Once upon a time there were two little boys, Billy Bunter and Simple Simon. They lived in a strange village called Leftminster, home to two large families, the Tories and the Socialists. Billy and Simon belonged to the latter and hated the former. The main landmark in Leftminster was a huge trough on the village green. Every four or five years, money magically appeared in this trough and all the residents of Leftminster would crowd around it and try to stuff as many coins and notes as they could squeeze into their pockets. Both the Tory and Socialist families would employ numerous dirty tricks to ensure they reached the trough before their rivals and whoever got there first claimed all the riches and ran the village until the trough filled up again.
When Billy Bunter and Simple Simon were growing up their family had been first at the trough for the best part of thirteen years, but neither boy could get to the front of the queue and usually ended up sitting disconsolately on the benches at the back, placed there for those too fat or too stupid to make it to the trough. One year the two were sat together, feeling sorry for themselves as they scoffed a dozen pork pies each and they saw with horror that the Tories had got to the trough before the Socialists. While ever their family was running the village, both hoped they might one day be asked to play with the Socialist big boys; now that the Tory family had taken over again they knew this was unlikely to happen and they wondered what they were going to do in the long years before the trough filled up once more. They decided to put their heads together and make plans.
Billy Bunter thought the best way to upset the Tory family and make himself a hero to his own family was to set about making life as uncomfortable as possible for the Tories; he needed some dirt on the hated Tories, and one day he got it.
The evil Baron Von Murdoch, who for many years had lived in a dark fortress called Wapping Castle overlooking Leftminster, and who had constantly switched his allegiance between the two rival families (depending on who was most likely to get to the trough first), was implicated in a plot accusing his minions of reading the villager’s letters before they were posted. Some of his minions were thrown into Leftminster gaol for their part in the scandal, but the Baron escaped imprisonment, demolishing Wapping Castle as he fled the village. Once he had gone, many of the Tories were accused of being on the Baron’s payroll and Billy Bunter thought he’d write a book of fairy stories about how wicked they all were. Billy forgot that some of his own family had also enjoyed Baron Von Murdoch’s hospitality, or maybe he simply chose not to mention it as he enjoyed the acclaim and attention he received for his book, hoping it would gain him access to the Socialist big boys at last.
Meanwhile, Simple Simon had fallen in love with a well-endowed, dim and docile shepherdess who was young enough to be his daughter; whilst watching her flock she liked to sketch self-portraits of her assets and would then sell them to village boys for a shilling at a time. Simple Simon asked her to marry him and promised he would make her head shepherdess, in charge of all the other shepherdesses in the village. She accepted the deal and they were married not long after. The two moved into a large cottage on the outskirts of the village, a house they called Rochdale.
Whilst the newlyweds were strolling arm-in-arm around the village, acting as though they were king and queen, the apprentice shepherdesses that Simple Simon’s wife was supposed to be keeping an eye on were being kidnapped and ravished by rustlers from neighbouring villages, something many in Leftminster knew was happening but were too scared of upsetting the rustlers to stop. Simple Simon was busily enjoying the limelight he gained from his bustiferous bride to care too much about what was happening to the little shepherdesses, preferring to attend prestigious civic ceremonies, such as the day a plaque was unveiled to the late Cyril Arbuckle, former mayor of Leftminster – although the late Mr Arbuckle was rumoured to be a serial ravisher himself, albeit of young shepherds as opposed to shepherdesses.
Billy Bunter had become a well-known face in the village by now, but the success of his storybook about Baron Von Murdoch and the Tories had faded and he badly needed some further dirt on the Tory family to keep his profile high. When nothing came of his desperate digging, he figured he may as well utilise his imagination by simply making up even nastier stories about the Tories, and to do so he turned to his old friend Simple Simon. Between them, they hatched a plan to trash the revered reputations of Tory grandees, most of whom were either dead or dying. But they needed help in this ambitious operation and visited a local wicked witch called Old Ma Ducks.
Old Ma Ducks agreed to cast a spell across the village that would make the villagers believe the stories Billy and Simon were preparing to make up, but she would only do so for a substantial fee. She asked for their souls in return for casting her spell, though both explained they had no souls to sell; instead, she settled for regular cooperation in her own malicious spells and a monthly wage of twenty shillings from both of them. They agreed. Billy and Simon then returned to Leftminster and began to spread their fictitious rumours about the Tory family.
The Tory dynasty was founded by wizards and warlocks who stole and then ate babies, they said; the Leftminster constabulary and all the other powerful bodies of the village had helped the Tories to cover up the truth. Even other villages in the vicinity were in on it, participating in the infant banquet and covering their tracks so nobody would ever know what had happened. This lasted for years, they said, and successive heads of the Tory family knew all about it without saying a word; they turned a blind eye to those renegade Tory members who continued to indulge in such evil activities, ones visiting a house situated beneath a large elm tree, where live babies were delivered for dinner. The village’s kindest knight, Sir Jingle of Jangle, who had routinely raised money for the local poorhouse in jousting contests during his long and distinguished life, was also said to be involved. Simple Simon’s wife even claimed she had seen her own siblings eat babies just so she could court enough sympathy to sell more self-portraits, whilst an approving Billy Bunter decreed no cow was sacred as long as it was on its last legs or already six feet under (and always a Tory one). Every wild accusation portrayed him and Simon as valiant crusaders of justice.
Old Ma Ducks even cast spells on some middle-aged villagers to substantiate the stories, hypnotising them into believing they had witnessed the eating of babies by members of the Tory family as children. Billy and Simon used this false testimony to support their accusations, but Old Ma Ducks’ original spell had worked wonders anyway. The whole village of Leftminster believed every word. The ruling Tory dynasty repeatedly protested that there was no concrete evidence to prove the stories were true. Nobody believed them. Soon, elderly Tory villagers were being dragged from their homes and found guilty before even being tried in the village hall; some were burned at the stake on the village green, others were hanged from the branches of the elm beside which their depraved crimes were supposed to have taken place. And the more poor old Tories Billy Bunter and Simple Simon denounced as baby-eaters, the greater their chances of vacating the benches at the back of the queue as the time approached when the trough would again be full of money.
‘One day the Socialist family will rule again,’ said Billy to Simon as he received a free sketch of Simon’s wife’s assets, ‘and we two will rule the family between us.’ He then looked at the sketch and put his arm around Simon. ‘Ah,’ he exclaimed. ‘What a great pair of tits.’