Document 685

Katie Morag Delivers the Mail

Author(s): Mairi Hedderwick

Copyright holder(s): Mairi Hedderwick: reproduced with consent of the Random House Group


Wednesdays were always hectic on the Isle of Struay, for that was the day that the boat brought mail and provisions from the mainland.

One particular Wednesday was worse than usual, since baby Liam was cutting his first tooth and both Mr and Mrs McColl were in a bad mood.

"All right, all right," said Mrs McColl in exasperation. "I'll take Liam upstairs to quieten him down! Katie Morag, you take the mail to the houses across the Bay. There are five parcels - one for each house. The one with the red label is for Grannie."

Pleased to escape, Katie Morag set off. She loved any excuse to visit her Grannie, who lived all alone in the very last house on the other side of the Bay.

But it was a hot day, and Katie Morag had just stopped for a moment to paddle in a pool beneath the Redburn Bridge, when suddenly - splash! - she slipped on a slithery stone and fell into the water, mailbag and all.

"Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" wailed Katie Morag, looking at the five soggy parcels. "All the addresses are smudged and I won't know which parcel is for which house now!"

Only Grannie's parcel was still recognizable by its red label.

Then, because she was so frightened and ashamed, Katie Morag did a silly thing. She ran the rest of the way to the other side of the Bay and threw a parcel - any parcel, except the red-labelled one - on to the doorstep of each of the first four houses. Nobody saw her. Still sobbing, she ran on to Grannie's.

"Well, this is a fine boorach you've got yourself into, Katie Morag," said Grannie, when Katie Morag had explained what she had done. "Still at least you've given me the right parcel - it's got the spare part for the tractor that I've been waiting for. I'll go and get the old grey lady going, while you dry yourself up. Then you can try and sort the whole muddle out."

Grannie had her head under the bonnet of the tractor for a long time.

Occasionally, Katie Morag heard muffled words of anger and she thought of the angry words waiting for her at home...

Then, suddenly, with a cough of black smoke, the tractor stuttered into life and they set off to go round each of the four houses in turn.

The first house belonged to the Lady Artist. She had been expecting tiny, thin brushes for her miniature paintings, but the parcel Katie Morag had left on her doorstep contained two enormous brushes.

"They're bigger than my painting boards!" she said in disgust.

The second house was rented by the Holiday People. They had ordered fishing hooks from a sports catalogue, but their parcel had been full of garden seeds.

"We can't catch fish with daisies and lettuces!" they complained.

At the third house, Mr MacMaster was standing by a big barrel of whitewash, holding the Lady Artist's paint brushes.

"How can I paint my walls with these fiddling little things?" he asked.

In the fourth house lived Mrs Bayview. "That stupid shop on the mainland! Where are my seeds? Flowers won't grow out of these," she said crossly, waving a packet of fishing hooks in the air.

After much trundling back and forth, Katie Morag finally managed to collect and deliver all the right things to all the right people. Everyone smiled and waved and said, "Thank you very much."

By now it was getting dark. Katie Morag thought of the long journey home. She would be very late and her parents were so bad-tempered these days on account of Liam's noisy teething.

"Grannie, would you like to come back for tea?" she asked.

Katie Morag half hid behind Grannie as they walked in the kitchen door but, to her surprise, everyone was smiling. Liam had cut his tooth at last and all was calm.

"Thank you for helping out today, Katie Morag," said Mrs McColl. "Isn't she good, Grannie?"

"Och aye," said Grannie with a smile as she looked at Katie Morag. "She's very good at sorting things out, is our Katie Morag." And she said no more.

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Katie Morag Delivers the Mail. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Katie Morag Delivers the Mail." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 25 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Katie Morag Delivers the Mail," accessed 25 July 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

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


Information about Document 685

Katie Morag Delivers the Mail


Text audience

Children (under 13s)
Audience size 1000+
Writer knew intended audience

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1980
Word count 714

Text medium


Text performance/broadcast details

Where performed/broadcast Inner Hebrides (Mull, Islay, Coll, Tiree, Colonsay, etc) in Aug./Sept. 2005
Performed/broadcast by Mull Theatre

Text publication details

Publisher The Bodley Head
Publication year 1984
Place of publication London
ISBN/ISSN 0099220725
Edition 1st
Part of a longer series of texts
Name of series Katie Morag series

Text setting


Text type

Prose: fiction
Other Children's picture story book


Author details

Author id 336
Forenames Mairi
Surname Hedderwick
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Writer and illustrator
Place of birth Gourock
Region of birth Renfrew
Birthplace CSD dialect area Renfr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Isle of Coll
Region of residence Argyll
Residence CSD dialect area Arg
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Architect
Father's place of birth Luanza
Father's region of birth Belgian Congo
Father's country of birth Central Africa
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Greenock
Mother's region of birth Renfrew
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Renfr


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Work and home
Gaelic; Scottish Gaelic Yes No No Yes Very minimal, basic, at home
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Minimal, basic, at home