The Tale Of All Tales (The Tale Of The Prick)

As the story goes, there once lived a farmer in a village. And the farmer went forth to sow some maize. Now it came to pass, as he was sowing, that the Lord Himself chanced to walk by, Saint Peter at His side. Now, it would have been right and meet for our Lord to hold His peace and follow His course, but nay:"What's that you're sowing over there, good man?" he queried."I'm sowing pricks, what else?" the farmer replied, rather impudently."Be it, then, according to thy own word – if it's pricks you are sowing, may the Almighty give you a good harvest of pricks," said the Lord, blessing the furrows with both hands as He continued on His way, followed by Saint Peter, who could hardly contain his amazement at the manner of communication proceeding from the Lord's lips, for he had never heard our Savior use such foul language before. The farmer, having completed his sowing, went back home. When the season came for delving, he returned to his field to delve his maize in keeping with the ordinance, and once again went home. Yet when harvest time came, lo and behold! Instead of ears of grain, every stalk had sprouted three or four goodly pricks, each of them ruddier, sturdier and slicker than the next one…"Hell and damnation! Bang goes the whole summer's toil," the farmer said, tearing at his hair and casting his fur cap to the ground with all his might. "I've never seen the like of it since the day I came out of my mother's womb… that's my fuckin' luck, up its guts! Well, well, well… now what? Confound the spell of the fellow with the blessing, for he couldn't keep his fuckin' trap shut." And as the farmer stood there in a stupor, who should walk by, but a wizened old hag. "A good day to you, my good man," quoth she. "And my knee up the crotch of I-know-who," the farmer replied, beside himself with wrath. "What on earth has got into you, for goodness' sake, to make you speak with such a foul tongue, my good man?" the hag countered, somewhat taken aback. "Have you no shame to be speaking after this manner to an old woman such as me?" "And how else ought I to be speaking, good mother, when you can see for yourself how the Lord has chosen to mock the sweat of my brow. Judge for yourself – what good are pricks to me in my poverty? Have a look at that there field, and then speak if there's ought you can say…" No sooner had the hag looked at the field than her hands flew to her head in bewilderment… For what should she see but tier upon tier of pricks, right and left, standing tall and fit to burst, so slick were they all… "Mercy, lad! That's one weird thing, for sure..." "Wish to God there'd only be one of them, good mother, but as it is, they're so fuckin' many, shove them up your fanny! Fuck, fuck, fuck, for I know not which fuckin' way to turn. Put my fuckin' head in the noose is what I want to do right now, I'm tellin' you…" "Nay, m'lad," the hag replied, eyeing the field of pricks wistfully. "What if them pricks are but a blessing the good Lord wanted to bestow upon you?" "I wouldn't wish such blessing to my worst enemies, good mother. Who's ever heard of such a froward thing – eating pricks instead of maize? Oh, what am I to do, what am I to do? You teach me, for I'm at my wits' end, I am." The hag considered for a spell, and then said: "Well, m'lad, I might just know what you have to do in order to get rid of the whole lot before you know it, and get more money out of it than you would have ever got for your maize… Tenfold, a hundredfold more, even… But what's in it for me, huh?" "Is that truly so, good mother? Then teach me, do, and I'll pay you whatever you ask, with a bushel of pricks thrown in for good measure…" As soon as she heard that pricks came into the bargain, the hag's heart skipped a beat… For her eyes failed with longing for them, when she saw them so sturdy and so keen... "Now, that's what you should do, m'lad: load the lot in your oxcart and take them to the market, for they'll sell like hot cakes. Still, you lucky bugger, now I'll have to overcome my shame and teach you how you ought to train your customers in the use of them pricks." "Well spoken, good mother. Do teach me, I pray!" "Now then, whenever your customers wish for the service of a prick, all they have to do is whistle, the way a shepherd whistles to gather his sheep. And service they'll have, to their bum's desire, as much as they can take… And when they feel they've had enough of it, let them just say, whoa, whoa, greedy bugger! And then it will go flabby all at once, and you'll rid yourself of it just like that."And by way of demonstration, the hag promptly snapped a beauty of a prick, the biggest of the lot, from a stalk, and put it into operation accordingly.The stunned farmer could hardly believe his eyes… "How on earth have you mastered this trick, good mother?" he marveled. "Well, well, well, m'lad, where