Davit, said Hendry, doesna speak in a wy at a body can follow im. He doesna gae even on. Jess says hes juist like a man aye at the cross-roads, an no sure o his way. But the stock has words, an no ilka body has that.
No, only ist no true, said Tammas, but it couldna be true. Them at says sic things, an weel I ken youre meanin Davit Lunan, hasna nae idea o what humour is. Its a thing at spouts oot o its ain accord. Some o the maist humourous things Ive ever said cam oot, as a body may say, by themselves.
Theres no nae doubt about its bein the case, said Tammas; for Ive watched mysel often. There was a vera guid instance occurred sune after I married Easie. The earls son met me one day, aboot that time, i the Tenements, an he didna ken at Chirsty was deid, an Id married again. Well, Haggart, he says, in his frank wy, and how is your wife? Shes vera weel, sir, I maks answer, but shes no the ane you mean.
I dinna exactly seet, he confessed, but thats no an oncommon thing. A humourist would often no ken at he was ane if it wasna by the wy he maks other fowk lauch. A body canna be expeckit baith to mak the joke an to seet. Na, that would be doin twa fowks wark.
Nae doubt, Tammas explained, an thats because humour has twa sides, juist like a penny piece. When I say a humourous thing mysel Im dependent on other fowk to tak note o the humour ot, bein mysel taen up wi the makkin ot. Aye, but theres things I see an hear at maks me laucht, an thats the other side o humour.
Weel, continued the farmer, I never set up for bein a humourist, but I can juist assure ye at I lauch at queer things too. No lang syne I woke up i my bed lauchin like onything, an Lisbeth thocht I wasna weel. It was something I dreamed at made me lauch, I couldna think what it was, but I lauched richt. Was that no fell like a humourist?
That was neither here nor there, said Tammas. Na, dreams dinna coont, for were no responsible for them. Aye, an whats mair, the mere lauchins no the important side o humour, even though ye hinna to be telt to lauch. The important sides the other side, the sayin the humourous things. Ill tell ye what: the humourists like a man firin at a targethe doesna ken whether he hits or no till them at the target tells im.
I dinna haud wi that ava, he said. I ken fine at Davit Lunan gaes aboot sayin he sees humour in everything, but theres nae surer sign at hes no a genuine humourist. Na, the rale humourist kens vara weel at theres subjects withoot a spark o humour in them. When a subject rises to the sublime it should be regarded philosophically, an no humorously. Davit would lauch at the grandest thochts, whaur they only fill the true humourist wi awe. Ive found it necessary to rebuke im at times whaur his lauchin was oot o place. He pretended aince on this vera spot to see humour i the origin o cock-fightin.
Aye, weel, said Tammas, thats a richt. Ou, the origin o cock-fightin gangs back to the time o the Greek wars, a thousand or twa years syne, mair or less. There was ane, Miltiades by name, at was the captain o the Greek army, an one day he led them doon the mountains to attack the biggest army at was ever gathered thegither.
Are you tellin the story, or am I? asked Tammas. I kent fine at they were Persians. Weel, Miltiades had the matter o twenty thousand men wi im, and when they got to the foot o the mountain, behold there was two cocks fechtin.
Aye, then, continued the stone-breaker, when Miltiades saw the cocks at it wi all their micht, he stopped the army and addressed it. Behold! he cried, at the top o his voice, these cocks do not fight for their household gods, nor for the monuments of their ancestors, nor for glory, nor for liberty, nor for their children, but only because the one will not give way unto the other.
Yeve taent up wrang, Hendry, Tammas explained. What Miltiades meant was at if cocks could fecht sae weel oot o mere deviltry, surely the Greeks would fecht terrible for their gods an their bairns an the other things.
He did so. He said it was a humourous thing to think o a hale army lookin on at twa cocks fechtin. I assure ye I telt im at I saw nae humour int. It was ane o the most impressive sichts ever seen by man, an the Greeks was sae inspired by what Miltiades said at they sweepit the Persians oot o their country.