As a people watcher, I’d rather not take a direct photo. As a storyteller, I see a face in the crowd that makes me think “There’s the beautiful maiden from the Grimm’s “Three Feathers!”
She’s the one who speaks up against the bullying brothers saying, “I’m not jumping through any hoops for the likes of you!” Then I store away her likeness in my imagination till the next time I tell that folk tale.
Photography is a more recent form of recording. Before that, people painted or sculpted faces to remember.
This likeness of Joseph McIver graces the entrance to Paisley Close (alley) in the Royal Mile, Edinburgh.
On 24 November 1861, at this spot, the 250 year old tenement above the then East Bailie Fyffe’s Close, fell down into itself. Rescuers who searched the rubble found 35 dead and were ready to give up after two days. Imagine their surprise when they heard a Scots voice below them call out “Haul awa’, lads! Ah’m no deid yet!
The Town Council then took responsibility for the poor housing conditions in the Old Town. They rebuilt and paid for this memorial to celebrate the new close, as well as the few survivors, like the lad who was pulled out hale and hearty. They did carve an English version of what he shouted, though.
All text and photos by Meg
Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License and also Copyright © under Australian Law.