In Competition No. 2968 you were-invited to take the title of a short story by Ted Hughes, How the Whale Became, substitute-another animal or fish for ‘whale’ and provide a tale with that title. This comp was an absolute delight to judge. There were oodles of well-turned entries bursting with charm. Well done. Special mention go to C.J. Gleed, Michael McManus, Frank McDonald and Tracy Davidson. The winners take £25 each. The bonus fiver belongs to Bill Greenwell.
Call me Nana. I was born when my mother was being born, into one gender, no need for more, only the cycle, the cycle of endless begetting. When I was a few days old, my great-great-great-great-grandnymphs yelled, ‘We’re pregnant.’ And indeed they were, my beautiful matryoshki. There is nothing in this girly world so perfect as a broad green leaf, and the suckling of it. Come on, let’s make dew, I cry to my ancestors, or are they descendants? I am often mistaken for my great-grandbuglet, and sometimes for my great-great-grandmother: so easy a mistake to make. Blessings to the ants, who suckle themselves on our dew. Excuse me, I must go to the labour-leaf. My life looks a pretty picture, but it’s a reproduction. I am made of being, in the act of being, all green. Until the Ladybird of Doom looms over me.
Bill Greenwell: How the Aphid Became
‘That wrap it up, then? Everything from aardvark to zorilla, right? Let me hear from you.’
This was from a relatively junior archangel, a recent appointment to the committee. God’s eyes bulged to encourage him.
‘Well, the providential scheme hangs together with the zoology and so forth, but perhaps too neatly. Couldn’t we add a little weirdness? Something that would amuse Homo sapiens but also puzzle them, even freak them out a bit, an addictive pleasure they will never really understand?’
‘I’ve already given them sex.