Jests and Jesters 1976

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There was once a tournament, held in Balboa Park, in Calafia.* At opening court, Prince Gregory and Princess Vivian welcomed visitors from the Principality of the Mists, Prince William and Princess Maythen. It happens that Princess Maythen had won the coronet, while fighting for the honor of her lord, Duke William of Houghton, so she was Princess Regnant, and he was Prince Consort. This may have been the event at which the first Dolphins were presented, but I do not remember for certain. But it was a long opening court. I am sure it seemed to be a longer court for Conrad von Regensburg, the court herald, than for the rest of us.

There was a jester at court, one Herman de Medici, who tried to distract the herald in the performance of his duties. Conrad was not an easy man to ruffle. He kept the court moving despite the jester's antics-- Conrad just ignored him. So the jester came over to Conrad, and sat on his left boot. Conrad managed to maintain his dignity and ignore the man sitting on his foot. But the jester was looking for a reaction. So while Herman clung to Conrad's leg, he also picked stems of grass and dropped them into Conrad's boot. As Conrad continued with the ceremonies and court business, he tried to shake that leg. So he would speak, try to free his leg, and then resume. All the while, Conrad resolutely ignored the jester.

The audience watched, smiled, and laughed. The Princess was greatly amused. Prince Gregory and the Prince and Princess of the Mists maintained their dignity, and the court continued. At last, opening court was over, and Conrad's leg was freed.

As was the custom at that time, the fighters fought and the visiting regnant royalty helped marshal. So Princess Sir Maythen was out on the field during the tournament. As was also the custom at that time, the Princess led her ladies and the visiting consorts around the field to meet all who were attending. Duke William appeared to relish his role as consort, and insisted on joining them in the Princess's procession.

At some point during the day, Master Conrad took Her Highness Vivian aside, and asked her to keep the jester from doing a repeat performance at closing court. She agreed to speak with him, for the jester was the gentleman she was dating. And so Conrad had the promise that the jester would not disrupt closing court.

So closing court came, and the jester behaved himself. Master Conrad was relieved that he could do court without distraction. In due course, he asked the Prince and Princess of the Mists if they had any final words. Princess Maythen eloquently thanked those present for a wonderful time. Prince William, when it was his turn, said nothing. He stood up, carefully placed the coronet of the Mists upon his chair, and walked over to the herald. He then sat down on Conrad's left foot, and started pulling grass and putting it in Conrad's boot. Master Conrad's look of long-suffering was priceless. The audience roared.

Then Duke William of Houghton got up, walked back to his chair, put the coronet back on, and sat down again, to thunderous laughter.

This is my happiest memory from the reign of Prince Gregory and Princess Vivian -- by Éowyn Amberdrake

* These events occurred at Spring Coronet Tournament 1976, 4/24/1976. -- editor Lachlan of Cromarty


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