The day was mild, the sky cloudless but grey, Scotland, Bonnie Scotland. The young man sat on a stone, head in hands, eyes closed tight as his friends neared. Their voices loud and argumentative. Wallace and Bruce, discussing who the people loved more.
“They love you Rob, they always have.” The tall man said.
“They love us equally, we are legends, both of us.”
They stopped walking, eyes on the solitary figure. “What do you think is wrong with him. It is his birthday, is it not?”
“Aye William, I believe it is.”
They continued their assent. One either side of the young man, Rob’s hand landing on his shoulder as he lowered himself down on the stone. The younger man glanced from one to the other, a short smile played on his lips.
“What’s up with your face, it’s your birthday, no one should be glum on their birthday Rabbie.” William sighed.
“Dear friend, your birthday is at present being celebrated all over the world and here you are glum.” Rob reminded with admiration.
“Is it the fact that you’re now 259 years old, is that it?” William observed, “no matter how many birthdays you have, you will never be as old as us.”
“It’s not that.” Rabbie began, shifting apprehensively.
“Then what is it? Tell us friend, who knows we may be able to help.” Rob said gently.
“I went to supper last night.”
“Oh, was she nice?” Rob passed William a stern look, he merely shrugged knowingly.
“Do tell, about this supper.” Rob cut in, eyeing William his (sometimes) good friend wearily.
“You should have come with us, our supper was great, although the music seemed a bit loud, you know how my head hurts sometimes.”
“Aye, I do William.” Rabbie said, trying not to stare.
“This supper Rabbie, where was it.” Rob asked, although he had a feeling to which supper his friend had arrived.
“It was the one in Glasgow.”
“The one we were at…in Govan…with Nicola?” William asked, looking confused now. He got unsteadily to his feet and began to sing “The one where they sang, ‘young at heart, you’re so young at heart…that one?”
Rob shook his head, “You are not helping.” He eyed Rabbie, “This supper, tell me about it?”
“It was an awful night, full of dreadful people.”
“What have I told you about teleporting, if you get the calculations wrong you could end up anywhere.” Rob cautioned.
“I teleported myself to Westminster Hall once, I was so triggered I had to escape to my ‘safe place’.” William stated.
“Ouch!” Rabbie winced.
“This supper that has spoiled your birthday celebrations, tell us about the awful people.” Rob said, calmly.
“It was something called Scotland in union.” Rabbie ran a hand across his handsome face.
“Oh,” William winced, eyeing Rob wearily. “He may need a safe place to.”
“What was so dreadful?”
“The parcel of rogues, one massacred Tam o Shanter and another thought he was a poet, I never heard such utter…well ye know.”
“Shite?” William broke in.
“Aye…he’s no bard…that’s for sure.” William came to sit next to him, his hand gently resting on his shoulder. “A Parcel of Rogues in a nation if ever there were any.”
“Scotland in Union you say.” William mentioned, eyes on Rob. “Think we might pop along next year…what’d you say Bruce, fancy celebrating wean’s birthday in style next year?”
“Aye…and I know just the poem.” Rob smirked, eyes crinkled with delight.
“Delivered by the man himself.” William gave Rabbie’s back a playful tap.
“They need reminding…” Rob insisted.
“The mere fact. I hate the fucking sight of them.”
Both William and Rob sniggered. “Go on, give us a bit of it…give us…A parcel o rogues…” Rob said.
Rabbie got slowly to his feet, smiling down at his two friends
“Aye Bruce, that’s one of his best. Give us a parcel o rogues.”
The young man gave a short bow, a huge smile, he cleared his throat, closed his eyes and began to recite.
“Fareweel to a’ our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory;
Fareweel ev’n to the Scottish name,
Sae fam’d in martial story.
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
An’ Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England’s province stands-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!
What force or guile could not subdue,
Thro’ many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few,
For hireling traitor’s wages.
The English stell we could disdain,
Secure in valour’s station;
But English gold has been our bane-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!
O would, or I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay,
Wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour,
I’ll mak this declaration;
We’re bought and sold for English gold-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!”