Different Kinds of Foolishness

When folk have no idea what’s expected o’ them – Voiced by Uncle George, Tom and the eight-year-old Janet, 1918

(Extracted from My Friends the Miss Boyds by Jane Duncan)

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“Man, George, yon was terrible,” said Tom soberly when they had finished mimicking the Miss Boyds’ performance of “Huntingtower.”

“It was like as if you and me had set ourselves up to sing the Psalm like John-the-Smith, Tom. It is an awful thing when folk has no idea what’s expected o’ them.”

“How does folk know, George?” I asked.

“Ach if a person has any sense they can see for theirselves what they should do and what they leave alone. You wouldna be dancing your Sword Dance if Sir Torquil wasna asking your father. And Tom and me wouldna be at that capers o’ the reel if folk wasna at us to be doing it. It is chust common sense. But when Sir Torquil has all that fancy visitors there, he’s not needing people to be making fools of theirselves, except the like o’ Tom and me. People knows we canna dance or sing good, and they know we are being foolish at it on purpose. There’s a-all the difference in the world between being foolish on purpose and being foolish because you are too foolish to know you are being foolish, like.”

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