( Ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt?)
Being a tosspot has many stumblings, citizenry squinted at Brau Houbiller’s pot gut, flinched at his dropsy peepers and refused to lend him a debt worth a vest-pocket for a small supper after nights of hunger, and noons went without even a meager meal. ‘Life is a constantly prevented dying, an ever-deferred death’, who knew better than a debt-ridden man of philosophical leanings like Brau Houbiller. When Saint Euffosio of Fluery died, his reliquiae poured out buckets of olive oil and all the clochards of Paris ran to Notre-Dame de l’huile Rejoier to collect it in their jars and flagons they snaffle from their masters or from shopmen as memorabilia of their love for their masters or shopmen. Saint Euffosio’s sanctimonious reliquiae did not hatch fowls or produce potatoes for stew. Clochards scraped together feathers of fowls from butchery’s orts, and cooked a toothsome casserole. Now on St. Euffosio’s day, old families of Paris eat estuve de pignon religiously. Now, the terra firma of Transalpine Gaul turned so infecund to bear even half a saint in her carpel.
Brau Houbiller was born in Poitiers to François Houbiller and Françoise. Françoise was given to tristesse, had gargantuan bosom and was not married to François Houniller. She milked sows of François Houbiller’s business of husbandry. François Houbiller supplied sow’s milk to abbey of Ordo Aeterna Sanctorum Vulnerum for cheesemaking. Sows were, before French revolution in 1798, fainéant and highly shrewish like members of the gentle sex of those times. Every morning, they had huge pandemonium. Françoise used to have a drop more every night and wetted herself in her petticoat, smelling Françoise’s petticoat sows used to give shrill cries and run in all four corners of the yard not because sows believed in hygiene but they did not like their milk being curdled and made into fromage blanc. They liked it to be suckled by some swine embalmed in night soil all over. Françoise, fat and dwarfish, one morning committed suicide by drowning her head in a pitcher of sow’s milk.
The abbey of Ordo Aeterna Sanctorum Vulnerum was reft of its cheeses during Revolution and the charterhouse was made into a nursery for baconers and piglings. François Houbiller caught a bizarre venereal lurgy because of his frequent congress with sows and also died within a month. Brau Houbiller in his twelfth year found himself orphaned and starving among shrill and shrewish sows but he was a stout-ribbed fellow, he decided to become a hagiographer and a patrologist for he knew there was a tremendous black bazar for it among wigged hags, retired harlots and old chaps of feeble organs.
‘If all my members were turned into tongues, and all my arteries should resound in human voice, yet I might not worthily write the virtues of St. Blase. I take witness of God and of his holy angels, and also of the angel that was keeper of this saint that I shall say nothing for praising but that same that I shall say shall be less than appertaineth to his virtues.’ Brau Houbiller bought a stockpile of all the incunabula printed before him, followed the shoes of Jacobus de Voragine, and copied saints’ histories from Abbreviatio in gestis et miraculis sanctorum and Epilogus in gestis sanctorum. Soon his printer at Paris had his roof tiled with tarts but Brau Houbiller dragged from a loaf to another for his earnings went in gambling and drinking. Those times were not any holier than today and not a single saint was birthing. Soon, Brau Houbiller ran out of the saints and found himself without a sou.
Once a noonday, he had only a pork pie, half a loaf and a spoonful of cheese crumbs left on his table. ‘Jetter de 1’huile sur le feu’ he cried when he saw puncheon of his vin ordinaire too ran out. Then Foltische Fonne, a Falstaffian baker, deformed as gonorrrhoeal membrum virile, came to ask his borrowing back from Brau Houbiller.
”Nee Obolum habet, unde Restim emat, he has not a penny left to buy an halter. He has no property, ” ne in pelle quidem,” not even in his skin,’ Foltische Fonne saw and uttered this proverb. He without wait uttered another, ‘Pecunice, obediunt omnla, money masters all things’ and ate the last morsel of Brau Houbiller’s pork pie. He drank the bottom drop of Brau Houbiller’s vin ordinaire and harangued, “The stomach,” Rabelais says, ” only speaks by signs, but those signs are more readily obeyed by every one, than the statutes of senates, or the commands of monarchs.’ He then swooped the last crumbs of Brau Houbiller’s cheese and said, ” Magister artis ingeniique largitor venter, venter, or the stomach, is the master of all art, and bestower of genius and invention.”
Foltische Fonne eructed on Brau Houbiller’s face and Brau Houbiller tried to inhale it for he was very peckish. Foltische Fonne loosened his knee breeches on his pot-gut, laid on a chaise longue with thighs apart and told Brau Houbiller, another proverb, ‘when an old quim runs away with a young porker, a long-headed pego † † † carve a quim in cheese and pork’ and slept and snorted.
