A Persian Tale

John Johnson Marshall
Chapter VI (3) - Start of Chapter

This is all very well for Cookstown, but the eminent Persian poet Sa’ di, who wrote about six hundred years ago, tells the following short story in his “Gulistan”—

“A certain poet went to the chief of a gang of robbers and recited verses in his praise. The chief ordered him to be stripped of his clothes and expelled the village. The dogs attacked him in his rear, he wanted to take up some stones but they were frozen to the ground. Thus distressed he said “what a vile set of men are these who let loose their dogs and fasten their stones.”

As Cookstown was not founded for three hundred years after the Persian wrote, it is clear that the latter did not borrow the story. Did someone who had read “Gulistan” localise it and apply it to this the longest town in Ireland in proportion to its population? An unfriendly critic once described it as “not a town, but a few houses built along each side of the road.”

In Scotland they have its counterpart in “the long town of Kircaldy.” Kircaldy is in reality as Andrew Fairservice (“Rob Roy”) represented it, as long as any town in all England, with perhaps a few exceptions, but we shall no more than that honest serving man advert to its breadth.