Colin Rowan has submitted our first ever Story of the Month. Colin has a wonderful way with traditional tales, his delivery making them meaningful and bawdy at the same time. Here’s one his short ones…
The Pregnant Priest
Ivan Ivanovich was a priest in Russia. He was fat, greedy, and usually red in the face from drink. One day he was suffering from bad stomach pains and so he sent his servant off to get some medicine from the local doctor. Along the road into town the servant trudged until finally reaching the doctor’s house, but when he explained what his master wanted, the doctor said that he wouldn’t prescribe anything until he had a sample of the priest’s urine.
So it was back down the road for the servant, back to the priest’s house, back to explain what was required. The priest took the flask that the doctor had provided and soon brought it back – full to the brim.
Once more the servant set off down that road. But when he had covered about half the distance, he tripped on a rock in the middle of the road and, as he fell forward, all the contents of the beaker was spilt on the dusty road.
Well, what was he to do? He couldn’t go back to his priest – he would be severely beaten. But at that moment he noticed a nearby field of cows and, having been told so often that patience was a virtue, had sat down in the field and waited. After a short time he was rewarded – sweeeesch – a huge stream emerged from a nearby cow and he was up, flask under the cow and soon filled to the top.
When the doctor received the sample, and carried out his tests, he was astounded. There was no doubt about it – the priest was soon going to give birth to a calf.
Well, when the servant got back and explained to the priest what he’d been told, the priest was shocked (although perhaps not quite as shocked as you might have imagined). He quickly decided that the shame would be too much to bear and so he set off that very night – to travel out of the district until the calf was born. He walked and walked and walked and finally came to a farmhouse on the very edge of the parish. There he used his badge of office to gain admittance and secure the best bed in the house – the one in the kitchen next to the stove. Ivan the priest was so tired after his travels that he undressed, climbed into the cot and went straight to sleep.
Now, it just so happened that one of the farmer’s cows gave birth in the night and, it being a very cold night, the farmer didn’t want to leave the newborn calf in the shed. So he brought it, with some straw, into the kitchen and put it by the stove – next to the priest’s bed. When the priest woke, he looked down, saw the calf and exclaimed – “My God! I’ve must have been so tired that I gave birth in the night and didn’t even notice. Well, it’s all over – I can travel back home with my child and pretend I’ve adopted him.”
And, with that, he got dressed, put the calf under his arm, and set off for home. Of course, when the farmer discovered that the priest had stolen his calf, he was straight off to the local magistrate. Before long, the farmer and the magistrate had caught up with the priest on the road and the arguments began. Not knowing which story to believe, the magistrate decided that a trial would be needed and so they all trooped back to the farm.
Once there, the magistrate instructed the priest to stand on one side of the farmyard whilst the cow was brought to the other. The magistrate held the calf in between them and decreed that, when he released it, whoever it went to would be judged to be the parent. The calf was released. The priest made cooing noises, “Here little calf – come to Daddy”
The cow, meanwhile, just said, “Mooooooooooooo.”
And, of course, the calf went straight to its mother and started to suckle.
And so, the priest returned to his village. Soon the story of the pregnant priest spread across the whole district until it was known by everyone. And the sad thing was, not only was the priest forever in disgrace, he had also lost his only child!