Sunday, May 27, 2007

Skye High Imagination

P5 Children at Portree Primary School gave me the ideas for this story about a very famous Skye creature banished to the heavens:

How Skye was Saved from the Midgies

The swarm of midgies dive-bombed Sam for the third time that morning. They stuck in his beard and stung his eyes where they had crowded in behind his glasses. He threw the letters he was about to post through the door of Number 5 into the air, chucked the post bag onto the ground, and howled, ‘I’m going to do something about this’.
A highland cow raised its shaggy head and stopped chewing to look at him, a stalk of grass hanging from its mouth. But no-one was brave enough to come out of their houses.
Sam marched towards the Cuillins. He had never climbed them before. They were steep and craggy and his lungs burnt red-hot as he puffed his way to the top of Sgurr nan Gillean. It took him four hours to get there and he arrived exhausted and thirsty. But before long the mountain cold seized him and he started to shiver. He needed to get on with his task, but in truth, he was a little bit afraid.
He stood tall and closed his eyes. Sure enough, The Wind answered him with a great sigh that nearly knocked Sam off the top of the mountain.
‘Wind,’ Sam called. ‘I need your help.’
‘Puff,’ said The Wind.
‘I’ll never post another letter until the midgies are gone,’ he said, and held up his red-speckled arms. ‘Look at all these bites!’
‘Huff,’ said The Wind.
‘I want to play football at night without having to wear a hood and long trousers,’ Sam said.
The Wind just yawned.
‘Won’t you help me blow them away?’
The Wind opened one sleepy eye and looked at Sam. ‘Don’t you think I’ve enough to do already?’ Then The Wind yawned so hard that Sam felt he was being sucked right into its mouth, where there was a great rustling noise and a smell of fresh leaves.
‘Please?’ Sam called.
‘Bye,’ said The Wind. ‘I need a snooze.’
Sam watched as The Wind swept its way down towards Loch Sligachan. It draped itself over Glamaig, its favourite resting place, and soon its soft snores were helping to push a small boat across the nearly still water.
Sam sat on the summit with his head in his hands. At least it was too cool for midgies up there. He watched the tiny cars beetling along The winding roads way below, and wondered if he would ever go back to the village in the valley.
Suddenly a thought flew into his head, and he sprang up and started running back down the hill. As he got lower down, he knocked on the door of every cottage he passed. Although it was evening and the midgies were preparing for their next attack, people put on their hoods and followed him.
‘If you ever want to get another letter or birthday present or Christmas card, you’ve got to help me,’ Sam told them.
Several thousand hooded people came to surround the dozing wind on Glamaig. First, they had to wake him up.
‘Wind! Wind! Blow away the midgies!’ they shouted as one.
Eventually, he snorted, and raised his tousled head. One big bloodshot eye opened and looked at the crowd. ‘Huff,’ he said.
‘Wind!’ they shouted again.
He sat up then and looked annoyed. ‘I have too many jobs to do already,’ he moaned. ‘I have to dry all your clothes, and push all your boats along so you can catch fish. Give me a break, I’m tired.’ And he lay down again.
The crowd started to turn for home, disappointed. Their arms were flailing around their heads and they were stamping their feet. The midgies had found them.
‘Hang on.’ Sam stopped them. He spoke quietly to one or two of the people around him. He spoke to a group of fishermen and to Mairi from the local laundry. After a while they nodded and he turned back to The Wind. ‘We’ll make a deal with you, Wind,’ he said. ‘We’ll dry our own clothes from now on, and we’ll all buy engines for our boats. So you’ll have nothing to do. But in return, we want the midgies gone for ever.’
The Wind stared at him, breathing quietly. He was quite good at thinking, but he had to do it slowly. Then he let out an enormous sigh. The crowd fell onto their stomachs so as not to be blown into Loch Sligachan. They peered up to see The Wind pulling himself upright. He put his head up to the sky and swallowed the most enormous gulp of fresh Skye air. The people sensed what was going to happen next, and they all clung as hard as they could to boulders or to clumps of heather, or to each other, where they lay on the ground.
The Wind bowed his big ugly head and blew along the ground in the most ferocious gust anyone had ever known. It swept north, south, east and west across the island, rattled the teeth of the oldest men and blew the wig clean off the head of Mrs Macpherson. The people glimpsed the wig joining the black cloud of midgies that The Wind gathered in its breath, as he blew it upwards way over the top of Sgurr nan Gillean, further and further into the heavens. They saw The Wind’s tail disappearing after the black cloud as he chased the midgies away. The snapping of the midgies’ teeth got quieter and quieter, until there was silence, and the people of Skye got up, and dusted themselves down.
That evening was warm. People celebrated with barbecues in their gardens. They played football, and took picnics into the hills beside burns. They were amazed that they needed no hoods, and nothing bit them. ‘Where can they have gone?’ people asked. ‘Perhaps to the mainland,’ some said. They didn’t wait long for an answer.
The night was clear. When they looked up at the stars, they saw a new constellation. A cluster of bright stars shone down on them and they recognised the shape of a huge heavenly midge. They all looked up and admired it. The Wind had made it into something rather beautiful, but very far away from them.
‘That’s the right place for the midgies,’ Sam said. ‘I don’t think they’ll bother us again.’
The next morning, he delivered letters with a smile on his face. And he wore a short-sleeved T-shirt and shorts.

The End

24th May 2007
Written by Linda Cracknell but most of the creative ideas were imagined by P5 pupils at Portree Primary School

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