Behind them was the whiskey-soaked battlefield upon which their foul-breathed minions had totally vomited upon the enemy — the cowardly, beef-eating English — had thrown them crying into their warm beer back to their moustachioed mothers and pink-cheeked fathers.
Mounted upon their champing war-nags, bollocks bruised and battered, the noble haggis-lovers clip-clopped their weary way up and down a lonely stretch of heather-cursed witch-land, as mountainous and boring as this very tale itself.
Wistful and witless McMac turned his mind to poignant memories of his beloved Lady McMac, she of the hair of gold and lips incarnadine. In his mind’s eye he pictured her within the Castle’s laundry chamber, the flagstone floor strewn with crumpled camisoles, chemises, kilts and kirtles. She would be gazing meekly at the brawny washer-wimmen scrubbing and scrubbing and rubbing and rubbing the bloodstained gore-flecked garments in the great bronze tub. She would be standing behind them, small and dainty, observing their washer-work. “Out, out, damned spots!” she would be shrieking in her sweet little voice.
Thus and these were the thoughts of McMac, upon the homeward leg of his travails, accompanied by the loyal and loathsome Lord Mildew. The air was rank and foul with pestilence wafting from the stink-marshes that festered in those putrid parts. Only the mournful thrum of frost-free heather-crickets perturbed the evil silence.
Traversing a blasted heath McMac and Mildew unexpectedly came upon three ancient snake-haired crones around a fire over which a large and bubblesome cauldron had been suspended.
The hideous trio shared one bloodshot eye, which they passed amongst themselves in turn. Their wrinkled faces were fraught with moles from witch grey hairs sprouted full curly and spikeful.
“Hail MacMac,” they quavered in their rusty, hag-some sing-song, “may thee live long and prosper. May misbegotten mischief and malarkey ne’er attend thee. Or, if thou art lucky, and escapeth from thine enemies, mayhap and perchance shalt thee scoopeth the pools, and winneth a million sponduleks for thy trouble.”
“What crapola uttereth ye, oh horror-hags unholy as a popeless priest?” quoth McMac unto the cauldron-huggers.
“Speaketh plainly and hold naught unsaid. Shall McMac return from battle unscathed?”
“Oh Great War-chief,” cackled the hags in unison, “from battle shalt Macmac return, unarmed. Thus sayeth the magic cauldron.”
“Unharmed, ey?” mused McMac, then turned towards his loyal retainer.
“What sayest thou, Mildew? Shall we delay our longed-for homecomings, and turn once more to rain bloody ruin upon our dastardly antagonists? Or shall we continue on our way, towards those homely places where nice shots of whiskey, slices of frothing haggis, and the sweet siren-song of the bagpipes awaiteth us?”
“Indeed Sire. Methinks a wee drabble of whiskey would hitteth the spot,” responded the dry-throated Mildew.
“Gadzooks and forsooth! Once more to battle then!” quoth McMac, ignoring the words of the thirst-crazed Mildew.
And thus the brave and brass-balled duo turned their weary war-nags south, towards the land of the blighty Sassenach.
‘Twas bloody and brutal work, hacking into the yellow-bellied tea-swillers with halberds and morningstars. ‘Twould have been a great and spotless victory, but for McMac’s misfooted mishap, mayhap. His war-feet trapped in a tangle of guts, McMac fell to earth as heavy as a sodden sack of hops.
Sixteen cowardly muffin-eating English fell upon him with their puny little swordies in their sweaty little handies. First they dextrously diced his strong right arm. Then they spitefully sliced his sinister left arm. Then they hacked both his armies off, right up to the hem of his sleevies.
But stout-hearted Mildew came to the rescue with his snot-encrusted mace and whiskeybreath, and put the mincing muffin-eaters to flight. Then the staunch Mildew staunchly staunched the flow of blood and helped McMac remount his champing war-nag. With nary a backward glance, off they clip-clopped into the sunset.
Arriving once more upon the blasted heath, they espied the one-eyed hag-trio huddled hideously around their bubbling cauldron. Wrathfully the warriors spurred their war-nags into a canter, until panting horsely from their efforts they stood before the wart-emblazoned witches.
McMac waxed full wroth and righteous. Indignant tufts of hair sprouted suddenly from his ears and nostrils.
“Oh hags, thy prognostications and pronouncements be full of shite!” quoth McMac. “Ye cackled and cawed, and ye spattered and spake, that McMac shall return from battle, unharmed.
“And yet mine dextrous sword-arm be gone. And mine sinister arse-scratching lance-arm is gone. Both hacked and slashed right off by the little English goblins, their beer-fuelled courage fuming full foul in their furry little faces. What sayest thou, oh hideous hags? Explain thy mistakenness before I run ye down with my steel-hooved horsey.”
“Oh MacMac,” crooned the hags, “oh brave and handsome War-chief, in thy magnificent war-kilt and matching sporran. Wherefore shaketh thou disapprovingly thy gory locks at us? Verily unto thee hath we quoth, and spaken unto thee. Now desist from thy fulminations and fumigations. Thy sedge is withered, our prognostications vindicated. Unarmed from battle hast thou returned.”
“Have at thee! Foul hags of doom,” quoth McMac enragedly, breakfast-haggis rising in his gorge. ...
CONTINUES in HAGS TO HAGGIS
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