Tag Archives: Tales

1912. Woodland ghost

Whenever Russell went to stay with his grandmother she would tell him stories. Grandmother never read from a book; her stories were real. They were about things that happened in the old days, like when the river flooded and washed away their woodshed, or how the cat got stuck up a tree and the fire brigade came with a big ladder and rescued the cat.

This time Grandmother told Russell something true but a little scary. It was how a ghost appeared one night to her uncle. Her uncle was now dead, but when he was young he was walking home one evening and suddenly a ghost appeared from behind a tree in the woods. Her uncle got a huge fright, but then he calmed down a bit.

The ghost told him that he was enchained in the afterlife unless he could help a person on earth for a whole year. This was because when on earth the ghost had been mean and selfish, so he had to earn his eternal happiness another way.

Russell’s grandmother’s uncle said he was happy for the ghost to help him for a whole year. So the uncle invited the ghost to stay in his home.

The thing was, the ghost was not a nice ghost. It was a trick he was playing on the uncle, and within a month the uncle had completely disappeared. Just like that. It was suspected that he was murdered by the ghost and then the ghost inhabited the uncle’s body. “My uncle began to act very strange,” Grandmother told Russell. “We knew it wasn’t really him.”

Russell told Grandmother that he didn’t believe in ghosts. “The story can’t be true,” he said. “You made it all up.”

Grandmother assured Russell that it was true and he must be careful when he walks through the woods in the evening.

“Pooh!” said Russell. “It’s nonsense.”

Goodness! It was already evening. Russell would be late for dinner. He took the shortcut home through the woods.

“I like it when history repeats,” smiled Grandmother.

1772. A close encounter

When the alien emerged from the cosmic transporter on my back lawn I honestly didn’t know where to look. It seemed to be all twiggy stems and long hanging seed pods; sort of like sea kelp on the end of a stick. It was hideous.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” it began. Sorry to bother me? I couldn’t imagine where the orifice was that was producing this dialogue. I couldn’t discern a face anywhere.

“I’m sorry to bother you but the facility in the cosmic transporter is blocked and I wondered if I could use your bathroom?”

Ah! There it was! A mouth that was moving. The words were definitely emanating from there. The alien seemed quite tall so I stood on tip-toe and addressed my answers towards the mouth. I couldn’t work out a nose or eyes or ears. Just this (really for the size of the alien) rather tiny mouth. No! There it was! A sort of nose that twitched a little, just above the mouth. And a couple of bumps on either side of the nose that I presumed were some sort of eyes. Or perhaps ears.

“You’d be most welcome,” I said. “The bathroom is just up those steps, across the porch, and to the immediate right as you step inside. You can’t miss it.” I tried to convey how welcome it was to use the bathroom by appearing friendly and speaking in an enthusiastic manner. It’s most disconcerting speaking to what looks like a pile of kelp. And so I smiled in a friendly way and addressed it directly close up to its face.

“You can’t miss it,” I repeated, whispering a little now in order to convey a certain confidence in the strange creature. I even managed to pat it in a non-condescending manner on the top of what I presumed was its head.

“Look!” said the alien, “I don’t mean to be rude but would you mind not staring so closely at my private parts.”

1636. Hard times

Ernst had no real life savings but through care and a little nous he could get by comfortably enough on the weekly pension. His rent was reasonable, although it ate up the larger part of his pension. He could buy groceries, and by careful planning could even get a little something extra on a special occasion. He could pay for his electricity, provided he was careful; for example he always took a cold shower to save on hot water. He had a cell phone which cost him simply a few dollars because he never used it but kept it in case of emergency.

His house had a wood burner, but since he lived near a pine plantation the forest owners were happy enough for him to forage. In fact over the summer he built up quite a collection of firewood in his woodshed. As well as that, Ernst loved to garden, so the house was usually bright with a vase of fresh flowers, to say nothing of the soups and vegetables he could freeze for when the growing season was over.

All in all, Ernst survived reasonably well on the pension.

And then he had a stroke. He made a fairly remarkable recovery, but was limited. No more could he take a cold shower. He couldn’t collect and chop the firewood. It was cold. Nothing that year had been frozen from the garden. He couldn’t afford the few dollars for his phone. The electricity bill grew too big to pay. Then he couldn’t afford the rent. He was evicted but it cost too much to move his belongings. Besides, he had nowhere to go. He tried to sell a few things but with little luck.

Ernst was homeless.

As Mrs. Angela Govind-Higginson, who used to know Ernst and his late wife many years ago, observed, “Mercifully, he’s now dead.”

1627. Plummeting education

Dear Editor

I usually don’t write to the newspaper to vent my frustration, but enough is enough. I think that personal opinions are just that – opinions that should be kept to oneself. But I can’t hold back in this matter any longer. I see our education system plunging into a dark and bottomless abyss. Here are a few questions I would like to ask today’s young people. The paucity of correct replies should serve to emphasize the lack of cultural historicity being taught in today’s classroom.

1. What exactly was in Little Red Riding Hood’s basket? Was it buns or muffins or perhaps bagels? Was it scones? Or maybe it was little bottles of honey and various jams that she was taking to grandma. I am prepared to bet my bottom dollar that today’s generation will be lost for words when it comes to this aspect of our cultural heritage. I wouldn’t be at all surprised, given the lack of morality prevalent in today’s society, if some people suggest that Little Red Riding Hood had non-perishable goods in her basket. Pickled onions for example. Or even some sort of health food. That is what the world has come to. If students were taught properly what was really in Little Red Riding Hood’s basket then the world would be a better place.

2. Was the Big Bad Wolf that confronted Little Red Riding Hood the same wolf that hounded the Three Little Pigs? Teachers want us to believe that toxic males permeate society and are far more common than they really are. They think the world is full of nasty wolves like the Big Bad Wolf. And anyway, was the woodsman who in the end chopped off the head of the wolf as nice as some make out? What was the woodsman doing hovering around Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother’s house in the first place? The woodsman with the axe, not the Wolf, was oversexed and violent.

3. Why was Little Red Riding Hood wearing a hood? Was she ashamed of who she was? What uneducated person these days knows that the reason Little Red Riding Hood wore a hood was perhaps because she was Little Bo Peep in disguise. Or perhaps Goldilocks? Or Cinderella? Or Sleeping Beauty? Need I go on and on? Who is to say that Little Red Riding Hood wasn’t a toxic male such as Little Jack Horner trying to lure the Big Bad Wolf into sticking his thumb into a pie?

4. When Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater put his wife inside a pumpkin he wasn’t being nasty. Those were different times. There’s no need to rewrite history. One can only hope that the pumpkin had a kitchen sink.

Whatever happened to our fine education system when students were taught real answers to real questions? I bet you anything that few people these days know that getting a pail of water was the last thing on Jack and Jill’s mind when they went up the hill. Our world has indeed plummeted into savagery and barbarousness.

Yours faithfully
Old King Cole

Poem 68: Ah! Song!

There’s so much can be said in a song.
The troubled child sings an inner song.

Fat cats stuff their mouths with food and drink.
Farts and belches are their dinner song.

Remorseful mother, stressed and angry,
blesses her child, sings a sinner song.

Grand Andy stands to sing on tele;
he smugly thinks this is the winner song.

Gale force winds break branches, howling loud,
until a breeze drifts a thinner song.

Some make a long story longer still;
Yet some tell tall tales; some spin a song.

And I, with stilled pen and silent muse,
pour myself a second gin… Ah! Song!!