Tuesday, November 28, 2006

reading charters with one's heart

Leon, cathedral. Photo by Trepanatus.

Let's face it, the charters I read are not always the most exiting documents. Sometimes they're as dry as week-old toast. So, my imagination takes over and usually I turn the charters into conversations. The boring and legal charter of Alfonso VI #131 becomes, in my mind, the following conversation:

Alfonso: "Dude, I'll give you one tenth of all the cows I own in Somoza if you pray for my victory over the Ishmaelites."

Bishop Pedro of Leon: "Cool."

Sometimes I get a whole scenario from one bit of text.

For example, Alfonso breaks me up. He (his scribe, really) dates one charter as: "Regnante et imperante ego me medipso in Toleto et in Legione," etc. That's like saying "Reigning and commanding me, myself, and I in Toledo and in Leon," etc.

I can just see him having dinner with Queen Constance.

Alfonso: "Hey Connie, you know who's king?"

Constance (familiar and bored with this game): "Who, Al?"

Alfonso: "I am!"

He laughs, she sighs. A pause.

Alfonso: "You know who else?"

Constance (stifling a yawn): "Who, Al?"

Alfonso: "ME!"

He can't contains his giggles. Another pause.

Alfonso: "You know who else?"

Constance (distracted, picking at quail bones): "Who?"

Alfonso: "Myself! Isn't that a riot?"

Constance: "Are you going to eat that last quail leg?"


cowboyangel said...

George: "Hey Laura, you know who's president?"
Laura (familiar and bored with this game): "Who, George?"
George: "I am!"
He laughs, she sighs. A pause.
George: "You know who else?"
Laura (stifling a yawn): "Who, George?"
George: "ME!"
He can't contains his giggles. Another pause.
George: "You know who else?"
Laura (distracted, picking at quail bones): "Who?"
George: "Myself! Isn't that a riot?"
Laura: "Are you going to eat that last quail leg?"

Liam said...

Hey, I make fun of Alfonso, but he was a very accomplished king. That's a mean comparison.

crystal said...

Is this one of those deep discussions on the trinity? :-)

cowboyangel said...


If everything in life is interconnected, then, yes, this is also a deep discussion of the Trinity. But you have to see the discussion with the eyes of your heart. :-)


I apologize profusely for comparing Alfonso el Sabio with George W. Bush. that wasn't my intention. Your post was clever and brilliant, as always, and I thought it also revealed the historic tendencies of the privileged elite to be self-obsessed or ego-centric, sometime in silly ways.

More amazing, to me, is the fact that a current "president" from Texas could actually be eating quail just as a Medieval king from Spain. The Times They Are Not A-Changin'. Texas is Medieval. Or Spanish. Or something. It is quail-filled.

Finally, I appreciate the subtle - some might say almost entirely hidden - theme on the Trinity that radiates throughout your post. You are practicallya mystic in your ability to touch on such thought-provking and powerful subjects without seeming to do so.

Liam said...

Crystal, unless Cowboy is wrong (though he rarely is), the Trinity stuff is elsewhere. I will have to translate one of those bits though, just to give everyone a headache.

Cowboy -- actually not Alfonso el sabio (Alfonso X), but Alfonso VI, who was pretty sabio himself.

As far as quail and this White House goes, I think the only ones are those that they release by the hundreds in front of Cheney (easy to hit, but not as easy as the elderly lawyer to one's left). They are what Comedy Central called "wingless quailtards":

Gabriele Campbell said...

One of the kings of France, let's call him Louis, and some bishop who wants the land that belongs to some count.

Bishop: You know, you could tell Count Quelquenomme that this land has really belonged to the Church since the times of Charlemagne.

King: That will be difficult to prove.

Bishop: Not at all. We'll set up a charte dating back to the times of Charlemagne, signed by Roland, Olivier and Turpin.

King: But those are dead for a long time or have never existed.

Bishop (with a gentle smile): I have a monk who can fake their signatures to perfection.

lullaby said...

Kirchner: Cristina...?

Cristina: Shut the fuck up!

K: sigh

Liam said...


The forgeries are the funnest part. I may dedicate an entire chapter to them.


Pero de que cojones hablas, loco porteno?

Liam said...

Oh right, the president of Argentina. Cristina is his wife?