Scotland: Is the Wild Haggis fact or fiction?


Bringing down the rare Haggis scotticus – the Wild Haggis – to secure the next traditional Haggis meal – requires utmost agility and perseverance by human persecutors equipped with equally-measured lower extremities. One must know that Wild Haggii vary in characteristics and that it is two different genera who roam steep and rough highlandish terrain. In both cases the legs on their left are different in length from the ones on their right – and vice versa. Either way, their unusual physique allows them to swiftly climb and scuttle around their regular habitat unperturbed by topographical challenges, albeit in one single direction only: Wild Haggii featuring longer legs on the left, move around clockwise, whereas the ones relying on extended limbs on their right, will logically proceed counter-clockwise. A refined GPS system usually prevents painful head-on collisions and all Haggii, limbed in whichever fashion, are said to lead a fairly peaceful coexistence.

Endeavours for cross-mating prove largely unfeasible. Here’s why: With the male candidate having to shift directions before happily mounting the adverse-legged female, his two short limbs would be helplessly flailing in the air for lack of support. The poor creature could lose balance instantly and might even tumble into a deep and deadly void. Or at least be tossed into an unhealthy haggiean depression due to the failed exercise. Should mating indeed be successful, the result could be a new lineage of offspring, one with four limbs of the same length. If all chromosomes involved settled into the right place, that is.

In order to help avert extinction of the species, students of the Institute of Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow have come up with a study on how to farm Haggis.

“Address to a Haggis”

The much revered national poet and lyricist Robert Burns (25 January,1759 – 21 July, 1796) composed this hymn in honour of a dish whose nexus of awe-inspiring ingredients arouses controversy with non-Scottish palates to this day: The sausage-like creation mainly consists of innards such as sheep’s liver, lungs and heart enriched with oatmeal, onion, suet and some spices, all stuffed into, and simmered within, an elastic sheep’s stomach. Neeps (turnips) and tattees (potatoes) and a good glass of Whisky are classically being served along with it.

It’s unfair to go by the looks!

Well... :-) Source:

… :-) It’s delicious, though! Source:

On January 25th in particular, the Haggis’s deliciousness is solemnly and respectfully celebrated while the pale blob itself is expectantly trembling on a silver platter until the great moment arrives. Goose-pimple-inducing music droning from bagpipes accompanies the theatrical show, until, finally, a sharp carving knife or sword gashes open for consumption what had been confined within the faunal membrane. The steamy greyish-brown matter now unfurling from its constraints may not look overly handsome, but it truly is a tasty affair that invigorates even the laziest of taste buds! Toe dippers too coward to sample it are depriving themselves of a rewarding culinary experience.

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
‘Bethankit’ hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis.

Translation required?

Header image: Of course this is fictional! :-)
The header shows a specimen of a “Wild Haggis” exhibited at Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow.
Photo credit for header image: This picture taken by Stara Blazkova is a Wiki creative commons.