Amock Comedy Compendium
occasion. This, you might think, would be easy,
but take it from me, tisn’t simple for a wise man
to act the fool when every man’s inclination is
village idiots, and the general hilarity they could
bring, in those days, and some folks reckoned
they could be bred, just like cattle. Pair up two
to show his wisdom. But pretty soon every one
in the village was regarding me with affection
and chuckling ‘Aye, Old Codger’s got an
apprentice.’ My parents weren’t too minded for
I had two older brothers to help on the farm
and if the whole village was feeding me it was
one less mouth for them to feed.
village idiots and the offspring was bound to be
fools, was the thinking. And if there was a nice
size brood they could be sold off for a profit to
neighbouring villages when they reached their
maturity, so village idiots was encouraged to
take a bride.
I was lucky with Doolally, for though she was as
The lads what I played with didn’t mind none
neither, for our pastimes was rassling and
suchlike and not quizzing each other on the
capital of Mondovia or what princess was it ran
off with Duke Ferdinand ere the Brown Plague
struck. And an idiot can rassle just as good as
stupid as a square wheel she was a fine looking
lass and I had no disinclination to start a family
Problem was my books. I had a passion for
reading, though I knew that knowledge could be
my downfall. I’d kept a secret stash ever since
a genius on any given day of the week.
Soon, it was generally accepted that when Old
Codger went to meet his Mocker I would take
over the position of village idiot of Throville.
For the village elders this was a boon, for village
idiots were scarce in them days and could
command quite a price. It was said that the
I’d decided to become an idiot and only read
them when there was no-one else around. So,
it came as a great surprise when I came home
one day, fresh from falling in the pond, and
found Doolally with her nose in The History of
the Eleven Kingdoms.
“What be you doing?” I asked her.
folks of Bullton had paid a tenth of their annual
harvest to Tilford for their village idiot, Spittle,
as a sort of transfer fee. It was, of course,
common knowledge that a village idiot brought
good luck to where’er he resided, but one tenth
of a harvest? Course, Spittle could be an idiot
She looked up at me and there was a look in
her eye which made my poor foolish heart sink.
“I’m perusing your library,” she said and it took
me a moment to realise that she shouldn’t know
a word such as peruse.
“This History is full of basic errors,” she
in several different languages, him being foreign
born, so the price was bound to be high.
So there, I’ve told you my secret and there’s
only one other person knows it and that’s my
As you know all village idiot marriages is
arranged as you couldn’t expect a village idiot
continued, “King Byron never banished the
Pergians till after the Great Divide.”
“You’re no idiot,” I said to her, not sure whether
I should be angry or not.
“And neither are you,” she replied, “Do you
think you’re the only one with the wisdom to be
to do much in the way of courting by himself.
But, as I’ve said, there was a great demand for
And not realising that was possibly the most
foolish thing I ever done.