Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Surprise! 3

The Reverend Panderby, at St Barnabas’s, was a stickler for the traditional observation of the harvest festival. Other younger pastors in the diocese might grow beards and pluck guitars whilst extolling the Life Force or Mother Nature and advocating environmentalist pray-ins. Panderby preferred his celebration of God’s bounty to be more conservative. He turned a blind eye to the shameless priapism of Mayday with its maypoles and Morris Dancers, because he knew the same May Revellers would appear with fulsome offerings to his Harvest Festival when the time of plenty came.

Then he would bedeck his church with their donations. Monstrous marrows and cabbages, boxes of juicy apples, piles of pears, punnets of strawberries, gargantuan loaves of bread, whole cheeses, even cascades of grapes and flagons of elder wine. They would hold a service of thanksgiving followed by tea on the vicarage lawn, while the Reverend Panderby supervised his curate, Mullens, in the storing of the choicest items in his outsize pantry. The residue went to the Cottage Hospital in a returnable basket.
One year, after the service the Reverend Panderby and Mullens returned to carry off the cornucopia of local produce, to find the church empty. Everything edible had been stripped away. And a note left which read, ‘God helps those who help themselves.’

“Witchcraft! Blasphemy!” wheezed the Reverend Panderby as Mullens hastened him away.

The Police could find no evidence of larceny. The vehicles necessary to effect such a theft would have been seen and weren’t. Panderby raged at them all.

But it was only when filling in the insurance claim that Mullens suggested the affair might come under the category of Act of God that the Vicar succumbed to his final apoplexy.

A fine sheath of corn and a mound of fruit are etched into his tombstone.


Chips Hardy and Oscar Grillo said...

I suppose you know that the image can be enlarged by clicking on it...Ah...Ok, then!

No One In Particular said...

Serves the old sod right. Nice stuff boys.