Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beastly Spies

It's good to hear that reason hasn't reared it's sensible head in the continuing mistrustful relationship between Israel and the Arab states. This week's story of the Saudi Arabian authorities arresting a vulture on suspicion of it being a Mossad agent sums the extent to which reason has been banished from that region, but we have a similar example of hysterical mistrust involving one of our near neighbours, in our own history.

The vulture story reminds me of the story of the monkey hung in Hartlepool for being a French spy during the Napoleonic wars. According to local folklore, a monkey was washed ashore, alive, following a French ship sinking in bad weather. The story continues that the locals, not knowing what a Frenchman looked like, and what with the monkey being dressed in a French uniform (presumably for laughs by the luckless crew of the ship) feared the monkey was a French Spy and decided to put it on trial there and then. Of course, the monkey couldn't understand a word they spoke and failed to speak a word of English - proof positive that this was a filthy Frenchie up to no good.

So they hung it as a spy.

Perhaps in another couple of hundred years the Jews and Arabs can enjoy as close and trusting a relationship as we have now with our neighbouring garlic eating surrender monkeys.

In former times, when war and strife

The French invasion threaten'd life

An' all was armed to the knife

The Fisherman hung the monkey O !

The Fishermen with courage high,

Siezed on the monkey for a French spy;

"Hang him !" says one; "he's to die"

They did and they hung the monkey Oh!

They tried every means to make him speak

And tortured the monkey till loud he did speak;

Says yen "thats french" says another "its Greek"

For the fishermen had got druncky oh!

Hammer his ribs, the thunnerin thief

Pummel his pyet wi yor neef!

He's landed here for nobbut grief

He's aud Napoleon's uncky O!

Thus to the Monkey all hands behaved

"Cut off his whiskers!" yen chap raved

Another bawled out "He's never been shaved",

So commenced to scrape the Monkey, O!

They put him on a gridiron hot,

The Monkey then quite lively got,

He rowl'd his eyes tiv a' the lot,

For the Monkey agyen turned funky O!.

Then a Fisherman up te Monkey goes,

Saying "Hang him at yence, an' end his woes,"

But the Monkey flew at him and bit off his nose,

An' that raised the poor man's Monkey O!

In former times, mid war an' strife,

The French invasion threatened life,

An' all was armed to the knife,

The Fishermen hung the Monkey O!

The Fishermen wi' courage high,

Seized on the Monkey for a spy,

"Hang him" says yen, says another,"He'll die!"

They did, and they hung the Monkey O!. They tortor'd the Monkey till loud he did squeak

Says yen, "That's French," says another "it's Greek"

For the Fishermen had got drunky, O!

"He's all ower hair!" sum chap did cry,

E'en up te summic cute an' sly

Wiv a cod's head then they closed an eye,

Afore they hung the Monkey O!.

(Lifted from

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