e hud the sense tae git pally wi’ thum aw. Seemin’ly Frankie wiz a guid tattew artiste uz weel uz a miner an’ he did a luvly skull’s heid oan Tam’s airm. The munths ganged past an’ efter suxteen o’ thaim Tam wiz telt ’e wid be lit oot oan patrol verra suin, but ’e didnae tell oanybuddy aboot this.

Noo in the Bar L wiz a wee lad cawed Angus James Mactavish, but awbuddy cawed ’im “Wee Skinny Wullie” fur ’e wiz richt skinny. Seemin’ly ’e wiz gawn hame steamin’ whain ’e went past a pub that wiz shut fur the nicht. Maister o’ the main chaunce Wullie seen that the swingin’ windae aboon the doo-ur wiz juist a wee bitty opun tae clear awa a’ the fag smoke. Landlord thocht naebuddy cuid git threw this wee openin’ but Skinny Wully cuild an’ did tae.

Thurrew ’e wrig’gels heid furst an’ droapped tae the flair intae Parrydice. Aw that booz! Aw thae fags! ’e foond a cayrrier bag in the takeway pairt an’ fill’t it fu’ o’ boattuls o’ whusky, thain ’e foond anither bag an’ fill’t that fu’ o’ cartoons o’ suggaraits. Efter hailpin’ ’issel tae a pint oar twa he o’punned the back windae an’ went hame wi’ aw ‘ is trayzyurs. A pairfikt crime, oar so Wullie thocht.

Whoat ’e didnae ken wiz that whain ’e woz gawin’ heid doonwurds ’is Burrew cairt fell oot o’ iz toap poke it oantae the flair. Burrew cairt? Oh, that’s fur the Unumploymunt Burrew, so Ye cun git Yer weekly dole munnie. See: this iz mine’s awbuddy wi ony sainse uz goat yin.

Onyhew, nixt moarnin’ whain the polis cam by thay foond Wee Skinny Wullie’s Burrew caird wi’ iz name an’ address. Seems ’e wiz shackin’ up wi a burd ut Moarninside. So they went tae the tainymunt un’ cewd hear singin’ an’ yaillin’ e’en whain they wiz in the street ootside. Up thay gaed tae the tap flair whair the singin’ wiz richt lood, thay chapped at the doo-uhr but naebuddy cam tae answur it. Sae that knoacked it doon. Thair in the sittin’ rume wiz Wullie an’ iz burd, moaribindidit, an’ oot o’ the wurruld. Aside each yin o’ thum wiz three boattuhls o’ whusky an’ fower cartoons o’ fags.

The polis stoapped that pairty an’ tuik baith o’ thum tae the nick. Thay raiturned sum o’ the stuff tae the landlord o’ the pub. Awbuddy wunners whoat happened tae the raist o’ it tae this day. Wullie hud a raicurd. So ’e goat twa years in the Bar L. ’iz burd goat purrbayshun an’ thay teached ’er tae be a secraiturry. Endit up mairryin’ ’er boass an’ livin’ happy e’er efter.

Wullie hung aroon’ wi’ the Tie Thieves, but ’e wiz that styoopit thay juist kep’ ’im fir a lauff an’ thay foarged thair ain plans uz weel. Efter a year the jayulll telt Wullie ’ed suin git oot oan patrol an’ ’e telt awbuddy aboot this, no like oor Tam.

Noo yin nicht thay hud a puck’chur show ut the Bar L whoat near awbuddy went tae, Tam hud the dungyreear bad. Sae ’e went tae the lavvie insteed an whain ’e wiz sittin thair ’e haird voieces ootside. It wiz the fower Tie Thieves an’ Wee Wullie. He haird Frankie say, “Noo, Wullie, Ye’ll sune git oot o’ he’ar an’ we’ve goat a wee joab fur Yew tae dae fur us. Dae it richt an’ thairs a hunnert poonds in yer poacket fur Yer trub’bell.” “Soonds gewd tae me,” sez Wullie, “Tell me whoat ah’ve goat tae dae.”

