Golf In Fairy Land

Ogre Plays Golf photo TheOgrePlaysGolf_zps0cdefcba.jpg

Butter Scotia, or A Cheap Trip To Fairy Land is the name of an 1896 fantasy novel by Sir Edward Abbott Perry, with fabulous illustrations by Archie MacGregor. The book is about four children who take a trip to the land of the Butter Scotch, a “powerful and well-behaved race of goblins.” In Butter-Scotia, they have a series of Oz- or Alice-In-Wonderland style adventures, including a quest to obtain a “Silver Niblick.”

The acquisition of the Niblick through a golf contest is in the chapter following:

They sent her to her little cot,
And put the golf clubs all away,
At half-past three, without her tea,
To finish off that mournful day.
And Olga said,
As she went to bed,”
For ever I’ll rue that day,
When cricket was off
And I took to golf, Like a regular, real, St. Andrew’s toff
And tried that game to play.”

Pater’s Book of Rhymes.

NOW the beginnings of the great game of golf were these. On the steppes of Russia — I think it was on the top steppe but one — lived an ogre named Baffy. Baffy the Spoon, they called him, because, when he played croquet on the great plain of Europe, he did not hit his ball fairly through the hoops but”spooned”it through, which is cheating. Now at last nobody would play at croquet with Baffy any more, which served him quite right, and there he sat all alone upon the top steppe but one, with his head in his hand, crying and grumbling, because, like the discontented pig,“he was not happy.”

At that time there came to him our good friend Krab, who happened to be travelling in Russia, and asked him what he was crying about. And that great big baby Baffy — he was ten feet high — sobbed, and howled, and said croquet was a stupid game, and he would not play any more.”

Then,” said Krab,“if you will stop your noise and be good, I will teach you a new game altogether.”

Baffy sniffed and looked a bit happier, and said”What is it called ?

“It is called Golf,“said Krab.“But if you learn Golf, you must know that you, and your son, and your grandson, will have to go on playing it for ever and ever, and you will play it worse and worse, until at last one of you will be beaten by a little child, and then he may go and bury himself.”

“Ha! ha!” laughed Baffy,“all that I will risk. Show us your new game and tell us all about it.”

Then straightway Krab produced two sets of golf clubs, and half a dozen balls — little white gutta-percha balls, the size of huge marbles — and then and there, upon the steppes of Russia, they made the first Golf Links the world ever saw.

Now as there may still be a few children south of the Tweed who go to a school where they do not teach Golf, I will tell you as near as I can what Krab told Baffy the Spoon.

First of all he showed him the clubs, which were sticks with various shaped heads to them, some like skate blades and others like wooden sea-urchins, but all so formed that you must be a very clever person to hit the ball with them. And Baffy tried to hit a ball with some of them, but all he did was to hit his own big toe and break a club or two ; at which Krab laughed aloud and Baffy looked foolish. Then Krab stood on a large boulder rock, and Baffy sat on the ground beneath him, with his hands clasped round his knees, gazing up at Krab, who put one hand behind him and waved the other in the air, while he began to explain to Baffy all about the game of Golf, just as if he was giving a lecture.”

“Golf,“said Krab,“is played at the seaside where there are plenty of sandhills and stretches of smooth grass between them. The first thing to do is to find a little boy — without shoes and stockings on, if possible — to carry your bag of golf clubs.”

“Why a little boy?“interrupted Baffy.

“Because sometimes you hit the ball into a furze bush and lose it. Then you lose your temper too. Then the little boy goes and looks for them, and if he can’t find them, you can pitch into the little boy and punch his head. If it were a big boy, with shoes and stockings on, he might punch yours back again, and that wouldn’t do.”

“Certainly not,“said Baffy,“go on.”

“The little boy is called a Caddie. The clubs I have shown to you, and you have tried to use them (Baffy shuddered). The balls cost one shilling each.”

“My word,“said Baffy,“what a price!”

“When you have played half an hour with one of them, it may be worth twopence-halfpenny — that is if you are a very good player and do not knock chunks out of it.”

Baffy groaned. His pocket-money was only a shilling a week.

“Two players play together,“continued Krab.“They go in search of a lawn with a little hole in it. Whoever finds the hole and knocks his ball into it in the fewest strokes, wins. There are eighteen holes altogether. When you have finished these, whoever has won the most of them has won the match. Then you go home and tell your friends what bad luck you have had, and what wonderful strokes you would have made if it had not been for the wind. If your friends do not play Golf, they do not listen to you at all, for they think you are quite mad ; but if they play too, they do not believe you, for they have told just those stories them selves, and nobody ever believed them.”

