So what's with all the earwigs then?

In a thread on Snow White and the Seven Samurai, on 2000/01/20, John Leith the Village Austringer wrote:

I enjoy flying but I still had a little nervous jolt reading that in the departure lounge at Birmingham Airport.

and the Sqouire replied:

Ah yes. I put that bit in for a loyal reader who (a) has to fly a lot in the course of his employment (b) is terrified of having a window go pop at 50,000 feet and (c) tends to buy my books at airports, to take his mind off the horrors of air travel.
If anybody else has a debilitating phobia they'd like to see not mentioned in a book, please let me know.

Melody rose to the bait:


and the Squoire hastened to oblige:

Right. No problem. I'll get on to Little Brown and see if they can change the title to SNOW WHITE & THE 50,000,000 EARWIGS in time for the paperback.
We live only to serve.

After a short pause for hysteria Melody found her voice again:

It has been said before , but I will say it again :
Mr Holt are a cruel and nasty man ( why do I get the feeling you like that ?)
<fx ...falls off chair SHUDDERING at the thought of 1 earwig let alone 50,000,000>

and the Squoire:

Thank you. That's the sweetest thing anybody's said about me this century

By 20th March 2000 Melody had apparently given up arguing, and signed herself "She of the 500,000,000 earwigs fame" - which seemed a bit excessive even to the regulars; by 29th March she had settled on "Her of the 50,000,000 earwigs", with a minor panic in April to "She of the 50,000,000,000 Earwigs".

On 20/7/00 a post went up explaining it all thus:

About the Earwigs' Advent


1 It came to pass that when the Abthite had lived as a tribe for some months, one of their number wrote that she for one wished to have no truck with earwigs, for they gave her the cold grue and the screaming abdabs.
2 And when he read this the Author was much amused, and it pleased him in his infinite wisdom to gift her with fifty million earwigs for her own, to have and to hold (yeuch!) and probably to cherish until death did them part and so on and so forth.
3 For he is the Author, and all things both good and bad are in his gift.
4 It is his will that from that day forward she must sign herself "She of the 50,000,000 Earwigs", and also must give house and home to these creations of the Author, or he may wax wroth and send more and greater earwigs and the Abthite be over-run entirely.
5 Until the End of Things, no matter how many she may give away or otherwise lose, the Author will not want of his will in the matter and they shall be replenished up to the number of fifty million.
6 And seeing what has come to pass, no one of the Abthite shall ever mention l*c*sts lest worse befall.
7 This is the Law, and so it is written.


Since then, the Earwigs have become somewhat Organised. They live on the hill behind the Lundqvist Arms, near the Firedrake's cave, in a barracks of their very own, and hang about outside the Lundy cadging drinks from the unwary. If they get drunk, they sing. If they sing, we all go home, or throw things. If they come into the bar, the Buxom Barmaid screams, and we all go home, or throw things.

They purport to defend the Village from hostile invasion by alien steeples, or something of the kind.

So far the only Earwigs who post regularly in person are Regimental Sergeant Major Willie Earwig, Isambard Kingdom Earwig, and Nikola Fulbemászó one of whom is obviously a Regimental Sergeant Major, another of whom is an Engineerwig with a penchant for steam power and wrought iron, and the third of whom is an Engineerwig with a penchant for electricity. Eustace Earwig is an occasional poster, as is Sergeant Felix Earwig (CATO).

They also run a Babbage Engine on which this website and their own are apparently hosted, with the active connivance of the Firedrake.

This village is a seething mass of livestock. Tell me more...
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Last updated: Sat, 15 Jul 2006 22:11:23 +0100