In the old days, before the late nineteen twenties and earlier, most Jamaican rural communities were very isolated and remote. This was partly due to the lack of transportation coupled with the bad condition of the roads. The main means of transport was the mule and dray, and the horse and buggy. The only paved roads were in the middle of the cities. People who lived in sections of both east and west of the island only needed to travel to Spanish Town, the island capital then for most of their merchandise, entertainment, shopping for their other daily living needs.
Quite a lot of in-breeding took place because of the isolation of the communities, and only business men and the wealthy normally travelled out of their districts to find mates. Any man or woman who was lucky to get paired up with a mate from the outside were always well honored and well respected.
One man who was fairly wealthy and wanted to marry someone to whom he was not related searched the entire eastern section of the country for years without success. He heard about a place in Westmoreland; a hundred miles away, with plenty of young women available for marriage. Marriage there required none of the usual courtship, just acceptance by the girl’s family and a substantial monetary gift. The money was not much of a problem, but he was past middle age and was concerned about age difference.
For months the man made preparations to travel to the section of Westmoreland which was almost a hundred and fifty miles away.
One sunny Sunday morning he left home on his dray with three mules and the necessities for the round trip that would possibly take two months. On the way he made some unexpected extra money transporting market people to points he had to pass. He did not tell anyone about his mission for fear of getting robbed.
At the designated district, he discreetly advertised himself and his mission, and within a week was seen by many families, but none accepted him. He became very distraught and was about to return home unmarried when he was chosen by a middle aged widow named Sue.
The wedding was quite a fanfare. The money that he would have had to give to the family of a young girl was spent on the wedding and given to friends of the bride.
With his wife he set out on the long journey back to Saint Thomas. He was anxious to get home to consummate his marriage. He drove the mules relentlessly. He only stopped when he wanted to sleep, and often that was not more than a few hours at a time. Those were the only times the mules rested and were fed.
One day while going up the Spur Tree hill, the mules became tired and agitated. The lead mule was his eldest, a five year old he named Doris. Doris started acting up. The man stopped the dray and went in front of the mule. He fiercely grabbed the reins and said; ‘Doris das one’. ‘Doris! That’s one’.
The mule quieted down and the journey was continued. A few miles up the hill, and again the mule began to act up. Again the man stopped the dray, went in front of the mule, fiercely grabbed the reins and said; ‘Doris das two’. ‘Doris! That’s two’.
Again the mule quieted down and the journey continued. Not more than a half a mile later, the mule repeated the antics. The man did not speak. He stopped the dray. Hhis wife looked at him with an enquiring look. Slowly, he reached behind his seat, got his rifle and shot the mule in the head. His wife began to rant and rave.
“Why did you do dat?” she asked. “You could a sell dat mule an by the tings a wife need. Blah, blah, blah.”
“Why did you do that? You could have sold that mule and buy the things a wife needs. Blah, blah, blah.”
On and on she ranted and raved, until finally the man looked at her and said; “Sue, das one.”
He buried the dead mule by the side of the road, and they rode the rest of the way in silence, and lived happily ever after.
Note: Three strikes and you are out.