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November 5, 2017 / hbrowne4

Blackberries

Blackberries

Halloween Competition

Frank is an amiable sort of a guy who has an insatiable appetite for blackberries, raw, in pies, crumbles and especially in jam.
One day whilst out picking this delectable, and free fruit, he was accosted by an elderly gentleman.
“Hey” the old guy said, “you can’t pick blackberries after Halloween, they’ll kill you” Frank was a bit bewildered by this statement
“why would they kill me?“ he asked “I just ate a bushel of them yesterday and they did me no harm”
“But yesterday was October and today is November” said the old man “don’t you know that on Halloween night the Irish Fairies, called Pookahs, piss on the blackberry bushes and poison them”
“That’s just bullshit” said Frank and went on picking the fruit.
“O.K. be it on your own head” the old man said, and, turning on his heel, he walked slowly away.
Later that evening Frank was in the pub with his friend Billy. Telling Billy of his encounter with the old man Frank asked for his opinion.
“Funny you should ask that” said Billy, “I was looking up Wikipedia about something else last night and I came across a piece related to your story”.
“What was that” asked Frank.
“According to them blackberries should not be picked after Old Michaelmas Day (11 October) as the devil has claimed them, having left a mark on the leaves by pissing on them. It might have some sense behind it because wetter and cooler weather often allows the fruit to become infected by various molds which give the fruit an unpleasant look and may be toxic”.
Frank thought about the implications of these legends, not least the discrepancy between the dates. If the Devil had micturated on the blackberries on Michaelmas day, what was the point of the fairies doing so on Halloween?
“This seems to me” he said “to be a put-up job against, firstly the devil and also the Pookahs. In the first place I don’t know if the devil can, actually, urinate. He spends most of his time, if we are to believe our early teaching, in a very hot place and I think that any water source in that area would evaporate long before any poor bastard stuck in the “place or state of punishment” could manage to slake his thirst. Simple physics suggests that if no water is taken on board, then none can be discharged at the other end.
Anyway, I would have thought that the Devil would be busy enough trying to draw sinners into his clutches without diverting his time to this childish practice. As far as I know there are lesser devils whose function is to do the tasks which are not worthy of the prime Devil’s attention. Maybe he could put them to doing the job”.
Billy interjected at this point
“The story that the devil claims the blackberries for himself, especially after having pissed on them seems to me not very likely”
Frank called for a round of drinks and after downing a deep draft of Guinness he offered
“As far as the Pookahs are concerned the story is even more unlikely. The Devil has the reputation for having a physical manifestation and however unlikely, it is possible for him to piss on the blackberries, on the other hand, the Pookahs are without any physical attributes. It is impossible to see just how they would piss on the berry bushes even supposing they wished to”.
Another regular in the pub, overhearing their conversation butted in
“In my opinion both the devil and the Pookahs are the victims of a cynical media campaign which is designed to blacken their already tarnished reputations. I know that both villains in this tale are not very nice individuals, but there is, to my knowledge, no record of any witness to either of them pissing either on blackberries or on anything else”.
“You know what I think?” said Billy “I think that this story has been deliberately hatched up by apple tart bakers and cider makers in order to divert potential customers of their wares away from picking the luscious fruits which are available free for the picking in all the lanes and byways both in Britain and Ireland”.
By this time our gallant heroes were fairly far gone in drink. Frank proposed that they form an Association for the Propagation of the Truth Concerning Blackberries. This proposal was carried unanimously, and the first order of business was decided, namely, first thing tomorrow they would publish an appeal to all fair minded individuals to continue to pick and use blackberries as long as they do not display signs of worms, moulds, infestations or other obvious damage either from natural or supernatural causes, with a rider, also carried unanimously that the berries be washed before consumption, just in case, like.
Frank then turned to the third member of their group and said
“It’s your turn to get the drinks”

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