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King John's Toothache

King John held the side of his mouth and winced in pain. He had two problems right now. Firstly, the Barons were putting pressure on him to sign a document which would give them more rights, which he did not want to do, and secondly, he had terrible toothache!   He called for his trusty servant  Percival , to fetch him something for the pain.

 

‘Your Majesty, there is a special herb which I believe would ease the suffering  you are experiencing. It is growing in the garden of Lord John de Lacey of Pontefract Castle’ said Percy.

 

‘Ahh  Johnnie Lacey, my childhood friend.  Send a messenger out at once to obtain this most essential herb’ replied the King.

 

Percy shuffled nervously and avoided eye contact with King John.

 

‘Sire, attempts have already been made to procure the herb, but Lord de Lacey is refusing to let us come onto his property. He says he needs to protect his rights.’

 

‘What nonsense is this?’ cried the King ‘Old Johnnie would never do that, we have spent many happy hours hunting together. Why would he refuse his King?’

 

‘The Lord de Lacey is unhappy that you will not cede to the Barons request to recognise their rights’ said Percy, taking a step back from the King as he did so.

 

‘What? What treachery is this, Johnnie will be in big trouble next time I see…. Ow ow ow!’ King John clutched the side of his mouth again.  ‘Does this herb not grow anywhere else?’

 

'Yes Sire, there is also a specimen growing in the private gardens of the Bishop of Bath  and Wells’

 

‘Well get a move on then, with a bit of luck Wells & back can be done in a day!’ 

 

Percy shuffled nervously again, then took another step back just in case. ‘Quite so Sire, however his Holiness the Bishop is of the same mind as Lord de Lacey on this issue. He has also refused us access to his property’

 

King John slumped miserably in his throne and considered his predicament.  ‘So if I sign the wretched charter, they would let me have the herb?’ he enquired.

 

‘Yes Sire’ replied Percy. ‘I believe you have the gist of it’

 

‘All right’ said the King ‘Tell the Barons I will sign. After all, I expect I can get out of it somehow later in the future,  it’s not like it will be set  in stone, is it?’ 

 

So Percy the faithful servant arranged the signing of the Magna Carta, and the King’s toothache was greatly eased.

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