Timeless Tall Tales

The other day while passing by Chalmers Wesley Church I saw two cranes, one of which appeared to reach to the clouds. The workmen were replacing the shutters in the steeple with wooden panels in order to prevent rain and snow from penetrating and causing more damage. This could not wait until next summer when the steeple will be rebuilt. It reminded me of Baron Munchausen.

Who was Baron Munchausen, you ask? He was a German boaster who told tall tales. The first collection of his stories was published in London in 1785. There were many subsequent books and a radio show of his tales during the 1930's. When a listener questioned his tales, Baron Munchausen would put him down by saying: "Was you dere, Charley"? Here is an example. "I set off from Rome on a journey to Russia, in the midst of winter, from a just notion that frost and snow must mend the roads. I went on horseback through the northern parts of Germany and Poland. Night and darkness overtook me. No village was to be seen. The country was covered with snow, and I was unacquainted with the road. Tired, I alighted, and fastened my horse to something like a pointed stump of a tree, which appeared above the snow; for the sake of safety I placed my pistols under my arm, and lay down on the snow, where I slept so soundly that I did not open my eyes till full daylight. It is not easy to conceive my astonishment to find myself in the midst of a village, lying in a churchyard; nor was my horse to be seen, but I heard him soon after neigh somewhere above me. On looking upwards I beheld him hanging by his bridle to the weathercock of the steeple. Matters were not very plain to me; the village had been covered with snow overnight; a sudden change of weather had taken place; I had sunk down to the churchyard whilst asleep, gently, and in the same proportion as the snow had melted away; and what in the dark I had taken to be a stump of a little tree appearing above the snow, to which I had tied my horse, proved to have been the cross or weathercock of the steeple! Without long consideration I took one of my pistols, shot the bridle in two, brought down the horse, and proceeded on my journey."

I am sure that Quebecers would not have doubted this tale.

Stuart Wright