A Christmas Tale

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An Accurate Historical Report Regarding The Origins Of Christmas

First a few points:
1. This report is based on true incidents as reported by a famous liar. A member of the Royal Society of Liars, as it happens.

2. Many of you will be familiar with the Arthur Conan Doyle character Sherlock Holmes. For copyright purposes I should make it clear that the character of Holmes seen here is not the famous detective, nor is it based on him in any way. Also for copyright reasons Holmes is not described in this story as to do so would make clear that the last sentence about it not being he was a lie.

3. No offence was intended to the memory of the great Scott of the Antarctic. God bless your frozen toes.

4. You can still see Scott of the Antarctic on display in the deep freeze section at the British Museum, Britain, UK.

Ah yes. I remember the seals of the North Pole. Wonderful inquisitive creatures. I was there with Captain Scott and one of them bounded up to me and said, "What the bloody hell are you doing here?"

Inquisitive and tasty if I remember correctly.

Of course, Scott wasn't a real Captain. He had just rented the outfit one Halloween and had never taken it back. Already the late fees were twice the national debt and should he ever return to Colin's Costumes he would get such a telling-off. I never asked where he came by his ship, the icebreaker, Dijyaheerdawunaboot or his collection of antique sanitary towels.

When we left to begin our epic journey my spirits were high, for I had tied them to a helium balloon. But Scott was Meloncholic (coughing up melons) and also depressed; he had received a copy of the London Times, flown in from Hungary just the day before. It had been nibbled slightly, because they'll eat anything in Hungary, but the main story was readable.

His brother, Captain Scott of the Antarctic (who was a real Captain and had the commemorative spoon set to prove it) had been lost presumed nowhere to be found and it fell upon him, the lesser-known Scott of the Arctic, to make it to a Pole, before the shops closed. For if the last remaining Scott failed then up and down the Camden road they would whisper about the Scotts at number twenty-four who couldn't even get to a Pole before the shops closed.

Holmes doubted we could succeed.

"I doubt you can succeed," Holmes said and puffed away on his pipe. It was a tragic sight, for we had run out of tobacco three days ago and had been forced to start smoking the dogs just to stay alive. "We should turn back while we still have enough linseed oil for the cricket bats."

I advised against it.

"I advise against this," I said. "Look at the dogs. They carry a health warning from the surgeon general."

"Bah!" said Scott, who in his madness had turned to doing unconvincing sheep impressions.

Holmes fell into silence to spite us both for the rest of trip.

".............................................," he said.

That night it was cold. We were forced to sleep together, as we had done so many times before. Sometimes we slept together even when it was rather warm, but always in a perfectly heterosexual fashion. Except on days ending with a 'Y'.

I awoke in exactly the middle of the night, shuddering and shaking. It was then that I realized I had not packed a sleeping bag, but an exceedingly large marital aid. How I did not notice before I cannot say, but I now know why Holmes had always offered to carry it for me.

Our progress across the ice was slow, but eventually we found our way to the North Pole where, to our surprise, we discovered a large workshop. Scott wanted to call the workshop America, but was dissuaded by a swift poke in the eye. I knocked on the door and a large jolly man wearing red opened it.

It was Henry the VIII.

Closely followed by a seal.

The seal inquired as to what our purpose was at the North Pole.

"What the bloody hell are you doing here?" it quizzed.

"You can't come in here without bringing a present, this is Santa's Grotty," Henry the VIII said. Just at that moment Scott of the Arctic, who would no more be whispered about up and down Camden road, coughed up a Melon.

"That will do nicely," said Henry the VIII and invited us in. But the place was filthy so we didn't want to stay. Then Henry the VIII offered to marry us all. But knowing of Henry's bad luck with marriage and having heard rumours of genital warts acquired from canoodling with seals, I was sceptical.

I crept away into the freezing night smoking a pipe stuffed with Holmes who never fully recovered. I regret to say that Captain Scott was deep into madness and was wooed by Henry the VIII, who changed his name to Henry the VIII of the Arctic, and never returned to the gentleman's club in Bingham.

But on a certain night of the year you can hear Scott of the Arctic, leaping from rooftop to rooftop looking for his lost socks (which I hid in the biscuit barrel) and doing bad impressions of garden tools. "Hoe, hoe, hoe."

And that is why we have surgeon general warnings on cigarettes as well as huskies.


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