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GUEST,Ewan McVicar Origins: 1885 long Burning Of Auchindoun (9) Origins: 1885 long Burning Of Auchindoun 20 Apr 21


The below is on two typewritten and handwritten card in the James Madison Carpenter Archive, dated 1931.

Willie MacIntosh (The Burning Of Auchindoun)
From Miss Cruickshank of Forres, a clipping published in -- September 1885, for her mother, Mrs M G Cruikshank who was born in [Dandyleitle?], Morayshire, across the Rover Spey near Rothes, and died in 1886 aged 67 years.

Dear Sir, -- I send you a fragment of a very interesting old ballad, -- The Burning Of Auchindoun. Perhaps some of your readers (if you think it worth putting in the Journal) may be able to supply the missing verses.
The last Duke of Gordon is said to have offered a reward for the complete ballad. These are all the verses I have been able to procure. Yours Truly, G. September 1885

“Bonnie Willie MacIntosh
Whar are ye gaun sae early?”
“I’m gaun to Auchindoun
To gar Lord Huntly fairly.”

“Rue o that, MacIntosh,
An turn again, I bid ye;
Huntly he is there himself,
An winna care to head ye.”

“Head me, hang me,
That winna fleg me;
I’ll burn Auchindoun,
[Or my life lee / afore life leave] me.”

To Fiddich side he hied him
On that May morning;
But tint the crap o his corn
For his crouse crawin.

As I cam in by Fiddich side
On that May morning,
There was bonnie Auchindoun
In a lowe burnin.

Lord Huntly stood on Cairn [Crowl?]
A, lookin even doon,
Saw mony a meke an mither’s son
Set fire to Auchindoun.

[The following two verses are stroked out in pencil]

He pat a horn till his mou
And blew baith loud and shrill;
An mony an Auchindounian
Cam rousin up the hill.

“I thank you, Auchindounians,
For hastenin to my call;
Let’s pursue to death the daring dogs,
An let the castle fall.”

Wt dirk in hand they didna stan;
Lord Huntly led the way –
Untill they cam to Steppletmunth,
An there he bade them stay.

MacIntosh was on a gude grey steed;
It wanted a the tail;
He hied him on to Inverness
Wi nane ane but himself.

They fairlied sair to see him there,
Cried, “Whar’s a yer men?”
“I left them in the Stepplermunth
To feed the Cabrach swine.”

Oot then spak a little lady –
An she was jimp an sma –
“Row me in a pair o sheets,
An tow me roon the wa.

“Row me in a pair o sheets,
An row me roon the wa;
An gin ye be [guide] gentlemen,
Ye winna let me fa,”

1] The last two verses seem to have wandered in from elsewhere.
2] the two stroked out verses seem to have come from a modern hand – maybe Mrs Cruickshank herself?
3] I find no version of the ballad in Greig-Duncan, but Poetry of Northeast Scotland, Heinemann for Grampian Regional Council, 1976, has six verses. They include the place name Cairn Croom, and MacIntosh answering twice about where he left his men – ‘I left them in the Stapler, But they’ll never come hame’, and ‘I left them in the Stapler, Sleeping in their sheen’.
4] The Steplar Trail runs from Glenlivet to Aldunie in the Cabrach. On an old map not now to hand I found the Steplar Burn.


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