Friday, January 23, 2009

Losing my legends

It's quite a while since my various charming childhood legends started to disintegrate, leaving me to get hit in the face by the harsh facts of our earthly existence. With time, the traumas are slowly receding, and you might say that I'm starting to face brutal reality with stoicism.

First, there was the affair of the Tooth Fairy. Throughout my early childhood, I had always looked upon this creature as a lovely little girl sporting wings, who would regularly jump into my bed in the middle of the night and look around for stray teeth, which could be traded in for money. When I found myself obliged to hand over this entire dimension of my bodily existence to a nasty guy called a dentist, who would attack my tender mouth with metallic instruments of torture, I was profoundly shocked.

Next, there was the traumatic disappearance of Santa Claus, which stunned me terribly, as for countless other children throughout the Cosmos. The details of this affair were so painful that I prefer not to repeat them here. Having said this, I believe that the situation was even more distressing for Aussie kids who once believed in the notorious Xmas Kangaroo, which their dad had to beat in a boxing match before they got their gifts...

To be perfectly truthful, the end of legends concerning the birth of babies probably disturbed me to a lesser extent, because I was a shrewd observer. I realized that something funny was happening whenever I saw familiar women in South Grafton becoming weirdly fat-bellied, then reappearing with their normal look... but wheeling a baby in a pram. I had a bit of trouble figuring out how a father might insert a baby seed into the belly of a future mother, but I didn't lose much time imagining how it might be done... although the exact details of the operation remained somewhat fuzzy up until the time I started to become interested, then intrigued (and later infatuated), by those exotic creatures known as girls.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, this afternoon, I lost yet another legend, and I'm still reeling from the shock. In a back room of my house at Gamone, I've detected the presence of a mysterious rodent who has gnawed a few holes in the plaster walls, leaving little piles of gravel. When I described the situation to an employee at the rural supplies store in Saint-Marcellin, he told me that my intruder was almost certainly a rat. So I purchased an old-fashioned rat trap. Now, here comes the end-of-a-legend part of my simple story:

Me: Excuse me for asking a naive question. What's the best bait to put on the trap? A hunk of cheese?

He roared out laughing, along with a farmer buying boots.

Employee: You'll never catch a rat, nor even a mouse, with a hunk of cheese. That tale is for children's storybooks! Cheese? Rats won't touch the stuff. But they love dry fruit such as walnuts...

So, there you have it, the amazing stark truth: Rats and mice don't really like cheese; they prefer Gamone walnuts! I'll keep readers informed of my trapping operations...

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