Fertility symbol pays the price of fame

We've had pollution, global warming, and even strip mining in Snowdonia to threaten our national heritage before. Now the threat is buttocks. The National Trust is worried that the outline of Cerne Abbas Giant will be worn away by couples trying to cure their infertility on it. "This is a sensitive archaeological site" a spokesman said.

The problem is that one Dorset couple, Andy and Sally Thorne, claim that she became pregnant after they had made love on the Giant one night, encouraged by a white witch named Kevin Carlyon. You'd have thought that a real witch would have been able to change his name to something more inspiring than Kevin, but never mind. If this catches on, the Trust foresees the Giant being worn away. A quick spot of open-air fertility ritual on the Giant is more dignified and cheaper than conventional fertility treatment, which is fair enough, considering it has no effect at all.

It must be worrying for the tourist industry, too. The place chosen for these rites is presumably the Giant's most conspicuous part; and if that is ground down into the sheep-cropped grass, there will be no real reason to visit the village any longer.

Until then, of course, the National Trust has a problem. The last thing to do is to put up barbed wire. That would only suggest that they thought there were powers in the Giant. Soon it would become as contested as Stonehenge, with huge police forces holding off increasingly desperate crowds at every solstice.

One answer might be to put up a huge infertility symbol facing the giant across the valley. The hundred-yard outline of the Cerne Abbas Embarrassed Man, frozen forever in a pose suggesting it had never happened to him before, would dent the confidence of even the stoutest pagan.

More imaginatively, the Trust could start to propagate legends about the potency of other, more robust places in their care. Last year, a couple were caught attempting impromptu fertility treatment in St Paul's Cathedral - but there's probably enough of that sort of thing in cathedrals already. Stonehenge and Avebury are just too lumpy and crowded. However, Snowdonia is remote and full of soft springy turf. All the Trust needs do is to rediscover an ancient Druidic fertility temple in the region that is threatened with strip mining - and recoup the cost of buying the area by charging hopeful couples admission. Inn no time the Trust will have raised the necessary millions and its new visitors will do less damage with buttocks than bulldozers.

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