Sunday, 19 January 2014

GiGi and the Cat- The Worm who couldn't Dig.

Dear Emily,

Let's go back for a moment to your little sister's book.

If it's a spoof of a parody, perhaps she should have a lost chapter too! Last week I was the lucky winner in a give-away and received this in the post;

It is from 1977, and contains the galley proofs of the section that was dropped from 'Through the Looking Glass' because illustrator Sir John Tenniel thought it was 'altogether beyond the appliances of art'. So here's our Volte-Face Emily- that we shall throw out for the same reason, before we publish it!

...and she was just going to spring over, when she heard a deep sigh, which seemed to come from the wood behind her.
"There's somebody very unhappy there," she thought, looking anxiously back to see what was the matter. Something like an old man (only he had two faces) was sitting on the ground leaning against a tree, all huddled up together, and shivering as if he were very cold.

"I don't think I can be of any use to him" was GiGi's first thought, as she turned to head back to Mrs Cameraman's House:-"But I'll just ask him what's the matter", she added, checking herself before heading on. "If I once head off again, everything will change, and then I can't help him".

So, she went back to the Worm-rather unwillingly, for she hadn't really seen him as a part of her story.

"Oh, where are my bones, my old bones!" one of his faces (the grumpy one) was grumbling on, as GiGi came up to him.

"It's Purgatree business, I should think" GiGi said to him, and she stooped over him, and said very kindly "I hope you're not in much pain?"
The Worm only wriggled, and turned the Grumpy face away, so GiGi was facing two profiles- one smiling and one grimacing. "Ah, deary me!" he said to himself.

"Can I do anything for you?" GiGi went on. "Aren't you rather cold here?"

"How you go on!" the Worm said in a peevish tone. "Worrit, niggle! There never was such a Cleaner here!"

GiGi felt rather offended at this answer, and she was very nearly walking on and leaving him, but she thought to herself "Perhaps it's only pain that makes him so cross." So she tried once more.

"Won't you let me turn your face around to the better side? Things will look a bit better that way?"

The Worm let her approach him, and she gently turned the smiling face towards the front, where she considered it better, but he then got settled down again and the face turned instantly, the grumbling one saying "Worrit, niggle, Can't you leave us both alone?"

"Would you like me to read you a bit of this?" GiGi went on, as she picked up a newspaper which had been lying at his side.

"You may read it if you've a mind to", the Worm said, rather sulkily. "Nobody's hindering you, that I know of".

So, GiGi sat down by him, and spread out the paper on her knees and began. 
"Latest News. The Committee have made another tour of the Business, and concluded that there is nothing that needs doing. Councillor Just, said the Insidious Rumours would be playing the Down, Just said as they did- back with the Hay Days."

"Any Funky Diggers?" the Worm interrupted.

GiGi hastily ran her eye down the paper "No, it says nothing about Diggers" Oh, I see- thought GiGi to herself- he's reading a quite different Newspaper to ours- no wonder he's confused! 

"LET IT ALL STOP THERE!" said the Worm, and he shuffled sideways turning the grumbling face straight towards GiGi. "THAT'S WHERE IT SHALL ALL STOP. PUT THE NEWSPAPER DOWN, AND LEAVE IT ALONE."

GiGi put down the newspaper. "I'm afraid you are very sad" she said in a soothing tone. "Can't I do anything for you?"

"It's all along of the 'Dig'" the Worm said in a much gentler voice.

"Along of the 'Dig'?" repeated GiGi, quite pleased that he had recovered his temper.

"You'd be cross too, if you were a 'Digger' like me, and you got worrit's and niggles about your right to 'Dig'. And then I gets cross. And I gets cold. And I gets my scarf , and I ties it round my face as at present."

GiGi looked pityingly at him. "Tying up your face(s) is very good for the toothache" she said.

"And it's very good for the Conceit" added the Worm.

GiGi didn't catch the word exactly "Is that a kind of toothache?" she asked.

"Well, no" he said: "it's when you hold up your head- so- without bending your neck".

"Oh, you mean stiff-neck" said GiGi.

"That's a new-fangled name. The Funky Diggers called it Conceit in my time".

"Conceit isn't a disease at all" GiGi remarked.

"It is though." said the Worm, "Wait till you have it, and then you'll know. "And when you catches it, just try tying a scarf around your neck- it'll cure you in no time".

"I'll tell you how I came to wear it. When I was young, my ringlets used to wave!" With this, he untied the scarf, and GiGi couldn't help but see how sparse he looked...

A curious idea came into GiGi's head. Almost everyone she had met had repeated poetry to her, so she thought she might see if the Worm couldn't do it too. However- GiGi thought- this Worm is reading an altogether different newspaper- he wont understand poetry in this way- he wants to sing!
"Would you mind singing it to me?" she asked very politely.

He was silent for a few minutes, then he drew himself up, shook both of his heads together into one- screwed up all his features and beating his tail to a rhythmn, began;

"When I was young, my ringlets waved
And curled and crinkled on my head;
And then I said 'I should be shaved
And wear a purple wig instead'

But when I followed my advice,
And noticed the effect,
I thought I didn't look so nice
As I had ventured to expect

They said it didn't fit and so
It made me look extremely plain:
But what was I to do, you know?
My ringlets would not grow again.

So now that I am old and gray,
And all my hair is nearly gone.
The Worm can't dig without a gig,
So where else could I bring it on?

And still whenever I appear
They hoot to call me Dig!
And that is why I do it dear,
Because of a purple Wig"

"I'm very sorry for you" GiGi said heartily, as he clearly thought he was in fact wearing the wig! " I think, if your Purple Wig fitted a little better, then everyone could see how fine it is. I think-"

The worm interrupted her here "Your wig fits very well- its just the rest of you that's all wrong! Your jaws are too short, your feets too big, and what's more you just aren't here to Dig!" At this, he laughed at his own words, and gathering courage and humour he carried on "Your eyes, well you've only two- and they are both the same size- what use is one head, when two can suffize!" 

GiGi stepped back, noticing how well the Worm had not only recovered his spirits, but had set one face- the smiling one, on straight. His tail, still beating to his own tune, was beginning to dig at the soil underneath him. GiGi thought she might safely leave him. "I think I must be going on now" she said.

"Goodbyee, and thankeee" sang the Worm, and GiGi tripped down the hill again, quite pleased that she had gone back and given a few minutes to making the poor old creature comfortable.

So there we are Emily, that is the 'lost chapter' that I shall throw out of Annabel's book! It was fun writing it though, and good to go back and revisit something I might not have bothered with.

Enough of my nonsense for now. Hope you enjoyed the Natural History Museum yesterday- what did you make of all the Dinosaurs?

Your ever-loving Grand-Mother,

GiGi xxx

No comments:

Post a Comment