A tale of two tatties for our younger readers by Angus Von Stulpnagel Jnr.
Once upon a time, in a field, between Moniaive and Dunscore, lived a whole field of potatoes. They were ordinary potatoes, although two of them were a little bigger than the rest. These two were growing right in the middle of the field.
One night, by the light of a full moon, two pixies were carrying a large flask of Starwiffle juice to the fairies in the woods for them to make fairy dust with. Starwiffle juice is squeezed from the Starwiffle plant which grows in the underground land of Morwhinggle, in case you didn’t know, and is an essential ingredient in fairy dust, for it is this rare juice that makes it effective; and it is the Snorgwhongelly root which makes the dust sparkle (Fairy dust does not actually need to sparkle – it is just that fairies are such show offs, and like the effect). Anyway, these two pixies were very tired and stumbled just as they were right in the middle of the field and spilled a few drops of the Starwiffle juice onto the two potatoes. As nothing happened to the potatoes the two pixies just carried on and did not think anything of it. When the sun came up that morning the Starwiffle juice started to work its magic on the potatoes and they came to life. They each gave a big yawn, stretched and said:
“Good morning Magnus.”
“Good morning Struan.”
They sat for a while, and then, together, said: “I’m bored”
Magnus, who was the slightly larger one, and the one who had got the most juice spilled on him said, “I can’t just sit around doing nothing, I think I will be a pirate. Do you fancy joining me Struan?”
“Well, I’ve never been to Greenland, I’ve never been to Denver and I’ve never buried treasure in St. Louis or St. Paul, and I’ve never been to Moscow, I’ve never been to Tampa, and I’ve never been to Boston in the fall. And I’ve never hoisted a main stay and never swabbed a poopdeck and I’ve never veered to starboard and I’ve never walked the gangplank and I’ve never owned a parrot. We can’t just stay at home and lie around. Yes, let’s be pirates.”
There was a long silence from MagnusÉ who also looked at him in a doubtful wayÉ but eventually he said: “All right let’s go”, and they did.
They headed for the River Cairn, built a raft, floated down towards the sea (overtaking a stray duck left over from the Moniaive Gala Duck Race). When they reached the sea they boarded a ship and threw the captain overboard. They set sail for the Caribbean and were now real pirates.
For two years they sailed from one island to the next doing piratey things, like attacking Spanish ships and stealing all the gold they had stolen from the South Americans. Every summer they had two weeks holiday and went to Greenland or Denver, and in the autumn they would go to Boston (which is lovely at that time of the year). One Easter, they even went to Moscow, as a special treat (another famous pirate, John Paul Jones, went there once &endash; and had a hairdressers’ shop called after him). They never attacked any British ships, as they thought that would be against the rules; and the king at that time, King Edward, agreed. In fact he was so grateful that he invited them to tea in London once, where, in return for some Spanish Gold, he knighted them both, and said they were his very favourite potatoes.
As Sir Magnus and Sir Struan were sailing back to the Caribbean, they felt very proud, and very homesick for their old field. Struan was very quiet for a long time (which was not like him) and eventually said to Magnus, “How about going home, and not doing anything for a while?”
“You are absolutely right,” said Magnus
So they veered to Starboard (which is always on the right, as any sailor will tell you) and headed home. They headed back to their old field, met a couple of very pretty potatoes, got married and had lots and lots of baby potatoes.
If you are in the shops and see a sack of King Edward’s potatoes, you will now know how they got their name; and if you pass a field of potatoes between Moniaive and Dunscore, Magnus and Struan will probably still be there (unless they are away on their annual cruise to the Caribbean) And if you sit very, very quiet next to that field of potatoes you may hear Magnus and Struan telling their children tales of their pirate days, and singing pirate songs, as Starwiffle juice lasts a long time.