I'd owned the book for several years before actually getting to hear the tune ... on the above-mentioned elderly cassette. And hearing the lyrics for the first time just made the story funnier, which made the song funnier, and on and on in a vicious circle. I shan't give Macdonald's plot away (I TOLD you you have to read it), but the song's an old traditional ... from the CD liner notes: "Once upon a time there was the 1745 Rebellion (or Uprising, depending on your politics), whereupon the Highland Scots, led by a Frenchman, Bonnie Prince Charlie, fought against the English, led by a German, George of the House of Hanover. This song tells of one of the Scots' early successes, the Battle of Prestonpans, near Edinburgh. The English General, Johnnie Cope, seems to have been so afraid of the sound of the Scottish bagpipes that he disappeared faster than a five pound note in an off-license, also unfortunately getting back to England considerably faster than his troops. Being asked why he ran so fast, he replied that unfortunately he couldn't fly."
Yeah, I know I'm babbling, but all that silliness makes for a giddy brain. C'mon, somebody else has gotta expose themselves to this glorious pair so I won't be giggling alone. :p