Hello there. I am the King. See my crown. See my sceptre. See my baubles and my magnificence. I am like unto a god, am I not? When I snap my fingers, equerries come sprinting. They fawn and scrape. I demand sausages, and sausages are fetched. I demand the sun to be blotted out, and the sun is blotted out. I demand the head of my enemy impaled upon an iron spike, and my enemy is tracked to his lair and beheaded and his head is impaled upon an iron spike and it is brought to me by my equerries. If I should change my mind and wish to unbehead my enemy and show him mercy, to have him skip and frolic about the palace for my amusement, then his head is plucked from the spike and glued back on to his neck and his body is animated by fearsome bolts of electricity and he jerks and skips and frolics as is my whim. Should I wish to engage him in conversation a ventriloquist is found, in some remote village, and brought to the palace to practise his skills. The conversation might go something like this:
King – When you have finished skipping and frolicking, would you like a bite of my sausage?
Enemy – Oh yes please Sire!
King – Then a bite of my sausage you shall have! Cease your cavortings and chew!
Enemy – Thank you Sire!
Then one of my equerries will work the jaws of my enemy, by sleight of hand, to bite off a portion of sausage. Further bolts of electricity will be applied if necessary, when the equerry is standing well back, unless the equerry is dispensable. Some equerries are, some aren’t. To help me remember which is which I have them wear different-coloured caps. I designed the caps myself, for I take a great deal of interest in uniforms and insignia. When an equerry wears incorrect dress, or is insufficiently spruce, I fly into a rage and order the laying waste of that part of my kingdom from whence the offending equerry hails. Alas, there are fibbing equerries, and on occasion entirely innocent parts of the kingdom have been obliterated by fire and sword. This is how it might happen:
King – You are wearing the Emblazured Ribbon of Gack on your left arm instead of your right, you scruffy ingrate! Tell me from what part of my kingdom you hail!
Equerry (fibbing) – From Sniggleby Marshes, Sire!
King – Then Sniggleby Marshes shall be laid waste this very hour!
Equerry – Yes Sire, I shall see to it at once!
Short of inventing a truth serum it is not clear to me how such misobliterations can be avoided. Mind you, I have invented many other things. I invented the self-polishing crown, the hovering kingly orb, and the regal smokers’ poptart toasting fork, not to mention a special cushion upon which to rest my swollen head. It is a speaking cushion. As soon as it comes into contact with my head, it tells me, repeatedly, in my own kingly voice, what a fantastic and magnificent king I am. The glorious words travel through my ears into my brain, just as these glorious words I am speaking now travel through your ears, O peasants, into your brains. An equerry wrote the speech for me. Which reminds me, I had better check what colour his cap is. I shall do so now. You may rise from where you sprawl in the muck and go about your business, tilling the fields, bringing in the sheaves. Begone!
Word of the week.
(Try ‘throwing’ that whilst drinking a glass of water.)