The Abbot of Unreason

Sir Walter Scott provided this little tale about my ancestors:

The reader may be amused with the following whimsical details of this incident, which took place in the castle of Borthwick, in the year 1517. It appears, that in consequence of a process betwixt Master George Hay de Minzeane and the Lord Borthwick, letters of excommunication had passed against the latter...

It seems that the inhabitants of the castle were at this time engaged in the favourite sport of enacting the Abbot of Unreason, a species of high jinks, in which a mimic prelate was elected, who, like the Lord of Misrule in England, turned all sort of lawful authority, and particularly the church ritual, into ridicule.

This frolicsome person with his retinue, notwithstanding of the apparitor's character, entered the church, seized upon the primate's officer without hesitation, and, dragging him to the mill-dam on the south side of the castle, compelled him to leap into the water...The unfortunate apparitor was then conducted back to the church, where, for his refreshment after his bath, the letters of excommunication were torn to pieces, and steeped in a bowl of wine; the mock abbot being probably of opinion that a tough parchment was but dry eating, [the primate] was compelled to eat the letters, and swallow the wine, and dismissed by the Abbot of Unreason, with the comfortable assurance, that if any more such letters should arrive during the continuance of his office, "they should a' gang the same gate," _i. e._ go the same road.

I've been toying with the idea of changing the name of this site to The Abbot of Unreason. While I pondered this change, I thought I'd give it a try. That's a picture of me in my new outfit. What do you think?

Actually, that's me dressed up as the Bishop St. Nicholas. They like to pick someone who the kids won't recognize, and since I'm never at the church on Sundays, I seemed like a good fit. Unfortunately, the hat was not a good fit. It kept falling down over my eyes.

2 thoughtful messages from friendly readers:

zombie said...


taleswapper said...

Ha ha! We saw a bumpersticker that said, "Severus Snape: We Believe In You"