The Farmer & His Wife

I could hardly be­lieve my ears, John Tay­lor says.

The People's Friend - - Serial By Jan Snook: Part 2 Of 6 -

YEARS ago, when my bairns were young, I came into our kitchen one af­ter­noon when they were wait­ing for “Chil­dren’s Hour”.

I lis­tened as some­one told a sim­ple, three-minute story. I later said to Anne that I could tell a bet­ter story my­self!

“Do it tonight, then,” was her rather sar­cas­tic com­ment.

I went back to milk­ing in the byre, think­ing. Could I?

I sud­denly re­mem­bered that Robin­son Cru­soe, alias Alexan­der Selkirk, lived at Lower Largo. When I was young, each sum­mer we made a trip by horse and trap to the sea­side.

Gran­dad Tay­lor drove the five miles; Granny and I sat with our pic­nic in its wicker bas­ket. As we jogged along to­wards the Tem­ple, we passed the fa­mous statue. Robin­son Cru­soe stood there, glow­er­ing down at us . . .

“When he hears Largo Church clock strike mid­night he comes down and walks along the beach,” Granny would tell me.

I be­lieved her for a long time. But no-one ever saw him move!

On my sev­enth birth­day Granny gave me a copy of Daniel De­foe’s “Robin­son Cru­soe”. It’s one of my most pre­cious pos­ses­sions.

When the chil­dren had gone to bed, I sat down and wrote how Robin­son Cru­soe lived in Fife, got into trou­ble with the kirk and ran away to sea. How he ended up be­ing ma­rooned on a desert is­land, met Man Fri­day and was fi­nally res­cued. Anne said it was good. “What will you do with it?” “I’m send­ing it to Aun­tie Kath­leen in from ‘Chil­dren’s Hour’.”

“You can’t. No-one will be able to read your writ­ing. You’ll have to get it typed!”

Off it went, typed. The chil­dren were as anx­ious as I was to see what would hap­pen.

In due course an en­ve­lope ar­rived. From the BBC.

Anne came into the barn where I was get­ting hay for some young bul­locks. My hands were filthy, so she opened it.

“They like your story! Will you go to Glas­gow to read it?”

She was so proud she gave me a big kiss.

I was de­lighted, but go to Glas­gow to read a three-minute story? What a waste of a day!

To be hon­est, that wasn’t the real rea­son. I was scared stiff! I asked if Aun­tie Kath­leen could get some­one else to read it.

She wrote back, telling us when it would come over the air. In that week’s “Ra­dio Times” was “Robin­son Cru­soe” by John Tay­lor. A well-known broad­caster by the name of Moul­trie Kel­sall was to read it.

We all crowded round the wire­less that day and lis­tened.

Moul­trie Kel­sall made my story come alive. The bairns were de­lighted. Dad had been on the air!

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