the devil's now gleaning, I was once harvesting… Ask not how. Just be grateful and pray for my soul for having opened your eyes as to what you should do…" The farmer took his clue. He paid the hag as agreed, ran home, carefully laid his cart with rugs so as not to spill any of his precious cargo, drove it back to the field, filled it all the way up with a good load of pricks – and off he went to peddle his merchandise. No sooner had he reached the marketplace than he started calling out at the top of his voice: "Come and buy pricks, come and buy pricks! Hard pricks, guaranteed to stand, for the ladies of the land…"A widow of high status, on hearing such filth out of the farmer's mouth, sent one of her maids to bring him before her, for she meant to rebuke him.The maid rushed to do her mistress' bidding. The moment the farmer walked in, the lady started lashing at him with her tongue: "You despicable yokel, how dare you utter such filth outside my courts? If it's trouble you're looking for, I'll give you trouble and lots of it, don't you worry. I'll have you whipped till you have to be carried back home on a stretcher… Does this make any sense to you?" "Well, most merciful Madam, what are we to do?" the farmer began, scratching his head in confusion. "Pray, pardon our speech, but if pricks is what the good Lord has found it meet to bless us with, pricks it is that we've brought to the market, peradventure we can get some money for them, for it's a hard struggle back home to make ends meet, what with taxes and hardships of all kinds." "Are you beside yourself, yokel, or what, to be talking such nonsense in my presence?" "Nay, noble Madam, God forbid. It's good sense I'm talking, if you please. Allow your humble servant to bring you one, so as you can see for yourself if you do not believe me… Oh, fuck the joker who called them into being, for lo, they've already landed me into trouble. Had they at least been female, I could have kept them for myself, but as it is…" And he just turned on his heels, hurried out to his cart, chose a prize prick from amongst the lot, and carried it back, straight to the lady. "There, honorable Madam, is this a laughing matter, would you say? Do you see now what my whole summer's toil came to? And as if this weren't enough, you threaten to have me chastised, and little do you care that I'm greatly chastised by the Lord as it is. Oh, fuck the forty days of "I-know-who" two times running, for lo, people have started taking me for a lunatic on account of them pricks." The lady had thus no choice but acknowledge the truth of the farmer's words, and pretending to turn her face away in disgust, kept ogling the honorable prick from the corners of her eyes. "May the fires of hell consume you, yokel, a right rascal you are, if ever there was one! I wonder, though, how could one ever use such a thing, were one inclined to. Not that I'm in need of it myself, of course. I'm only marveling at the weirdness of it all…" "Now, Madam, when it comes to using it, here's how… Pardon my words, but should one, er, be moved with desire for the thing, all one has to do is whistle a few times, the way we whistle to gather the sheep, and then it's all up to you how much ramming you can put up with from it, as I'm confident, for my part, that my merchandise is not going to put me to shame. And when you're satisfied with the ramming and want it to cease, you only have to call to it: whoa, whoa, you greedy bugger! And that very instant, it will pull itself out nice'n'easy, like a snake enticed by a bowl of fresh milk… And whenever you're itchin' for it… Well, you just have to go through the same procedure all over again. And if you're not fully satisfied, then you can curse me all you want." "A plague be upon you, you, foul-mouthed yokel, you, for you're the devil's own spawn, you are," said the lady, who in the meantime had developed a certain tolerance for the farmer's spicy language. "Now wait outside for a while, for I've urgent business to attend to. I'll call you back in, anon." The farmer held his peace and left the room. The lady then started whistling for the battering-ram, by way of testing whether those things were so…The honorable prick, thereupon, shot – whoosh! – straight into the lady's cunt… And in-out, in-out it went, till the earth moved. Not that the lady minded in the least. As the old saying goes, an old hag never shies away from a thick prick. She took it gladly, like a lamb holding on fast to its mother's teat, till it has sucked its fill. As it happened, the lady was rather solidly built: Tight of cunt and hard of bones,The prick grinds its teeth and groans,For its toil could break up stones. To cut a long story short, after the lady felt that she'd had enough and to spare, she just whispered softly: whoa, whoa, you greedy bugger… That very instant the prick went all limp, and phew! it flopped down to