Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Feuerwerken und Weihnachten am Schloss Schönburg

Herr von Braun's WhirlenFliegnRaketenMasjinen just prior to take off in the  Schloss Schönburg courtyard

Christmas Eve in Schloss Schönburg was proving...interesting. Duke Werther and his advisors had been invited to watch a new fangled device to move troops quickly to where they were needed. A certain Herr von Braun had pitched up at in Schönburg earlier that week, he was hustling his invention from minor state to minor state hoping to find a patron, or even a sponsor, or failing that a hot meal

"This invention" he had told the Duke and his advisors " is the answer to any small state's needs. You have limited troops, they cannot be everywhere at once, so what better than a device that can move them quickly to where they are needed"

"How does it work"

"Well, its all very complicated, perhaps we should discuss your particular req..."

Herr von Braun saw that the Duke was swinging his watch chain and decided a sales spiel was not the best tactic

"Well, its has a Steam Rotor, an Italian design from Galileo Industria, and eight rockets. You put the troops in it, light the top rockets, they fire and create lift off, they then ignite the second stage undermeath which sends the craft in the correct direction, and the steam rotor ensures it settles gently to earth, just where needed. The troops jump out and the enemy is routed!

"Jolly Good" said the Duke "Put the Watch in it and shoot it off to KlosterBad, if there's any accidents I'm sure the healing waters of the Spa would sort them out"

"Er..maybe a litle less ambition first time out" suggested Herr Minion

"Bah - alright. What should we shoot up? It needs to be man size to test the contraption"

"I know" said Herr Minion "Lets put all the full size wooden sculptures from the Nativity tableau in the town square into the thing. If it can land a three wise men, a virgin,  the baby Jesus, several angels and a dozen assorted animals it'll work  for our soldiers. Ther's nothing alive above their trouser belts anyway"

"Capital idea. Guards!"

And with that, the Guard ran into the town square, grabbed all the nativity tableau figures, stuck them in the WhirlenFliegen-machine, and the Duke and his advisors then stood back and waited expectantly as a proud Joseph beamed down from the machine.

"This is all, a bit....sudden...Herr Duke, stammered Herr von Braun. This requires preparation and careful...."

The Duke was whizzing his monocle round his finger

"Oh fie, von Braun - if it works, it will work. Fire it up, or we'll put you in it and do it ourselves"

The logic was inescapable. Nervously von Braun engaged the rotor gear on the steam engine, and as the blades started to whirl he lit the blue touchpaper on the rockets, and stood well back. The device rocked a bit from the rotor, then in a blast of smoke and flame it blasted off into the night sky, arcing gracefully over Schönburg, before exploding in a massive bang above the town. Bits of burning nativity figurines went everywhere, like a thousand roman candles in the sky. And just as that was dying down, the steam rotor ignited in a marvellous secondary explosion and arced down like a whirring dervish into the river..

Herr von Braun looked utterly dejected, the secondary rockets had not so much ignited as detonated. But the Duke and his entourage were applauding enthusiastically, and from the town was the sound of loud cheering.

"Perfekt, Herr von Braun" beamed the Duke "We haven't ever had fireworks here before, and now we have, and it has gone off with a bang!. We shall have it every year from now on, on Weihnachts, every noble Birtthday, during SeptemberFest and on Canaveral Day* - you will be our Master of Gunpowder and Fireworks"

"But I am an aeronautical scient".....von Braun caught himself. A Master of Gunpowder and Fireworks may have other "interests" and this place was a sinecure..."how much is the stipend, your Grace"

"Free lodgings, eleventy Thalers a month, dinners at the castle refectory and fresh tart on Sundays"

"I love Orange tart"

"Well, you go to the the town, and pick your own. They come in all colours these days and make a bloody great noise when they do so. I blame the East India Companies..."

And so it was settled.

Some fisherman on the Ang Strom were a bit disconcerted a few days later when they caught a large metal riveted fish in their nets. Once others heard what Herr von Braun had paid to get his boiler-fish back, the river fishermen were much exercised in trying to find similar, but apart from that, and the monks at KlosterBad thinking a comet had signalled that the Second Coming had in fact come, life at Schönburg flowed tranquilly on into the new year.

*Carnival. It's the local dialect.

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