Wednesday, April 17, 2024
HomeCulture WarThe Land of Topsy Turvy: A fairy tale for adults

The Land of Topsy Turvy: A fairy tale for adults


ARE you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time in a land very much like this one, there lived many millions of people. They were different colours, sizes and ages. They did different jobs. They had families and friends. There were Mummies and Daddies. They would go to places of work, places to eat and they would go to different lands on holidays.

The children in this land could go outside in the fresh air to play. They went to school and learned all sorts of things. They learned about the past. They learned how to read and explore, to question and they learned how to get along.

When people became ill or had an accident, they could go to a special person called a Doctor who would try to make them better. If the Doctor couldn’t make them better they went to a big building called a Hospital where lots of people would make them better.

One day a man who wanted to be king came to the land. The man was fat and jolly, he had a cheeky grin and promised that things would be marvellous if he was made king. So the people made him their king. He brought with him lots of special friends called Advisers to help him make things better.

Things stayed much as usual for the people in Topsy Turvy Land for a while, but one day in winter old people began to get sick. Old people usually became sick in the winter but this time the Jolly Fat King and his friends told the people that things were different, that this was a very, very bad disease that would kill everyone in Topsy Turvy Land if they didn’t do exactly what the Jolly Fat King said. The people were very frightened, more scared than if a giant hungry bear had come into their house to eat them.

The Jolly Fat King and his friends told new stories of terror every week and the people did strange things. They stayed locked up in their homes because they believed the air was bad. They put bits of cloth or paper over their noses and mouths. They did not smile any more. They didn’t see their friends any more.

The Jolly Fat King said the old people must be locked away in rooms by themselves for a long time because this was the kind thing to do.

The Jolly Fat King said that sick people must not visit the Doctor or go to Hospital because they must be protected from the people and the sickness.

The Jolly Fat King said Children were going to kill Granny and must be stopped from playing and going to school. The Jolly Fat King said Children had to sit at home all day, and learn in their rooms.

The Jolly Fat King said that everyone must always be tested for the sickness and that being well was no excuse, everyone was sick, but they just didn’t know it. They must allow the Jolly Fat King and his friends know where they were every single moment of the day. This way the Jolly Fat King and his friends could tell them they were sick and make them stay at home again.

Then one day the Jolly Fat King and his friends said they had found a magical potion that would make well all the people who didn’t know they were sick. Once all the Grannies and Grandads had the magic potion, then everyone could go back to being happy. So, the Grannies and Grandads took the magic potion. But the Jolly Fat King said the nasty sickness wasn’t going away so lots more people had to have the magic potion, but the people didn’t get better, and some of them became very poorly indeed after having two doses of the Jolly Fat King’s magic potion. The Jolly Fat King proclaimed that he would let the people be happy again if their children took the magic potion. The people did that. Some of the Children developed even bigger hearts than they already had, so they couldn’t play sports any more.

Then the Jolly Fat King said the reason that the people were still sick was because of the naughty people who weren’t taking the magic potion. The bad people must be punished, they had to stay at home, they weren’t allowed to go to the places the good people were. Eventually the Jolly Fat King decreed that the bad people must be sent away.

Over the years the people took more and more of the magic potion, but they still died. There were no accidents, and the nasty illnesses that used to kill people no longer existed.

The Winters were very cold in Topsy Turvy Land as the Windmills the Jolly Fat King said would keep everybody warm and safe were naughty, they wouldn’t turn. The Jolly Fat King told the people that coal, oil and wood burning was bad, it was dark magic, and the people mustn’t use it. Instead, they would be kept warm by the love of the Jolly Fat King and the Advisers.

Because nobody worked in Topsy Turvy Land, there was no food. The people of Topsy Turvy Land became thin, they were cold, they became sick and there was no one to make them better.

And the Jolly Fat King and his friends the Advisers? Well, they were special. They had friends in other lands that weren’t Topsy Turvy, and they went to live there.

And the people accepted it.

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Tracy Jones
Tracy Jones
Tracy Jones is a senior consultant to the hospitality industry.

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