So saying, Krab leaped off the boulder, and he and Baffy played the first European Championship Game at Golf, a full account of which is to be found in the second volume of the Book of Krab ; and Krab won. And though Baffy played very badly, still he made up his mind to learn to play better, and from that day until the day of his death, a thousand and one years later, he played two or three games of Golf every day, and improved a little.

Now Baffy the Spoon married the beautiful Mashie, daughter of Gutti of Perchaland, and they had a little son called Bulger, who grew up and played Golf better than his father. He was called Bulger the Bragger, because he made such wonderful shots when nobody was there to see, and came home and bragged about them.

And he travelled in Arabia, and Africa, and Spain, where they say he won the Silver Niblick. There it is certain he met with Lofta the Proud, daughter of Ion the Invincible, with whom he fell deeply in love ; and they were married and had a little giant son with one eye. And when he was born he looked so impudent, and rolled his one eye so roguishly, that they called him Brassiface.

Lofta taught him to play Golf when he was only two years old, but he soon beat his mother, and then he learned to play better than his father, and beat him.

So old Bulger gave him the Silver Niblick and he went away, and after many travels settled in Butter-Scotia, where he had Links of his own. There he played all comers and beat them, and took their scalps, and was known to the world as Brassiface the son of Bulger, the son of Baffy the Spoon.

But to return to Olga and our story. When she came to the side of the wood, she saw the giant’s castle much as Krab had described it. It was a sand castle such as children build on the shore. It had no roof, and the rooms were hollowed out of a large stretch of sand. It had a wall round it, made of sand piled up and decorated with huge sand puddings, and there were several gaps for doorways.

Brassiface himself was lying in the centre of the sand castle fast asleep. He was a hideous-looking ogre, about ten feet high, and had only one eye in the centre of his forehead. It was this indeed which made him such a good player, for having only one eye, he was able to keep it on his ball, and by so doing he often managed to hit it. He was dressed in grey knickerbockers, an old stained dirty red flannel coat, and a peaked cap. By his side was a large bag containing his golf clubs. These were some six feet in length, and several golf balls about the size of cricket balls were lying in one of the rooms in the sand castle.

As Olga came up to the castle she saw she was close to the sea-shore. A sandy bay stretched along beneath a series of lofty sandhills, and between them you could see wide plains of green close-cut grass. These were the ogre’s Golf Links.

They stopped at the gate of the giant’s castle, and Neddy brayed aloud three times in succession. Brassiface woke up with a start and rubbed his one eye.

“What’s up, kiddy ?“he shouted, gazing at Olga.“I am no kiddy, sirrah ?“replied Olga, drawing herself up to her full height,“but Sir Olga the Fitful, Knight of the Festive Fowl, here to challenge you to play for the Silver Niblick.”

The Ogre threw himself back on the sand castle shouting with laughter, and rolled out of his dining-room into his drawing-room, destroying the party wall as he did so.

“You play for the Silver Niblick, you !“he cried, while tears of laughter ran out of his single eye.

“Can you play golf, my dearie ?”

“I play at home sometimes,“said Olga bravely,“and I’m going to try, anyhow.”

“Well said,“replied the Ogre, who seemed a kindly fellow after all.“Why shouldn’t you try ? Though, seeing the links are twenty miles round, I shouldn’t think a little chap like you would have much chance. Have you got a Caddie, though ?”

“No, I haven’t,“replied Olga.

“Who will you have ?“asked the Ogre politely.“I don’t see any about,“said Olga.

“There are not any, so you have your choice, and that is why I asked you.”

“Well then,“said Olga, remembering what Krab had said,“I will have the McKrab.”

The Ogre turned pale and whistled loud and long.

“By Jove,“he muttered,“the kiddy knows something about the game. The McKrab knows these links better than I do. They say he taught my grandfather Baffy how to play. Well !“he continued aloud,“you must have him I suppose, and I must have Neddy. He’s a stupid Caddie is Neddy, but he is better than none.“So saying, he threw his bag round Neddy’s neck and standing up called out in a voice of thunder,“McKrab ! McKrab ! You’re wanted.”

Before the echo had ceased, there was heard over the sandhills by the shore the sound of bagpipes, and in a moment or two the McKrab appeared, bagpipes under his arm, skreeling away”Auld Lang Syne”and dancing over the sand as he came. He wore a full Highland costume, sporran and kilt of the Stuart plaid, and looked as fierce as if he had come to fight for the Pretender ; but Olga knew it was dear old Krab himself, and felt sure, now, that somehow she would win.

As soon as the McKrab arrived, they started off for the first tee, as the place is called from which they were to drive the ball. Olga dismounted from Dapple, and gave the McKrab her bag of clubs to carry. He put the bagpipes among the clubs and slung the bag over his shoulder.

“Now,“said Brassiface, taking a huge club out of the bag which Neddy was dragging after him,“the first drive is across the bay to the lighthouse. It’s about two miles across, is it not ?”

“Twa mile or mair,“said the McKrab.

The Ogre took one of his large golf balls and placed it on the tee. Olga could not help thinking it would be very lucky if he got it as far as the sea. He placed his feet down very carefully and waggled the club backwards and forwards, while he fixed his one eye sternly on the ball. The club went slowly back, high round his head until it nearly touched his left heel, and he would, I believe, have driven the ball to the lighthouse, had not Neddy suddenly lifted up his head and brayed out”Heeaw ! haw ! Hee haw ! ah ! Heeh !“at the top of his voice, completely putting the Ogre off his shot. Down came the club with a terrific smash on the ground, half missing the ball, which soared into the air and fell about a hundred yards out to sea, splodge into the water. The Ogre used such naughty words over this, that I know Mr. Nutt would not print them, even if I knew how to spell them. Poor Neddy looked, or pretended to look, ashamed of himself, and McKrab said warningly to him :“Hoots awa, mon ! silence on the tee ! silence on the tee ! shocking !”

“I knew how it would be, taking out that duffer Neddy,“complained the Ogre.“Well, it can’t be helped; it’s your turn now, little one ; peg away.”

Sir Olga thus addressed, took the club that McKrab handed to her, whispering as she did so,“I can’t do it, you know.”

“Give it gyp !“replied McKrab, and Olga, not knowing a bit what he meant, resolved to do so. The ball was put on the tee by Krab and she hit it as hard as she was able. Away it soared, over the first sandhill, straight towards the lighthouse ; but it was not hit hard enough, and it would have fallen into the sea about a mile from the shore, had not a gull swooped down and caught it. Olga and McKrab watched him eagerly as he sailed across the waves, until he came to the lighthouse, when he poised himself in mid-air over the green and dropped the ball.

“Wonderful !“cried the Ogre,“but what luck you have. That will be on the green.”“Dead,“cried McKrab with delight.

“As mutton,“muttered the Ogre sulkily.

Olga tried to look as though it was the sort of thing that generally happened when she played golf.

The Ogre now drove another ball, as he was entitled to do. This time he sent it right across the bay past the lighthouse and then grumbled out”Too far ! too far ! Yards too far !“Away they all went round the beach after their balls. The Ogre striding in front, Olga cantering near to him on Dapple, McKrab and Neddy, with the clubs, bringing up the rear. When they reached the green, Olga’s ball was close to the flag which stands in the hole, but Brassiface spent some time looking for his, and at last found it on the beach beyond the green. It took him three shots to get on to the green, and he was playing six more when he made his first putt at the hole. This was a magnificent straight shot that seemed to Olga certain to go in, but what was her surprise to see that, just as it got up, a little goblin jumped out of the hole and thrust it aside with all his might.

“No luck,“sighed the Ogre,“none.” He evidently had not seen the little goblin.

It was now Olga’s turn to putt, and she was laughing so much at the Ogre’s disappointment that she made a very crooked shot. However, the same little goblin stretched his arm out of the hole, and just managed to guide her ball in. As it fell in, the Ogre called out,“Hole in two ! well played, little chap ; but you must admit that you had some luck with that seagull.”

“Well, it was a bit fortunate, perhaps,“said Olga.

“Better luck for me at the next hole, I hope,” said Brassiface.“It’s a short one, only a mile and a half long.”

This time Olga had no seagull to help her, but there seemed to be goblins all along the course, and they threw the ball from one to the other until it lighted in the hole.

“Another record !“shouted the astonished Ogre.“The second hole in one! Stupendous! It’s worth being beaten by play like this. Well, you are a good ‘un for a little ‘un.”

It was evident the Ogre had not seen the goblins. Olga did not quite like taking advantage of him in this way, especially as he was so good-natured about it ; but she must get the Silver Niblick, and she consoled herself by thinking that she had nothing to do with arranging it, though she had an idea it was all Krab’s work.

Hole after hole Olga won in record scores. Once when the giant got ahead and Olga made a bad shot, the Ogre lost his ball. They all hunted for it except that lazy Neddy, who was browsing upon thistles by the side of a road. When they had been five minutes looking for it, McKrab claimed the hole for Sir Olga, according to the rules of the game, and the Ogre had to give it up. As they moved off to the next hole, it was discovered that all the time Neddy had been standing on the Ogre’s ball. Olga wanted him to go on playing the hole, but Brassiface would not. He contented himself by calling Neddy the”Son of a Sea Cook”and a lot other names ; all of which seemed to soothe Brassiface, and not to annoy Neddy in the least. Several more holes were won, until at the tenth, Olga having won 10 up and there being only 8 to play, was declared the Champion of Fairyland, and entitled to hold the Silver Niblick until some one challenged and beat her.

