Wednesday, 4 July 2007

The Man in an iron (mask?)

King Louis XIV: Jailor, I’m the King Louis XIV and I wish to see the prisoner.
Jailor: Welcome, my liege. According to your wishes I’ve kept the prisoner locked in the deepest, darkest dungeon of the Bastille.
King Louis XIV: Well done, jailor. I hope you’d received my letter saying that this prisoner’s identity was to be kept secret by putting his face in an iron mask.
Jailor (after a long pause): What!?
King Louis XIV: It was my wish that the prisoner’s face be encased in an iron mask.
Jailor: Ah! An iron mask, you say…
(The jailor opens the prison doors)
King Louis XIV (shrieking): Aaaah! What have you done?
Jailor (regaining his composure): Well, your majesty, when I received the letter its bottom had been torn off. So it read that the prisoner’s face should be encased in (brief pause) an iron.
King Louis XIV (with disbelief): So you put this man’s head in an iron?
Jailor: Well, your majesty, the request did seem a bit odd to me at that time so I did try a number of alternatives such as a pressure cooker, a toaster and then one of those sandwich-makers. But seriously, my lord, the iron gave him a much better appearance than the others.
King Louis XIV: But an iron mask is supposed to represent oppression and terror. But this man with an iron on his head just looks like one of those teletubbies.
Jailor: But, your majesty, the iron does serve the purpose. It is cumbersome so the prisoner suffers from discomfort, he can take out the creases on his clothes with ease and if someone comes in to rescue the prisoner, he’ll just think that he’s stumbled into the laundry room by mistake.
King Louis XIV (relieved): Very well, jailor. You have served France well. You shall be recommended for an award.
Jailor (bowing): Thank you, your majesty
King Louis XIV: Now we shall move on to the next prisoner.
Jailor (after a pause): Ah! That’s another torn letter, your majesty. And I don’t think you’re going to be quite so keen on this one.

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