image: jo dover, fineartamerica.com
The assignment this week: take a nursery/Mother Goose rhyme, tongue twister or song, and give it a new spin. Modernize it, analyze it, hypo–theoreticalize it, satirize it, serialize it, fantasize it . . . then weave a tale around it.
Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet . . .
When Muffet was born, her parents thought her such a cute baby they named her Muffet in honour of her mother’s favourite nursery rhyme.
Little did they know of the torment that name would bring their daughter.
As she grew and went through school, she was faced daily with such embarrassments as:
Little Miss Muffet sat on her fat tuffet
Eating her turds all day….
It went on this way for much of her schooling.
The part about the spider coming down and frightening her away came when she was fourteen.
The spider was Alan Tusher, a long legged and long armed boy who took a fancy to Muffet and who saw Muffet as a character in the school yard slightly more maligned than he was.
Alan was known as ‘sticks’ because of his thin frame and long appendages. Sticks like Muffet had suffered a lifetime of abuse from the other kids.
By the time puberty hit him he was learning the art of survival.
He hated the ridicule of everyday.
Muffet he saw like himself, ostracised and always on her own.
He started to sit near her, and one day he moved and sat on the seat next to her.
Muffet thought he was being nice to her, but in fact, he was setting her up for his form of bullying. He asked her to walk along the river bank with him. Muffet was so pleased anyone would ask her to do such a thing she turned up early, in her best dress, a dab of her mum’s perfume on and waited for Sticks to arrive.
He didn’t show up, but the next day there was great laughter among the other students as someone had taken a photo of her standing in waiting for Sticks. It appeared on the class Facebook page with the heading: ‘Look who was seen awaiting her shining prince.’
Ashamed of being exposed as she was, Muffet vowed to never again to listen to anything a boy said to her.