Nanny Piggins tells the true story of Bramwellio, the boy made of chocolate and Geppetto the master chocolatier who created him.
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‘Bramwellio’ as told by Nanny Piggins
‘Nanny Piggins, do you know the story of Pinocchio?’ asked Derrick. ‘We’re going to see a movie about it at school next week.’
‘Why yes, I do know all about that story,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘In fact, one of my distant relations was there. Which is how I know that the movie version is an outrageous pack of fabrications.’
‘Fabrications means lies, right?’ Michael whispered to Samantha.
She just nodded.
‘And let me guess,’ said Derrick. ‘Your distant relative was perhaps called Pnnocchio Piggins and she was really a woman?’
‘Not at all, what a ridiculous notion,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘No, my distant relative was a brilliantly talented…’
‘Clock maker?’ guessed Derrick.
‘Oh, no. I said she was brilliantly talented. So of course she was a chocolate maker,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Her name was Geppetto Piggins. Unfortunately, she was so talented at chocolate making no one ever bought her chocolate.’
‘Why?’ asked Samantha. ‘Surely if it was that good, everyone would want some.’
‘Oh, they wanted it alright,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘But they couldn’t afford it. Geppetto’s chocolate creations were so magnificent, intricate and delicious they took months to construct. And she only used the finest chocolate ingredients flow in from around the world. As a result, to buy one of her creations was more than anyone could afford.’
‘What?’ said Derrick. ‘How much did they cost. Thousands of dollars?’
‘Oh no, more than that,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘They were priceless.’
‘So, you mean, millions of dollars?’ asked Samantha.
‘Oh no, literally price-less,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘The chocolate sculptures were so beautiful that Geppeto couldn’t bring herself to put a price on them. So they never sold.
People tried to buy them. They offered to mortgage their houses and sell all their possessions. But she couldn’t bring herself to make a family destitute. And yet she couldn’t bring herself to part with one of her chocolate artworks for anything less that a unimaginably massive fortune. So her chocolate models of the Taj Mahal, Notre Dame Cathedral and Mount Everest remained unsold.’
‘Scale models,’ corrected Derrick.
‘What?’ said Nanny Piggins.
‘They must have been scale models,’ said Derrick. ‘Miniatures of the real thing.’
‘Whatever made you assume that?’ asked Nanny Piggins. ‘Geppetto was a Piggins! She didn’t do things by half measures. Certainly not when they involved chocolate.’
This confused the children as they tried to imagine what a life-sized chocolate replica of Mount Everest would look like.
‘Being a brilliant yet penniless artist is not, however, as glamorous in real life as they make it seem in all the prospectuses for art school,’ continued Nanny Piggins. ‘Geppetto didn’t mind the pennilessness so much. She did after all have a massive supply of chocolate, so it’s not like she went hungry. But she was very lonely. It’s hard to make friends when you’re better at something than everyone else in the entire world.’
‘Why didn’t she get married?’ asked Samantha.
‘She had been married when she was younger,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Geppetto Piggins and her husband were very much in love. But sadly, one day when she was out buying chocolate making supplies, her husband couldn’t resist one of her chocolate creations.
He ate an entire life-sized, milk chocolate replica of the Eiffel Tower. When she got home, he had slipped into a diabetic coma.
‘That’s terrible,’ said Samantha.
‘Yes, terrible for poor Geppetto,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘But not too bad for the husband. If you are going to slip into a coma. Eating several thousand tons of chocolate is a fun way to do it.
Anyway, as a result, Geppetto lived alone and she was lonely. She longed for a child of her own, to keep her company. So one day, after a long day building a replica of the Guggenheim Museum out of white chocolate, she started making a statue of a young boy.’
Being the most brilliant chocolate artist in the world, the statue was of course beautiful and life-like. Geppetto found herself talking to the statue as she made it.
She told the statue of the boy how lonely she was and how she wished she could show him the world and share the wonder of life with him. But the statue just stared back at her blankly. Geppetto sighed and looked out that window. And at that very moment, a shooting star flew across the sky.
‘Did she made a wish on the shooting star?’ asked Michael.
‘She did,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘She was so lonely she had started talking to all sorts of inanimate things. The statue, the tea kettle, the bath plug – so it was only natural to her to call out to the star as well.
“Shooting star,” she said. ‘How I wish I had a little boy of my own to keep me company.”
But the star did not reply. It just kept shooting until it had disappeared into the darkness of space. Geppetto sighed, shut the window and went to bed.
