I have heard this story from multiple sources in my neighbourhood, but have yet to see the video evidence. Lordy, lord, it deserves to be true.

Each year the Nativity Play is performed by the combined talents of the Junior Infants [average age 5] and Senior Infants [average age 6] classes. The major speaking parts are typically assigned to children from the older class; however one year, a particularly bright, confident and articulate boy from Junior Infants landed the role of Joseph and acquitted himself very well, basking in the resultant whistles and applause.

Imagine then his chagrin the following year as a Senior Infant, when he was passed over for the big role – despite knowing all the lines and possessing his own tea-towel – in favour of one of his classmates. Our young hero was sure that the teacher would realise the error of her ways and re-assign the role to him as the rehearsals unfolded, but no. He was stuck with the lowly role of the innkeeper. But this kid was a pro and he knew, somewhere deep down, that the show must go on, so professional little trooper that he was, he held his tongue.

Finally, his big moment came. Mary (complete with anatomically correct pillow stuffed up her robe), his arch-nemesis Joseph and the cardboard donkey arrived at the Bethlehem part of the set, with its four working doors.

Joseph at door No.1: “Is there any room here at the inn? My wife is having a baby soon and we’re very tired and we need a room for the night”
Innkeeper No.1 “I’m sorry, we’re completely full. There’s no room at the inn.”

Joseph at door No.2: “Isdereanyroomhereatinn? My wife is havingababysoon and we’reverrati-erdandweneedaroomfodenight.”
Innkeeper No.2: “I’m sorry, we’re completely full. There’s no room whatsoever at this inn. Try next door.”

Joseph at door No.3: “Isdereanyroomatdeeinn? Mywifeishavingababysoon [gasp for breath] andwe’reverraverrati-erdandweneedaroomfodenight.”
Innkeeper No.3: “I’m very sorry, but we’re completely full. There’s no room at all at the inn.”

Joseph at door No.4: “Isdereanyroomatdeeinn?Mywifeishavingababysoonan’ [gasp] we’reverraverraverratardan’weneedaroomfodeni’.”
Innkeeper No.4 [our young thespian hero]: “Certainly, we have some room left even though Bethlehem is very busy right now because of the census. We’ll take Mary and the donkey, but you [indicating Joseph] … can f*ck off!”

That boy will go far.