Since the sudden death last week of Vulgaria’s much revered celebrity, The Child Catcher (real name Charles Catcher OVE), national mourning has turned to disbelief as newspapers have been inundated with revelations of serial child cruelty, sadism and even abduction.
‘We all thought the giant butterfly net to be just a cheeky affectation,’ a villager said. ‘You would see him riding out of town with a new child harvest in the back of his wagon. Nobody minded because he was in showbiz.’
Another told us: ‘The power of celebrity just seemed to make him bullet-proof. The locals would bring their kids out to have a ride in his cage. You would hear the odd rumour of missing children, but whenever police went to check it out, they returned from his grotto under the Castle Bomburst completely satisfied.’
Catcher’s expressed interest in children led to him being given the keys to the local orphanage, and he was also chosen to present a public service film in which he is seen warning a group of kids about the dangers of men with lollypops attached to their fingers.
The only person who seemed to know the truth was the local toymaker, though his claims were thought to be implausible, the backlash leading him to being chased out of town at high speed.
In a televised statement, the Chancellor of Vulgaria said: ‘At this tragic time we must thing of the childers, so easily easily manipulade under the nosey. These allegations make me drenchy-tear in the eyebode. Oh, deep folly.’