Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Squirrel Nutkin and the Merkans

I grew up with Beatrix Potter stories and Squirrel Nutkin was a favourite. This morning I read the story to a bunch of children who are more inclined to know the cheats for getting a nuclear bomb on Medal of Honour (PS2 game - nah, I dunno either!).
"That's stupid," said one observant war monger " squirrels are grey, not ginger."
"Red squirrels used to be the only kind of squirrels in this country" I said.
"What happened?"
"War" I replied.
This got their interest and I went on to explain that the Merkan grey squirrels (you can tell they are Merkans - they have a stars and stripes tattoo just at the base of the tail), originating in the Carolina's, learnt to sail, and once on our shores, began a steady takeover, pushing our own tufty-eared darlings out towards Wales and Scotland.

"Why were we beaten?" they asked.

"The Merkans had tricks" I said "they spied on us and learnt wily ways. They liked the life in the towns, and there was always a MacDonald's just around the corner.

"What happened to the ginger ones?" they asked.
"Nearly wiped out." I said "Germ warfare. The Merkans used squirrel pox and drove out the remaining survivors."
"Why didn't we fight back?" they asked, unable to believe that our squirrels would not put up a fight.
"It was useless" I said sadly "The Merkans had advanced technology, and all we had were a few pine cones."

(sometimes I cannot understand why I am not teaching natural history)


Debi said...

"Red squirrels used to be the only kind squirrels in this country" I said.

What a lovely typo! Those nasty grey squirrels. So unkind.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Good teaching, Minx!

Noticed a funny thing about our grey squirrels - imported by dear old Cecil John R - they have very red feet. Perhaps not all the reds were wiped out, perhaps there are still some sneaky genes lurking about... Maybe the reds will stage a comeback!

The Moon Topples said...

Maybe your squirrels are simply getting older...

As you might expect, the squirrels here tell a much different story of a virgin land virtually untouched by squirrels before they arrived on your shores.

Actually, even the gray ones are getting rarer in Chicago. We have black ones now, and they are more than a little creepy.

p.s. Lightsabers?!?

Saaleha said...

If you were teaching Natural History, my son might discover that there really is something to this whole school gig after all. Wanna come on down South?

Unknown said...

Saaleha, I hardly fit into our own education system. I wouldn't stand much of a chance in yours.

Ah, so, MT, Merkan squirrels are also consummate liars. Before the Merkan's invaded, the red squirrels had their own trees, their own land, their own factories and chain stores. And they are not old - they are just slowed by too much daytime tv and microwave meals.

pee ess - light sabers? Yes, of course - bzzt, bzzt. How else do you think you would have defeated the squirrels of blighty?

Anonymous said...

You could have given it a more home grown political flavour with eveil grey Blairites driving out the nice reds... or something.... oh ok its a bollocks idea.

Anonymous said...

Squirrel Nutkin was one of my favourites too, along with a lot of other Beatrix Potters. How he teased the owl with his capering about singing "A hill full, a hole full, you cannot catch a bowl full" etc, while all the other creepy little squirrels bought the owl nuts and other tributes. Mind you, SN got his tail cut off at the end-- must be a life-lesson in there somewhere.

Unknown said...

Don't be silly, Mutley. Grey squirrels are American - star spangled-dunkin donut- bean eating Merkans.It don't fit - back to the dog house.

Maxine, I liked the little rafts they used to get to the island - but Nutkin was a bit of a tit.

MH said...

I saw a red squirrel last year, tiny, and beautiful. I didn't get tempted to stamp on it.

Anonymous said...

Theres an enormous amount of red ones in Germany. lets hope our grey merkan friends don't make it there.

Please don't say anything frightening....

Unknown said...

Mutley, stop shaking. Witches like dogs almost as much as cats and I can't remember the last time I used a pointy boot on a hound.

Matthew, well done, such restraint.

Roberta said...

This actually made me laugh outloud! Love the pictures and can hear you telling the story!

Somewhere in Ohio, I forget where, but it's on this side of the river, is a town with Coal Black Squirrels. I've seen 'em! They are amazing!

I wonder if they are planning a coup?

John said...

We're just trying to get you back for sending us Christopher Hitchens. A mild tit for a huge twat...

Unknown said...

I wonder where Hitchen's stores his nuts - no don't answer. Maybe we should be sending more of our rejects over the lake on little rafts!

Black squirrels have taken over a town called Hobbs, Roberta. They are rather beautiful but please keep them over there.

pundy said...

We still have red squirrels round here - but the grey ones are moving north so I don't know how long that will last.

Very amusing post Minx.

Unknown said...

Rebuild Hadrian's wall, Pundy, go on, quick.

Meloney Lemon said...

I meant to say yesterday - this is hilarious. Great family entertainment and clever funny pics.

I have seen mixed race squirrels - a sort of orangey grey....

Also, witnessed squirrel murder in Greenwich park a few weeks ago. Greyhound let off leash - ripped s apart. Horrified bystanders ripped dog owner apart verbally. why I am mentioning this, I have no idea.

Unknown said...

Oh Goddess, how awful - I fall apart at roadkill.

Marie said...

I remember the red squirrels, but it's true I only see grey ones now.

Love the pictures!

Bruce Whou / P. Squirrel said...

very funny.
- by the way - mexican wrestling squirrels are real

dinner jackets said...

very funny! I love those squirrel fighting like star wars.