Dickens and an old folk lore story
There is an old folk lore story that runs much as follows:
Once upon a time there was a monkey whose tail was not well attached; sometimes the tail would detach itself and perform various sorts of monkey mischief as best it could. One day the monkey was engaged to babysit the small daughter of a tea merchant. As was its wont, the tail detached itself as the monkey set out to the tea merchant's home. The monkey, irritated at its peripatic appendage, demanded of it what it was about. The tail replied that if the monkey was going to tend to the child, it would take care of the merchant's bags of tea.
When Dickens heard of this story he was immediately inspired to write "A tail off to sit teas".
This page was last updated February 1, 2002.