Aye: A folktale of a dog and her master


Aye: A folktale of a dog, and her master

The story comes from Scotland, a hundred years ago, and the dog is a border collie. The lesson, and the sentiment, however, go to the heart of every bird dog owner.

A hard-headed Highland Scots tenant farmer was known for his long line of good border collies, but the best of them all was a wee bitch he named Anna, and at two years of age she was his pride and his joy and his fame.

At the Highland Days sheep dog trials in County Argyll she ran away with every honor and every word of praise the judges could find to grant her in their rough manner. Kin pleaded with the old farmer to take her on to the Scottish National Sheep Dog Trials, and with misgivings he dug deep in his purse for entry fees and travel money.

Anna was far above all other dogs that ran in the national meet, and hundreds of shepherds and landowners in the galleries were both awed and green with envy. As the old farmer walked off the dais with the meager prize money, Anna at heal and trophy cup in hand, he was approached by a rich landowner from Wales.

“I’ll gi’ ye £200 fer that bitch,” the landowner said. That was more than the old tenant farmer could earn in a year. A good year. He needed only a moment of thought.

“Nah, thank ye,” he said. “The dog’s not fer sale.”

The landowner was flabbergasted. “Will ye take £300, then?”

“Nah,” said the farmer more sternly. “I’ll not sell her at any price.”

“Think ye, mon, think!” insisted the landowner. “That bitch could die tomorrah, and ye’d be £300 the poorer.”

“Aye, she cu’d,” said the Scotsman. “An’ she’d die in me arms. My dog yet.”



More stories about life in the North Country are published in four collections of essays and two novels, all available through Amazon.com Jerry Johnson Author Page

About Jerry Johnson

Curmudgeon. Bird hunter and dog trainer. Retired journalist and college public relations director. Former teacher, coach, mentor. Novelist and short story writer. Husband, father, grandfather.
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