The land of beating yourself up - for Andrea :)

Friday, 24 October 2008

"Well? What land is it?" asked Susan breathlessly from her position on the floor of Silky's dear little house. The news did not look too good, if Andrea's countenance was anything to go by. She stood cloudyfaced in the doorway after being unable to resist a quick peep up the ladder of the Faraway Tree to see which land was at the top.

"Oh, do tell me it is a good land despite the look on your face!" Susan pleaded. "We have been away for so long!"

"Oh, I am so disappointed!" said Andrea sulkily. And to emphasise her disappointment and irritation she stamped her foot. "It is the Land of Beating Yourself up. Do you remember, Susan?"

"Oh, no!" cried Susan, crestfallen, as Andrea flopped herself down beside her. "What horrid luck! Of all the times to come visiting the Faraway Tree!"

This was rather unfortunate cosmic coincidence indeed. The Land of Beating Yourself Up had been the very last land the girls had visited when they last came up the tree 25 years ago. Such a long time. Indeed, by no stretch of even Blind Freddy's imagination could they be called girls anymore. It had been so long between visits that this was a very sad state of affairs.

"I would even prefer the Land of Slaps than that silly land," said Susan. "Oh, what bad luck! I wonder how long we are stuck with this stupid land?"

The girls were hanging out for some adventures, after being away for so long. Nothing too strenuous, mind you. The 25 years were telling. Indeed, they had resisted climbing the tree this time but had taken the much more sedentary route of being hauled up in two of Dame Washalot's baskets.

Andrea had managed to escape the one lot of dirty water that came sploshing down the tree but Susan hadn't been so lucky. It had put her in a rather sulky sort of a mood, one that required 17 pop biscuits to restore her equilibrium. Unfortunately, just as her mood had lightened, after some sweet conversation with darling Silky, now it was Andrea's turn to be grumpy. The visit didn't seem to be going so good, so far.

The last time they had been up the tree, Andrea had been crowned Queen of the Land of Beating Yourself Up, and Susan her right-hand dominatrix. Indeed, they had almost been forced to stay there forever, and it was only a quick thinking squirrel and a bit of sly deviance by Moon-Face that they were able to be sitting here now at all, albeit grumpily.

"I know what I shall do!" cried Andrea, jumping up. "I am a grown woman, and I refused to be curtailed by a land that I don't even like. Who died and made me queen anyway? I know what I shall do," she cried, her face beaming. "I shall write a letter of resignation as Queen of the Land of Beating Yourself Up!"

She jumped up and sat at the little round wooden table and Silky brought her some of her special paper, which was made out some sort of shimmery material that smelled like marshmallows. Silky handed Andrea a pen, which wrote in multi-hued ink that changed colour according to your mood. Today it was red ink that flowed out as Andrea wrote thusly:

Dear subjects of The Land of Beating Yourself Up,

This is your Queen here, Andrea. I am sorry I have been gone for so long, but I found that occupying your land was very emotionally draining. All of my subjects were so depressed, such a bunch of monumental professional victims, that I couldn't bear to stay there a moment longer. I am sorry I left. I always meant to return my crown but unfortunately it fell off my head as I climbed back down the latter as I left, and the Angry Pixie wouldn't give it back to me. It was a very thorny crown anyway, terribly uncomforable.

This is a decree from me as your queen. I noticed the many slack trees growing in the land when I was there last. I can only imagine how high they have grown since I have been gone. This is the queen's decree: that you all cut some for yourselves and for others and bathe in them each day for a month.

This is also my letter of resignation. I am sorry. I am not fit to be Queen. I counsel you to elect another one from among you as your Queen. This is written in my own hand.

Solemnly, Andrea, ex-Queen of The Land of Beating Yourself Up.

Andrea felt much better after writing her letter. She didn't realise how difficult it had been, being a queen in exile of such a horrid land. It was time to go and eat dinner at Moon-Face's house, so the three of them climbed up the tree, dodging Dame Washalot's last load of the day.

Oh, how nice it was to see that round shiny face again! They hugged and laughed about how much older they all were, although unfortunately it was only Andrea and Susan who had aged. Time was of a different essence in the Faraway Tree, that was for certain.