They went back to Brassiface’s castle, where Olga was presented with the Silver Niblick. Then, mounting Dapple and shaking hands with the Ogre, who wished the”little ‘un,“as he called her,“good luck,“she rode away to rescue poor little Tomakin. Krab marched in front with the bag pipes, playing”See the Conquering Hero Comes,“and the trusty Neddy trotted close behind her.

Silver Niblick vs Dragon photo silverniblickvsdragon_zpsb25741d7.jpg

Later, Sir Olga uses the Silver Niblick to vanquish a dragon:

At this very moment Neddy, who was browsing lower down the mountain-side, gave a loud bray. The clatter of hoofs was heard, and quicker than I can write, Sir Olga, shouting defiance to the Dragon and waving the Silver Niblick in the air, came over the rocks at a hand gallop and reined up Dapple right in front of the angry Dragon.

Then began such a fight as never took place in any history or romance that I have ever read. Fiercely the monstrous, horrible Dragon circled round Sir Olga, as she threw her self from Dapple and stood before him, Silver Niblick in hand. Fire shot out of his mouth as he whirled about her, half flying, half prancing, waiting for a moment when she was off her guard. Two deadly stings quivered in the points of his huge tail ; in length it was at least one rod, pole, or perch, and it glistened like an angry snake as it rushed through the grass. Forgetful of Krab’s warning, Sir Olga drew her sword and made a rapid downward stroke to cut it off. The sword struck fire out of the brazen scales of the tail, but crumpled up in the Knight’s hand, as if it had been a toasting-fork.

“Made in Germany!” sneered the Dragon, as he whipped his tail away out of further danger and swooped down upon Sir Olga with outspread claws.

The children shrieked in terror. Sir Olga, however, slipped nimbly aside, just in time to allow the Dragon to trip himself up with his own tail, and he turned a double somersault over some neighbouring rocks. The children shouted with joy, and Sir Olga, quick to seize her advan tage, threw away the broken sword and battered the Dragon about his head and body with doughty blows from the Silver Niblick.

The children yelled out, ” Go it, Olgy ! ” in wild delight.

The Dragon screamed and groaned like a cracked fog-horn. But he was not yet beaten, and soon picked himself up, spread his wide waving wings and hurtled above Sir Olga in the dusty air. It was hard to see what was going on, but he seemed to be trying to sting her with his tail, while she protected herself with her shield by moving it smartly from side to side.

“Come down and fight fair!” shouted the children.

The Dragon snorted and rushed around in the air, making grabs at Sir Olga, who for forty-nine minutes fifteen seconds was defending herself cleverly with her shield. As she was moving from right to left, her eye fixed on the attacking monster, one of her electro-plated shoes caught in a stone and she stumbled and fell, dropping her shield and the Silver Niblick on to the ground.

Down swooped the Dragon and caught hold of Sir Olga with both claws to shake the life out of her. The two princesses hid their faces on each other’s shoulders and screamed aloud. Not so Tomakin, who with a skill and courage worthy of Hector, Miltiades, Robert Bruce, the Black Prince, the Duke of Wellington, or Jack the Giant Killer, seized the Silver Niblick in both his little hands, and showered blows on the Dragon’s back, until the monster had to release Sir Olga and turn in attack upon her valiant Squire.

In a second Sir Olga was on her feet again, had leapt in between the Dragon and Tomakin, and seizing the Niblick from his hands, was thundering mighty blows on the brazen skull of the unfortunate monster. Vainly he sought to clutch at her with his steely claws and iron teeth. His sawdust poured out in heaps upon the rocks from his many wounds. He grew weaker and weaker, and the fire now shot but fitfully from out of his jaws. His head drooped, and his arms and legs hung limp from his body. His strength was fast waning from loss of sawdust, but he gathered himself together for a final spring. With the weight of a hundred elephants and the fierceness of fifty tigers, he threw himself upon Sir Olga, snarling horribly; but she met him with one stupendous blow from the Silver Niblick, which cracked the skull of the unhappy beast, and went right through the bone to the place where his brains ought to have been, and as he had none, he rolled over on his back with a groan, stone dead. To release Molly and Kate was the work of a moment, and, hand-in-hand, Dapple, Neddy, and all the children danced merrily round the body of the prostrate Dragon, overjoyed at Sir Olga’s bravery and amazed at the power of the Silver Niblick.

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