Category Archives: Tales

2471. Mr. B.B. Wolf

When Little Red Riding Hood bumped into the Big Bad Wolf in the forest she was very surprised.

“Goodness!” declared Little Red Riding Hood. “You are looking so tired, Mr. Wolf.”

“I’m feeling a bit exhausted, Little Red Riding Hood,” said the wolf. “I’ve spent all morning blowing houses down. First there was a house of straw and then a house of sticks. The third house, made of bricks, proved to be a real problem.”

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf continued to chat away enthusiastically in the forest. Anyone who passed by would have been delighted to see how well the two got on.

In the end the Big Bad Wolf invited Little Red Riding Hood to his place for dinner.

“I’d love too!” said Little Red Riding Hood.

“That’s brilliant,” beamed the Wolf. “I do hope you like roast pork.”

2470. Full moon

It was a full moon. Quite frankly, Charlie was sick to death of turning into a werewolf every full moon. Why can’t he live a normal live like everyone else? This month the full moon clashed with the date of the annual school dance. He rather fancied Betsy-Anne and had already invited her before he realized the clash of dates.

I mean, he couldn’t help it. The sun would go down; the moon would rise; Charlie would turn into a werewolf and pad off into the night.

“Blow it,” he thought. “I’m going to the dance with Betsy-Anne. I’ll tell her beforehand what will happen and she can dump me if she likes.”

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Betsy-Anne said she didn’t mind. And when the moon rose (to be rather ruthless about it) Betsy-Anne thought he looked rather sexy. They danced! Did they dance? They danced the night away. Midnight came sooner than they thought possible.

On the stroke of twelve Betsy-Anne leapt out of Charlie’s arms and dashed outside into her waiting coach. A glass slipper was all she left behind.

2469. Summer bulbs

They claimed to be the biggest supplier of garden bulbs in the country. Floyd was just one in a million that used their services. Only online orders were taken.

Of course, bulbs don’t flower the minute they arrive in the mail. Red gladioli bulbs might arrive in September but wouldn’t flower until January (Southern Hemisphere times!)

That is how Floyd developed a system. He would email the bulb company in January to complain that the red gladioli bulbs he ordered in September were now flowering and they were yellow. “It is so disappointing,” wrote Floyd. “After all these months of anticipation and then this happens.”

The following season Floyd would get a little parcel in the mail. “We apologize for our error in fulfilling your order with the wrong coloured bulbs. Here are the correct bulbs.” Floyd now had twenty red gladioli bulbs, instead of the mere ten he had originally ordered.

Floyd had used this trick for seven years. Among his order “corrections” were Mixed Ruffled Begonias, Zantedeschia Amberjack, Hippeastrum Terracotta Star, and Tigridia Pavonia. What a picture his garden was!

This year he would try something different. He would attempt to grow garlic, because these days the cooking garlic imported from China was tasteless. Floyd’s package arrived in the mail with a note:

Dear Floyd – here are the bulbs you ordered. Since you have been such a regular customer over the years we have included six extra bulbs for you to try with your cooking. So there are half a dozen bulbs for you to use for planting and half a dozen bulbs for you to use for eating. It’s our way of thanking you by giving you an opportunity to try before you plant!

Floyd did indeed cook with some! Of course, Hyacinth bulbs can be lethal.

2468. Chants and hakas

Story 2468 is significant enough a number to deviate into reality. When we were kids, “Two four six eight” was the grace before meals when mum and dad weren’t there:

Two four six eight, bog in, don’t wait.

Two four six eight was also the prefix to a chant at sports gatherings:

Two four six eight, who do we appreciate?

The winner’s name would then be chanted.

Another chant in that ilk was to spell the sports person’s name:

Give us an S
Give us an M
Give us an I
Give us a T
Give us an H
What have you got?
SMITH! SMITH! SMITH!

Of course that chant doesn’t work if the name is Barakat-Bentinckstokes.

