Tag Archives: peasant revolts in rural England

The Peasants Are Revolting (‘Oy, Rodney)

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We must skip the next three chapters of Violet Crepuscular’s remarkable epic romance, Oy, Rodney, in which nothing happens. I don’t know why she wrote them. And she is fresh out of Estonian folk tales. These three chapters, she hints slyly, are the result of very bad weather in Scurveyshire.

In Chapter CLXXXIV, Lord Jeremy’s foot has healed after being accidentally shot by his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, and he is ready to proceed with their wedding to Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire. But then another problem crops up, which Lord Jeremy, as Justice of the Peace, must deal with: a full-scale peasant revolt.

“I didn’t even know we still had peasants in Scurveyshire!” he complains. “Where were they, all this time?”

“Constable Chumley says they came swarming out from under the vicar’s backyard wading pool,” his clerk informs him.

“What did he say exactly, man?”

The clerk pauses to search his memory. “As near as I can reconstruct them, sir, the constable’s exact words were ‘A farthy night, I thwill, yare greechins forthered a grambly riot up out of Arth itself, an’ wicky sump!'”

Meanwhile, the peasant mob, under the leadership of a masked man who looks like Desi Arnaz without the makeup, has overturned the ancient statue of Colonel Sanders in the village common and now surrounds The Lying Tart, demanding free beer. The landlord has been out of beer since Ms. Crepuscular ran out of folk tales, and fears for his life.

“This is Rodney’s doing,” opines Lady Margo. “If only I weren’t so busy with all the new upholstering at home, I’d flee to someplace nice.”

“Ol’ hoss,” says Twombley, “you better order the constable to disperse them peasants before somebody gits hurt. I ain’t got enough ammunition left to shoot ’em all.”

The constable having gone into hiding, a search ensues. They finally locate him at the constabulary’s station house, playing Scrabble with the prisoners. He has just gotten a triple word score for “Quixzorj.”

“Constable, I order you to disperse that mob of crazed homicidal peasants!” cries Lord Jeremy. Constable Chumley indicates by eloquent gestures that they will disperse themselves as soon as the town blacksmith blows The Great Horn of Pokesleigh.

“We shoulda thought of that,” remarks Twombley.

Even as he speaks, a horrible noise reminiscent of half a dozen giant ground sloths trapped in a tar pit comes roaring and grumbling across the landscape. As if by magic, the peasants drop what they’re doing and stampede out of the story. Scurveyshire is saved.

Adds Ms. Crepuscular, “I will not listen to carping comments to the effect that I have chosen a cheap way out of this dilemma. The Great Horn of Pokesleigh has a long history of being used in emergencies, and it’s not my fault if this fact is poorly known outside of Scurveyshire.”


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