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Puns Upon a Time
by Ilinka, Andrei and Calin Mihailescu

Twice upon a time there was a couple of twins. Their names were forgotten, but I discovered them scribbled on a blue stone in the river that runs backwards. Sylvie and Bernie, these were their names, something wrong with that? I think they were about ten years old.
     Bernie was a vagablond, Sylvie - a sister-twister who liked very much to turn her brother's mind around. She was happy all the time when she was not hapless. Sylvie had a guitar she did not play. Bernie played her guitar, so he did not have time to read his books. Instead, Sylvie was reading his books at night in her bed:

          1. under the thick cover sheet
          2. using a small light
          3. never setting the bed on fire

     One morning, Sylvie told Bernie:
     - I had a dream with cherries and whipped cream, would you like to borrow it?
     - To morrow it, you say? said Bernie, whose ears were so full of guitar sounds that there was little room left for words.
     - No, "borrow."
     - Ah, all right, I got it, I got it.
     - So? Do you want to borrow it?
     - And what can I do with it?
     - Eat it.
     - It it?
     - Bernie, you are becoming a deaf vagablond.
     - Very funny... no, seriously, what can I do with your dream? I can't eat it.
     - You can have my dream and eat it, too, you know.
     - No, I can't. If I do this you will lose your dream, and maybe your last night's sleep.
     - Com'on, have it. It's just cherries and whipped cream, is not a diamond.
     - OK, if you insist, give it to me, said Bernie who, after all, was a polite boy.
     Next day, Bernie woke up furious:
     - Your dream was the pits.
     - Why do you talk like that?
     - You ate all the cherries and the whipped cream. I had only the cherry pits.
     - I am sorry, said Sylvie.
     - Well, never mind, said Bernie. He picked the guitar and started playing:

               Never mind that your dream was pitful, pitiful,
               Never mind that your brother was silly, silliful

     And he kept on playing that song all day long, so Sylvie was so annoyed that she went to sleep without reading a word. She did not dream at all. Next morning, Bernie came to her and said:
     - I have a dream for you, sister-twister. Would you like a vagablond dream?
     - And what would that be? Sylvie asked.
     - Wa' wou' dat bee? It would be my gift to you: I don't lend you my dream, as you did. I give it to you.
     - Tell me the dream, said Sylvie, who by now was very curious to see what Bernie's dream was about. Trust me, I know how to dream.
     - In my dream there is a mirror. I look in it an can read magic books - and I looked back many times, but there was no such book in the room. And from those books I learned great things. But take care, sister-twister, the words in the mirror are magic, too. They are called puns, and they are puny. And you can never be too sure about what puns mean, but you can lose them easily.
     - Have you finished? said Sylvie with a yawn right in the middle of her face.
     - Yup, take the dream.
     Next morning, Sylvie knocked at Bernie's door very early and told him how happy she was with the gift from her twin brother.
     - What have you read in the mirror? Bernie asked.
     - Every-funny-punning-thing.
     - Like what?
     - I went to the mirror - it was a bit foggy, so I wiped it with my sleeve - and started reading. There were some Gothic letters there, and the mirror was sooo deep. The letters seemed to have tails, like the comets. One pun read: "Hurri-sugar-hurri-cane it is never on the vane." Then "Drag the dragon out of Prague riding backwards on the snag." And, "Dreams come in streams, none limps like the imps." "They flow-flow: ow, ow, ow!" And, "You can't take the gold out of the vagablonde, or the mystery out of sister-twistery."
     And many more things did Sylvie remember from the gift-dream, I would need a whole book (or mirror) to tell them all. In any case, she could hear voices coming from the dreamland and whispering to her all sorts of nice words (like "pun-pun-pun is on the run"). She would always play with words, and she knew that, this way, she would make many more friends than before.
     Bernie liked the story so much that he began to play the guitar. And for the first time in her life, Sylvie joined him singing:

                    Puns are fizzy, aren't cheesy,
                    Puns are fizzy, aren't cheesy,
                    Puns are fizzy, aren't cheesy,
                    Puns are fizzy, and so are we.


Theories of Fictionality in Contemporary Criticism (Theory/Culture)



Email: cmihails@julian.uwo.ca

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