By: Celtic Bard Jeff
Once upon a time, in a village called Kittlerumpit now long lost to memory, there lived a very unfortunate woman. Her husband had gone off to the market one day with all of their money and he never came back. She wasn’t the type to complain though, she still had a roof over her head, her healthy young son and even a prize pig.
Luckily, that pig was pregnant, and the goodwife of Kittlerumpit had all her hopes on a large litter of piglets. Those wee piggies would bring in enough money to see her and her son through their troubles. One morning, she went through to the pigsty to check on her most valuable possession and…..oh dear. The pregnant pig was lying on its side, wheezing and groaning and not looking very well at all.
She tried to feed it and water it and looked it all over, but she had no idea what was wrong. It was clear the pig wasn’t long for this world. That was all it took to push the goodwife of Kittlerumpit over the edge. She sat down on a rock, with her wee bairn on her knee, and she began to greet. They might have started as silent tears but before long she was bawling her eyes out.
Through the tears she saw a strange little figure hobbling along the road towards her. The goodwife dried her eyes and gave a couple of sniffs just as this wee woman in a big green dress, bright white apron and a big hat approached her. Before the goodwife could even open her mouth, the mysterious stranger said “Don’t bother with your pitiful stories, I ken all about your husband and I ken all about yer pig. But what would you say if I could fix that pig of yours?”
“Oh that would be incredible! Would you? Would you please cure my wee pig?” said the Goodwife.
The stranger replied with a mischievous look, “What would you give me in return?”
“Anything! Even the clothes off my back, just please help!”
At that, the wee woman pulled out a little vial of some strange liquid. There she rubbed it on the sick piggy’s ears, nose, and curly tail while she muttered quietly Pitter Patter, Holy Watter. As if by magic, the pig rolled onto it’s trotters and wandered over to the food trough, muhching away like nothing had happened.
“Oh thank you, thank you.” Said the goodwife of Kittlerumpit. “I could kiss you on the lips!”
“Just hud on, that’s not the kind of thing I’m after” said the woman. “I’ll take that bairn of yours as payment instead.”
Well with that, the goodwife’s heart sank to her stomach. She started to greet all over again, pleading with the woman not to take her boy.
“Hus yer weesht” cried the stranger, “The rules of my people state that you have three days before the boy is mine. And you have one chance to save him. When I return you can have three guesses to say my true name. But there’s not a hope in this world that you’ll get it and so after that, he comes with me.”
Abruptly, she turned on her heel and disappeared.
The goodwife of Kittlerumpit was crushed. To have gained her pig back just to lose her son was a terrible bargain but she had no idea what to do. The woman was clearly one of the fairy folk but she didn’t know much about them. How was she going to guess this mysterious stranger’s name?
To help her think, she spent her time wandering the woods. On the second day she followed a wee burn through the trees, the sound of the babbling water soothing her tortured mind. That was when she heard it.
Just over the noise of the burn, a strange song coming from deeper in the woods. She practically crawled her way amongst the roots so she wouldn’t be seen. Peeking over a ridge, she saw the wee woman sitting at a spinning wheel and singing to herself.
“Little kens our good dame at hame, that Whuppity Stoorie is my name!”
The goodwife had to cover her mouth to stop from letting out a little squeal of delight. She slowly backed away and sipped back home, repeating the name over and over in her head to make sure she didn’t forget it. Whuppity Stoorie.
She could barely sleep that night, waiting for her visit the next day. Not long after the sun rose, the wee woman arrived at the goodwife’s house and declared it was time to take the wee bairn away.
“Well, the good wife of Kittlerumpit furrowed her brow, and looked like she was thinking hard. “Is it….Tatty Bogle?”
The woman just looked at her blankly. “Not even close.”
“All right, all right. Eh….how about Steve?”
“What are you….do I look like a Steve to you?! Last chance and then your bairn is mine forever.”
“Well then, I don’t suppose your name is….Whuppity Stoorie?”
At that, Whuppity Stoorie went completely white. Then started to go a furious shade of red. Just when it looked like she might burst with rage, she turned around and stormed off back down the path.
That was the last that the goodwife of Kittlerumpit and her wee bairn ever saw of Whuppity Stoorie.
Source: Scotland’s Stories by Graeme Image: Whuppity Stoorie via Folklore Scotland