Been bit by a rushyroo hiv ye?
Fit a scash aboot nithin ya muckle daeless fouterin gaup ye, they’re nae bigger than yer faither’s thoumb.
rushyroo: the shrew.
Been bitten by a shrew have you?
What a trouble about nothing, you big useless exasperating fool, they are no bigger than your father’s thumb.
In the 50’s
I was lucky.
I grew up as a small child on a mixed arable and dairy farm in the 50’s. The meadow opposite our cottage had been grass all the years I had been there.
In it we could hear the shrews shrieking as they battled and hunted. However because there were so many they were easy to find and catch. And because it wasn’t a challenge me and my pal lost interest as soon as our curiosity was satisfied.
That was in the days before intensive farming had begun, certainly in our area. The burn by the side of our cottage was full of stickleback, minnows and eels.
The eels we used to catch and keep in a tin bath. If you grabbed an eel wrong their fins could cut your skin. At least so my mum told me.
I’ve been back there since. There are no sticklebacks anymore. Where the shrews had run rampage is now huge and wall to wall in barley.