Historical Perspectives

There is a hobby, not always shyly indulged, for revealing, as a counterpoint to  cramped circumstances, that some ancestor did something famous in a battle, or lived in a castle or was the King of Wongolia or whatever it might be. Reflecting on this I thought of the following reverse scenario.

A noted landowner with estates stretching over half the county is sitting on a seat in his garden, sipping a cup of tea his maid has brought from the kitchen. Presumably,  it is too heavy for him to carry to this place with his own hands. Having won the lottery of supernatural wishes he is able , for one afternoon only, to peer into the future and see how his descendants have used the advantages he bestowed on them.

The Landowner takes a sip of tea and peers into the magic glass. He see’s his direct descendant playing a musical instrument outside some railway station. The man is dressed in rags and has a hat on the ground before him in which the Landowner can see a few coins.  “Bloody Hell Cameron” he says to his gardener , “What the blazes is going on here”( no swearing allowed on a family Blog, even by the very wealthy). “He seems to have come upon hard times  Sir” suggests the tactful gardener.

As they peer into the glass the Grandee’s descendant says to the world and no-one, ” My ancestor  used to own this town and half the county.” .  “Hard Times” says the gruff Landowner ” He looks like a bloody beggar to me”. “Look into the glass and see what ghastly progeny you and Elspeth have burdened the world with”. The polite gardener peers into the glass, and says as quietly as possible, “He seems to be Prime Minister your Lordship”,

“I beg your pardon”, says his employer, too startled to make sense of this assertion. He peers into the glass and sure enough, sees a man who looks a bit like his gardener, but  slightly chubbier and dressed in an expensive suite, coming out of 10 Downing Street and  surrounded by journalists. “This is an abomination Cameron” says the Landowner. “Whats the meaning of this”. “I’m as mystified as you sir”,  says the embarrassed gardener. The fortune of his descendant will not save the gardener from the wrath of his employer, just as the Landowner’s current position will not place more coins in the hat of his heir.

Clearly the lottery of supernatural wishes was not as kindly a gift as the tea sipping “master of all he surveyed”  initially thought. Everything he did now would be wasted in the hands of his descendants, while his gardener, who apparently did nothing more than muck around with a few tulips, might be celebrated in the annals of history. “This is not reasonable” he says to Cameron. “possibly not” replies the  tactful servant, mindful of his job.  “Shall I return your teacup to the kitchen”


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, creative writing, humour, Life, life2, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Historical Perspectives

  1. catterel says:

    Neat story – so glad we can’t look into the future!


  2. Thank you for the smile this story gave to me this morning.

    I am always wondering what you will cone up with next! And I am always delighted! 🙂



  3. backonmyown says:

    We just never know, do we? I agree with Cat–I don’t want to see the future. Good story, Ducks.


  4. gotham girl says:

    Smiles happening here!


  5. Al says:

    And they say time travel is impossible!


  6. Perry Mead says:

    That’s why the future is prohibited


  7. babs50nfab says:

    Love your clever mind.


  8. Ah, the suffering that our expectations bring us. This story is one that the Buddha could have told…


  9. renxkyoko says:

    My family have known so many people like that…. filthy rich one time, almost homeless the next… the change of fortune was quite unbelievable !


  10. nelle says:

    Very clever exploration, and perhaps a bit karmic.


  11. Your clever story reminds me of a game we used to play as kids where we would sit and imagine all the wonders of the world that would be ours, if only we could see into the future. Until someone would mention having to prepare for your own death, or someone close to us and all of a sudden, the magic of those superpowers would disappear.


  12. I’m just reading ‘Wolf Hall’ at the moment and they are always talking about the fact that Cromwell descended from a blacksmith, and that this is a bit outrageous, so this is a lovely take on the obsession of lineage – how it was impossible for people to grasp how you could make you way up in the world if you didn’t come from a ‘good’ family.


  13. Writerlious says:

    I adore the dialogue at the end! So funny. 🙂


  14. Christine says:

    Having a cup of tea as I catch up on your musings ~ thanks for a lovely morning breatk.


  15. eof737 says:

    Brilliantly funny! It would be best to relax and go with the flow. 🙂


  16. Wonderful, so enjoyed this! Very profound. I am shamefully catching up and just want you know I was here and enjoying every word! Hope you are well, Diane


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