When she awoke early the next morning to begin work on her next creation – a chocolate model of the Grand Canyon, Geppetto heard strange sounds coming from her workshop. Someone was singing a song she had never heard before.
Chomp chomp chomp,
Yum yum yummy
I love chocolate
In my tummy
Geppetto hurried to her workshop and there she saw the most amazing thing. The statue of the little boy was dancing.
‘But how can a chocolate statue dance?’ asked Michael.
‘Never underestimate chocolate, my dear boy,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘With enough chocolate, you can achieve anything. But the dancing was not the most astonishing thing, nor the singing - the chocolate statue was also eating!’
‘Not itself?!’ asked Samantha.
‘No, not at all,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘The chocolate statue was eating a great chunk of chocolate it had broken off her chocolate model of the Great Wall of China.’
‘A chocolate statue was eating another chocolate sculpture?’ asked Derrick. ‘So it had a digestive system?’
‘Yes,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘My relative Geppetto was a seriously talented craftswoman. She was a bit baffled by the situation. She was concerned she might still be asleep and dreaming the whole thing. So she rubbed her eyes, gave herself a good hard pinch. But the chocolate eating chocolate statue was still there. So she called out to it’.
“You there, boy,” called Geppetto Piggins. ‘What’s going on?’
‘Mother!’ cried the statue. ‘Good morning to you. You don’t mind me helping myself to a little breakfast, do you?’
It had taken Geppetto two years to craft the chocolate model of the Great Wall of China. It was so big it was actually visible from space. So she did mind a little bit. But she didn’t like to say so, she was a kind-hearted pig and she loved children.
‘Oh no, that’s alright,’ said Geppetto. ‘But how did you come to life?’
‘Your wish was granted when you wished upon that star,’ said the statue. ‘And my name is…’
‘Pinocchio!’ cried Michael.
‘Actually, no,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘That’s another thing the movie gets all wrong. The statue’s name was – Bramwellio!’
‘Bramwellio?’ said Derrick.
‘You mean, like Bramwell Piggins your no-good brother?’ asked Samantha.
‘I’m afraid so,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘But Geppetto was so delighted to have a son of her own, it didn’t occur to her that Bramwellio might be as useless and good for nothing as all the other Bramwells in our family.
She gave the boy a big, but careful hug (she didn’t want to accidentally break any of his chocolate limbs off) and promised to raise him with love and care.
Completely ignoring the fact that Bramwellio was still dancing around her workshop eating bits off all her greatest masterpieces.
Geppetto wanted Bramwellio to have every opportunity of a regular boy, so the first thing she did was enroll him in school. But being penniless she didn’t have enough money to buy school books. So she sold her own warm winter coat and used that money to buy the books.
‘That sounds like a really bad decision,’ said Michael. ‘Selling your coat never works out well in the olden story days.’
‘Yes, it always is a sure sign of doom,’ agreed Nanny Piggins. ‘Really the government should have outlawed second hand clothes shops to put a stop to it. But you can’t escape storyline destiny, so Geppetto sold the coat and bought the school books. Then took them home to Bramwellio.
‘What’s this?’ asked Bramwellio, when Gepetto gave him the package. ‘A present? For me? Is it chocolate?’
‘No,’ chuckled Geppetto. ‘Open the package and see for yourself.’
Bramwellio tore off the packaging. ‘Books?’ he exclaimed. ‘Are they made of chocolate?’
‘No,’ said Geppetto.
‘Then how do I eat them?’ asked Bramwellio.
‘You don’t,’ explained Geppetto. ‘You read them. That is how you learn. You need these so you can go to school and learn all about maths, and literature and history.’
‘Oh,’ said Bramwellio. Mentally deciding to lick the books as soon as Geppetto left the room just in case they were secretly delicious.
‘You will start school tomorrow morning,’ explained Geppetto.
‘I se,’ said Bramwellio. ‘How marvellous.’
But as Bramwellio said this he got the strangest sensation in his nose. As if someone had pinched it and tugged it. Something must have happened because Geppetto baulked at the sight.
‘Did something just happen to my nose?’ asked Bramwellio.
‘Well,’ said Geppetto, not wanting to hurt the boy’s feelings but also wanting to be truthful. ‘It seemed to grow a bit.’
‘It grew because he told a lie, didn’t it?’ said Michael.
‘Yes,’ agreed Nanny Piggins. ‘But they hadn’t figured that out yet.’
