Saturday, 14 April 2012

You couldn't make it up


Rumpelstiltskin has been driving the bus this week.  At one point I felt sure he was going to ask a young woman who had lost her bus pass for her first born child in lieu of the fare.  He scowled and growled his way throughout the town, barging and bullying and blowing his horn.  I had no difficulty imagining him becoming so enraged that he would  'seize his own left foot and tear himself in two, (as the Brother Grimm had it in the 1857 edition of their tales). Getting on the bus each morning was like getting past a troll--I had to resist the urge to tell him there would be a bigger billy goat coming along shortly.  I smiled ingratiatingly, only to be met by a dead-eyed stare: it was like being driven by the un-dead.  He looked as if he was someone else's hair and moustache and with that and his Desperate Dan chin, I could only imagine he was actually a frog named Ronald, fallen under some evil enchantment and turned into Bruce Forsyth.  If anyone could find a toad for him to kiss, that would be a kindness.


It is not hard to see Edinburgh as a fairytale city, after all it has all the traditional requirements:  a castle, a dungeon, a palace, even a witches' well (at one time Edinburgh was evidently the witch-burning capital of Scotland--put that in  your pipe and smoke it, David Hume).  There is even an Edinburgh Dragon, though it is a overseas investment trust so probably doesn't breathe much in the way of fire, but I would be willing to bet it produces a lot of smoke.


All this is why I was not in the least surprised to see Snow White last week.  Though obviously not as young as she once was,  I recognised her by her long yellow skirt and the red  ribbon tied in a bow in her boot polish black hair with its landing strip of silver down the centre parting.  She was walking down the pavement bent almost double beneath the load of family-sized packets of loo roll on her back, like a Hebridean woman carrying a heavy creel of peats.  She had loo paper panniers on each hip as well--a post-ironic tribute to Cinderella's ball gown.


Snow White must have moved from her forest bungalow to Edinburgh when the Huntsman had a heart-attack from eating too much animal fat.  The enchanted forest wouldn't have been the same anyway, ever since the Forestry Commission cut down all the hardwood trees and replanted with plantations of Sitka Spruce as a tax shelter for her stepmother, the wicked 
Queen.  It can't be easy for Snow White, living in a flat on a fairy-tale pension with seven incontinent dwarves to look after.  We can only hope she is getting royalties from the two new films.  



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