Thursday, October 05, 2006


Ever since I read the legend, I’ve been a fan of Canute.
According to the story, he was tired of being flattered all the time. Imagine. So he went to the beach, waded into the water, and told the tide to turn back. See, he was trying to prove that he wasn’t all-powerful – an odd move for a sovereign claiming a divine right, if you ask me. But then again, I may have my history wrong, and 11th-century kings didn’t claim a divine right, only the old-school right of the victor in battle. Or rather, they figured the divine will manifested itself on the battlefield.
Anyway, if I were to write his story, it would go something like this:

Fed up was King Canute.
“These obsequies I must refute.
My courtiers must learn,
The tides I cannot turn.”

So good old King Canute
Put on his buckskin bathing suit
And went down to the beach.
A lesson he would teach.

But poor old King Canute
Believed his naval institute.
Those fellows, bless their hearts,
Read last year’s tidal charts.

So when brave King Canute
Said, “Go back, waters. Turn ‘round. Scoot.”
The waters did comply.
And he was praised on high.

Said King Canute,
“Oh, shoot.”

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