Is that a frown, First Minister?
Your people are uneasy, Sire.
Wherefore? Are they tired of bread and circuses?
Our straw polls show that no amount of bread nor frequency of circus can assuage their deep discomfort.
Will they not accept their Sovereign’s gracious word that all is well?
No longer, alas, Your Royal Reassurance! Such soothing sentiments simply serve to fuel the fires of faithlessness. Your billowy blandishments are become red rags to rampant bulls of disbelief.
Fires? Bulls? You’re babbling, man!
Forgive me, Your Brightness, my lowly gaze is dazzled!
Cut to the chase, you chump, or those eyeballs shall peep out of tonight’s goulash!
Well, High-and-Mightiness, not to put too fine a point on it …
Spit it out, you nincompoop!
… your subjects seem to have lost their simple faith in your omniscience, All-Knowing One.
How come I didn’t know that? Whatever happened to my enormous network of neighbourhood noses?
Bunged up, Your High-and-Mightiness, ever since your omnipotence was called into question.
And who would dare to defy that?
Pretty much everybody once your omnipresence grew so thin on the ground, All-Overness.
Ah questions, questions, questions! And to think how easily satisfied with any old answer those credulous crudscrapers once were!
Halcyon days, Sky-Blueness! But now it is the latest craze to perform autopsies on every dead, discarded philosophy and the platitudes from the pen of Your Royal Mindfulness have been much dissected of late.
So, Earhole, have they managed to penetrate the beating heart of my pronouncements?
Such a miracle of regeneration is beyond even their capabilities, Your Otherness. It appears that nothing is taken on face value but must be mined for deeper meaning. They say no man is to be trusted until his peers confirm his conclusions.
Peers? A ruler has no peers within his realm! His word is law, no evidence required! And as for these pedantic nit-pickers that seek a reason for everything, why, let them spend a dreadful night or three in the Caverns of Chaos and Old Night and pick the bones out of the bad dreams they find there! Ha, do they not know how often I inhale the embalmed bodily vapours of my mummified forebears?
It is not common knowledge, Your Royal Sniffiness.
Well, you puny pipsqueak, let us blazen abroad our olfactory intimacy with the Old Ones as proof positive of timeless credibility! We must rescue our poor nation from the icy clutches of pen-pushers and box-tickers by bringing a halt to so-called progress and putting the clock back to glorious yesteryear. Can a proud scion of Ulf the Uncompromising and Unk the Unstoppable bow his knee to straw polls and focus groups when he should be soaring with eagles far above the common clouds to build a new Eldorado, Shangri-La or Elysium for the truly worthy?
The flying machine is under construction as we speak, Your Loftiness. We only await the perfection of a heatproof wax to hold the feathers …
Pieter Bruegel “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels