Alec Stewart's father was to play at a dance, and he told Alec to feed the horse, as he would be late home. Alec forgot, and had to go out around midnight. He was just a small boy, and was frightened to go the mile to the stable, so his sister Jeannie went with him. This was between Perth and Birnam. There was a big lay-by, with a milestone, and there was a joiner's shop there. The burkers' coach, an old-fashioned motor car without lights, was supposed to pass every night at midnight. Alec saw it, but Jeannie didn't believe him. He ran into the joiner's shop. A man leant out of the car and tried to pull Jeannie in. Alec pulled her legs and jerked her away, and she fell over the milestone and out of the burker's grasp. The coach went off like a shot.
Burkers were murderers who killed to sell the bodies to anatomists. The name is from the notorious Burke (of Burke and Hare), who was hanged in 1829.