the floor… The lady retrieved it with utmost reverence, and gave it a fond kiss on the very top of its bulbous head… She then called the farmer in, and in a roundabout way started querying him:"How on earth did you come to be in possession of such fiendish contraptions, yokel?" "T'was like this, noble Madam… Early this spring, as I was going about my work sowing maize, the devil – for what else should I call him – drove two men to be walking by my field. And one of them asked me what I was sowing. I ought to have held my peace, but nay… My iniquity moved me to answer, just for the hell of it, that it was pricks I was sowing, if you'll pardon my words. And thereupon, one of the men spoke with an evil tongue, or whatever sort of tongue that might have been in his head, and blessed my field with both hands as he continued on his way, saying: 'Then may the good Lord grant you pricks in abundance.' And as you can see for yourself, noble Madam, I've been indeed granted abundance of pricks. That's how I've come to peddle pricks for a living, behind God's back, as it were, fuck 'em pricks to kingdom come, if the honorable lady will pardon my sayin' so." "You're quite adept; I see, at calling them by name, may you feed upon the same hereafter." "Why, Madam, if that's their God-given name, what the prick are we supposed to call 'em?" "Now listen, I sit and wonder, could it be that the two men you mentioned were our Lord Himself and Saint Peter? For who else could be working such miracles?" "Whether the Lord or the devil, Madam, I wit not… 'Fuck 'em' is all I can say, if you'll pardon my sayin' so. Yet one thing I do know for sure – a pretty mess they've landed me in." "If this be so, yokel, I do believe it was rather the Lord Himself. And on that account alone, I'm going to purchase one off you, as a testimony of the year when fields flourished with what-you-call-'em… For the way I see it, they harbinger abundance." "You mean the pricks, don't you, Madam?" "The very same, may you eat them up, for your mouth seems to be full of them." "If that's what our mouth is used to calling them, what can we do? Pray, pardon us… Now assuming you're right in what you say, Madam, I do marvel at this Lord of ours. What the hell? Has He got no other business but start growing pricks in people's fields? A pricky sort of Lord he must be, then, may God have mercy on my soul, if He fancies pricks to such an extent. Yet, who's to know for sure? Therefore I'll come round to your way of thinking, Madam. What if God wanted to shit gold into my purse, for it's been empty for longer than I can remember – I don't have a penny to my name. So, Madam, have you made up your mind to buy one or not? – for I'm late as it is…" "What do you charge, then, for such an abomination?" the lady asked, feigning disgust… As the old saying goes, may the Lord grant it to me, but I need it not. "Look, honorable Madam, so as not to haggle over it, I'll only charge five hundred lei, cash on the nail." "What?! Five hundred! You must be out of your mind, yokel!" "Let the honorable Madam not say so, for I've been toiling with the sweat of my bollocks to delve such a frightful amount of pricks and bring them to this estate, as you well see… And if I don't make a profit from a lady of substance like you, where's the reward of my labor going to come from? For I'm surely not going to make a pile by selling to our country wenches. For they'd like to have a shock of pricks to the penny, and a complimentary armful on top of it… That's how country folks are, fuck 'em all to pieces, if you'll pardon my sayin' so…" "Listen, yokel, won't three hundred make a fair price?" "Not one farthing less, Madam." "Four hundred, then." "That won't do at all, Madam." "How about four fifty?" "Not even four hundred and ninety nine and a half. Now what's fifty lei to a lady of your estate? Let's strike hands over a good bargain such as this, for I'm tellin' you, the prick you're getting is best on the market, and you'll be so pleased with it, you'll mention me in your prayers, and direct other ladies of high birth like yourself to buy from me…" "So be it then. Here's your five hundred lei," said the lady. "But don't let me catch you telling anyone you've been selling such horrors to me, for there'll be hell to pay for you. Got it?" "How else, Madam… As if I had no other care in this world!" To cut a long story short, the lady paid up the five hundred and got her prick, while the farmer went off like a shot to attend to his business selling pricks to whatever custom he'd be able to drum up. If only he had enough merchandise to meet the demand was his only concern now. As the old saying goes, the good horse sells from the stable. But never mind all that now… No sooner had the farmer left, than our righteous lady had a silver box inlaid with gold made to order, draped the holy prick in a length of cotton cloth perfumed