Recent events have entranced, beguiled and even tantalised us – but it’s happened all before!
James Cryer, sensing that history maybe repeating itself, dug into his extensive archives and discovered a cautionary tale with a message which seems to echo the events of recent days.
With only the most “ever so slight” tweaking, he presents this post-modernist version of an old, but familiar fairy-tale …
With apologies to Mary Howitt (1799-1888), and “The Spider and the Fly”: A Modern Cautionary Fairytale
Will you walk into my pressroom?” said the selig to the geon,
‘Tis the prettiest little pressroom that ever you did see-on;
The way into my pressroom is up a winding stair,
And I’ve many curious things to shew you when you’re there.”
Oh no, no,” said the little geon, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”
Said the cunning selig to the geon, “Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pressroom, good things and all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome — will you please to throw the dice?”
“Oh no, no,” said the little geon, “kind Sir, that cannot be,
I’ve heard what’s in your pressroom, and I do not wish to see!”
“Sweet creature!” said the selig, “you’re witty and you’re wise,
How handsome are your presses – and your clients – and their size!
I’ve a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you’ll step inside one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” said the geon, “for what you’re pleased to say,
But we’ll keep on printing – and talk another day.”
The selig turned a-round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the little geon would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, and waited, sight un-seon,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the geon.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily he did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty geon, let’s have a little fling!”
Alas, alas! how very soon the geon did appear,
Hearing these wily, flattering words, she could not disappear;
And thinking of her bankers, but nothing of her staff —
She thought, poor foolish thing, she’d had the final laugh!
Then up-jumped the cunning selig, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, where others work and thrive,
Into his tight-run empire — where she’d ne’er come out alive!
And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed:
And if you meet a bigger foe, close heart and ear and even …,
… take a lesson, from this tale, of the selig and the geon.
Adapted from: The Spider and the Fly
by Mary Howitt