Throughout my entire time in Scotland, there’s one story that was told to me that really sticks out. The story is about two Scottish Brothers who were captured and put into prison. Their guard holding them hostage said that one brother could go free in the morning, while the other one was to be hung at dawn. The two brothers were left alone to figure out who would be the one to die. Bravely and with solidarity, they said that if both of them couldn’t go home together, then at least they could die together. They told their guard the verdict and then went to sleep. Halfway through the night, the older brother called the guard in, while his younger brother slept, and asked for a piece of paper. On this paper, he wrote “you take the high road, and I’ll take the low road and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye.” He told the guard to give this to his brother when he woke and then asked to be taken out and hung so his brother could go home in the morning. The say that what he wrote on the letter to his brother is an old Scottish saying, where the high road is the road of the living and the low road is the road of those who have passed into the spirit would to their death.
The lyrics are below followed by my favourite version of the song, which I must admit, makes me tear up everytime I hear it.
“By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes, where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond, where me and my true love were ever won’t to gae on the bonnie bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.
O’ye’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie bonnie banks o’loch Lomond.
Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen, on the steep steep side o’Ben Lomond
Where in deep purple hue, the Hieland Hills we view
And the moon coming oot in the gloaming.
The wee birdies sing and the wild flowers spring
And in sunshine the waters are sleeping.
But the broken heart will ken nae second spring again
Though the waefu’ may cease fae their greeting.