November 7th – The Festival of the Foaming Fountain

Sometimes it’s difficult to fit in at school if you stand out from the crowd, but what people forget is that it’s equally, if not more, difficult if you are very quiet, shy, small or forgettable. You end up getting pushed to the back of the queue, kept on the edges of friend circles. It has its advantages; you get a lot less attention from bullies than the ‘weird’ kids who stand out, and you are the last one the teachers look at when they’re trying to find the source of disruption at the back of the class.

Bili Warrendor was one of these unfortunate children. She was very quiet and forgettable, as she had a nervous disposition and a speech impediment that meant she spoke as little as possible, to so avoid ridicule. Warrendor was a model pupil, as far as her grades were concerned; she was one of the brightest pupils in the school, but she had little to show for it. The other children had been given various awards and certificates for doing well, but nobody seemed to notice her, not even her teachers who would often glide past her desk in favour of the noisier, more troublesome children, who required more support. In October 1972 she decided she’d had enough.

Warrendor spent a long time preparing. She saved up her pocket money for four weeks, performing all sorts of odd jobs around the house to earn enough for her purposes. Her parents were pleasantly surprised, and forgot about it soon enough; they never asked her what she needed the money for. Then again, the ingredients of her plan were fairly innocuous, nothing that would cause alarm.

In the centre of her school, Bannever Street Secondary, is a fountain with a statue of the school’s original benefactor in the centre, Mrs Itenna. It is a very flattering composition, of Itenna as a young woman, children gathered at her feet staring up lovingly, her arms outstretched, holding a pile of books. When everyone came outside for their lunch break on November the 7th 1972 there fountain was a sight to behold: draped over the books and arms of Mrs Itenna was a large banner which read: ‘MR MORHAN SUX’ (Mr Morhan was the headmaster), and out from the fountain itself mountains of foam were spewing forth, covering everything for metres around.

Of course, all the children who saw this immediately ran straight into the foam piles and started throwing them at each other, making an almighty mess even messier, much to the dismay of the teachers and caretakers. It was at this point that from on high came a fluttering of hundreds of leaflets, all printed on nice card so they wouldn’t run or disintegrate in the foam. The children screamed and laughed and caught them. At the top of the leaflet were the words ‘IT WAS ME’ in red, below which was a photograph of Bili Warrendor, alongside a short paragraph; ‘This piece of artistic prankery was brought to you by the wonderful, the loveable, the ineffable, the one and only BILI WARRENDOR of Class 12.’

On the roof was the young girl, throwing off leaflets and standing proudly. Her teacher hadn’t even noticed her leaving class before lunch, sneaking off to carry out the prank, but Warrendor didn’t have a lot of trouble getting noticed after that, especially since the children of the school have been re-enacting the prank every year as a gesture of respect.

Other festivals happening today:

  • The Festival of the Giant’s Due
  • The Reaper’s Hand Festival
  • Pottery Refinement Day