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As gay as a saint without clothes

ST FRANCIS of Assisi may have successfully communicated with the animals but a project on his life story in a central Scotland secondary highlighted the semantic shortcomings of the information highway.

An S2 pupil arrived at the door of the principal teacher of religious and moral education and in time-honoured style reported: "Ah've been sent tae see you by Mr McCann."

The cause apparently was the child's project on the life of the Italian patron saint of animals. There at number eight on "Ten things you didn't know about St Francis" was "He was a hoosexual".

The pupil seemed quite sure of this hitherto unknown fact and quite indignant he had been referred to the PT. He insisted he had evidence for his claim - off the Internet.

There on his printout, carefully outlined in pink highlighter, was his source material: "St Francis lived a gay and carefree life as a young man."

The printout went on: "Feeling the call of religion, he cast off his gay clothes and disposed of his possessions."

Class projects are now completed with the aid of a thoroughly updated guide to English usage.

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