Saturday, 21 June 2008

Scottish oysters - the creel lassie's cry

Scotland too had an oyster history in the Firth of Forth which it defended fiercely. When Essex boatmen came apoaching, they were bombarded with stones. Where today a sign reads not to eat the fish caught in the waters, in the late 1800s, as many as 30 million oysters were taken a year.

The oyster girl with her creel was a familiar sight doing her rounds of the tenements. Some of this culture was caught in song, the oyster humbled to just two letters in the dialect as o’u:

At night round the ingle sae canty are we,
The oyster lass brings her treat frae the sea;
Wi music and sang, as time passes by,
We hear in the distance the creel-lassie's cry.

Caller o'u! Caller o'u! Caller o'u!
Frae the Forth. Caller o'u! Caller o'u!