Goldilocks and Riding Hood
Went tramping through the Tulgey Wood,
Rapscallions both, fine fair of face,
With baskets for their Grannie Grace,
Through wind and rain, through snow and hail,
For poor old Grannie was in Jail,
Accused of murdering her Lord -
Who dead, lay on the Surgeon's Board;
When with a wild bloodcurdling shout,
A hairy band of men charged out
Of the woodwork of that Tulgey Wood,
Right greedy for poor Grannie's food;
But from each bootleg, each girl drew
A hunting knife and slew and slew,
Those evil rogues who, in the dark,
Sank down and left a good sitzmark
Upon the freshly fallen snow,
And thus the maids continued so,
Towards the Jail where, under Guard,
On a bed both rough and hard,
Wrapped only in a tattered cape,
Poor Grannie plotted to escape;
With knife and dirk she'd slit the throat,
Of every guard and swim the Moat,
Over the Moor, and through the Wood,
With Goldilocks and Riding Hood,
Until they flew across the Border,
Safe and sound from their Lord's Order;
But Alas! the maids had been delayed,
By dawn poor Grannie had been flayed,
Hung, Drawn and Quartered, hung in chains,
For crows to peck at her white banes,
And so the girls, beneath her stood,
And quickly ate up all the food,
Turned on their heels, set off for home,
And there sat down and writ this pome!
“Sir Parlane wiz a sansculotte,
He thocht upon his feet,
Unlike thon scanno M'houyhnhnm,
Wha's kent tae be effete;
Sir Parlane's cock an ba's swing free,
Nae Nappy-sack fur thaim,
Presenteeism's no thair joab,
Fur entryin's thair gaim!”
Sir Parlane MacFarlane welcomed his guests that same evening: the wine flowed freely and all were in a convivial humour, there was even no kerflooey from The Maister of Kilquhenny when Dominic and Angus of MacAngus (the Man of Angus MacAngus of Angus) who were both servants, joined the group at the Table; Marie Doubleday served the suckling pig and little Goldilocks led the other maids who provided sufficient food and drink for everyone to feel quite contented; then Sir Parlane rose to his feet: “freens an neebours, ah bid ye welcome tae the Hoose o MacFarlane, on this auspicious date, when I propose that we jine thegither, in a Ring o Gouwd, an fer thon, am here presentin yes wi ane Gouwden Ring apiece, manufactured by ma Honest Freen, Sir Angus MacAngus, The MacAngus, the finest Gouwdsmith in aw Scotia; the design is by oor renoond freen an legal advisor, Advocate Mertin Elginbreed, wham oo aw cry Mertin, bein as hoo oor aw on guid freenly tairms, yin wi t'other; onyhoo, fergie me if ah expatiate ower lang fer yer lugs, but ye ken me, if am plyin knuckle-banes ah cannae but gie fer broke, it's aw or bust fer moi! Bit, hooane'er, it's high time ah donned ma sackcloth and daubed ma face wi ashes, in the time-honoured obeisance o a mon tae his mistress, an here, ah submit fer yer especial pleesher, the Dedicatee o oor Ring o Gouwd, ah preesent: The Fairest Wean up The High: she's nae strachtlaced, as ye'll see she's nae laced at aa, so ye'll kin rove aw ower her hills n dales, Bens n Glens, and demonstrate how thew yer mussels be, an extra specially thon michty, muckle organ ye keep tucket intae yer codpeece, Maister Kilquhenny, for ye've ridden this filly afore, am kennin, she's Mine so she's thine, in the Ring o Gouwd, we share oor Bounty, so here is Ma Darlin' Gouwdilocks (or as the Advocate wud say, an wha sez he's no richt? no me! 'Goldilocks'! enjiy yersels yin an aw and remember . . . . . .” and the silence that followed his aposiopesis was so palpable that none dared break it, not even old Kilquhenny, nor young Goldilocks, but all simply sat or stood and stared at the immobilised figure of MacFarlane, seemingly turned to stone mid-sentence, mid-action, his mouth open, his left arm swung towards the wee lassie approaching the table, in all her cherubic sweetness and nothing else, his right paused in the raising of a goblet of wine to his lips, and it seemed that this tableau would persist until the end of time!
