January 1st, 2001

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Martin's Stone

Old Rupe

"Tempted at Pitempton,
Draigled at Baldragon,
Stricken at Strathmartin,
And kill'd at Martin's Stane."

Martin's Stone

An old rhyme still quoted in the area of Martin's Stone, a carved Pict symbol stone 400 A.D. to 850 A.D., near Bridgefoot, Angus, Scotland. The stone and rhyme recall Martin's killing of the Dundee dragon which had killed Martin's lover, the daughter of the farmer at Pitempton.

Ah, to do a deed or tell a tale that will cause a stone to be erected in commemoration of the event and have an oral account still being told 1000 to 1500 years later.

I never fished a pool on a trout or salmon river long enough or with sufficient skill to have it named in my honor. In fact, I never personally knew anyone that had attained this lofty goal. I never had enough money to be able to donate a river section to the state that would forever be known as Old Rupe's Tract. I never told a tale that more than four people ever remembered. I usually had to buy the drinks to hold an audience long enough to finish a story, and then it had better be a short story backed by a single malt or two.

The nursery rhyme "Jack and Jill" has been proven to have basis in fact. The hill, the well, the broken crown, and the identities have been documented. It was such an insignificant event but it will probably pass down relatively unchanged in the telling even after water wells pass out of common memory. Some of the other nursery rhymes have continued down unchanged for a thousand years or more.

I have seen the light. The secret to fishing immortality is not to write great books, tie amazing flies, or fish better than anyone else on earth. I don't have to buy drinks, pretend to be an expert or give lectures. All I have to do is get included in a nursery rhyme that is passed down from mother to child. The oral transmission of the tale is assured as long as the language is spoken. Maybe some publisher of nursery rhymes that reads this will be so kind as to include this short poem in his collection.

"Old Rupe he caught a fish,
A bigger fish than most would wish,
And when he dragged it through the town,
All the folks they gathered round,
And ask old Rupe from whence it came,
That stream said Rupe just has no name."

I'm working on the design of the stone with this sculptor I know. And you didn't believe in dragons? ~ Old Rupe

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