Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: Harold Pinter’s Nativity

[Photo: IanDagnall Computing / Alamy Stock Photo]

In Competition No. 3229, you were invited to provide the story of the Nativity retold in the style of a well-known author.

Star performers, in a most excellent entry, included Janine Beacham’s W.S. Gilbert:

Young Mary was the model of a good and humble Nazarene, So Gabriel requested of her, ‘be our human go-between, you will conceive a holy child, in keeping with theocracy, you and your husband Joseph will be sainthood’s aristocracy…

Brian Murdoch and Nicholas Lee were also snapping at the winners’ heels, but after lengthy deliberation I have pleasure in awarding £25 each to the authors of the submissions printed below. A happy Christmas to you all.

Do you remember an inn, Miranda? Do you remember an inn? And the place at the back was no more than a shack, With the sheep that the shepherds were sharing, And their baas and their bleats, were they victuals to eat Or a soft source of wool for the wearing?    And into the stable, three star-struck wise men  With ill-chosen gifts — bearing gold, it’s a joke, Give a baby a toy or a clapper to spin, With a rattle-ting-ting — you remember the inn? And the frankincense smoke that made everyone choke And the myrrh, with a whiff of the grave.    We prayed that the throng moved along and diminished, ‘Good God, we’ll be glad when Epiphany’s finished!’ The Magi… the magic… the Din! I’ll always remember the inn. Sylvia Fairley/Hilaire Belloc

Wee sleepin’, new-born, wondrous bairn, All human woes and worries wearin’ With ox and ass your stable sharin’ This Christmas morn, Around you angels are declarin’ A god is born.    From out the East come three kings bold With frankincense and myrrh and gold. Shepherds forget a treasured fold As they adore you, Ignorant of the trials untold That lie before you. Frank McDonald/Robert Burns

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