Thursday, July 11, 2013

Where King-Size Beds Come From

Where did king-size beds come from? Here's a humorous answer from Luke Bellmason - a tribute to Rudyard Kipling, perhaps:

The King Who Liked To Sleep

Once upon a time, there was a King. And this King liked to sleep. And he had the softest, warmest bed in all of the seven lands. And a matress of the finest, softest eiderdown feathers, a pillow stuffed with soft fresh rose petals and huge thick warm duvets piled four and five high. And because this was a cold land and a cold castle he liked to stay in bed as long as possible, not doing anything.
And one day the King from the neighbouring kingdom sent a messenger. And the Clerk to the Court told the Messenger to come back tomorrow as the King was asleep right now. And in the meantime, would the messenger like to stay for the night? And so the Messenger said that he really was supposed to be getting back to his King with the reply to the message, but really he didn’t see the harm in staying one night. And so the Clerk showed the Messenger to a room with another bed just as big and soft and warm as the Kings. And the next day the Messenger awoke late and got up and found the Clerk to the Court, who was also not up yet, and asked him again if he could deliver his message to the King. And the Clerk to the Court said he would check but that he really didn’t think the King would be up yet as it was way too early.
And so the Messenger did spend another night in the enormous, soft, warm bed and slept in the next day even longer. And when he did get up he again found the Clerk to the Court and asked him if he could go to the King and deliver his message. And the Clerk to the Court said that even though it was a lot later than it had been the day before he still didn’t think the King would be up yet as it was barely half-past four in the afternoon.
And so the Messenger spent another fine, wonderful night in the huge bed, which was like sleeping in a cloud itself and being taken away from this world altogether with all its troubles and woes and carried aloft into heaven where it was so difficult to remember what message he had even come to deliver even was. And instead the Messenger dreamt that he was a King, a ruler of his own fine kingdom with servants and fine food and a view from the window of a fine green land with farms full of fruit and animals grazing.
And when he awoke late the next evening, just before bedtime, he did indeed see the King to whom he had come to deliver his message. And he delivered his message.
“King Great-Tog, it is my sworn duty to deliver to you this message from King Hard-Bed of Stoneshireland,” he recited, “and he demaands that you do immediately grant to him the lands to your Eastern borders comprising half of your total kingdom where the great reserves of oil and gold do dwell. And if you do not do this, you will instead consider yourself King Great-Tog and he King Hard-Bed, to be at WAR!” The Messenger solemnly stated. And he added, “I await your reply King, which I will deliver by the end of this day.”
And the King muttered a few words to himself and then beckoned to his Clerk to lean in closer whereupon he muttered something more. And then the King sloped off and went back to bed.
“He said he’ll sleep on it,” said the Clerk to the Messenger, and so, as it was close to bedtime, each of them returned to bed and slept like they had never done before, each knowing that this might well be their last night of peace before the War began.
And the next day everyone took the day off and stayed in bed a bit longer and it wasn’t until the day after that they got up to see if any decision had been made. And they saw that it was a Saturday and so they knew there was no point bothering the King as he liked a really good lie in on a weekend and Monday mornings were never good and so they would wait until Tuesday at the earliest and then maybe even leave it to Wednesday.
And so on Wednesday, late in the evening when the King was up, he whispered to his Clerk that he had come to a decision and, when they felt like it, as there was no rush, they should load up a train of wagons with eiderdown matresses, fresh rose petal pillows and plenty of big thick duvets and send these to King Hard-Bed with the message that he, King Great-Tog, would not be giving up and land and he would not be going to war either, as he would be going to bed and advised King Hard-Bed to do the same, but in one of these fine new beds.
And when the Messenger returned with the wagons to King Hard-Bed he saw that his King was furious at him for taking so long for getting back to him and the Messenger told him that he should just ‘chillax’ and try the new bed as King Great-Tog had suggested.
And his King was still furious at this, but then thought about his own bed made of hard wood, pillows made from stones and gravel and the thinnest, dampest blanket which always semmed to suck away the heat from his body rather than insulating it.
And so King Hard-Bed tried the new bed and discovered that he could find no other pleasure greater than staying in his bed all night and all day, warm and comfortable, dreaming of summer days and worlds of wonder. He forgot about his oil and gold and the two Kings didn’t go to war and instead both agreed to give beds to all their subjects, beds just as comfortable and warm as theirs. And they were called King Sized beds.
And so all the people in all the lands stayed in bed all day and all night, and were happy and comfortable and never got any work done, which of course meant they never did anything bad. There was no more crime, no more wars and, though the economy did die away to nothing, nobody really minded because they were all asleep.
And outside, nature blossomed. The oil and the gold went unmined, the ground lay undisturbed and the natural balance of the land returned to what it was, and everybody slept happily ever after.

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