21 comments on “An unexpected punishment. 1938.

  1. ARGH! One of my bad nightmares since reading Swiss Family Robinson! I think I’m more horrified by the idea that he was still alive inside that snake than at the thought of him being killed in the first place. Agony, agony, agony….I have to go pull weeds now to get that image out of my head 😦

    After this a post on fairies would be nice 😉

      • I missed that one. Once I read it though I did a bit of sleuthing and discovered that although a sperm whale can swallow a giant squid whole, the squid squishes easily so the likelihood of such a whale swallowing anything with a wide skeleton such as a man is slim. Swallowing a man alive is pretty much impossible. Like getting a chicken bone stuck crosswise going down your throat.

        I do love the added detail of bleaching though 😀

        • And the two weeks of lunacy as well. It is those kinds of details that make you want to believe the story no matter how silly it seems. I want him to have popped out of the insides of the whale after hours and hours but my brain just can’t twist around it!

          • You know the silly thing my brain comes up with? Most legends have a tiny germ of truth in them and the story of Jonah has been around for over 2000 years? So my brain thinks…what if there is some truth to it?
            -slaps self-

          • I think it is all about different way of interpreting that grain. A man falls in the water where there was a whale, a witness is sure he saw the man get eaten yet he amazingly turns up later, alive! What else could have happened but he was eaten and survived!

            The problem with being eaten and survivng is that most creatures don’t just open their mouths and gulp things down whole, they do something to subdue the dinner first. Squish, chew, poison… no matter what, you don’t usually turn up in the wrong side of somebodies tummy without considerable damage first!

            I remember the story of a dwarf bouncing off a trampoline into the open mouth of a circus hippopotamus with an automatic swallowing reflex. He was alive when he went in, but not for long. That story was widely reported around the mid 90’s but was a hoax. People so want things like that to be true!

          • -helpless laughter- wait, wait I’m still gasping over the dwarf and the hippo. Oh god I suppose that was very incorrect of me.

            I agree with your logic completely, most especially about the ‘people so want things like that to be true’. I think we all have the capacity to maintain two, contradictory thought processes at the same time and it all seems to hinge around our core belief in cause and effect. We have a need to connect the dots so to speak, even when there is no real connection between them and most especially when the effect coincides with something we want or fear.

            I think part of the reason for that is that our logic is only a thin veneer plastered over our intuitions and hunches. Homo sapiens is not what it thinks it is 😀

          • This blog is mainly about maintaining two contradictory thought processes at the same time! Generally the articles I love the most are the ones we have to use a bit of suspension of disbelief to enjoy 🙂

            The way I hope everybody views the stories I find is with both minds at the same time, enjoying the thought of a world where such wonderfully strange things are perhaps possible, and having that little voice in the back of their mind resisting the ridiculous at the same time…

            And yeah, I just loved the thought of the bouncy dwarf and the surprised hippo as well.

          • -grin- I think your blog has achieved its purpose Metan, in a most enjoyable way!

            My daughter’s bf brought over 2 episodes of Game of Thrones last night and both featured The Imp. Not sure if you’ve ever watched it or read the books but the Imp is a dwarf and has managed to become just about everyone’s favourite character so I would have liked that other dwarf to do something miraculous. I guess hippos are less forgiving than whales 😉

  2. Were it not such a sad story there would be a spate of jokes now about not being able to wriggle out of that punishment.
    I’ve read of children being eaten before and being saved by getting them out in a short time so perhaps if you can find one with a happier ending……..

    • If you are hoping for after-dinner survival stories you might like the Bartley and the Whale post I did last year. (I put a link in the previous reply). I will have a search for any made-it-out-alive stories although I’m not sure I would want to be one of those unfortunates myself 😦

  3. ooh ahh. I seriously doubt there was any disciplinary problems there after… although I daresay someone else had to fetch the firewood. I have to agree, being eaten is not on my list of ways to die, and I’m not sure i would want to survive either…

    • Can you imagine? All it would take is the mere mention that the fire will need looking at and you would never see a more well behaved class. Poor old Bartley who made it out of the whale (see comment above) spent a few weeks out of his mind before regaining normality. I would be right with him. Ick.

  4. My daughter is a kindergarten teacher and I think I might have to send her here to read that post.Poor little boy!A better thought I guess would be to let my grandkids read it.My stepdad would always tease them about taking them to the wood shed when they misbehaved.Yikes………..
    Will come back again,interesting blog

    • I think that this story would far outlive the class involved. That teacher could have a terrifying reputation from then on!

      I felt terrible for the boy, but I wondered how alive he was when they got him out, there is not much air inside a snake. A boa constrictor would have squeezed most of the life out of him before he was swallowed so you can only hope he never really knew what happened. Really hope.

      Just as well that the usual habitat of a boa constrictor isn’t a woodpile, isn’t it? Yikes is right!

      I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  5. I was so hoping that the kid would survive the snake swallowing experience. Now THAT is a story you can drink on for the rest of your life.

    As for kids and punishment, in the U.S. the Department of Education is working on some national policies for the proper use — against the use — of restraints, isolation etc. I had thought all of this was long decided, but apparently 9 states in the U.S. still allow corporal punishment.

    • Wow, I would have thought that in these PC days that no-one was allowed to use corporal punishment! The worst that happens here in Australia is detention or being sent to the principals office for a verbal butt-kicking.

      When I was at primary school it was still in the days of the strap or the ruler being administered, but I never got it myself. I knew kids who did, but I think the threat of knowing it could happen was enough to get the rest of us to behave.

      I thought that the part of the story where the boy was locked in the shed was terrible, he had no way of escaping from the constrictor. I wonder if being locked in the shed was normal practice (with an unfortunate ending on this occasion) or was that kid a particularly hard case?

    • 😦 I’m sorry to hear that. After reading this I suspected that it was probably just one small story that was seen fit for print and that there were probably far worse ones out there. The world is a an amazing and interesting place, but it is a pretty cruel place too.

  6. Indeed a cruel place! Well, it happens more than often here. And its all in the newspapers. But what about those cases that go unreported? Its sad. These are people who play an important role in shaping the future of a child.

    • It alway seems to be in the poorest places where the worst things happen, and where nobody who can do anything about it has enough power to change it. We have problems in remote aboriginal communities here in Australia, at times they are so remote it is unfortunately easier for people to forget they are even there.

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