Thursday, 24 December 2020

Christmastime, Mistletoe and Whine!

Ah, Christmas! A time for reflection! A time for consideration! A time to weigh up the relative merits of the past twelve months! A time, having done all of those things, to invite Fate to take those twelve months and shove them right up his fundament.

The various Christmas traditions of the states of  Mittelheim have already been commented upon in previous editions of this modest publication. Suffice it to say that the citizens of these countries look forward to their Yule-tide celebrations with all the sense of happiness and fulfillment that one might expect from a region blighted by war, pestilence, poor governance, and an unusual sensitivity to double entendre. 

'Nothing says "Happy Christmas" like making
  the last coach out of Mittelheim'

Speaking of "unusual sensitivity", it is a cruel irony that events take us once again to the hunting lodge of Schloss Tanvaund, and into the presence of Rupprecht, Prince Palatine of Saukopf-Bachscuttel. The prince is surveying the festive decorations in his audience chamber.
'Have I told you how much I hate mistletoe?', asks Rupprecht, as his chamberlain Leopold von Fecklenburg finishes the decorations.
'Only twice, my lord' says the chamberlain.  Fecklenburg, in deference to the spirit of Christmas, thinks it inexpedient to add that each of the two incidences lasted for over five years.
'Well, I do' whines Rupprecht. 'It is my least favourite element of Christmas - because where there is mistletoe, there is kissing; and where there is kissing there are always awkward lawsuits against me'. 
'Perhaps, lord, if you kept your britches on?'
'But Fecklenburg, can you guess what my most favourite aspect of Christmas is?'
Fecklenburg considers this question, though not for very long. 'Pigs, sire. Pigs and/or some kind of pork related items or activities Or preferably, I should guess, aspects of the latter that involve elements of the former?'
Rupprecht nods jovially. 'Well yes, Fecklenburg, spot on. In particular, like everyone, I like pigs in blankets'.
'Yes, lord. Although, unlike everyone else, who eat sausages wrapped in bacon, or for the poor, watch someone else eat sausages wrapped in bacon, you my lord like actually sharing blankets with pigs'.
'They are sensitive creatures, Fecklenburg: sensitive, and very, very intelligent'.

Fecklenburg, in order to maintain the positive festive atmosphere, avoids asking the obvious question: that, if pigs were so very, very clever, why then would they get into bed with Prince Rupprecht? Certainly one reasonable measure of any creature's intelligence would the effort that they placed into putting the maximum possible distance between themselves and Rupprecht's bed. By this measure, of course, Rupprecht's wife, the Princess Caroline, must be accounted a genius. 

Fecklenburg actually has some important matters of state to discuss with the prince, not least the developing plans for the Bishopric of Schrote. But suddenly, at that moment, on Christmas eve as it is, he demurs. He decides that perhaps it is best not to sully this quiet and contemplative Christmas hour with machinations, skulduggery, nefarious combinations, secret throttlings, and murder. Boxing Day seems more appropriate for that. Indeed, looking at Rupprecht in the glow of the Christmas candles, the chamberlain feels almost well-disposed towards the prince - possibly because, in the faint light, he looks more like his brother, the previous prince.
'Happy Christmas, my lord. It's a been a hard year'.
'It has, it has', nods Rupprecht. 'Let's hope that next year is better for everyone, Fecklenburg'.

And so, dear readers, we can only echo Rupprecht and Fecklenburg's sentiments. Merry Christmas! May you and your families stay safe! Here's to a happier New Year! And may Fate, who has placed upon us the travails of the past year, be tracked down; beaten viciously about his tender parts; and then have each of the last twelve months shoved even further up his jacksy. And I mean all the way. Right up it.