Will Gatti & Daniel Finn


Bag End

Bag End

Bags, boxes, sacks and chests. Things for putting things in. Things for taking things out of. All those names: hand bag, shoulder bag, rattle bag, duffle bag, sea chest, gunny sack, haversack, knapsack, shopping bag, feed bag,rag bag, and trunk. That’s like a full stop.


Trunk and chest. You can’t carry them, not in your hand. You have to shoulder a chest and if it’s a sea chest, you would have to shoulder it up the gangplank because that’s what sailors did. Except it was probably the skipper who had the sea chest because he had a decent cabin; your ordinary sailor, hanging in a hammock, with no room to swing a cat, might just have a ditty bag or a ditty box. That’s the one I like best; it sounds like something you might keep a song inside; or a carved seal tooth, or a button, a needle, waxed thread and a pair of dice.

But second best is gunny sack. What is that! Not something you keep a gun in because that would be duller than a dish of spelling tests. I heard that name, gunny sack, in Johnny B Goode, a song by Chuck Berry, and I think that’s what he carried his guitar in. That’s very good, almost as good as the ditty box, which wouldn’t fit the guitar.

Up in our attic we had something we called a rummel kist, which I have never heard of since but that’s probably because I have spelt it wrongly. Kist is an old Scottish word for chest but rummel… who knows where that comes from? It should be rummage for rummaging in. We had old bits and pieces and clothes for dressing up in our rummel kist. Perhaps it was really a rommel kist. Rommel, the Desert Fox, the famous German general. Perhaps he was in there but I never noticed.

Or maybe there was an actual desert fox in there, like this one. desert fox