This is a very long joke about death and children, although it does not feature dead children.
Here’s a story that we got out of an old joke book, so it’s not original, but it was one of Mom’s favorites whenever one of the cats died. I’m reciting it from memory.
Once upon a time there was a little girl, whose name was Myrtle. And Myrtle had a pet turtle. She loved that turtle so much, that turtle was her little world. But one day, the turtle died. Myrtle was inconsolable! Wracked with grief! Emotionally destroyed!
But Myrtle’s parents stepped right up. They promised to put on the best possible funeral for the turtle. And it was glorious. All the kids in the neighborhood were there. One girl brought a keyboard and played organ dirges. The boy whose father was a minister prepared a moving and touching service. All the children were lined up along the path from the house to the little grave Myrtle’s father had dug up in the back yard.
When everyone was assembled, Myrtle came out of the house, tears streaming, visibly losing her shit. She was carrying a cigar box, which her father had meticulously outfitted with felt lining, a wreath of tiny flowers, and a little bit of the turtle’s favorite food. It was breathtaking.
The dirges played as Myrtle slowly stepped down the makeshift aisle. She made grateful eye contact with each mourning child, silently appreciative of their kindness and sharing.
Finally, Myrtle couldn’t walk any more slowly. The funeral procession was at an end. It was time to bury the turtle.
Just as Myrtle’s dad was starting to close the cigar box lid, with gravity and dignity, the turtle’s head popped out of the shell! Mere seconds. The turtle looked around. Myrtle’s father looked around and said “Hey Myrtle! Your turtle! It’s alive! We don’t have to bury it!”
Myrtle broke through her tears and sobbing. She also looked around. She saw the children all in their church clothes. She saw the minister’s kid all prepared with the Bible and a heartfelt sermon. She saw a few parents standing agape in delight. It was an electric moment, one that nobody will ever forget who was there.
Myrtle looked down at the turtle in its beautiful, felt-lined, carefully arranged cigar box, locked eyes with her father, and said coldly…
“Let’s kill it.”
THIS IS THE STORY MY MOTHER WOULD TELL WHENEVER WE BURIED A CAT.