Evidence that spelling really does mater
How different things would have been if similar misspellings had changed the titles of other well-known classic texts ...
The Picture off Dorian Gray - the tale of Mr Gray, a handsome young Victorian who has his portrait painted, but then refuses to have it hung on the wall, instead insisting on taking it everywhere with him. This makes romantic relationships difficult, particularly when necessitating close contact, as none of his lovers can persuade him to let them relieve him of the painting, even for five minutes of bliss. Bigger, more spacious beds are purchased, but this does not help. Sales of a recent (under the counter) text entitled 'Pleasing Your Man While Negotiating Large Artefacts' soar through the roof. But still, relationships founder and he dies alone. Well, not quite alone.
The Portrait off a Lady - A short but tragic tale written by a Mr Gray about the one time a lady friend managed to grab off him a picture he had had painted of himself and about the ensuing struggle he had to get it back. (This book did not sell well - there were many mistakes in it as the publishers found it hard to read Mr Gray's awkward style of handwriting.)
The Lord off the Rings - a long, long story about The God of Jewellery who, suddenly sick of the sight of celebrities wearing necklaces and bracelets thicker than their hip circumferences, decides he will take a break for a while. For a time (a long, long time) he sits on a cloud in despair, wondering what else to do, but as his skills lie solely in looking after the world's gold and silver, eventually, to everyone's relief, he comes back to his first love. While he was on the cloud, though, a worldwide recession hit, of which he was unaware, and he finds that many people are buying cheap costume jewellery instead and saying that it's 'the new Cartier'. He has less and less to do as a result, gets bored, feels disaffected, and starts scrawling graffiti on cloud formations and TWOCing chariots off angels. Riding one of the chariots too fast one day, he veers off the heavenly road and crashes into a lorry delivering harps (just as news comes in that the recession is on the turn).
Lord off the Flies - a tale about a group of boys who are stranded on a desert island and, while exploring, find a native chief who lives solely on the insects of the island. He seems to have done very well on this diet, but suddenly, the sight of pre-teen boys in public school uniforms, picking their noses and singing out of tune, turns him off his food, and he dies of starvation. The boys examine his cupboards and refrigerator with interest as they are hungry, but the selection (fly pie, fly casserole, flies in aspic, fly jam, flies with salmon and rocket in a cream sauce garnished with a sprig of parsley) does not appeal and they eat each other instead.
One Hundred Years off Solitude - An elderly, wizened gentleman from a remote South American settlement has lived a lonely life. Up until now, he has been content - he has managed to avoid the other things which have entertained his local community (Spanish galleons beached in the jungle, flying carpets, an iguana in a woman's womb, the coming of the steam engine). He has lived a hermit's life. One day, however, he emerges from his house, to the shock of all his neighbours, and declares that having lived for eighty-three years alone, he now intends to live another hundred, but this time as part of the community. He wishes for full involvement and signs up to several local committees. Having been so isolated, his community realises, has left him ignorant of the normal life-span of a South American gentleman. Still, they say nothing. He dies a month later.
The Grapes off Wrath - a family from America travel to find work. They find it difficult. No oranges are in sight. However, on their travels, living hand to mouth, they try to entertain each other in the evenings to boost morale. Suddenly, they discover that one member of the family has a tremendous talent. Whenever he gets angry, bumps appear all over his face - green bumps, with stalks, which then fall off. At first, the family take him to the doctor but the doctor is baffled. It is only when the family realise that, as they tramp around the field they are camping in, treading on all these green bumps which have fallen off their kinsman, a rich, tasty liquid is forming which, when sipped from the ground with a straw, makes them feel very happy and not so disappointed about not having found where the oranges grow yet. They exhibit their kinsman at travelling shows, and become rich. The kinsman isn't happy at all, as he feels somewhat used, but that only makes more green bumps appear, which is good for family finances, if not for his feelings of self-worth.
Okay, that's enough drivel from me. I'm of to bed.