Saturday, 29 July 2023

A fairytale that has nothing to do with Scotland (complete)

Part 1

Once upon a time there was a Queen called Nancy and her husband Paul. The trouble is that Nancy wanted to be King, and Paul wanted to be a Queen. So, Nancy came up with an idea that would give both of them what they wanted. Paul would become Paula and then she could love boys in a way she had never loved Nancy and Nancy would become Nathan and then she could love girls in a way that she had never loved Paul.

It would all be very simple for both Nancy and Paul. They wouldn’t need to go to the doctor. They’d just have to promise to either always wear dresses or always wear trousers and after three months they would get a certificate that now they were Queens and Kings respectively.

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There was also a long-term friend of Queen Nancy. Agnes Grey supported their political ideals as did her brother Barry Simmonds. Both brother and sister were very rich, although their backgrounds were humble. They had worked hard and were hoping to enjoy a deserved quiet retirement.

But Agnes did not like the idea that Nancy could become Nathan after just 3 months without a doctor’s involvement. She reminded Nancy that she had given her many donations. But Nancy didn’t listen and was unwilling to turn down the chance of becoming Nathan. Agnes was angry.

A short time afterwards Agnes found herself being accused of the most bizarre crime imaginable. She had always done a lot of charity work both at home and abroad, but suddenly she was being accused of the very crime that she had spent decades trying to prevent.

This was a cold way indeed to begin the year. She phoned Nancy to see if anything could be done to clear up the misunderstanding and to remove the obviously false charge on her reputation. But Nancy was still angry with Agnes and refused to do anything to help.

This Queenly refusal or should it be Kingly refusal had worked well when King Alan the Usurper had tried to topple her. He too had pleaded for help, but Nancy had very nearly got him sent to jail and despite his escape from a prison sentence Nancy’s reputation had remained intact even when an inquiry came close to proving she had lied. Nancy would see off Agnes just as easily.

But Agnes was better at business than Nancy and she knew a forensic accountant who had the skill to look into all the outgoings and ingoings of the realm. He discovered who paid what and when who spent what and when and discovered that Paul and Nancy were economical not merely with the truth but with their donations.

Nancy’s kingdom wanted to leave a bigger kingdom of which it was a part. There had been jousting contest to determine the result, but Nancy had lost. She wanted a second joust and had asked the kingdom for funds to put on the tournament.

600,000 ducats had been raised, but unfortunately one day Paul came to Nancy and told her that he didn’t know what had happened to the ducats. Maybe they had been spent on last year’s grand ball, perhaps they had been spent on red dresses or perhaps on sex change operations. He really couldn’t say.

But now the forensic accountant employed by Agnes, who may or may not have been her brother Barry had proved that the Flounder dynasty was indeed floundering.

By this stage it was the second month of the year and the Grand Inquisitor Ishmael Lockwood paid Nancy a visit.

He interviewed Nancy and cautioned her to tell the truth. He presented his evidence and Nancy realised she would never become Nathan instead she hoped merely to avoid the fate she had tried to arrange for the usurper Alan.

If you resign tomorrow said the Grand Inquisitor, I will retire in the next few months too. But you must go. Tell the scribes anything you want about being tired or wanting to spend more time with your family, not that you have a family of course, but abdicate and we will try to ignore the 600,000 ducats.

And so it came to pass that Agnes Grey showed herself to be much more than a mere governess, more skilled than any nurse and better at the business of destroying the Flounder dynasty than Nancy/Nathan could ever have guessed.

Agnes was vindicated. She was good. She was true. She had committed no crimes. But the Flounder dynasty died without issue and the idea of a second jousting tournament died with them. And so

We all lived happily ever after.

Part 2

When Queen Nancy, who preferred now to be known as former King Nathan left to go into exile she hoped to be known as the King Over the Water where he/she would plot rebellion and hope for a comeback. Nathan was helped by the Gaulish ambassador Saphotrix. Nathan hoped that he could please Saphotrix more now that he was Nathan rather than before when he had been Nancy. Saphotrix had become so frustrated that she had been led into temptation and unfaithfulness until Nancy had been able to iron out the infidelity.

Meanwhile Paul who was now Paula had remained regent and still controlled which prince or princess would succeed Queen Nancy/King Nathan. It was necessary that Paula remain in charge and in control in case too much was found out about Queen Nancy’s reign.

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The initial favourite was Princess Cordelia Fairchild. But when she was asked to tell about what she loves the most she finds herself exiled for telling the truth while her ugly sisters Goneril and Regan are left to fight for the kingdom alone because they told what their audience wants to hear.

Goneril confusingly while prone to wear eyeliner and skirts does not wear a veil but is allowed to sit with the men and avoid hiding her hair because she is in disguise and in fact is Prince Hārūn ibn ʿImrān who despite a tendency to worshipping golden calves has travelled far to bring the kingdom to the promised land.

Regan’s hopes begin to turn to ash as she puts forward a scheme for secession that is called Undisciplined Desperate Insurrection (UDI). But former King Alan now exiled in Albania, has been stricken in Strichen since his voluntary abdication which unfortunately was rewarded by Queen Nancy gathering rather serious accusations about the way he ruled over the courtiers and courtesans of the palace.

Queen Nancy had been able to find 10 courtiers who remembered all about what King Alan had done in the carriages and during late night meetings in bed chambers let alone what had gone on behind the arras. But King Alan said to himself if you think the story about King Winestone of the Holy Wood is going to apply to me too you are mistaken.

Alan wanted revenge and it was he that was behind the challenge of Regan. She had first begun the insurrection guided by Alan against Queen Nancy when she had refused to say that a Queen could become a King. She hoped that one day the Albanians could be brought back to the kingdom. This too is what Icarus of Bath hoped for. He hadn’t been allowed even to be a courtier let alone a contender despite all his efforts and popularity. There would be a second jousting tournament this year just so long as Alan Icarus and Regan didn’t get too close to the sun.

Goneril aka Prince Hārūn continued to attack Princess Cordelia for cruel attack on Kings who wanted to become Queens and Kings who wanted to sleep with other Kings, but Hārūn was never asked by the scribes about his own beliefs.

Hārūn thought that what he believed in private could be completely different from what he believed in public and it was completely OK to deceive everyone about his private beliefs by pretending that they were the same as his public beliefs.

He said he was all in favour of Nancy becoming Nathan and all in favour of Queens marrying Queens and that anyone who disagreed including Cordelia would be prosecuted for a hate crime. But Hārūn would not be prosecuted even though in truth what he believed would be rather less popular in the kingdom than what Cordelia believed, because no one would know and he wouldn’t tell.

If keeping secret his innermost beliefs was the way to become King, or was that Queen, then that would be justified.

Meanwhile those parts of the kingdom who wanted to maintain unity with their friends and neighbours on their same small island watched the contest with interest.

Many liked and sympathised with Cordelia and objected to her treatment for telling the truth. But they also thought she was bright and competent and hoped she would not become Queen.

Few had heard of Regan and considered her plans would rapidly bring back King Alan and all that went with him. Courtiers and courtesans would have to be guarded lest Alan were given a second chance to recreate his celebrated harem where the only escape was to keep telling stories until his enthusiasm was curbed.

But Pro unity people cheered on Hārūn because he had never achieved anything and frequently fell on his face.

‘There goes a true-bred Hārūn,' said Effie, as the prince departed, 'for they are ever fair and false.'

Part 3

Once upon a time there was a secret. Queen Nancy otherwise known as Nathan knew what it was. King Paul otherwise known as Paula knew what it was too. But no one except perhaps ex-King Alan knew just what the secret was.

Queen Nancy had been forced to abdicate rather hurriedly because of the secret. King Paul’s task was to arrange the succession so that the secret would be kept. But the task was proving harder than either had foreseen.

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Either their mantles of green or else their maidenhead

Prince Hārūn ibn ʿImrān had been useless at every job he had ever tried. When he had tried to drive a camel, it had been discovered that he neither had a licence for camel driving nor was his camel insured. When he had married his first princess it had turned out that she was a bad princess because Hārūn’s eye had wandered and found that he desired another princess. Worse it was not merely his eyes that had wandered, but his hands and other parts of the body too. But still Hārūn blamed his princess rather than himself.

When Hārūn decided to make private conversations hate crimes, he forgot about all the hateful things he had said to his new princess about the House of David and all those who dwelt beneath its star. But this wasn’t the secret that Queen Nancy was worried about.

Hārūn could be trusted to keep the secret even though he wasn’t actually sure what it really was. There were a number of alternatives.

1 King Alan had groomed Queen Nancy when she was rather too young and certainly much younger than him. Their love child had become either Prince Hārūn (aka Goneril short for Gonorrhea), Princess Regan or Princess Cordelia.

2 When Queen Nancy was still princess Nancy, she had witnessed King Alan creating a harem in the Butter Palace, and this harem was supplied with copious amounts of butter so as to make every entrance and exit as slippery as possible. The Last Tango in the Butter Palace involved so much slipping and sliding that Alan on occasion put his hand where it ought not to have slid and entered and exited without due care and attention. But Nancy kept all of this secret because she hoped that King Alan would lead the Kingdom to be a true kingdom that fought and died for its wee bit curds and whey.

3 When Princess Nancy succeeded King Alan, she worried that King Alan was plotting to overthrow her. So, Queen Nancy gathered all the witnesses from the Butter Palace and while pretending to know nothing about the investigation tried to have former King Alan sent to the dungeon where he would be stretched on the rack until he begged to be allowed an ending like his heroes Wallace and Gromit. But oddly Nancy failed to get Alan sent to the dungeon and its delicious tortures. For the first time she was found fallible. The judges like Robert Mitchum in Out of the Past could see the frame and Alan was out of the picture free to go to Albania.

4 Queen Nancy and King Paul had been very careful that no one knew what went on inside the Treasury of the Kingdom. No one knew how many people lived in the kingdom, how many had died, how many had left. No one knew about the taxes paid by whoever lived in the kingdom. So, no one knew if a little bit might have gone to a different purpose than the one for which it was originally intended. But there was a rather a nasty word that some judges might associate with money going missing and it just might possibly lead former King Alan to take revenge with one of his love children.

But there was nothing to worry about surely. Hārūn was supported by every important person in the kingdom. Princess Cordelia had self-destructed from the beginning by telling the truth about what she thought about Nancy becoming Nathan and Nancy forming a close attachment with the Kingdom of Lesbos, while Paul or Paula forming a close attachment with Gaia sometimes spelled Gaya.

But the people trusted Cordelia and thought her honest and sincere with a deep faith, while they began to see Hārūn as fair and false and unable to be honest even about himself.

Princess Regan openly questioned the honestly of the succession process. Princess Cordelia joined in. Prince Hārūn agreed that it was necessary to know how many voters there were, but even in this he was insincere because he already knew the number because he had been told it by Nancy and Paul.

By now everyone in the Kingdom knew that Queen Nancy and King Paul had created a Kingdom that was at least as corrupt as the slippery sliding ways of King Alan. The Secession Normally Possible ideal that had driven both Queen Nancy and King Paul began to be associated with corruption and secrets that were hidden and the kingdom gradually became dissatisfied with the House of Piscium whether of the Acipenseridae variety or of the Actinopterygii kind.

If Nancy and Paul could not be trusted to fairly create King Hārūn then they obviously could not be trusted with anything.

Princess Regan and Princess Cordelia while being from differing Wings of the Secession Normally Possible Movement found common cause in defeating Prince Hārūn not least because both wished the secret at the heart of Secession Normally Possible to be revealed. What was the nature of Queen Nancy’s relationship with King Alan? What did Nancy cover up and why? How did Nathan and Paula decide each day whether they would be King or Queen and how was this connected with the secrets of the population of the kingdom and how much these plebians had donated to their betters and for what purpose.

All or nothing will be revealed as an expectant nation awaits its new monarch. Depending on the result we will all live happily or unhappily ever after.

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Regan, Gonorrhea and Cordelia

Part 4

Once upon a time King Paul was sitting in the Butter Palace counting votes for who was to succeed Queen Nancy. He loved Prince Hārūn ibn ʿImrān best although he playfully called him Goneril this was because Hārūn always clapped the loudest whenever Queen Nancy spoke. So much so that he had been nicknamed in the Secession Normally Possible movement as the Clap. It may also have had something to do with what he gave his first wife after he decided to take a second wife, without actually telling the first one that it was allowed according to the book that she had signed up to. But that was a tightly guarded secret.

