Moses & Miriam, one of the Tales from God’s Own Country by Jean Briggs

Moses & Miriam

There was once this powerful king of Egypt called Herod, who ruled ovver a land so wick wi Israelites that t’ Egyptians might soon be outnumbered. This fair-mithered Herod… ‘cos ‘e thowt that someday ‘ee might get ovverthrown and an Israelite would pinch ‘is crown… Course… ee’d nobbdy ť blame but ‘issen fo’ gerrin in such a pickle! It wor ‘im ‘at ‘ad gien permission for all t’ captured Israelites t’ be carted into Egypt… An’ it wor ‘im ‘at allowed t’ poor beggars ť be bowt n’ sold as slaves. ‘Ee wor cruel, so it saarved ‘im reight when it back-fired on ‘im!

Turns aaht yon Israelites did a lotta begattin’ whenever they got time off fo’ laikin. Begattin girl bairns wor reight enough… that didn’t bother Herod… it wor all that begattin of boy bairns ‘at mithered ‘im… Well it would wouldn’t it… ‘cos lads will be lads … an theh’d bi churnin bairns aaht at ivvery opportunity gien aauf a chance. In a fit o’ temper Herod ordered ‘is soldiers to search aaht all ť boy bairns an’ chuck ’em inter t’ River Nile ť drown. But t’ girl bairns could be left alone.

Can… t’a imagine t’ commotion that mussta caused… heart-brokken mothers an’ fatthers helpless… unable ť do owt abaaht it… I bet fowk wor screeamin’ an’ rourin’ all ovver ť place… But there wor this one crafty Israelite woman who, ‘stead o’ sat theer rourin…’ad worked-aaht a plan. Determined t’ save ‘er bairn, who she’d ‘ad hid in ť house for abaaht three months, she wove a basket aahta reeds… covered it wi pitch ť mek it watter-tight… then sneeaked daahn ť ť river carryin’ both ť basket an’ ť bairn. T’ woman settles ť bairn in ť basket an’ shoves it aahtta sight in among some tall ġrasses at t’ watter’s edge… an’ leaves ť bairn’s sister… Miriam… to keep an eye on things.

King Herod’s daughter spots yon basket as she’s bathin’ in’t river. Curious… she sends ‘er maids ovver to fetch it … teks a shine ť t’ bairn… an’ decides ť keep it. Miriam runs ovver ť see wot wor ‘appenin an’ puts ‘er mother’s name forrard as a wet-nurse. So ť bairn’s own mother ends-up lookin after ‘im till ‘ees owd enough ť bi tekken back to live in t’ palace… Herod’s daughter’ picked name Moses, ‘cos she’d fun ‘im in t’ watter… an I rekken she mussta cottoned-on at it wor an’ Israelite’s bairn…. Aye… things worked aaht weal in ť end an’ it mustta felt good.

So’now tha knaaws.