Saturday, July 12, 2008

Except, that is, for those reckless folk who felt that, as the end of the world was nigh and all would soon perish, they might as well live for the present and spend what money they had on pleasure. Within the confines of Walsham this usually meant passing long hours in the alehouses which were liberally sprinkled across the parish. The wanton, both men and women, drank excessively, gambled recklessly, and enjoyed each other's intimate company. This crowd of seemingly carefree folk, who were more numerous than might be imagined, even found it diverting to make jokes about death and the pestilence. However, there was general agreement among this dissolute crowd that fat Simon went too far when he cleared Alice Pye's packed tavern by suddenly falling off his bench, screaming and gesturing to a large swelling on his upper thigh. The horrified carousers who glanced at him writhing on his back on the floor, and did indeed see a great lump in his crotch, ran screaming from the tavern. When Simon chased after them into the road laughing and exposing his huge erect cock, he was given a sound beating and had the door locked against him. For many years after the regulars at Pye's alehouse took grim delight in telling of the prank of Simon Greathorn, as he was henceforth dubbed.

John Hatcher, The Black Death: A Personal History (140)

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