Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Bungle in the Jungle

Kateverse folksong set in some unspecified region of Melandra. Unfortunately, we learn next to nothing about the local cultures/ civilizations/ inspirations hereby, since neither the Northern narrator nor his Southron companion are exactly all about the culture.

The Bungle in the Jungle

Juba and me, in old Melandree,
We went down by the Wetwood, two rich boys to be.
The Dons only paid us in shavepence and stripes,
And so we jumped ship when our planning was ripened, for
Juba and me, in old Melandree –
A bungle in the jungle like you never did see!

Juba once heard, off a blackbird,
Of vine-strangled cities a promising word,
With cobbles of onyx and tin baths of gold,
And nothing but fancies our hands to withhold from 'em –
He said she said, Thieves should be sped
By rotten bad spirits that drove 'em till dead!

Juba and I said All my eye!
We'd pluck ourselves plenty, or else we'd know why.
He said Man it's dirty, I said Man it's hot,
The men said Bog off, till we paid one a lot to guide
Juba and me, through deep Melandree –
A bungle in the jungle like you never did see!

Thicket and mire hedged our desire.
The food that we'd bought set our arseholes on fire.
The guide said That's funny, but Juba said No,
And I fell down stairs as I amplified, Go away –
I hit my nut on a beam, but
We'd found out the ruins of Idunnowot!

What did we find? Treasure so fine?
Only ten buttloads of boiled plantain wine.
We drank it for sorrow, then drank it for mirth,
Then thought we'd stroll home o'er the pretty green earth (which sucked).
All of us three, up Shitty Tree -
We stumbled through the swamplands like you never did see!

Juba and me, in old Melandree,
We came back from the Wetwood, poor beggars were we.
We lost blades and britches, the guide lost our pence,
And Juba complains that we still smell intensely bad:
Misery me, in old Melandree –
A bungle in the jungle like you never did see!

The big Southron tough guy whinging incessantly about dirt and bad smells abroad is a well-established trope in my Europeanly bath-sceptical North. The proverbial 'Shitty Tree' is idiomatically Shit Creek, and originally a reference to the impaling stake.

There is no mass slave trade in known areas of the Kateverse; foreign attitudes towards Melandra and Melandrans don't map well onto those displayed towards sub-Saharan Africa and its peoples in our world; and this song's general spirit of, "Let's not go there, it is a silly place!" is wholly typical of its Morgander sources.

No comments: