Friday, 22 February 2013

Cyril Tourney - Sally Free and Easy

"Sally free and easy that should be her name When my body's landed hope she dies of shame." Well that was a sinister ending to an otherwise lovely song. In other news I'm reading about Genghis Khan. Hope you're sitting comfortably children. Genghis Khan was a kindly, warm-hearted, well meaning man born on the border between Mongolia and Russia in around 1155. It is said that he was born clutching a blood clot, an omen to the coming of a warrior who would be a great leader someday. As a boy he was expelled from his home tribe along with his mother, his three brothers and his sister after his father - the chieftain - was poisoned by a rival tribe. They roamed the plains hungry and lost. One day his brother stole some food for himself, so Genghis killed him. And thus a warrior was born. Miraculously he escaped exile and returned to the clan of his childhood sweetheart. They met, it was deemed a match, and they were blissfully married. Shortly afterwards the lucky lady was kidnapped by a rival clan. Genghis dutifully whisked her away home. By which point the beautiful newly wed was too knackered to even bat an eyelid at her knight in shining armour's numerous wives and concubines that popped up about the place. With a new tribe to support him, Genghis was unstoppable. Enemies were forced to flee or die, and word of his bravery spread throughout the land. Genghis created laws for his people and anyone who did not obey was severely punished. And these punishments were original. I don't mean boring old solitary confinement or a day in the stocks. I'm pretty certain that if I were at risk of being launched into some boiling oil, having my head removed or getting [my personal favourite] "tied to horses and dragged over miles and miles of rough terrain."* I wouldn't show much resistance either. That said, even brutal dictators have a sweeter side, and in paintings he is said to be portrayed with a long grandfatherly beard and "laughter lines round his eyes."* Furthermore he was apparently humoured by sycophants that were in a state of perpetual terror greatly esteemed for his fondness of religion and philosophy, and he was against bigotry. Well if you're going to massacre people I suppose you may as well not be fussy about it. *The Most Evil Dictators in History, Shelley Klein, Michael O'Mara Books Ltd 2002

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