Those of you who notice these things may have noticed that there is a gap on this blog betwen Terrible Tales 2 and 4. Not unnaturally, in this case, that position was filled by Terrible Tales 3, which, because of the dance connection, I posted on my tango blog. To save you having to click over and expose yourself to unwanted terpsichorial esoteria, I thought I’d repost it here in the earnest hope that it will serve as a warning to anyone contemplating tripping the dark fantastic on the heaving deck of a small to medium sized sea-going craft.
Norm’s Last Tango
Norman was a square-dance caller
On a North Atlantic trawler.
Should the crew be feeling low
He’d get them all to dosey-do.
Even in quite stormy weather
He’d gather all the guys together.
“Come on chaps, let’s get dancing.
You’ll find it really life enhancing!”
One day he thought he’d raise the bar…
Which turned out to be a step too far.
How much further could a man go
Than teaching fishermen to tango?
When walking backwards in high heels
He tripped upon a box of eels,
Which quite upset the swarthy captain,
Whose close embrace poor Norm was wrapped in.
He’d planned on cutting quite a dash
But his hopes all ended with a splash.
He’d probably be still alive
If he’d stuck to salsa, waltz or jive.
[Vintage photographs of Hull Trawler SS New Zealand adapted from whatsthatpicture.com]
As an alternative to burial or cremation Mabel’s approach may be seen by many as deeply inappropriate. But is it right that we should criticise without knowing truly what her intentions were? She and her dear brother may have been animal lovers; perhaps Mabel saw her actions as respecting Freddy’s feelings as she perceived them, and thereby giving him the opportunity, in death, to provide for the animals he loved.
Mabel and Freddy at the Zoo
Mabel Eddy loved her Teddy
And her brother, Freddy, too.
But when poor Fred died in bed
She tried to sell him to the zoo.
The keeper smiled and shook his head,
“We have no use for Freddy dead.
If you’d brought him round here yesterday
We might have been prepared to pay.
“The lions and tigers think, what a bore,
With meat that lies there on the floor.
But their ears prick up to hear the sound
Of little lads that run around.
“We like our dinners quietly steaming
Not chasing up and down and screaming.
Lions and tigers aren’t the same
The chase for them’s part of the game.”
Mabel thought for just a tick,
“What if I poke him with a stick?
That might help them make their mind up,
Unless they catch on it’s a wind-up.”
So they threw poor Freddy in the den
And counted slowly up to ten.
A lion appeared and looked around
And spotted Freddy on the ground.
The keeper hissed, “Wait for my nod,
Then grab your stick and start to prod.”
The lion approached with steady tread,
But seized poor Mabel’s stick instead…
One mighty heave, without a pause,
Till Mabel reached its slavering jaws.
The moral of this story’s true…
Don’t take dead siblings to the zoo.
We should all be free to follow our dreams, that goes without saying. But sometimes such dreams, or fantasies, may have unexpected consequences; whatever we may perceive as the initial benefits. This was certainly true in the case of Henry (“Hen” to his friends) Pendragon-Brown…
A Cautionary Story
My brother’s a chicken, at least that’s what he said.
He eats nothing but cornflakes and lives in our shed.
We should call a doctor, our Sis often begs;
I reckon we could do, but Mum needs the eggs,
They’re tasty and fresh; we have them on toast.
But I’m worried about Dad… he loves Sunday roast!
Trick or Treat
We’re going out for Trick or Treat,
Dad, please drive us down the street.
Dad said No, now off you go…
So, a little petrol and a wire,
Now it’s father’s funeral pyre.
A few years ago I started to collect curious, and often extremely weird, photographs. Many are quite disturbing and lead you to speculate about the story behind them. Later I began to write short verses to go with these oddities.
A few days ago I read Ransom Riggs’ excellent book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, itself inspired by and illustrated with similar vintage found snapshots. That stirred me to go back to these photographs and my stories in verse. Perhaps I’ll post a few here….
No Bacon Saved for Arthur Batley
Arthur Batley thought it neat
To dress himself in sides of meat.
Until one day he ventured out
With ne’er a second thought or doubt.
His wife said, “Arthur, don’t be late,
Supper time is half-past eight.”
At nine a knock came at the door,
“Open please, this is the law.”
A policeman there with visage grave
Said, “Arthur’s gone too far to save.”
He handed her a battered hat…
“The rest’s been eaten by a cat.”
“Oh dear, that’s sad,” said Mrs B,
“Won’t you have a cup of tea?”
She wiped away a sudden tear,
“Or perhaps you’d like a glass of beer?”
“I poured it out at half-past eight,
And Arthur’s meal’s still on the plate;
You have it, he won’t be wanting that
After being eaten by a cat.”