24. I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE

Fortean Times - - Strange Statesmen #20 -

Aged about nine, stay­ing with a friend in St Leonard’s, Sus­sex: “Did you eat that cherry stone!?” squawked his mother. The wee lad nods his head, a bit sheep­ish. “Don’t you never do that again! Your cousin’s friend ate cherry stones and one sprouted in­side her and she had to go to hos­pi­tal for a spe­cial op­er­a­tion with this great big cherry tree grow­ing out of her belly but­ton. She was lucky she never died!” This was one’s first ex­pe­ri­ence of an ur­ban leg­end – not that they were called that at the time, even among those who recog­nised them. Any­way it did seem im­plau­si­ble, as Mother con­firmed by cack­ling loudly on be­ing told. “And how much soil and sun­light d’you think’s in your stom­ach?” she fi­nally snorted, prov­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ously that she doubted af­ter all that the Sun shone out of one’s arse. While not all such sto­ries fall apart so eas­ily, there are usu­ally clues to their true na­ture and, be­sides pro­vid­ing a bril­liant com­pen­dium of ur­ban leg­ends, Jan Harold Brun­vand’s Too Good to be True shows how to spot them and why they’re told. We’ve yet to hear an ur­ban leg­end that in some form or an­other isn’t in this book, and it has a fair few we haven’t come across be­fore.

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