Queen Isabella

This tale is by Terry Morrison, author of “Mattress-ide and Other Grammatical Atrocities”.

Queen Isabella watched proudly as the ships left the quay. A large part of her Treasury had gone into the construction of the fleet but it was necessary to keep those damn Englishmen from invading her country. They were a nuisance, no doubt about it.

But Her Highness had another, more practical reason for having such a fleet. The New World had just been discovered and she wanted to reap some of its boundless wealth for Spain (and, of course, a bit for herself). So she authorized the construction of an Armada but told everyone it was for an invasion of Engiand, and possibly a little exploration on the side.

It was for this very reason she was on hand today to bid Godspeed to the ships. They were on their way to the Americas to investigate reports of Indian tribes having so much gold their streets were paved with the stuff.

The Queen wrung her hands in glee as she contemplated the future. Wealth beyond her wildest dreams and her beloved Spain the most powerful country on earth. She wanted this mission to be a success so she spared no expense in providing for the comfort and well-being of the crews.

Wine, food, spices and other essentials were packed in abundance, as were kegs of salt to be emptied and used to hold the gold on the return trip.

Isabella also had a keen eye for psychology. She knew that men had trouble coping with the loneliness of months at sea and that boredom could lead to all sorts of trouble. Unhappy men often mutinied and that was something to be avoided at all costs.

She turned to her Chief of Foreign Affairs and asked if there was anything she could have forgotten.

“No,” he assured her.

“They have lots of food for the journey?”

“Yes, my Queen.”

“And wine?”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

“How about entertainment? Have the singers and musicians all been assigned?”

“Oh Yes, Your Highness, just as you ordered. Sixteen per vessel. That’s four quartets to the galleon.”

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