Hamish in the City
Hamish had never seen a city before, in fact he'd never seen more than the odd croft, often abandoned. So many houses, so many people, going on for as far as his little eyes could see, he was a little overawed by it all and he just sat for ages watching and trying to take it all in.
So it wasn't long after the talking tree that we came upon a clearing and in the distance, over the ruins of ancient temples we saw it, just as he had described, a ruined temple with stone effigies all around it, they certainly looked like monsters from out there. Hamish looked at it for a while as if in contemplation then said, 'it looks very scary, let's call it 'the temple of doom', he said it in that way that cows do, with a big moo in the oo bit, so that it sounded like the temple of dooooommm. 'Let's not', we said in unison, but he just gave us another large 'dooooommm' and continued onwards at which point I pointed out that I thought he wanted one of us to go point... 'oh yes, good idea, I better protect the rear in case they sneak round behind us'.
'In case who sneaks behind us?' we asked. 'Nobody' he answered, using his innocent face with big saucer eyes.... mmmmm, so on we went... Hamish forming a rearguard of one.
Stickin the heid in...
It was almost the end of us and nearly the end of Hamish too.... we didn't see it but Hamish from his rearguard position had. As we passed the stone monster guarding the entrance to the temple complex he'd seen the beast turn it's head, but it hadn't seen the small highlander following us and just as it was about to pounce Hamish acted.
Now Hamish might be small but his training for his mission had been long, complex and strenuous and as we were to find out after our near death experience, it turns out he is a black belt in the ancient Scottish combat art of 'Stickin the heid in', which is exactly what he did, he threw himself heid first into the jaws of the beast, now this might at first seem like a suicidal strategy, but the beast was completely taken by surprise and before it could do anything Hamish had jammed his horns in its jaw so it was unable to close it's mouth, then in one swift move he swiveled round and used his body to block the beasts windpipe. The beast unable to breath staggered around for a few moments before collapsing and turning back to stone, and Hamish emerged from the jaws of death, a little bit sticky but otherwise unharmed :o)
'Aye, that was close' he said 'I thought he was gonnae boak, that's the only defence against the stickin the heid in attack, still that'll teach him to mess wi' a highlander'.
'Hamish... mind your language!' Niki blurted out.
And then it was onward again, the remaining stone guardians remained motionless, I guess they were in fear of the great warrior Hamish and he was able to find the next piece of the mystery.
Scottish Vernacular Translations:
- Aye: yes
- Boak: to throw up, to be sick
- Gonnae: going to
- Heid: head
Scotland the Brave
- Hark when the night is falling,
- Hear! hear the pipes are calling,
- Loudly and proudly calling,
- Down thro' the glen.
- There where the hills are sleeping,
- Now feel the blood a-leaping,
- High as the spirits of the old Highland men.
- Towering in gallant fame,
- Scotland my mountain hame,
- High may your proud standards gloriously wave,
- Land of my high endeavour,
- Land of the shining river,
- Land of my heart for ever,
- Scotland the brave.
- High in the misty Highlands
- Out by the purple islands,
- Brave are the hearts that beat
- Beneath Scottish skies.
- Wild are the winds to meet you,
- Staunch are the friends that greet you,
- Kind as the love that shines from fair maidens' eyes.
- Far off in sunlit places
- Sad are the Scottish faces,
- Yearning to feel the kiss
- Of sweet Scottish rain.
- Where the tropics are beaming
- Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
- Longing and dreaming for the hameland again.
Hamish loved his day by the beach, it was so sunny and sandy, with gentle lapping waves. He so wanted to see the beach, he'd been asking for ages and we'd let him down a bit as we'd been promising ever since he found us that we would take him to a beach and we hadn't.
He scampered round and round, paddled along the shore and rolled in the sand, he was very happy.
I think he was also glad to just have a day away from all the planning...
So off we went to Eigg at Easter and we walked round and round, over mountains and along beaches until we found him looking at this rock. 'It's the clue, I know it is, it must mean something, a pyramid, five stars maybe?' He asked us what we thought but we couldn't think what it could be. So we walked back, and all the time Hamish was muttering away to himself about what it could mean.
Then with a great moooo, he told us he'd figured it out, it was another code he said, it was a mountain, not a pyramid, and the five dots stood for five peaks. So we needed to look for a range of five mountain peaks, and as we looked out to sea towards the Isle of Rum we wondered where that place could be... and then we all turned and stared at each other as the realisation dawned. 'It's them isn't it, he whispered, it's the mountains on Rum' and we whispered our agreement. But there also came the realisation that there are so many places that have The Isle of Rum as a background, and his face dropped. I was smiling though, because I knew that for once I was able to help him. 'It's the beach I told him, remember that amazing beach, where the mountains are constantly being mirrored in the sand with each new wave. It's got to be there,' and in my heart I knew I was right.
And Hamish smiled as we headed off towards the beach...
And there they were, the mootalkers of legend. Hamish had done it again, decoding the message that led us to this magical place. The 5 peaks sat as predicted in the background and we knew this was a special moment.
Hamish though was barely able to talk, we'd never seen him like this. With what little words escaped his mouth he explained that the mootalkers were old beyond ancient, older almost than time itself. They know things he said... things we have all forgotten, and the legends say they will appear only for the chosen one...
Anyway we told him best not to keep them waiting then and we gave him some Irn Bru to put some color back into him :o)
As Hamish started towards them a youngling turned and watched him approach. Hamish, small of size, but large of heart did not flinch from his path, the amber nectar had worked it's magic and he continued onward.
