Live like a king

I’ve been on a bit of a monarchy kick lately, and having an anachronistic bent to my thinking, I’ve on occasion compared the blessings my family and I enjoy to those of mediæval royalty. Here are some of my conclusions:

  • A man’s home is his castle. Most homes today pale in comparison to the castle that a mediæval king would have lived in. His castle would have had huge rooms for entertaining, eating, and housing the staff required for all that entertaining and eating. There would have been sufficient rooms for the family and guests for sleeping as well. It would have also required massive fortifications to keep his enemies at bay.

    My “castle” however, does not require huge rooms for entertaining and eating, each of which will be covered separately below. I have sufficient space for a few guests to sit and chat, as well as a dining area that can accomodate them. I don’t have to have housing for my servants, as we soon shall discuss. I don’t need massive fortifications, though I and the neighbors in my “village” have a walled perimeter with an automaton sentry who recognizes each of us individually with the waive of a hand and magically opens the gates for each us. He denies entry to the unauthorized  Should someone attempt to enter my domicile, an invisible guard whistles to let me know a door or window has been breached.

  • Household Servants. A king employed many servants to handle divers mundane tasks. There were servants to clean the home and clothes, to cook the food, and to transport him wherever he desired. The king would direct his top male servant, who would then parse those instructions to the proper junior staff, and the queen would have ladies at her command as well.

    I, or more accurately, my wife, has command of servants for those functions as well, though we are a little more hands on than a king or queen would have been. We have a dish washer to clean the dishes, a clothes washer and dryer at our command for laundry, and a vacuum to tidy up after  the young master Blevins and his sisters. While we have to load many of said devices, they nonetheless carry out the dirty and difficult portions of the work.

  • Transportation. Indeed, past kings had glorious coaches and majestic steeds to travel the countryside. He employed stable boys, horse masters, carriage men, and the like to get him where he needed to go.

    I, however, pilot my own carriage to whatever destination I choose, much like a king in those long-past days would have held the reigns of his own horse. He had one horsepower, I have a couple hundred. AND, my ride eats a liquid diet, requires minimal rest and upkeep, is more difficult to shoot out from under me, straps me securely inside, and has its own merry band of troubadours whom I can change at a whim, without having to pay, feed, or house.

  • Defense. The mediæval king would, directly or indirectly, have under his command an army of serf foot soldiers and a cadre of noble officers. They were more or less loyal to his cause, but if his noble vassals decided, they would take their soldiers and fight against him in favor of his enemy.

    I have no need of having a private military force, because an excellent public force is paid for through my regular tribute to my overlords. An organized constabulary patrols my town and a mighty army is set to protect me from threats domestic and abroad. When those two are unavailable to address a present threat, I have the protection of Messers Smith and Wesson to come to my aid.

  • Entertainment. The king would have had a court full of jesters, singers and dances from the region, all in his direct employ and eating nightly from his table. He also had halls full of wonderful works of art, collected in his lifetime and that of his forebears, at great expense to them. The king was always wary of the theft of his great treasures and thus required his castle and army to protect them.

    I however have a magic looking glass that provides me entertainment from all over the world, in the very instance I demand it. I don’t feed, clothe, or house them, and I share the costs of their talents with millions of other “kings” who have use of their services at the very same instance I do. Using a magic book that I also possess, I can admire many works of art from all over the world, without having to pay for them or protect them.

  • Food. The king had at his disposal the best food that was available in his region in their particular seasons of growing. Spices and sugar were costly commodities, and the cook skilled in preparing the meals was rare as well. There were several kitchen attendants required put on such a great feast, and many more to clean up the mess when it was over. If his palate desired something exotic, he had to either travel to get it, or bring it to him at great expense.

    I, however, do not require these things to eat like a king. I have a small kitchen capable of producing exquisite meals, an icebox capable of keeping them fresh, stores nearby stocking the items so that I need not keep vast quantities of food on-hand, and if I desire the exotic foods of the world, I get in my aforementioned horseless carriage with my family and we dine with the cooks of the foods in facilities decorated in the fashion of the faraway lands and are waited on by servants who I do not have to feed, clothe, nor house, at minimal expense to me.

  • Education. Ancient kings were educated from childhood by the best tutors available. Well, some of them were. Others were as uneducated and illiterate as the serfs working the farms outside the castle. For those who could read, they had copies of the ancient greek and roman texts, if they had access to a scribe, and if the scribe had access to a copy for him to copy. Come to think about it, back then, it was mostly the monks cloistered off and the monasteries who had access to those texts.

    The tribute my parents paid to the overlords of this empire provided me access to an adequate education system where I learned to read, perform complex mathematical calculations, reason and debate, learn basic militarism, and come out far better educated than nearly any mediæval king ever was. After that I spent many years in higher education, while working (gasp!) and caring for my family. And, I have near instant access, through the magic book I mentioned previously, to most any text, ancient or modern, that I should wish to read. The text does not even have to be in my native tongue, for I have invisible magicians who instantaneously translate the text for me in my magic book.

  • Religion. Most kings maintained their own chapels with their own clergy. They may have owned a copy of the Bible, but more often than not they were focused on matters temporal, and not spiritual. The king often had ministers attending to him to care for his spiritual well-being, whether he wanted it or not. The chapel of cathedral the king worshipped in was grand with its stained glass and architecture, but there was only candle-light and the sunlight that God benevolently provides, and its temperature varied with the seasons.

    My family and I simply meet with a local congregation of like-minded Christians, acknowledging we are all servants and heirs of the Kingdom of God. We don’t have a fancy chapel or cathedral to worship in, just a functional building with comfortable seating and climate control, with the minister’s message projected onto the wall behind him, so that one can follow the sermon diligently. We have elders who shepherd over the local flock as is pattern described in the Scriptures.

So in conclusion, who needs to be a king, with all the hassle and cost of managing castle and kingdom, when I can be a man of modest means and live like a king on a smaller scale, and have a simple life that I can heartily enjoy?

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