Friday, 5 August 2011

A Short History of Malaisey - Part 2

Encyclopedia Insulae, 6th edition, 2005

The Channel Island of Malaisey is often known as the "forgotten Channel Island". Larger than Guernsey, smaller than Jersey, both more southerly and closer to France. The origins of the name, Malaise, are unknown, but the tourism guides commonly joke that sea-sick sailors, suffering from the malaise of stormy weather, named the Island. It has a ministerial government, headed by the elderly First Minister, Gerry A. Trick, and a local Radio Station which has the jingle "From St Branflakes to St Griddles, from St Martha to St Sensible, this is BBC Radio Malaisey, bringing you news of fresh disasters from across the Island

A Short History of Malaisey - by Gregor Reginald Villeine

2: From Caesar's Salad to the first Rollo.
Unlike the other Channel Islands, it seems likely that Julius Caeasar came to Malaisey, bringing with him his recipe for salad. We know this because in his appendix to his "Gallic Wars", he describes coming to an island almost out of sight of the other Channel Islands, where he met the natives and was introduced to the strange game they played. This involved threading string through the nuts of a tree he mentions as the "Aesculus hippocastanum", and striking each others nuts until one breaks. Caesar took up the game with relish, and having defeated all the inhabitants, uttered the memorable phrase "Veni, Vedi, Vici", which translates as "I came, I saw, I conkered".
After Caesar left, Malaisey settled back into obscurity, and it was at this time that the Antonine Itinerary was written giving the names of the Channel Islands as Lesia, Angia, and so on. But the scribe couldn't quite remember where Malaisey was so he just put ""Nusquam Esse", meaning nowhere in particular.
In the dark ages, Malaisey was visited by a number of wise men and hermits, all carrying their own candles to see by. It is from this time that we hear of the legend of the Belgian Saint called St Élitus. St Élitus came to Malaisey where he found a suitable remote cave to live in. There he enjoyed his solitude, until one day, a Malaisey man called Anquetil came to see him, bringing with him a broken kettle, which he was able to fix for free.

The news that he could mend kettles, and seal up holes in leaky pots and pans - for free - spread, and he became famous as a the Great Sealer (later corrupted to Healer). Thus it was that a group of Vikings landed, and wanted him to fix their knives and forks, which had been bent out of shape by a Shaman called Yuri Fraudster.

Fed up with all the attention, St Élitus spread a rumour that he had been killed by the very Viking knives he had fixed, and sailed back to Belgium in a coffin. The sad natives, grieving at the loss of such a saintly man, and such a free service, called a Parish after him, and made its symbol two knives crossed over each other.
Other notable saints giving their names to Malaisey were St Sensible, who became the patron saint for suburbs because of the number built in that Parish, and St Griddle, who gave his name to a country Parish where the inhabitants had lots of barbeques. There was also a parish of St Mary and Martha, but the sea swept away half the Parish, so it was just called St Martha.

Out of the dark ages, came the Vikings from the North, who came and grabbed land and property from the natives, either just taking it by force, or by buying it up with all the gold they had made being pirates and bandits. They forced the inhabitants to use their own language instead of the native Malaisey speech, and were apt to call their Northern homeland by the term "the Mainland", even though it was miles further north than the nearby coast of France.
The Vikings in Normandy were Norsemen, and they brought with them a new kind of food - a sweet made from caramel candy, so that their chief was mistakenly called by the name given to this sweet, and named "Rollo". Hence the well-known oath which the inhabitants of Malaisey would cry, "Ah Ro, Ah, Ro, A Manger-Moi, Mon Prince", which roughly translates as "Ah Rollo, Ah Rollo, Let me eat it, My Prince", and which meant that what ever going on immediately had to stop while the sweet was eaten.


alane said...

Best short history ever! I love Ceasar salad AND rollo, so it's perfect!

Anonymous said...


James said...

We await the derivation of the name of St Branflakes with interest!