Saturday, May 05, 2018


I have just learned a most edifying etymological fact: 'Lord' comes originally from the Old English 'Hlafweard': 'One who guards the loaves'. 'Lady', similarly, comes from 'hlæfdige': 'one who kneads loaves'. But most piquantly, for me, this prototypical Lord and Lady are paired with a household servant, one 'hlafæta': 'one who eats loaves'. She is - in modern English - Loafeater.

What an inspiring figure she cuts, too, back in the swirling mists of time (if you want to create a bit of atmosphere at this point, maybe drag the stage smoke machine out) this Lofita. Let us leave aside this Lord and this Lady for instant, and go to the servants chambers where this primordial Lofita takes her place.

She is of an ancient tribe, is Lofita, a fearsome and savage tribe that has roamed the plains of the northern countries for generations; for so long that the generations have become myth and the myth has become, for her, truth, a tale full of horrifying Gods and Goddesses and wonders and terrors. Lofita is not herself without nobility: many generations afterward, her scions will become a ferocious tribe of Scots, who will be busily at war with her other Scions, a merciless clan of cave-dwelling people who are half-Pict, half-Saxon. The coming of Christianity is still in the unimaginably far future. Lofita, sitting in the darkness here, does not bat an eyelid at the odd human sacrifice here or there. As a matter of fact she is particularly looking forward to the upcoming offering to Wodan next week; with Hlafweard wielding the axe (or whatever primordial weapon the primordial Lord is expected to wield) it promises to be especially bloody.

But what really gets Lofita is bread. Oh, she loves the stuff! Look at her now! She grabs a hunk of stale leftover bread from two days ago and crams it in her mouth - mm, crunchy! It is not for want of food, either: the spring has been good and some Phoenicians (or Etruscans or Bombalians or some other such nonsense) have brought this wondrous new creature over to Lofita's lands in the early spring - its conversation is somewhat limited ('cluck cluck cluck') but it is fat and delicious and will doubtless help to keep the house warm in winter. No, Lofita just loves bread. She grabs a fresh loaf and crams it into her mouth; that will keep her occupied for a few minutes. Just then old fat Loafguard from the other room calls out -

"Lofita! Hast thou finished that primordial tapestry yet?"

No, of course she hath not, but Lofita, being sharp of mind, quickly calls out an excuse - "No, the primordial chook hath crapped upon it and I must needs clean it off" - or she thinks she calls out an excuse. To Loafguard it sounds more like "Mm th mm-mm-oo-mm-al mm-mmm-mmmmmmmmmf!"

That Lofita! Always slacking off on duty!
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