Shortly after he formed the Church of England, our great king Henry wrote a small collection of morality tales that came to be known as "Henry's Parables". Tragically, most of these priceless works were destroyed during the great fire of London in 1666. Of the two that remain, the most well known and best loved is of course 'Jesus and the Catholic'...

Henry's Parables : Jesus and the Catholic

In Galilee during the time of Jesus there lived a farmer known as Saub. Saub was a good man, a faithful servant of the Lord, and well-liked by his fellow farmers. Saub had 29 sons and 56 pretty young daughters, all of whom respected their father and helped with the running of the farm.

The eldest of Saub's sons, who was known as Burl, enjoyed to hang around the road near the farm, and wrestle the people who passed by. Saub was proud to see his fine strong son pinning surprised travellers to the ground with ease, and he would often ride out to watch his son and applaud his victories, whilst eating chicken (which he would throw over his shoulder after a few bites).

One day Saub and Burl were waiting by the road for the next traveller to happen by, when Burl spied a man approaching. He stood in the middle of the road and cracked his knuckles as the man drew near. When he was no more than a man's height from Burl, he dashed towards the stranger, planning to pin him in an inverted facelock.

Expecting his son to have the man in the dirt in a very short time, Saub was astounded to witness the stanger spring nimbly to one side, striking Burl savagely on the head with a very large lump of gold as he did so. Burl fell to the ground clutching his head and Saub demanded of the stranger "Who are you, that can fell my mighty boy with such wealth?"

The stranger replied, "I have no name, for I am a Catholic and was raised in the wild by goats as is my creed. My wealth is indeed considerable and I carry a large lump of gold with me at all times so that our Lord might see it sparkle and be pleased by it. For we Catholics believe that the Lord doth have a great love for shiny and expensive things."

Saub looked closely at the Catholic, and saw that in addition to his many rings and medallions, he had on a coat adorned with precious stones, and a top hat made of solid silver. The Catholic noted Saub's inspection and a grin grew on his face. "I am a wonder to behold, am I not?" he asked in a mocking tone.

Saub was about to reply when Jesus turned up. Jesus was well known in the region at this time, as he had hunted stags with great success in the local woods, and Saub knew him by sight. The Catholic did too, it seemed, for as soon as he saw Jesus he forgot all about Saub. He rushed up to Jesus, and fumbling in his pockets for a while he proceeded to chuck some coins at the feet of our saviour. "Praise you, oh most blessed one!" Cried the Catholic and stuffed a ten Shekel note down the front of Jesus's robe.

Jesus seemed unimpressed however, and looking the Catholic in the eye He roared "Thou shalt burn in the fires of Hell for all eternity and make my Father weep with pity! Stay thy ugly show of wealth! Does thou not know the way of the good King Henry? Alas I forget his heart will not beat for many a year, and many a man will fall to flames erstwhile." Jesus looked at the Catholic with a face of great pity.

But this look quickly changed to annoyance, and then terrible fury as the Catholic drew out a wad of fifties and began pushing them into Jesus's mouth, chanting "Blessed is my cash, have it in your face!" all the while. Jesus stumbled backwards and tried to raise His hands to defend himself, but the Catholic was all over him, jamming money into his ears, eyes and nose, with a crazed look on his face and saliva dribbling down his chin.

Saub acted quickly and attacked the Catholic with his rake. He scratched and scraped at Jesus' attacker; the Catholic got up and ran into the hills shouting animal noises as he went.

Jesus climbed to his feat and said to Saub "Thou has done a good thing today. Let it be known that whenever a Catholic be seen, a rake should be hung from the tallest tree in the village so that all will see it and be fearful."

From that day forth Saub used rakes whenever he could. He fashioned all his other tools from rakes and used them to make the fences around his farm and even his house. This house of rakes was a wonder to behold, but eventually fell on him, crushing him and his large family to death.

Henry's Parables : The Mice of the Lord's Table

The Lord was holding a great banquet in heaven. He invited all the goodly kings that dwelt there and all the saints and angels who served Him. Saint Peter of course could not leave his post at the gates of Heaven, but was sent a roast pig with an apple in its mouth and the Lord's blessing. To Lucifer Morningstar the Lord sent a note explaining that he was not invited and instructions to turn up Hell's furnaces to gas mark 9 for the duration of the feast.

The feast was a wonder to behold; many angels sang the Lord's praises in their heavenly voices as they feasted, the saints engaged in good-natured wrestling bouts and all-comers drank freely of the Lord's good wine and ate their fill at His table. And what a table! Roast animals of all shapes and sizes laid among piles of sweet bread rolls and sugared nuts. The great cakes soaked in brandy stood ten feet high.

And as the Lord ate chops and ribs and chicken legs, He would take only one bite from each before throwing the remains over His shoulder and grasping a new morsel, in the eating manner of a King of Kings. However, this discarded food would not lay long undisturbed on the sparkly dust of Heaven's floor. For much like the table in your own great hall, the Lord's table was frequented by little mice, that scurried and nibbled amongst the fallen bounty.

Of all the mice that feasted at the Lord's banquet that day, the finest and furriest of them was known as Thomas Cheesechaser, and he was the high king of all the mice in heaven. Thomas was a good mouse; he ruled over his kind in a wise, paternal manner, and was well-loved in return. Thomas was just about to begin devouring a huge pork chop he had scurried across when a shadow fell across him.

Thomas looked up into the bleary, wine-stained face of Mary, mother of God. Mary had been drinking a great deal of the Lord's good wine, and had got down from the table planning to dance a merry drunken caper in the centre of the hall. She was now staring at the mouse in front of her, trying hard to focus. When her eyes finally recognised the creature before her, she screamed and began hopping from one foot to the next, clutching her skirts around her knees and trying to stamp on Thomas the mouse king.

"Stay thy feet mother, 'tis but a furry member of our flock with a twitchy nose!" said Jesus.

But the merciful mother of God was having none of it, and began to grab goblets from the Lord's table and fling them at the startled mouse. Thomas managed to dodge the first couple of projectiles, but the third goblet caught him squarely in the face, crushing his little skull.

A great silence descended on the Lord's hall, and in a voice that made the very universe shake, God said,"Thou hast done a bad deed this day Mary, thou hast ruined the Lord's feast and smote one of his favourite mice. I shall take the head thou hast broken and put up thine own in its place!" he decreed.

And so it was that from that day forth Thomas the mouse king went about Heaven sporting the head of Mary, mother of Jesus. He was greatly cheered by this development, as the larger mouth he now possessed greatly increased his nibbling capacity and, whilst the weight of his new head did slow down his scrurrying, he contented himself in the knowledge that Mary was now some sort of hideous freak with a busted mouse's head, who was ridiculed by all the people of Heaven wherever she went.