“Weel, Yew luik at this pay’pur. That’s mah Grannie’s addraiss at Dalry. Naw, Ye cannae keep it. Juist Yew stey here fur a while an’ maimorize it. No long efter Ye’re oot the polis will be saurchin’ oor hooses un thaise o’ aw oor railatiffs an’ pals. Whoat Yew’ve goat tae dae is gang ower tae ma Grannie’s an furst oaff tell ’er a pawse wurd that iz ‘Open ah sez fur yew’.” She’ll lit Ye in an’ thain Ye crawls unner ’er bed an pu’s oot twa shoodge big holdall bags. We pit seals oan thim. So dinnae Ye e’en thunk aboot openin’ thum, oar wu’ll cut Ye intae wee bits.” “Oh ah widnae dare,” said Skinny Wullie, “Thae seals micht bite me.” “No that kin’nae seal, bamstick. Thay’re jist rid wax. Noo, airly in the moarnin’ git thae bags tae Prunciz Street Gairduns an’ burry thaim in the mi’duhl o’ The Floarull Cloack. Mak shoor Ye pit aw the floorz back richt an aw. Leave nae maurks an that. Ah’ll mak siccer Ye git a hunnert poonds an’ —tell Yew whoat— thair’ll e’en be anither hunnert poonds fur Yew. Noo, Yew stey here an maimurize Granny’s addraiss an’ thain flung that pay-pur in the lavvie.”

The boys went oot leavin’ Wullie uz ’e thocht, oan iz ain. ’e stairteid readin’ the addraiss oot lood tae git it in whoat min’ ’e hud. “Angelina Farquar, 56 Dalry Road, Flat sux ut the toap.” ’e sed this ower an’ ower. Tewk ’im ages tae git it richt, but lang afore that Tam hud goat the thing weel maimorised an’ ’e wiz due oot twa weeks afore Wullie tae.

Whain ’e goat back tae Edinburrie, efter a few pints … Oh, thanks fur that yin … ’e tuik the bus tae Dalry an’ knoacked ut Grannie’s doo-uhr. A wee auld wummun answurr’t.

”If Yew’re the rent man, git loast. Ah’ll pey Ye nixt munth.” “Naw, naw!” sez Tam, “Opun ah sez fur yew.” “Oh, cum awa in, Son! The bed’s ower thair again the wa’. Tam crawlt unner the bed an it wiz an awfy palaice, jist like an ain-shint toom. Thur wiz thick stour aw arroon’, an whain he wruggl’t unner oot cam hunnerts o’ thae bed bug thingies that stairtid bitin’ ’im. ’e findit thae bags in the daurk an’ cam oot aw cuvert wi’ stour an’ bug bites. ”Ma Goad, Misses! Yew shuild yaise that DDT!” “Naw, naw, Son!” sez grannie, “Aw ah yaise is Liptunz tea. Wull Ye hae a wee cup?”

Tam had a cup o’ tea, then went oan his wey wi’ thae twa big bags tae the wee place the jayull hud gied ’im tae stey in. Yince thair ’e broke the rid seals oan the bags an’ luiked at whoat ’ed goat. Thay bags wiz fu’ o’ mair munnie than ’ed e’er seen in aw ’is life. No only that thair wiz a plastic baug o’ guid make watches uz weell, e’en sum gold Durex yins. He wid ne’er huv tae wurry aboot munnie again. But he’d still a loat tae git dun afore Wullie wiz sait luise.

‘e gaed roon’ aw the bins an’ goat hunnerts o’ auld “Evenin’ Newses” whoat ’e cut up the same size uz thae bank notes an’ pit back in the bags. Efter aw that ’e pit new rid sealin’ waux ower the stuff ’e’d broke. Back tae grannie’s ’e went. “Ah’ve goat tae pit thae bags back whair ah goat thum frae noo” ’e telt ’er, “This is toap sekrit stuff. Sae dinnae tell onybuddy ah tuik thum an’ pit thum back! A wee fellie will cum by suin tae cullect thaim again.” ’e didnae wurry aboot thae bugs this time fur ’ed cuvvered issel’ wi inseck repullint stuff. Aw this munnie an’ thae Tie Thieves wid be awa fur yairs yit so naebuddy wuid ken whoat hud hawpen’t.

Suin ’e goat issel’ a nice wee place tae live in, an’ a brand new siller Merkidz Bainz caur tae. Whain the patrol oafficur ast whairr ’e goat aw that munnie frae ’e telt ’im Nellie hud laift it tae ’im in ’er wull. Aw iz trubbels wiz ower an yince ’iz patrol wiz ower awa ’e went tae Spain fur a munth’s hoalidayz. An’ that’s whain it aw goat turrubulous.

Ye see: thae bad Tie Thieves hud been minurz an’ thae kent aw aboot diggin’. Thay stole spuins frae the Bar L kutchun and stairtit diggin a tunnel under the jayell’s wa’s. Tuik thum a year oar twa, but yin day it wiz ready an’ thay aw crawled oot tae fureedum oan the same day Tam went tae Spain. “The Evenin’ News” wiz fu’ o’ the brekkoot, but Tam nivver seed the pay-pur fir a munth so mist aw this nyooz. Same wey ’e didnae see the bit twa dayz lay-tur whair sum vanduls hid dig up aw o’ the the Floarul Cloak.