(Editor's Note: Due to an unfortunate and unconscionable lapse in consciousness on the part of Miss Somerville, which resulted in the lack of an entry yesterday, she hopes to redeem herself by this submission which takes the form of “Two for the price of One” or in common parlance: “BOGOF” the success of which it is left to the readers to decide)
“Let me get this clear in my head,” said Tammy, “this MacFarlane geezer formed a Paedophile Ring sometime in the 13th Century?” and Tavish nodded; “and it's still going strong, in our time?” and again, Tavish nodded; “and some of the members now, in our time, are descended from the original members from Thomas's time, the 13th Century?” and Tavish nodded for the third time; “these are Sinners against the Lord,” interjected Thomas, for the first time; “and against the laws of the Land,” cried Bernie; “well,” said Tavish with that distinctive gesture of his – his hand held out, fingers splayed, palm down, and rocked from side to side: “eloquently put, my friends, but in truth it all depends, for the Age of Consent as we know it in the 21st Century, was very different in the past;” “in my lifetime, you mean?” asked Thomas, still trying to grasp what future, past and present meant for his friends and the Cave people; “yes,” agreed Tavish, “the concept first arose in the 13th Century and slowly, over generations, the original age was raised to what it is now; but in the Middle Ages,” and Thomas laughed: “my lifetime is a Middle Age?” and Tavish nodded, “yes, Thomas, to us, that is; no doubt in many centuries yet to come, our own lifetime will be regarded as the Middle Ages and yours as some kind of Time before Time, it's all very subjective,” and Tammy asked: “knowing all of this, is there anything we can do to stop it? can we go back with Thomas to his own Time and kill MacFarlane and Doubleday, get them both with one slingshot and put an end to all of it?” and Tavish sighed, “you cannot do that, Tammy, for even if you managed to go back with Thomas, or if Thomas carried out the murders himself, think of the consequences: it is some seven centuries since Thomas' time, and that means something like twenty-eight generations; if MacFarlane had two children – and we know that he fathered many more than that, but don't know at what stage in life he is in Thomas's time, but if you kill him, then something like twenty-eight generations of his descendants won't have been born, or at any rate, not been born from his direct line, they'd be different people, and even if each generation produces two children on average, and so on, the result after twenty-eight generations is more than a million, and if I sound like a brass hat, please understand that I have to be mindful of the consequences arising from whatever action we take,” and Bernie spoke: “he's right, Tammy, it's more than that – it's 268,435,456: more than the population of Scotland now, in our time, in fact at the last census, the combined populations of the whole British isles was only 67,770,252 (that's you and me, the 2) – of course a lot of people went to America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and died in the two World Wars; but we're probably all descended from him, or from Doubleday, and all the others in his Ring,” and Bernie slumped, defeated, and began to cry, and while Tammy comforted her, Tavish spoke quietly to Thomas, who wanted to ask what all the things were that Bernie had mentioned: Tavish promised to tell him about some of them later, “but for now perhaps, when you return to your own time – as I know you will – there may be other ways of dealing with Sir Parlane MacFarlane that will not disturb the Space-Time Continuum, and please, don't ask me what that means, for I do not have the scientific knowledge,” and Thomas smiled, “perhaps not, Sir, but you have something even more valuable, you have a great knowledge of people, and if you will advise me, I will do my utmost to put a stop to this Ring, without causing harm to future generations, for I believe in the aeonian nature of the Spirit and that what we do affects the future of our children, and I would not wish to let the evil of these men you speak of corrupt that future” and Tavish clapped him on the shoulder: “well said, Thomas, you are a true Gentleman!” and that was when Tammy asked: “if this Cavern system operates in another dimension, and it can accommodate people from Thomas's time, and our time, and presumably other times, and maybe all at the same time, are you with me?” and she glanced from face to face, “could we use that fact to move from one time to another and bring some pressure to bear on this MacFarlane geezer to force him to mend his ways? not that I've any idea what, but in theory? could it work, Tavish?” and Tavish stroked his beard: “have you been thinking of that Theory that The Resurrection of Christ is an example of alternative universes converging, and that when we think we have seen ghosts, or apparitions of our dead mothers or such, those are the points in the multiplicity where the boundaries between one and another are stretched and become transparent, or in Jerusalem allow Jesus to step from one time line into another: from the one in which he was brought down alive from the Cross and recovered and the other in which he died and was put to rest in the cave, is that it?” and Tammy nodded, “what do you think?” and her father sighed, “before I woke up in this Cavern and found you and Bernie here, before Doubleday turned up, I would have dismissed all that as fancy, but now . . . . . unless you are all pygmies in my imagination, I have to admit that your theories sound uncomfortably promising – what a pity we don't have Google here, or even a decent encyclopaedia – it would be handy to have an idea of when Thomas showed up again, by The Eildon Tree; it might be worth trying to identify the precise location, and I’ve a good idea that he will know exactly where it is!”
