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January 10th. The Knight.

The Owner and I go to hear Brave Sir Keir speak about Liberating the Oppressed.

He was not what I expected, I say afterwards. I thought he would be on a Horse, I say. With a Suit of Armour and a Sword in order to Better Fight the Dragons.

Knights are not Like That any more, says the Owner. These days Knights are more likely to wear Normal Trousers and to ride a Bicycle. They do not Fight Dragons but Battle against Oppression.

I imagine a Modern Knight would not want to Oppress a Horse, I say.

That is Probably True in Camden says the Owner. Highbury Corner is Particularly Oppressive to Horses now that the new Traffic Flow has been established.

But where is his Sword? I ask, anxious not to devote any further Hours of Furious Commentary to the Traffic Flow at Highbury Corner, about which I have Heard Enough. One cannot Liberate the Oppressed without a Sword, I add, to keep the Owner’s Mind off the Contraflow.

Swords are also frowned upon in Camden, says the Owner, although I believe Brave Sir Keir may occasionally carry a Biro.

What Good is a Biro when the Masses are Being Oppressed? I ask.

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword, says the Owner, looking Very Pleased with Herself.

You have been Waiting to Use that One All Day, I say.

I have been waiting to use That One All Year, says the Owner. It is a Cracker.

You are not Being Serious, I say. I don’t see how a Knight can Come to the Rescue of the Oppressed with only a Biro.

Hergest, says the Owner, surely you are not Disappointed that Brave Sir Keir does not Plan to Overthrow the Prime Minister through Force and Intimidation?

Why should he not when Oppression is Clearly Wrong? I ask.

Well, says the Owner. The Prime Minister is also One of the Masses. Brave Sir Keir may wish to Overthrow the Prime Minister but he would not wish to Oppress Him. To seize Power by Oppression, even of the Oppressor, would be Inconsistent with the Principles of Democracy which Elects One From Among the People to Lead the People.

The Prime Minister does not Look Very Oppressed, I say.

I am sure he has his Oppressed Moments, says the Owner. He is a Servant of Democracy. As is Brave Sir Keir.

I understand that, I say, but surely looking Knightlike is a Prerequisite for Knights. It is difficult to Inspire Confidence when one does not Look the Part. I say this rather pointedly since the Owner has just put my Superdog Cape in the Wash to Remove the Footprints.

The Owner does not respond to the Allusion to Superdog’s Cape, but this is largely because she still thinks it is a Throw which Belongs on the Bed. It is not about Looking the Part, says the Owner, but about Living the Part. Brave Sir Keir does not Only have a Biro, she says. He has All that he can Do with a Biro.

I suppose he could poke the Oppressors in the Eye with it, I say.

That was not what I meant, says the Owner. The Armour and Sword of a Modern Knight are Metaphorical, as are the Dragons they must Fight. There is an Song about it:

No charger have I and no sword by my side
But still to adventure and battle I ride
Thought back into storyland giants have fled
And the Knights are no more and the dragons are dead.

That is terribly sad, I say. For the Dragons, in particular.

I know, says the Owner, although Jan Struther, who wrote it, goes on to Explain that Metaphorical Dragons remain. She says;

Let faith be my shield and let joy be my steed
Gainst the dragons of anger, the ogres of greed
And let me set free with the sword of my youth
From the castle of darkness the power of the truth

Does this mean that Brave Sir Keir will be Borrowing a Sword from a Youth? I ask. And will not the Youth object?

No, says the Owner, it means that Oppression is a Metaphorical Dragon and it is Fought with the Pen and the Heart, not the Sword and the Horse.

So Knights do not need Costumes in order to Defend the Oppressed? I ask.

Exactly, says the Owner.

I would like to tell the Owner that I can see that this Makes Sense, since Superdog has on several occasions Saved the World from Squirrels wearing only a Metaphorical Cloak, and Caspar is still functioning as an Excellent Morally Equal and Trusty Companion even though has been Trimmed and Fluffed and Looks like a Privet Hedge. However I cannot give away the Secret of Superdog and his Trusty and Morally Equal Companion, Fluffy.

How can a Dog become a Knight? I ask. I would like to become a Knight.

A Moral Dog is by Definition a Knight, says the Owner. That is the Point of Dogs Being Moral.

Later Brave Sir Fluffy and Superdog have our regular Meeting in the Park and agree that Cloaks are No Longer Necessary for Superheroes. We Stroll through the Park with a Confidence born both of Knowing that we are now saving the Oppressed with our Hearts, and knowing that our Owners will not longer have to Wash the Counterpane quite so often, thus saving the Planet in Other Ways Too. As we walk we watch the ground carefully. We are hoping to Find a Biro. We wish Brave Sir Keir all the best in doing the same.

Mind you, it is awful about the Dragons.

Categories: Brave Sir Keir dignity dog dog philosophy Keir Starmer

Hergest the Hound

I am a dog of many thoughts.

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