Sunday

Revolting socks for peasants

An army of bulldozers advanced from London and halted outside the local town.

Yellow-helmeted troops set up temporary wooden fortifications enclosing the finest land in the manor.

The townspeople came out to see the chipboard hoardings, taking furtive peeks through gaps in the fence, hoping to glimpse the mighty army that had descended on the municipality.

The townsdogs sought new territory in which to exercise.

Soon the yellow-helmet troops raised their coat-of-arms outside the camp. The coat-of-arms was taller than three of our sturdiest yeomen, and broader than the longest pikestaff.

I studied their shield’s design with growing disbelief.

The emblem of the invading army appeared to be an impressionistic etching of a house, not unlike the Manor House from which the local Lord carried out his executive duties.

This representation of a house appeared to be a mischievous and base fantasy, for despite the grandeur of the building’s fa├žade, the coat-of-arms clearly depicted nothing less than uncouth peasants happily living within its iron gates.

As I stood with the other Aldermen of the town, pondering what this new development could mean for our centuries-old way of life, a filthy peasant – an illiterate and one of my former students – set his grubby paw on my arm, jabbed his other dirty finger at the coat-of-arms and asked me ‘What’s that say, Sir? What’s that say on coat-of-arms of invading army, Sir?’

There was indeed an inscription below the fantastical image of the world turned upside down.

‘It says …’ I paused to build the gravitas befitting one of the town’s few men of letters, using these moments to decide which lie I should tell to keep the peasant from realising the intentions of this yellow-helmet host. And then I resolved that it would be futile for me to hold the terrible truth from the stinking, rag-encrusted man.

‘It says, my dear peasant…that this army is planning to build “Executive Homes”… that means more homes for Lords of the Manor.’

The miserable peasant fixed his gaze on me, momentarily paralysed while his brain gave itself over to the interpretation of my words, and he attempted what I remembered from my experience of teaching the odious devil to be his equivalent of ‘thought’.

I took advantage of the peasant’s stupor to tug my cloak free of his grip and leave the encampment behind me, but as I paced back to the school I again felt my former student hanging on my sleeve.

‘But Sir, picture on coat-of-arms is like picture of me, it can’t be homes only for Lords of the Manor, Sir! Lord of Manor’s already got finest Manor House in the Manor, Sir! Why does army now come to build more for him and his sort? What about you that teaches little ‘uns and me that ploughs field? And those that guard town from villains when town sleeps, and those that tend townsfolk during times of plague and pestilence? And…’

I was taken aback by the peasant’s innovative and unprecedented grasp our town's socio-political circumstances.

‘I know!’ I lost my composure. ‘Stop reminding me!’

I returned to my teacher’s cottage where I scribed this account in the fervent hope of redress to our town's grievances.

To those who find this I am and remain - Your humble chronicler, William Sockkes Esq.

I've transcribed the above from some parchment I discovered, a yellowed scroll which had been hidden and forgotten long ago under a loose paving slab in my cottage. It's quite a co-incidence that it was a teacher living here all those centuries ago - perhaps an ancestor of mine!

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