Sir Parlane MacFarlane lay like a slug-a-bed, ludically running his hand over Goldilocks sweet, sweaty, shiny skin as he pondered over the events of the previous night, which had become this morning while he and Dominic, his Man, his bodyguard, his scribe, his procurer, his oft-times partner in the seduction and deflowering of the young girls he was so attracted to, both of them were attracted to; he knew, even more than sensed, that a social change was coming: there were warnings that an Age of Consent Law, originating in England on instruction from the Pope, would spread to Scotland as part of the Church's Canon Law; he did not know what that age would be – though he sensed from his enquiries that there was a reticence among the Bishops and Cardinals over tying the issue with the age of Menarche, but none could guess on which side the axe would fall, before or after; this really nettled him, for there was a wide variation, as much as five years, to his certain knowledge, perhaps even more; but his Ring would be a safe haven for himself and eleven others, whatever the clergy decided, and he had a feeling that in future generations – when his own sons and grandsons would, he hoped, be following where his own cock led – it would be higher, making relations between Men like himself and girls, like Goldilocks, a Crime; he shivered at the thought: criminalising the normal, God-given needs of Man, that surely was the True Crime and he saw it as his bounden duty, to his own descendants, to form this Ring of Gold for their protection in the stormy centuries to come!
Doubleday's mind, though he did not let his Master know, had not been entirely on the work in hand – the double entry of Goldilocks, who, for all her childish appearance, was already well-versed in
the proclivities of Men – but Sir Parlane MacFarlane had been aware of his Man's reticence and wondered if it was because of the information he had just given to Dominic, that his wife Marie was now pregnant with Sir Parlane's child (not hearsay, those mouse droppings of information most easily picked up in a large household, where Master and his Lady lived cheek by jowl – often quite literally – with their servants, but fact, resulting from MacFarlane's intimate knowledge of women in all their menstrual cycles and stages of pregnancy) surely not information which would arouse jealousy in the cuckolded husband, a Man, unlike his Master, unable to have sexual relations with a mature woman and apparently turned to lacustrine limpidity by the sight of pubic hairs; Sir Parlane knew no such qualms himself, for he delighted in all ages of femininity after, say, about the age of nine or ten and all the way up to, he imagined ninety or a hundred, although, in practice, the oldest he had fucked was a Mother Superior of about eighty, who had the enthusiasm of the most experienced courtesan, Black Velvet MacCaroon, for example, and the knowledge to boot; no, Sir Parlane doubted that the prospect of becoming the legal father of a child born of his Master's seed would produce any conflict in his Man's head or heart, the reverse in fact, for it would produce a greater bond between the two Men – it must be his expressed anxiety of mingling with other Nobles in The Ring which the two had just founded, though, so far, they were the only Members – and a bond which their frequent equal participation in the seduction of young maidens was bound to cement; the Master determined to demonstrate to his closest accomplice that all men were equal when stripped of their clothing and their organs were displayed for everyone to see, and The Ring would confirm this, by having a membership of only twelve, drawn from all levels of Society, from the most illustrious Monarch, down to the basest Servant: united in their search for, discovery of, and congress with the most delectable of girls to be found in the city of Auld Reekie and the whole of Scotland and even – though he had found their girls to be rather ill-favoured visually, while just as enjoyable if their faces were covered by a blindfold or a sack – that Bullying Bastion in the Southern Regions of this Island; yes, The Ring would seek, seduce and shag the prettiest and the plainest with equal verve, for none would be exempt from their depredations; and he would help Dominic to overcome his in-bred obsequiousness and hold his sturdy member as proudly erect as the Highest in the Land!
Sensing a certain reticence in his Man, Sir Parlane MacFarlane sat and gazed at Duncan Doubleday: “do I detect some diffidence, Duncan, are you unconvinced about the Society I have described?” and Doubleday cleared his throat: “I confess, Maister, to some apprehension, on my own part, to being a member of such a celebrated Circle, alongside Goodmen, Tradesmen, Gentlemen, Noblemen – I am but a Servant, and an humble one . . . . .” but Sir Parlane interrupted him: “get not thyself in a lather, Man, for I see our Ring as one of enlightened Men, unbound by convention, unfettered by custom, unrestrained by society or it's Rules of Etiquette and Courtly Love – let me limn a picture for you, of a safe place where all Men are equal and free to explore the desires which beat in our hearts and the drives which arise in our loins, where Marriage is a curiosity of History, and the concepts of legitimacy and bastardy, those two sides of the one coin, are erased and we are all free to enjoy whatever Woman, of whatever age, takes our fancy, for was not Adam created in God's likeness and Eve to give him company and pleasure?” and Doubleday replied, “aye, Maister, you speak true,” to which MacFarlane responded: “and I will always so do, for if you harken to my words, I will reify for you a Great Thing which will last a Thousand Years, and always be associated with the names of MacFarlane and Doubleday and in which the fruits of our loins will perpetrate this Fine Union of Man to Man the World o'er, and Men in Women Free to Use, for e'er more, and, oops! I forgot to say: Thine buxom Marie is now with child, and my blood and your name shall evermore be entwined – fit cause for celebration, what say you, My Man? awaken Goldilocks, for I have more to give her, and you also, if I am any judge of a Man's tumescence, so hurry, Duncan, chop chop!”
The invective that sliced from her lips,
Could have chopped up two gross of chips,
She stamped on the scales,
Her brogues studded with nails,
And placed her two hands on her hips;
“Who missed out the S?” she enquired,
And I felt that I had just expired,
In Hebetude's Vale,
I wept with a wail,
Till she pointed and said “Babe, You're Fired!”
ir Parlane MacFarlane had sunk into a state of hebetude that was familiar to Doubleday, for it often followed a frenetic burst of mental activity – although it never came after a burst of sexual activity, which only seemed to give him hunger for more; on a scale of one to ten, this present dampening was only around the six mark; suddenly, he shook himself: “we have to guard against those bastards,” he snarled, the invective harsh, coming from his handsome face, “they do not share our interests, our needs, our love for God's finest creation: Woman, in all her ages, in all her stages, and our desires to enter into her state of innocence and plough her fields and sow our seed in her sweet pastures – it is an Act of Worship which was recognised in Ancient Times, but is now harangued and by those very Priests who swive their Nuns, then trample over our pure intentions with their hob-nailed brogues; they should wear sandals like Our Lord Jesus and walk softly on the earth,” and he smiled at Doubleday, winked and nodded, “I am clear op the Valley of Shadows, Dominic, let us celebrate the Founding of The Ring of Gold with our sweet Goddess, Goldilocks!”
Sir Parlane MacFarlane peeled himself away from the sticky welter of entangled arms and legs, for he had an idea and needs must express it before it flitted away like the night moth that had passed and was hidden by daybreak: he felt that exultant tingle which told him he was a bellwether, that his vision would ripple out from this chamber and down through the generations yet to come and be a lasting monument to his vision and his daring – he shook Dominic awake and hushed him, for none must disturb the slumbering babe, Goldilocks, whose very delights had inspired him: “take pen and paper, Dom, and inscribe in your finest chirography, the one none can interpret but thyself, for this is the most dangerous secret imaginable and we must keep it close to our breasts and those whom we may choose, after careful and most exacting consideration, to admit to our number,” and he dictated, while Doubleday's pen scratched and the encrypted letters appeared as by magic upon the parchment!
Sir Parlane MacFarlane threw off the torpor which had cloaked him in procrastination since his chance encounter with the delightfully inventive Black Velvet MacCaroon, the unparalleled and most skilful whore in Embra and, turning a deaf ear to her appeals to him as her “Liege Lord” which would have her clamped into the maiden should such unentitled titling reach his Royal Master's ears – and MacFarlane never doubted that His Majesty King Alexander had ears everywhere and in every Close-Mooth, the length of The High from The Castle Rock to Holy Rude, he shoved open the door to find a blizzard swirling around his legs and he cursed the inclinations which drove him to these peripatetic excursions when better – or, more sensible, or, less virile and cock-driven – men were asleep in their beds in the arms of their wives, or the scullery-maids in their employ, rather than stravaiging through snow-billows in search of fresh holes to plug, “but such is life,” said Sir Parlane, reaching out to catch the blond curl escaping from the hooded cloak worn by the small child walking hand in hand with His Manne Dominic, and when Dominic replied to the raised, questioning, eyebrow of His Master, “aye, sir, 'tis she of whom I spake,” Sir Parlane enveloped Goldilocks in his own cloak and wheeched her down the next Close and through the back passages and so by the rear entrance into his own MacFarlane House and up to his bed – from which Marie Doubleday was swiftly ejected, that he and Dominic might have their play with their new toy!
