The Industrious Tailor

Once there was a pleasant and industrious (by which I mean hard working) tailor who had a beautiful seamstress (female tailor) wife.  They lived in a small cottage on the edge of a quaint (nice, in an old fashioned way) village by the side of a rippling mountain stream.  Life was very good for the industrious tailor and his beautiful seamstress wife and their eleven contented (happy) children, all of whom were loved dearly. 

One day the industrious tailor needed to go to the neighbouring (nearby) village to conclude (finish) some business, which involved supplying a bride and groom with fine outfits for their forthcoming wedding.  The industrious tailor and his beautiful seamstress wife had worked together for many days, and sometimes well into the evenings under the light of smelly tallow (animal fat) candles, to complete the order.  He loaded the fine outfits onto his a rickety (wobbly) wooden cart then hitched (tied) his faithful old donkey to the rickety wooden cart. Bidding (saying) goodbye to his beautiful seamstress wife and eleven contented children with a kiss and a smile, he set off for the neighbouring village.

Now, the industrious tailor and his beautiful seamstress wife and eleven contented children had always been very jolly, but they were not very worldly (street wise).  They thought everyone was as nice and honest as they were.  This was about to change. 

For, a little way down the road between the two villages, the tailor, sitting on his rickety wooden cart pulled by his faithful old donkey, rounded a bend in the road and passed by the mouth of an ancient (old) cave. As the wheels of the rickety wooden cart clattered (made a noise) on the stones near the mouth of the ancient cave, the industrious tailor and his faithful old donkey heard a mighty growl, which made the hairs on the neck of the industrious tailor and his faithful old donkey stand on edge.

At the mouth of the ancient cave stood a massive (large) mean (not very nice), green, angry ogre.  The ogre was angry because the noise of the cart approaching (getting nearer) had woken him up.  As for being mean, well that is true for all ogres, all of the time.

The ogre now stood in the middle of the road and, feeling hungry after his long sleep, was about to start eating the faithful old donkey.  “Wait!” said the industrious tailor. “If you let us pass safely to go about our business (work), I will bring you something nice to eat from the village when we return.” The ogre thought about this for a while and, taking one last longing (wanting it) look at the faithful old donkey, he said, “Very well, you may pass, but be sure to bring something fresh and tasty so that I don’t have to eat that old stringy (tough to eat) donkey.

At this, the industrious tailor and the faithful old donkey wasted no time in heading (moving) off toward the next village.  Once there, he conducted (carried out) his business with the bride and groom, who were delighted (very pleased) with the quality of their new outfits. He then gave some thought to what he could take back with him to give to the ogre. Passing a butcher’s shop he saw a plump (fat) fresh, dead chicken hanging in the window.  “Ah, that should do nicely”, he thought.  He went in and purchased (bought) the chicken then set off toward home with the chicken on the seat next to him.

Soon enough, the industrious tailor and the faithful old donkey were within sight of the cave and they saw the ogre standing in the middle of the road waiting for them.  The ogre sniffed the air as they approached and roared with delight. “I can smell fresh meat, let me have it quickly”, said the ogre.  The industrious tailor handed over the dead chicken and, in a flash it was gone down the ogre’s throat.

“Is that all you have brought me?” said the ogre, in a rage (angrily).  “That was very tasty but hardly a mouthful. I can see that I am going to have to eat the donkey and then you after all.”  It was at this point that the industrious tailor realised that not everyone was nice and honest as he was.

“Wait”, he shouted. “Let us pass once more and I will return (come back) with plenty of fresh meat for you to eat.  I have eleven contented children who are nice and plump. I can spare you a couple of those.”  Of course, ogres, by nature, are greedy as well as mean. So, this ogre agreed to the deal and let the industrious tailor and the faithful old donkey pass by.  As they went on their way the ogre shouted, “They better taste as nice as the last thing you brought for me.”

Shortly, the industrious tailor and faithful old donkey arrived home and told the beautiful seamstress wife all about what had happened.  At first, she was terribly upset and scolded (told off) the industrious tailor for coming up with such an awful (bad) idea.  “Trust me”, he said, “for I have seen how wicked the ogre is, and I intend (mean to) teach him a lesson.

For the whole of the next week the industrious tailor and his beautiful seamstress wife worked tirelessly to make two very detailed mannequin (life sized model) copies of their two eldest children, out of scraps of cloth.  They stuffed these with straw and brussel sprouts soaked in chicken blood and juice. This made the mannequins smell as good as the real dead chicken given to the ogre previously (before). The industrious tailor then set off toward the ogre’s cave. 

Once again, as he approached the cave the ogre roared with delight. “I can smell fresh meat, let me have it quickly”, he said.  The industrious tailor pushed the two mannequins off the rickety old cart onto the road.  Now, ogres have a reasonable sense of smell, but their eyesight is not good on account (because) of their living in dark, damp caves. The ogre leapt hungrily onto the two mannequins and they were gone into his belly in just a few moments.

