Last night I dreamed that I was being dragged off to be beheaded. It was the time of King James Sixt and I. I'm being dragged down some stone steps set into the pavement of an ancient square.

"I'm innocent!!" I scream. "At the very least you must spare me until after my concert. I have a very important concert for the King." A magistrate releases me, but shows me the list of charges against me which are numerous, on a scroll, illustrated with illuminations like a mediaeval manuscript.

The first of the charges is corruption, but the list goes on which some very anachronistic ones including something to do with the intellectual property rights of Apple Watch software. The final charge is that I have been, as a judge, vicious and capricious in judgment.

The magistrate agrees to free me and to let me exercise my duties as a judge, pending a big concert in July which I have to conduct, and pending a possible pardon from King James. But a remarkable thing happens, and the magistrate is the first to note it, as he begins spying on my judgments. I appear to gone from a cruel judge to a veritable Solomon.

I stand on some steps beneath some Greek columns and petitioners are queuing up One is represented by an advocate and requests "a name change that we may marry." The name is Kelley or Kellesy. I say, "And which of my judgments would be more advantageous to the petitioner?" Making the advocate smile (he is blond with short hair in a grey-white tunic.) The threat of decapitation has clearly made me a changed man.

At length they bring a boy who apparently has his shirt on backwards. He's awkward, a bit plump,with a blond crew cut, and his back is exposed but he so misshapen that I think his back is his front at first. He is the son of a prominent lord. His back is pitted with tiny red holes. I cannot see what can have caused them.

He lifts his ill-fitting shirt and I see his front is the same. "It is my father," he says, "for when he beats me, he insists that the club be combined with a thistle." It is this thorny cudgeling that has twisted the boy's shape.

"I dare to bring him to justice," I tell him. "The threat of execution has made me understand your suffering. I do not fear his high position. I shall listen to your petition against him."

Then I wake up.

8 months ago |
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