Steenie Steenson, weel-kent grumpy old piper, sends us his ramblings and rattlings

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I cannae help a wee smile seeing that Piper o Middleton verse; but I mind well enough piping to Middleton himself in Redgauntlet’s devilish Ha’ and the smile soon disappears. But I was minding to tell you about my trip at Halloween up tae Gala; what an odd feeling it was, to hear your own story told as if it were some fiction. But I ken the fellow has told it in full more than once and does a grand job of it too. Stranger still it was to hear your own tunes played well enough, and the old tune of Galashiels too that I well recall my grandson Willie playing. But mention of that devil’s tune still sent a shiver down my back, I can tell you. I may now be the only one who knows anything of it, and I’ve been pressed to pass it on, since there’s many now that are not afraid to play Old Nick’s music, and though I dinnae have the knowledge that can put pipe music onto paper, I do still have an auld faded receipt with scrawled on the back some strange writing which I was told was ‘tablature’; it came from a fiddler who passed the tune to me, and no, he was no a warlock; just a wandering fiddler, not so unlike my Willie, except he could see well enough to have use of such scribbling. Whether he meant to leave it to me, I can’t say - maybe he took it out to refresh his own memory when he played it to me and forgot to put it away, or maybe he’d got it from somewhere he’d rather not admit and passed it on to me just to be rid of it. Either way, I’ve passed it on to your editor and maybe he’ll let you take a keek and see what you can make of it.

Ed: Always ready to oblige Steenie, here is the best copy we have been able to make of what he sent us; it is strange indeed, but should anyone choose to try their hand at working out its meaning, and can supply us with a notation that we can all understand, we’d be pleased to hear from you, assuming, that is that you believe the tale Steenie tells here about how he came by it, and not that nonsense about warlocks.]

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