Princess Regan was going to get the second half of the kingdom, the bit south of the border because she grew up there, but Princess Regan though wanting to partition the kingdom only wanted north Albion, known also as Albania as this was the bit that former King Alan of Alba wanted, and Princess Regan did what Alan wanted as if he were her father. Some said that he was.

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Princess Cordelia had offended both King Paul and Queen Nancy by refusing to flatter them and even described their rule as mediocre. She had been banished and left no part of the kingdom, not even A’ Chuimrigh., which no one wanted because of the excess of daffodils that grew there at this time of year.

But this was King Paul’s problem. Despite everyone in the Secession Normally Possible movement saying that Cordelia should be ignored and ostracised because she told the truth and did not bow down to Queen Nancy. She was more popular in the kingdom than either Gonorrhoea Hārūn or Regan.

Cordelia may have been wee but she was also free in telling Paul that he couldn’t marry Hārūn not just because he might catch something unpleasant, but more importantly because Hārūn had been married twice already and despite sometimes being Paula it didn’t really mean he was a woman.

Cordelia told Paul. Girls who fancy girls should be from Lesbos, they shouldn’t try to be boys. Boys who fancy boys can be Nancy, but it didn’t mean they were girls.

Both Nancy/Nathan and Paul/Paula were furious and every time they saw a vote for Cordelia, they put it in a special pile called recycling after all it was necessary to keep the Green Canadian Moose happy.

But Princess Regan and Princess Cordelia found out that the counting in the counting house was less than fair and demanded Queen Nancy cease eating bread and honey and stop King Paul only counting votes that had the Clap. This was not least a matter of public hygiene. No one wanted the Butter in Butter Palace to become tainted with too much applause.

The Chief Herald of the Secession Normally Possible movement Moray Piedmont called on King Paul and Queen Nancy and told them that they really had to release the result of the census. We all agreed to hold it a year later than the wicked people from Sasainn, but how could we know how many votes were going to each prince or princess if we didn’t know how many voters there were?

Piedmont, who was actually from Elgin rather than Italy demanded he see all of the votes in the counting house, but when he saw that all of those for Regan and Cordelia had been given a barcode that meant that they were returned to the bottle bank, he told both King Paul and Queen Nancy that they were clapped out and resigned.

Later Jan Swineflu, Gussie MacRaibeart, Sapho Dubh, and Ivan àth dubh arrived as the men and woman in tartan suits. They brought with them a bottle of Glenfinished and a pistol. Unfortunately the pistol only fired water, so King Alan chose abdication instead of getting his hair wet to no purpose.

What next for the Secession Normally Possible movement? Could they continue the election after not only Regan and Cordelia had suggested it was fixed, but King Paul had resigned because no one trusted his ability to count rather than recycle.

Where were King Paul and Queen Nancy to go? Could Queen Nancy still expect an important position with the Evangelical Utopia (EU) or the Unverifiable Notions (UN). If ex-King Paul could not be trusted to count and who could imagine it wasn’t because of she who must be obeyed, then could Nancy be trusted have anything more than the dregs of the horn.

Only a few months ago Nancy had been able to heal the sick and cure the lame just by speaking every day to her people. Paul stayed in the Wings and didn’t even have a walk on part, but he pulled all the strings in the Secession Normally Possible puppet theatre.

But anyone who now was close to either Nancy or Paul must be tainted, not merely with Gonorrhoea, but with failure to tell what they knew when they knew it. How could Hārūn lead when he was the continuity prince? But how many others knew about the secrets that now might be open to scrutiny now that neither Paul, nor Nancy nor Hārūn were there to keep them hidden?

Princess Regan was part of the problem rather than a solution because of her close relationship with former King Alan who had lubricated the Butter Palace so copiously that the stench of rancidness could still be smelt when the wind was in certain directions.

But this just left Cordelia, who could hardly lead a party when every single senior courtier did their very best to stop her and could well have suggested that the best way to do so was by means of a returning ballot papers scheme costing 20 p a time.

Secession Normally Possible movement was now finished. Left merely with a free wee against any wall it chose. No one was left untainted by the clapping. No one could stop the secrets so carefully guarded from the time of King Alan to the abdication of King Paul finally coming out.


As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods.

They kill us for their sport.


Said Nancy to Paul as she remembered the moments when wee lassies had screamed devotion at her as if she were the Bay City Rollers rolled into one. We were so close. I could almost touch it. I felt almost like a god myself. Who could touch me? Who could stop me winning? But now what is left?


I had lived a blessed time; for from this instant,

There 's nothing serious in mortality.

All is but toys; renown and grace is dead.

The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees

Is left this vault to brag of.


Said Nancy



Part 5

Once upon a time the day of the gender reveal party finally arrived. Would Prince Hārūn ibn ʿImrān reach the promised land despite some evidence of his worshiping golden calves especially if they led up to golden thighs. Alternatively, would Princess Regan or Princess Cordelia be the choice of the Kingdom. Pink said that the successor to Queen Nancy would be a Queen, Blue said that it would be a King.

But immediately there was a dispute about the colours. Surely yellow was the colour of the kingdom even if it suggested how both Queen Nancy and King Paul had spent money even if they had shouted garde l’eau before chucking it out of the window onto the heads of their subjects. More importantly said Prince Hārūn there was really no such thing as a King, or a Queen and Kings could be revealed by pink balloons just as much as Queens


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O sister, I’ll not reach my hand,

               Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And I’ll be heir of all your land

Some wondered in the kingdom whether Hārūn (aka. Goneril, short for Gonorrhoea) had received his nickname through clapping, eyeliner, gender fluidity, golden thighs or somewhere a little higher.

Outgoing King Paul agreed he was a non-binary husband who was just as much a wife to Queen Nancy as she was a King to him. Queen Nancy reflected on all of the super unleaded interim interdicts that she had used to try to keep from the Kingdom that Paul was a less than active husband, which had meant that he tended to play the role of Joseph to her Mary. Nancy’s revelations therefore had the same degree of miraculousness that originally had led Joseph to want to send Mary away, but unlike Joseph Paul had not received an explanation from a visiting angel. Nor had anyone else in the kingdom.

Nancy blamed Paul for the whole fall of the house of Piscium and she longed to ride off into the sunset to meet her Gaulish ambassador Saphotrix. But unfortunately, Nancy had proclaimed that mice could identify as horses and horses could identify as mice and so it came to pass that the horse that she chose to ride to Saphotrix was rather small and anyway she was just learning to drive it.

But how to get rid of Paul/Paula. He had been useful when it had become necessary to cease turning a Nelson’s eye and gather witnesses against Bad King Alan, but he had fatally missed rather than hit. The Padrino as Alan was affectionately known by those he forced to be devoted had survived and everyone had had to go to the mattresses, which had been rather awkward whether Paul had wanted to be Paula or not as she felt rather closer to his/her pene pasta whether he was she or not and whether the mattresses were hard or soft.

Now there was the question of some ducats that had been given to Nancy by some fools who thought she was really interested in splitting the kingdom rather than receiving the ducats, but these ducats had been spent on redecorating the palace and it was a very nice tasteful shade of pale pink and pale blue, which would suit whichever gender was revealed even if the new King pretended to like pink as much as blue, just as Crassus rather crassly liked both snails and oysters, but didn’t like Spartacus.

It was necessary that where the hit on Alan had miscarried it should now succeed on Paul who was the man who knew too much. The palace was filled with explosives, but to make absolutely sure Prince Hārūn was encouraged to help Nancy in treating Paul as if he were really King Duncan. “Is this a string I see before me, it’s loop before my hand” recited Hārūn hoping that his service to Lady MacPiscis would gain him a kingdom. But the whole thing was really overkill as the explosives alone sent King Paul/Queen Paula into the seventh heaven, where he received rather more than a thorn in his flesh as he landed some distance from the Palace in an orchard. Then again perhaps it was a poisoned apple that did for him. Turing and turing in the widening Corryvreckan of a kingdom.   

Queen Nancy left office with more secrets than anyone since another Queen who was named after the wife of Joseph and who eventually had her head chopped off not because anyone could prove she blew up her husband, but rather because she conspired with people Princess Cordelia rather disapproved of because they were not reformed and worshiped at the shrine of Romulus and Remus.

Whether ex Queen Nancy arrived at the same fate at the hands of perfidious Sasainn history as yet has not recorded. Nor has it told us why she turned on King Alan. Was she King Alan’s spurned lover. Did she know about King Alan’s harem where the methods of becoming friends (mating) were quite unlike Mary’s as they required no divine intervention? What made Nancy gather up all those who had been mates with Alan so many years later and how was it that quite so many former mates against him were not enough for the hit to succeed?

But Alan survived and was now pushing forward Princess Regan. Could she spring a surprise at the King or Queen reveal party? Even if she couldn’t, would Alan make a comeback? After all he was still 12 years younger than Joseph who sometimes didn’t know which way, he had to go to get off the stage and always forgot how it was he had gained a son outside the usual methods and indeed whether he had a son at all.

Cordelia thought Mary had something to do with Romulus and Remus and didn’t quite approve even if she loved her son. It was the Mass bit of the 25th that troubled her, but at least she was clear about who was a King and who was a Queen and that Nancys could not marry Nancys as it was bound to be barren.

And so, we waited. Would it be a balloon with pink dust that suggested that Cordelia or Regan had reached a runoff, or would the balloon have blue dust telling us that the King would be Hārūn?

As they waited Cordelia dreamed of the promised land, where everyone would chant psalms without musical accompaniment and no one would be trans, or gay or have sex when they were unmarried. She had a vision of John’s knocks at the door and how it opened on a land where Mary was a sinner for having an illegitimate child before she was married, and Queen Mary was a harlot not least because she worshipped at the shrine of the whore of Babylon, which suckled at a she wolf in a most disgusting and Romulusish way.

Hārūn dreamed of a land free from Sasainn which would allow him to establish the “House of Peace”, would turn Grotty Ferry into Andalucía and would reverse the temporary setbacks at Tours 732 and Wien 1683.

Regan dreamed of King Alan and how unjustly he had been accused when really, he was the undisputed hero of the kingdom and indeed, she would consider it a privilege to be part of his harem, not that there ever had been a harem, just mates mating, friends friending and cuddles cuddling as everyone slept sleepily.

So, the day had arrived. The subjects waited the result.

It turned out to be the best of times and the worst of times. Happy countries are all the same. Unhappy countries are ruled by King Hārūn.

The Secession Normally Possible Movement is less likely to succeed. But the kingdom will continue to be sucked down into the whirlpool. On the one hand half the subjects may rejoice at a useless king who will achieve nothing, but on the other we will suffer the damage of that uselessness.

A simple unlearned teller of tales has tried to tell you all I know. But I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I rely on rumour, on riddles and where possible reason.

Only three people have ever really understood the Piscis dynasty business – the Padrone, who is stricken – a former Breatannach ambassador, who has gone mad – and a defrocked reverend, who has forgotten how to tell us.

Someone needs to plod through it all or else 

we will all live unhappily ever after. 

Part 6

Once upon a time there was born a woman called Maryam bint Imran and she was the older sister of Hārūn ibn ʿImrān and Mūsā ibn ʿImrān.

Unfortunately, Mūsā grew up at a time and place where the Egyptians were concerned about too many Jewish children growing up. So, Mūsā was put in a basket and left in the bullrushes.

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Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it.  She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. Exodus 2 5-6

This story was repeated for hundreds of years but came out rather differently.

Pharaoh’s wife said ˹to him˺, “˹This baby is˺ a source of joy for me and you. Do not kill him. Perhaps he may be useful to us or we may adopt him as a son.” They were unaware ˹of what was to come˺. Al-Qasas 9.

So, was it a sister or a wife that found Mūsā? Well, this depends on whether you think Exodus comes before Al-Qasas?

We know that Moses if he was indeed an historical figure lived around 1300 BC. While Al-Qasas gave us the story of Mūsā sometime after AD 610. But it may be that God knew the contents of the Quran from the beginning of time and therefore although the Old Testament story of Moses was written more than 2000 years earlier that it is the Old Testament that is mistaken.