Just as they were about to sit down to eat the delicious dinner, they heard a sound that was at once familiar and foreign. The sound of blowing wind. Where had they heard that sound before? Andrea and Susan both looked at each other blankly for a few seconds, their aged and decrepit brain matter trying to fix the noise to their experience.

Of course! The wind that blew when the lands were changing! The Land of Beating Yourself Up was on the move!

"Quick!" Andrea said, wanting to resign her crown right now and no delay. They all jumped up and rushed to the ladder. Andrea stuck her head up and yes, there it was, the ugly and tiresome land that she was depressed to be a monarch of. Not for much longer.

Even with just her head poked up in the land she could feel the compulsion to begin listing to herself her failures and misdeeds and crimes. Indeed, all you needed in this land was your head and its monkey-mind chattering to become a fully fledged member.

"Hi!" shouted a voice. She looked over to her right, and there she saw a man rushing towards her, flagellating himself as he came.

"Your Highness! Your Highness!" he screamed, blood pissing down his back. "I am not worthy! I am not worthy!"

Andrea felt the blood drain from her face at the sight of him. Such a pathetic creature, he had no idea about the wonder that surrounded him, so intent was he on ripping open his deformities and wounds.

"Here! Take it!" she flung her letter onto the grass. "I quit!" she cried, and before he could reach her she ducked back down the ladder, almost knocking the Saucepan Man over in the process.

"You shit?" he cried, scrabbling away from her. "Please don't do it here!"

They were all amused at the funny old Saucepan Man and bemused at the turn this story was taking. Perhaps it was time to end it. Indeed, it had taken far longer to write than first thought, so long that Sue's cup of tea had gone cold in the process and she had had to pour herself another.

Andrea was so relieved at resigning her monarchy she laughed out loud, and Susan did too. Moon-Face put his arm around each of them and led them back down to his house. They were all right hungry now, and hoed into some elderberry wine seasoned with nutmeg, and a lamb roast flavoured with gossamer and ether, followed by another round of 17 pop biscuits each. Moon-Face beamed with pleasure at seeing his friends again.

"What land is coming next?" asked Susan, her face full with another biscuit. The girls knew that swirling above them now were only in-between clouds, and now they had eaten their fill, thoughts of the anticipation to come was almost becoming too much to bear.

Moon-Face smiled. "I shan't tell you. You shall just have to wait until we get there. But oh, how I can't wait to see the looks on your faces."

And he would not answer them, no matter how much they pummelled him and threatened to chuck him down the slide. The girls were just going to have to wait until they saw it for themselves.


To be continued ... if I can be arsed :) And if you're not familiar with Enid Blyton, I have no idea what you'll make of this post :)


  1. Oh my Goodness!!! THAT is brilliant! I love it, it's my favourite story ever, and it's so true! Im so sick of the land of beating yourself up! I do resign.
    You are so clever Suse! I am keeping this :)
    mmmmmmm pop biscuits!

  2. I should be so lucky as to have a brilliant cousin like you, Sue!

  3. hmm I am rather fond of exclamation marks I see....please excuse, but I was excited about my story.

  4. Very nice, Sue. I agree with Erin - I should be so lucky to have you for a cousin.... wait, aren't you my sister? :-)

  5. Andi - I'm glad you liked it. Your comment on my last post was what did it :) That was fun :)

    Thanks, Erin and KG. Are you two familiar with Enid Blyton? She was this English writer in the 40s whose characters all said, "I say!" a lot, and "Horrid!" and stuff, hehe. I used to be able to polish off one of her books in a long afternoon. I loved them :)

  6. I'm not really familiar with her, but I still got the story.

  7. I'm not familiar with her, either. But the story was still very good.

  8. omg sue... did you create this. it is so beautiful!

    i can't wait to read more installments?? have you written others?

  9. omg sue... did you create this. it is so beautiful!

    i can't wait to read more installments?? have you written others?

  10. Thanks, Erin and KG

    Joy - thank you. No, I haven't written any others. It doesn't feel like real story writing to me because it is merely stealing directly from poor old Ms Blyton, alcoholic children's writer extraordinaire.

    And anyway, now I seem to have written a story, albeit a thieved one, I doubt I'll be doing that again anytime soon :) Just a quirk of the susie machinery


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