Brau Houbiller, with mice and bunnies of hunger in his tum, thought what did Foltische Fonne meant by the proverb he said before sleeping, ‘when an old quim runs away with a young porker, a long-headed pego carves a quim in cheese and pork’. After tapping his temples so much with his fat finger that his costard started aching when he did not find its meaning, he decided to invent a meaning for the proverb. He made that Foltische Fonne, a man of proverbial wisdom and such a fine shrewdness, must have meant that if a hagiographer runs out of all the saints, he can compose hagiography of a cheesemaker claiming him a saint, and settled on doing so.
A couple of mustachioed porters carried the chaise longue along with Foltische Fonne, for monsieur Foltische Fonne still slept and snorted on it, to a cabinetmaker’s shop. Foltische Fonne had to plead in court of law for the cabinetmaker claimed Foltische Fonne his slave as he bought Foltische Fonne along with chaise longue. In court of law, Foltische Fonne uttered, ‘my elbow itched since cockcrow and I knew I would be kissed by a foul-mouthed buffoon. Now ” yr por lana, y bolver tresquilado,” I went for wool, and returning home shorn. Misfortune breeds misfortune and now Brau Houbiller’s woe-birds nestled over my forehead too but as the adage goes ‘Exiguum Malum, ingens Eonum that is ill-luck is good for something, I will invent many proverbs from this experience. Like a tooth cannot bite another tooth, you cannot harm me’ and so many more proverbs that a pleader at the bar, took to composing a book of Foltische Fonne’s Adages and had his roof tiled with tarts with the sell-out of his opus.
Brau Houbiller sold the chaise lounge and bought a barrel of ink and sheaves of paper to concoct hagiography of a made-up saint. He thought of telling the chronicles ‘ab Ovo usque ad Mala’, that is from the eggs to the apples, from the beginning to the end. He pressed a perished garnet-apple and drank for it tasted like the grape and set for writing.
S. Sigismundus Studebimus, or S. Sigismundus Székesfehérvár was born to a baker’s daughter in Budapest. Her mother, not married, out of modesty attributed her old mother to be the mother of S. Sigismundus Studebimus. The baker’s woman was a teller of tall tales and weaved the yarn to her neighbours that the apparition of Saint Dympna came to her a night and stowed a Baby of Holy Soul in her dry and shrivelled womb. After a week of baby of holy soul’s jounces in her womb and her own jouissance, she gave birth to a boy. The boy thus lionised as the Baby of Holy Soul. Since infancy he played with rosaries and had hallucination of the cosmos. He was given to melancholia and phantasmagoria. He, in his thirteenth year, saw Padre Amãsiõ of Lisboa saving his immaculacy when in a nightmare, a succubus held him unclad in her lap. He ran away from home to meet Padre Amãsiõ of Lisboa and ended up in abbey of Ordo Aeterna Sanctorum Vulnerum at Poitiers.
He studied Latin and Greek and remained a postulant for seven years before the abbot of Ordo Aeterna Sanctorum Vulnerum declared him a coenobite. He wrote A Discussion of Mortuary Customs Around the World in Latin consisted of nine books and a volume on rhetorics of Holy Writ. He wounded his organs in correspondence to marks left on Christ’s body by the crucification. He was fine-boned and beautiful as Christ and modelled for Jean-Baptiste La Bruyère as Christ for his depiction of Doubting Thomas. His sublime, tonsured chest had an incision on his right side in which S. Thomas inserted his finger in the depiction. He mediated eight, or sometimes sixteen hours a day, sitting in a similar posture with a skull in hands. He rarely came outside cloister and obtained the finest of pale complexion due to lack of sun, wind and because of his stolid immaculacy.
In his forty-third year, he started composing verses on stigmata of St Francis of Assisi and completed it on the feast of Simon The Zealot, on that day he ate a block of Roquefort and drank a pot of Auvergne vin de table. He had an epileptic sore head that night. His temporal veins throbbed to burst open and he knocked around from a cell to another. At the end he in a hallucinatory state, fell asleep in an oubliette and later at dawn, he found his neck rheumatic due to Torticollis, and tilted towards his left like Jynx Torquilla. His eyes turned strabismic and temperament turned vinegary.
S. Sigismundus Studebimus did not pay heed to his suffering and started his magnum opus. In the book I & II, it was held that Mater Dolorosa, when she held Christ descended from The Cross, did not turn lachrymose but milk poured forth from his bosom. The wise ladies of Palestine collected it for Christ as they knew he will resurrect from the dead. The milk curdled but the wise ladies made cheese of it. That piece of cheese represents the cosmos in Fable of S.Maria Lacte Caseus composed by S. Sigismundus Studebimus. All the cheesemongers of Gaul visited the abbey of Ordo Aeterna Sanctorum Vulnerum at Poitiers for S. Sigismundus Studebimus bought it all in hope of finding S.Maria Lacte Caseus.
