Alan Titley
Order books by Alan Titley from Cló Iar-Chonnachta. Order Amach (An Gúm 2003), Alan Titley's recent novel for teenagers, from litrí
Alan Titley grew up in Cork. He trained as a primary school teacher in Dublin. He is the author of several novels and of several collections of short stories. Recent publications are Focrici agus Scéalta Eile, a collection of short stories, and a collection of essays entitled Beyond the Knacker's Yard. He is the head of the Irish Department in St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin. His work has been translated into several languages, including Italian and Serbo-Croat.

Three Fables
Read three short fables by Alan Titley, translated by the author from the original Irish.

1. Ears

There was a soldier who fought in the great wars in defence of civilization and democracy who sent the ears of his dead enemies home to his friends.

They thought they were dried apricots because they were a bright yellow and orange colour.

They ate them.

They were, depend upon it, disgusted and horrified and more than even concerned when they learned the truth. This is because they were, after all, nice white people with a good clean liberal conscience.

That did not mean, however, that they did not enjoy them nor find them exceedingly delicious.

2. The Third World

There was a rich man and a poor man. The poor man had to carry the rich man around on his back. They went here, there, and everywhere. They went up hill and down dale. They met Tom, Dick and Harry and Rothschilds and Rockefellers and O'Reillys.

The poor man slept in the cardboard city created by the rich and the rich man slept in the glitzy hotel built by the poor. But every morning the same sun shone on the rich man's face and on the poor man's bum.

The rich man dug his heels into the poor man's neck in order to feel more comfortable. The poor man wrapped the rich man's ankles around his chest in order to feel more safe.

Whenever they saw anything valuable or useful on their journey around the world - food or jewels or oil or riches or minerals or fish - the rich man would kindly ask, 'Hey, why don't you pick that up and I will carry it for you?'

3. The Troublesome Young Woman

There was once a troublesome young woman whom her parents called a little bitch. Others called her other things but as her parents loved her dearly it was enough to call her a little bitch. And because they loved her dearly they did not throw her on the street even when she constantly stole their credit cards, crashed her mother's car, ripped her father's clothes, called them stupid fucking wrinklies and acted the general, well, bitch. But because they loved her dearly they would do anything to help her and even went so far as to bring her to a psychiatrist.

'It's penis-envy,' he said, 'no doubt about it. I've seen it many times before. Young women her age all suffer from it even if they don't admit it. And just because they don't admit it doesn't mean they don't suffer from it. Nothing here that a good man and a good bit of bonking will not cure.'

Because they loved her and because they were paying good money to the psychiatrist they let her out about the town with as much money to visit the best night-clubs and stay in the best hotels as she wanted. Not that she needed any urging nor advice about where to go. But it was nice to be able to do it with her parents' (and the psychiatrist's) permission.

She had a ball of a time with big hunky macho muscular types and long wiry athletic fit-freaks and flashy moneyed long-practised swingers for as long as she could and wanted. After that she came home and put the cat in the microwave oven, cut the heads off all the roses, gouged the tyres of her daddy's car, pissed in her mother's swimming pool and generally acted the, well, bitch.

Because they loved her and were paying good money they brought her back to the psychiatrist.

'It wasn't penis-envy,' said her father without going into much detail, 'of that we can be absolutely sure.'
'Well if it wasn't penis-envy,' said the psychiatrist, 'it must be something else. Wait till I see.'

And he took a big leatherbound book down from the shelf.

© University of Wales, Aberystwyth 2002-2009       home  |  e-mail us  |  back to top
site by CHL