Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Questionable Question

I'm very sorry that I haven't sent any news from the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria lately; my only excuse is that I'm a Cat, and sometimes we moggies disappear into the bolt hole our own feline worlds, and simply shut the human sphere out altogether. To be perfectly frank, it makes for a pleasant change. The world of mice, fresh quayside fish, territorial intrigues, inter-cat disputes and patrols of my substantial empire is by far more engaging than the tedious drivel of human politics.

However, Feaxede - my fox friend - soon brought me back from my feline reveries when I met him this morning. With a jaunt in his loping, vulpine gait and a swish of his brush, he cheerfully greeted me and asked if I'd heard the latest news. My natural curiosity overcame my preoccupations, and I asked him to tell me about it, as I'd gone to ground for a while, and had lost touch with the airy affairs of Fairyland.

With a snigger, he told me that the Caledonian Kingdom - famed for its rugged, harsh landscape and lawless, unintelligible people known as Picts, was going to hold a Great Count of its people in order to determine how they wanted their nation to be organised. It had hitherto been my understanding that the Caledonians were a wild, uncouth and ungovernable people, whose preferences aligned more with the finer things of human existence like uisge beatha, drunken fighting and carrying our raiding parties south of their unkempt borders on the homesteads, herds and flocks of unsuspecting Northumbrian farmers. It was certainly therefore a revelation to me that they were minded to organise themselves and to lick their raggle-taggle wilderness into some semblance of order. We live and learn.

When Feaxede proceeded to tell me the question that Angus McTrout - the corpulent Caledonian tribal chieftain - was going to ask his people, I was most amused. Apparently, the wording of the Significant Question upon this Great Count was to hinge was: "D'ye nae wannae belong tae the bonnie Holy Roman Empire?" Since the question was couched in negative and nebulous phraseology and weighted in favour of the Unmentionable Evil Federation, the poor Caledonians wouldn't really know how to answer, since an 'Aye' or an 'Och Noo' wouldn't express a firm conviction one way or the other.

Angus has since been asked to reword the question which will decide his Kingdom's future. My guess is when he's spend considerable time and lots of Holy Groats on the matter, that it'll finally read, "D'ye nae wannae belong tae the Holy Roman Empire?"

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