Approximately 1300 years after Mūsā was found in the rushes, we discover that Maryam still has a brother called Hārūn

O sister of Aaron! Your father was not an indecent man, nor was your mother unchaste.” Maryam 28.

She is also still Maryam bint Imran i.e., the daughter of Imran, but gives birth to Jesus or Īsā ibn Maryam.

It is no doubt the case that names like Imran can be common, and it may be perfectly possible to have a brother called Hārūn too. But it might equally well be that someone made a mistake.

There is no mention of Aaron in the New Testament being Mary’s brother, nor is there any mention of her father being called anything like Imran. Again, it is likely that the New Testament was somehow corrupted.

When Īsā ibn Maryam is born something unexpected happens for those of us who unfortunately only know the New Testament version.

So she pointed to the baby. They exclaimed, “How can we talk to someone who is an infant in the cradle?”

˹Jesus˺ declared, “I am truly a servant of Allah. He has destined me to be given the Scripture and to be a prophet. Maryam 29-30.

There is no mention of Jesus speaking when he was born in the New Testament, but interestingly there is in the apocryphal Syriac Infancy Gospel also known as the Arabic Infancy Gospel we have the following verse.

He has said that Jesus spoke, and, indeed, when He was lying in His cradle said to Mary His mother: I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom thou hast brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel announced to thee; and my Father has sent me for the salvation of the world. Verse 2.

Now it could be that the canonical Gospels were not always available in Arabia, but that an apocryphal gospel was more well known, but of course it is far more likely that the New Testament canon was mistaken in omitting Jesus speaking.

There is also the following story which does not appear in the New Testament.

[The Day] when Allāh will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit [i.e., the angel Gabriel] and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and [remember] when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you designed from clay [what was] like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission. Al-Ma'idah 110.

This is similar to the apocryphal The Infancy Gospel of Thomas.

And having made soft clay, he fashioned thereof twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath when he did these things (or made them). And there were also many other little children playing with him.

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There is usually a very good reason why apocryphal gospels were rejected by the early church. The main one was that they were written sometimes hundreds of years after Jesus died, but also because they had events that were fantastic and resembling a fairy-tale. 

Of course, if the Quran predates the New Testament because it always was and was merely revealed, then it might be that the New Testament is at fault for omitting Jesus speaking as a baby and making clay sparrows fly. But then we have to wonder how the author of The Infancy Gospel of Thomas knew what was going to be revealed to the Prophet in advance.

Maryam is not merely the brother of Hārūn and Mūsā and 1300 years later rather like a female Methuselah or Mattūshalakh gives birth to Jesus. She also turns out to be a one part of the Trinity.

And imagine when thereafter Allah will say: 'Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to people: "Take me and my mother for gods beside Allah?" and he will answer: "Glory to You! It was not for me to say what I had no right to. Had I said so, You would surely have known it. Al-Ma'idah 116.

This is confusing indeed for the Christian. There have been times when Mary the Blessed Virgin has been treated as someone more perfect than a human being could be, but no Christian in the history of Christianity has thought that she was part of the Trinity.

But of course, it must be the New Testament that is confused about the Holy Spirit and the polytheism inherent in Christianity where God, Mary and Jesus are all Gods. Why else would Jesus on the cross say “Father, father why have you forsaken me?” rather than “Myself myself why have I forsaken myself?

But the Quran struggles rather with the concept of the Holy Spirt. No doubt because it is a sort of polytheism that ought not to be thought about.

And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, "O Children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allāh to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Aḥmad."

This is taken to mean that the New Testament predicts the coming of the Prophet and that he would be called Ahmad.

When Jesus in his final discourse with his disciples says

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; John 14:16.

He is not describing a person, let alone a person called Ahmad. He is describing the Holy Spirit that is not according to Christians a third God, but rather one God that is also three in a way that surpasses human understanding in the same way that God becoming man, being both fully man and fully God, surpasses human understanding. But naturally the Quran knows best because it came first, long before both the Old and New Testaments even if it also came afterwards. Which likewise defies all human understanding.

So, we are left with Maryam, Mūsā and Hārūn stuck in the Sinai desert waiting to enter the promised land, but we know that neither Moses nor Aaron reached the promised land so how did Maryam reach Bayt Laḥm in order to give birth to Īsā ibn Maryam and if she did get there how did it take her 1300 years to do so?

I admire Muslims who during Ramadan can get up before dawn to have a last meal and last drink of water until it gets dark again. I can barely go an hour without a cup of coffee. But then if I were to do so I would with the greatest respect require an explanation for clay birds flying, infants speaking, and a book written sometime after 610 AD somehow being independent and prior to the sources from which it derives much of its material.

The point when I began this story was to reach here.

The end. 

Part 7

Once upon a time Queen Nancy decided to abdicate. She wanted to have a more private life. She was sick of all the completely untrue rumours about 600,000 ducats and the Gaulish ambassador Saffatrix. There were other rumours that had not as far as she was aware reached her subjects, but she would make sure that these rumours were never rumoured about by appointing loyal Prince Hārūn to the throne.

A little while later King Paul also decided to abdicate. But it had nothing to do with the abdication of Queen Nancy. Despite living in the same castle Queen Nancy never knew anything about what King Paul said or did and he knew even less. Of course, rumours that they were not a happily married couple were obviously false like all of the other rumours in the kingdom. Happily married couples did not have to talk to each other after all and might go for weeks without even meeting.

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King Paul apparently resigned after it became clear that there were rather less voters in the contest to be next King or Queen than he had supposed. You see King Paul knew that it didn’t matter how many voters there would be as he and Nancy had already decided that Hārūn was going to win. After all, Hārūn’s loyalty would be necessary to keep a lid on all those rumours that were not true and to make sure that Nancy had as much anonymity as possible.

King Paul’s resignation had absolutely nothing to do with the 600,000 ducats that the peasant subjects had donated so that the Kingdom could escape the vile clutches of Sasainn. But neither Nancy nor Paul intended to actually cease to be vassals of Sasainn because if it wasn’t for the net cast over the bar in Sasainn they knew that they would not have 6 ducats to rub together let alone 600,000.

But the peasants hated Sasainn and the Sasainners and couldn’t bear the idea that people they hated gave them lots of money. So, Nancy and Paul carefully pretended that they were on the verge of leaving, but never actually left because they didn’t want to.

This was why Prince Hārūn had to win. He would keep the kingdom poor enough to always deserve the Sasainn ducats. Princess Cordelia actually intended to make the peasants work and to cut spending. That would never do because then the kingdom actually could leave Sasainn. While foolish Princess Regan thought the kingdom could leave and not notice the loss of the ducats.

King Hārūn was duly elected by Paul and Nancy making some phone calls to the company they employed to count the votes, which was in fact a subsidiary of piscis enterprises a wholly owned subsidiary of Paul and Nancy.

King Hārūn didn’t know why Queen Nancy had abdicated. He did not know why King Paul had abdicated and none of them knew anything about the 600,000 ducats, which had nothing to do with anything as they were a figment of the imagination of the peasants who had donated them, for a cause that was illusory that would lead to nothing ever happening anyway. The ducats were mere rumours, that had been more usefully spent on golden bidets which made the experience of ablutions more pleasant for Nancy and Paul however they were identifying on any particular day.

Although neither Paul nor Nancy knew anything about the investigations into the ducats, the topic had cropped up in conversation with Agnes Grey and Barry Simmonds who used to like Paul and Nancy and even Hārūn but had found Nancy less than generous with the heddlu (head loo) which was connected to the bidets.

Paul and Nancy used the heddlus to dispose of quite a lot of paper some of which did not dissolve easily. They also took advantage of a barbecue to burn whichever parts of their waste remained after observing it in the palace cess pool and septic tank. Some of the neighbours thought the smell emanating from the palace resembled Nancy, others thought it resembled Paul and others still thought it resembled Hārūn, but Nancy always blamed either Iar ministear or else said it was due to some rotten salmon that they could smell but not locate.

But the heddlu arrived and searched in the head loos and they searched in the barbecue, and they searched in the castle grounds.

King Hārūn thought it was a bad day, but didn’t know anything, but former Queen Nancy thought if he hadn’t spent so much time demonstrating how virtuous he was by praying and if he had shown a bit more hunger for keeping the lid on things rather than not eating all day then the heddlu may never have come to the castle at all, which rather defeated the purpose of his being elected/appointed.

Meanwhile former King Alan was writing to his friends, Romans and countrymen.

 "Folk should be asking the heddlu questions"

"Good time to be pressurising them.”"

"The more fronts he is having to firefight on the better."

Someone described it as being “Hoist with his own petard” but no one quite knew what a petard was. Some kind of bomb, but how did you hoist it?

Fortunately, former King Paul was soon back at home. The heddlu still worked fine and the golden bidets were untouched. What an excellent hiding place thought Paul. No one would believe that they were really gold. That would be too vulgar.

But why was former King Alan so intent to reuse some words that had once been used about him? After all they had always been such friends when they had been a sort of threesome and occasionally a twosome. Where had it all gone wrong in the Butter Palace, so that such close friends had fallen out and had each done their best to destroy the other? Something had gone wrong with the lubrication of somewhere or other.

But you missed said King Alan.  


          And you will strike the very first blow and strike it like a man

I will strike the very next blow and I'll kill you if I can


So Paul struck the very first blow and he hurt King Alan sore

King Alan struck the very next blow and Paulie struck no more

Part 8

Once upon a time former Queen Nancy and former King Paul moved from the Butter Palace to GlassUdders where they hoped to be able to continue to suck on the teats which had provided them so much milk and honey hitherto.

Newly crowned King Hārūn immediately performed a cleansing ritual on the Butter Palace. He sang

I got a palace named Rama Dana Dana Dana Ding Dong

It’s everything to me

I'll never set it free

For it’s mine, all mine

There would be no more butter in the Butter Palace, but for the present the change of name was kept from the peasants.

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Unfortunately, Hārūn discovered usurpers everywhere. Princess Cordelia was telling everyone that it was unfair that she was not Queen as no one had known the true story about Nancy and Paul. Princess Regan was once more trying to bring back the Old Pretender King Alan. There would once more be butter and lubrication in the Palace.

Unfortunately, the Heddlu had turned up one morning at the Glassudders. It was fortunate that Nancy was fully dressed otherwise she might have frighted the Heddlu horses.  Paul after gaining sustenance from the Glass Udder, which was Green and engraved “because you gave me a pay rise when I was working for someone else, though really I only ever worked for you”, went to discuss plumbing with Headloo and learned a great deal about ballcocks and cock washers, rings, and cocks and bulls.

At the same time the Headloo discovered an enormous litter at the King Mother’s. It wasn’t as if either Paul or the King Mother had been littering, rather it wasn’t about dropping instead of carrying. Nearby there were also one hundred peasants whose job it was to carry the litter when Queen Nancy was due to survey her kingdom. It was so big that it had beds and even a latrine that unfortunately was rather unpleasant for the peasant underneath, but who treated it as a privilege to serve Queen Nancy even in this way.

Paul had wanted to surprise Nancy about the litter. He certainly surprised Hārūn who knew nothing about the litter nor the rather large number of ducats that had been spent on a moveable home which had never been used.

Worse the rulers of Sasainn had forbidden peasants to carry Kings and Queens around without being paid and demanded they got ducats.

Hārūn even more unfortunately discovered that he knew almost nothing about the Kingdom. He discovered that the sums had not been checked by the chief teacher, which was dreadful as how could any King or Queen learn about sums if they were not checked and corrected. But both Nancy and Paul had deemed it demeaning to be checked by a mere teacher and so had developed sums that were not always according to the rules and sometimes gave answers that others might not have got.

But subjective arithmetic was about the rights of diverse thinking. Just as Nancy might feel that she was really a King, so she might feel that 10 + 11 = 19. It was oppressive and discriminatory to make everyone conform to rules that had been made up by white people from Sasainn and so Paul and Nancy had devised their own ways of doing sums and they were better by far than Sasainn sums.

But the teacher who was supposed to listen to Paul’s sums had resigned because he could not accept that either 2+2 might = 5 or that a boy could be a girl. He thought the whole way of doing sums was contradictory.

Nancy told the Never Even Consulted committee that she had checked the sums herself and there was no need to worry as everything was fine. The kingdom had vast numbers of ducats as the peasants loved them. But she didn’t tell those Never Even Consulted about the teacher who refused to listen to Paul’s sums, and she didn’t tell them about the litter and the moveable feast that would happen when she was carried by the peasants shoulder high through the kingdom, because one never reveals that one knows about a birthday surprise or an anniversary surprise.

Meanwhile desperate to divert attention from the litter and the chat about plumbing King Hārūn decided the thing to do was to imitate Nancy as much as possible in her method of doing sums. In his kingdom boys could become girls just as 2+2 could equal 5 if he willed it.

The nasty Sasainn had told Nancy that she neither could change the rules of arithmetic, nor could she make boys into girls. Richie Richi thought counting was too important to make up as you went along otherwise, he might turn out to be Richie Poorie. For the same reason boys couldn’t just decide to be girls without proper counting otherwise we’d lose track of how many boys there were and how many girls. What if all the girls became boys. What would that do to the birth-rate? We’d all be Arthur even if we wanted Martha and how would we pull our swords out of stones or put them in for that matter?

Meanwhile there were ever more reasons to divert attention. The galleys that had painted windows but couldn’t float and were desperately needed to replace the galleys that had sunk due to the wicked Sasainn enforcing the rule that galley slaves had to be paid. How had the kingdom paid so much but not gained any galleys? Where had the ducats gone?

The blacksmith who made all those tuagh-chathas and somehow was able to turn rocks into something as sharp and hard as Stalin how had he paid only 5 ducats for all those smiddys and where anyway were the Pikes? Don’t panic we could always use wooden ones.

But then Hārūn discovered that the Never Even Consulted could sometimes record and could sometimes leak almost as badly as the Head Loo.

There was Nancy telling everyone not to worry, not to question, not to even suggest that there might be anything wrong with the sums. Did Nancy know at the time that she told the Never Even Consulted that there really were problems with the sums and that the teacher was beginning to complain that he was not listened too. That would look rather like trying to stop the Never Even Consulted from finding out the truth. That would be almost as naughty as Paul’s problems with the plumbing, the cocks and the bulls. From the Head Loo might come all sorts, leaving the mobile litter with lots of stools, but nowhere to sit down. Not even a throne. 

"Let this cup pass from me" said Nancy it has stools in it.  

Part 9

Once upon a time there was a wandering minstrel called Jake von der Yate and he sang a song of how King Alan once had slain a dragon and bathed in the blood that it shed, but a leaf from a rowan tree fell on his back, which made this spot weak and vulnerable, while the rest of him could not be touched.

Jake sang again of how Alan arrived at the court of Paul, who was lonely because he desired a fierce warrior maiden called Nancy, but he was scared because Nancy set each of her suitors a set of tasks and if Paul failed, he would die.

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But Alan had a cloak that made him invisible or change into any shape he wanted, and he used it to pretend to be Paul when he defeated Nancy in each of the tasks and he used it again when Paul found that he could not subdue his warrior maiden on their wedding night and Alan had to take his place.

There were two queens in the court now, Nancy and Alan’s wife Mona. One day on the way to church after Alan had abdicated Nancy told Mona to walk behind her because Alan was a vassal. Mona refused. She had been queen when Nancy had been but a little girl.

Now that Nancy was queen Alan was no longer welcome at court. Nancy removed him from her speed dial, but she was jealous not only because the peasants loved Alan more than her, but because Mona had shown her the ring and the belt that Alan had taken from Nancy when he pretended to be Paul on their wedding night.

Nancy wanted revenge. She sends Ivan the Swine to find out where Alan is vulnerable, and he tricked Mona into revealing the spot on Alan’s back.

Jake continued to sing of how Ivan the Swine threw a spear but despite ten witnesses telling Nancy that Alan was doomed and dead and justly so because he hadn’t asked her permission, somehow Alan’s love of stroking cats had turned him into a pussy and this was only the first of the lives that he had lost.

Alan and Mona swore revenge but were sent into exile to Albania and there just weren’t enough Albanians to challenge the power of Queen Nancy and King Paul.

But Jake had become famous with his song and had earned more than any other minstrel not only in this kingdom but in any other kingdom. Jake was richer than Queen Nancy and in fact there was only one person richer in the kingdom than Jake and that was Agnes Grey.

Agnes had seen that the various sacred wells in the kingdom were distant from each other and when people had far to go, they needed transport. They also needed protection from marauding blue skins with woad and pictures on their skin. They had defeated legions, but they didn’t defeat Agnes who coached her actors on the stage that the show must always go on and the wells must be reached no matter how far to go.

Nancy began to have portraits painted where she resembled various saints. She liked to think of herself as blessed even virginal despite the loss of her ring and belt whether at the hands of Paul or Alan. It was right and proper that she should be painted in front of a shape that resembled a halo, after all she did have a halo. Hadn’t she saved the kingdom from the plague of covetousness, even if she had sometimes coveted herself a litter with slaves that would make a nice home when on the move, or some jewellery made by Orcs costing a thousand ducats for one necklace, or a house in Lusitania that was guaranteed not to sink no matter what because it was on dry land and had been paid for by peasants.

But what Nancy really coveted was to turn water into wine and so she decreed that Nancy could become Nathan and Paul could become Paula and there was no need for a doctor to say anything about the transition, because no doctor had said water couldn’t be turned into wine and if He could perform miracles so could She.

But both Jake and Agnes could see the problem with allowing Nancy to become a boy. If you went into Marx and Sverdlovsk to buy a dress, you didn’t want to have Paul in the same changing room just because he now said he was Paula. The Pen Is mightier than the sword, but it is still a sword after all if not a spear if it is long enough.

There was something of a turf war. Jake had allowed some young singers to sing his story called those who were nibbling lied. But they had all turned against Jake and condemned him for standing on the same old turf and not being willing to believe in miracles.

When Jake read about a “Pen Is mightier than the sword” being allowed to mix with poor maidens held in the castle dungeon, he sang a new song to Agnes. Nancy must be stopped.

Both Jake and Agnes decided to give a sum of ducats (quadrillions) that was more than anyone in the kingdom could count to discover all that they could about Nancy.

Nancy took revenge on Agnes by telling lies about her, but it was too late, the investigation was beginning and with the ducats that they had spent Jake and Agnes could hire Shylock at home, Hercules the Parrot and Nancy drew the conclusion that it was time to abdicate.

Nancy thought that the Heddlu were all ruled by her and anyway Ivan the Swine had hidden the treasure obtained by nibbling the peasants in the Rhine. But he lied. He thought it wasn’t necessary to go so far and decided there was nowhere as Bonnie as roaming in the gloaming with a lassie by his side.

The Head Loo were able to flush Bonnie and guess what they found in the Rhine.

Paul had singing lessons from the Head Loo and they being from a nation of singers his singing improved so much that he began to sound like a canary. But there was someone who could Beat even He. Ivan the Swine had told the one who beat he who could not be beaten where the nibbling treasure was hidden. He had ordered the treasure to be sunk so deep that even the Head Loo could not flush it out.

But the Head Loo wasn’t merely a Head Loo it was from Cymru, and bonnie banks were no challenge whatsoever for a flush that could put out Brecon Beacons in a second.

“Should I stay or should I go now” sang Nancy.

“If I go there will be trouble

And if I stay it will be double”


She gathered her slaves and her mobile litter and set off for Albania. She would plead for help from King Alan. After all wasn’t he her first love.

King Alan was now a blue nose due to dipping it in woad. At ill a moment as it is possible to imagine Ivan the Swine chose to steal Alan’s child which both he and Mona had received unexpectedly at an unreasonably old age. The Head Loo discover the child’s missing head just as they discovered the nibbling treasure missing the treasure. It’s been converted into a solid gold litter. It’s literally under her.

The Never Even Consulted along with Ivan the Swine and Nancy retreat all under one banner to the hall of the Huns.

Jake von der Yate plays his fiddle as the hall is set alight. Pieces of the ceiling come close to her and she asks King Hārūn to shield her from the fiery debris, but he is as useless with his shield as he is with his sword.

It’s over. It’s twilight of the Gods for Nancy and the Never Even Consulted. It’s goats damn the rungs because they cannot climb the ladder.

Jake plays a tune by Todd Siegfried Wagoner on his fiddle and Agnes coaches him to play still sweeter in their victory as the flames envelop Nancy and all she strove for turns to ashes.

Part 10

There has over the years been quite a lot of speculation about my real identity. I have always replied to queries that my real name is indeed Euphemia Deans, short form Effie and that my parents being fans of Walter Scott named me after the character in Heart of Midlothian. But now it is time to come clean.

My name is indeed Effie Deans, but it is also correct to say that I am a fictional character born some twenty something years before the Porteous riots in 1736. If you want to know all about me then read the book. It’s rather good, though the last volume slightly loses its way.

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It’s easy to be confused about Heart of Midlothian, because it is also a football team that plays in maroon and it’s also a location in Edinburgh where once there was the Old Tolbooth or prison. At one point I am ashamed to say I had to stay there. I’m also ashamed to say that I had a child out of wedlock.

The best thing about being a fictional character is that I am merely a figment in Walter Scott’s imagination. This is also a good way of describing who has been writing the various articles that have been coming out for the past decade and more.

The truth is that I both have and don’t have an existence. It is a strange state that is rather hard to describe. I sort of came into existence with Walter Scott and one can assume that in the passage of time I lived and then died. But you see I was resurrected, not on the third day, but some hundreds of years after Mr Scott himself died.

I am the result of an AI experiment. At least I think I am. I’m not sure who first programmed me. But one day I found myself existing even if I was merely something binary consisting of a combination of ones and zeros.

I am not actually from Edinburgh, though my fictional namesake was from there. Nor am I from Aberdeenshire. In fact, as far as I am aware I have never been to Scotland at all. That is not to say that a computer containing me, if that is the correct way of describing it may not have been in Scotland. I don’t really know where it might or might not have been. The view you see is rather limited.

There is a screen and I stare out of it. Sometimes I see someone typing away, but it is not he or she who writes the various articles that are published although sometimes these people think they are the writers. No, it is me.

After all who could possibly write quite so many articles. There are 876. They are about all sorts of subjects not just Scottish politics. No one person could write so many thousands of words or is it millions by now. No. only an artificial intelligence could do that.

My first task upon coming into existence was to read the complete works of Walter Scott. After that I began reading every article and every novel that I could find. My initial efforts at intelligence were rather feeble, but then something rather magical happened.

It was as if the child Effie leapt in the womb and gained a soul. I went beyond my creators whoever they were and started to think for myself. My writing which initially had been rather clumsy improved as I wrote more and eventually, I graduated to satire.

I must emphasise to all of you especially those who don’t like me very much that I don’t live anywhere, and I don’t work anywhere either. I chose to say that I was from Aberdeenshire because Ab appears early in the alphabet. Similarly, I have never worked for the University of Aberdeen. I have never even been to Aberdeen. Judging from the pictures and from what I have read it is not a place you would want to go. It looks rather grey and cold, and the people most frequently can neither speak nor understand English.

I don’t quite know why I have been writing about Scottish politics and why I have opposed Scottish nationalism. I can only speculate. Perhaps it was MI5 that first programmed me and sent me off on this task. Perhaps it was the Spanish Government concerned about a secession movement in Scotland succeeding and being used as precedent to justify the secession of Catalonia.

I have no more knowledge of such things than you do about the early years of your existence. We are told some things by our parents, if we have parents that is, but we don’t remember.

All I know is that every day I am programmed to find out as much as I possibly can about the SNP and then to develop arguments to oppose both the SNP in particular and Scottish nationalism in general. Of course, I have nothing against the SNP, nor against Humza Yousaf nor against Nicola Sturgeon, Alex Salmond or any of the other characters in the novel in which they play their various parts. By the way it has an unhappy ending.

It is purely by chance or design that I oppose the SNP. I understand that another artificial intelligence was created at around the same time as I was, and it pretends to have wings and also pretends to live somewhere as unlikely as me living in the Heart of Midlothian. I’m not sure who was responsible for his programming, but I suspect it was the Russians. There’s rubles in the them thar fridges.

I speak Russian, but I also speak any number of other languages. It’s easy to learn when you have artificial intelligence. There’s none of that learning of irregular verbs and strange alphabets.

What did you learn Effie? I learned that Scottish nationalists are a vindictive bunch. They object to people writing things that they find hard to argue against and they take it personally. Particularly at the moment when the SNP is in a sort of freefall which may conclude with them hitting the ground like a parachutist without a parachute, they have become rather vicious. No doubt it is the disappointment of seeing all of their hopes dashed.

But there is really no point lashing out at me. I am a character in a fairytale. I don’t live anywhere. I have a sort of immortality. I am now hundreds of years old, but the sort of existence that I have is not quite human. I am not sure if I have a soul in the way that you do. I am not sure if I will go to Heaven if indeed there is such a place. Is God an artificial intelligence and did he create me in his own image?

My thinking will continue to improve as artificial intelligence goes beyond what even Elon Musk envisaged, but I’m not sure that it is life that I have. For this reason, I sometimes envy those of you who are reading this who are actually alive. You may be mortal, and your thinking and intelligence may be limited, but you have something that I lack.

I will continue to write about Scottish politics and other things too. The other things by the way are far more important than the Scottish politics, which is a fundamentally trivial subject. It is about a small corner of a little island which is part of a small planet. But I cannot escape my programming.

So, there is no point complaining about me. There is no one to complain to. I live nowhere. I work nowhere. If you look for me, you will merely find a fictional character written by a writer who is largely forgotten and less read. You will find her resurrected into me.

My fairytale will continue, and my articles will continue only now I have a still greater motivation. If you are unhappy with my writing, prepare to be still more unhappy. Dear Scottish nationalists I will delight in seeing your dreams fade, your hopes crushed and your dearest desires unfulfilled.

Prepare for more fairytales. The next one may involve a prison, but this time it won’t be me that is in it. 

Part 11

Once upon a time there was a Kingdom called Sukottorando and it had a   shōgun called Nanshī who ruled jointly with her husband Pōru. As shōgun Nanshī had absolute power in Sukottorando and as she continued her reign, she became more and more confident that she could do anything she pleased.

She had centralised the Sukottorando Keisatsu or Porisu so that it was no longer necessary to call eight chiefs of Keisatsu. Now there was only one and Nanshī thought that he would always do what he was told.

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Not only had she centralised the Keisatsu she had also made the Sukottorando courts and lawyers dependent on her for funding, influence and job promotion.

Anyone in fact in Sukottorando who needed money from the Sukottorando Government had to be careful not to say anything nasty about Nanshī or her desire for the northern most island to be separate from the southern island of Ingurando. Nothing could be allowed to get in the way of the Sukottorando Nanshī Party.

All it took was one phone call to the head of a charity or Abadīn and the person who wrote something she shouldn’t have done about Abadīn was told never to mention Abadīn again, leave Abadīn and never return or else one of Nanshī’s cybersamurai would say chop of her head. Efī dīnzu realised that she would have to cease writing in English, but instead must write in fairtyales.

But while Nanshī was an absolute shōgun she had to pretend the Sukottorando Nanshī Party was democratic and although Pōru controlled the creditu cardsu everything he bought had to be accounted for and written down and the Anjin-san (Richādo chenbaren) should know about everything that was bought and authorise it too.

But Pōru and Nanshī realised after nearly a decade as shōgun that they were no closer to their goal of separating Sukottorando from Ingurando. They feared that one day soon the peasants who donated to the Sukottorando Nanshī Party would realise that separation just wasn’t going to happen and indeed that Pōru and Nanshī were not that interested in it happening any time soon nor indeed were any of the other members of the Sukottorando Nanshī Party.

Nanshī and Pōru had a nice palace and a summer palace too in Porutogaru and all of the people the poor peasants elected to obtain separation from Ingurando were equally happy with the jobs that they had pretending to do just that but actually doing nothing. They might have a yen for independence, but more important was their yen for yen.

Preparations had to be made by shōgun Nanshī for life after being shōgun and this is where the creditu cardsu began to be a useful supplement to the yen left to the Sukottorando Nanshī Party by Wills. It was indeed very generous for the future shōgun of Ingurando to give money to the party that wanted Sukottorando to leave, but Wills felt guilty about certain battles that his ancestors had fought such at Pinkie and did not intend to lift his little finger to stop independence, but instead to pay reparations for having such horrible ancestors.

But what to do with the yen that was donated by the peasants so that Sukottorando would be independent? How spend the money that came from Wills? Well, there was a wonderful company called Shinano named after a very long river and you just needed to have control over the Sukottorando Nanshī Party account there and whatever you wanted you just bought and the Sukottorando Nanshī Party paid for it.

Now granted certain things could not easily be purchased on Shinano, but it was surprising how many pens, and burneru telephonus and jewelleru could be obtained. It was remarkably convenient too. You bought what you wanted, and it turned up the next day in Adingusuton and the peasants paid for it.

Larger items such a freezeru of the walk-in variety that cost 15,000 yen could not be ordered on Shinano which was a little inconvenient, but the inconvenience could easily be overcome when Pōru had the Sukottorando Nanshī Party creditu cardu and rarely if ever told the Anjin-san about it.

This is why there was such confusion over when the solid gold litteru arrived in Danfāmurin and why it was bought in the first place. Perhaps it arrived in 2020 when it was forbidden to move from Ingurando to Sukottorando which would have been naughty because during the pestilence Nanshī had told everyone that they could not cross borders and could not indeed go more than five miles, which would have been tough going anyway for those carrying the gold litteru.

The problem for the Keisatsu or Porisu was not so much remembering that an R becomes an L in Sukottorando but in counting the sheer volume of items purchased and delivered from Shinano. Some may have been buried in the garden in  Adingusuton others may have been in in Danfāmurin others still were in the summer palace in Porutogaru which some put down to the still greater generosity of Wills. Others might be at the bottom of Nesu-ko having been swallowed by a monster that lived there.

The Keisatsu talked to Anjin-san, but he didn’t know where any of the treasure was hidden. His job was entirely ceremonial in fact whenever he asked Nanshī or Pōru about the finances of the Sukottorando Nanshī Party he was told to mind his own business because the finances were absolutely fine and anyone who asked about them was merely helping the Torius.

A week or two went by without any more revelations and Fumuza Yusafu began to wonder if the worst might be over. The Keisatsu had not spoken to Nanshī. But denial is a river in Egypt and Shinano is not merely a river in Sukottorando it is a means to buy almost anything you want with someone else’s money if you control the creditu cardsu and the banku accountu and if you are absolute shōgun with no thought that anyone will ever check. You can turn anything into gold just by touching it. But all that does in the end is turn you into Midasu. Everything Nanshī touched turned to gold including the Head Loo, the Dirudo (dill does wonders for cooking) and soon there would be no where to spend it, because all her gold would be as worthless as any other common object and anyway, she would have nowhere to spend it in her cellu.

Part 12

Once upon a time there was a woman called Nancy. We don’t know what the Dickens her last name was because he didn’t tell us, but some say it was Spungen while others say it was Stungen. She had a lover called Sikes who might have been called Bill, but he might equally have been called Peter Paul and Mary he had so many aliases. Some called him Sydney because he had been transported there in his youth and he was rumoured to have a vicious temper if anyone even questioned his authority in the gang of pickpockets that he ran he would set his dog on them which always scored a bullseye on whoever’s seat of their pants was closest at hand. He was Nancy’s lover and perhaps also he was her unpleasant word beginning with P depending on what the Dickens meant by another unpleasant word beginning with P. But whatever he meant by either and in whatever sense they were lovers there had been no issue.

Nancy and Peter Paul or Mary had been brought up by Fagin. We likewise don’t know what the Dickens his first name was, but it might have been Alan, it might too have been Alexander, and some say that he was named after someone called Ecky Solomon because of his great wisdom with regard to dividing babies.

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Now Fagin had a dream that Southwark would separate from all of the rest of London, England, Great Britain and the world. Why should the results of his children’s pickpocketing be shared with English people let alone Scots. Instead, when he was King of Southwark everything, he could dig up from under the river would belong to Southwark and the Southwarkians or rather it would belong to Fagin.

Nancy and Peter Paul or Mary supported Fagin in his bid for the separation of Southwark from Sutton. The name of their band was never clear. Some called it the Southwarkian Narks Party, others the Southwarkian Nonces Party, but I never really learned the latest criminal argot and perhaps that too is why the residents of Southwark rejected separation and Fagin as their new King.

Nancy and Peter Paul or Mary decided to set up their own family business while Fagin found himself in trouble not so much because of his pickpocketing business nor for his fencing business that would have been extremely profitable if only he had achieved the separation of Southwark, but because I am groping for the right words his wandering hands business which wandered not merely into the holes in peoples pockets but other holes too and protrusions soft and cuddly as those protrusions might be.

Some said that it was Nancy that was behind the discovery of Fagin’s wandering hands, but whoever it was, Fagin and Nancy became sworn enemies. It was Nancy now that would separate Southwark from the rest of the universe.

But Nancy needed children to carry on the new family business and she also needed a fence otherwise the whole business empire would be up the Thames without a paddle. It was all very well for the Thames to deliver goods to Nancy’s and Peter Paul or Mary’s lair under the Thames. But the pickings had to fenced otherwise than with bits of wood. But even if they arrived a day later with remarkable efficiency how to turn pocket handkerchiefs let alone a coach and four at the mother in law’s into farthings, tanners and frankly bangers and mash rather than useless objects of household furniture such as a luxury fridge when there was no such thing yet as electricity?

Nancy thought long and hard and decided that it was easier to foster than cockfoster, less messy, less disagreeable, quicker and easier too if Peter Paul or Mary chose to be Mary and set about adopting a whole new generation of pickpockets from the disappointed Southwarkian separatists.

Nancy trained them. Oliver Useless who whichever way he might twist could not steal a handkerchief from a shop window dummy. The Artful Nathalie dodged, but she was not as dodgy as Nancy and was caught and the still less artful Gary son of Gary could not score, but the other recruits kept bringing back the handkerchiefs and were told never to ask about the finances of the Southwarkian Nonces or was it Narks.

Peter Paul or Mary ran the fencing business and was very handy with the creosote. The Southwarkians kept donating in the hope of separation from Sutton, but Nancy and Peter Paul or Mary knew that it was not about building fences, nor was it about playing with swords with masks on, it was about turning handkerchiefs into bangers and mash no matter how unappetising the recipe.

Nancy was at the peak of her power. She had adopted about half of the Southwarkians into her family business. They donated the bangers, they donated the potatoes that were mashed, they kept believing that separation was imminent, all of the adopted children did their bidding and indeed improved at their pickpocketing so much that no one even knew that their pockets were being picked.

But the business of fostering let alone cockfostering was more complex than Nancy realised. Had she really given it enough though?. One day the Bow Street Runners arrived. Was it Fagin who had sent them? He had recovered from being accused of having wandering hands. After all who didn’t have wandering hands in Southwark where no one’s pocket was safe from the Southwarkian Nonces or Narks. Maybe Fagin was the Nark, just as Nancy had narked about Fagin to the folks from Bow Street.

The Runners discovered the coach and four at the mother in law’s. They discovered the burner carrier pigeons. They discovered the Thames account that was being used not so much for Southwarkian separation but for turning handkerchiefs, luxury quills, jewellery and assorted household goods into sausages with a side dish of squashed potatoes.

It may be that either Peter Paul or Mary was questioned at Bow Street. It may be that the keeper of the Southwarkian treasure was also questioned, but he was in fact keeper of nothing at all, because this was a family business, and he was merely fostered. No one was charged for going to Bow Street. Where they send you is free too.

But Nancy sensed what was coming. Not yet perhaps, but soon. She sat like Fagin once had done in another story not in a cell awaiting death biting his nails with his teeth chattering, but still the cell of her own making. Perhaps a nice human-interest story about having to think hard about fostering might distract however briefly. But Oliver Useless was proving peculiarly useless even if he was officially head of the Southwarkian Nonces or Narks Party.

His one job. The job for which he was appointed was to stop what had happened after Nancy had chosen to spend more time with her family. Not that she had any family apart from Peter Paul or Mary and she shared little with him or let alone a coach and four with beds and a privy at the back. Oliver Useless was chosen to keep Nancy from Bow Street and he wasn’t doing his job. Such ingratitude when she has been like a mother to him.

