Once upon a time (and a jolly interesting time it was too), the King\’s Favourite Minister had had a simply awful week.
Firstly, his clever plan to sell off the Royal Forests quick and quiet went horribly wrong. His advisors had told him that the Royal Forests were badly infected with Evil Black Gunge Death and would mostly have to be cut down. He immediately thought that the best thing to do would be to sell them so someone else would have to do the tree-cutting and also perhaps scrape a bit of money out of it to throw at the Royal Debt.
Unfortunately he didn\’t do it quick and quiet enough, or at least his Forest Minister didn\’t. And so the yokels and peasants, who didn\’t know about the Evil Black Gunge Death yet, started protesting about him selling the Royal Forests. Then the Forest Lords who might have bought the Royal Forests from him told him he was asking about double what they were willing to pay, on account of the Evil Black Gunge Death that they knew perfectly well was infecting the Royal Forests and in fact they were quite insulted, as a group, that he\’d thought he could put one over on them like that.
And so the King\’s Favourite Minister dumped the whole idea and blamed it on his Forest Minister, who was only a girl anyway and so didn\’t matter.
Then the Bankers announced that the massive amounts of money they\’d mulched around their ailing money-trees had worked and the money-trees were fruiting money like crazy and so they were helping themselves to as much money as they liked in the form of bonuses and there was nothing he could do about it this time. Money trees weren\’t susceptible to Evil Black Gunge Death which was good news for the Bankers. However the peasants and pamphleteers didn\’t see it that way and started being unreasonable again.
Meanwhile, they weren\’t the only revolting peasants. In the hot lands where the Magic Black Stuff oozed out of the ground, the peasants were making a nuisance of themselves as well. Lots of the previous-but-one Favourite Minister\’s friends were having trouble with them, and in particular a very loony but clever Caliph with an awful lot of Magic Black Stuff under his land was in a full-on fight with his revolters. And he wasn\’t doing very well either.
\”I don\’t know,\” said the Favourite Minister\’s chum, \”Somebody should do something about rescuing all those people from our Kingdom working to get the Magic Black Stuff, that whole country\’s falling apart. It\’s shocking…\”
\”Who should be doing it?\” put in the King\’s Fool, who liked the same pub. \”Isn\’t that the job of the Minister for Bloody Foreigners?\”
\”Whose round is it?\” said the Favourite Minister\’s chum, \”Yeah, that\’s the one. Shocking how little he\’s doing at the moment.\”
\”Isn\’t it?\” said the Fool, \”Who\’s doing that job now?\”
\”Haven\’t a clue, \”said the Favourite Minister\’s chum, \”Mine\’s a pint of bitter…\”
\”Actually,\” said the King\’s Favourite Minister, \”You\’re doing it.\”
\”Who me?\” said the Fool.
\”No,\” said the King\’s Favourite Minister, \”You.\”
His chum looked taken aback. Then he laughed in a very chappish way. \”So I am,\” he said, \”I\’d forgotten that. I\’ve even knocked up a nice speech about what a rotten job the Minister for Bloody Foreigners is doing about the poor people stuck in the desert with marauding tribesmen. Better get on with it, I suppose.\”
\”Yes,\” said the King\’s Favourite Minister. \”How about right now?\”
\”When I\’ve finished my pint,\” said his chum who knew things about certain parties back when they were both students, \”I\’ll get right on it.\”
So all in all, it was a pretty awful week for the King\’s Favourite Minister, though not quite as awful as it was for the various people stuck in the desert with the marauding tribesmen.