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Ballad Narrative: Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dodhead


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Ballad Narrative |

The Captain of Bewcastle and his men ride into Teviotdale on a plundering expedition and seize the cattle and ransack the home of Jamie Telfer in Dodhead.  Telfer begs the Captain not to take his possessions, saying he will be revenged if he does so, but the Captain merely laughs, noting that there is only a sheathless old sword in the house. Telfer runs ten miles in the dark to Stobs’s Ha’ to ask for help from Gibby Elliot there but Elliot refuses, saying Telfer should seek help at Branksome Ha’, where he had paid protection money. Elliot claims that Telfer has not paid protection money to him although Telfer implies that he has made payments to the Elliots. Telfer then runs on to Coultart Cleugh to ask for help from his brother-in-law, Jock Grieve, and Grieve furnishes him with a horse. Telfer then rides to Catslockhill to ask for help from William’s Wat, and Wat and his two sons ride with him to the home of  auld Buccleuch at Branksome Ha’. Buccleuch summons his son, Willie Scott, and bids him raise the Scotts, and Willie and his men soon catch up with the Captain. Willie demands that the Captain give up Telfer’s cattle but the Captain refuses and a skirmish breaks out, in which Willie Scott is struck on the head and killed. Wat of Harden then urges the Scotts to


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