Moonrakers



A couple of centuries ago, on a moonlit night,two men from the village of Bishops Canning in Wiltshire, were busy carrying home some smuggled brandy or moonshine, in the back of a hay cart. As they passed the village pond, they heard the sound of an approaching excise man. Thinking quickly, they dumped the barrels into the pond, and began raking the surface of the water with their hay-rakes.
"What in the world bist up to?" asked the excise man
"We be a-reaking var thik thar gurt cheese", replied one of the men
"Cassen thee see un?" added the other, pointing to the reflection of the moon.
The excise man burst out laughing, and hurried off back to tell his colleagues that he had seen two drunken, country bumpkins who thought that the reflection of the moon was a cheese. In the words of an old ballad:
"To zee thik dunder-haided coon
A-reakin atter the shadder of the moon"

After he had gone, the two men used their rakes to retrieve the brandy and continued on their way [1]. Since then, Wiltshire people (my mother is one) have been known as Moonrakers.

This story may or may not be true. A similar story is told about "The wise fools of Gotham"[2] (a village in Nottinghamshire), and the Tibetan story of The Monkeys and the Moon is also smilar. apparently, versions of this story are found worldwide. A tale from Turkey associates the foolish Nasreddin Hodja with a similar misadventure

New York was apparently nicknamed "Gotham City", by Wahington Irvine because it is "a city of fools and wiseacres". I'm not sure why "Moonraker" was chosen for the title of a James Bond story. On the subject of Bond, the earliest suggestion that the moon landings might have been hoaxed, came in "Diamonds are forever", in which Bond is being pursued through the desert, and briefly stumbles across a filmset in which actors are dressed as astronauts. The scene was never explained, but seems to be the first glimmering of the conspiracy theory that the moon landings were hoaxed. [3]. REM link this modern legend with the older legend of the Man on the moon




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