8/15/09

The Modernizer

It was bedlam.

Alcohol arrived in endless quantities. The sound of hurdy-gurdies reverberated off the high ceilings. Jesters and clowns filled the hall, singing obscene songs. Goats and stags ran freely among the guests, knocking over servants and stealing food from the tables. Seventy-two dwarves burst forth from enormous meat pies that were strategically placed to throw the biggest mess upon the guests. They jumped from the dishes and rolled around the crowded floors in elaborate boat-costumes, punching and kicking each other as they reenacted the naval victories that brought about the official peace.

At the sound of trumpets the two main doors of the Winter Palace slammed open and the festivities paused. Gasps were quickly followed by thunderous laughter as a team of 24 harnessed bears strolled in, each mounted by a dwarf in a feathered cap. At the end of the train, tied to a wooden cart was a giant, nearly seven feet tall. A precursor to Gulliver captured by the Lilliputians. When he broke free from his restraints, the State Chancellor raised his flagon to toast him.

“All here in this Most Drunken Assembly of Fools and Jesters, join me in praying that Bacchus and Venus ensure a long and wine-filled life to our Tsar, and may he now forever be known as ‘the Great’ and ‘the Emperor of all the Russias!’”

The revelry stretched immoderately into the late hours of October 22nd, 1721, until Tsar Peter I, the man who violently dragged Russia into the modern world, decided to exhibit his knowledge of western dentistry by removing a juggler’s teeth with a set of pliers he kept in his pocket. As usual, only at the whisper of “Come home, little father,” by his beloved Katierinoushka, Empress Catherine, did he meekly consent to call it a night.

2 comments:

Jean-François de Buren said...

Now THAT, sounds like a party!

cyurkanin said...

LOL No kidding! What are you doing way back here in the archives?! lol