Page 1 of 1

King Alfred

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 3:37 pm
by Bobinwales
One of the greatest kings of England ruled between 871 and 899. He was named Alfred, and later became known as Alfred the Great.

Alfred fought many battles against the Vikings, and was victorious in most of them, but on one occasion in 878, he was forced to flee. Passing through the woods, he came across a hut with smoke rising from the chimney, so the good king, who was exceptionally tired by this time, knocked on the door.

An old lady stood there, surprised to see the tall handsome figure of the 30-year-old monarch standing in his brass armour on her doorstep.

She had no idea that this man was her king of course, he didn’t look a lot like his picture on the coins, but he did look weary, so she took pity on him, and invited him in, and prepared bread, cheese and beer.

Alfred for his part decided that he had to make himself as comfortable as he could, so he removed as much of his brass armour as he could without the help of a page who knew how things went together. The result was, although the breastplate came off, his legs were still firmly enclosed in brass plates.

After he had eaten his modest meal, he settled down in the only chair to doze in front of the fire. The good dame took this opportunity to go out to look for firewood, and asked Alfred to watch the scones that she was cooking at the fireside. Alfred of course agreed readily.

When he woke from his doze, Alfred was mortified to see that the fire had almost gone out, and the scones were still uncooked. However, he saw a pair of bellows hanging by the fire, and he had seen his servants use such things, therefore he had a good idea of how they worked, so he set to, to get the fire burning bright again.

But, worse was to come. Alfred’s brass trousers were not designed for such work, and they locked solidly, so the king was stuck in crouched position, and was extremely uncomfortable. Alfred didn’t notice that as he struggled to stand up his arms were working the bellows furiously, and of course, the fire reacted, and flared high, burning the scones in the process.

Every British schoolchild will tell you that Alfred was famous for burning the cakes, but not many will know that the incident gave rise to an expression in the English language that lasts until this very day and age. “People in brass trousers shouldn’t blow scones”.