What’s it like being stuffed up a rooster’s arse?

Half Cock looks to a Tuscan witch for inspiration.

As I’ve hinted on a couple of occasions, I and Ms Scissorhands are putting together an English-language, participative, educational, children’s show featuring a 9-ft bisected cockerel, a generously-breasted pink princess and a Issey Miyake-themed street organ (OK, I still have to build it), currently with bookings for half a dozen schools in and around Barcelona this autumn, and looking for more in NE Spain and SW France.

The basic storyline is that of “Demi-coq”/”Medio pollito”/”Half cock”/etc, an ancient Mediterranean/Black Sea castration allegory in which the eponymous protagonist stuffs a wolf, a river and a mountain (or whatever) up his arse, as one does, en route to recovering the rest of him.

There are obvious poetic if not always demonstrably historical ties with dozens of other tales, from Abelard and Heloise to the Wizard of Oz via characters like Pietro Barliario, the Salerno alchemist. But one aspect which none of them explains very well, if at all, is what it’s like being the wolf, the river and the mountain. And since multi-polarity is manifestly A Good Thing, I’ve been looking around for inspiration

I found some in the story of Gostanza da Libbiano, the 16th century Tuscan witch. Under torture, she blames her crimes on her having been abducted and transported to infernal sabbaths by a devil called Polletto, whose name is cognate with the English “pullet”, although the English has been feminised. More some other time.

However, even at this early stage the wolf, the river and the mountain can relax–I doubt that we’ll put them through the Inquisition. Witch-burning is only fashionable these days at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, but I imagine that Gillian Duffy (who I’m told had 40 minutes with Gordon Brown to Obama’s 20) must also be feeling rather fortunate not to have been singed, let alone found dead in a field.

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