Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cricket Heaven or The Bad News

Alvin Schwartz’s books have been very popular since they were first published in the 1980s. His stories are based on classic folktales, legends, and myths that have been around for generations. 

Many of them focus on ghosts. In the second book in his trilogy entitled, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark he shares a story entitled “The Bad News”. There is a recording of this story at the bottom of this post. 

Schwartz’s “The Bad News” is a humorous story that is based upon a ghost folktale that has been told in Great Britain for years. The British version is entitled, “Cricket Heaven”. In this version two very elderly men Michael and Freddie, sit on a park bench outside the Lord’s cricket ground every day talking about their favorite sport, Cricket. They spend hours discussing their favorite funny cricket moments.

One day Michael turns to Freddie and asks, “Do you think there’s cricket in heaven?”

Freddie serious for a change ponders Michael’s question. Then responds, “I dunno. But let’s make an agreement: if I die first, I’ll come back and tell you if there’s cricket in heaven, and if you die first, you do the same.”

The two men both in their eighties shook hands on it. Sadly, just a few months later poor Freddie passes on.

Michael still sits on the same park bench every day. But now alone, he feeds the pigeons. One day he is startled to hear a voice nearby whisper, “Michael………….Michael!”

The voice being familiar, Michael asks in amazement, “Freddie is that you?”

“Yes, I am a ghost.”

Michael still amazed gathers his wits and asks, “So, is there cricket in heaven?”

There was a pause and then Freddie replied, “Well, I’ve got good news and bad news.”

“Gimme the good news first.”

“Well.......there is cricket in heaven.”

Michael now excited says, “That’s great! What news could be bad enough to ruin that?”

Freddie slowly whispers, “You are going to open the innings this Friday.”

Another classic version of this story plays even more adroitly on the theme of “good news, bad news”. In this version the ghostly friend informs the other friend that the good news is-- there is cricket in heaven but the bad news is-- there is cricket in hell…

The following Schwartz version puts an American twist on this classic folktale. He has two friends discussing their favorite sport, baseball.

No comments: