Document 542

Craiters: 18 - Foxie

Author(s): Alexander Fenton

Copyright holder(s): Alexander Fenton


On dark nichts, I files tak a fancy tae hae a traivel up e Blackford Hill. I gang doon e road by e police box at some fowk caa e Tardus aside e gates intill e hill, syne skirt roon be e eyn o e pond, an up e steps at lead ontill e hill. Fae ere I gang fair up, e steepest bit ye can get, sae it's as weel tae hae on gweed sheen or yer hill beets, for at taks ye abeen e tree livvel at a great speed an syne e hale o Edinburgh lies afore ye, lichts ootlinin e streets an e silhouette o e Castle an e kirk spires - dis a place need tae be gey coorse tae need sae mony kirks? - an e dark mass o Arthur's Seat as yer een slip roon till e east. Noo an aan fae e sooth ye hear e roar o ingines as a shuttle heids for Turnhoose, aften skirtin ower e Forth tae tak up its line for landin, an ye can follow e blinkin lichties aa e wye roon. I like planes an I like fleein, sae it's come tae be thocht o as a naitral pairt o iveryday life, an e meevement o planes aboot e sky 's pairt o e pleasher o bein on e hill at nicht.

Half up e steep bit, ere's a trackie at rins wi e contour. At's ma first stoppin pint, jist tae look aroon an get ma breath back. Ye'll aften hear e squeeryins o rabbits an files ere's wee bunnies tootlin aboot e edges o e fun busses, haein a look at ye, bit ay ready tae rin, as ye pech yer wye up. On ae partickler nicht, it wis rale dark, ere'd been some fleein flizzems o fite shoories, bit ere wis patches o strong meenlicht tee brakkin throwe e cloods fae time tae time. I noticet a meevement on e edge o a ridge jist ower till e east o faar I wis stannin, faar e twistit spinnle shanks o fun an breem busses at hid been brunt wis clear against e nicht sky, an intill es line, bold as ye like, cam a fox trottin up e hill, wi a rabbit in its moo. Roka the Fox, thocht I tae masel, giein't a name, an iver aifter ilky fox I've come on's been Roka tae me. Nae doot es een geed hame wi its booty, maybe tae feed young eens.

Files it's nae chancy on e hill. Ere's squaads o young fowk gang aboot on't, an ye can hear o odd things happenin, bit fegs I've aye been aa richt. Fin it's snaavy or weet ere's usually less chance o seein onybody, onywye. Ere wis eence though, fin I’d geen up e steep face an won till e tap, ere wis a crood o young fowk in e kinna halla ye get jist afore e croon o e hill, an wi e snaa on e grun, ere wis plinty o ammunition. I kent be em ey were jist on a pint o haivin snaabaas at's, an ere wis a lot o em. Sae I stopped, nae haein planned onything bit wirkin be instinct –

‘Hello’, I said, ‘Have you seen the fox down there?'

Ey geed tae look, an I walkit on. A handy thing, a fox.

Ere’s aafa hullocks o es toonser foxes nooadays, I've tellt ye aboot e een at wis tryin tae howk a den in below wir gairden shed till I scuppert its enterprise be layin a brick in e road. It mith a been e same fox at aften maks tracks across e gairden in e evenins. I put oot mait for e birds or for e hedgehog (ere's files een aboot) ae nicht an as I turnet for e hoose I heard a kinna bark fae e hedge. A wisna weel at e door afore aal Roka wis at e mait. I geed in, got ma camera, geed oot again, an ye cd sweer e craiter wis willin tae pose for its picter tae be teen. It wisna need feart. Sharp cockit lugs an a face like a puppy, though its lang tail wis a bittie scruffy.

Anither nicht I wis comin up e Avenue in e dark fin I saa ma freen Fred stannin on e pavement peerin at something. As I got closer, I saa ere wis e fox aside im, snufflin roon e bin bags an winnerin fit een wid hae e tastiest tooshties o mait. I stoppit tae swap a fyow wirds an e fox peyed nae attention, jist cairriet on, heedin neither hiz nor e traffic. Fin it thocht ere wis naething deein, it held on in e airt o e hill, walkin past’s as calm as ye like.

Ye hiv tae learn nae tae pit aitable things intae bin bags withoot vrappin em up, ir sure's fate in e mornin ere'll hae been shairp teeth throwe e plastic an a sotter ower yer front path, showin aff tae yer neebers e kinna trock ye pit in yer bucket. A funny thing - though it's aa black bags nooadays, ye ay spik aboot pittin oot e bucket. Ey spik aboot fowk in e country being slow tae change, bit it's jist e same in e toons, except at e foxes hiv condeetioned e fowk, wi aa es rowin up o orrals at ey dee.

It’s winnerfae e sense e foxes his. Jist e ither wik, I wis oot for a walk wi a freen o mine, e wis brocht up neesht door bit noo his a flat o eez ain. E's hame twa ir three times a wik, an I convoy im back again, getting aa e news an a bit o exerceese at e same time, at at’s sair nott fin ye spen a lot o time be day sittin at a desk ficherin wi paper. On ma road back I got as e rin-in (I'd putten e car intill e garage earlier on), fin I noticet somethin on e laan in front o e dinin-room windae. It wis jist Roka, sittin on eez bum wi eez hin legs crossed, e perfect gentleman, peerin wi great interest at something in e flooer bed, maybe a beetle. Said I –

‘Hallo Fox'.

Sure’s death, it pirkit up its lugs an lookit at's, its heid aa ye wid ken on ae side. Syne it raise, stretched itsel, cockit its leg against a heich clump o flooers, an strolled till e gate. A car door slammed somewye an it jumpit a bittie at a noise. Cars wis teerin up an doon e Avenue an it lookit first up, syne doon, syne up again e same's it hid been a bairn trained in e skweel, an fin a gap cam in e traffic it trottit ower till e plots, throwe e railin an oot o sicht.

Bit ey dinna aa learn road sense. A filie back, I took a short cut throwe e plots an jist inside e gate ere wis lyin a young een, curlet up peacefu like richt enyeuch, bit deid. A car hid likely knackit it on e road. A bonny colour o fur it hid. Sic a shame at young things hiv tae dee.

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Craiters: 18 - Foxie. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 542

Craiters: 18 - Foxie


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Informed lay people
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 1994
Word count 1256

Text medium


Text publication details

Publisher Tuckwell Press
Publication year 1995
Place of publication East Linton
ISBN/ISSN 1898410739
Edition First
Part of larger text
Contained in Craiters. Or Twenty Buchan Tales

Text setting

Other Putting the dialect on record, Aberdeenshire

Text type

Prose: fiction
Prose: nonfiction
Short story


Author details

Author id 27
Forenames Alexander
Surname Fenton
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1920
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Academic/Writer/Editor
Place of birth Shotts
Region of birth Lanark
Birthplace CSD dialect area Lnk
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Edinburgh
Residence CSD dialect area Edb
Father's occupation Shoemaker
Father's place of birth Aberdeen
Father's region of birth Aberdeen
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Abd
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife\Crofter
Mother's place of birth Keith
Mother's region of birth Banff
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Bnf
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At work
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes At home and wherever possible