05 November, 2013

Aries by Iain Pattison

Welcome to Part Nine of my 12-part Zodiac Blog Series. On Tuesdays in autumn I'm posting a story or poem each written especially for this blog by a different author. Each piece of writing has taken one of the signs of the zodiac as its inspiration. For the full list of participants - from established authors to first-time writers - plus the posting schedule and links to previous stories and poems, please visit the Zodiac Blog Series Page.

This week we have a story by Iain Pattison and inspired by Aries.

Birmingham-based Iain Pattison is an expert in the craft of writing and seIling short stories. He is the author of the best-seller, Cracking the Short Story Market. A prolific short story writer and competition winner, his work has been published on both sides of the Atlantic, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and appeared in a raft of popular magazines. When he's not penning quirky tales he's a busy competition judge, creative writing tutor, script doctor and appraiser. As an Aries - March 27th if anyone wants to send a card - he says he just had to "grab the ram". It may result in a court case...

You can find Iain on his website, Twitter and Facebook, or you can read his stories for yourself by clicking here.


Ram-a-Lama Ding Dong!

“Holy sh-“
His Most Exulted and Celestial Reverence the Dalai Lama slapped his hand across his mouth just in time to prevent a string of obscenities turning the Tibetan air blue.
Blinking, he rubbed his eyes unable to accept what he was seeing. Instead of a benign, portly man with bulging stomach and holy aura, the statute that had just been unveiled was an animal – a towering 20-foot woolly vision with horns.
He gazed darkly at the beaming young monk leant against the plinth of his creation, clearly delighted at the results of his six month labour.
“Whaddya think, chief?” he urged. “Isn’t it great? Isn’t it just what we need to bring in the punters.”  
The Dalai Lama wanted to answer “I can’t believe it’s not Buddha” but had an eerie feeling he’d heard the phrase somewhere before. Instead, he spluttered; “But, it’s a .. a… sheep!”
Screwing up his face, the monk nodded. “Technically, yes. But it’s actually a ram. Much more impressive.”
His holiness’ various lives flashed through his mind as he tried to recall what he’d ever done to deserve this. His orders had been clear – build a new religious edifice to boost the dwindling numbers of pilgrims making the arduous climb to the temple high in the Himalayas. Create something traditional; signalling that this was a place to seek enlightenment, inner knowledge and spiritual peace. He hadn’t mentioned anything about livestock. 
“It’s in your honour,” the monk explained. “I researched your Holiness’ birth chart and discovered you are an Aries. Hence the ram…”
For someone who was supposed to be at one with everything, the Dalai Lama found himself at sixes and sevens. It was all too much. It was difficult to be sure – all the monks looked identical with their shaven heads, bare feet and orange robes - but he had a horrible feeling it was the same initiate who’d suggested a range of Buddhist t-shirts emblazoned with slogans like:
Reincarnation: in my next life I’m coming back as evaporated milk!
Keep Karma and Carry on Meditating!
When you get angry, stop and count to Zen!
Nirvana – you’ve heard the music, now try the state of mind.
He knew he should be furious, but reminded himself forcefully that the demented disciple had meant well. Besides, he suddenly had an idea of how he could rescue something from the mess.
“Fetch me some paint,” he instructed. “And rollers, lots of rollers.”

Several hours later, His Most Exulted and Celestial Reverence smiled serenely as he surveyed pilgrims making their way upwards – hundreds of them – all attracted by the dazzling sunlight reflecting off the top of the newly glistening statute.
The yellow hued ram was gaudy, admittedly, but he knew once word spread the curious would be – he allowed himself an inner chuckle – flocking to see it.
It just went to prove the golden rule of all faiths, he mused wisely – if you gild it, they will come…


  1. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Brilliant story, made me really chuckle.

  2. Hate to cause controversy on your blog, Chloe, but as a Buddhist I'm afraid I found this one offensive and distasteful.

  3. Ha, you had me at "His holiness’ various lives flashed through his mind"

  4. That's got to be the most offbeat story so far this series, I think!
    You are a master of the pun; more than one groan as I was reading. Thank you.

  5. As one monk might say to another: Oh brother. I like the original take and the punctilious use of puns.

  6. Excellent wordplay, Iain. Yours puns are bad in all the right ways :o)


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