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Perthshire Jester

One of the last persons in Scotland, whose character and habits approached that of a professed jester, was Donald Cleirach, a retainer of the family of Atholl. He used to run to his own great delight before the Duke of Atholl’s
carriage, astride an oak cudgel, and mimicking the action of a man on horseback.

In this manner he would herald his Grace’s approach from Dunkeld to Blair, a distance of nearly twenty miles; and he has even been known to ride his oaken steed before his noble master all the way to London.

Arriving at his journey’s end, he invariably rubbed down his horse, and, in imitation of the postillions, led him with great form into the stable. When old age quickened his breath and stiffened his joints, poor Donald began to complain of his horse. In dismounting after a long ride, he
would exclaim, “Well, sirs ! this beast is grown lazy! I declare to you, a body might as well walk as ride on such a brute !“

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