Content-Type: text/shitpost

Subject: The cobbler at court
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!twirlip​!central-scrutinizer​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-01-29T11:58:15
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Content-Type: text/shitpost

In my article about Planet Haskellers giving me the side-eye and wondering if I might be an impostor, I was groping around for a particular literary reference but I couldn't quite come up with it. But here it is.

One of my favorite books as a child was Granny's Wonderful Chair (Frances Browne, 1857). In one of the stories therein, “The Christmas Cuckoo”, the protagonist, a cobbler, has received magical leaves:

They that get one of them keep a blithe heart in spite of all misfortunes, and can make themselves as merry in a hut as in a palace.

One day a great lord happens to meet and speak with the cobbler, whose name is Spare, and the leaves work their magic on him:

How it was nobody could tell, but from the hour of that discourse the great lord cast away his melancholy: he forgot his lost office and his court enemies, the king's taxes and the crown-prince's toes, and went about with a noble train hunting, fishing, and making merry in his hall, where all travellers were entertained and all the poor were welcome.

Spare becomes famous, and the king commands him to come visit. He sews up the leaves in the lining of his leathern doublet and repairs to court, where he is a great success:

The princess of the blood, the great lords and ladies, ministers of state, and judges of the land, after that discoursed with Spare, and the more they talked the lighter grew their hearts, so that such changes had never been seen at court. The lords forgot their spites and the ladies their envies, the princes and ministers made friends among themselves, and the judges showed no favour.

But then the doublet with the magic leaves is lost.

That very day things came back to their old fashion. Quarrels began among lords, and jealousies among the ladies. The king said his subjects did not pay him half enough taxes, the queen wanted more jewels, the servants took to their old bickerings and got up some new ones. … Nobles began to ask what business a cobbler had at the king's table, and his majesty ordered the palace chronicles to be searched for a precedent. … His majesty, being now satisfied that there was no example in all the palace records of such a retainer, issued a decree banishing the cobbler for ever from court…

I similarly wonder if the day will come when I too will have to escape Planet Haskell by climbing out a window.