My favourite chant (apart from Let’s go Brandon) requires a bit of explaining:

The High School I went to (and also taught at for a decade) was situated in the countryside. It was a large all-boys boarding school catering mainly at the time to sons of isolated farming families throughout the country. Hence the school itself was attached to a farm. The biggest (and oldest) annual athletics occasion was called the McEvedy Shield. Four major all-boys schools met to compete in some large stadium. The entire roll of each school would attend. Chants and hakas abounded. A haka is a traditional Maori challenge and each school in New Zealand has its own. The video shows two opposing high school teams challenging each other before a rugby match. (Incidentally, a “College” in New Zealand is the same as a High School).


At the McEvedy Shield around 2 o’clock the three opposing schools would unite and begin chanting at my school:

Go home! Milking time! Go home! Milking time!

I always found the Milking Time Chant very entertaining, and if anything it highlighted the positive camaraderie between the four competitive schools.

Perhaps you have a favourite chant?

2467. Taking stock

Huntington Mine wasn’t a movie set; it was a real old gold-mining town. The mine had long since ceased to function and the small population maintained a livelihood by keep things exactly as they once were. Tourists would come in droves to experience “them gold-mining days”. The few shops and houses were very much of an earlier period. What a ruckus it caused when Davie in the corner store started selling polyester t-shirts! The other residents quickly put a stop to this “lack of authenticity”.

Perhaps the thing most popular with tourists was on the street just outside the mayor’s office. There stood genuine stocks. In the old days a person could be put in the stocks for wayward behaviour. These days tourists would get placed in the stocks simply for a photo opportunity.

One of the most often seen groups coming to Huntington Mine were school groups. A bus would arrive and a teacher would say, “Now class, this is exactly what it was like back in them gold-mining days.”

A class had just arrived from Gladville High. Everyone took turns to get photographed in the stocks. Except for Tatiana. She said she suffered from claustrophobia and didn’t want even for a few seconds to get locked in the stocks. The other students appreciated that, but Tatiana’s friends said if she did it they would stay with her for the short time she was photographed. Tatiana agreed.

Into the stocks she went. The lock was applied. A few photos were quickly taken.

That was when an earthquake struck and everyone ran off in a panic.

2466. Ransacked

My dear Brethren. I had been growing lovely vegetables in my garden so that I could share them with the poor of our beloved congregation. And what happened?

We had invited the bishop to dinner. Our chef was preparing a dish – Blanquette de Veau if you must know – and I asked the cook as I left for my daily walk if he would like a few sprigs of this and that as I passed through our gardens on the way back. I like to make myself useful.

Well, someone had ransacked the garden. All the squash had disappeared. The celery, kale, and lettuces had been stripped. The peas and beans had been plucked. Not all, but a whole row of potatoes had gone west. The list goes on. I asked the head gardener if he knew anything about it and he didn’t. He was as angry as I was.

The chef had to send the housekeeper into town to purchase herbs and vegetables and fruit for the evening meal. We were getting low on ice cream anyway and now needed strawberries and clementines (if they have them) for dessert. Believe me, the road to hell is paved with pips of stolen apples, and the tops of stolen carrots, and corn cobs, and courgette seeds.

I informed the police and they spent considerable time on the investigation. It turns out the vegetables had been stolen by people living in tents on my street. A curse on them. I had arranged for the Press to attend next week as I distribute a few of the vegetables to some of the poor, and now I have had to cancel. That’s the last time I’ll be getting staff to grow stuff for the city’s urchins.

I shall be instructing the police to charge these criminals to the full extent of the law or my name is not ……

2465. Let her eat cake

Some cultures eat cake with a fork; some with a spoon; some simply eat cake with their fingers.

Aileen had baked a cake for visitors. It wasn’t a fancy occasion. It wasn’t a particularly fancy cake. The cake was simply something to nibble on with a coffee or tea, or in Jackie Olwynn’s case, with a glass of water. The occasion was something that Aileen did every year, and that was to invite all the women who lived on the street in for a cuppa.

