Document 940

The Hether Yill

Author(s): David Purves

Copyright holder(s): David Purves


The day Saunt Columba set fuit on Iona wes a sair day for the Picts, for eftir him cam monie Gaelic freins wi shields an lang claymores strecht frae Homeric days. An in the hinner end, the war but twa Picts left: a faither an his lad. The fek o the lave war streik’t out deid on Strathmore’s grund. Thir twa war huntit doun an hauden bi the Scots, for nane but thaim still kent the wey ti mak the drink men cawed the ‘hether yill’ – a byuss brie that in thae days wes mukkil socht.

“Blaw up the fyre! Set out the nippers an the cleiks! Haet up the airns!” rairs out the Hie Keing o the Scots. A’m geyan weill shuir that aince we stert ti birsil thaim, it winna be lang afore we ken the wey ti mak this unco yill oursells.”

“Haud on! Haud on! Yeir Grace!” the auld Pict said. “A’d lyke ti whusper in yeir lug.” An syne, the Keing louts doun ti hear the auld ane fleitch, “Raither nor thole tormentin, A’l gledlie tell ye aw Ah ken anent the gait we mak the hether yill. But first ye maun pit doun ma bairn, for Man, Ah wadna lyke for him ti ken about his faither’s shame!”

“Gin that is aw ye want, ye irna ill ti pleise,” reponed the Keing o Scots, an gart a kern at aince ding aff the laddie’s heid, whilk rowed at his faither’s feet. But syne the auld ane leuch, “Our hether yill is ferr owre guid for teuchtars, lyke! Nou that ma puir laddie’s deid, ye’l never ken the wey ti brie the hether yill. Ah wesna richt shuir he haed the smeddum for ti haud his tung unner tormentin wi yeir airns. But o masell, Ah’m shuir. Ye’l lairn naething frae me anent the hether yill, nae maitter whit ye dae!”

An sae thay never did.

This work is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

The SCOTS Project and the University of Glasgow do not necessarily endorse, support or recommend the views expressed in this document.


Cite this Document

APA Style:

The Hether Yill. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 19 April 2024, from

MLA Style:

"The Hether Yill." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 19 April 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "The Hether Yill," accessed 19 April 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 940

The Hether Yill


Text audience

General public
Informed lay people
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 1985
Word count 333
General description folk tale

Text medium

Magazine (e-zine)

Text publication details

Publisher Lallans 25
Publication year 1985
Part of larger text
Contained in Lallans 25

Text setting


Text type

Prose: fiction


Author details

Author id 17
Forenames David
Surname Purves
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1920
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Retired Biochemist
Place of birth Selkirk
Region of birth Selkirk
Birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Midlothian
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Master Grocer
Father's place of birth Selkirk
Father's region of birth Selkirk
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Selkirk
Mother's region of birth Selkirk
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All circumstances
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes