Tristan Hazell lives and works in the shadow of the Westway on Portobello Road. What follows is a collection of observations, reviews, social comment, fiction, poetry, art criticism and more. Much of it is fiction and some of it will offend someone somewhere, I hope.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Brown rice. A vegetarian fairy tale.

Jill lived with her mum on the edge of the village. Jill was 13 and had a faint memory of a father who disappeared years before leaving Jill and her mum with a little cottage and a field of pigs.

Jill's mum tried to make a living as a pig farmer but it was difficult, most of the other villagers were vegetarians and didn't like pork and whenever Jill's mum tried growing vegetables in the field the pigs ate them. Times were hard.

One day Jill's mum gave her the last of their money and asked her to go to the market to buy vegetables so that they could invite some neighbours round for supper.

On her way to the market Jill met a man leading a cow. The man with the cow asked Jill where she was going and when she informed him of her errand he said: 'Look no further young lady, I have just the thing for you.'

Come off it said Jill. If you think I am going to buy a few beans from you you are mistaken! The man with the cow explained that he had just traded his last few magic beans for the cow with a young lad called Jack but that he had the answer to all her problems.

He pulled from a sack a cage, in the cage was a small brown mouse.

I could spend an age describing the haggling that took place but you've heard it all before… Jill walked home with the mouse who she decided to name Regret.

Jill's mum was, of course, mightily pissed off and sent the girl to bed without supper… No hardship to Jill who was fed up with her daily intake of pork products.

The following morning Jill rose early and went down to her chores. she was surprised to find that all the pig scraps lying around the kitchen had been cleared up and that there was a pile of brown rice on the table. Jill scooped the rice into a bowl before going out to feed the pigs. The mouse slept in his cage in the corner.

When Jills mum arose Jill showed her the rice and declared that there was enough for a proper banquet for all their vegetarian friends.

The banquet of course was a success, a mound of steaming brown rice infused with herbs from the hedgerows and vegetables borrowed from neighbouring gardens had all of the guests singing its praises. The brown rice had a flavour previously unknown to them. It was magnificent. It was heaven.

By the end of the evening each of the guests has put in an order for brown rice which Jill's mum accepted while secretly wondering where it was going to come from. She need not have worried for the following morning there was a mound of brown rice waiting on the table.

Over the following weeks Jill and her mum discovered that the more pork they left in the kitchen the more brown rice appeared on the table the following day.

They made a lot of money from selling that brown rice to the village vegetarians and lived happily ever after apart from one small glitch when the inspector from the ministry of food tested the rice and declared it 98 percent pork and 2 percent mouse spit but by then it was too late, the village rabbi had already koshered it as fit for vegetarians.

And the mouse… Jill changed it's name from Regret to Regretta who lived long, fondly watching over her burgeoning family shitting on the kitchen table as it grew fat on pork products.




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