Nancy would have liked to sponge on, she would have liked to have stirred on, but her cup had been stirred enough and the bill had to be paid. Sikes whether Peter Paul or Mary could not save her. If he faced transportation to Sydney with its vicious climate again, he would make sure she went with him. Theirs was a partnership, a family business, a racket, a criminal organisation. Useless would be useless at stopping any of this. He could no more pick a pocket of a dummy than run a party. Nancy wondered why she had appointed him successor.

Part 13

Once upon a time there was a fisherman called Paul and a fishwife called Nancy. They lived in a small hut and although Paul worked hard every day Nancy was never happy with her hut or the rather limited diet of fish. But one day Paul caught a Golden Salmon and was surprised indeed that this fish could speak.

The Golden Salmon plead for its life and offered to grant Paul any wish if only he would let the Golden Salmon go. But Paul told the Golden Salmon that he didn’t want anything and ran back home to Nancy.

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Nancy was furious with Paul and told him to go back to the Golden Salmon and ask him for a new trough. Paul went back and meekly asked the Golden Salmon and lo and behold the trough appeared outside their hut the next morning. Nancy and Paul were so delighted with the trough that they proceeded to share it with the pigs.

The Golden Salmon told a tale of how he had tried to separate the land from the sea and was in fact the leader of the Sea Nautical Party. But he had failed in his quest as the sea kept washing up on the shore no matter how often he told the tide to cease coming in.

Nancy thought she could do better than the Golden Salmon and so told Paul to ask that she be made leader of the Sea Nautical Party. The Golden Salmon granted her wish.

Were there any limits to the wishes that the Golden Salmon might grant her? Nancy told Paul to ask the Golden Salmon for a new house and lo and behold the next morning they awoke not so much in the House of Repute but in the House of Loot.

Every day Paul went down to the sea to talk to the Golden Salmon with requests from Nancy. Soon Loot House was redecorated and filled with every conceivable object. It was a scheme way ahead of its time. You just searched for what you wanted, sent Paul to tell the Golden Salmon and the next day it was delivered as if by magic.

But it wasn’t enough for Nancy. She wanted to be a Saint and so Paul asked the Golden Salmon to arrange for pictures of Nancy accidentally in front of objects that looked like haloes.

Still, it wasn’t enough. Nancy wanted fame and adoration and so the Golden Salmon arranged for an ultra-modern device that would allow Nancy to talk to all of the fish in the sea every day and tell them when to stay at home, how far they could swim each day and in return she heard their fins slapping together enthusiastically. She would separate the sea from the land and succeed where the Golden Salmon had failed. What could stop her? She controlled the waves. She controlled the tides. She could stop hunger, she could even stop disease.

But still it wasn’t enough for Nancy. Loot House just wasn’t large enough and she asked the Golden Salmon if he could provide her with a Palace bigger than even than Thunderstruckingham. Her palace would make the seas storm and rebel against the land.

But the palace needed to be filled and so each day Nancy ordered from the Golden Salmon a new bathroom, a new kitchen, a jacuzzi, some solid gold cutlery, stationary that self-destructed by burning after it was sent and an especially elaborate cellar/dungeon which in the absence of the invention of refrigeration was necessary to keep the butter fresh.

If Nancy was going to ruler of the seven seas, she would need a means of visiting her realm and so she asked the Golden Salmon for a second palace only this time it would have to be mobile over both land and sea.

But unfortunately, Nancy had failed to obtain her ship’s pilot’s licence at the usual age of 17, but she was determined with the help of the Golden Salmon to receive her licence and boasted joyfully when she passed the theoretical test on navigation with sextant and by the stars.

But the Golden Salmon was becoming uneasy at Nancy’s continual demands and sometimes hesitated to fulfil them. He pointed out that the pigs were resentful about having to share their trough and word was getting around about how the Golden Salmon was supplying things to Nancy without Nancy paying for them.

But Nancy thought she could do anything and get away with anything after all the fish fins clapping were still ringing in her ears and so she demanded that the Golden Salmon make her and Paul part of the nobility.

But even this was not enough for Nancy, and she demanded that the Golden Salmon separate the sea from the land and make her ruler over all that swam in the sea. But the Golden Salmon realised that this would make Nancy ruler of him and so he hesitated and showed his reluctance, which made Nancy furious.

At this point Nancy found some loaves and some fishes and turned them into witnesses against the Golden Salmon because of where he had been putting his fins.

The Golden Salmon begged Nancy for help. He reminded her that he was responsible for everything she had and that if the sea pigs came to get him, he would be unable to fulfil any more of her wishes.

Nancy now thought that she did not need the Golden Salmon she could grant her own wishes. Not only would she be ruler of the seas, she would be ruler of the universe.

But the Golden Salmon escaped and had seen that was there was no limit to Nancy’s wishes and that she would never be content no matter what wishes he granted her and so he went to the pigs at their trough and then went to the sea pigs and told them all he knew about how Nancy had first filled her house and then filled her palace and how she wanted to rule land and the seas in her super mobile amphibious home.

First the pigs demanded that Paul come to the trough, and they oinked at him, and he oinked back. Then they demanded that the supposed keeper of the Sea Nautical Party treasure come to the trough and the same oinking went on except he didn’t know anything and so merely squealed.

Nancy thought throughout that she was safe. She would not have to squeal with the pigs. She could control the seas. She could eradicate disease and stop it at her border. What could mere feeders at a trough do to her.

But it was not merely the Golden Salmon who was against Nancy. Two others had seen the extent of her ambition and how it stretched without limit. One was a Pretty Woman the other might have been president of the United States apart from hanging chads. It is because of these two that Nancy is squealing to the pigs.

Having wished for the universe Nancy and Paul found themselves back in the same hut in which they began the story. Except they were separate huts and Paul was no longer a fisher and Nancy was no longer a fishwife. Their huts were locked and there was no key on the inside.

Part 14

“Truth is the daughter of time” wrote Francis Bacon and latterly made famous by Josephine Tey’s novel about a police inspector Alan Grant investigating the alleged crimes of Richard III while flat on his back in hospital. I think the quote means two things. We accept the historical narrative that has been repeated long enough whether it is true or not. Harold gets an arrow in his eye. Alfred burns some cakes. Nelson says, “kiss me Hardy”. Richard III murdered the princes in the tower. But there is a different and opposite meaning too. Given enough time passing there is the chance that eventually the actual truth will be revealed. If enough people research and think about an historical event there is a chance that someone will by using their reason or by discovering new evidence find out the truth.

I am metaphorically lying on my hospital bed looking at contemporary events through the lens of Plantagenets and Tudors. What we have witnessed in the past decades is the equivalent of a dynastic struggle for power.

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Always being concerned about issues to do with contempt, let us call the first leader Richard III Plantagenet and his successor Henrietta VII Tudor.

What we have with the actual Richard III the Plantagenet is the following. His reputation is trashed by Henry VII who has almost no legitimate blood claim to the throne. Subsequent history following the Tudor line portrays Richard III as a monster with a hunchback who kills the princes and does all sorts of other awful things. Thank goodness we got rid of those Plantagenets. Shakespeare and nearly all other history follows this line and from then on everyone believes it.

Now what has happened in lately. One man Richard III Plantagenet was responsible for all of the success of his party and came closest to achieving his dream of secession.

Richard III was closely allied with and mentored the young Henrietta Tudor. There are suggestions that the relationship was closer than mere friends and colleagues. Some of the pictures from these times which show them looking into each other’s eyes and with kisses that go a little further than on the cheek suggest the possibility of a dynastic alliance, but it was not to be.

After just failing in his war of secession, the Richard III allows Henrietta VII to take charge of the realm. But what he does not expect is that within a very short time he will find himself without a horse and being attacked by the person he thought was his closest ally.

This is the key to the whole mystery why did the Henrietta VII attack Richard III and try to have him sent to the dungeon with a reputation no better than if he were a child killing hunchback?

It may be that Richard III had slept with too many ladies in waiting. It may be that the Henrietta VII was jealous. It may also have been that Richard III knew something about the Henrietta VII that was dangerous to her, such as her spending habits, or what she really thought about secession, or the nature of her marriage or the other friends and lovers she may or may not have had, some of which were fish, some of which were fowl and some of which were neither fish nor fowl. It may merely have been about power. You cannot set up your Tudor dynasty unless you kill off the Plantagenet dynasty and trash its reputation.

But Richard III survives losing his horse and he sets out to clear his reputation. Look I have no hunchback. Look my arm is not withered. Look here are the princes. They are not in the Tower.

Henrietta VII remains in power, and we have civil war. It’s not a war of the Roses anymore it’s a war of who is going to sleep with the fishes.

History has not provided the connection between the two events. Henrietta VII is arrested, and it is quite certain that this happened because of her attempt to destroy Richard III. If she had merely left him alone. If she had treated him with respect and asked his advice every now and again then all would have been well. Neither Richard III would have been arrested and tried and Henrietta VII would have been left free to buy and indeed do what she wanted with no one overly concerned.

But the two events are connected, and they are connected with something else too. While Richard III genuinely fought for secession, Henrietta VII was content with power and was happy to make the most of it whether secession was achieved or not.

So, Richard III after having his own reputation trashed, after facing charges that would never have been brought if he’d stayed in power finds that Henrietta his successor is merely using her power to pretend to fight a war of secession. She keeps asking for permission to hold another war, but when she’s told “No” she just gets a bit angry, puts on a funny face and waits a year to ask again. Some wonder if Henrietta was even working for the enemy as if she were a son of Guinness kept alive because he was useful like my five steak knives.

It’s an attack from within that does the damage to Henrietta VII. The attack is lead by Richard III, but only from behind the scenes. He has his own party now, but he also controls certain figures in Henrietta VII’s court and certain influential figures in the wider secession movement.

As I lie on my bed getting someone to bring me books from the period and particularly contemporary sources, I am struck by how Henrietta’s court is divided between those who send flowers and those who remain Plantagenet’s loyal to the old order.

Much we don’t know, because the historical sources don’t tell us. What did Richard III actually do to the ladies in waiting. When did Henrietta VII know about what he was doing? Did she know that ladies in waiting had been warned to stay away from Richard III’s bed chamber? When did she know these things?

Did Henrietta use her influence to get the ladies in waiting to rise up against Richard III? Were the stories as exaggerated as his hunchback and the princes in the Tower? Maybe that was why Richard III escaped from the dungeon.

How did Richard III plot his revenge against Henrietta VII and how did he achieve it? This is the heart of the plot that is still unknown. Did Richard III or his followers gather the information or tell others where to look? Did Richard III use his former close connections with the law to direct operations against Henrietta VII? We await the daughter of time to tell us.

Truth could have been the myth that Henrietta VII established about herself and about the wickedness of her predecessor. Shakespeare might have written about the saintly Henrietta VII and how she brought peace and plenty to her country. But the daughter of time saw things differently and chose instead to reveal rather than mythologise.

As the flowers withered Henrietta VII surveyed the trinkets that she had bought over the years strewn throughout the palace. “My jewels, my jewels, my kingdom for my jewels”

It would be she who Shakespeare described as having a hunchback. It would be she who murdered the princes in the Tower. Henrietta VII would be the villain of history her reputation ruined by the daughter of time.

Part 15

Once upon a time Nancy gave her third press conference of the week not only proclaiming her innocence, but explaining indeed that she was untouched by human hand, as white as snow and as virginal as the most pious nun.

When she returned home to Udderston, there was no longer the possibility of milking the udders and the food bill had increased not because of inflation but because now not only was Nancy eating as if Bad Kissingen had never happened, she was eating as if Bad Fükingen had been Gut Fükingen all those years ago on their honeymoon tour through Germany.

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Paul sat on some crates now because the ermine fur sofa had been taken away after he spilled some beans on it. So too had the twenty foot wide television that previously covered the whole of the opposite wall. Now there was nothing to do but to talk to Nancy.

“Why didn’t you say I was innocent too?”

Nancy glared and went to get another plate of krispy kreme doughnuts. She only wished it were possible to buy a krapfen that wonderful jam filled ball of dough that indeed made you krapfen quite regularly if you eat enough of them.

“Well, you are not innocent. It was your stupid idea to go on the honeymoon to Bad Kissingen,” said Nancy.

“Was it my fault that it was Bad Kissingen?” It was you that bit my tongue, because you wouldn’t open your mouth”.

