Wolves And Fruit

In the comments on the piece entitled It Pays To Increase Your Word Power, reader Fitzmaurice Trenery makes mention of fruiterer’s adhesive. This reminded me of a little-known story that is told about Tiny Enid, in which the plucky club-footed tot devised a method of placating wolves through the agency of fruit-based gas sprays. Yes, yes, I know that a gas spray is a different order of thing to a fruiterer’s adhesive, but given that most fruiterer’s gums and pastes are made from mashed bananas and the pulp of tangerines, and that Tiny Enid’s gas spray was formed, at least in part, by a gas derived from the pulp of bananas and mashed tangerines, I think I am on pretty safe ground in forging the link.

The weird woods of Woohoodiwoodiwoo, near where Tiny Enid spent some time in a boarding house, were infested with packs of fierce and dangerous wolves, packs which had savaged any number of innocent woods-hiking types who blundered foolishly into the weird woods of a weekend. The heroic infant was not herself a hiking enthusiast, but she had a curious sentimental affection for hikers, with their thick woolly socks and social ineptitude. Alarmed by reports of wolf attacks, she took it into her head to do something about them. The attacks, that is, not the reports of the attacks. She sighed and left it to someone else to take on the task of correcting the slapdash grammar, misspellings, and vile prose in which the reports written by the cub reporter on The Daily Wolf Attacks In The Woods Clarion were couched.

Tiny Enid’s first impulse was to slaughter the wolves, one by one, in hand-to-paw combat, or with pebbles and a catapult, or with her trusty blunderbuss. She had got as far as driving towards the weird woods in her souped-up jalopy, flying a banner emblazoned with the words “Death To The Wolves In The Woods!” daubed in blood, when she had to brake sharply and slew off bumpety-bumpety-bump into a field to answer an urgent message on her metal tapping machine. Tiny Enid was an independent sort of girl, but she had a mysterious mentor whose advice she often took. It was this mentor who suggested to her that rather than killing the wolf population she instead seek a method of placating them. “I have no particular love for wolves,” came the tapped-out message, “But we must be ever mindful of biodiversity, Tiny Enid. The earth can support both wolves and hikers, just as it supports both fruit flies and fruit.” The diminutive adventuress was not wholly convinced by this analogy, but on this occasion she deferred to her mysterious mentor, possibly because she had been reading up on the Gaia theories of James Lovelock, drawn to them by her interest in the primordial and chthonic deities of the Ancient Greek pantheon. Never forget that Tiny Enid was a girl of broad education, even if the only book she ever learned by heart was Atlas Shrugged by the postage stamp collector Ayn Rand.

Faulty as the fruit and fruit fly analogy may have been, it obviously set Tiny Enid to thinking how fruit might help her placate the wolves of the weird woods. She turned her jalopy round and sped back to town to consult some encyclopaedias in the library. Unfortunately, thick-headed Andy Burnham had got there before her, and the reference section had been turned into a chill-out zone for feral teenagers. There was not an encyclopaedia to be seen, just games consoles and reconstituted patties of meat in buns. Tiny Enid felled a handful of youths with pebbles fired from her catapult before heading off to the laboratory of her pal Professor Fang, a man who knew a thing or two about fruit and wolves, as he knew about everything else in the universe, everything, that is, except for hiking and thick woolly socks, for he was an indoors type.

“I want two things from you, Professor Fang,” announced Tiny Enid in her shrill shouty way, “First, a method of placating wolves with fruit, and second, a way of reprogramming the spongiform grey blob that passes for the brain of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Due to his thick-headed ways I have had to use my stock of pebbles just now, and will have to waste precious time collecting further catapult ammo. Who knows how many hikers will be torn apart by wolves in the weird woods of Woohoodiwoodiwoo while I am scrabbling around at the allotments replenishing my pebble supply?”

“Give me fifteen minutes,” replied Professor Fang.

So it was that, in the time it would take to read a chapter of Atlas Shrugged, the madcap boffin devised both the spray of banana pulp and mashed tangerine-based gas with which Tiny Enid was able to placate the wolves, and a similar gas, derived from tomatoes and conference pears which, when injected into Andy Burnham’s head through his ears, would allow his brainpans to work properly.

