Saturday, January 03, 2009

Gaggin' for a shag

S'no wonder I'm such a sexually and emotionally repressed Donkey, I've been deprived of the basic human right to an education! Let me explain, I'm not talking about the usual, reading, writing and arithmetic kind of education here (believe me, I've had Shakespeare, spelling bees and calculus coming out of my whatsit for years!). No, I'm talking about the fundamental building blocks of education which exist in the form of children's fairy tales.

Now before you hit speed-dial to dob Ma and Pa Donkey into the child protection authorities, I must clarify that I did get the usual, Mother Goose-style fairy tales from my folks, such as Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk etc, but what I didn't get were the "real" fairy tales, as compiled by the good Brothers (indeed very Grimm by name and nature).

Such as the one I've stumbled across this very early morning while struck with an almighty, new year's hangover and unable to sleep with Mrs Donkey snoring away beside me. The story's called Old Hildebrand, and features a silly peasant whose saucy wife's having it off (I kid you not) with the fat parson. The two illicit lovers, in order to get Old Hildebrand out of the way so that they can "...spend a whole day happily together...", concoct a scheme in which the trusting peasant is sent by the sly, randy, old Churchman on a holy pilgrimage to Italy.

Of course, thanks to the wily intervention of a travelling egg salesman (who has no doubt been around the block a few times himself), Old Hildebrand comes home early, where he finds that "...everything was already very merry...". Very merry indeed! It seems Old Hilde's Missus and the dirty old Man of the Cloth were well into things by the time he got home, described by the Brothers G as follows;

"...The woman had already had nearly everything killed that was in the farmyard [a euphemism, if ever I've heard one], and had made pancakes [ooh err], and the parson was there, and had brought his fiddle with him [I'll bet he had, the dirty old bastard!]".

Why didn't anyone tell me about this before? How is it that the real world was denied me so callously? How different my adolescence would have been if those brave princes looking upon an enchanted, sleeping maiden, or up at a flaxen-haired beauty trapped in a tower, had done so, not with a melting heart, but with a raging erection! How different Sunday school might have been if I'd known of Old Hildebrand's saucy minx of a wife and what she and her kind get up to with Father O'Flannagan in the pantry out the back of the Presbytery (I almost certainly would have had a different answer for Father McNaughton when he tapped me on the shoulder and put the vocational question to me if I'd known it was all about "making pancakes" with the parish ladies while their hubbies were at work, and almost certainly, were this knowledge available to the young Catholic lads of Australia, the dwindling numbers of recruits in seminaries across the country could have been prevented right from the outset).

And by far the best thing about the story of Old Hildebrand, unlike those told by the fusty old Goose with the straw hat and wire specs, is that, just as in life, there doesn't have to be any great moral message at the end of it. In Old Hildebrand, there's no "don't talk to strangers", no "even ugly people have hidden qualities", no "respect your elders and loved ones". Rather, far from having to be portrayed as some moral crusader, when he learns of the treachery against him, Old Hildebrand gives the parson a flogging and then throws his leg over the Missus for a bit of pancake-making himself. Great stuff! There should be more of it ... much more, in fact. I'm as angry as all get-out to have been deprived for so long; blinded as to the true nature of children's fairy stories. I've missed so much, and need to make up for some pretty serious, lost time. Please excuse me, I'm off to church...

Why didn't anyone tell me it wasn't all virtuous chastity? A few more learning aids like this wouldn't have gone astray. Pic: