As sherp as muckle needles

The absurdly prolific author Alexander McCall Smith has a new book for younger readers featuring the characters from the bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. As part of a promotion with the Scottish Arts Council, it is currently only available in a Scots translation in its first year of publication. It’s a fun and fascinating way to affirm and promote the Scots language—and even gain it new worldwide readers, as it’s close enough to English for a patient reader to puzzle it out with pleasure.

Whit wid ye dae if ye fund yersel face tae face wi a muckle lion? Staund as still as a stookie? Mak yer feet yer freens and rin? Creep awa quiet-like? Mibbe ye wid jist steek yer een and hope that ye were haein a dream – which is whit Obed did at first when he saw the frichtsome lion starin strecht at him. But when he opened his een again, the lion wis aye there, and whit wis waur, wis stertin tae open its muckle mooth. Precious sooked in her braith. ‘Did ye see his teeth?’ she spiered. Obed noddit his heid. ‘The moonlicht wis gey bricht,’ he said. ‘His teeth were white and as sherp as muckle needles.’

from Precious and the Puggies, Chapter Twa, by Alexander McCall Smith, translatit intae Scots by James Robertson and wi bonnie illustrations by Iain McIntosh, 2010 :: via MetaFilter

Originally published at

Add Your Comments