Siol nan Gaidheal


Lord of the Jings

Deep in Middle Earth, in the small and peaceful country known as the Shire, lived a race of people who called themselves the Scotti.

The Scotti were a jovial people by nature, and were very fond of feasting, dancing, and drinking. Although they could be ferocious in battle, the Scotti were a peaceful people, and were happy to live within the borders of their own little kingdom.

Unfortunately, the Shire happened to be within two day's march of a much larger country - Orcland. Orcland was populated by a particularly agressive and acquisitive breed of Orc known as the Anglo-Hai. These Orcs cast greedy eyes on the Shire, and plotted amongst themselves to make it part of Orcland.

However, whenever raiding parties of Orcs crossed into the Shire, they were beaten back by the bravest and best Scotti - the ordinary folk themselves. After centuries of raiding, the Orcs realised that the Shire could not be gotten by invasion. Licking their wounds in Orcland, the Orcs tried to think of another approach.

And so, after many years of plotting and scheming, the Orcs finally managed to bring about the Union they desired, by bribing the greedier and stupider Scotti - the ones known coloquially as the "Empees" - into selling their country in exchange for a few brass farthings. The delighted Orcs laughed at how they had subdued the fierce and proud Scotti, and even wiped the name of the Shire off the new Orkish maps. From now on, they told the Scotti, we are all inhabitants of Greater Orcland, and you must bow and scrape to her Majestic Orkishness, the Queen of Greater Orcland.

The common folk of the Shire ground their teeth and rent their garments and pulled their hair, but to no avail. The sacrifices they had made for centuries, to resist and beat back Orkish invasions, had been betrayed. The most cowardly and stupid of all Scotti, the "Empees", had sold their birthright.

Now, the Orcs began to make use of their new Scotti subjects. They began by driving the proudest and most noble of all Scotti out of their Highland homes. These Scotti were forced to scatter like ashes in the wind, and their tears fell like rain as they left their homeland to resettle in far, distant corners of Middle Earth.

In place of the Highland Scotti, the Orcs and their Scotti allys (those who, like the Empees, were willing to co-operate with their new Orkish masters) placed all sorts of animals. Later, they used the Highland to keep their foul Orkish terror-weapons, which were considered too dangerous and poisonous to keep in Orcland. Later still, the Orcs moved huge numbers of their own people into the Highland, so that the Scotti would never again be masters in their own homeland.

As for the rest of the Scotti, the Orcs decided to make use of them in spreading Orkish influence throughout Middle Earth. The Orcs and their allys cleverly took over the Scotti schools, so as to have control over the minds of impressionable young Scotti. Unlike previous generations of Scotti, who had learned their own language and history and culture, the Orcs and their friends taught young Scotti to mock their own heritage, and forced them to learn Orkish history and speak the foul Orkish language.

However, although the Scotti did learn to speak Orkish, they forever spoke it with their own musical accent, which made even Orkish sound sweet to the ear. The Orcs hated this fact, and mocked the Scotti even more viciously in their ugly, Orkish ways of speech.

When the new generation of Orc-ified Scotti was grown up, the Orcs sent them out across Middle Earth. The Orcs knew, from bitter experience, that the Scotti were good fighters. So they used Scotti troops (under Orkish officers, of course) to conquer and enslave the other peoples of Middle Earth, such as the Dwarves and the Elves.

Then the Orcs saw that the cleverest Scotti might one day have ambitions to lead their own people to freedom, so they sent them out to the conquered provinces to act as administrators. For this, the Scotti earned the hate and distrust of the Elves and the Dwarves, who did not know that the Scotti were originally colonised just as they were now being colonised and brought under Orkish rule.

And so, the Orkish Empire was born.

And the Orkish Empire lasted a very long time. But eventually the forces of history swept over it like a sandcastle on a beach, and the Orcs were forced to pull back from their Empire.

Even then, the Orcs said: "We might have lost control over Elfland and Dwarfland, but we will never let go of the Shire!". So the Orcs made an even greater point of sending their people into the Shire, and invited Dwarves and Elves to live there too, so that the Scotti would eventually be outnumbered in their own homeland.

Now, the Orcs and the Dwarves and the Elves who came to the Shire weren't really bad people: they just wanted to live their lives in peace and prosperity. But because Orcs build societies fit for Orcs, and Dwarves build societies fit for Dwarves, and Elves build distinctly Elvish societies, these incomers inevitably felt uncomfortable with the folkways of the Scotti, and the Scotti felt uncomfortable and aggrieved with the incomers.

But because the Scotti were a polite and hospitable people, and had a horror of being thought unfriendly, and because the Orcs who controlled the Scotti schools and newsparchments said that it was wicked and evil to not want to share their country with Orcs, Dwarves, and Elves, the Scotti did nothing.

Whenever a hot-headed young Scotti spoke out against the Orkish plans, the older Scotti clucked their tongues and bade him to be quiet. Even though everybody knew that there would be no more Scotti and no more Shire in just a few generations, nobody did anything. And the Orcs and Empees kept telling everyone how wonderful the Shire was with all these Orcs, Elves, and Dwarves in it.

However, one day a wise old Scotti got sick of it all. He stood up and said:
"Listen, I'm tired of this nonsense. I'm tired of the lies and hypocrisy, and of being afraid to say what we all think. My ancestors and yours bled the ground red so that we Scotti could keep this wee bit of land as our home. But look at us now: we are acting like Orcs, not like Scotti. We are handing over the only homeland we have to outsiders. Where will we go when we don't have the Shire anymore? We will have nowhere to go.

"It is time we took back our birthright. I wish no ill will to the Orcs, or the Elves, or the Dwarves, who are all marvellous people in their own way. But only we can be ourselves. We are Scotti, and we deserve to exist!"

And the Orcs and the Empees and the Elves and the Dwarves were furious at this, and they called the old Scotti foul names, and they pointed their fingers and shook their fists, as they had done so many times before whenever a hot-headed young Scotti stepped out of line.

The Orcs and their allies expected that the Scotti would back down, as they had so many times before. But this time, something remarkable happened. The Scotti didn't back down, their patience and their goodwill had been abused so many times that it had been exhausted. They were all sick of pretending to like what was happening to the Shire, and they took to the streets and lanes of their country, and demanded that something be done.

Now the Empees were terrified of the wrath of their own people, and they quickly sided with the old Scotti who had spoken.

"Indeed, something must be done!", they said. And something was done, but not before the Orcs could act. The Orkish High Command in Orcland had been following events in the Shire with great interest and concern, and decided to send in their best Orkish troops.

For the first time in centuries, hordes of warrior Orcs poured across the border into the Shire, and seized the capital. They hoped the Scotti could be tempted to fight, because the Orcs had all the weapons now, and they knew that even the bravest Scotti would be no match for them.

But the Scotti didn't fight. They just sat in the streets. They sang songs of patriotism and their heroic past. They danced and they feasted and they drank, just as their ancestors had done so long ago. But the one thing they didn't do was co-operate with the Orcs. When the Orcs demanded that they go back to work, and obey the laws of Her Majestic Orkishness, the Scotti just laughed.

The Orcs were feeling very angry and very foolish, because their laws and their weapons and their propaganda were useless against the musical laughter of the Scotti people. Nothing was getting done in the Shire, and the Orcs were eventually forced to withdraw, cursing and spitting as they went.

Now the Scotti took charge of their own country once more, and they voted to make the wise old Scotti their Aird Righ, which the old Scotti did, wiping away tears of joy as he was crowned. The Orcs and the Elves and the Dwarves who remained in the Shire were mighty afraid.

But the new Scotti King went to them and said:
"Brothers! We mean you no harm. You are free to remain in our land, but only if you swear to live by our customs and folkways, and respect the fact that this is the Shire, for it is the only homeland we have. If you cannot live according to this simple rule, we bid you peace, but ask that you choose another place to live. You may take from our land all that you need to sustain you on your journey and settle in your own ancestral lands, if that is your choice."

The Orcs and Elves and Dwarves debated this amongst their respective communities. Eventually, they decided. And many of them did leave the Shire, because they knew they could never be happy unless they lived according to their own folkways and customs. Some others, who had learned to love the Shire and its people, agreed to become honorary Scotti, and stayed. And many of the descendants of the Scotti who had been cleared out of the Highland came back to the Shire, bringing their talents to the service of the Shire.

And when the land had been set to rights again, the Empees punished for their treachery (being pelted in public with rotten eggs), the Scotti relearned their old languages and old ways, and settled down into a happy peace. They never again trusted their Empees, nor did they permit them to have nearly as much power over them as they used to have. The Aird Righ asked to resign once his task was complete, but the people loved him, and begged him to stay and watch over them.

Then a massive party was organised, and packed full of dancing and drinking and feasting. The Scotti were free to be themselves again, and the world was a better place for it.


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