We cannot say everything on this page is factual; some of the following are stories, some are factual-based, some are just downright silly, but the hobby of our reenactment is a study of love, and in the end, a lot comes out of that. Now and again, some of the results are less factual than others...
Takumi the Sly
A boy walked down the road, going to nowhere in particular and coming from nowhere in particular. It was not that he was a vagrant – The world belonged to him, and he to it, such as it was. Therefore although the boy wandered, he could usually find a place to sleep when he was weary, and food to fill his belly when he hungered. But this day marked over a week since he had parted ways with the group of merchants he had temporarily traveled with, and the last of his store of food had been eaten three days since.
So, Takumi, for that was the boy’s name, was very hungry and thirsty by this time indeed. The road which he walked was long and winding, with no towns or villages nearby to speak of. The dense forest closed around the path, dulling the afternoon light. Pains cramped Takumi’s belly, thirst dried his lips.
The pack which Takumi shouldered became heavier and heavier as he walked. From somewhere behind him, he heard a sound: wushu, wushu, wushu, from the bushes. He turned to see a paw, red as clay, disappear back into the underbrush.
Hoisting the pack higher on his shoulder, Takumi continued walking. It wasn’t long before he heard the sound again: wushu, wushu, wushu. Upon looking back over his shoulder he saw a brush-tail, fat and well-groomed, tipped in white, twitch back out of sight.
‘Someone is following me,’ thought Takumi. And indeed, a fox with emerald eyes continued to watch the boy as he traveled the path. She had noticed the pack which Takumi carried, coal-black nose twitching with excitement. Having carefully followed behind the boy for several days now, she knew the pack held pretty beads, shiny things, and lengths of delicious silk to rub against her fur. She wanted the bag all for herself, and now she thought she knew how to take it from a lone, weakened boy.
Now, clever Takumi knew by this time that a fox was following him, but, just to play along, he turned back to the path and began to walk once more. For the third time he heard the wushu, wushu, wushu, of the fox slinking behind him. This time, Takumi turned and called out “Who is there?” in time to see a pair of emerald eyes staring boldly back at him. The eyes blinked once, and a lovely young she-fox stepped daintily from the underbrush.
“Dear child,” said the fox in her most alluring voice. “I have been following you and I see how you are hungry and thirsty. There is not a village within another day’s walk, and I can tell you will not last much longer without rest. Come back with me to my den and I will share what I have with you, and you may have a place to sleep for the night.”
Seeing the greed in her eyes, Takumi knew that the fox was after his pack of goods to trade, but he also knew that he was cleverer than she. He would see how he could benefit from the fox’s greed and inexperience. Takumi graciously thanked the fox for her generosity, and followed her off the path and through the forest to her den.
When they arrived, Takumi found the den (which was quite large by fox standards) bedecked with luxurious carpets and strewn with pillows. All around were small treasures, no doubt stolen or tricked from foolish travelers. On a low wooden table stood a cup of cool sweet water and a bowl of rice with boiled yams, still steaming gently. Takumi ate hungrily, then lay upon a small carpet, rolled himself in his blanket, and fell asleep.
Late in the night, Takumi was awoken by a low growling sound. He opened his eyes to find an enormous tiger looming over him, tongue lolling to the side in an evil grin. For a moment, Takumi was frightened, but then he noticed that the fierce-looking tiger was as red as a clay pot with eyes like emeralds, and knew it was the fox trying to frighten him into running, leaving his pack behind.
“Why, Fox!” Takumi exclaimed. “I knew that you were a creature of beauty, but I didn’t know that you could make yourself fierce like the tiger as well!” The fox, flattered by Takumi’s apparent amazement, melted back into her own shape and barked a laugh.
“I can make myself fierce like the tiger, or swift like the horse. If I wish, I can become the eagle in the sky or a coiling snake!” The fox licked her chops proudly, pleased that she could boast to the boy. Takumi thought quickly, and saw his opportunity.
“That is truly amazing,” he said. “I am astounded by your cunning mind, lovely fox. But I must ask you how you are able to perform such magic! Surely a creature such as you has magic influence from the Gods!”
At this the fox’s toothy grin widened, for she had never heard her fox magic compared to the Gods before. Vainly, she twitched her ears and leaned closer to the boy.
“I would have you know,” she whispered, “that my magic comes from my tail, which was blessed as a kit by the Fox-God himself!”
When Takumi heard this he wasted no time. Quick as lightning, he sprang forward, drawing a dagger from a sheath sewn into his clothes. He grabbed the vain fox by her tail, and ‘shuuk!’ Takumi cut the tail from her! The fox yelped in pain and alarm, turning in circles. Takumi held the tail triumphantly above his head. “Now, I’ve got the source of your magic for myself!” The fox, bewildered and desperate, began to yowl a frantic plea for mercy.
