Corporal punishment always comes in various forms. Be it a motherly handspanking, administered knickers-down over her knees while she sits on the side of your bed, a primary-school slippering or ones father really teaching you a lesson with the hazel, knickers down and bent over his cherry-wood desk. This is part one of a series i want to write about the rituals and legends asscociated with some implements commonly used for corporal punishment. We will begin, of course, with the cane.

The cane, being a very traditional and once very common implement for correction, of course comes with a load of special punishment rituals attached. Standing at attention in front of the headmasters desk, being told to bend over or to “touch your toes”. Or holding out your palms for the stinging vicious rattan, while the whole class is watching. To recieve a genuine “six of the best” across a tightly streched pair of uniform knickers. Perhaps having to count out aloud the number of strokes, or having to thank the disciplinarian for your much deserved punishment.

The word “cane” alone (or “Rohrstock”, as it is called in my native german language) evokes a lot of pictures and fantasies. It is almost a synonym for “school corporal punishment”.

I did not get caned growing up, but my brother did. My sister had one taste of it, too, and some friends of mine also did, some even quite regularly.

When I use the cane today, and I only use it for the gravest offences, I relish in the thougt of using such a time-proven device of correction. Even those who have only one single time tasted the bite of the rattan will not ever forget it, nor will they forget the lessons taught with its help.

The cane, even with its current demise in most parts of europe and the UK, does still see widespread use in asia and africa, both in parental and school discipline.