History – and hikers – tell us that Tiny Enid succeeded in becalming the wolves and making them less savage. After the heroic club-footed infant had clumped from one end of the weird woods to the other spraying her gas, not a single hiker was ever attacked again. The Daily Wolf Attacks In The Woods Clarion, having no news to report, was forced to close down, and its cub reporter became a bitter enemy of Tiny Enid, feeding spurious stories about her to The Independent On Sunday and other downmarket rags. Not that the tiny one cared, for she was forever after the champion of beardy men and batty women with maps in protective cellophane pochettes on lanyards, safe at last to tramp through the weird woods of Woohoodiwoodiwoo.

As for the terrible tale of Andy Burnham’s brain, that is unsuitable for family reading, and will have to wait for another, more ghastly, time.

8 thoughts on “Wolves And Fruit

  1. Frank,

    Why is it that we only read of Tiny Enid as a child? I assume that she did not suffer from a genetic abnormality that preventer her from reaching adolescence and then maturity, so unless she was cut down in her prime (e.g. by a pox) then one must conclude that the infant Tiny Enid eventually became a not so tiny woman, who would not doubt continue her acts of pluck and heroism.

    But there lies the mystery – all of the tales of Tiny Enid refer to her as a child. She never seems to grow up, and there’s no plausible explaination for lack of an adult narrative.

    Did she, for example, tire of doing good deeds and retire to a pig-farm in a nameless country with an un-memorable flag? Was she cut down in a civil war? Lost at sea? Buried by an avalanche? Driven mad by piblokto, or just fall from fashion as society became obsessed with new and not so tiny stars of reality TV.

    Or is it that there never was a Tiny Enid – perhaps she is a mythical creation, intended to embolden children by her splendid example.

    Do tell.

  2. Mr Wellington asks “Why is it that we only read of Tiny Enid as a child?” The answer is very simple. I am covering the adventures of the plucky tot in chronological order, that’s why. She was a very busy girl, there is a mass of material, and – indefatigable though I may be – there is only so much I can get done.

  3. It is not normal for children to be given dimuitive titles such as “Tiny” unless they are particularly small for their age. My own two year old son is tiny compared to the size I expect he will grow to when his blood is full of adolescent hormones, and yet it has not once occurred to me that we should refer to him as “Tiny Ignat”, especially as he is a normal weight and height for his age.

    And how was Tiny Enid known when she reached her maturity? Was she still short of stature? Or perhaps she remained tiny in some other unspecified way.

  4. Mr Wellington : The point about a chronological narrative is that developments and revelations occur at the appropriate stage. I am sure even Tiny Ignat would understand that.

  5. I am no expert, but I prefer the latter of Mr Wellington’s suppositions – that Tiny Enid is a sort of Peter Pan for the plucky-young-lasses set. The question, ‘What will she become when she grows up?’ would then remain a matter for speculation and conjecture – something for tinies to contemplate around the campfire when they have tired of ghost stories, whittling and tying knots…

  6. Alas, tiny Ignat is not permitted to venture into woods least he be assaulted by fanged serpents. Unfortunately he has yet to experience a camp-fire as such things have been ruled unsafe by our local community-hub safety inspector. I’m told that such things may one day be simulated in complete safety, but for now Ignat must not know these pleasures.

    He is permitted one thing – every night an instructive reading from Mr. Key’s excellent prose. Last night’s reading was an instructive chapter from the life of the tiny adventuress in which she gives an interlocutor named Lancelot advice on the capture of ostriches:


    It occurred to me some time after my infant lay fast asleep, that this Enid seems to be more worldly wise. She smokes a cigarillo (hardly the habit of a tiny infant). Am I correct detecting a note of world-wearyness or was this my imagination?

  7. Tiny Enid not only smokes cigarillos but drives an old jalopy and, somewhere in the annals as I recall, pilots a helicopter. She was a very resourceful youngster. I do not think so venturesome a tot, dedicated as she is to righting wrongs, could be called world-weary.

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