Books / Character Development / Fergus Findlay: Drover / Short Story / Sullatober Dalton / Uncategorized

The reality of history

It’s all very well going on about the Stuarts, but I’m also rewriting the story of the Highland drover and his rescue of his sweetheart from the clutches of her neighbour. That tale preceded Bubbles in the Cauldron and it seems its message was much more recognisable to readers. Bubbles is a story of loyalty, the loyalty of the drover to his deaf shepherd, which turns them all into refugees. One reader told me they wanted a battle but the 1820 uprising was quashed like a soft balloon. The story was set in that time because it produced suspicion and an atmosphere of fear among the people of southern Scotland. It could just as easily have been set in any unsuccessful rebellion, Boadicea against the Romans, the Huguenots in La Rochelle, Bonnie prince Charlie and might have been best in the Hungarian uprising of 1956. It came from a note in a report on the Korean War, which dealt commented on the American bombing of the Middlesex Regiment but included the comment – and there was always the refugees. That comment had stuck with me and colours my outlook on the Stuart uprisings. The people of Scotland were at peace. Perhaps an uneasy peace in the Highlands but, nevertheless, slowly learning to live with each other then come the pretenders and stir the cauldron. Much has been written about the actions and military manoeuvres of the time, from Bonnie Dundee to Bonnie Prince Charlie, but little about it’s economic or other effects on the ordinary people. When an army walks through farmland, it doesn’t leave it unharmed. When an army billets itself on a community, how much hunger and suffering does it leave behind? That is the story of the ordinary people and their experience will influence history and that is what Bubbles in the Cauldron was about.