The other day, some of my mother's friends came to visit for, and I quote, a 'spot of tea'. Like her, they were all bubbly primary school teachers with a wealth of experience. I intended to make a brief appearance, say 'hello' and then make myself scarce. However, as I entered the kitchen, they were telling all the funny anecdotes from their time teaching and as you can imagine, with over 100 years of teaching small children under their belts, there were plenty. I ended up sitting and listening to some of these weird and wonderful stories, and found there was a recurring theme. One event each year, that provided more mirth and hilarity than any other. The Nativity.
There was the time the innkeeper, when asked if there was any room at the inn, answered, 'plenty', and ushered the holy family inside; the occasion when Mary dropped the baby Jesus, immediately bursting into floods of tears as the large pink doll rolled of the stage; and the memorable moment when the giant cardboard star suspended on a wire above the stage, fell on Joseph who, very much out of character, rubbed his head and exclaimed, 'Bloody 'ell!' Then, of course, there was the infamous year, when the little boy playing Joseph strode confidently on the stage and asked the small figure in blue who was cradling her baby, 'And how's our Jesus been today, Mary?' 'He's been a right little so-and-so', came the blunt reply.
Here are some of the funniest I heard. Enjoy.
The Angel of the Lord - an angelic looking little girl with golden curls and great innocent eyes - appeared on stage. She was draped in a shimmering white nylon sheet trimmed with sparkling tinsel and had elaborate golden wings, cut out of cardboard, attached to her back. She did indeed look the part.
The heavenly child was, however, unaware that the pretty ensemble she was wearing had somehow gathered up at the back. As she approached the front of the stage, little arms outstretched, one of the small shepherds, huddled around an imitation fire, had noticed.
The Archangel Gabriel began: 'Fear not, for glad tidings of great joy I bring -'
'I can see your pink knickers!' the shepherd informed her in a whisper so loud it could be heard at the back of the hall.
The angel continued regardless. 'To you in David's town this day, a baby will be born -'
'I can see your knickers!' said the shepherd even louder. 'Chardonnay! I can see your pink knickers!'
The Angel of Lord, took an irritated breath, angrily screwed up her little face, turned around sharply and yelled 'Shut yer gob!' to the shepherd before turning around and continuing her speech in the most innocent of voices.
Things improved until the arrival of Mary and Joseph, both in thick woolen robes and headresses. The heaters in the hall blasted out hot air, the bright spotlights shone down on the cast relentlessly and the small actors began to blow out their cheeks, huffing and puffing, scratching and fidgeting.
As the Three Kings presented the happy couple with their gifts, Mary sighed and thrust the large doll representing the baby Jesus, with a fair bit of force, onto the lap of Joseph and saying, 'There, you hold 'im for a bit, he's gerrin' dead heavy.'
Not so meek and mild
One year, it was decided that the Nativity play should be improvised by the children. This is not always a good idea as small children have a tendency to be very unpredictable, especially when faced with an appreciative audience.
Mary, a pretty little thing of about six or seven, was busy bustling about the stage, wipping and dusting, when the Angel of the Lord appeared stage right. The heavenly spirit was a tall self- conscious boy with a plain, pale face and sticky-out ears. He was dressed in a flowing white robe, large paper wings and sported a somewhat crooked tinsel halo. Having wiped his nose on his sleeve, he glanced around suspiciously then sidled up to Mary, as a dodgy market trader might, to see if you were interesting in buying something from 'under the counter'.
'Who are you?' Mary asked sharply, putting down her duster and placing her hands on her hips.This was not the quietly spoken, gentle natured Mary I was used to.
'I'm the Angel Gabriel', the boy replied with a dead-pan expression in a flat voice.
'Well what do you want?'
'Are you Mary?'
'I come with great tidings of joy.'
'I've got some good news.'
'What is it?'
'You're having a baby.'
'God, and he sent me to tell you.'
'Well I don't know anything about this.
'And it will be a boy and he will become great and be called - er, um ...-' the boy stalled for a moment. 'Ah - called Son of the Most High, the King of Kings. He will rule for ever and his reign will have no end.'
'What if it's a girl?'
'It won't be.'
'You don't know. It might be.'
'It won't be, 'cos God knows about these things.'
'And you must call him Jesus.'
'I don't like the name Jesus. Can I call him something else?'
'What about Gavin?'
'No!' the angel snapped, 'You have to call him Jesus. Otherwise you don't get him.'
'All right then,' Mary agreed.
The Three Kings shuffled onto stage. The first little boy, carrying a golden box and dressed in a red velvet cloak made from curtains, still with the hooks in, and sporting a cardboard crown that covered half his face, announced loudly:
'I am Melchior and gold I bring,
In homage of our newborn king.
I have travelled from afar,
Following yon twinkling star.'
The second king strode onto stage carrying a blue box. He too boomed out his words:
'I am Caspar, frankincense I bring,
In homage of our newborn king.
I have travelled through the night,
Following yon star which shines so bright.'
The third King entered carrying a green box. He shuffled nervously to the centre of the stage and stared round him wide-eyed and frightened as if lost in a busy shopping street. The hall was totally silent. The child sniffed, then his small shoulders heaved and great tears ran down his small red cheeks. Suddenly he let out a most desperate and plaintive cry: ' I don't know who I am.'
'You're Balthazar, Dickie,' the teacher said in a loud stage whisper, from the side of the room, 'and you've brought baby Jesus a special present of Myrhh.'
'I don't know who I am,' the child whimpered again. 'Please will someone tell me who I am.'
'Balthazar!' the audienced chorused.
'I don't want to do it!' he wailed. 'I don't want to do it!'
The teacher moved forward, helped the little boy place the box before Mary and Joseph, gave him a cuddle and, taking his hand, led him off stage. There was a moment of hush, then the audience burst out clapping.
The voice of an angel
Marie Alana from Ohio on October 27, 2013:
lol... I enjoy little stories like this! I have seen quite a lot of bloopers in real time as well! Thanks for sharing.