I just read a post by the MadSnapper Sandra, entitled: How to make a post out of Anything/ Everything/ NOTHING … And I wrote in my comment that I was just thinking of doing a post with the title Easily Amused. So now I have to.
Actually I was just going to do that anyway, so all that remains for me now is to try to explain. Which is the hard part, or I would already have done it by now.
The thing is, I’m still giggling on and off at a chapter in a children’s book that I read two days ago. At the age of 57, I’m not sure if that’s something one ought to admit.
But I just checked, and found that after all, Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) was 44 when she wrote it (or at least she was when it was published, in 1902). The book is Five Children and It, and the chapter that had me particularly amused was Ch 9, entitled Grown Up.
If I knew that you (dear readers) had all read the book, the explaining part might not be so difficult. Those who haven’t might need a little bit of background, though.
While playing in a gravel pit near their home, five children—two boys, two girls, and their baby brother, nicknamed “the Lamb”—uncover a rather grumpy sand-fairy known as the Psammead, who has the ability to grant wishes. (Only one per day and they only last for a day, at sunset all goes back to normal.)
Getting your wishes granted turns out more trouble than one might think, as the Psammead tends to act on the very first “I wish” of the day that happens to come to mind for any of the children, whether they mean it as an actual wish or not.
One day, for example, one of them happens to wish that their (sometimes rather troublesome) little baby brother would “grow up”… Which, of course, he immediately does; and instead of being their baby brother, he becomes their grown up brother for a day. But as his brothers and sisters know he will suddenly turn back to a baby at sunset, they still can’t let him go off on his own. So they have to watch out for him, even though now it’s he who does not want their company.
That is not really the funny part though.
And neither is this, in itself:
The grown-up Lamb frowned. 'My dear Anthea,' he said, 'how often am I to tell you that my name is Hilary or St Maur or Devereux? - any of my baptismal names are free to my little brothers and
sisters, but NOT "Lamb" …
What set me giggling, and still does, is how the author treats that name-issue throughout the rest of the chapter (these are just some examples):
The grown-up Lamb (or Hilary, as I suppose one must now call him) fixed his pump and blew up the tyre.
Quietly but persistently the miserable four took it in turns to try to persuade the Lamb (or St Maur) to spend the rest of the day in the woods.
'He doesn't know who he is. He's something very different from what you think he is.'
'What do you mean?' asked the lady not unnaturally, while Devereux (as I must term the grown-up Lamb) tried vainly to push Anthea away.
[Anthea] caught the Lamb (I suppose I ought to say
Hilary) by the arm.
'Who are these very dirty children?' she asked the grown-up Lamb (sometimes called St Maur in these pages).
Again and again the Lamb (Devereux, I mean) had tried to stop Jane's eloquence, but…
If anyone would like to read the whole chapter you can find it here (Click on Part 3 and scroll down to Ch. 9).
And then you may shake your head at me, if you wish. (Just remember to be careful what you wish for.)