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If you have a drop of Scottish blood in your veins, you'll enjoy this story by an unknown author, now doing the rounds of the Internet.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair opened a new hospital in Edinburgh. After cutting the ribbon he went on a tour of the wards. He entered a ward filled with patients who did not seem to be suffering from any injury or obvious disability. He greeted a bearded man in a nearby bed, who replied: "Fair fa' your honest sonsie face, great chieftain o the pudden race!"

Blair, somewhat bemused, smiled politely and moved on to another bed and asked the patient how he was getting on. The patient shook his head and replied: "Some hae meat and canna eat, and some wad eat that want it. But we hae meat and we can eat, and sae the Lord be thankit."

Blair again nodded politely and turned to the next patient, an older man, wearing a Tam O'Shanter of a particularly bright plaid. When asked by Blair how he was keeping, the old man replied: "Wee sleekit cow'rin tim'urous beastie. O what panic's in thy breastie!"

By this time the Prime Minister was totally befuddled and turning to the senior doctor who was accompanying him, whispered: "What sort of ward is this? Are they psychiatric patients?"

"No", replied the doctor, "this is the Burns Unit."

Eric Shackle   Story first posted November 2001.

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