This was the eleventh year that Aileen had held such an occasion, but it was the first year since her husband had upped and left. He’d run off with a woman who lived two doors down the road. Penelope-Prue most certainly was not on the invitation list!

And then the worst happened: Jackie Olwynn arrived with Penelope-Prue in hand.  “She wasn’t going to come,” said Jackie, “and I said, don’t be a silly-billy.”

Penelope-Prue was from overseas. She was not a typical foreigner; she was loud, obnoxious, and did everything that was totally, socially proper in an ostentatious way. AND – she ate her cake with a fork.

The little afternoon tea began. Aileen had already divided the cake and placed the slices on pretty plates of delicate flowers. “And would any like a fork to eat their cake?”

Penelope-Prue did. “An educated lady is one who eats cake with a fork even if she dines alone!” joked Penelope-Prue.

Aileen nearly sniggered. “Aha!” she thought, “it is indeed very proper for that frump to eat her poisoned slice with a fork.”

2464. Crossing the Styx

Over the course of a lengthy life Carmel had five cats. She had only one at a time, and each lived for a reasonable number of years, except for Tallulah who had died young from cancer.

 Now it was Carmel’s turn to pass away. The specialists had given their prognosis. It gave Carmel a little time to prepare. “I do hope,” said Carmel, “that they allow cats in Heaven and I shall have the joy of once again seeing my sweet five.”

They were almost her last words on earth. They were certainly her first words after death. She told the man rowing the boat across the River Styx, “I do hope that they allow cats in Heaven and I shall have the joy of once again seeing my sweet five.”

“You’ll be lucky,” said the man rowing the boat.

Carmel wasn’t sure how to interpret the man’s statement. Did it mean a yes or a no? That is why she repeated to the nice man at the Pearly Gates, “I do hope that they allow cats in Heaven and I shall have the joy of once again seeing my sweet five.”

“Only one cat per person is allowed,” said the man at the gate.

Carmel returned to the man in the row boat. “Take me to the other place,” she said.

2463. One needs enough to be secure

(Another story today! I shall post music over the weekend if I can get myself organized – which I’m finding harder to do by the day! I’ve got so many irons in the fire that life is a dog’s breakfast.)

We all knew that Great Uncle Menzies was “comfortable” but we never knew how comfortable. He lived a fairly ascetic life. His favourite saying was “One doesn’t need to be rich; all one needs is enough to be secure.”

When he died we were asked if we would contest the will – we were after all his only relatives and he had left everything to the Mount Ararat Ark of the Flood Church. Not that it would come to much, and Great Uncle Menzies was a lovely man so why ruin his generosity after he’s dead?

Yesterday the Mount Ararat Ark of the Flood Church announced they were building a multi-storey skyscraper in downtown New York. Goodness, they must’ve run into some money.

2462. Pollyanna comes to stay

Ok – a story to give a break from a week of music! I trust everyone had a lovely June Solstice – and to those in the Northern Hemisphere, no doubt your days have started drawing in as you plummet your way towards winter. Whereas we in the South…

What a pain in the bottom Pollyanna has become. My wife says it is age. Squawk! Squawk! Squawk all day! Nothing satisfies her. And as for food? No, I won’t eat this. No, I won’t eat that. Honestly, she’s driving my wife and me up the wall.

She’s due to return home in just over a week. We can’t wait. We’ll drive her there the minute that day dawns. Our home is rather small. In fact, it’s only a one-bedroom place, so Pollyanna has to sleep in the living room. Of course the living room is where we have the television, and Pollyanna retires early.

It pays to be nice to elderly relatives; especially great aunts with more than a couple of dollars in their bank account! Aunt Constantia for example. Just kidding! We’d have Pollyanna stay anyway, but that doesn’t mean we have to enjoy every minute of it. And she comes to stay only for about a week a year when Aunt Constantia goes on vacation and has no one to look after Pollyanna her parrot.