Too Much Violins (Feghoot XIII)

Another of the original Feghoots by Reginald Bretnor writing under the pseudonymn of Grendel Briarton.

In 2961, Ferdinand Feghoot persuaded the Council of Worlds to admit Little Stravinsky. After Hassan ben-Sabah had finished denouncing that planet, he said:

“Gentlemen, our learned colleague has accused the Little Stravinskians of ‘the utmost barbarity’ — even though they have achieved automation and space travel. Why? because they cling to their old, picturesque customs. They shackle their King to his throne with a Chair of Gold which is their equivalent of the Crown. Every year, they choose fifty singers with seven-stringed harps to serve this Chain, as they put it, entertaining the Monarch with ballads and lays. At the end of each year, they have a great contest in which the singers belabor each other with whips until the last one on his feet gets the Grand Prize. Well, what of it?

“The Grand Prize is a beautiful virgin!” screamed Dr. ben-Sabah. “She is called Miss Little Stravinsky of, say, 2961. The winner gets her for his concubine. It is shocking! Immoral! Uncivilized! Nothing liked this ever happened on Earth!”

“Nonsense!” laughed Ferdinand Feghoot. “Why, we even have an old saying: Bards of a fetter flog to get ‘er.”

(Copyright © 1959 by Mercury Press. First published in THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, April 1959.).

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