I fear greatly that the introduction of my juvenile friend, Bobby J., to the imperishable works of Shakespeare - through the medium of the expurgated versions of the excellent Charles and Mary Lamb - hardly serves to instill into a young, impressionable mind, a proper reverence for the Immortal Bard.
Particularly is this so when the stories, read aloud in class, to somewhat inattentive ears, leave upon the youthful modern mind impressions greatly at variance with those desired by the teacher, however well-intentioned.
It is solely to illustrate this that I publish Bobby's naive transcript, rather against my own inclination as a Shakespeare lover, and, I feel sure, much to the annoyance of all Shakespeare societies, whose members must accept the foregoing explanation as my sole excuse.
Dear Uncle (he writes) This is a scoch story wrote by Mr Shakespeare and I reely do not think he could have known very much about Scotchmen except that they are supposed to drink a lot of wisky. And this is all wrong because my father is and he dosent.
Well uncle I call this story
The Bludstained Dager
Bobby J. and Mr Shakespeare.
A long time ago two scoch generals named Mr McBreath and Mr Banko were motering home from a bit of a battle and they must have called in at a lot of hotels on the way because as they were crossing over a blarsted heath (Please uncle this is what teacher called it not me) when they thought they saw three ladies with beards who were whiches.
Well the whiches told Mr McBreath that he would be King of Scotland but his sons couldn't because Mr Banko's sons would.
Well, Mr McBreath went home and told all about it to Mrs McBreath who dident have a very nice mind. She said it seems a funny thing to me the way you go meeting lades whiches on blarsted heaths when you are supposed to be fighting battles but all the same there might be something in what the hussies say.
Well shortly after that King Duncan the reel king thought he would spend the weekend at McBreath's place, but when he was asleep Mrs McBreath killed him with a dager and blamed it on to a couple of bridegrooms.
So that's how McBreath became king over the scoch people and after he put Mr Banko on the spot and bumped him off, he thought praps he better go and have a word with the maginery lady whiches on the blarsted heath. And the whiches said to him now there's two things you got to look out for and one is a chap called McDuff who was never born but just growed up like Topsy and the other is that bit of scrub near your place called Burnem wood if it starts to walk about so you better put a bit more water in it.
So McBreath went home and sure enough when he looked out of a window there was a chap named McDuff outside his fence and with him was Malcolm one of Duncan's sons and a lot of Diggers. And as McBreath watched he thought the bit of scrub outside started walking, and he got the wind up properly.
But of course it wasent that but just how Malcolm told the Diggers to tie bits of branches on themselves for a bit of camerflage.
So then McBreath got a bit peevish and drank a couple of wiskys and went outside and said look here do you people know you are trespasing? But McDuff said never mind that will you fight? And McBreath said of course because the whiches told me no man born could kill me.
But then McDuff said well I wasent born I just growed up and if you dont fight I will put you in a cage and sell you to a circus for a slide show.
Well then McBreath got the willies again and he thought McDuff had turned into a hen so he said ha, ha, lay on McDuff. But that annoyed McDuff so he cut McBreath's head clean off with his sord and Malcolm went and got on the thown. So it ended like that a bit suddenly.
But it just goes to show you like my father says if a man goes and drinks too much wisky and cocktails and things its no good because he loses his head. So that's that.
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003|