Chris settled back in his seat as Dave brought over a couple of pints of Old Mouldy to their table by the fire in the Ferret and Firkin.
‘Thanks Dave, that will go down a treat.’
‘Yes, it’s better than that Double Diamond stuff they used to serve up here isn’t it. Cheers.’
‘Cheers mate,’ said Chris.
‘Doing anything special this weekend for the jubilee celebrations? Asked Dave.
‘Not really, but is makes me think of the time I was involved in a coronation in Tangibia back along.
‘You, involved in a coronation, I don’t believe it’ muttered Dave. ‘What was that all about then?
‘It’s a long story, are you sure you want to hear it?
‘I’ll force myself to stay awake if you get a couple of pints in first.’
Chris went over to the bar and brought back a couple of foaming pints of Old Mouldy. ‘It started like this. I was working as a contract cabinet maker for Prices, you know the furniture manufacturers in Grimes Street?’
‘Well I don’t know them but I’ve passed their works a few times, said Dave.
‘Well, one day we got a call from the Crown Prince of Tangibia. His father, the king, had died and he was due to be crowned as the new king. He was a modest man and so wanted to be seen as a modernising ruler – a king of the people, ‘The People’s King’, if you like. He didn’t want any ostentatious wealth so he lived simply in a thatched hut as did most of his people. This was all many years ago, you understand.
There was one thing he did want though and that was that the centre piece of the ceremony would be an ornate throne on which he would be crowned. He had heard of Prices so he wanted the company to make it for him from local hardwood. Prices were looking for a volunteer to go out to Tangibia to select the wood. I said I would go.
I booked a direct flight from Heathrow to Tangibia City and off I went. The Crown Prince was kind enough to meet me at the airport and we set off into the forest to select a tree that could provide enough suitable timber for the throne. I had the specifications as Prices design department had drawn up the dimensions and cutting list before I left Heathrow.
We had decided that teak would be the best material as it would last for many years and was proof against rot and the local wood boring beetles because its high oil content. The Prince wanted to be able to store it long enough that his son could use it for his own coronation when the time came. We found a suitable tree, measured it to ensure it was big enough and then I left the country and flew back to Heathrow after leaving firm instructions and advice on cutting it down and it’s long term storage conditions.
We made the throne to the approved design and shipped it out to Tangibia in plenty of time for the coronation. Prices allowed us to bring a television into work on the day so that we could watch the coronation in the afternoon – London time. It all went well and we were delighted to see the throne we had made being used at the centre of the ceremony.
We thought that was the last we would hear from Tangibia but, three years later we heard on the BBC that the King of Tangibia had been killed in a domestic accident. We were sorry about this as he had been a good friend of the company and I, in particular, had got to know and like him during my trip to his country. Eventually further details came through and we found out what had happened. He had been asleep in his thatched house one night when his throne that he had stored in the rafters had crashed down and crushed him to death while he slept. The throne was, of course, very heavy being made from teak and the rafters just could not carry the weight.’
‘That is a real shame, did you feel guilty about it?’ asked Dave.
‘Not really although I felt sorry for him and his family,’ said Chris, ‘but I had warned him you see.’
‘What did you say?’
‘There was only one thing I could say really wasn’t there?’ Said Chris.
‘What was that then,’ asked Dave.
‘People who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones.’
© Richard Kefford Eorðdraca
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