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Harvest 1874 by Leon Augustin L 'Hermitte Harvest 1874 by Leon Augustin L Hermitte.
Paying the harvesters 1882 by Leon Augustin L'Hermitte Paying the harvesters 1882 by Leon Augustin L'Hermitte.
Abernyte glade
Abernyte Kirk


'As constant as the Northern Star
That is a Mother's love,
It will guide you home,again
Johnny, just watch the stars, above'.

On the morning after the great storm had passed over Perthshire and Abernyte, all was calm. The deep booming of the thunder and the jagged lightning flashes of the raw power of nature had touched some primitive instinct, of those people below. Those who had whispered a silent prayer and pulled the bedclothes around themselves, protectivelly.

A working man rose, to prepare for his day in the fields of Abernyte. Washing and dressing whilst the only sound that could be heard was the metronomic tick - a - tick of the clock, in the hall. A great peace had descended upon the land, the sort of peace that can only be found in the country, when the earth sighs and the trees whisper, like a lover, as the gentle breeze caresses the leaves.

The man opened the door of his little house and stood, for a moment,gazing towards the end of the road, a ribbon of silver that leads to the river and to the oceans of the world. He told,later,of how, when he looked out on that new morning,it was then that he saw the figure of a young man,cresting the hill, in silhouette. The figure strode purposefully down the brae, coming towards the cottage where the workingman lived. He was watching, now, with interested curiosity. His was an ancient house and it was said that an old woman had lived there, alone, many years before, although nobody knew if that was true, or not. It was such a long - long time ago and her name was forgotten, too, in the passing of time and the seasons.

As the figure of the young man approached, the watcher saw that he was dressed in a suit of navy-blue, the jacket with gold buttons and with a white muslin bag slung over his right shoulder. On his head was a straw hat, the sort of hat that a sailor would have worn, a long time ago. The sailor looked neither right nor left, as he passed,and then he began to ascend the road that leads up to the little church on the hill, of Abernyte.

It was getting lighter now,and the chirtling songbirds were calling out into this new morning, this new dawn after the storm. They had survived the ferocity of the gales and the thunder. Sheltering, fortunate, although not all had been blessed by providence. The strong branches had protected their tiny homes, they had canopied them in the arms of Mother Nature. Now they gave thanks. Their morning chorus welcoming the sailor, home from his wanderings, at last, coming home to land-locked Abernyte.

When the sailor reached the church, the watcher swore, that he saw, with great surprise, a woman emerge from within the kirkyard. They stood still, for a moment in time, and then they embraced in greeting, the old lady and the sailor, by the ancient iron gates of the old church, silhouetted by the spire and the trees and the belltower. And then they were gone from his sight.

Suddenly, the sun burst forth in all it's radiance, moving over the fields and the trees and the meadows. It's brilliant light caressing all as it had when the people who had once lived in Abernyte had been young. The men and the women, and children, grown from the seeds of love, of human kindness, returned now, to the earth, all of them, like flowers that bloom and fade in a day. The ploughman and the tinkers and the child who had dreamed, long days, of adventures bold, and the old woman, who had waited for him, in hope, always, until the very end.

Some have scoffed that such a thing could ever happen,that such a thing is impossible. That a saior, from a long time ago, could be seen in tiny land-locked Abernyte. Some say that such a thing cannot be and that it could never happen, that the watcher who claimed to have witnessed it must have been dreaming. That it must all have been in his imagination, some say.

In memory of Bill, Harry, Dave and Alma Martin, of Abernyte.