The Laird O' Co'





In the days of yore, the proprietors of Colzean, in Ayrshire (ancestors

of the Marquis of Ailsa), were known in that country by the title of

Lairds o' Co', a name bestowed on Colzean from some co's (or coves) in

the rock beneath the castle.



One morning, a very little boy, carrying a small wooden can, addressed

the Laird near the castle gate, begging for a little ale for his mother,

who was sick. The Laird directed him to go to the butler and get his can

filled; so away he went as ordered. The butler had a barrel of ale on

tap, but about half full, out of which he proceeded to fill the boy's

can; but to his extreme surprise he emptied the cask, and still the

little can was not nearly full. The butler was unwilling to broach

another barrel, but the little fellow insisted on the fulfilment of the

Laird's order, and a reference was made to the Laird by the butler, who

stated the miraculous capacity of the tiny can, and received instant

orders to fill it if all the ale in the cellar would suffice. Obedient

to this command, he broached another cask, but had scarcely drawn a drop

when the can was full, and the dwarf departed with expressions of

gratitude.



Some years afterwards the Laird being at the wars in Flanders was taken

prisoner, and for some reason or other (probably as a spy) condemned to

die a felon's death. The night prior to the day for his execution, being

confined in a dungeon strongly barricaded, the doors suddenly flew open,

and the dwarf reappeared, saying--



"Laird o' Co',

Rise an' go."



a summons too welcome to require repetition.



On emerging from prison, the boy caused him to mount on his shoulders,

and in a short time set him down at his own gate, on the very spot where

they had formerly met, saying--



"Ae gude turn deserves anither--

Tak' ye that for being sae kin' to my auld mither,"



and vanished.





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