Jonah, one of the Tales from God’s Own Country by Jean Briggs

Jonah

This chap… ‘ave a mind to think he went bi ť name o’ Jonah… wor dilly-dallyin’ around doin’ nowt in particular… when reet aahta ť blue this voice booms: “Naa then Jonah… what assta aggeeat?”

Jonah nearly jumped aahta ‘is skin. ‘Ee looks araahnd but sees nob’dy. Puzzled ‘ee teks ‘is cap off an scratches ‘is eead: “Aye-up”… ‘ee calls… “wheear issta… who’s that mekkin’ all t’ shout?” A voice replies: “Get thi brain i’ gear lad… it’s me… God!” Na Jonah mussta known ‘im ‘cos ‘ee looks up inter t’ sky an’ sez: “Weeal l’ll gutter t’ foot of our stairs… Owstta bin God?”

“Reet gradely” sez God “but ‘ave getten mi waark cut aaht wi them daft-beggars frae Nineveh… an am mithered they’re tunnin’ daahn t’ wrong road. … Thaa’s nobbert laikin though… so think of thissen as a bit of a blessin’ in disguise… I’ve getten enough on mi plate… an’ t least tha can do is ť tek one of mi jobs off mi ‘ands!”

Weeal… Jonah mustta ‘ad an inklin of what ť job wor at wor cummin… an’ it wor t’ last thing ee wanted t’ do: “Nay God” ee sez “weeant it wait till tomorrer… I’ve getten a bit of a twinge in mi back!”

God sounded a bit twined… He wasn’t banna let Jonah off t’ hook: “Nay… It weeant wait Jonah”… He sez… “it’s a rush-job so tha can get thissen off t’ Nineveh NOW an’ persuade all them fowk theer ‘ats doin’ bad things ť mend their ways ‘else they’ll be i’ bother!”

Jonah wornt suited at all. ., ‘ee sez in a reight mawngy voice “But… God…mi back’s bad!”

Fed-up of excuses God’d ‘ave none of it… Ee’d ‘eard ’em all in His time: “Tha can forget abaaht thi back lad”… He said… “I’m yer man… I’ll soon ‘ave that sooarted aaht!!” Jonah nivver med it ť Nineveh… cos ‘ee ‘ated people frae theer… an’ he wanted ’em ť stay bad an’ get punished… ee’d forgot God was a luvvin’ God.

He ran away… got on a boat… hit rough seas and stormy weather… probably got sick… ended-up in t’ watter… an’ got swallered by an enormous fish… BUT AT LEAST HIS BACK WOR CURED… an’ that felt good!

So now tha knaws.