And so the counselors of Good King Billy, at the outset of his reign, were summoned to the presence of the monarch, who proceeded to speak unto them thusly:
“A wondrous vision has come unto me of change that shall come to pass under my rule in this land of the Tense Sea, wherein children now foolish shall become filled with knowledge in their Temples of Learning, wherein the common people now wretched shall be gainfully employed and wherein the noble barons of business and even ordinary merchants shall be freed of onerous edicts issued by kings of old, to whom I mean no disrespect, so that they may assist children in their learning to perform beneficial tasks of the future and their parents to prosper such tasks now.
“This vision shall be called the New Normal. I hereby decree that it shall be done. And without any expenditures from the royal treasury, save that necessary as incentives to the barons of business and such as may be necessary to maintain health and happiness of the people.
“Toward that end, I declare that ye shall conduct a top-to-bottom review of the Old Normal to ascertain the revisions that need be made for the New Normal, so that I may issue the appropriate edicts. For I humbly confess, forsooth, that I am sore perplexed by many things of which I hear from those subjects who beseech me for the granting of favors.
“I further command that a great sword be forged, as also pledged in my campaign of the red umbrella and chocolate pie, that shall be called Dashboard and be made mystical by the kingdom’s best magicians so that it may guide me in the accomplishment of royal deeds.”
The counselors to the king included many wise men — and some women — of the GOP’s tribe. Some had known him since childhood, such as a scholar who was known for scribbling on a flat rock and was called Herbert the Slate. Others had served in the brief fighting required to subdue those who opposed his quest for the throne, such as the young squire Marquis de Cate.
But chief among them was Claude, an aged lord from the town of Chatter in the Southeast. Once he had supported the shaman Wampster, who fought against Billy, but had since sworn fealty and now was the king’s most trusted advisor, designated as lord high chancellor and deputy king.
And Deputy Claude, as he was called, rose and begged leave to speak, which was granted.
“Your highness of the Has Lamp, long may you reign, and it shall be done as you command,” he began. “But know that, even as we speak, the lords and ladies of Legislatorland have assembled and there are rumors of mischief in the making there, even though there are few Demoncrats in attendance this year and many GOPs.
“For the warlord Ramses, pharaoh of the upper chamber, though he has paid homage to your noble presence, is said to plot toward undermining of your royal authority, perhaps in connivance with the party of Tea. The wise woman of the lower chamber, Speaker Beth of Bare Feet, tells us the situation needs your attention.
“It could be wise to delay the review of bottoms and tops, and the forging of the sword Dashboard, to deal first with these pressing circumstances.”
Now, within the Land of the Tense Sea, there was a long custom that, at the beginning of every year, each fiefdom should send chosen lords and ladies as emissaries to gather in chambers near the King’s castle in the Ville of Gnash. There, they attended great parties, made speeches to one another and were entertained and lectured in the chamber lobbies by representatives of interests special. And they would then cast votes upon petitions to send the king urging that edicts on a given topic be issued.
And other counselors joined with Deputy Claude, saying they, too, had heard tales of strange rumblings in Legislatorland; for example, on the saying of gay, on admonishments to instructors of children in the lower Temples of Learning and arming of instructors in higher Temples of Learning with swords.
“So be it,” said Good King Billy. “I can honestly say that, frankly, I’m not convinced that it would be incredibly difficult to declare that the first part of the top-to-bottom review shall be of Legislatorland, though that is not my priority.”
(To be continued, in due course.)
Note: This is a Sunday column for the News Sentinel, also appearing HERE. Part one of the fable is HERE.