Couervige, 19th April 1750
“If ye think I’m weering that in ma bonnet, ye can shove it right up yer hoolies!” These were the words uttered by Private Heen MacFeegle when his sergeant major issued him with his official bulb of garlic. “It’s uh disgrace,” he continued, “forcin’ a wee lad fro’ the glens tae decorate hissel’ wi’ forrun objects!”
“Will ye cease yer prating,” replied Sergeant Major Duggan. “I dinnae like it any more than yersel’, but orders is orders and the laird must be obeyed. Get yersel’ oot o’ ma face or ye’ll be on a whuppin’.”
“But why this stuff? Are we expecting bloody bats or summat? An’ dae I weer it all at once, or bit by bit?”
“I dinnae ken, laddie. Apparently, they eat the bloody stuff in these parts, mixed wi’ some sorta yellow goo that looks like pus an’ smells worse. Ah wouldnae let it near ma haggis, for sure, and it’d fair ruin a gaed steak – it’d completely mask the subtle scorching an’ sootie buts.”
Shaking his head, MacFeegle turned on his heels and left the tent, clutching his newly issued field sign.
Nearby, a purple-faced Quartermaster was screaming at an uncomprehending commissariat, whose oxen chewed the grass contentedly. “Just what about the word ‘wild’ do you not understand, monsieur? Wild! Suavage. You – were – supposed – to – deliver – fifty – cart – loads – of – WILD – garlic,” he said, poking the man’s chest rhythmically, “not this bloody smelly lumpen stuff!”
“Sauvage, monsieur?” replied the trader. “Non, certainement non. L‘ail is the most beautiful and elegant of condiments, bringing vigour to a bifstec served à point, a subtle charm to, ‘ow you say, lobsteur, a delightful immediacy to les trouffes à la Lemande, and a frisson to chanterelles au Passillon. And I ‘ave brought you ze best!”
And so it was that the Grenouissian Alliance began its odorous advance to war, trailing a perfume that could be detected to windward for fully ten miles.