Strength and Activity of Burns, pp.82-83.

[Anecdotes of Burns Contents]

HIS personal strength was united to great activity; he could move a twenty stone sack of meal without much apparent effort, and load a cart with bags of corn in the time, one of his neighbours said, that other men were talking about it. A mason was hewing him a stone for a cheese-press, and Burns took pleasure as a side was squared to turn over the huge mass unaided. A large pebble is still pointed out at Ellisland, as his putting-stone; and though no living man in Nithsdale perhaps can poise it in the air, the tradition proves the popular belief in his great strength. He delighted in feats of rural activity and skill; he loved to draw the straightest furrow in his fields, to sow the largest quantity of seed-corn of any farmer in the dale in a day, mow the most rye-grass and clover in ten hours of exertion, and stook to the greatest number of reapers. In this he sometimes met with his match. After a g=hard strife, on the harvest field, with a fellow husbandman, in which the Poet was equalled: 

“Robert,” said his rival, “I’m no sae far behind this time, I’m thinking?” 

“John,” said he in a whisper, “you’re behind in something yet: I made a sang while I was stooking.” 

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