We woke this morning to the news that David Bowie is dead – quite a shock; all the more so for those of my Aunts who were his contemporaries, and a feeling of numb sadness for the rest of us;
even the Syrians – who had experienced so many untimely deaths first-hand – were quiet and restrained, and I recalled the day when a gang of us children had been playing on the Eildons in the summer heat and had come across an adder, it's diamond-patterned back recognisable to even us city-girls, which had bitten a small boy from Selkirk (why he was there alone, I never did discover) and how I had been inveigled into accepting the onerous task of running back to tell Aunty Crist of our discovery for she always knew 'what to do' and always did – the others bringing the boy down more slowly, for as mugwumps we felt no animosity towards this intruder from that distant Burgh, while the locals in our regular game had plenty of names for the residents of Tokyo or the Pail-Merks from Gala – and finding her sitting alone in the kitchen, it must have been Cook's day off, peeling potatoes and listening to Major Tom on the wireless; and even to this day, that song brings back feelings of ineffable sadness, wondering how the boy, trembling and afraid to move when we came upon him, would have fared had we not, sitting there, all alone and as far from assistance as Major Tom.
The return of incessant rain not only disappeared the Snowmen but also put constraints on all but the unfortunate few peeps who had no choice but to leave our Refuge and venture forth in search of food; I was the ignominious one, drawn by lot, and provided with a list of all the Sunday Papers - apparently among the very barest necessities of life for some of my Aunts and Cousins and was just about to step into the deluge, when I felt a tug at my coat-tail and turned to find a tiny Syrian boy who begged me to try to obtain a copy of the latest edition of Empire – apparently he used to get the Turkish edition at home but hasn't seen it for several months – a true cineaste in the making, he told me he has 36 issues of Empire (Turkish) in his suitcase along with several pairs of socks, two pairs of underpants, five tee-shirts, one jumper, one pair of jeans, a yellow anorak he was given in Greece, one pair of pyjamas and the clothes he is wearing; I waved away the money he offered and told him it was: “my treat.”
“Winter does seem at last to be in the offing,” said Daphne to me this morning, over tea and toast served on Aunty Christ's willow pattern china, as she gazed out at the snow-crusted lawn, and the riot of the small peeps footprints from last night; and she sighed: “they have fled from a strife of which we sowed the seeds and now reap the whirlwind,” and I knew she was thinking of the carving up of Arabia after what she still refers to as 'The Great War', and the creation of artificial vassal states and kingdoms owing fealty to the European Empires; “you should read The Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” she said, indicating the shelf where T E Lawrence's life's work stood, “if you want to understand the desire for hegemony in those parts, the British need to control and determine the fates of peoples around the globe, without heed of cultures and histories that existed before we ever ruled the waves,” and I sat, waiting intently, for this was the place where her father, the great Egyptologist, had spent most of his life, and where Daphne had first met Maude, when they were two children on holiday from Edinburgh, cousins who had been kept apart because of a family feud which had divided their parents' generation, though no-one now remembers what it was about, except that a salmon was involved, and an emerald tiara!
Cristobal Sylvan Ermelyne Dumbiedykes had been named by her Suffragette parents in honour of the leader of the Movement, Emmeline Pankhurst and her two daughters, Christobel and Sylvia: unfortunately, registration of her birth had been the responsibility of her dyslexic father who dismissed the Registrar's attempt to correct his misspellings as Bourgeois Interference with his Civil Liberties and the Inalienable Rights of a Father to name his own Daughter; and so Aunty Crist was lumbered with what she considered a good enough name for one of sybaritic inclinations, but which gave the majority of those peeps, who found themselves obliged to address her in writing, considerable difficulty in ensuring the correct 'wrong' spellings, including her nieces and nephew, and particularly Theresa, the author of this piece, who is always particularly. Punctiliously, conscientious and, therefore, often gets herself into such a muddle that she finds herself weeping over the keyboard and wishing her belovedly rugose Aunt could raze the superfluity and simply be called Sally!
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