Thursday, October 29, 2009

Contract to tease

When my children were small I told many stories in which they were often the principal character. The events of the story were not prethought but simply unfolded at random , generally had a happy ending in which the characters had a somewhat heroic role. They often began with the generic "Once upon a time ", and the contract to tease initially went like this! " Once upon a time , ( Pause )," when the pigs chewed tobacco and the hens drank wine!" ( Laughter) . "No , come on, tell us a story." " OK , now I will. Once upon a time," ( Longer pause ) ( tantalizing smile ), when the pigs chewed tobacco and the hens drank wine". ( Loud Laughter ). Then the story would truly begin with "Once upon a time" . Then later, " Tell another story." " OK I'll tell you a story, ( Pause ) about Jack Mc Nory, and now my story's begun. I'll tell you another about his brother and now my story's done ". (Laughter ) "Please tell another story". "Ok, this time I will. There once was a calf, and that's half. They hung it on the wall. And that's all ". (More laughter and pleadings) Then the second story would begin. At the young age they were, the familiar teasing was always funny though totally predictable and was an expected ritual . If it was not done in this fashion there was a sense of loss. The teaser and the teased were bonded in the silliness of it all. Thank God for silly.


  1. "...pigs chewed tobacco and the sheep drank wine." I remember

  2. In my late 1940's Kent UK world it was "...pigs drank wine and the monkeys ate tobacco..." :-)