Alice in Donaldland, Part 5: Of Cabbages and Queens
Read Part 1
Alice left the caterpillar thinking that the sooner it became a butterfly, the better off it would be. She walked along, her mind filled with images of the poor White Rabbit’s head, the Queen’s big hands, and the many curious things she had encountered. Then, just ahead, she spotted yet another curious pair — a Walrus and a Carpenter. She could tell the Carpenter was a carpenter by the nails sticking out of his mouth, the hammer in his hand and the word ‘carpenter’ on his hat. She could tell his companion was a Walrus because it had flippers and a big tuft of whiskers. The two of them were working on a tall wooden structure.
She watched them for a few minutes, then asked: “What are you building?”
“A wall,” said the Carpenter.
The Walrus elaborated: “A great big beautiful wall.”
“Whatever for?” Alice asked.
“To keep out rapists and murderers and other low-lifes,” said the Carpenter. “It will stretch all around Donaldland.”
“You don’t seem to have gotten very far with it,” Alice said, sitting down on a rock.
“Donaldland wasn’t built in a day, you know,” said the Walrus.
“I think it’s Rome that wasn’t built in a day,” Alice suggested.
“That’s why we’re building the wall,” snapped the Carpenter. “To keep out the Romans and rapists and murderers and other undesirables from shithole countries.”
“That’s not a very nice word,” said Alice.
The second one from the — you know which word I mean. The icky one.”
“I’m afraid she’s right,” said the Walrus. “Shithole countries has been walked back.”
“The Queen has a very high IQ,” the Walrus continued. “And big hands and a big — ”
“Heart,” said Alice, having become quite familiar with the drill.
“But the Queen sometimes uses the wrong words. And so we walk them back to a point where he never said them.”
“Isn’t that revisionist?” Alice suggested.
“That’s a very big word for a very little girl,” said the Carpenter.
“Well, I’m usually a lot bigger. I’m just having a small day.”
“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “to talk of other things: of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and queens.”
“Wouldn’t king make a better rhyme,” Alice asked.
“We don’t use that word,” said the Carpenter. “The Queen doesn’t like that word; it reminds him of his predecessor, and that distresses him.”
“In the second place, he was born in one of those places we walked back,” said the Walrus.
“In the next place, he did health care,” said the Carpenter.
“What’s wrong with health care?” asked Alice.
“Healthy people don’t need health care.”
“In the last place, he had funny ears and a funny name,” said the Walrus.
“What about first place?” asked Alice.
“If he were a horse, he’d be a horse of a different color,” the Walrus and Carpenter chimed together. “Pardon us, but we must get back to our wall or the Queen will have our heads.”
Incoming tweet: “A beautiful wall. Tall wall from C to shining C. I want my wall NOW! Infidels pouring in. Rapists, murderers. Murderers, rapists. BILD WALL!”
Part 6 Coming Thursday
A French gentleman traveling through the forest north of Paris was murdered, as French gentlemen traveling through the forest north of Paris were apt to be in 1361. His body was buried at the foot of a tree. His dog, who was traveling with him, remained beside his grave for several days until hunger caused him to quit his vigil.
The faithful dog made for Paris and presented himself at the house of a good friend of his master’s, where after being fed he carried on so much that the friend was obliged to follow him back to the scene of the crime. There, he tore at the ground until the body of the murdered man was exposed to view.
No trace of the assassin was discovered for some time, but then one day the dog was confronted with a man named Chevalier Macaire. Well, that dog immediately lost his good-natured demeanor and lunged for the man’s throat and had to be restrained at some difficulty. It happened again on other occasions. The dog spotted Macaire in a crowd and attacked.
Since the dog was normally a gentle soul, suspicions began to be aroused. These suspicions found their way to the king of France who ordered the dog brought before him. The dog remained perfectly behaved until Macaire was brought forward and again the dog attacked. “Hmmm,” thought the king.
During this particular time of history, judicial combat was often used to settle doubtful cases, on the assumption that God would provide victory to the person who was in the right. Amusing jurisprudence perhaps, but who was to argue with the king when he ruled that a duel between Macaire and the dog would settle the matter.
The confrontation took place on October 8. Macaire came armed with a large stick; the dog was given a cask into which he could retreat. On being let loose, the dog immediately attacked Macaire from one side then another, warding off the man’s blows. The murderer was quickly seized by the throat and thrown to the ground, where he hastily confessed before the king and the entire court — and was hanged, of course.
It’s Always the Cow
Late one night, when we were all in bed,
Mrs. O’Leary lit a lantern in the shed.
Her cow kicked it over,
Then winked her eye and said,
“There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight!”
Who is this Mrs. O’Leary, whose cow is supposedly responsible for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871? Her legend has been kept alive for 145 years now and her name is synonymous with big fires. She was one Catherine O’Leary, an Irish immigrant, who actually had five cows. The cow named Daisy got the blame for kicking the lantern over, but since no one was in the barn to witness the event, all five cows could have had a hoof in it.
Conspiracy theorists have over the years suggested other scenarios: Naughty boys were sneaking a smoke in the barn. Spontaneous combustion. A meteor broke into pieces as it fell to earth October 8, setting off fires in Michigan and Wisconsin as well as in Chicago. Daisy had an accomplice; Daisy acted alone. A drunken neighbor started the fire. Obama may not have started it, but he should have stopped it.
Cheap Halloween Thrills
Although I ruled out flesh-eating zombies, I didn’t rule out all zombies. I Walked with a Zombie is a film that’s a lot better than its shlock title would suggest. This 1943 film is intelligent, atmospheric and realistic in its depiction of voodoo in the Caribbean.
Diabolique is a classic 1955 French suspense film. Set in a boarding school, it centers on a plot to kill the school’s abusive headmaster by his submissive wife and his mistress. They accomplish the deed, but become haunted by the disappearance of his corpse.
1 The Shining
2 The Exorcist
4 Invasion of the Body Snatchers
5 Ghost Story
8 Ichabod and Mr. Toad
9 I Walked with a Zombie