Bright Ideas and True Confessions: How and What to Do and Why

How to make sure the King knows and likes you
Ælflæd of Duckford

Many people who want to get attention from royalty take the wrong tack. You can't bet at the finish line. Watch sometime as it gets near the final round at a crown tournament, how some people gravitate over toward the areas where the ladies of the possible victors are sitting, waiting to pounce and say "We knew you'd win" or to offer her a drink or a comfy pillow. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Once a person becomes king or queen, it's kind of late to introduce yourself without suspicion. Let's go back to the beginning.

The beginning is now, the day you're reading this. You don't know who will be king three years from now. [1]  He doesn't have any idea himself. There's a distinct possibility that there are future kings all around you, and one might call you tonight and ask for directions to fighter practice, or to borrow a costume because he's just a newcomer. He's got your name and phone number down - he'll probably remember forever the first person he talked to (don't you?) so don't blow it. Be gracious, be generous. Help the man now, not in three years.

How about those people who are dying to make a costume for the crown princess? She will probably better remember the one who made a costume for her before she even had an award of arms, or the one who helped her make the court costume for the first coronation she ever attended. Forget the current queen - she's in the winner's circle. Go for future queens.

How about your squire/your lord's squire? Be careful not to belittle his attempts at courtly graces. When he's crowned king you'll be an old-timer. The way you treat him now will determine whether he asks your advice later. The teenaged girl who has asked what she can do to help? Treat her as a lady and give her some responsibility. She won't be giggling any more when she's queen, and neither will you.

You, dear reader, may be a future king or queen. Watch now and learn whose behavior should be emulated, whose counsel is sound and unselfish, whose accounts most match the truth. These are the people you should surround yourself with when you are royalty. If you wait until the day you win the tournament to try to sort out those who can be trusted with sensitive information from those who cannot, to try to guess then who really knows history from those who bluff, and to identify among the throngs those who might have befriended you whether you were a king or a squire - if you wait until that day you may end up being served and advised by others who waited until that day.

July 1990
Outlandish Herald


[1] Originally said "in A.S. XXXVIII" but that year is near or here or gone now.

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