A Very Christian Thing To Do



James Hay Stories written in the dialect of County Durham.


Next gallowa Aa got wes a little black un. By, he wes a beauty! Dairkie the' caalled him. Mind, he wes neewhere near as strang as Spider, but he wes the nicest little feller Aa've ivver come across. Aa nivver had a minute's trouble outa that gallowa an Aa treated him like me aan bairn. Aa use ta tak apples an sugar bullets an when Aa had some straaberries riddy Aa use ta tak them an aall. By, he wes a little smasher.

Why one day we were pullin alang through a low bit in the Brockwell. By, it wes a bloody haird seam, the Brockwell. Anyway, Dairkie stopped. He waddn't move. So Tommy Nixon wes reet behint wi he's gallowa.

"Howway, Jim! Skelp he's airse for him!" shouts Tommy. He wes a bad bugger wi pownies, Tommy. Aalways whippin them.

Aa says: "Tommy, Aa've nivver had ter use a whip on Dairkie since Aa gorrim, an Aa'm not ganna stairt now. If he winna move, there's summing wrang."

So Aa gans up ter Dairkie an pats he's heed an taaks tiv im an tried ter lead him on a bit, but he just stuck he's feet in an waddn't budge.

"Howway, Jim! Gerrim uncoupled!" shouts Tommy. He wes an impatient bugger, Tommy. Got killed in the Waar, ye knaa, poor lad. Blaan ter bits, the' reckon, at the Somme. Anyway, just then we hord it. A greet rumblin up aheed, an the roof stairted ter shake. Tommy shouts: "Get the gallowas uncoupled, an run, Jim!"

So we both gets the gallowas out an runs like hell back towards the shaft bottom. An it wes just as weel cause the tubs we were pullin got buried an if we'd a stayed there we'd a getten it an aall. Aye, he saved our lives, Dairkie. By, Aa wes proud on him. There wes a dozen men trapped in the Brockwell, but the' got them aall out. Neebody got hort.

Anyway, next day Tommy an me got sent for by Mr Hairvey. He wes the owner, ye knaa. The Hairvey seam wes named after he's family, Aa believe. He wes an aad man. White-haired, he wes, a Quaker, an he use ta taalk like the Bible. By, he wes a lovely aad feller, a real gentleman. He says: "Thee, James, and thee, Thomas, did a very brave thing yesterday. Thee got thy horses out and put thy own lives in danger. It was a very Christian thing to do and I am proud of thee both."

Why, ye knaa, we were ownly young lads, an we didn't knaa where ter put oursels, we were that embarrassed. Aye, Aa reckon Dairkie saved me life an Aa cried when Aa lost him an moved inter coal hewin. Mind Aa made sure he went tiv a good lad. A lad caalled Emsley Ross got him. Treated him just like Aa did. An whenever Aa saw him after that, Aa aalways give him a couple o sugar bullets. By, he wes a good little gallowa. The best in the pit.


Ray Clark asserts his moral right to be recognised as the author of this text
Ray Clark 2000 / 2005

Stories from Paperless Writers. a new venture for amateur, unpublished writers, site by Jim Hollingsworth.