A WARNING IN A STABLE

19 Nov

A WARNING IN A STABLE

NATIVITY photo: nativity image 0398-0610-1520-1316_TN.jpg
The day Odin decided to stand on his head and stick his tongue out at the baby in the manger he became the laughing stock of his friends in Valhalla as well as the best friend a baby could ever hope to have, and both at the same time. He knew it was a daft thing to do, but he did it anyway. He was all for having fun, and anyway had a penchant for entertaining.

“It’s hard to see him as a shepherd,” scowled one of his companions. Odin was, of course, in the guise of a shepherd with two companions who had come compete with a pair of knitted woollen socks that they’d brought as what, in the fullness of time, would be called a christening gift.
“Cookachew,” dribbled the baby, and hiccuped loudly before opening his little mouth and shrieking.
“Little bastard,” muttered his teenage mother, in a really testy mood because she really ought to have had stitches when he was born, but hadn’t because the right kind of thread hadn’t been invented yet.
“That’s no way to speak of the Son of God!” admonished Odin.
“Well, I’m his mummy and he’s showing signs of becoming a really naughty boy,” sniffed the mother, a moody teenager called Mary. “I can’t stand all the noise he makes!”
“He’s only a baby and by the look of it you’re not much more than a baby yourself!” snapped Odin.
“That’s no way to speak to my intended,” threatened the lanky young carpenter who was standing next to the manger and gazing with deep affection on the squawking lump of flesh that was declaring its hunger to the world. “Show the child your nipple, dearest,” he added to Mary. “The reason he’s annoying you with so much noise is he’s hungry.”
“Not that again,” almost wept Mary. “Every suck is like a needle being thrust into my tit,” she added.
“I’ve got a present,” said one of Odin’s companions, a dowdy shepherd needing to change both subject and the atmosphere within the stable. “I have socks,” he added, smiling. “They’re made of wool which, as you know, is lamb’s fleece deftly woven into cloth. And I washed them just before we came, so they’re clean.”
He handed a gift to the young mother, and she sniffed them and flung them onto the floor in disgust. “Urgh!” she screamed, “they smell rancid, of old men’s feet – and look, there’s a maggot crawling between the threads! Fancy giving my darling baby boy maggots!”
“Would gold help?” came a fresh voice from the door, a well modulated posh voice from a tall individual with a tea-towel wrapped round his head.
“Gold?” slavered Mary. “Gold’s quite precious, isn’t it? I might buy some nice little booties for my darling infant and still have enough change for a spliff, mightn’t I?”
“You might. Medicinal, I hope,” boomed the tall stranger.
“For the pain,” she agreed, wincing. “He was a big baby and I’ve only got a tiny little you-know what… and it still hurts like mad.”
“Then some frankincense might help,” purred a second stranger. “It’s sweet pungency might go into your head and make you dream of lovely things, dear lady, while your sweet innocent baby gets some rest.”
“And if he dies,” wheezed a third stranger, “if you don’t mind me saying it, but babies have been known to die, you know … manger deaths, they might be called … I have myrrh for you to embalm him with.”
“He’s not going to die!” squawked Mary. “An angel gave him to me and I’m going to save him until I see that angel again.”
“For angel read Roman Soldier with an itch in his pants,” growled Joseph. “And you won’t see him again because the good folks back home stoned him!”
“Whatever,” sighed the third stranger, coughing at the rancid atmosphere inside the cattle shed. “Now for a word of advice, sweet people: we were followed here, my friends and I, by guards from Herod’s palace, and I fear they will report back to him that there’s a baby here, one who may well become king one day!”
“He will?” asked Mary. “Who says?”
Caspar sighed. “We say,” he murmured. “We happened to mention…”
Balthazar nodded. “We just let it drop to Herod that there’s a little something written in the stars,” he said.
Melchior grinned broadly. “And I rather suspect that Herod will see him as a challenge to his authority,” he added.
“What? A babe in arms?” gasped Joseph. “I’ve never heard such gobbledegook!”
“I’ve seen it in the stars,” wheezed Caspar, “and the stars never lie.”
“Well, not all the time,” nodded Melchior. “So we’ll be off. Gold, frankincense and myrrh – not a bad haul for a wee mite in a manger.” He turned to Joseph. “Just take note, sonny-boy,” he snarled, “the life of that wee scrap of meat is in your hands! Take him away from here, as far away as you can, and do it swiftly!”
“But where?” almost wept Joseph.
“Try Egypt,” whispered Odin. “Well, I’ve got to get back to the North and my fellow Norse gods. You’ll manage, though, if you flee soon. I fear that Herod might be the sort of bastard to try a slaughter of the innocents!”
© Peter Rogerson 19.11.14

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One Response to “A WARNING IN A STABLE”

  1. pambrittain November 22, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    I’m so glad you continued with this story.

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