Sometimes, and without any sort of warning, the strangeness in my head translates itself into a story for children. These stories seem to satisfy my ego more than anything else, because they are full of moral lessons – and there is no one to answer back or question my teachings. Here reproduced is the first part of one such story.
Part 2 now online
The Tale of Mr Ravensworth
Once upon a time, there was a town. It certainly had a name, but nobody knows what that name was any more, because these days it is called something quite different. At the edge of this town was an enormous, grey house. It had turrets – which are a kind of small tower – and crenellations – which is the name we use for the jagged walls where, in the old days, they would shoot bows and arrows. It had arches, it had spires, and it was covered in gargoyles – that’s a scary sort of statue that spits water when it rains.
In short, this house was rather frightening.
But this story isn’t really about the house. It’s also not about the poisonous snake which had recently escaped from a travelling circus, although this snake does have its own particular tale to tell. No, this story is about the man who lived in the house, a man by the name of Mr Ravensworth.
Imagine a man who dresses only in black, with long black hair. Imagine a crooked nose on a pale face with ruby-red lips, and a pair of extraordinarily large hands. Finally, imagine an enormous, curved set of shoulders on top of a rather thin waist, giving the overall impression of a wobbly spinning top.
Not a very nice thing to imagine, is it?
But that is what Mr Ravensworth looked like, and there is no sense in arguing, because it is well-documented. He spent most of his time in his house, and no one knew what he did there, although the townspeople were all agreed that whatever he did, it was certainly strange. Sometimes he was seen around the town, and the townspeople all knew for sure that misfortune followed such a sighting.
If I may change the subject a little, I’d like to talk about young Oscar. He was a lad who liked to ask questions, like:
“Why is everyone so certain that Mr Ravensworth does strange things in his house?”
“Why is everyone so sure that the sight of Mr Ravensworth brings bad luck?”
There was no evidence for such things – Oscar knew it! – but since no one was ever in a mood to answer him, he eventually kept his questions inside his head, and stopped asking them out loud.