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Stories of the Scottish Border

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Nothing seems to be known about Mr and Mrs William Platt, the writers of Stories of the Scottish Border. What they produced is an eccentric guidebook and history, seen partly through the ballads of the region. The book recounts the military stratagems, treachery and courage of those who struggled for control of the Border lands and of the whole country, and tells of the triumphs or tragic fate of those who took part on both sides. It also tells us stories of the Border Reivers, raiders who lived by riding out and stealing their neighbours’ livestock. Their lives were governed for several hundred years by a form of rough justice, and they showed an even rougher wit. While their adventures, though cloaked by the writers in romance and chivalry, were often petty and bloodthirsty, the ballads which distill their experience are, at their best, haunting and intensely moving. The Borders and Northumberland have changed little in aspect over the centuries, and I suggest following the book with a map and images of the places described, to give some idea of the wild remoteness and imaginative power of this Border land. - Summary by Jhiu


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