“O child, I cannot survive without my tail! If you return it to me I swear an oath that I will leave you in peace!” Takumi held tight to the tail, unsatisfied with her bargaining.
“Pfah! And as soon as I give it back to you, I’ll be ambushed by your kin!” Takumi leaned in closer to the fox. “What guarantee do I have that I’ll truly be protected from fox-tricks?” The fox licked her chops and stamped her front paws in earnest.
“Wait,” she said. “I will give you something that will ensure your safety.” She scampered into the den’s depths and soon returned with a whip, woven black as jet and green as emerald, coiled in her mouth. She reverentially laid it at Takumi’s feet and looked anxiously up at him. “This weapon has a touch of fox magic in it, marking you as one to be protected by myself and my kin. As long as you never use it to hurt our kind, the magic will keep you safe from fox tricks and it will always hit its mark.”
Takumi looked in the fox’s eyes and knew that she spoke true. He bent and picked up the whip, testing the weight. It felt familiar in his hand, as though a missing part of himself had suddenly returned to him. He nodded, and tossed the fox’s tail back to her. She picked it up and the young fox dashed out of her den and into the forest in shame, to find a wiser fox to reattach it.
Takumi the Sly (as he would come to be known by all foxes,) shouldered his pack and left the den. Outside, the sun had begun to filter through the forest and Takumi started down the road to meet the new day.
The Tale of Calvin the Curious
Good gentles all, listen well
to this tale that I shall tell
of a Jester - young, brave, and wise,
bedecked in colors that blind the eyes.
'Twas in late spring, o gentle season
that His Grace, Duke Kyrin gave reason
to send Calvin the Curious on a quest.
A dangerous mission, in which, at best,
Calvin would return, bruised and bleeding,
mangled or maimed, and surely needing
a priest, at worst, and a drink for certain,
to heal all that which might be hurtin'.
For a fearsome beast lived in the bracken
and was threatening to end Von Draken
in one fell swoop, destruction for sure
in a plague or curse which had no cure.
And so His Grace, seeking to save us all
called his jester out into the Great Hall.
"Calvin the Curious," His Grace addressed,
"On this perilous journey I think you had best
keep your wits about you, use all your cunning,
or else use those gigantic feet for running!
The fate of all Von Draken in your hands lies-
Hey, are you listening? Get off that wench's thighs!"
And Calvin arose, bells on his hat ringing,
pushing the poor girl aside (Who was still a'clinging)
He straightened himself, and with a grin
swept a graceful bow to Duke Kyrin.
"Of course, Your Grace, leave it to me!
When I get through, there will not be
any beast or threat to our dear House,
I swear I will defeat this louse!"
He gathered staff, club, and ball
and bowed again, leaving home and hall.
So Calvin the Curious, his balls in hand
set off on his journey across the land.
He walked for days through wood and marsh,
kept his spirits high when the weather was harsh.
Until at last, on a day most fair
he reached the vicious beast's lair.
Calvin did not tremble at the growling noise
but straightened his hat, and kept his poise.
He peered within the dark, dank cave
and thought of all he had to save
while fetid breath, reeking of rot
came drifting out, stale and hot.
Slowly, surely did Calvin advance.
If he wanted to run, he had missed his chance
for a shape loomed large within the gloom
of this cave which might become Calvin's tomb.
Claws and scales and fangs drew near.
Wings unfurled, it was very clear
that this beast was not going to let him leave
now that there was supple flesh to cleave.
Calvin cleared his throat, stood his ground
as the beast sized him up with eyes yellow and round.
"I wouldn't eat me, if I were you,"
Said Calvin, his plan formed of what to do.
"You see, I taste awful to beasties with wings,
and beyond that there must be all kinds of things
that you'd rather eat, why, I'd just give you grief,
and the bells on my hat would get caught in your teeth!"
Calvin's hand crept slowly down to his belt
while distracting the beast until he felt
a flask in a pouch, into his hand it slid
and behind his back he kept it well hid.
The beast lunged forward, its' dripping fangs bared
but Calvin was already well prepared.
He brought flask to his mouth, torch held out high
and breathed a great flame into the beast's eye!
The beast gave out a roar in pain and alarm
for Calvin's sly trick had done mortal harm.
It fell over sideways, defeated and dying
while Calvin laughed to himself, "I was barely trying!"
His quest was completed, he at last could go home.
A hero, this jester would no longer roam.
So ends this tale of the beast in the bracken
and of Calvin the Curious, who saved House Von Draken.
Next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:
They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & sold to the tannery.......if you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor"
But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot...........they "didn't have a pot to piss in" and were the lowest of the low.
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell . .. . brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"
Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.
(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)
In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.
England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer...
And that's the truth...Now, whoever said History was boring ! ! !
So . . get out there and educate someone! Share these facts with a friend like I just did!