1449 c/o Crispin Best

Excerpts from
'The Imagined Last Testament of Ulugh Beg',

'The Scotichronicon'

“When your eldest son beheads you, they sure as shit had better name a crater on the moon after you.”

Donald I spent many hours a day picking lint out of corners of himself. He passed many innovative and peculiar laws. Eventually, he died of disease.

“I was an astrologer. In the daytime I read star catalogues and circled mistakes.”

Alexander I was a brilliant man: gifted, honourable, humble, learned. But he wore a pointy helmet like everyone else and looked just as ridiculous.

“I did not trust telescopes. I increased accuracy through the length of my sextant. People swooned over my sextant.”

Malcolm I enjoyed blinding sons. The sons would be chosen, summoned and chained to a post. Malcolm I would stand a small distance in front of the sons holding a thin, six-foot-long stick. He would concentrate. He would use the stick to poke the given sons in the face with the stick until they were blind.

“One student of mine was particularly good; he was my favourite and far ahead of his time. If I ever treated him badly or ordered his murder then I did it out of love, or something mathematically comparable and roughly analogous to love. If I did it, I did him a favour. He is remembered for his triangles still.”

One day, Kenneth I took his cold dogs to the cliffs to look at seals. The maids followed a hundred or so metres behind, holding a handful each of the children’s tunics. He stood by the cliffs and thought about what would happen if he jumped. He looked at the seals. There was wind. The maids had almost caught up. Kenneth I looked at the seals and he jumped. He wanted to see what would happen. He fell. The cold dogs did not bark. They wanted to see what would happen.

“My eldest son was mischievous but all the same you can imagine I was surprised. I was in the kitchen, fingering an armillary sphere. I heard a sword being unsheathed. I didn’t turn or move to run when they shouted God’s name from behind me. Or think about it this way: finally my head rolling on the ground and seeing spilled oats lying like upturned woodlice beside me.”