Saturday, February 18, 2012

Jerks With Swords

Bertran in Hell, according to Dante
Seriously, that was the working title for The Excalibur Trick. And if you want to know why, you just have to look at the documents  (those primary texts!) left over that were actually written by the nobility. My personal favorite is Bertran de Born - a troubadour and a minor noble. He actually called Richard the Lionhearted "Sir Yes and No" because he thought Richard was too cowardly and indecisive. Here's a taste (in translation, of course):

It pleases me immensely
   when I see rotten rich people
   suffer, the ones who make
   trouble for noblemen, and it-

   pleases me when I see them
   destroyed, twenty or thirty
   from day to day, when I find
   them without clothes, and
   begging for bread. If I'm
   lying, may my lady lie to me!

   A peasant has the habits of a
   pig, for he is bored by noble
   living; when a man rises to
   great riches, his wealth drives
   him mad. So you must keep
   him empty in all seasons,
   spend what's his, and expose
   him to wind and rain.

   Whoever doesn't ruin his
   peasant sustains him in
   disloyalty. So a man's a fool
   who doesn't knock him down
   when he sees him climbing
   up, because once peasant has
   established himself, once he
   entrenches himself in a very
   strong place, he has no peer
   in evil, for he spoils everything
   he can reach.

   A man should never feel sorry
   for a peasant if he sees him
   break an arm or a leg or do
   without something he needs.
   For a peasant--so help me
   God--doesn't want to use
   what he has to help even his
   closest kin, not for tears, not
   for pity; he naturally shuns
   any such deed.

   A low rascally gang, full of
   tricks and usury, pride and
   excess! You can't endure
   their deeds, for they toss God
   aside along with all loyalty
   and right. They do just as
   Adam did. God give them
   bad luck! Amen.

No wonder that my protagonist, Henry the thief, refugee and ex-peasant, hates guys like this.

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