Jonah Gets a MakeoverOn September 23, 2020 by Elyse
Whalecome, dear readers! All aboard as I spout off another story. If you’re not a fan of killer whale puns—see what I did there?—this is your cue to walk the plank.
If you’ve spent even five second perusing this blog, you know I’m all about timeless tails, er, tales. However, just like every superhero movie ever, some narratives need to be updated for a modern audience.
Today, I—by which I mean, the Bendigo Independent out of Victoria, Australia—am putting a new—by which I mean, 1910—spin on the classic story of Jonah and the whale. You didn’t actually expect anything “new” at Second Glance History, right?
The Book of Jonah begins with some panicked sailors weathering a storm at sea. Likewise, our new-and-improved version also opens with some serious freaking out.
One of the employees at the Bega whaleries (reports the Sydney Sun) is recovering from a mixed attack of fright, hysterics and fainting. He was engaged cutting up a whale a day or two ago, and when he had cleaved away the flesh from one side of the stomach he saw what appeared to be the fully dressed body of a young lady lying inside.
At first he thought she was dead, and he was considering the advisability of going off to report to the police when the young lady rubbed her eyes and sat up. The whaler fell off the whale. But the young lady was not even a ghost.– The Bendigo Independent, November 18, 1910
In this retelling, it’s not God’s fault our unnamed protagonist ends up in a whale’s belly:
It appears that she suffers very much from rheumatism. Somebody had told her that to get inside and stay inside the body of a whale for a while would cure her—that, in fact, Jonah was cured of chalky joints and rheumatic gout in the same way.– The Bendigo Independent, November 18, 1910
I can hear her mother now: “If Jonah jumped off a bridge, would you?”
Because crossovers are all the rage, let’s throw in some Sleeping Beauty.
So she climbed in and lay herself down to sleep. Her sleep was peaceful. The reverberation of men’s feet on the outside of the carcass did not wake her, and it was not until daylight was let into her blubbery bedroom that she awoke.– The Bendigo Independent, November 18, 1910
No curse? No pricking herself on a spindle? No non-consensual kiss from a stranger? Definitely a fairy tale for the 21st century.
She has not yet lost her rheumatism, but she attributes this to the fact that she did not get in when the whale was alive.– The Bendigo Independent, November 18, 1910
Rookie mistake. She should’ve been more specific when searching for accommodations on OceanBnB.
Poor Jonah got the short end of the stick. He had to spend an entire three nights in a smelly whale, his ticket out was via the vomit comet, and after all that, he ended up with heatstroke. If I were him, I’d demand to talk to the manager. Don’t be surprised if the next reboot is called Karen and the Whale.
Meanwhile, next time your rheumatism flairs up, please consult your doctor before beginning a new whaleness routine.
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Disclaimer: The modern era is far from the first to grapple with rampant “fake news.” As I am neither a historian nor journalist, I make no claims about the accuracy or lack thereof of the above sources. I assert only that they make for a good story.
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