The iniquity of cheese soon engulfed the abbey of Ordo Aeterna Sanctorum Vulnerum. Its malodour reigned in the air of cloister, and it seemed as unwashed armpits, genitals and feet of numerous voluptuaries fornicated there. The whiff of decay and coagulation made the abbey a nurturing bosom for butterflies, ants, locusts, grubs, wasps and mice. Some of the monks ate so much of cheese that they defecated earthworms and other worms blue in colour. They grew ample on their chest and belly like Italians and their thighs, hips and limbs turned well-turned. They had long and flamboyant wet dreams. Several succubi gave voluptuary sighs in the abbey for monks, whether young or ripe, had their organs swelled most of the time.
When the palate of the monks grew accustomed to the goût of all the cheese they bought, S. Sigismundus Studebimus evolved a unusual recipe of cheesemaking. They did not milk their cows, ewes, mares and sows and let the neonate animals overfed on the milk. When they vomited due to indigestion, they collected the vomitus- curdled and rank milk and matured it for months into cheese. The husbandry of abbey soon ran out of animals for most of them died of dyspepsia. Till the old blocks of cheese fed the monks, it became crucial for S. Sigismundus Studebimus to invent an untried recipe of cheesemaking for his palate too grew soon habituated to vintage cheeses and he needed to savour every kind of cheese to imagine the flavour of S.Maria Lacte Caseus.
S. Sigismundus Studebimus ordered few ancient monks of the abbey to arrange for vaginal microflora that is fluids secreted by a hearty vulva during sexual arousal, thus came Formaggio di pudendum. It tasted and smelt of vulva and filled the abbey with perfervid lechery. Members of gentle sex were not allowed in the abbey but then there were no need for them as the Formaggio di pudendum had all the features of Eve in it. Soon, the gluttonous monks grew accustomed to Formaggio di pudendum too and prayed to S. Sigismundus Studebimus for an ilk of cheese far corrupt and pongier. Thus came Fromage Proctologist’s Victus. It had scatological flavour and monks for the sake of modesty, called it delectatio morose. It reeked of unwashed anus and was piquant on palate.
Once early morning, two crooked and leprous monsters and a rubenesque bare-bosom woman visited S. Sigismundus Studebimus. S. Sigismundus Studebimus noticed that the woman was of so immodest temperament that she did not clad her vulva even with the fig leaf. Between the two monsters, one had only skull for head and another one had penis in place of nose. They were death and satan. The woman was gluttony. They all came to claim S. Sigismundus Studebimus. They quarrelled and fought with fists among themselves. S. Sigismundus Studebimus felt short of wind in his bedchamber, which resembled cabinet of curious cheeses. A fire broke in the chamber.
All cheese melted away and holy remains of S. Sigismundus Studebimus too merged with it. Brau Houbiller did not write about the cheese and wrote only about S. Sigismundus Studebimus, with holy soul inside his immaculate flesh, ascended to the abode of saints.
During French Revolution when the Abbey of Ordo Aeterna Sanctorum Vulnerum was looted, its cheese became the cherished keeping for it had most amoral and vulgar of odour and savour. It tasted of bodily fluids and rotten flesh. Victor Lully, a cordon bleu chef and a recipe-maker, described the cheese found at S. Sigismundus Studebimus’s bedchamber, capable of surprising even the most corrupt of men for it sometimes had scatological flavours and sometimes it is delectable as fossilised testicles. It had fine threads of nerves and eyes better than emmental of Suisse. Many a times, a hair or two makes an appearance but they too are of supreme pulchritude.
In France, the cheese found at Fromagerie of Jules-Jacques Joliot can only be compared to the cheese found at S. Sigismundus Studebimus but where the religiosity and zenith of art of cheesemaking is attached to the Abbey of Ordo Aeterna Sanctorum Vulnerum; a cannibalistic carnival is attached to the Fromagerie of Jules-Jacques Joliot, when the looters killed the master of house and stuffed him in the pot of curdled milk. The looters ate all the cheese. When they reached upstairs where the lady of house slept, due to excessive gobbling of cheese, they filled the boudoir with their anal winds and the lady of the house murmured in her sleep, ‘Monsieur, the cheese is maturing quite deliciously this time.’
Ammber Pandey is a poet and novelist interested in the spiritual and the erotic. He has written a book of poetry titled Kolahal ki Kavitayein. He lives in Indore, India.