Robert The Bruce


The History Maintenance Commission has been faced with a new conundrum. The Madison Avenue based organisation has received a question that could have far reaching consequences if the course of history were ever altered as some meddling timetraveller decides to make a mess of the political union between Scotland and the rest of the UK. The question posed at HMC HQ in NYC is: What if Robert The Bruce suffered from arachnophobia?

Mortimer Hackpot, the HMC press officer, has stated that the question carries such importance that it is being fast-tracked through The Omphalos to garner results quickly and to act upon them in the interests of restoring harmony in the United Kingdom.

‘They need to be united at this unprecedented time of pandemic,’ Hackpot added, ‘If this question fails to be addressed and suitable remedies are not adopted to maintain history as we know it, then the bond between these historic neighbours will become fractious and possibly scupper valiant attempts to control the coronavirus.’

Hackpot, and his ultimate boss at the HMC, Professor Delphi, are evidently concerned that if Robert The Bruce becomes arachnophobic the legendary incident when the soon to be King of Scotland Robert The Bruce was on the run from English forces after defeat at the Battle of Methven in 1305 and took refuge in a barn, would never happen. For it was there that he famously watched a spider try to connect the web it was spinning between two rafters. Having failed twice the arachnid triumphed on the third attempt. This inspired The Bruce to not submit to the English and try yet again to win Scottish independence, it was at an opportune moment as he was seriously contemplating packing it all in and opening up a sports goods shop in Stirling. Fuelled by the spider’s tenacity he led Scottish forces to an historic win over the much larger English army at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 that all but confirmed an independent Scotland.

‘Already, without input from The Omphalos,’ Hackpot explained, ‘We can clearly see that Nicola Sturgeon will be on dodgy ground calling for a second referendum to determine Scottish independence. Mainly due to all the fracking on her side of Hadrian’s Wall as the English would have had control for seven centuries and in that time dumped all their controversial projects up there so as to protect property values further south. There’s also the very distinct possibility that without Robert The Bruce’s experience to call upon, the Scottish National Party leader would have given up after defeat in the first referendum as due to the progress made by modern architecture, wooden beams are rarely a feature of modern house design and that allied to her diligence with housekeeping somewhat reduce the capacity of a spider to operate unhindered and at the same time convey inspirational messages.’

The Hysterical News Agency is given to understand that the History Maintenance Commission press officer was deliberately playing down the implications of Robert The Bruce being arachnophobic. Of far greater import appears to be the probability that with the Scottish king not cornering the market in deciphering mantras delivered by insect types this dubious field will be open to interpretation by various historical figures post 1305. For instance, Abraham Lincoln could have observed a moth and its attraction to sources of light in April 1865 and as a result decide not to attend Ford’s Theatre, Washington the following night in favour of making his way to see the Blackpool Illuminations, thus missing his assassination. While Herbert Jones, the jockey of Amner the horse owned by King George V, could view the actions of a flea on the night of June 3, 1913 and as a consequence decide that instead of mounting Amner the following afternoon and attempt to ride it to glory in the Epsom Derby he would jump on it instead, invite his family to do likewise then bite and generally cause a nuisance to the poor horse. Thus denying the suffragette Emily Davison the opportunity to put herself in the path of the galloping horse and provide the movement for women’s suffrage with its most famous martyr.

Categories: Robert The Bruce

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