Thursday, 20 December 2007

Today I am reverting back to adding Manx Stories for a while, as I do not have a lot going on in my life outside of Christmas etc.

The buggane and the lazy wife

ONCE there lived a couple near Glen Meay. The husband was a decent, quiet and hard-working man of the place. He and his wife lived together in a nice little cottage and owned a bit of a croft on which they grazed a cow and a few sheep and grew enough potatoes to do them the winter out.

The man had a yawl and went to the fishing when things were slack on land. But for all that they were not comfortable, for even though the man worked hard at his farming and his fishing, he was kept poor by his untidy, lazy wife.

For she was fonder of lying in bed in the morning than sitting at her milking stool. The neighbors used to say she wore out more blankets than shoes.

Many a day her man would go out early as hungry as a hawk, without a bite or a sup in him. One morning when he came in from work there was no fire - his wife was not up. The poor man had nothing for it but to get his own breakfast ready and go back to his work. When he came in for dinner it happened as it had happened for breakfast.

"Bad luck to her laziness," he thought; "this is foul comfort for a poor man, but I'll play a trick on her for it." And with that he fetched a bart of straw and bunged the two windows of his house. Then he went back to his work.

The sun had not yet set when he came home in the evening. His wife was lying in bed waiting for day."Aw, woman," he shouted, "hurry and get up to see the sun rise in the west."
Up jumped the wife and ran to the door just as the sun was going down, and the sight terrified her. The whole sky looked like fire. But next morning it all happened as it had happened before, and he said to her:"Kitty, the buggane might grab you one of these days if you don't mend your ways!""What buggane?" said she. She got curious."Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies," said he. "But the hairy fellow under the Spooyt Vooar waterfall is the one I'm thinking of."Oh, hold your tongue, man! You don't scare me at all with your laziness-improvers," shouted the woman.

In the evening the man left the house to go out fishing. As soon as he had gone, the woman wanted to bake, for she had only the heel of the loaf left for breakfast. She set to work to bake some barley bread and flour cake. First she went out to get gorse to put under the griddle, slipping the bolt on the door as she came in, so that none of the neighbours would catch her and cry shame on her for baking after sunset.

She got some meal out of the barrel and put it on the round table, and put salt and water on it, and then she kneaded the meal and clapped a cake out as thin as sixpence with her hands.But she was only a middling poor baker, one of the sort that has to use a knife to make the cake of a right round. She turned the cake twice and took it off, then she brushed the griddle with a white goose wing. Then she was ready for the next cake.

Just as she was busy cutting round it with her knife, she heard something heavy lumbering up to the door. After a few seconds someone fumbled at the door, then someone knocked high up on the door, and a voice like the thick, gruff voice of a giant said,
"Open, open for me,for I am he."
She did not answer. Again there was a loud knock and a big hoarse voice cried:
"Woman of the house, open for me,for I am he."
Then the door burst open and an ugly beast of a buggane rushed in. It was angry to look at. Without as much as a "By your leave," he made one grab at her, and clutched hold of her by her apron and swung her on his shoulder, and away with him.

Before she knew where she was, he rushed her across the fields and down the hill, till he brought her to the top of the Spooyt Vooar, the big waterfall of Glen Meay.

As the buggane tore down the hill, the woman felt the ground tremble under his feet, and the noise of the waterfall filled her ears. And, there in front of her, she saw the stream turn to white spray as it came leaping down the rocks.

As the buggane swung her in the air to throw her into the deep pool, she thought that her last hour had come. Then she remembered the knife that she held in her hand! Quick as thought she cut the string of her apron and down she tumbled to the ground, rolling over and over down the hill.

The buggane on the other hand, pitched forward head first down the rushing waterfall. As he went head over heels and down to the bottom of the pool with a souse you'd have heard half a mile away, she heard him roar:
'Rumbyl, sambyl, I thought I had a lazy dirt,And I have but the edge of her skirt.'
That was the last that was seen of him.

The fairy-tale is from the Isle of Man.

As tradition would have it, a buggane on Man is a shape-shifting water-spirit; almost always lives near a waterfall; and most often appears in the form of a horse or a calf. But sometimes it appears as half human, with long hair, teeth and nails.
Its function in this tale is to give lazy people a scare. Hopefully that improves some of their ways, and thus it may function as a woman-improver. But don't count on it.

Be industrious, or you may be scared a lot -

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