The call for lessons in the facts of life courtesy of a well-known character in fiction sent many of you running to children’s stories for inspiration.
While Jayne Osborn recruited Dr Seuss — ‘Doing sex is good fun, and it’s easy to do./ Let me demonstrate, using Thing One and Thing Two…’ — Ted Harrison imagined know-all Owl’s attempt to enlighten his fellow inhabitants of Hundred Acre Wood: “‘The procrastination of the species is achieved through sectional hypocaust between contenting members….” Pooh’s attention began to wander. He started to think of lunch, and then tea and of honey sandwiches at bed-time and began dreaming of being sticky and happy.’
Dickens characters were also a popular choice in an entry that was, on the whole, skilfully and sensitively done. The prizewinners below receive £25 each.
Chris O’Carroll (Molesworth)
As any fule kno, gurls are utterly wet and weedy and no boy in his rite mind wish to speke or pla with them. This is why they are kept in there own skools with names lik gingham hall, where they will not hav to witness the savige antiks of boys and we will not be driven madd by there silvery giggles.
But when our skooling is finished and st custards spew us forth into the wurld, we will be expected lik other generashuns befor us to sukum to marriage and even sektual interkorse, which sound revolting beyond imajinashun, tho my grate frend Peason hav mags with nakid piktures that sa it is kwite the wheeze. When one, ahem, body part enlarj itself and demand attenshun, they sa a gurl can give even more satisfakshun than your own praktissed hand. But love lede to emoshunal kaos and large gins.
Frank McDonald (Dumbledore)
The care of wands, my dear boys, and their proper use is my theme today. As headmaster of Hogwarts it is my duty to ensure that magic is used responsibly. It has been wisely observed that your wand has a mind of its own, but of course you are responsible for its proper control. Naturally your wand will react agreeably when you stroke it, even producing for you an impressive explosion of power, not unlike the gush of a fountain. Such is magic. You will also find that mere thoughts can set your wand into action; without your handling it at all it will rise up, ready for some magical feat. But the magic in your wands is best seen when others are involved and I will now take you through the elements of the Science of Insertion, with regard to when and where this art is appropriate.
W.J. Webster (Mr Micawber)
My boy, it is indeed your mother who has brought forth our blessed offspring. But as a wife she is not alone as the source of the miracle of life — in short, a husband is also requisite. So it is my glad duty now to prepare you for the role that manhood will in time bestow upon you. Unlike your sister, as you are doubtless aware, you are endowed with a nether appendage for the purposes of aquatic relief. As you approach man’s estate that appendage will rise to perform a higher function. In short, it will become a fount of fertility. So when you take a wife and clasp her in connubial embrace it will pour forth unto her that vital stream which mingled with her own propensities will create, DV, a newly embodied soul. In simple terms, young Micawber, that is the answer to your question.
Joe Houlihan (Mrs Malaprop)
Listen carefully, child, for this is very impotent. You have reached an age at which it is approximate that you acquire a serviceable understanding of the human reproductive cistern. When you sit constipating the birds and the bees, do you ever wonder whence they came, how they were created? Permit me to complain. To make a baby, whether a bird, a bee or a splendid homo sapling like yourself, first is needed a mother and a father. The mother produces an egg in her aviary, while the father makes millions of little tadpoles called spume in his vestibules. The father then allows the spume to become acquainted with the egg by means of saxophone intercross (we’ll say no more about that). The spume infantilises the egg in the Filipino tube. After nine months congestion the mother has contraptions and — lo and behold — we see the miracle of curation.
Brian Murdoch (Humpty Dumpty)
‘Excuse me,’ said Alice. ‘Can you tell me the facts of life?’
Humpty Dumpty swallowed hard. ‘What? Evolution?’
‘No,’ replied Alice. ‘Old Mr Darwin explained that. It’s about lady finches selecting the fittest mate with a big — I think he said beak. Because of their nuts. My governess said I was too young for the other facts.’
‘Well, you’re a Victorian girl,’ said Humpty Dumpty. ‘You won’t need them till you get married. It’s embarrassing, and involves nakedness.’
‘Like when nice Mr Dodgson takes my photograph?’ asked Alice. ‘Does he know these facts of life?’
‘People will be discussing that one for a good few years,’ replied Humpty Dumpty. ‘OK, let’s say that one day you meet a nice boy…’
‘What about a nice girl? Or both?’ interrupted Alice.
‘Then you could self-identify as non-binary.’
‘What does that mean?’
‘Whatever you choose it to mean. There’s glory for you.’
Ann Alexander (Mr Podsnap)
Sir. Your Esteemed Father, with the natural fastidiousness of a True Born Englishman, has requested that I appraise you of Certain Facts, now that you have achieved manhood, with the blessings of matrimony to come.
If (for the sake of modesty, let us call the male appendage The Good Ship Standfast — which, we can assume, bears the natural qualities of the Captain) you should be encouraged by it in the manner of a Cargo Ship to approach a port of the female persuasion, you should be circumspect.
But, should you receive an unequivocal acceptance of your firm entreaty to enter said Port, you may proceed forward and unload your cargo, keeping ejaculations of the vulgar sort to a minimum, and without committing by word or deed any action which might bring a blush to the cheek of a Young Person.
Your next challenge is to supply an imaginary testimonial for a high-profile figure, living or dead, that is superficially positive but contains hidden warnings to a potential employer. Please email entries of up to 150 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on 2 May.