When I was a young girl, the town was much smaller place but that didn't stop it from having the most interesting people. One in particular was Scrunch, an old man with a huge bend in his back. Poor old Scrunch was so twisted, he only ever saw where he'd been, never where he was going. He was a jolly old lad who delighted in playing tricks on us children, making us jump with good natured frights. Far from seeing his affliction as a hindrance, Scrunch enjoyed the way his deformed back made him stand out from the crowd. He was surprisingly nimble and used two tiny walking sticks to help him get around, dispensing smiles and greetings with all he encountered.
Time ticks by, as it inevitably does, and Scrunch shuffled off to better place. Back then, funerals were major social events, attracting huge numbers of people to pay their respects and catch up with friend and foe alike. Mr Scrunch presented a particular difficulty to the undertaker, not one day in his whole life had Scrunch ever lain straight in his bed, his final resting place proved to be no different. Try as he might, the undertaker couldn't get poor old Scrunch into the coffin. In the end he drilled holes in the bottom and winched Scrunch flat with some bailing-twine. Scrunch's bones groaned with the strain as his back straightened for the very first time. Once finished, the man draped a silk sheet over Scrunch's chest to hide his handwork.
People came from far and wide for the funeral. Every one of them commented on what a fine tall man Scrunch was, when he was lying down. The parish priest was a stern old bugger, but he said a good mass, every seat was taken by the time he began. The priest was in full flow, raging against the evils of drink, when a loud snap ricocheted around the church. Scrunch sprang forward, sitting up straight in the coffin and scaring the life out of everyone there.
It was Scrunch's last, and best, trick. Once everyone realised that he wasn't actually coming back from the dead, the congregation howled with laughter. By all accounts it was the happiest funeral ever to take place in the town.
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