That wiz the Four Tie Thieves, Ye ken, an’ they wiz moartificated tae fin’ naethin’ unner that cloack. Roon’ thay went tae Grannie’s, “Did a wee skinny bloke cum an’ git the bags unner Yer bed?” “Oh, aye!” sez Grannie, “’e tuik them awa an’ ah nivver seed ’im again.” Oot thay gang’t luikin’ fur Wullie wi’ alice afore thocht. Thae foon’ ’im richt in this pub here an’ ah heerd the hail thing mahsel’. “Oh, Fellies!” sez Wullie, “Guid tae see Yese. Huv Ye cum tae gie me that twa hunnert poonds?” “Matter o’ fac’, Wullie, we’ve cum tae murther Ye. Ye didnae pit thae bags in the midd-ull o’ the Floarul Cloack. Yew iz fur it! Whair iz oor bagz?”

“Aw, naw!” sez Wee Wullie, “Ah must’ve goat a wee bit coanfuset. Ah tuik thaim up aw thae stairs tae the Ball-More-All Cloack whoat yaised tae be the Noarth British. cloack. Ah cuidnae pit thum in the midd-uhl. Sae ah stuck thum in a hole unnerneath. ”That better be turew,” sed the Boys, an’ jist efter midnight they clim’t up tae the Ball-More-All Cloack an’ findit thae bags whair Wullie sed they’d be an’ the rid seals iz aw untact.

Wi’ juhubyullashun thay went back tae thir hideoot an’ opuned thum. Whoat wiz this? Jist auld nyoospapurz cut up?

Back tae Grannie’s thae dragged puir Wullie. “Wiz this the yin whoat tuik oor bags?” “Oh, aye,” sez Grannie “’e tuik thaim efter that ither man tuik thaim an’ brocht thum back again.” “Whoat ither man?” yells Frankie. “Oh, an awfy nice fellie wi’ a skull’s heid tattewed oan ’is airm.” “Hard Man Tam!” yelled the fower o’ thum thegither “’is dayz uz nummert!”

Aw roond the place thay luiked fur Tam but cuildnae fin’ ’im. Efter aw, ’e wiz in Spain. Roaddie Brass wiz shoart-sichted an’ yin day when ’e wiz walkin’ up Prunciz Stureet ’e seen a man oan the ither side o’ the road whoat ’e thocht wiz Tam. “Ah’ll grab ’im, puh’ll ’im tae a daurk coarner o’ the Gairdins an’ bash ’im till ’e tells me whaur oor munnie iz,” thocht ’e. Course it wisnae Tam at aw but Roaddie didnae see aw that weel. Peety that fur ’e didnae see the shoodge big dubb’ell daicker bus ’e wawked in frunt o’. Nixt thing ’e kent wiz ’e wiz deid, an’ thain there wiz juist Thuree Tie Thieves.

Suin efter that Tam wiz hame, iggerant o’ whoat hud haupen’t, an’ awfy happy. If ’ed only kent that no juist Frankie, Joannie an’ Jummy Tamsun wiz efter ’im but Skinny Wee Wullie hud viewed vainjuince oan ’im fur gittin’ ’im intae trub’ell tae. Yin day whain ’e wiz luikin aroon’ fur Tam whoat shuid ’e see but a siller Merkidz wi’ Tam at the wheel. “Ah’ll soart ’im oot,” thocht Wullie, “Ah’ll fux iz caur sae ’e crashes an’ dees an’ the Boys’ll be sae happy they’ll tak me back as a pal.” Daft wee gowk didnae ken that the las’ thing The Boys needit wiz Tam deed. They wantid tae catch ’im an mak ’im tell them whair aw thur munnie wiz, but Wullie wisnae the shairpist knife in the drower.

The Boys luiked roon’ thumsels an’ saw that ilk day at eeluvun o’clock whain the pubs open’t Tam wid cum tae this place fur a moarnin’ pint oar twa. Real jinneruz ’e wiz tae, bocht pints for awbuddy. — Oh, thanks, Sir! Jist whoat ah needit. Onyhoo, they planned tae pinch a caur near the pub nixt day, drive fast up tae the pub when they saw Tam leavin’, an’ drag ’im in fur sum wurkin’ ower an’ interegulashun afiore murtherin ’im hoarabillily.