with spices, tucked it into the box and locked it up safely, like some treasure beyond price, took the key, and whenever she had the vapors, she'd get down to a bout of hard work, stilled her desire, and thus no longer had to languish for the thing, or get it on the side, the way she'd been doing before. Her ladyship, bless her soul, had provided for her old age beyond her wildest expectations… One day, as it happens, the priest of one of the villages on the lady's estate came to her and entreated her to be godmother to one of his children. The lady, for the priest's sake, had the horses harnessed to her carriage, and went with him. After the baptism she went on to the priest's house for the feast. As they sat down to meat, the lady drank more than her fair share of wine, as it is bound to happen on such occasions. They kept plying her with the fruit of the vine till it got to her head, and before she knew it, she started being consumed with an ardent desire for the prick. Now what was she to do? She would have rushed home that very instant, but the priest and his wife were adamant. "Tonight you'll be our guest – what should you go home for? There's no one waiting for you there." Be that as it may, the lady was burning with longing for the prick… "Your holiness," she eventually appealed to the priest "If you're determined to keep me at your house, take this here key, and pray run to my mansion, open the trunk by my bedside, take out the silver box you'll find in there, and bring it to me, for there's something I need out of it. The kind of trifles, you know, we women cannot do without…" The priest, reasoning within himself there had to be some gifts for his wife in there, wasted no time in saddling his horse and galloping away. On arriving at the lady's mansion, he opened the trunk, took the box out and hurried back home with it. It was around noon, high summer, and the priest's very heart was sweating within him in that sweltering heat. Halfway through his journey, as he was skirting along a forest, he sat down in the shade of a leafy tree, to catch his breath. And as he was resting in the cool shade, the devil tempted him to peek into the box and see for himself what might be inside. He kept turning the box on all sides in his hands, and at long last he somehow managed to pry it open. And what should he spy inside, but a hefty horror of a prick, neatly wrapped in fragrant cotton cloth. Presently, the priest started whistling in bewilderment at the apparition. As he stood there, still whistling in utter amazement, the prick shot – oops! – up his reverend ass. Thereupon he started roaring at the top of his voice: "Deliver me, Lord, from the fiend! Let not Thy servant be mocked by the devil! For You alone have I served, and other God but You I know not!" Yet all his roaring turned out to be in vain. As it finally dawned upon the priest that roaring was no way out of his plight, he drew out the string holding his breeches in place, tied one end of it round the tree, and harnessed the other to the prick itself, making them fast to the best of his abilities. He then started straining at the string and yanking himself left and right the way oxen strain at the yoke when they carry a heavy load. All to no avail, though… The priest did pray, the priest did roar, the priest did strain, the priest did yank. Yet, no hope of an escape, for the prick was in great shape. To conclude the matter, it wouldn't have taken much longer for his soul to part company with his body. But by God's grace, a stampeding cow that had strayed from the herd blundered into him, almost trampling him to the ground under its hoofs. The priest, overcome with terror, then started screaming at the top of his voice: "Whoa! Whoa, crazy bugger, may the wolves tear you to shreds!" The cow swerved to one side, and that very instant the prick pulled itself out of the priest's ass… The moment he sensed he was free, the priest dashed forth through the undergrowth like a lunatic, without a thought for his horse, the box, the harnessed prick, his wife, the lady, or anything else, and kept on running till he lost himself into the wide, wide world. And lost is he, to this very day. Although Ion Creangă (1837-1889) bedecks his tales and memoirs with a wealth of peasant vocabulary, proverbs and mindsets, his writings are meant for an erudite reader, such as the members of the highbrow Junimea (i.e. Youth) literary circle, who would chuckle in the company of their author in corners, between two "serious" sessions. In these bawdies, the continuous parallel between ongoing events and past experience, a technique that, according to G. Călinescu, places him in the family of Rabelais and Sterne, gives way to a rather Chaucerian – or Boccaccian – descent. The priest episode in the Tale of All Tales denotes a dislike originated in his young years as a seminarist.

by Ion Creangă (1838-1889)