Hengist Wihtgilling

Hengist Wihtgilling: Someday I will be king. Then I get to do whatever I want.

I wonder why my father always frowns whenever I say that I will do this or that when I am king. I am going to be king someday because I am his oldest son. And while it implies that he will be dead then, I don't think that Father is frowning because of that.

Old, senile King Offa said that a king can't get whatever he wants unless what he wants is right. I suppose that his loins got so withered that he actually believed what he said. Have you ever noticed how old men like that are no longer bold and daring? They get as timid as an old woman. He was a great warrior in his time, but he lived so long that his nuts shriveled up.

Along with frowning, Father sometimes tells me not to be like King Lother the Dane.

Everyone knows about King Lother the Sea-Dane. He was a brave king, but when he was in his cups, drinking with his warriors, he would get real friendly with one of his men. He would raise that man high in his favor and esteem, telling that man to call him by his first name when they were alone. But sooner or later, whether King Lother was in his cups or irritably hung-over the next morning, that man would do something that would strike King Lother wrong. And then when that favored man was drunk and unable to defend himself King Lother would strike him down, citing his right as king to do as he willed.

At first King Lother killed only his foreign men-at-arms, but when they ceased to attend his court, he started killing his countrymen. After he killed the son of a gently-born carl, one who had tried his best not to give offense, the Council of Ealdormen with the avenging father at the head executed King Lother and installed a gentler kinsman as their new king. The Ealdormen justified their decision, saying "The King was vicious as a mad dog so we killed him. Let no revenge or weregild be collected for such a man."

I'm not going to be like King Lother. I don't see how even my father can think that I have it in me to be such a man. It' s just that to be a king, you have got to act like one. It's like calling a wolfhound. The dog won't obey if you don't sound as if you know what you are doing and if he doesn't fear the consequences of disobedience. Later on, when a new king is secure on his throne, then he can show his softer side, but not before. I think that my father and old King Offa forget that reality.

I was born and bred to rule. My family has been kings since Sceaf came over the waves hundreds of years ago. We can't act like a simple headman raised up from dunghill like a strong, young rooster hatched from a common egg who has spurred his way to supremacy. We must act like we have a divine right to rule because we do as the descendants of Sceaf, Beaw, Geat, and Woden. A king of my breeding cannot beg for a loan of respect until he becomes worthy of it and is able to repay that loan with interest. I must act as it is my right. It is my right. If people think that I am arrogant, then so be it.

I am going to be the greatest king, the greatest warrior that ever ruled a fierce people. It is my birthright to be respected and obeyed right from the start. I will waste no time on ill-bred, rebellious fools who forget their duty to King and Country.

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