Buchan is the home of the bothy ballad.
There are two types of ballad in Buchan, first the popular ballad or ‘muckle sang’ giving tales of history or romance, and secondly the ‘cornkister’ or ‘bothy ballad’, which were developed by farm workers in the 19th and 20th centuries, these refer to tales of love, injustice, and real events.
Well known examples are The Barnyards o’ Delgaty, and The Mill o’ Tifty’s Annie, which is also known as ‘Andrew Lammie’.
A popular Bothy BalladTHE FISHERMAN'S WIFE
Fa wid be a fisherman's wife Tae work wi' a tub an a scrubber an' a knife A deid oot fire an' a raivel'd bed An' awa tae the mussels in the mornin. cho: Here we come scoorin in, Three reefs tae the foresail in. There's nae a dry stick tae pit on wer back, But still we're aa teetotllers. Noo, fa'll gie's a hand tae rin a ripper lead Tae try for a coddie in the bay o' Peterheid? They're maybe at the Lummies or the clock on Sautis'eid Fen we gaun tae the sma lines in the mornin. Ma puir aul father's in the middle o' the flair Beatin heuks ontae tippets an they're hingin on his chair. They're made wi horses' hair, man, for that's the best o' gear Tae be gyan tae the fishin in the mornin. Syne it's doon the Geddle Braes in the middle o' the nicht Wi an aul seerup tin an a can'le for a licht, Tae gaither up the pullars, ev'ry een o' them in sicht So we'll get the linie baited for the mornin. I t's easy to the cobbler, sittin in his neuk, His big copper kettle hingin on a crook. But we're in the boo and we cannae get a heuk It's sair hard work in the mornin. It's nae the kin o' life that a gentle quine can thole Wi her fingers reid raw wi the scrubbin oot a yole An a littlen on her hip, she's awa tae cairry coal, She'll be caaed sair deen in the mornin. Still an aa she widnae change for the gran'est o' yer gear For she never kens the minute when her hairt'll loup wi fear. For he's awa tae the sea an he's aa that she has dear She qued be a widow wi his bairn in the mornin.
Here's a translation for those that are not familiar with the 'Doric' dialect
Fa wid = Who would
deid oot fire = no time to light it
raivel'd bed = no time to make it
scoorin = skelpin' (driving)
Three reefs tae the foresail in = under high winds
teetotllers = teetotalers
gie's = give us
ripper = metal bar with hooks,
tied to a sea line coddie = codfish
Lummies & Salt House Head = local landmarks
gaun, gyan= going
puir aul = poor old
flair = floor
Beatin heuks ontae tippets = attaching hooks to leaders
syne = in time
Wi an aul seerup tin an a can'le for a licht = With an old syrup can (to hold the bait) & a candle for a light
pullars = peeler crabs - soft-shelled for bait
boo = bow
quine = quean (young woman)
thole = endure yole = fishing yawl
littlen = little one
caaed sair deen = get up for work too early
gran'est o' yer gear = the best one might have
loup = flip-flop
qued = could
bairn = child