Monday, 9 June 2014
The legendary mountains of Absinthia were famous in medieval times as the rumoured site of a fabled lost Christian Kingdom. The ruler of these legendary lands was said to be King John, known, because of his refusal to take a bath, as Fester John. Even the monks in faraway Lindisfarne had heard of ‘Ye Kingdome of Festor Jonne;’ an entry in their ‘Faire and Compleate Historie of Englande with Ye Smalle Appendix Covering Eventes in Wayles and Thee Reste of Thee Worlde,’ noted that Festor John’s Kingdom was ‘riche with gold and turnips.’ Discovering the text in the archives of Lampeter St Bunce University, the noted academic Sir Hugo Frottage in 1746 led an expedition to Absinthia on the basis that, whilst he could take or leave turnips, he really liked gold. Frottage was more than a little disappointed to find that the lax academic standards at Lindisfarne, especially in footnoting and proofreading, had led them to render as ‘gold and’ what should have been rendered as ‘golden.’ In consequence, the plunder obtained by Frottage’s expedition had a rather lower ratio of hard cash to root vegetables than he had anticipated. Frottage’s disappointment was as nothing compared with that of the Absinthians: as is so often the case with indigenous populations, the arrival of Europeans brought immense upheavals. In particular, the value of the turnip-based Absinthian currency was destroyed by the introduction by Frottage of carrots and parsnips. The principle town in eastern Absinthia is the walled mountain fastness of Gabba-Gabba.