An Historical Tale

the following tale takes place in the year 1500s, whence our band of intrepid travellers met in a tavern, on the edge of a muddy dwelling. one of group had a bag with some bread in it, although it wasn’t bread like was know it today – it was tough and hard to chew on. teeth back then were pretty useless, as people never brushed them, and you were lucky if you kept more than half of them. there were other, assorted characters with the man we just mentioned, who we will come to later.

the group had tankards and drank mead, or beer. they drank it hot too. lager wasn’t available back then, as they hadn’t got their heads around carbonated gas. wine had probably been invented at that time, however only the very wealthy gentry and lords drank it. the beer wasn’t as strong as modern day beer, and was probably about 2% ABV. folk back then made up for this by drinking a lot of it, although drinking 16 pints would inevitably mean that you go to the toilet a lot. so much so that historians believe the toilet was pretty much the focal point of the evening, as it took a long time to unbutton your hessian breeches, plus it didn’t make sense to venture too far from the toilets, as you’d probably need to go again within the next 5-10 minutes.

let’s face it the tavern was probably a pretty smelly place. folk back then didn’t wash very often, and when they did they usually just splashed a bit of water on their face. perfume had probably been invented, but for royal use only. there were women in the tavern, women of dubious and loose morals, and they were generally chubby and cackled a lot. the fashion at the time for them was to shave off their eyebrows and draw them back on with a lump of coal (http://en.wikipedia.org/Coalbrow).

the clothing they wore really was really uncomfortable, made from sort of like the same material as sacks. noone had got their head round making comfortable cloths, except maybe kings and queens who wore satin and silk. ironically the people (tailors?) who made these nice clothes for the kings and queens only wore clothes made from old sacks themselves, and weren’t allowed to wear silk.

one of the band of merry travellers proposed a toast he thought it was going to be inspiring, like an inspiring speech from braveheart or robin hood prince of thieves, only it was rambling, and incoherent, and trailed off in the middle . plus the rest of the party didn’t go quiet or even realise that a toast was being made, so it just seemed like this bloke was mumbling to himself. films and cinemas are a long way off for this bunch, they probably wouldn’t live to see the first film, but you can’t rule it out. they didn’t have ipads or phones back then so they used to entertain each other by telling stories, or talking to each other, or telling stories by singing them. people called bards would sing or tell poems. jesters would dance to entertain rich feudal lords, as the world was a pretty dull place back then.

an ancient prototype of the car pulled up outside. it had two wheels (modern cars of course have four), an engine (horse), a steering wheel (reins), a brake (reins), and people signalled left and right by waving their arms around to let other drivers know when they were turning. they rarely did this though as they only ever drove in straight lines. it didn’t have seatbelts though, as passenger safety didn’t seem to be a big priority. people were just interested in getting a load of straw from A to B. seatbelts wouldn’t be invented for another 450 years minimum, depending of course on when seatbelts were actually invented.

one of the best things about the olden days was the weapons. big swords feature a lot, although most folk couldn’t lift them over their heads. swords made a lot of sense though because if you could get it up and swinging you were likely to do a lot of damage to the opposition (as long as the rest of your party stayed back they would probably be safe from it too). some of the other weapons looked amazing, but were a bit more intricate to use, plus carried a greater risk of accidentally harming yourself. a mace is a stick with a chain on, and on the end off the chain is a big iron ball with spikes on. the mace looks pretty fucking terrifying, but there’s quite a big risk of getting too excited, losing control of the mace and injuring yourself, particularly if you had had nearly 20 pints of ale (or mead) the day before.

it is unclear whether or not wizards actually existed in the olden times, and whether or not their magic worked. there do exist ancient manuscripts describing wizard behaviour and the effects it had (LOTR par example). people from olden times were definitely wary of witches, and often did terrible stuff to them, but i think they were ok with wizards. wizards used to use a magic summoning stick to cast spells – i think it might have been called a wand but them I’m not sure if that’s just the name for what witches use. perhaps wizards used a different name to distance themselves from the charlatanry of witches. plus wizards were smart and didn’t want to be burned at the stake, or drowned, or worse.

a rudimentary form of tinder was available back in the old days, however smart phones or gps hadn’t been invented, so noone could take advantage of it. rich, feudal lords would place posters up around town with a short bio on. ‘swiping right’ back then was a term reserved for sword fights, or for describing french toilet habits.

science was a thorny subject back in the dark ages. belief in god, fairies, witches, trolls etc was staunch and de rigueur. anything which went against the status quo was usually dealt with swiftly. a lot depended upon the alignment of the stars, the planet jupiter, and how they interacted. the sun was a mysterious, ethereal presence, and folk could not discern if it were a force for good or bad. the moon, appearing mainly at night, was treated with the utmost suspicion, and was even believed to be the work of French wizards or mages (another term for wizard essentially). Irrespective of who actually made the moon, its effects upon grubby folk back in the day was undisputed.