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The Muckle Black Kist, p.92.

[Anecdotes of Burns Contents]

JEAN DUNN, a suspected trader in the parish of Kirkpatrick-Durham, observing Burns and one of his brother Excisemen, named Robertson, drawing near her house on the morning of a fair, slipped out by the back door, as if to evade their scrutiny, leaving in the cabin her attendant for the day. and a little girl, her daughter. 

“Has there been any brewing for the fair here to-day,” demanded our poet, on entering. 

“O no, sir,” said the servant, “we hae nae licence for that.” 

“That’s no true,” exclaimed the child, “the muckle black kist is fu’ o’ the bottles o’ yill my mother sat up a’ nicht brewing for the fair.” 

“Does that bird speak,” said Robertson, pointing to one hanging in a cage. 

“There’s no use for another speaking bird in this house,” said Burns, “while that little lassie is to the fore. We are in a hurry just now; but as we return from the fair we’ll examine the muckle black kist.” 

As a matter of course, when they did return, the witnessing bottles had vanished from the chest. 

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