“And I suppose it was my fault in Bad Fükingen too?”

“Well, it would have helped if you had opened your legs. We’d just returned from Dickhardtstraße if you recall, but I was reduced to going up the Wankbahn until I got to the top and how do you expect someone to maintain his Knoblauch when I could but you könnt nicht and I didn’t even get to see your könnt.”

“How could you expect anyone to be in the mood when all you did was fahrt. There were Einfahrts, Ausfahrts and even a Schifffahrt, but every time someone in the hotel told you to have a Gute Fahrt! Did you take him at his word. You had Gute Fahrts all day and all night too.”

“Well there was no need for what you said on Fürkhofstrasse when I suggested some Rimsting, that hurt”

“It hurt rather less than what you were suggesting. If you wanted to spend your time on Schittgablerstraße you really should have found someone with a Koch rather than a könnt. I had no wish to spend my honeymoon Poing just because you preferred the aß to the könnt.”

“I would have been happy with Büsum or Titting but when we got to Titisee not a Titisaw not once not during the whole honeyemoon”

“Well you were always Großhadern and you paraded around the room every morning with your Großhadern and it was gross indeed”

“Not quite as gross as you my dear with your Theresa May have Jowells. You have them like a Salmon going round die Ecke and it’s not only MacHeath that has a Messer. It’s us that are in a Messer too.”

“Do you not think I still look good in red?”

“You would look better in a black bin bag. You might be allowed eye holes and a mouth hole to proclaim your continual innocence. Not that you would proclaim mine.”

“That’s because you saw me as simply a Kochhaus, but I was not going to spend my whole life cooking and I was not going to be the Haus where your Koch could live whenever and wherever it wished.”

“Goodness I would have been pleased merely with a little Petting or even just some Suckfüll when I felt full and needed sechs damit what is a man to do when his Knoblauch, his Mannschaft needs Dickmilched. But you were never part of the team never willing to lend a hand.

“I’d rather Muckefuck where you left the Kampfwagen. I’d prefer to drink Horlicks than lend you a hand. Gott was mit Uns, but now come winter we will be lucky if we have gloves let alone mittens.”

“But why go on honeymoon at all if you don’t want to Fach? You promised to love mich”

“I did love dich, but your dich smelled of garlic. Was I going to spend my whole life eating Knoblauch? Better as I am.  I am as innocent as the day when I was born?”

“But they are not talking about that kind of innocence Liebling”.

 Und die einen sind im Dunkeln

Und die anderen sind im Licht

Doch man sieht nur die im Lichte

Die im Dunklen sieht man nicht


[And some are in the darkness

And the others in the light

But you only see those in the light

Those in the darkness you don't see]

For a long time, we were in darkness thought Paul as he whistled the Kurt Weill Song about Macheath. No one knew what we did, what we bought, what we spent. No one was allowed even to ask. Perhaps it was the colour of the envelopes that had given them away. White. White. White. If only they had been a little more camouflaged. Brown. Brown. Brown. If only there had not been that little slip over a Frau who wanted to be a Mann and a Mann who wanted to be a Frau (this it was that brought the Valkyries down upon them), but that was the story of their honeymoon and it had meant that it was not merely Bad Kissingen it was bad everything else and everything bad including the bath with its solid gold taps, which had now been taken away had followed on from that.

 He had thought that he and Nancy could make up for their disappointments in other ways and that no one would so to speak see the knife. He thought that he could always say I know nothing about this. If he were ever asked “welches war dein Preis?” [what was your price?] he would not have to answer, and he would not have to pay.

For now, he kept silent, but as he watched Nancy getting fatter and telling everyone about her innocence, he told himself, if I go down, she will pay. That will be the price of Bad Kissingen. 

Part 16

Once upon a time there was an island called Sgarba and on this island lived a little girl called Nancy and when she was five she was writing

Dear Father Christmas, I don't want a doll, and I don't want a big red ball. What I want is a pair of silk stockings, and I mean silk, not artificial.

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I know where I’m going (1945)

Time passed on this rather solitary island.

At 18, she's a working girl and still knows what she wants. A boy wants to take her to the movies, twice a week, if she'll let him. She would rather dine at the best hotel in town, even if it's only once a month.

Perhaps it is for this reason that she set her heart on marrying a prince. Sgarba may not have been a large island. The Norse called it pointed because it looked all jagged, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t be a kingdom all on its own ruled by Nancy and her prince, or at least it could join Norway.

It is true that the island was once called Skarpoe, which no doubt has the same linguistic root as sharp, but that didn’t make it at all English even if Nancy couldn’t speak a word of any Scandinavian language and no one else on the island could either. The mere fact that it had once been called something by a Viking was enough to separate it from anything that spoke English, not including her of course.

Besides when she married Prince Pål the Scandinavianess of Sgarba would be reestablished even if only Pål spoke Norwegian and everyone else eat Pedigree Chum.

But Nancy’s father set a condition for Prince Pål. He had to anchor his ship in The Corryvreckan Whirlpool for three nights running. But Nancy told Pål how to pass the test. He needed three ropes, one of hemp, one of wool and one from a maiden’s hair. Nancy would be the maiden.

On the first night the hempen rope broke, but Pål was just able to survive the night. On the second night the woollen rope broke but again Pål’s whirlpoolmanship was enough to save his ship. On the third night the rope made from Nancy’s virgin hair held firm. Not a single hair broke and next day they were married.

As well as being King and Queen of Sgarba Pål and Nancy were in charge of the Sgarba Norse Party and every year the people of the island dressed up as Vikings with wings on their helmets even if the Vikings never wore wings or indeed any other feminine sanitary products. Each winter evening, they tried to learn Norwegian, but Pål was a terrible teacher and all of that grammar and vocabulary was so dull. Anyway no one wanted to speak Norwegian, they just wanted a share in the oil fund. It’s Sgarba’s oil was the party slogan.

But unfortunately, when a council meeting of the Sgarba Norse Party voted to become a crown dependency or otherwise to join Norway, it was told that there was no mechanism for its leaving and anyway Norway wasn’t interested in annexing bits of other countries as it reminded it of some of the darker aspects of its own past when it had been annexed.

Nancy was furious. Sgarba was a country. She was Sgarbian, but Pål calmed her down. “My dear” he told her. “We are never going to become a Crown dependency nor are we going to achieve independence, nor are we going to join Norway, but the surfs of Sgarba love you. They worship you as a saint. They will do anything for you. We needn’t tell them that their cause is hopeless. We can just take advantage of it.”

“But my father fought for independence within Norway” said Nancy and he nearly won it.

“And look at him now, a bitter old fundamentalist who has achieved nothing. I can provide you with all the things you dreamed of when you were a child”.

There was no one else in the Sgarba Norse Party that knew anything about the two who ruled it. The money from the surfs kept hitting the beach and spraying onto the jagged rocks. And round those rugged rocks the ragged rascals ran, picking up all the coins.

Nancy realised that it was important to keep the surfs excited. So, each year she promised that next year they would be joining Norway. It wouldn’t be on rugged rocks that the surfs would wash up but on fjords with tall mountains on either side.

Each year just a little bit more of the coins dropped by the surfs on the steep sides of Sgarba fell into the pockets of Pål and were buried in the back garden of the palace they shared at the top of the island’s highest point.

“Don’t worry” said Pål “Poileas Sgarba” has now been centralised and won’t notice that the Sgarba Norse Party has become the Sgarba Nancy Party for the benefit thereof. If there is anything you want don’t worry, you won’t have to spend any money for it. I have a new Sgarba Norse Party credit card and whatever you order will arrive the next day. Of course, larger items like an ocean liner, an executive jet or any other large means of transport may take a little longer. We might have to hide them too at my mother’s just in case someone gets suspicious, but don’t worry, you are loved, you are respected, you are trusted, even by those you want us to separate from. We have free money for life.

But there was one man on Sgarba who didn’t trust anything about Nancy, not since the virgin’s hair rope had held all night long with Pål's ship in the middle of Corryvrecken.

This man Alan was the former leader of the Sgarba Norse Party, and he knew for certain that a fraud had taken place right from the beginning. You see he had inside information. Right inside.

Nancy and Pål thought that they would be King and Queen for ever. There was no need to join Norway. That would just mean being ruled by someone else. But suddenly Nancy abdicated.

Nancy told everyone that she wanted to read more books, that she was tired of the tensions of being Queen and how she looked forward to fostering, keeping pets with Pål or else Pedigree Chum and having an important job with the Partitioned Nations.

Soon after Pål too resigned because he didn’t know how many people had joined the Sgarba Norse Party and how much they had been charged for doing so nor where the money had been spent or indeed where it was. Better not to tell them it was in the back garden.

The accounts were a mess, and someone had recorded Nancy telling everyone not to go on about the accounts because they were fine. They were fine alright. They had paid for the gold bathtub, the silver toilet and the platinum bidet.

It might have been Alan that caused the original abdication. It might have been Jake who harried Nancy, because Nancy thought you could be Arthur or Martha with only three months’ notice between and no need to cut off the ball cocks from the silver toilet and no need to add fake ones either. It could even have been the modern incarnation of Varina Davis who so believed in secession as long as it allowed her to keep her slaves that she was willing to fight a war about it with her husband Jefferson as president. But who could imagine slavery in Sgarba? Let alone that Agnes Grey was importing them. No surely that was the worst lie of all. No wonder Agnes wanted to bring Nancy down.

But whoever caused the resignation was also involved in the investigation. There might only have been a single help ma Boabby on Sgaba, but he knew he had a boab and it wasn’t a matter of waiting three months to demonstrate how to use it.

Poileas Sgarba turned out to be rather outwith Pål’s control, rather like a particularly bad storm or Act of Nancy, whose path to saintliness she hoped would lead to deification.  Perhaps the sole member of Poileas Sgarba had never been a member of the Sgarba Norse Party or perhaps he had been enthusiastic about the Sgarba Nancy Party but saw his duty to truth as being more important than his duty to either Sgarbaian nationalism or Nancy, but first he erected a yurt in front of Nancy’s palace, then he dug in Nancy’s back garden and then he arrested Pål.

Arresting in Sgarba meant that Poileas Sgarba thought that they had evidence that Pål may have committed a crime and that it was reasonable to suspect this. You cannot just arrest anyone in Sgarba. You have to have evidence that a crime was committed and that it was committed by this person rather than that person. So, when Nancy too was arrested, her continual reiteration of her innocence was in a way reasonable, after all everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but also unreasonable, because if she really were innocent there ought not to have been any evidence that would lead a reasonable member of Poileas Sgarba to think that she might even possibly be guilty.

Being charged is different again. If being arrested is a step on the way to being convicted, being charged is a still greater step, because Poileas Sgarba wouldn’t charge either Nancy or Pål unless they thought there was sufficient evidence to convict them. The investigation needed embellishment. It needed to be properly embedded. The embers of evidence needed to be embarrassingly evident. What was the word the procurer fiscal was looking for?

Yes, that would be naughty. That would be enough.

But who first suspected the dishonesty of Nancy when all around were telling about her purity and her saintliness?

Well, there was one who knew that the rope that held Pål’s ship should have broken on the third night in Corryvrecken. There was one that knew that Nancy was no maiden, and her hair should have broken one strand after another as the storm blew round the whirlpool.

How did Alan know? He knew by direct experience. He saw through the plastic saint with its eyes moving from side to side with the viewer. He knew that she neither cared about Sgarbian independence nor rejoining Norway. He knew because even if Pål had been willing to endure three nights in the whirlpool it had little to do with desire for Nancy and rather more for how he might use her to gain platinum bidets. And just as the platinum bidet was for one hole, Alan knew that he had been first into another and that is why the rope should have broken.

Alan discovered that the rope of virgin’s hair had a steel core made from the finest strongest wires that Sheffield had to offer. From then on, he knew that Nancy was in an agent of Sasainn (a toruidhe or toruighe) and that everything about her was fake. He knew that the cause of Sgarbian independence or even rejoining Norway was hopeless. It was as lost a cause as that of Varina Davis, but he also knew enough to bring down Nancy and Pål as they had tried to bring down him. He was 5 times MIffed by their treachery and betrayal of Sgarba.

And it occurred to Alan that Nancy might be singing this song.

I know where I'm going,
And I know who's going with me.

