The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

Tempted By Titivillus
by Doug Jacquier

In much the same way as there are Patron Saints (mine is St. Jude, Hope of the Hopeless), there are also Patron Demons, with one such being Titivillus, the source of error making and tempter into mischief of the mediaeval scribes who produced copies of the Bible.

Working from daylight to dusk, often in freezing temperatures, they were tasked with making immaculate exact copies and it was inevitable that there would be the occasional mistake, like the Word of Gob, or Sadam and Gomorrah, or the Virgin Merry.

Brother Anselm’s visitations from Titivillus were more likely to result in lewd scenes hidden in the background of an illustration of the Wedding at Cana or jokes scribbled in the margins about the Fish and Chip Monk.

Occasionally his devilish handiwork would be discovered by the humourless Scottish senior scribe (known as the Ayr Friar) and he would be required to say a thousand Hail Mary’s backwards without a mistake, but most slipped through unnoticed in a world not yet defiled by printers and word processors.

Until the fateful day that his monastery was chosen to present an example of their fine work to the Pope in Rome and the Bishop travelled many weeks to deliver the exquisite tome to His Holiness, one that Brother Anselm had transcribed.

The explosion could be heard around the Holy Roman Empire when the Pope discovered that his favorite passage had been transformed into ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no weevil’.

'Tempted by Titivillus' was first published by McQueen's Quinterly. MacQueen’s Quinterly: Fiction: Doug Jacquier: Tempted by Titivillus (