Friday, 19 June 2009

Fairy Nuff

For the most part, The Australian leaves me to my whitterings about the defining quirks of his people - he knows it's just my funny little way of dealing with being a fish out of water - and retaliates with just the occasional "That's soooo English" whenever I say something unfriendly.

But yesterday he came downstairs after putting The Girl to bed with such a look of triumph on his face that I knew I was in trouble for something. He was wielding a copy of Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lancaster Brisley - a "terribly English" book that was a favourite of mine and that I now enjoy reading to my daughter (with certain twenty-first century footnotes I feel moved to add on).

He opened it and pointed to a line: "There," he said, beaming. "Look there. It says they are having bread with hundreds and thousands sprinkled on. Fairy bread. In England. A long, long time ago. Ha! What do you say to that?"

I snatched the book and read it over... hundreds and thousands... Blast and bother, he was right. It's not just a strange Aussie treat that sends children "feral"... it's our fault. But maybe we can blame the Scots - for here is Robert Louise Stevenson with a poem from A Child's Garden Of Verses (1885):

Fairy Bread
Come up here, O dusty feet!
Here is fairy bread to eat.
Here in my retiring room,
Children, you may dine
On the golden smell of broom
And the shade of pine;
And when you have eaten well,
Fairy stories hear and tell.

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gaelikaa said...

Everyone to their and let live....

Geraldine Ryan said...

I absolutely adore M-M-M as a child and my daughters did too. Fairy bread sounds gross, however!

Francesca Edwards said...

Emily I used to LOVE Milly Molly Mandy when I was little, (in fact I think I was obsessed with the book), I keep meaning to get Emma a copy! Annoying but very funny about the fairy bread! Sounds hideous, but I'm sure my 2 would love it. Fx

Geraldine Ryan said...

There's a new hardback MMM anthology available in the UK. Am sorely tempted....

Emily Gale said...

Gaelikaa - thanks for your comment. Yes. Absolutely. But on the other hand - preservative-ridden bread smothered in E-numbers deserves some comment :-)

Geri, this is the version my daughter has and it's beautiful but she really loves looking at my old yellow cloth-bound edition, which smells all musty.

Francesca - I never knew that about you! We could have formed an MMM appreciation society at Woodhouse.... p'raps not.

CarolineG said...

My two macho boys would probably be able to overlook the pinkness of this snack. I just pray they never hear of it.

Emily Gale said...

As a devoted mother, Caroline, I think the least you could do is pick out all the pink/yellow/red girly bits in the 100s n 1000s with tweezers and rename the snack Wizard's Bread.