'Always Room for One More'

Story Time

January 20, 1999|By Sorche Nic Leodhas

Editor's note: A rhyming Scottish folktale passed on to the author by her grandfather recounts the outcome of Lachie MacLachlan's hospitality.

There was a wee house in the heather --

'Twas a bit o' a but and a ben --

And in it there lived all together

Lachie MacLachlan

And his good wife,

And his bairns to the number of ten.

"There's a fire on the hearthstone to warm me,

And porridge to spare in the pot,"

Said Lachie. "The weather is stormy,

So me and my wife

And our ten bairns,

Will be sharing whatever we've got."

So he hailed every traveler that passed by his door.

Said Lachie MacLachlan, "There's room galore.

Och, come awa' in! There's room for one more,

Always room for one more!"

A tinker came first, then a tailor,

And a sailor with line and lead;

A gallowglass and a fishing lass,

With a creel o' fish on her head;

A merry auld wife full o' banter,

Four peat-cutters up from the bog,

Piping Rury the Ranter,

And a shepherd laddie

Down from the brae,

With his canny wee shepherd dog.

He hailed them all in as he stood at the door.

Said Lachie MacLachlan, "There's room galore.

Och, come awa' in! There's room for one more,

Always room for one more!"

Rury's pipes set the rafters a-ringing

Till the clock danced a reel on the shelf,

And they all fell to dancing and singing,

And the little dog danced by himself.

Och, the walls they bulged out and bulged in then,

The walls they bulged in and out.

There will never be heard such a din, then,

As came from the folks

In the wee little house

While they rollicked and frolicked about.

They filled all the house up from door to door,

But Lachie cried out, "There's room galore.

'Twould be a tight fit, but there's room for one more,

Always room for one more!"

Then the rafters they clappit like thunder,

And folks in the nearby town

Stood stock-still to listen and wonder,

When the wee little house

With its but and its ben

And its walls and its roof DINGED DOWN!

Then the tinker and the tailor,

And the sailor with line and lead;

The gallowglass, and the fishing lass,

With the creel o' fish on her head;

The auld wife full o' banter,

The four peat-cutters up from the bog,

Piping Rury the Ranter,

And the shepherd laddie down from the brae,

With his canny wee shepherd dog,

AND

Lachie MacLachlan,

His good wife,

And his bairns to the number of ten,

They all tumbled out again!

And they gowked at the place where the house stood before.

"Och, Lachie," they cried, "there was room galore,

But worry and woe, there's no room no more,

Never no room no more!"

They wailed for a while in the heather,

As glum as a grumpetie grouse,

Then they shouted, "Have done with this blether!

For Lachie MacLachlan,

His wife and bairns,

We'll raise up a bonny new house."

The house that they raised from the auld one

Was double as wide and as high.

Should an army come by it could hauld one,

With Lachie MacLachlan,

His wife and bairns,

And whoever else happened by.

And then the whole lot of them stood at the door,

And merrily shouted, "There's room galore!

Now there will always be room for one more,

Always room for one more!"

From ALWAYS ROOM FOR ONE MORE by Sorche Nic Leodhas. Illustrations by Nonny Hogrogian. Text copyright (c) 1965 by Leclair Alger. Illustration copyright (c) 1965 by Nonny Hogrogian. Reprinted by arrangement with Henry Holt and Company, Inc.

Pub Date: 01/20/99

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