The Dregs of History – Facility Cropper (1333 – 1369)

Facility Cropper had many hurdles to overcome during her rather eventful life. The first of these was at her christening. She was unlucky that the priest who was originally going to conduct the ceremony was taken ill and his replacement, a Frenchman who spoke bad English, struggled with her intended name – Felicity. Despite practicing for some hours beforehand he stumbled yet again and Facility was stuck with her name. This was shortened to ‘Cili’ by her friends; consequently her childhood was full of fights and scuffles. This did, however, make her a very resilient character.

As she grew up it became time for ‘Cili’ to find work, and possibly a husband. She put off the latter and concentrated on finding some employment. She came from a farming family, but she soon decided that there were limited agricultural opportunities in her home village of Abbott’s Crotch, just outside Melcombe on the Dorset coast. She decided instead to try to break into the male-dominated profession of village idiocy; the local idiot had recently passed away in the night (after being run over by a coach when asleep on the main road).

There were a number of openings at the time as the Black Death was taking many local idiots to their maker; however, Facility decided to stay in her home village. Being so close to Melcombe, where the Black Death entered England in 1348, Abbott’s Crutch was quickly decimated, but ‘Cili’ remained unscathed. The young 15-year old spent much of that time locked away on her farm studying hard how to be a high quality idiot and so came into contact with very few people.

Despite trying very hard, it took Facility a long time to find her feet in her new profession. She was just that little bit too intelligent to mumble incomprehensible dribble for long periods and had a knack of trying to improve on tried and tested activities such as falling off walls and walking into posts. Her innovative half twist and quarter summersault when falling off a wall left her with a broken arm. Her attempt to walk into a pole with additional vacant left-hand stare resulted in her tripping and careering headfirst into said post. She suffered severe concussion. Most independent observers thought she added much-needed variety to the profession, and would often stand around to see what she would attempt next.

Facility persevered with her chosen profession and eventually married the village idiot from neighbouring Wrash. They lived a comfortable life (excepting the odd broken bone and head injury) and had four children, all of whom grew up to be village idiots. It was generally agreed, among reputable sources, that the four boys’ collective intelligence would be unlikely to match that of the average sheep. Between them they are said to be the source of the phrase ‘to come-a-cropper’ meaning to have an accident and hurt oneself.


This is an extract from The Complete Dregs of History which is available here

About George Fripley
I am a writer who enjoys writing humour, satire, poetry and sometimes a bit of philosophy. I live in Perth, Western Australia and occasionally get a poem or article published. It's all good fun! I have two books available for unwary readers, Grudges, Rumours and Drama Queens- The Civil Servant's Manual (This contains all that anybody could ever want to know about why government runs so slowly) and More Gravy Please! - the Politician's Handbook. (available through Amazon). Real name Peter Tapsell...just started off writing under a pseudonym and kept going.

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