The Creation in Doric

(Genesis, Chapter 1:1 to 2:3)

[Note: According to Gordon Hay, Doric translator of the New Testament, Doric words can change every five miles. (e.g, different names for seagulls along the North Aberdeenshire coast.) So, if you see words that you don’t use, please make allowances for variety.]


1. In the heid o aathin, God makkit the Hivvens an the Yird.*1
2. An the Yird wis athoot form an teem,*2 an Dark wis ower the face o the Deep, an the Spirit o God flichtert ower the watters.
3. An God said: Let there be licht, an there wis licht.
4. An God saw the licht, that it wis guid (Note: pron. gweed). An God sounert*3 the licht fae the dark.
5. An God caa’d the licht Day, an the dark He caa’d Nicht. An there was evenin,*4 an there wis mornin – the Furmaist Day.


6. And God said, Let there be a pairtin atween the watters, an let it keep the watters fae the watters.
7. Sae God wrocht a pairtin, and keepit the watters unner the pairtin fae the watters that wis abeen it, an it wis sae.
8. An God caa’d the pairtin Hivven. And there wis evenin an there wis mornin – the Seicont Day.


9. An God said, Let the watters unner the hivvens be gaithert thegither inti ae steid,*5 an lat the dry grun kythe.*6 An it wis sae.
10. An God caa’d the dry grun Yird, an the gaitherin-thegither o the watters He caa’d seas. And God saw that it wis guid.
11. An God said, Let the Yird fesh oot girss, the yerb beirin seed, an the fruit-tree on the Yird, makkan fruit efter his kind, fas seed’s in itsel, an it wis sae.
12. An the land brocht oot girss, an the yerb beirin seed, an the tree makkin fruit, fas seed is in itsel, efter his kind. An God saw that it wis guid.
13. An the evenin an the mornin wis the Third Day.


14. An God said, Let there be lichts in the pairtin o the hivvens, tae souner the day fae the nicht, an let them staun for signs, an saisons an days an years.
15. An let them be for lichts in the pairtin o the hivvens ti gie licht on the Yird.
16. An God makkit the twa grand lichts, the bigger ene ti rule ower the day, and the wee-er ene ti rule ower the nicht. He made the stars as weel.
17. An God set them in the pairtin of the hivvens, ti gie licht upon the Yird,
18. ti rule ower the day an the nicht, an ti souner the licht fae the dark, and God saw that it wis guid.
19. An the evenin an the mornin wis the Fowerth Day.


20. An God said, Let the watters bring furth sweeman craiturs galore*7 that hae life, an birds that flee abeen the Yird in the open pairtin o the hivvens.
21. An God makkit muckle whauls, an aa lievan craiturs that muive, that the watters hed brocht furth fowth o, efter their kind, an ilka weengit foul efter hits*8 kind, an God saw that it wis guid.
22. And God blissit them, sayin, Hae aa fowth and growe in nummer, an fill the watters in the seas, an let the birds increase upon the land.
23. An the evenin an the mornin wis the Fifth Day.


24. Syne God said, Let the land bring furth the livin craiturs efter their kinds, kye and creepin things, an beasts o the yird efter their kinds. An it wis sae.
25. An God makkit the beasts o the land, after their kinds, and the nowt efter their kinds, and aathin that creeps alang the grun efter their kinds, an God saw that it wis guid.
26. An God said, Let’s mak Fowk, in oor image, efter oor likeness, and let them hae the upper haun ower the fish o the sea, and ower aa the birds o the air, and ower aa the kye, and ower aa the land, an ower ilka creepin thing that creeps alang the grun.
27. Sae God creatit Fowk in His ain image. He creatit them in the image o God: male an female He creatit them.
28. An God blessit them, an God said ti them, Hae aa fowth*9 an increase, an fill the land, an keep it unner fit, an hae the rinnin o the fish o the sea an the birds o the air, an ilka livin craitur that muives alang the grun.
29. An God said, Look, I hae gien ye ilka yerb beirin seed that is on the face o the hale land, an ilka tree fit hes fruit makkin seed. It’ll be maet*10 for ye.
30. An ti ilka beast o the land, and ti ilka bird o the air, an ti ilka livin thing that creeps alang the grun belang ilka green yerb for maet. An it wis sae.
31. An God saaw aathin that He hed wrocht, and – behauld – it wis affa guid. An the evenin and the mornin wis the Sixt Day.


2:1 Sae the Hivvens an the Yird wis feenisht, an the hale company in-bye them.
2 An on te Siventh Day, God endit aa His work that He hed dean; an He restit on the Sieventh Day fae aa His work that He hed dean.
3 An God blissit the Siventh Day, and sain’t*11 it, because in it He restit fae aa His work that He hed creatit and wrocht.


1: Yird – Earth

2: teem (Scots toom, empty)

3: souner (English sunder, to divide)

4: The mediaeval ending in participles was -ing in English but -and in Scots. (e.g., The Gordons’ motto Bydand = English biding, waiting). In practice, today, both sides of the Border say -in, in spoken conversation. Here I have adopted this neutral form, although the -in should probably be rendered -an, thus evenan, beiran and not evenin, beirin. I want the language to be accessible to modern readers, so reduce unnecessary variations.

5: steid is English stead, place: e.g., Hampstead (Homestead); instead of (= in place of).

6: kytheto show (up), an archaic term used in poetry in English and Scots (Cf. Geoffrey Chaucer ‘a gentle hearte kytheth gentilesse’; Sir Walter Scott: ‘It kythes bright…because all is dark around it’. The word also appears in the 1650 translation of our Metrical Psalms.

7: galore – plenty, after the Scottish Gaelic expression for plenty – gu leor.

8: hits – its. This ancient form was used by my grandmother. It is pure Anglo-Saxon.

9: fowth – fullness

10: maetmeat, food (Like the Scots pronunciation of the English word, mate.)

11: sain’t, sained – sanctified. (Cf. Psaulm Twa.)

12: Final note: As anyone who has seen my rendering of Genesis in earlier drafts will know, I have tidied up the text considerably by restoring the th- to words like the and that, instead of writing  or ‘at. This is deliberate. I was too enthusiastic for phonetic verisimilitude: the result was that I went completely against Grassic Gibbon’s advice to avoid an impertinent spray of apostrophes. I apologise to him and to my earlier readers,

My enthusiastic mistake was born of love for Doric. I hope to improve as I go on. BKG,

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