Scotland’s Insch Indians

Bob Settles

On a recent trip to the north of Scotland, a travel party of three adults and three small Indians stopped near the small town of Insch, an interesting name for a wee town. While there they wanted to explore an ancient stone formation. The structure was located on a hill that rose 1000 feet above the road, requiring a substantial climb. The structure is a rectangular arch rising 40 feet into the air with a hole in its center. As an ancient structure, it was probably an object of worship and wonder for the natives who had erected it with such difficulty, carrying the huge stones up the steep hill. Ceremonies, celebrations, and sacrifices had probably been held on the hill for hundreds of occasions. Little did we suspect that this visit would be another of those occasions.

As is their tendency, the younger Indians in the party started running up the path to the summit, so as to arrive first. The middle-aged Indian ascended more slowly and steadily, while the elderly Indians remained in a grove of trees below to watch the festivities from a comfortable distance. After the first 100 yards, the young Indians tired of their running, and waited for their elder.  Then they trudged up the remaining hill f0r the next 20 minutes together.

The summit of the hill is a plateau 50 yards across and 200 yards long. The path reached the summit at the point farthest distant from the monument, providing an excellent view as you approached. When the party reached the crest of the hill and started toward the monument, they were greeted by a chorus of wild screams from a renegade band of  William Wallace' warriors. Exactly how many there were was difficult to determine, as their piercing screams were continuous, and they were running like deer.

These warriors had apparently marked the monument as their territory, and on seeing the intruders, they burst through the hole in the monument, and ran straight at the intruders carrying large, white stones in their hands. They ran and screamed until they had frightened the visitors into a stunned silence. Then they passed quite harmlessly beyond the intruders. This was the way it seemed from the comfort of the grove below the hill.

Then, in a totally unexpected move, they appeared over the ridge of the hill, and started on a dead run down the summit toward the elderly visitors in the grove. For three minutes they ran and screamed down the steep hill until they arrived at the bottom. Only then could they be identified for what they were. There were two y0ung braves and two y0ung squaws, the oldest of which was fourteen. The braves were bare from the waist up, and the stones they carried were perfectly round.

As soon as they reached the foot of the hill they selected a stretch of convenient wall on which to rest from their long run to the grove.  Then they sat down on the wall and inserted the stones in their mouths?  For the puzzled elders, they explained the objects were not stones, but gobstoppers.  These friendly Insch Indians are shown below with their gobstoppers inserted. 

They explained that it is difficult to run and scream with a gobstopper in your mouth, so they carried them in their hands. The lumps in the cheeks are the gobstoppers. For the uninformed, a gobstopper is Willie Wonka’s equivalent of a jawbreaker, a huge, hard round piece of candy so large it may require considerable licking until it is small enough to fit into the mouth. With luck, a gobstopper could last several months, providing only a few licks a day. For the ambitious young Indian it might be fully consumed in 24 hours of continuous licking.

For colonists in the north of Scotland, it is often quite difficult to understand the variety of dialects and accents among these original forms of English. This task is complicated enormously when the speaker must enunciate around a large gobstopper. To accommodate the visitors, the friendly youngsters took turns removing the gobstoppers in order to enunciate more clearly.

The smallest of the youngsters had experienced considerably more difficulty than the others with his gobstopper, owing to his smaller mouth. This resulted in more of the gobstopper on the outside, producing a yellow cast around his mouth. He consented to a separate picture. 

Kids' Corner