Gingerly (carefully) the industrious tailor eased the cart backward and started to head for home.  Before he had turned the bend in the road, he heard a loud groaning and noises a bit like thunder coming from the cave. He stopped the cart just in time to see the ogre running from the cave pulling up his tattered (old and ripped) trousers and shouting, “I’m not staying here a minute longer.  The people here taste awful and give one the most terrible flatulence (wind)”.  With that he was gone in a puff of smoke, never to be seen or heard of again.

Bird Trivia

Robins and blackbirds like people

Hawks prefer to perch on a steeple

Crows can recognise human faces

Pigeons favour urban spaces

…..

Blue and great tits love bird feeders

Cuckoos use surrogate breeders

Owls twist their heads by 360 degrees

Swans are never seen in trees

….

Starlings swarm in a murmuration

Magpies have a shiny fixation

Pheasants and grouse are not fond of August

Albatrosses have a keen wanderlust

….

Kingfishers dive for small things that swim

Whilst petrels look for waves they can skim

Ravens guard the tower of London

Nightingales sing second to none

….

All these and more are a joy to behold

Many others of whom I’ve not told

Nature can lift the troubled soul

Keep a lookout when next you stroll

The Donkey’s Tale

One sizzling hot summer’s day, an old brown donkey lay in a field that had once been grassy, but was now parched and scorched by the sun. The donkey wanted to find somewhere cool, but the only shade to be found was under a large willow tree that stood in one corner of the field.
The donkey stood and made his way over to the tree, moving slowly, so as not to become too exhausted. As he approached the tree, the donkey was shocked when one of the tree’s heavy boughs swished down to swat at the donkey.
“Stay away!” shouted the tree. This made the donkey back off a little and, when he was safely out of reach of the tree’s branches, he stopped and studied the tree with his big pleading eyes.
‘I only want to share some of your shade’ said the donkey. ‘It is very hot today and the flies are biting and driving me mad’. “You have a tail, don’t you?” said the tree. “What do you think that is for, if not to flick away the flies?”
The donkey thought this over and said, ‘Is that why you have branches, to flick away tired old donkeys?’ “Don’t be silly”, said the tree. “My branches are for stretching out into the sun, so that my leaves can gather in the sunlight to help me grow big and strong.”
‘But in doing so, your branches and leaves create shade beneath, and that costs you nothing ‘, replied the donkey. The tree thought about this for a brief time and then said, “You are right. Something that costs me nothing costs nothing to share. You are welcome to sit beneath my canopy and shade from the sun as much as you like”.
Bye and bye, in return, the donkey lifted his tail and shared his droppings, fertilising the soil beneath the tree and helping it to grow even bigger and stronger. This also cost the donkey nothing.

A Worker at Collectoroo





Shortly after dawn lights the morning sky

She heads for the briefing area

The eager excitement from those nearby

Buzzes almost with hysteria

The all-important info is passed on

The prime locations and routes

Today will be just one more marathon

The fastest will win the fruits

She sets off with others without delay

Racing, dodging the traffic

A thousand places to visit this day

Marked in her mind’s topographic

The first stop isn’t too far away

She picks up the package and moves on

More is needed to earn her pay

Today’s work barely begun

Stop after stop, tirelessly she weaves

Stashing more precious cargo

Mindless of the weight she heaves

Lunch she will need to forego

At last she knows she must head back

Her legs struggle to carry more grains

She lands at the hive with a full pollen sack

Sweet nectar the reward for her pains

Lessons from Covid-19

Covid-19 is an uninhibited killer without conscience

It is also an effective teacher

It has reminded us about the value of friends and loved ones

It has emphasised the vital importance of essential services

It has demonstrated the selfless commitment of medical and care staff

It has put a price on individual freedoms

It has shown the cost of complacency in Government

The Effect of Words

In the ebb and flow of conversation

Words convey much more than facts

They are used ON you!

 

They can, for example, encourage, chastise, cheer you, pull you down

What they always do, because they are intended to, is to affect you

If you do not realise this, you will become a victim of words

 

Every time someone speaks to you

Ask yourself the questions “Why have they said that?”

And “Why in those words ?”

 

The answers might not suggest a bad reason

Most people do not use words as a weapon

At least not all the time

 

But they do want the words to have an effect.

Hope

Hope neither lends itself to reason

Nor the strictures of the finite

It has little shape but great substance

Which, paradoxically, laughs at Newton’s Laws

 

Instead, the well it draws from is unfathomably deep

Like quantum particles it can be in more than one place at a time

And, as with dark matter, defies observation and containment

It is, and always will be, ephemeral

 

None-the-less, all humanity relies upon it daily

Especially so, in times such as these