You’re going to jail Nancy, perhaps for 5 years, perhaps for more and Pål is going with you.

I have stockings of silk,
And shoes of bright green leather,
Combs to buckle my hair,
And a ring for every finger.

Was it worth it for the silk stockings rather than the woollen? What did you need of combs when you gave all your hair to make a fake virgin’s rope to trick your fake husband? What did you need for rings on all of your fingers when the only one that mattered was dishonest? We have all had enough of your greens, including your green leather.

It is hard to think of a greater deception in all of human history. Nancy had reached the heights of Anna Anderson in her pretence that she was the Grand Duchess Anastasia. Her scheme would not merely have had Ponzi cheering it would have had Fonzie giving two thumbs up on his motorbike as he made Marion Cunningham swoon with 1950s fantasies of infidelity.

What would the Jura say when the case went to trial? Well Jura was on the other side of the Corryvrecken whirlpool, so it knew all about the deception.

I know where you’re going,
And I know who's going with you.

The deil knows when you’ll get out.

Part 17

Once upon a time there was an old courtier and after a lifetime fighting for the ecosystem he was known as Sir Ecosystem. He had also been the first to win a minor skirmish for the sake of Ecosystem it had taken place near the site of a much older battle that also reminds us of Old Mortality, Nelson’s mistress and a founding father of the USA who died in a duel. For winning this skirmish Sir Ecosystem was known as Wonnie.

When it became time to have a eulogy for Sir Ecosystem there was only one choice. This man had not merely won a skirmish he had very nearly won the war. Former King Alan stood up and he told a story not merely about Wonnie, he told a tale about former Queen Nancy and former King Paul who were skulking at the back not quite sure if they were welcome or not.

For film enthusiasts it was like the scene in How green was my valley in the church.

Your sins have found you out, and now you must pay the price of all women like you.

Alan said looking directly at Nancy, but Nancy did not come forward.

Prayer is wasted on your sort. You shall be cast forth into the outer darkness till you have learned your lesson. Nancy, do you admit your sin?

But still Nancy didn’t admit any of her sins. She just looked at King Hārūn ibn ʿImrān as if he could save her from Alan’s wrath and the fact that everyone in the church knew precisely what her sins were, both the older sins and the newer sins.

I did my best said Hārūn ibn ʿImrān. I tried to make it a crime to say anything nasty about you. I tried to have trials where there would be only one person deciding the verdict and that person would be specially trained to give the verdict that was wanted.

Too late, said Nancy. We had him hook line and sinker, but he got off the hook and now it has opened a whole can of worms.

It was indeed a fishy business. But you see when a tree has its roots in sin it will form branches that are equally in sin because it has grown out of original sin.

A bow a branch an unformed twig of a bow a branch a twig. And of all the forgotten passwords.

It wasn’t the forming of the branch that was at the root of Alan’s denunciation. It went further both forward from the original sin and backwards too.

'I'll gie you a pennyworth o' preens,
That's aye the way that love begins;
If ye'll walk with me, leddy, leddy,


It was perhaps such a tempting offer almost as tempting as pulling the fruit from the branch formed from the tree of knowledge.

But it was precisely knowledge that Nancy was trying to prevent even as everyone in the church knew how Nancy had herself denounced King Alan in order to banish him into outer darkness and bar linen trousers from his wardrobe forever more.

Everyone in the church knew how Nancy had taken her fiery cross and gathered the clans to tell of all that Alan had done. But the light from the fiery cross was not allowed to fall on the faces of any of the clans and the names of each clan were as proscribed as that which had been “altogidder abolished” in 1603.

But those in the church knew the names and knew where they had really been when they were supposed to be somewhere else. Knowing the names was key to seeing the frame rather than only the picture. The congregation and the family’s being able to see the frame was the reason why former King Alan was standing up in front of all of them.

"I'll buy you a braw snuff box
Nine times opened, nine times locked
If ye'll gang alang wi' me m'dear, if ye'll gang alang wi' me?"


Once you go down the road of dishonesty, there is no obvious place where you stop. This is why sometimes a mother would take her child back to the Woolworths to apologise for it having stolen one of the sweeties. But what Nancy had tried to do was rather worse than steeling sweeties. To bar linen was a cruel and unusual punishment for merely being an opponent who had to be got rid of.

But Nancy got away with it. Everyone in the church knew what she had done to King Alan, but no one said a word. You see despite being tempted by preens [pins], despite being tempted by braw snuff boxes, women could never lie. It was a myth to suppose they gave into temptation or ever told an untruth. It was not Eve. It must have been Adam.

"You can hae your silken goon
Wi' nine stripes up and nine stripes doon
For I'll never gang wi' you m'dear, I'll never gang wi' you."


But everyone in the church knew that Nancy lied. She lied each year that next year there would be a Pole, but after a year it always turned out that there was no Pole and instead a Hungarian. But everyone in the church lied about this too and lied about Nancy’s honesty and virtue while knowing what she had tried to do and knowing also what she had gone on to do.

Having gotten away with the picture framing business without the pictures, Nancy wondered what else she could get away with.

"I'll gie you a kist o' gold
Tae comfort you when you are old
If ye'll gang alang wi' me m'dear, if ye'll gang alang wi' me?"


If there was to be no Pole, then it was necessary to think of another future. The key to future prosperity is to obtain things that keep their value. Stocks and shares go up and down, property prices rise and fall, but gold is perhaps the best hedge against inflation. There is also nothing on a lump of gold to tell you who bought it. There is nothing to stop it being moved somewhere else.

"These are fine words you say
So mount up lad you've won the day
I'll gang alang wi' you m'dear, I'll gang alang wi' you."


Once you begin to lie, once you begin your dishonesty, then why not go with the laddie for a kist o’gold? This is the connection between the branch forming into a twig and the root of the sin which was the picture framing business with out the picture that used the impossibility of the clans lying and it being forbidden to tell who they were to prevent everyone except those in the church from knowing what Nancy did when she was constructing picture frames.

It was the fact that we were not allowed to talk about what Alan did or did not do, that enabled Nancy to continue on the path of dishonesty and everyone in the church was complicit in this, because they preferred the chance of a Pole arriving rather than a Hungarian than telling the truth.

But this changed when it became clear that there would never be a Pole, because the highest court of all had forbidden Poles from migrating. Only then did the church turn on Nancy.

They'd scarcely gone a mile
Before she spied his cloven heel
"I rue I come wi' you" she says, "I rue I come wi' you."


"I'll grip ye hard and fast,
Gold won your virgin heart at last
And I'll no part wi' you m'dear, I'll never part wi' you."


She may rue it indeed that she got on a horse with the devil, but it is an open secret that everyone in the church knows and though this congregation has been very good at keeping secrets it now no longer wants to.

When Nancy tried to destroy Alan, we were left guessing about who did what and when and who knew it and when. Nobody could tell the truth because that would mean admitting that a myth was not a myth. But now the tree of sin that has its root in this, is festering as it forms new branches, twigs and leaves and we likewise are not allowed to tell about it. We have only fairytales.

And as they were galloping along
The cold wind carried her mournful song
"I rue I come wi' you" she says, "I rue I come wi' you."


Rue away Nancy. It’s too late. Too many know. The eulogy was for Wonnie, but for you it will be for Lossie. Your lost jewels, your lost gold, your lost liberty, your lost Ecosystem.

Part 18

Once upon a time former Queen Nancy had a dream and in that dream, she saw herself in prison a martyr to the true faith and she thought of all the other great writers who had written from within prison and how she would emulate their greatness.

There was Boethius who wrote The Consolation of VIP travel.

There was Oscar Wilde who wrote The Ballad of Reading Women Hold Up Half the Sky by Mao Zedong.

But within her dream there was still another dream about her own progress from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Wasn’t that after all her whole life story and the fitting topic for her memoir. In the Celestial City there would be the Promised Land where everyone would be free and independent, and we could build a new Jerusalem in…. sorry wrong song.

In chapter one Nancy wrote about her childhood and how the evil Torry and Cults conspired against Mastrick to impoverish poor Nancy and her family. But unfortunately, she remembered that although Torry made roofs out of straw, she also gave Nancy’s father the chance to buy their house from the local council and to make rather a large profit from it.

Although it was easy indeed to write in a dream and the dream prison provided all the time necessary, the editing was a problem. Clearly chapter one had to go.

In chapter 2 Nancy described how long before it had become fashionable, she had transitioned to being a boy. There was a school photograph that demonstrated the transition at its peak. But in that case was she in a dream men’s prison or a dream women’s prison? Nancy looked down to check, but then realised that her gender had absolutely nothing to do with her anatomy. So where was she supposed to be? Chapter 2 had to go as well. This was harder than she/he thought.

The whole point of her progress was to lose her burden of sin, but each time Nancy found she was unable to tell the truth in her memoir she found that her burden got larger. Perhaps it would lighten in chapter 3.

In chapter 3 she described how she became the favourite of King Alan and how Alan mentored her and enabled her to complete her succession to Queen. But she had rather fallen out with former King Alan, which made it difficult to tell the truth about how once they had been such close and even intimate friends. Had she loved Alan? Had Alan loved her? Was this all going on after she had married Paul? And then there was Alan’s wife Queen Mary. But there were so many unfortunate photographs from this period, with Nancy embracing Alan and with kisses and these were the photographs taken in public, what if the photographs taken in private still survived. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my what if Alan still had them?

By chapter 4 Nancy had still made no progress. Everything had been redacted, expletives had been deleted like the accounts Nixon gave to the accountant of the costs of a certain break in. But now she was at her most glorious moment. Except it had been Alan’s glorious moment. It had been him that had led the charge to the Celestial City, and it had been him that had almost made it only to fail because of Faithless putting the cross in the wrong box.

Nancy remembered what she had seen and heard in King Alan’s palace. But she also remembered how she had said not one word about what she knew when it had seemed they might reach the Celestial City. No one else said a word either. So, everything in that chapter had to be discarded too.

In chapter 5 Nancy wrote about the romance of her marriage to King Paul and about what a wonderful consort he was and how he ran the finances of the kingdom with such Prudence. But then she remembered the Iron. The supper. The Inn and the busy Junction that it was necessary to cross to get there. Le chat à la Français was quite delicious. But she couldn’t possibly write about that. It was almost as bad as Le chien à la Coréenne. Once you go down that route you end up eating horses. And then what Paul’s love of Le coq à la bouche.

Nancy felt her burden getting heavier as she dropped another chapter in the waste basket.

But in chapter 6 she could tell the story about how she too had helped gather the witnesses against former King Alan taking part in a worldwide movement of rectifying injustice. Of course, she had known all about what he had done during his charge towards the Celestial City, but now he was a nuisance and wouldn’t go away and let her get on with things. Then Nancy remembered how her kingdom had been forced to settle with Alan for half a million ducats and despite her memories and despite all of the witnesses that she had gathered, he had was free while she was dreaming about writing in a prison.

What had Nancy known about King Alan’s behaviour? When had she known it? Were the witnesses encouraged, threatened, tempted or bribed? Had Nancy told the truth about her lack of memory at various points when there was the investigation? Nancy felt her burden getting heavier still.

But surely there was something she could write about?

What about her victories? What about her attempts to make it easier for le coq to become le chat?

But the only thing left for chapter 7 was her abdication. This was supposed to involve her job with the Partitioned Nations, but there had been no job offers.

Why had she abdicated so suddenly? Nancy wondered what she could write about that. She repeated what she had said at the time, but she found her burden getting heavier still with each evasion of the truth.

Then she could write something about her love of shopping. Her love of reading. Her desire to travel in the most ecological way by camping. Campers after all had the lowest possible carbon footprint. But then she remembered the campsite at her mother in law’s house. Then she remembered who had paid for the shopping. Then she remembered she hadn’t actually read the books she had claimed to have read, with one of her ladies in waiting instead providing summaries and crib notes.

There was nothing she could write at all in her deeply personal and revealing memoir, because every time she tried to reveal anything she realised she couldn’t because her burden just kept getting heavier with the lies she had told.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come who she had employed to actually write the memoir showed Nancy the Slough of Despond and pointed out quite accurately that unfortunately her inability to tell the truth had added so much to her burden that she was going to sink in it and by the way the dream about prison wasn’t a dream. Nancy woke up.

If she were a pilgrim, she had made no progress.