I’ve been exploring the darkest, dingiest, most-foetidest-of-all corners of Word this afternoon, with the thought that when Windows 10 finally arrives I may manage to accidentally lose all my saved documents, either in the attempt to install the Scary Monster myself or by accidentally pressing some sort of invisible (to me) Install button before Mr Computer Problems?! can get here. He tells me at the moment he is overwhelmed with customers who have metaphorically melted their computers trying to do the installation, and if anyone’s going to metaphorically melt a piece of technology it will be I (…said the Sparrow, with my bow and arrow…)

I never got further than the first few paragraphs of The Devil Towed By His Toe. It was meant to be part of a novel which, like most novels, never got written. It seems a shame to waste this story-within-a-story-type-thing but unless I am granted eternal life I doubt I will find the time to finish it myself. The moving finger writes and having writ moves on, etc etc.

So if writing floats your boat, here’s the challenge. Wait for a rainy day, maybe – or a moment of complete non-otherwise-inspiration – and think up an ending to ‘The Devil Towed By His Toe’ . Feel free to amend my bit, if doing so makes it fit in better with your bit – change the setting, or change God’s distinctive rural accent – it’s up to you.

The Devil Towed By His Toe

Now, there’s been times the Marsh was dry land. In them days it was green and ferny, all tall trees and clearings and sunlight shining down. The Marsh rises and falls, you see. So slow you’d never see it. And there’s been other times, like now, when the Marsh was under the sea. Sometimes it was half under, so lots of islands still poked up and them islands was quite substantial. Sometimes it was all but drowned under, and that’s like things are now. Government drowned us this time. They said the sea was coming up and we weren’t worth saving from it. Too much money to keep us dry, so they let us be. The sea came in and that were that, for always.

Now the Devil he had a great big battle with God and God threw him out of Heaven.

You are TROUBLESOME AND VAIN, Mr D, he thundered.

You want to take over MY JOB, that’s a fact, and I’LL tell you straight YOU ARE NOT ABOUT TO DO SO. Well not on your nelly, Mr D.

Besides, you got too hot: you got so hot we could FRY AN EGG on your horrible horny head, Mr D. So I’m giving you the ELBOW, Mr D. I made you a place called Hell where you’ll be more comfy.

And with that he gave the Devil an almighty shove. Over the edge of Heaven he toppled and down he tumbled, roaring and complaining, towards the Marsh.

Now, to be fair, God was probably still thinking this was one of the dry times on the Marsh but of course it weren’t, it were one of the watery times. The Devil was falling through space; no sign of the promised Hell-where-he-would-be-more-comfy, and the Marsh was rushing up towards him like the sea itself, so he had to think fast…

Psst! Just found an extra bit, a little poem:

  • Tie a rope to Satan’s toe
  • Drag the fiend
  • And drown the fiend
  • To where he must go.

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