Our latest episode of Nicky Tams the King of Nosepipe,
as told by Gordon Thorburn and illustrated by myself
Why can’t people leave things alone?
“Never mind,” said King Nicky Tams The Easily Led, when he noticed his feet weren’t touching the floor. “Hello, everyone in Nosepipe. This is your King speaking. And a very special hello – to YOU.”
He couldn’t think of anything else to say, which hardly mattered seeing as nobody was listening, so he read the palace copy of the Nosepipe Courier and Advertiser. In the International section he was intrigued to see that some other countries didn’t have Kings ruling on their own. They had Governments to help the King, or Queen, and they had people called Prime Minister.
Indeed and amazingly, some countries didn’t have Kings or Queens at all.
King Nicky Tams, young as he was, could see the benefits of the Government system. The work could be shared: one for me, two for the Prime Minister, one for me, three for the Prime Minister. And if anything ever went wrong, you just blamed the Prime Minister, fired him or her and found another.
But who should he have as his Prime Minister, the first ever in Nosepipe? His Dear Mama filled the bill but Nicky Tams wasn’t THAT easily led. In fact, he thought that when he grew up, he might change his name to King Nicky Tams The Not As Green As He’s Cabbage Looking.
Next to Dear Mama, the cleverest person he knew was a girl in his class at Nosepipe County Primary called Ealfritha Agnetha Hrothgardottir (pronounced Ay-al-freeta An-yetta Krottgar-dotteer. Didn’t they have funny names in the Olden Days?). Ealfritha could recite her thirteen times table without ever making a mistake, and she could do long division.
…and can I change my name to Tracy
The King summoned Ealfritha, showed her the newspaper and asked her if she would like to be Nosepipe’s first Prime Minister.
“What’s the money like?” said Ealfritha. “And can I change my name to Tracy?”
“One thousand Brass Farthings a year,” said the King. “And yes.”
“Better than a slap in the chops with a wet haddock,” said Ealfritha, AKA Tracy, and that was that.
“Your first job,” said the King, “is to nip down the corner shop and buy up all the Eye of Newt. Here’s the sponduliks.”
“Certainly, Your Nicky Tamship,” said Tracy, and off she went.
“Dear Mama,” called the new King. “Dear Mama!” Scary Mary arrived, looking very pleased with herself.
“Dear Mama,” said the King. “My very Dear Mama. That which thou hast done unto my father, lo and behold, so one day couldst thou do it unto me, even with a toothbrush or any small, straight thing.”
King Nicky Tams had gone all old fashioned and high up, carried away with the excitement and importance of what he was saying.
“It shall not be. Away with her!” he cried to the palace guards. “Cast her forthwith into the deepest dungeon.”
“You can’t do that!” screamed Scary Mary. “You dirty rat. I’ll… I’ll… I’ll… turn you into a… I know. A cornflake.”
Queen Scary Mary grew even more scary as her eyes narrowed, her shoulders hunched, her fingers flickered, and she began her second Royal Spell in 24 hours.
See that moron on the throne?
Crinkle up his skin and bone!
Crisp him like a flake of corn…
‘Ere! Me Eye of Newt’s all gorn!
And so it was, because the King, thinking ahead, had pinched it out of her handbag. She couldn’t get any more and so that was her stitched up.
The palace guards took her down to the deepest dungeon, cast her forthwith, and there she was left to write her memoirs in permanent obscurity. Well, maybe.
…and there she was left
Tracy, meanwhile, had disposed of the last remaining Eye of Newt in a safe place, by which she meant a place only she knew about. She then returned to the King’s presence.
“OK, Your Nicky Tamsness. I’m in the shop and I’m like, all the Eye of Newt, please. I mean. How cool is that? What’s next?”
King Nicky Tams The Easily Led thought about this question. If the same question had been asked of his late father, the Muscular King, the answer would have been a resounding “Nothing”, because nothing really needed doing at that moment.
The country, after years of enlightened and muscular management, was running very smoothly. Don’t try and mend an engine that isn’t broken, the old king might have said to himself. Instead, his son said, out loud and to Tracy, “What do Kings usually do?”