Written for this week's Sunday Whirl
There was crowd around old Farmer Fred. He’s known for his tales of the country side and by the look on the faces of his audience he was in full flow. So I joined them. He was about to start another story.
“And then” he said “the other night I was walking near the bottom field down by the crossroads with Mongrel Moll and I heard a croak as......”
“You ‘eard a crocus Fred? A talking crocus?” called out Builder Bill “What was you on mate? Some of your ‘ome brew?”
“Stop interrupting and listen Bill” said Fred “I heard this croak as if someone was gagging like”
“Probly ‘ad a frog in his froat” chuckled John the Wobbler who then started making frog noises to the amusement of the crowd.
“This ‘aint funny John” said Fred “As I was saying I heard this sound in the bushes so I crossed the ditch to take a look. I tried to shine my torch towards the noise but I couldn't see a fing. Then a couple of birds flapped their wings right up close to me. Proper gave me a scare" he said. Fred suddenly starting jerking his arms up and down and several of his listeners jumped backwards.
“Was it those two old birds from down the club cooking up a spell?” said Sarky Sam. Everyone started laughing.
“You can laugh” Fred said pointing a bony finger from one person to another “But I tell you it was proper weird. Then I heard this ‘owl”
“Twit-twoo” giggled Nancy the Knitter
“No” said Fred “Not an owl, an ‘owl, an ‘owl, someone ‘owling their ‘ead off”
“Now you are a twit too Nancy” said Bill. Nancy gave him one her looks.
“Fer va last time shut and listen!” said Fred as he started to get a little irate. Suitably chastened the crowd turned their attention back to Fred and his tale.
“I went deeper in and suddenly this figure rose from the mud” Fred started swaying from side to side. Now he had their attention. “It was bloke. He had this kinda’ thread round his neck. It looked one of them suicides you ‘ear about. But when I got up closer and saw it was a long bramble and the thorns was sticking in his neck. He stretched his arms out like this” Fred reached out and began slowly to turn. One by one we all took a step back.
“What d’ya do Fred?” asked Nancy!
“Well I got ‘im free and told ‘im he owed me a pint down the Dog and Duck.
“You are such a hero” said Builder Bill as the crowd joined him in spontaneous applause.
“Dog and Duck then folk?” chirped up Sarky Sam. “The first one’s on me”
With that they wandered off tapping Farmer Fred on the back as they went.