Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Muffet Conundrum


First of all, a little background...
Little Miss Muffet, Sat on a tuffet, Eating her curds and whey, Along came a spider, And sat down beside her, And frightened Miss Muffet away. Just FYI, I can’t claim this little ditty…

 But I’ve always loved it. And you know why? Because that little girl could have been me. Yep. I love cottage cheese. And hate spiders. Both of which feature rather strongly in this sweet little tale of gluttony and cowardice.

Let’s look into the story, shall we? Examine it with just a little more depth? Because don’t you just love to lift the skirts and get to the petticoats of a story? Hmmm…maybe that’s an unfortunate way to put it.

Miss Muffet, (We’ll call her Agnes, shall we?) was a happy, cheerful little girl. Full of hopes and dreams. Perhaps just a bit more of the latter than was practical, but, let’s face it, she was only just past six.

Her days were spent either in her pretty little bedroom, playing with her numerous toys or in the garden, having Adventures. (Notice the capital ‘A’ in adventures? That’s cause they were Amazing!) There, she was limited only by her imagination.

Oh, and by spiders. Well, most bugs. But especially spiders. Because they had so many spiky, hairy legs. And were just so…crawly. With a knack for showing up at awkward and unexpected moments. And in the wrong (ie: close) proximity.

One fine day, Agnes was playing with her puppy, Dribble (named by her normally placid father following a rather unfortunate episode involving a too small puppy bladder and Papa’s bedroom carpet), or ‘The-Right-Honorable-Poopsie-the-Third’ as he was in this story.

The two of them had just conquered ‘Mount Olympus’ (Agnes’ nanny had been reading to her from the Big Book of Greek Myths. That Hercules. Am I right? Yow.) and were in the process of much celebratory eating and drinking.

Okay, yes, in the myths, said eating and drinking included such things as wine. And wine poured over roasted meats. Definitely some wine-soaked bread. And cheese. Agnes was six. From that menu, her choices were extensively limited. Ummm…yeah.

Sooo…cheese. In this story, like Agnes, said cheese was in its infancy, before all the sweet stuff has been squeezed out and the whole lot aged. (ie: grown up). In modern terms, cheese from the farmer’s own kitchen. Or…cottage.

Agnes loved it. In fact, most mornings/afternoons/evenings, one could find Miss Agnes seated on her favourite low stool (or tuffet for those who don’t have access to Wikipedia) with a tasty little bowl of the stuff. And a spoon.

Many a triumph had been celebrated to its creamy, clarion call. Many a defeat drowned. Many an Adventure summarily interrupted. And always, the sweet rapture of that first delectable taste. The soft, melting curd. The salty tang of the whey.

Agnes had just seated herself prettily on her tuffet—heels and knees together. Head up, spine straight and shoulders back (This was the 1800’s after all) and received her little bowl of tasty, delicious-ness. Wasting no time, she tucked in.

And that’s when Dribble started to whine. Now, at first, Agnes assumed (not surprisingly), that what had pressed her little dog into vocalizing was that innate ‘doggins’ desire: food. In fact, Agnes' instinctive, effective, corrective spoon had already been raised.

Then Agnes realized Dribble’s sharp brown eyes were not—as per usual—trained on his mistress’ treat. Rather, they were watching something…beside her. Now I don’t know about you, but when someone is alarmed about something ‘beside’ me, I...react.

Agnes lowered her spoon and slowly turned to see what it was Dribble was so doggily concerned about. She sucked in a breath. A spider. Making its spiky, hairy-legged way across the tuffet in her direction. Panic was decidedly indicated.

Now you may picture an elegant departure from said tuffet, heels and knees together and spine straight. Myself, I’m going with a bowl shooting straight into the air, skirts and petticoats flying as a screaming little girl disappears somewhere spider-less.

Little Miss Muffet may have lived in the 1800’s, but I’m a modern 2021girl. And BTW, what’s with those skirts and petticoats? I think I’ll picture her in dusty jeans and slightly muddy boots and with a spunky, can-do attitude.

In fact, I think I’ll stick with my Daddy’s version of the story: Little Miss Muffet, Sat on a tuffet, Eating her curds and whey, Along came a spider, And sat down beside her...So she squashed it with her spoon.

Ha!

                 

'Word Counters' is a totally fun once-a-month challenge featuring a specific number of words. No more. No less.

This month’s number was: 40

Chosen by our intrepid leader, Karen of Baking In A Tornado

Ready to explore some more?

Hop over to the other amazing participants!


Karen of Baking in a Tornado

Mimi of Messymimis Meanderings

13 comments:

  1. Heeheehee! Well told, indeed.

    By the way, if i lived close enough, i'd come rescue the spiders out of your way, i happen to like them. Yes, i'm weird but i own it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Petticoats or not, I'm a bowl-thrown-up-in-the-air-and-running-away-for-my-life kinda girl.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Now I love this nursery rhyme even more. I've never been all that worried about spiders, although knowing Black Widows are common in this area has at times given me the heebee geebees! Dribble - such a perfect little puppy name, and hopefully one they would eventually outgrow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heehee! Yeah. Those names that are so appropriate early on that just don't quite stand the test of time. And maturity! ;)

      Delete
  4. I'm a weirdo, since I don't mind spiders. However, still remember your rattlesnake story in the barn. Shiver! Loved your version of this classic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still get shivers from that story.
      Stupid brothers...

      Delete
  5. I don't like spiders, but I don't like squashing them even more. Now, since vacuum cleaners didn't exist in the 1800's....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My vacuum has eaten its fair share of small, multi-legged creatures. Better it than me! ;)

      Delete
  6. Thank you for clearing up a mystery. I never knew that curds and whey (yuk) was cottage cheese. Now that I know, it's still yuk to me, I hate cottage cheese. And I still wonder why Miss Muffet didn't just brush that spider away with a quick flip of her hand or spoon.

    ReplyDelete

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