Tea and the Lady with the Fly

Spring Pouchong
Spring Pouchong

What’s the connection between tea and the lady with the fly? Well, first of all, the former is a beverage that has been around for millennia, and the latter two are characters in a silly albeit entertaining little poem.

For those of you not familiar with the poem, it starts out with a poor old lady swallowing a fly and following that up with a spider that then squirmed and wiggled around inside her. She then proceeded to swallow (in this order) a bird, a cat, a dog, a cow, and finally a horse, which of course was a fatal thing to do.

It seems to me that the lady erred up front by trying to correct one blunder with an even bigger one, followed by several successively bigger ones, which is, naturally, the point of the poem.

To all sensible people it is quite clear that swallowing spiders does not solve having swallowed a fly. The best thing to do is find a nice cuppa something to wash it down and dilute things in the tummy. Tea to the rescue! If she had had a tea kettle ready, she could have had water heated and steeped a pot of tea in a matter of minutes.

Some teas especially good for rinsing that fly taste out of your mouth:

But seriously, tea is great for washing down all sorts of weird flavors and foods. Even if you’re into eating such — uh, well, esoteric is one word for it — treats as frog legs, chocolate covered ants, crispy termites, pickled pigs feet, or vegemite, there’s a tea out there somewhere that will go perfectly with it. That’s certainly better and less fattening than following up these small weird food items with something larger, such as a leg of mutton or luau-sized portion of poi.

So, I’m presenting my version of that silly poem:

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
Poor old lady, a drink she must try

Poor old lady, she drank some cider
But taste of fly was still inside her
She drank some more but found it strong
And made her dizzy before too long
Poor old lady, what now should she try?

Poor old lady, she drank some coffee
A flavored kind that tasted like toffee
She gulped it down but fly remained
A flavor that was not restrained
The cider failed and coffee, too,
Now what was this poor lady to do?
She had to keep on to get rid of fly.

Frantic old lady had naught more to try
Until a most friendly neighbor stopped by
Who put on the kettle for water to heat
And got the pot ready with tea leaves so sweet
Their fragrance alone made old lady smile
And liquid when steeped did her taste beguile
One sip and she knew that fly taste was gone
Now on with her daily tasks one by one
And no more would she dare to swallow a fly!

The moral here: choose your tea carefully and watch out for flies!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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