Noo, the efternin an the e'en that followed wis spent in restin an regainin the echt buoys strength, in boady an mind, fer the Sacred Test that the morn wud hold fer them; an as dusk derkened intae nicht, they aw set aroon the campfire sippin the uisge beatha measured oot bi Blind Harry – it burned their throats, melted their boadies an suffused their minds, mesmerisin them an allowin them to accompany their Master's voice through the Mists o Time in his tale o hoo it wis that The Lochlann acquired the The! "ah, ma fine wee loons, settle yersels comfortably an ah'll begin: the tale began a lang time ago, lang afore yer Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Granpaws an Grannies wis even thocht o, hunners o years, an it began in the deep, steep an rocky glen ower which, far up at the Heid o the Loch, towers the famous Castle Lochlann, hame o the heritable Chief o Clan Lochlann, at that time Colm o Lochlann wha's only son an his heir, Lochlann o Lochlann – ye'll note that neither the Clan nor it's Chief, carries the prefix Mac, bit rether hus that o which denotes that their forebears cam fi across the watter, bit that wis lang afore human memory, so while long distant generatins micht hae been Hibernian, they'd bin on this Land lang afire mony o the present Clans, so nae squabbles aboot their richt tae cry theirsels Caledonians! fur Chrissake, they harried an focht the Romans an drove them oot o the Clan lands an made them slink back homeward tae Hadrian's Wa' tae think agen; so, ah must furst tell ye that the o Lochlanns wisnae jist bonny fechters, they wis cultured an learned an wrocht ballads an histories an romances, Lochlann, like his faither, wis a polyglot, hey Humphrey, whit's a polyglot?" and the young MacAugustine-MacAmpersand piped up, though his voice was thickened by the drink: "sumdy wha kin speak lots o langwidges, Harry!" an Harry congratulated him: "very richt, Humphrey, no tae be confused wi sangwidges, ye pit them intae yer gob, langwidges cam oot – but dinnae speak while yer eatin, it's impolite, Erchie; noo, young Lochlann cood speak an write in French, like a Frenchman, German, like a German, Latin like Cicero and Greek like Aristotle and Plato; an he cood blaw up a fine lament oan the pipes, draw oot a comely jig on his fiddle, and larrup the bodhran tae stir yer hert! he cood write stirrin tales an tell them tae, he'd a fine readin voice, like an orator: Humphrey?" a wheeze and a sleepy voice: "a rotter is sumdy wha dus ye mischief, Harry, aye?" and Harry laughed: "awa intae yer dreams Humphrey, gaun intae the ancient Land o Nod, or future world o atompunk, or white'er yer favourite is the noo," and he turned to the others, who were still haudin their breaths: "when auld Colm died an Lochlann wis hailed the noo Clan Chief, he took stock o a'thin in the lands o the Lochlanns, an he wis a richt tarblish noo broom, he rooted oot onythin evil an cankerous an made it clear he wudna staun for badness – which didna suit aw his fowk, fer in ony faimly, therr's a few black sheep, but he stood his grund and the first few tae challenge him cam awa wi dunted heids and bashed faces an yin goat his neb hacked aff, but aince the fowk saw that Lochlann wis a maun o his wurd, them as wis loyal an troo accepted him an yin or twa ithers chinged their ways an steyed, bit a few turned their backs oan the Clan an went oot intae the Wilderness – and twa o they wis cried Parlane MacFarlane an Dominic Doubleday!" but most of the buoys were sleeping by now, yet wee Padraig's voice whispered: "hoo wis they cried MacFarlane an Doubleday, Harry? wis they no o Lochlanns?" an Harry reached oot an rubbed the wee laddie's curly hair an patted his heid: "weel spottit, Padraig, naw they wisnae o Lochlanns, they wis gangaboots wha'd come ower the mountains in the guise o puir traivellers, crusoes, evicted fae their hames an forced tae fend fer theirsels, seekin shelter in return fer work, an steyed oan, fer young Lochlann wis a hospitable Laird, in chaotic times fer Caledonia, an he'd made welcome aw kinds o fowk, evicted bi hard an ruthless landowners, no fit tae be cried chieftains, but wha hud the ear o a dissolute, beardless King in Roxburgh Castle – aye he wis as near England as possible, for thon wis whaur his hert lay and whaur his bribes cam fae, but Lochlann soon saw that they twa hud evil in their herts, so them gaunin cam jist afore he'd huv booted them oot, micht o saved their rotten carcasses, but . . . . ." an that wis when Harry realised that even stout-hertit wee Padraig had jined his pals an wis snorin softly, so Harry checked that each o his loons wis well wrapped in his plaid, pit anither twa muckle logs oan the fire, which comminuted the flames sae they'd keep the lid oan tae a nice even heat an keep them warm through the night, had a last dram tae hissel, then rolled in his ain plaid an laid hissel doon tae sleep tae – the rest o the tale wull still be here tae be telt the morn's morn, he thocht an blessed his company, Amen!