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Saturday, January 25, 2003
The end of the World

I found this story in today's Guardian particularly interesting. Briefly, it explains that recently in Morocco, a mule gave birth to a live foal. This is almost unheard of: mules (a cross between a horse and a donkey) are invariably sterile. Local Moroccan superstition has it that this event heralds the end of the World.

I always believe stories about the end of the world. Well, it's got to end one day, hasn't it? And it's so nice to be pre-warned.

The Guardian article points out that it is not completely unknown for mules to give birth. Apparently, there are three other recorded incidents: 1985 in the USA and 1988 (twice) in China.

The World did end in a way in both of these years. In 1985, Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union. That event signalled a whole change in World politics. For many people in the Soviet Union, the advent of glasnost and perestroika clearly amounted to 'The End of the World'.

Perhaps even more significantly, in 1988: Emperor Hirohito of Japan died. He was the last Emperor to be regarded as a living God. What's more, he was also the nasty little shitbag who allowed Japan to enter the Second World War. Again, for many people, the World ended when he died (I remember pictures of the mourning. Diana, you'd have been envious.)

So, next time some dismal Jimmy tells you that superstition is nonsense, quote Josh's analysis of the mule story...

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