(This is the final instalment of Rob Slane’s medieval tale of State intervention. Read yesterday’s chapter here where State childcare deterred the womenfolk from looking after their children.)
And so it came to pass that most of the womenfolk did leave off from raising their own children, and instead went to work for the barons, merchants and captains of industry. And as they did so, those who continued to refuse were declared to be stupid and backward, and in any case the cost of housing and the cost of living rose so much that it became nigh on impossible for such to survive on one wage, and so by and by, even many of those who still desired to raise their own children found themselves compelled to go to work.
And the divorce rate grew, and the family fragmented and the problems in society grew. And crime rose, and the children especially developed a multitude of problems. Yet whenever the problems did multiply, the people would cry out that something must be done, and the King was always happy to oblige by opening the Royal Treasury to fund a solution.
And so when it came to pass that the people did complain that the children were turning up to the King’s schools not knowing how to do even the most basic things, nor how to even speak, the King sent heralds into the cities, towns and villages, to proclaim in sombre tones:
“Hear O ye people of the Kingdom of Grebbleton. His Royal Majesty, King Gondil III, hath of late become mindful of the condition of thy children who hath been turning up to the King’s schools lacking even the most basic verbal and life skills. Be it known that this day, your cry hath reached the King’s ears, and in accordance with his grace, mercy and favour, he hath opened the Royal Treasury to subsidise 24/7 care in His Majesty’s nurseries and schools to help out all ye families that doth work hard.”
And when the people and the teachers in the King’s schools did complain that their children were unruly or depressed, the King once again sent heralds into the cities, towns and villages, proclaiming in sombre tones:
“Hear O ye people of the Kingdom of Grebbleton. His Royal Majesty, King Gondil III, hath heard thy plaint that thy children are unruly and depressed. Be it known that from this day forth, in accordance with his grace, mercy and favour, he hath ordered such to be given a label with an acronym, such as ADDA or ADADAD, thereby relieving ye of responsibility for their behaviour. Furthermore, he hath ordered the barons, merchants and captains of industrie to produce strong sedatives to give to thy children in order to pacify them and help them blot out the realities of life.”
Thus did the King propose solutions to all the ills that had come upon the Kingdom of Grebbleton since the King had begun the process of persuading the womenfolk to leave off raising their own children, in order to grow the Royal Treasury and increase the King’s power and fulfilling of his every desire.
Yet whenever someone stepped forward to say that the problems had been caused by the fragmentation of the family, the King, together with the barons, merchants and captains of industrie, did train up an army of parrots to go into the cities, towns and villages squawking, “They just want to turn the clock back, turn the clock back” and “They want to chain ye to the sink in thine kitchen, sink in thine kitchen.” And so the matter was closed.
Now there came a day when the size of the Royal Treasury had grown so large that the King had to build buildings and vaults 100 times their original size wherewith to contain all the funds, and his thirst for power and the fulfilling of his every desire had largely been quenched. So he gathered all his wise men before him, together with the barons, merchants and captains of industrie, to proclaim a feast. And he cast a garland around the neck of Cuthbert, the twelfth wise man, and promoted him to chief sage. And he did sit himself on his throne and gave a mighty oration to all that were present:
“My Lords and wise men, barons and captains of industrie. The people hath verily given over their lives to the King and I am become the solution to all their problems. I verily receive into the Royal Treasury more than ever before, and I redistribute as I see fit. Thus has my thirst for power and the fulfilling of my every desire largely been quenched and I think myself a happy King.”
And all who were gathered before him cried, “O King, may you live forever. Verily, thou art indispensable.”
But immediately they did finish, the fingers of an human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the King’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the King saw the hand as it wrote:
“The graveyards are full of indispensable men. This day is thy power and the fulfilling of thy every desire taken from thee.”
Then the King’s colour changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. And upon that very hour, the King of Grebbleton did fall from his throne, gave up the ghost, and he never did get to enjoy his unlimited power and the fulfilling of his every desire.
(Image: Hans Splinter)