[Tidbits] The Ten Commandments

First… last week’s answer.

Cecil B. DeMille

The British Isles. December 26th. Saint Stephens’ Day. A bunch of
young men are running… visiting local homes. In their hands they
carry a dead Wren. They are the Wren Boys. They wear rags… pajama
jackets… strange headgear. They knock on a door. It opens and they
begin to sing the songs of the Wren.

They sing in English or in Irish. I digress for a slight moment.
Logic aside… does anyone out there know of a wren that sings in any
language other than the language of the birds? The Wren Boys ask for
a contribution from the householder. Some money s’il vous plait tweet
tweet. At the end of the day… they hold a party paid for by their
contributors. Ain’t that sweet… tweet tweet… poor little dead

France. Young men gallivant about. Is gallivanting anything like
gamboling, I wonder. They gallivant here. They gallivant there. They
gallivant into the countryside… beating the bushes. Oh… to kill a
Wren. The majesty and joy of it all. For he who kills a Wren first is
proclaimed to be King. He has that most wondrous task of hauling the
dead bird back into town on a pole. He proceeds through the streets
on the 31 of December followed by a band of flutes and drums.
Rat-a-tat-tat. Behind the band… they are carrying torches. Twelve
days later… the King dresses in a blue robe and goes to high mass.
The Wren is still around. It’s fastened to the top of a pole
decorated with olive leaves, oak, and mistletoe. Later… more
visitations… more money donated… and in the evening… a party…
a big hullabaloo… dancing and drinking with maidens fair and who
knows what else.

All this great bacchanalian crap was finally suppressed in 1830. No
more killing Wrens for fun and profit. And now… instead of fun…
suddenly killing Wrens is deemed to bring misfortune. Yes yes dear
souls. Kill a Wren… you’ll break a bone. Unless of course you’re a
child. Are teenagers considered children I wonder? Here’s the gist of
it all. If you kill a Wren… and if you’re a child… you will
immediately break out in pimples. Hmm. There’s sudden and great
clarifications here. All those zits… they’re not from oily skin.
Nay nay. We have an army of Wren killers out there. Watch out!

And now… for the segue of the year. This is the segue that leaves
all other segues behind in the dust. Alain Boucheron was his name. A
first class jeweler. His passion since childhood… working with rock
crystal. He perfected his techniques and was quite often inspired by
nature. I have an image to show you. It is a statuette of a rock
crystal–oh you’re not going to believe this–of a rock crystal Wren.
Yes I do. Made by Alain Boucheron. Worth about 15,000 French francs
in 1998. You wanna see?


And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark