Of all the stories I told in school, my least favourite from the RE syllabus of the time, concerned King Herod’s frantic attempt to get rid of the Baby Jesus. In a blind and jealous rage he orders the slaying of all male children of two years old and under: ‘The Slaughter of the Innocents’….an horrific event affecting mothers, fathers, siblings and extended families. That was a long time ago and yet, as I write this, I am so aware of the pain and suffering perpetrated against innocent people around the world.
At the beginning of the aforementioned story the Angel tells Joseph to take Mary and the Baby and fly into Egypt. This was illustrated in two different ways by two of my young, slightly confused innocents. In the first picture, Mary, Joseph and Baby are depicted flying through the air in a state of the art jumbo jet – well, what other way is there to travel? In the second picture, Mary, Joseph and Baby are pictured travelling by donkey through the desert. At first glance this seemed an accurate and colourful illustration of the event. On closer inspection I noticed a tiny round black mark on Joseph’s shoulder. Before I had the opportunity to ask the obvious question, the child offered the following explanation: ‘Please Miss, that’s the fly….’
‘Suffer little children’…
ps. Further to our seasonal film titles:
‘Three Wise Men and a Baby’
‘The Mince-Spy who Loved Me’