The next morning Bramwellio set out for school with his new school books, while Geppetto stayed back to work on a chocolate sculpture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
‘Now this is where things began to go awry,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘You see Bramwelllio did not have a very good attention span. Even though he was quite looking forward to going to school and playing with all the other boys and girls, he soon became distracted when he walked past a circus.
Through the gates he could see the brightly coloured big top, he could hear the circus music and he could smell the freshly cooked popcorn. So many things impossible for any child to resist. So naturally he hurled his school books into a bush and ran inside to see the circus.
Bramwellio had a fabulous time watching the tight rope walkers, the elephants, and the tight rope walking elephants. But the thing that really delighted him was when the puppet show commenced.
A long line of brightly coloured woodened puppets took to the stage and started dancing around, controlled by strings used by puppeteers standing above.
Bramwellio thought the puppets were marvellous. They looked just like him. They were hand crafted statues of about the same size. Bramwellio got so carried away. He jumped up on the stage and started dancing with them.
Ho ho ho
Rum tum tum
Dancing with puppets
Is lots of fun
He sang along to the music.
Meanwhile, on the far side of the circus tent, the ringmaster saw the whole thing.
‘The ringmaster!’ exclaimed Michael. ‘Not the ringmaster? The one who kidnapped Boris and tricked you into signing a criminally insane 50 year contract.’
‘No, of course not,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘This was years ago, back in the Olden Story Days. This was one of our ringmaster’s distant ringmastering relatives.’
‘The crowd was delighted by Bramwellio.’
‘Look at that chocolate puppet!’ they cried. ‘He can dance without strings.’
‘And he smells like a Mars bar.’
‘This is the best puppet show ever!
The ringmaster thought to himself – I can make a lot of money out of a chocolate puppet who can dance without strings. So when the dance finished, he grabbed Bramwell and locked him in a cage.
‘What are you doing?’ demanded Bramwellio. ‘You have to let me go. My mother is expecting me home. I’m supposed to be at school.’
‘If you were supposed to be at school, you wouldn’t be at the circus,’ said the Ringmaster. ‘I am going to train you up and you will be my next big star.’
‘But I don’t want to be a circus star,’ wailed Bramwellio. ‘I want to go home and eat all my mummy’s chocolate.’ He sat on the bottom of the cage and wept.
‘This story is so sad,’ wailed Boris.
‘I know, dear,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘But this is the bit where it starts to get magical…
Just then, a magical fairy appeared.
‘Why are you crying little puppet,’ asked the Fairy.
‘I want to go home to my mother,’ said Bramwellio. ‘But I’m locked in this cage.’
‘How did you come to be locked in this cage?’ asked the Fairy. ‘Shouldn’t you be at school?’
‘Well… um…’ Bramwell didn’t like to admit what he had done, so he came up with an alternative story. ‘I was abducted by aliens and they brought here.’ But as soon as the words came out of his mouth his nose grew.
‘Really?’ said the fairy.
Bramwellio realised his nose was giving him away, so he changed his story.
‘No, I mean… I was hit on the head by a falling anvil, got amnesia and I wandered here in a concussed haze,’ said Bramwellio. His nose grew even more.
‘Do you want to try again?’ asked the fairy.
‘Yes, of course. Now I remember, I was walking to school when a giant eagle picked me and flew towards it’s nest where it was going to feed me to it’s babies, but I bravely fought the eagle off using kung-fu skills I’d learned from watching Bruce Lee movies, the eagle let go and I dropped out of the sky. Luckily I fell on the big top tent, but then I bounced off and landed in this cage.’
Bramwellio’s nose grew ten metres when he told this one.
‘How about you tell me the truth,’ suggested the fairy.
Bramwellio hung his head in shame. ‘I threw my school books in a bush and came to the circus because it looked like fun.’
‘I thought so,’ said the fairy. ‘I will help you this time. But next time you get into trouble you will be on your own. You must try to be a good boy.’
‘Oh yes, I promise I will,’ said Bramwellio. So the released him from the cage, magically fetched his school books and returned him home to Geppetto.
Geppetto was so relieved to see her darling boy she forgave him instantly.
The next morning Bramwellio set out for school again.
Now you have to understand, Bramwellio wasn’t evil. He fully intended to go to school as Geppetto had told him to. But Bramwellio was weak and spineless and immoral. So when, on the way to school, he met a boatman with a really shiny bright red boat he stopped to read the boatman’s sign. It said, ‘Trips to Super Fun Island – entirely flee, climb aboard’. There were pictures of roller coasters and cotton candy and water slides. All the things young children liked. So Bramwellio climbed aboard the boat.
‘Take me to pleasure island, please,’ said Bramwellio.
