A sea serpent fell in love with a rowing boat. “I love you. Do you love me in return?” asked the sea serpent.

“Yes, I think so,” replied the rowing boat.

“Despite the enormous age difference? I mean, I'm a living fossil from the Jurassic period but you were constructed in 1959; and the trees from which you are made aren't older than a hundred years. Are you sure you wouldn't prefer a younger monster?”

The rowing boat dismissed her anxieties.

“Don't be silly,” he said. “It's my design that matters, not my building materials. And that dates back several thousand years at least. So put your mind at rest and let's get smoochy!”

The sea serpent was happy to be formally courted by the rowing boat. Every day he brought her a little gift, usually a human being that she was able to devour in one tasty gulp.

One afternoon the rowing boat turned up with a man dressed in a frock coat and top hat. This man struggled with the oars but he wasn't in control and had to go where the rowing boat wanted. Then the rowing boat cried out, “Look honey! A saint for you!”

The sea serpent surfaced at that point. “A saint?”

“I thought it was time we got properly engaged. That is how much I love you! It occurred to me that a saint's halo could be used as a ring. It's up to you whether you accept or not…”

The sea serpent examined the occupant of the boat.

“It's a very sweet idea,” she said, “and of course I would accept. But I don't think this fellow is a saint. He looks more like an industrialist. And he doesn't have a halo, just a top hat.”

“He's in disguise. His halo is beneath the hat!”

“So it is! How odd! Yum!”

¶ Keep it under your hat by all means, but that won't save you.

(Image by Chris Harrendence)