Wednesday, October 1, 2008

There was a crooked man.


Quoth dear Mother Goose:

There was a crooked man
Who walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked six pence
Against a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat
Who caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together
in a crooked little house.

Aside from the wonderful weirdness of this nursery rhyme—it reads more like a Tom Waits boozer than an evening lullaby—there were some things in particular that excited me once I decided the crooked man would have a mean case of scoliosis an over-sized orthopedic shoe.

The main detail was the stile. A stile is apparently a human passageway through or over a livestock fence, sometimes a narrow opening, sometimes a small series of steps, and other times a pairing of ladders. Whatever the variety, they are never handicapped accessible, and the "crooked" quality of this one indicates it's not a simple opening between barbed wire posts. And the crooked man, pondering the impossibility of the short climb ahead, finds instead a crooked six pence at his feet.

And that is enough for him to purchase for himself a crooked cat. I originally wanted a manx, a tailless cat...every see one walking? Crooked. Of course, if this wasn't obvious enough, a cat with no tail in a painting could just look like an oversight, so I gave in and gave him a tail. And a crooked mouse (on the brim of the pork pie hat).

After all that good fortune and comeraderie, where else could they possibly live together in all their curmudgeonly creakiness?

3 comments:

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Karlsson said...

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