“How the Tables Have Turned”: A Medieval Satire 

Written by: Alison Theis

Gather ‘round, ye lads and lasses, and hear now this tale of old. ‘Tis a tale ye ought to know. This story is not that of a prince braving many dangers to save the one he loves, but one of chivalry, nonetheless. So, take heart, and listen well. For this story teaches that which everyone ought to know.

It all started during the fall in the year of our Lord 2018. Newly titled knights had come to learn the secrets that only training at the Wesleyan academy could teach. These new knights fit in well with the other warriors, training side-by-side, day by day. Our story takes place in the Great Hall. Courtly nobles and knights alike would gather and dine upon radiant feasts. Each table that filled the hall was adorned with delectable morsels. Each plate was filled with roasted or smoked meats, fresh bread from the kitchen’s burning ovens, and fresh fruits, only the finest that had been produced from King Everett’s lands. Each plate that was filled was placed in front of eagerly awaiting mouths.

Throughout the various feasts held in honor of King Everett, the newly appointed knights quickly became known as the Knights of the Round Tables–not to be confused with King Arthur’s knights, for that is another story entirely. These new knights puzzled those who had spent more time at the King’s training grounds. For the warriors of many years had always enjoyed sitting along the banquet long tables. Good conversation came of sitting amongst one another at a long table. Laughs would bellow through the Great Hall, much to King Everett’s delight whenever he donned a visit. At the first few feasts, the elder knights had gayly invited the newer trainees to sit and dine amongst them. Inclined by invitation, they obliged. Not too long after, however, these new knights migrated over to the round tables. This was no brawl-ensuing issue, rest assured. Still, the elder knights simply could not understand as to why their new friends did not wish to sit at the long tables.

As the feasts grew more and more numerous, all knights would variously float between sitting amongst one another at the long tables and those that were round. Soon after, and as their number grew, the newer knights had begun to push two of the round tables together in order to make more room for their fellowship and feasting. The elder knights would often comment upon the sight to one another, until finally one of the elder knights pondered aloud his thoughts to those feasting at the round tables. “Why won’t you come and sit amongst us at the long tables?” Sir Timothy’s question floated across the Great Hall on the smells of the feast. “These banquet tables here,” he gestured, “provide plenty of room for soliciting and feasting.”

“You pose an excellent question, Sir Knight–one that doth deserveth an excellent answer,” replied new knight Sir Benjamin. “You see, with these round banquet tables, one may solicit with everyone collectively, eliminating the need for shouting down the table at a fellow knight for his attention. You see, with these round tables, there is no need of shouting. One can converse with ease.”

“Are we not able to converse at our long banquet tables?” Sir Timothy’s good friend and fellow knight, Sir Spenser the Valiant, had spoken. “Aside from that, you’re removing valuable place settings for your fellow knights by pushing two round tables together.”

“Yes, well, at least we young knights can all see one another!” responded Sir Benjamin.

“At least we are not suffering for places for our elbows to lie at our sides as we dine!” Sir Timothy’s comment inspired roars of laughter throughout the Great Hall.

All in all, the knights eventually put their table preferences aside. They remain friends and loyal acquaintances, fighting for God and country. If there be one thing ye should learn, ‘tis that differences are what make us unique. Learning to put those differences aside is what gives each individual character. Perhaps ye are in fact sitting at the wrong banquet table and would be behooved to join someone else at their table. In short, get to know our beloved freshmen… even if it means sitting at a round table.