And then as if some silent message had passed between them all, they knelt as he entered into the mooclave. We stayed hidden in our hidden hidey hole in the dunes, amazed at the scene unfolding before us. As the mootalkers gathered round Hamish, we listened as a lowing sound emanated from the mooclave. And we waited as the minutes turned into hours.
Hamish was shaking when he returned, he could barely speak again... they knew of me! They've been waiting, aeons, they said they'd been waiting for the coming of the little one, the one small enough to enter the eigg chamber...
They told me I have to go to the land of the long dead giants where the fossilized eggs remain and I will find a broken eigg, and Inside the eigg chamber is... , well actually they don't know what's inside the eigg which is why they've been waiting all this time for someone as small as me to appear, as they're all too big to get in!
'Let's go', and off he ran ...
And so we came to the place of the long dead giants. We didn't know whether it had been one giant nest or lots of little ones but there were fossilized eiggs everywhere, and there in the middle lay a broken eigg. Hamish was beside himself when he found it and the Hamish sized chamber beckoned him. With barely a stop for breath he went racing ahead and entered the chamber. We tried to shout a warning, as who knows what sneaky traps there might have been but luckily it appeared this time there were none. We could see Hamish inside staring up at the roof of the chamber. After what seemed like an eternity he emerged just like a newly hatched Hamish. 'Well, what did you find?' we asked. Hamish looked puzzled and said he didn't know what he'd found, some ancient words he thought, or maybe some ancient mathematical equation, but it's was all heiroglyphics to him as he hadn't seen the symbols before.
Hamish in his training had studied many ancient dialects, including many lost to man and beast an eternity ago, but yet he hadn't seen these symbols before.
'Maybe the symbols got scrambled when the eigg broke, I need to go and mootalk with the mootalkers' he said.
So off we went back to the beach and with great excitement the mootalkers lined up along the beach and Hamish drew the symbols in the sand. There was a great hush and then the mootalkers began to give each other strange looks. 'What is it?' Hamish asked? The chief moo spoke... 'This is a very ancient tongue, so ancient it is very old, and we can barely remember how it is spake. We agree though about what it says, but alas we do not know what it means.'
'What does it say, what does it say?' Hamish pleaded as he ran up and down the line of mootalkers.
It says .... 'Talk to the mohican monkey.'
It says .... 'Talk to the mohican monkey,' of this we are sure but as to what it means alas we know not what it means.
The Death Slide
Hamish was devastated, he felt he was on such a roll on eigg. Things had been going so well: to have witnessed the appearance of the mootalkers and to have mootalked with them; to have learned of new clues in his quest. But then to have all of his hopes scrambled was almost too much for him.
Still his training had prepared him for these moments and he knew he had to carry on, so we searched everywhere, spending hours into days wandering the beaches and mountains of Eigg as we pondered on the meaning of the mohican monkey.
One day Hamish found a tiny moo cave at the top of a death weed slide, it took all his training to scale the slide, time and time again he slid back, as the death tentacles tried to pierce his furry coat. He was sure there must be something in the moo cave it was protected so well, but when he finally reached the cave it was empty.
Later in the day as we traversed a distant cliff face, we stopped for a picnic and enjoyed the view across to Rum. As we lay basking in the sunshine we suddenly realised Hamish wasn't with us and as we turned to look for him, our jaws dropped.... yet again he'd done it, he'd figured out what no-one else had ever figured out and we watched as Hamish approached the mohican monkey....
The Mohican Monkey
We watched enthralled as Hamish jumped along the edge of the abyss until he stopped and looked up into the face of a stone monkey with a mohican haircut! Who'd have thought!?
And then it spoke, it's voice booming as it echoed around the cauldron. Small rocks began to fall into the abyss and the rocky edge on which Hamish sat began to shake. Hamish turned slowly to look at us with a look of terror in his eyes as he hung on for dear life. We gave him a thumbs up as encouragement and he turned back to listen to the stone monkey.
'Who goes there? it's voice boomed out.
'It is I, Hamish' he replied.
'Where are you?
'Down here' Hamish shouted above the echoes bouncing around the cliff face.
With a great rumble the stone monkey tilted it's head down... 'Ahh, there you are... you are very small... and very furry!'
Hamish was getting into his stride now, small though his stride is, and he looked unfazed as he told the monkey 'I may be small and furry but I am brave and strong and fearless and I am here to learn the secret you have kept for all these years.
'Ah the secret... indeed... and what is the magic password?
Hamish turned to look at us with a look of confusion on his little cow face, and we looked back equally confused and shrugged our shoulders. Hamish turned back and quietly said 'Is it please?'
'It's ok, I'm only teasing' said the monkey, 'there is no magic password, I have been waiting a long time for the legend to come true, for the little furry orange one to appear. This is a day I thought would never come to pass.'
And then the winds began to swirl and a darkness began to surround us as earth and grass and stone lifted into the air and began to spiral round like a tornado and there in the calm centre we could see the monkey talking to Hamish, but the roar drowned out the words. And then as quickly as it had started the wind stopped and everything came crashing back to earth.
The monkey turned once again to stone and Hamish came back to us. 'Well what did it tell you?', we asked. 'Eigg Nog' was his reply as he bounded off towards the beach.
All images © 2010-2016 Scott Masterton