This is a speech I gave that garnered some awards. It’s a simple story, the Real Story. It’s important that you, dear reader, read this with a Scottish Brogue in your mind because that’s how I delivered the speech.
[Spoken with a Scottish Brogue]
I want to tell you a story. Whether or not this story is true, I’ll let you decide. This story is about my great-great-great-great-grandfather (I’ll just call him ‘great-grandfather) who lived in a tiny village on the rocky shores of a loch in the highlands of Scottland–you yanks call it a lake. Most of the families in this village descend from the same clan–the MacKay clan.
One night, while he enjoyed the blessings of a deep slumber, he awoke to a pounding on his door. He sprang from his bed and quickly donned his trousers–no, Scots don’t always wear kilts. He rushed to the door of his humble home and flung it open to see one of his clansmen in a sweat-and-panic, “MacAdams needs our help!” and the man rushed off. Despite the moist, chilly air, my great-grandfather, in the typical Scottish clan manner, bolted out the house to help the neighboring clan without boots or shirt . As he ran to follow his clansman, he noticed the whole village rousing to help the MacAdams clan, many of them without their shirts and boots, as well.
About two hundred, or so, men from his village hastily climbed the path from their village to the village that is home to the MacAdams clan. It’s nearly a mile up a twisty, rocky road to this village nestled in the notch of a mountain. As they approached the village, the stench of burning homes stung their nostrils and at the moment they breached the rise in the notch, they could see most of the village burning.
Further up the hill, the MacAdams distillery lay nestled with rocky peaks on all sides and a small wooded glade separating the still from the village. It was only a matter of time before the village fire burned its way to the still. Naturally, the men ran to help Old man Hutch who owned the distillery.“Oh please, you must help me save ma’ whiskey!” he shouted to them as they approached. He opened the huge doors to the store where barrel after barrel of whiskey sat aging. Some as old as thirty years.
“Where should we take it?” my great-grandfather asked.
“I don’t know…” Hutch replied, “…wait, I do know! I chartered a brand new boat on the loch to carry the latest shipment to Inverness. It arrived at doch last night, should be there waiting.”
“It can take all this?” My great-grandfather asked.
“Aye, and more. Can you carry the barrels down?
“Aye, we’re MacKays. You can count on us.”
So, my great-grandfather hoisted a twenty gallon barrel of thirty-year whiskey on his shoulders and started back down the hill. The rest of his clan as well as many of the men in the MacAdams clan followed suit.
They trudged wearily and barefooted down the rocky road back towards their village. But, carrying a twenty-gallon oak barrel can make it tough and being shirtless in the cold night only made it worse. My great-grandfather barely made it it a hundred yards, but he was just past the rise of the notch when he needed to stop for a rest. He set the barrel down gingerly and sat atop it.
“Brrr!” He thought to himself, “I’d certainly feel better if I could wet ma’ whistle with a bit of whiskey.” Then he realized that he was sitting on a barrel of whiskey. He looked back to see other men slowly ambling down the road and nobody from the village could see him. “I’ll just take a quick shot, they’ll never miss it.” So he loosened the cork, lifted the barrel over his head, and took a huge shot of whiskey. It warmed him inside… and out. Then he continued down the hill.
Not more than fifty yards further, he felt the need to partake again and he did. As he finished, he looked up the hill to see many of his clansman doing the same and he chuckled to himself.
After some time, his neighbor, Angus caught up to him. They continued down the hill together, partaking as they saw fit and laughing hysterically… at absolutely nothing!
When they finally reached the dock to the south of their village they saw the most odd monstrosity tethered to the dock–something they had never seen before. It was a brand new steam ship sitting warm with steam and smoke billowing from the top.
“What is this?” Angus asked. “Is this the boat?”
“Nay. It’s a bloody monster!” My great-grandfather replied, “but it’ll hold these barrels fine.”
So, the men began to deposit their barrels and promptly pass out on the rocky shores of the loch.
As dawn approached, all of the barrels arrived at the boat and the boatman, believing he had the whole shipment, and not finding a conscious soul to ask, departed for Inverness. The wives and women of the village came to collect their inebriated men from the edge of the loch as Hutch arrived.
“My Lord in heaven! Where’s ma’ whiskey! Did you MacKays drink all ma’ whiskey?”
His head buzzing with half a barrel of thirty-year scotch, my great-grandfather replied, “Nay, the monster has your whiskey,” as he pointed north to the departing steamboat.
Hutch and the women looked through the fog on the loch to faintly see the long black neck of the monster with its head up, billowing smoke. And, on its gnarly back, they could make out the barrels of whiskey as the monster disappeared into the fog.
One of the women gasped in fear, “There’s a monster in the loch!” and panic ensued.
And, that’s how the story of the Loch Ness Monster began.
I remember when you told us that story at Toastmaster’s! And I vouch that your Scottish accent is unmatched (and I lived in Scotland 1.5 years).
Wow, Rob, I’m glad you remembered. Thanks for the endorsement of my Scottish Brogue 😀