Wee Wullie hud been watchin’ Tam fur dayz an’ saw hoo when ’e went fur ’is pint ’e aye pairk’t ’is caur near the pub. Nixt day ’e saw it wisnae pairk’t thair but thain ’e seed it a wee weys up the road. Whain ’e thocht naebuddy wiz luikin’ ’e crawled unner it an’ yaised ’is mulitootul tae luisen up the brake tubes sae that aw the flyooid rin oot. Then ’e waited doon a close tae see the fun.

Aye Tam wiz in the pub OK, an’ so wiz ah, but that day ’is caur wiz at the gairritch fur sairvissin’. Seems that caur up the road belong’t tae sum doaktur. A wee whiles later alang cums The Boys luikin’ fir a caur tae yaise in the kidnap. Thair wiz a luvvlie siller Merkidz, juist the joab fur that habididuction. They broakit intae it an hoat-wired it un then watch’t fur Tam cumin oot the pub.

Oot ’e cums an stairts walkin’ doon the road. Sae Frankie pits ’is fit doon haird oan that exhileretor an’ the Merkids roakits aff doon the road. As they cam up tae Tam Frankie pit ’is fit doon haurd oan the brake but naethin’ haipen’t! That caur speedit tae tae a verrie shairp bent, but it crawshet strait oan an through a big wa’. Thain thair wiz Nae Tie Thieves at aw. “Oh, noooo!” said Wullie, “Ah’ve dun it this time, so ah huv!” Aye, an’ ’e hud tae. Ye see: the polis goat wutnussiz whoat telt thum they’d seed a wee man crawlin’ unner a caur up the road an’ showed thum whair it hud been pairkt an aw. Ye’ll no believe me whain ah tell Ye. But guess whoat! Wee Wullie’s Burrew caird hud fawen oot the the daft gowk’s poke it yince mair an’ wiz aw cuvairt wi brake flooyid stuff.”

Aye, an’ ’is finnerparunts wiz foond unner the wrecked caur an aw … Wullie wiz nabbed an’ goat saint tae Peterheid Jayel, the wurstist o’ thum aw, fur life.

Whoat aboot Tam? Ye micht weel awsk. Weel, wi’ aw that munnie ’e goat intae sellin’ bildin’ stuff fur new hooses. Made a guid proafit thair an aw fur they wiz pinched frae ither sites in Fife furst. An’ ’e goat a reppitatayshun as a phulinanthripist an aw. Ye see: whain Frankie’s granny whae nivver peyed her raint goat evocated frae ’er hoose ’e bocht ’er a nice wee yin ’o ’er ain an’ awbuddy sed whoat a nice man ’e wiz. They tell me ’e yaised ’er place tae hide stuff ’e didnae wa’t the polis tae fine. But cuid Ye beleeve that noo?

Thain thur wiz puir Wee Wullie. Tam wid saind ’im munnie an’ fags ilk munth an’ a pudden at Chrustmiss tae. Aye, Tam e’en went back tae Barlinnie tae talk tae the piruzzinurs tellin’ thum hoo weel ’ed dun efter ’e waint hoanist. Whain the yung yins goat oot ’e pit thum in a hawfwey hoose ’e hud an’ learn’t thum the bildin’ tirade, an’ thae aw did awfy weel as weel. They wiz aye gawn ower tae Fife wi’ empy trucks whoat cam back fu’ o’ bildin’ stuff fir Tam tae sell.

The Evenin’ Nyooz yoojellolised ’im us a reafoarmashun curook whaw wiz nearly a saint wi’ ’iz nyoo life. In the aind whain thay wiz bildin’ that big new pulace doon the road ’e goat aw the counteracts fir giein’ thum bildin’ matayriulz. The big huffishuls whae gied ’im the joab aw aindit up wi’ Durex woatches an’ new caurs an aw that. Funny thing: aw the stuff whoat goat dulivert seemed tae dussupeer ilk nicht, sae Tam hud tae hailp oot wi saillin’ thum mair. Nae wunner that pulace aindit up coastin’ mair than thuree times whoat they sed it wid, tae say nuthin’ aboot it takin’ years loanger tae funish thun thay telt us.

Hud it no been fur Tam ah’m shair it wid huv taen e’en langer. Whaur’s ’e noo? Och, ’e goat ailickit tae be a Kunsairfitif MP in the pairlumint whaur ’e diz vairy weel. Hey! If Ye luik oot the windae thair’s iz Rowlliz Roayce gawn past wi’ ’im in the back like a king. Ye see, Sur: thair iz grait oaperatyoonity in Scoatland fur awb’dy tae git oan nae maitur hoo hummible thair origans iz.

Anither pint? Oh, ta vairy much! Noo, that wee shoap acroass the road yaised tae be …



[To Thomas Mc Rae’s index]

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