‘Of course,’ said the Boatman. And they set off straight away. But as they left the harbour and sailed into the bigger waves, Bramwellio felt the strangest thing start to happen.
‘He got sea sick?’ guessed Michael.
‘No,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘When your stomach is made of solid chocolate you never feel sick. No the strange thing was happening to his ears. They were growing long and hairy. Bramwellio reached up and felt them. He had donkey ears!’
‘What’s going on?’ demanded Bramwellio. ‘Why do I have donkey ears? I thought you were taking me to Super Fun Island.’
‘I am,’ said the Boatman. ‘But you won’t be the one having super fun. The super fun will be had by all the tourists who will come to ride on you and the other donkeys. Everyone loves a donkey ride.’
‘But I don’t want to be a donkey!’ wailed Bramwellio.
‘Then you should have gone to school and got an education,’ said the boatman. ‘You’re a donkey now.’
But Bramwellio was not going along with that. He really really didn’t want to be a donkey. Walking was bad enough. Carrying someone else while walking was unthinkable. So he jumped over the side into the sea to escape.
Bramwellio started to swim back to shore. It was hard work fighting his way through the waves and against the current, but eventually he could see the dock back on the mainland. And there on the dock - he could see Geppetto waving to him.
‘Bramwellio!’ cried Geppetto. ‘Is that you?’
‘Yes, it is me, Mama!’ called Bramwellio. ‘Sorry, I got a bit lost on the way to school.’
His nose grew a foot when he said this.’
‘Bramwellio!” cried Geppetto. ‘Watch out! Behind you!’
‘What?’ said Bramwellio. He turned to see a huge terrifying beast speeding through the sea towards him.’
‘Not a shark?’ said Michael.
‘No, a whale,’ said Nanny Piggins.
‘Don’t you touch my boy!’ cried Geppetto, leaping off the dock to save Bramwellio. But the huge wahale was undeterred. It opened its huge mouth and swallowed them both whole.’
‘Hang about,’ said Derrick. ‘We studied whales at school. They don’t eat people. They only eat microscopic krill, teeny tiny fish. Something as big as a human or a puppet wouldn’t fit down their throat.’
‘And would a whale be able to digest chocolate?’ asked Samantha.
‘Oh please,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Of course it could. Just imagine it from the whales perspective. It had spent it’s whole life only eating one thing – krill. Microscopic fish, that hadn’t been cleaned or cooked, never once served with tartare sauce and a squeeze of lemon and a panko crumb batter. Just raw ungutted fish and saltwater all day.
So when a solid chocolate boy fell into the water in front of it, or course that was impossible to resist.
And Geppetto and Bramwellio found themselves inside the whales stomach. It was dark and smelly and horrible.
‘Oh father,’ said Bramwellio. ‘I’m so sorry my foolishness has led us to this.’
‘No, Bramwellio,’ said Geppetto. ‘I’m sorry. I tried to send you to school so you could learn and become a better person, when I could have let you stay at home and scoff chocolate all day.’
‘I accept your apology,’ said Bramwellio. ‘Why don’t we go home, right now and do just that.’
Geppetto looked at her poor simple-minded solid-chocolate son with sympathy, ‘Because we can’t my dear. We are inside the belly of a whale.’
‘Oh, I know that,’ said Bramwell. ‘But I will soon get us out. I may be useless and lazy and greedy and idle. But I am very good at irritating people. Just watch this.
Bramwellio got to his feet and started dancing.
‘My dear son,’ said Geppetto. ‘Is this really the time and place to be dancing.’
‘It’s the best time and place,’ said Bramwell still dancing his jig. He even started singing.
Dance dance dance
Whirl whirl whirl
I’ll hop on your tummy
Until you hurl.
And that’s just what the whale did. After five minutes of Bramwellio’s stomping about on his stomach, the whale because so sea sick he spewed Bramwellio and Geppetto out. They flew out the whales mouth and landed safely on a nearby beach.
‘You did it!’ cried Geppetto. ‘You saved us both. You are the best boy in the world.’
‘Yes, I am,’ said Bramwell. He nose grew when he said this. But having just escaped a near death situation, Geppetto decided to over look it just this once.
‘So they lived happily ever after?’ asked Samantha.
‘Yes, in reward for his bravery in irritating the whale, the fairy transformed Bramwellio into a real boy,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘And Geppetto had learned a lesson to. She learned to walk Bramwellio all the way to school herself if she didn’t want to spend every afternoon fishing his school books out of bushes.’
The end. Time for bed.