Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Cautionary Tale ("Susan, Who Crossed the Tracks Without Watching, and Was Sucked Under a Train and Hurled Against a Lamp Post")

Tom Leonard writes today in the Telegraph about his children's attraction to morbid tales -- and all the better if they are true stories. I was thinking just yesterday, after reading a description of grisly perversion in the local newspaper, that I need to censor the newspaper in my house for the sake of my young children; even perhaps not reading it myself. Real life happenings are often much uglier than anything in Brothers Grimm.
The children have had chickenpox this week - a ghastly sight (and sound), made worse by their constant demands to be entertained. There is one story in particular they never tire of hearing - about a handsome bull in a field, and how he gored one of their cousins.

I'd like to say that it was a case of the outer ugliness of their condition poisoning their inner purity, but their enthusiasm for the Hilaire Belloc-ish tale of Constantin, who climbed a farm gate with disastrous consequences, is nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, it's about time they dug up their other gruesome favourite - the cheery tale, related to us by a nice old man in a little town near New Orleans, of how a local strawberry seller got sucked under a goods train after crossing the tracks to her car at the wrong moment.

I can't remember all the details - I think the body ended up being hurled against a lamp post - but I guarantee that our son does, and encourages us to share them with almost everyone we meet.
link to the full article, Day of the Dad: Gory Stories

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