This story contains some elements of sex between boys of similar age. One of the boys is a historical person and the background is historical, as are most of the supporting characters. The rest, and the sex, are a product of my imagination. No little boys were actually harmed in the creation of this story. If you are looking for pages of steamy sex, you are really in the wrong place. If you wish to enjoy a simple love story, sit and read. If you are too young to read this story alone, then get your friend to read it. Sit in his lap and enjoy. There’s nothing here you don’t already know about
My thanks go out to my international team of critics. You know who you are and will recognise your contributions. Love to you all
In 1589, old Barnaby was dozing on a bench outside his family’s cottage near a rural Norfolk village, to where he had removed when his son took over the tenancy of a farm belonging to the Howard family around 10 years ago. They had been good years, and Barnaby didn’t regret leaving London at all. When his wife had died, his beloved Jane, London held no pleasure for him anymore. Now he was closer to his son Peter, and his wife and the boys. Little black haired imps they all were, just like their great-grandfather Llewellyn.
Simon, called Sim, or Simkin, was 14 years old, a serious little man, who was always stealing away to a nearby copse to read the Holy Book, the only book the family had, except for Fox’s Book of Martyrs. He’d take that too, if his mother hadn’t locked it up in the bottom of her spice cabinet, deeming the graphic imagery too much for a sensitive child. Barnaby didn’t hold with coddling the boy, but he kept quiet, out of respect for Margaret Mary. Besides, he grinned, the boy was always right there when his Granda retrieved it and Barnaby always made sure he read it aloud, blessing the opportunity he had had as a child to learn to read and write and all manner of things. The boy was showing some signs of meanness as he grew older, though, and Barnaby was concerned.
Ben was the next boy, born in the year of his Gram’s death, twelve years old. A merry little soul he was, not caring for books or schooling, but always with a jest on his lips, and love in his heart for all living things.
And then there was Edward, 8 years old. He was quiet and a little frail, and not disposed to follow his bigger brothers into mischief or schooling. For all that, he had an amazingly retentive memory, and could recite word for word the stories and sing the songs of the entertainers who passed through the village during fair time. He had been born in mid-October and Barnaby had convinced Peter and Margaret Mary to name him after another Edward, whose birthday he shared.
That other Edward had been a boy long desired, pampered, and loved. His star flared for a very short time on Earth and went out suddenly and sadly. And Barnaby had been privileged to know, serve and love him. Edward, Duke of Cornwall, called Prince of Wales he had been when first he knew him. Later he was privileged to have as have as his master Edward, the sixth of that name, king of England, France and Ireland. Both were the same; a little boy, liege lord, to be sure, but most of all, his beloved friend. Now long dead he was, with worms eating his body. Barnaby muttered a short prayer for his soul, smiling slightly at the thought of what Edward would have called his Papist heresies. Not that he was Papist; he liked the middle way of old Harry’s Church of England. Edward had been more of a Protestant, who would have been an avid follower of John Calvin, had he been still alive. And what would England be like then? Barnaby didn’t know. Life was good under Elizabeth, Anne Bullen’s daughter. No complaints. As long as there was no obvious descent into Papistry, you were left alone to think your own thoughts. But he did miss his Edward.
Barnaby started awake when he felt a little body land in his lap, arms around his neck in a hug. Then he felt two more bodies land on the bench on either side of him, giving him smacking kisses on his grizzled cheeks.
“Get away, ye spawns of Satan! Why are you home so early and disturbing my thoughts?”
“Granda, it's near supper time”, giggled Ben, on his left side.
“Tis truth, Granda”, he heard on his right, “and mam says that you better wake up if you want to eat.” That was Simkin.
“Yes, and she has a nice little bit of mutton stew, with beer and fresh baked bread!” That was Edward, chiming in from his lap, and planting a hearty kiss on his beloved Granda’s lips.
Ben broke in “And we have some holidays until next Monday! Mistress Tomkins is to have her babby and Mistress Wilson must go to her sister to help in the childbirth. I can’t understand why she doesn’t just drop one, like Queenie in the pasture?”
Sim snorted. “Ladies aren’t like cows! They must give birth, with other women present, praying our Lord God for a safe delivery and a live babe.”
“Enough”, Barnaby roared. “Go wash your hands, of all that muck, and go into the hall for supper!”
So saying, he tickled all of them, and gave each a sound smack on the bum.
As they ran off, and he raised himself, cursing the knees that made it impossible for him to work in the fields any longer, he saw his son Peter smiling at him.
“Well, Dad, you still have that touch, don’t you? The boys do love you so, especially Edward. It’s a good thing too, because Mistress Tomkins is having a hard time with this child coming, and Margaret Mary is going with Mistress Wilson to lend a hand. Since it is harvest, you will have to mind those little devils. Do you think you can do it?”
“Perkin, I may be old, but I ain’t dead yet! Many’s the time I watched you and your brothers, may God assoil them!”
“Yes Dad, just jesting with you”, Peter said. “Seriously though, do you think you can manage for a few days? There will be lots of food in the larder, and I will be home at dusk”. He yelped as Barnaby reached behind him and gave him a hard smack, and then he grinned. He knew not to push his father further.
The next morning, Peter had already gone to the fields. Harvesting was hard work, but the boys were still too young to do much, and they were still being schooled. He could hardly wait til next year since he had decided that Ben and Sim were going to be big enough to do a man’s job. For now they helped weed the kitchen garden and ran errands back and forth to the fields.
Mary Margaret called out a little later that she was going to go to Mistress Tompkins, four miles down the road. She was listing all the things that Barnaby should do, until she was shouted out the door by an early-awakened old man.
Since he was awake, he looked over at the boys who shared his sleeping chamber. Still asleep on their pallets, they had kicked off their blankets. Barnaby looked over at their sweet bodies and admired their beauty. Both Ben and Sim had a morning bone, and would soon be awake to use the piss pot. Edward was sleeping on his stomach and Barnaby held still and watched his little bum wiggle as he got more comfortable. He decided to let them sleep a little longer. He wandered out to the closet and performed his morning duties. Old age was a terrible thing for a man, he thought. It took so long to have a good piss, he had to sit down.
On his way to the larder to lay out some bread and new churned butter, he checked the boys again. Ben was still half asleep but he had a grip on his cock and was slowly stroking it. Edward was awake and had a look of awe on his face as he saw his brother’s manhood lengthen.
Barnaby chucked and thought that it was about time he had a talk with the boys. He called them awake, and watched as Edward jumped guiltily. Ben opened his eyes and grinned at his Granda. It would take the Queen arriving at the door to faze Ben, and Barnaby wondered if even that would work.
Sim turned and stared at Ben. He was angry and started quoting the Bible about Onan spilling his seed on the ground.
Ben nearly choked. “You ass! I haven’t got seed to spill, and neither do you, though from the size of your privy part, it might not be long now. And it’s gotten even longer since you turned around!” And with that the boys began to tussle until they heard their Granda clear his throat.
“No fighting! Put on your shirts and come to break fast.”
After a tendentious meal when Simkin was nagging at Ben with every other breath, Barnaby had had enough. He sent Sim to the fields with a drink for his father, and Ben happily escaped to play with his hoop and stick.
Edward snuggled into his grandfather’s lap, and stared up at him. Barnaby sighed, realising that it was question time. Edward wasn’t going to be satisfied with a simple answer. He never was.
“Granda, why was Sim so angry with Ben? He was only giving himself a little pleasure, and wasn’t hurting anyone. All that Bible reading gets on my nerves too. He can’t even remember the right words when he quotes. And he was so angry. He wasn’t angry with Rose Hawkins when I saw them near the ditch. His bum was bare and Rose had her dress up near her chest. He had his cock in her, and he wasn’t unhappy, and neither was she.” He raised his voice a little higher “Faster, faster”, he mimicked. “Sim was really praying loud, Granda. O God, O God, O God!” he laughed heartily, as his treble imitated his brother's soon-changing voice. “I think Sim is a hypocrite like those men our Lord Christ chastised in the Bible. When he pulled his cock out of Rose it was still jerking harder than Ben’s ever was this morn. But Ben was right Granda. He didn’t spill any seed either, just like Ben couldn’t.”
Edward snuggled down in his Granda’s lap, and as he did, his shirt rose up, exposing his small little pricklet. Barnaby smiled and cupped it in his rough hand. “Never mind boyo”, he said as he stroked the little boy, “soon you will want to do the same thing, and you shall have a girl to court too.”
The answer came after a thoughtful silence. “Granda, I think there must be something wrong with me. I don’t like girls much. But Tom Wilson kissed me behind the haystack, and fondled my bum, and shuddered and shook just like Ben and Sim did. I could feel his privy part grow in my hand and he took his other hand and put it on mine, and made the same noises as Sim. After a while, his privy part got harder and he wet his hose. I heard him moan but he didn’t let go of me either. I liked him doing that. Then he kissed me right on the mouth, like this.”
And Edward showed his Granda just how Tom kissed.
Barnaby was silent, and Edward was frightened. “I’m sorry, Granda, please don’t tell mam or Dad.”
Barnaby lifted his little grandson, and hugged him fiercely. He sighed. “I am fine, Edward. You have done nothing more that I have done myself when I was your age, or a little older. Let me check on the others, and then I will tell you a story about when I was a boy. This will be our story, and we shall not tell it to your brothers.”
Cuddling Edward in his arms, he went to check on the big boys. He saw that Sim had been put to work by his father. Peter had him working like an ox. Barnaby suspected that the boy had been unable to hold his tongue and had tattled on his younger brothers. Perkin would not tolerate tattles. Ben was nowhere to be seen, but he heard the herd dog joyously barking in the next field, and he suspected that Ben was watching the sheep and playing with the dog at the same time.
So cupping Edward’s bum, he settled down on his favourite bench, now moved to catch the late morning sun, and began his tale. As the tale opened, Old Barnaby became young Barnaby and the day unfolded not in Norfolk, but a long time ago in London.
Barnaby woke up early as 10 year old boys were wont to do. He glanced over to his side, and there was Sim, his beloved little brother, awake as well. They both knew better than to move until they heard their Mother up and about. But they quietly got out of bed and had a long morning piss in the pot. Barnaby went over to the window and opened the shutter. He then crawled back under the coverlet. As did most people at that time they had slept naked, and Barnaby snuggled up to his warm brother. They lay there quietly listening to the city wake up, and vendors begin to sell their wares, people moving about their business, and wives and maids calling out “Gardez-loo!” as they emptied the pisspots into the gutter from the upper stories of the narrow towering houses lining the street.
Finally they heard their mother. She was trying to wake her husband to get him on the way to the Whitehall, where he had some business to take care of today. But every time she called his name Llewellyn, Llewellyn, LEW! - the boys heard nothing from their Da. Then suddenly, they heard their mother giggle in surprise, and realised that they would be abed for a while longer. But finally, there was silence, and the boys heard their mother move to the downstairs chambers, laying out the cloth.
The boys’ grandfather had come out from Wales with Henry Tudor, as one of his serving men. Reaching London, after Bosworth, he had settled down to marry a sweet English girl, while continuing to serve his Lord, who by now was styled Henry VII of England. Llewellyn was their only child, and he had, in his turn, married another English girl, and today, despite his name and physical appearance was as English as any other citizen of London. He was a clothier, who had some business with the king.
Today his business carried him to the Court, and Barnaby was determined that he was going to go with his Da. He had never seen the Court and was desperate to do so. Sim was too little, but he was a strong boy of husky build. And he wanted to go to Court. Today he was on holiday from his little school, and Da had really no excuse to not take him.
So he dressed quickly, and after helping Simkin with his clothes, he ran downstairs hoping to catch his father before he left.
He was in luck! His Da was still there, and in good humour as he drank his break fast beer. Barnaby went up to him and with wide eyes and pouty lips spoke to his father.
“Good morrow Da! I hope you slept well!”
Llewellyn glanced down at the boy. His lips formed a quirk as he saw the look on his son's face. He knew that he was going to be asked to do something. Over by the larder, he saw his wife roll her eyes. Really, Barnaby was so obvious!
“Well, what boy!” he growled playfully.
“Da, you know that I’m almost ten now. I can help you do a man’s work now. So can I help you today when you go to Court?”
“Hummmmph”, said Llewellyn with a twinkle. “I certainly don’t take grubby handed boys wearing last week’s tunic to help me carry fine bolts of cloth to the Queen’s Grace!”
Hardly were the words out of his mouth when the boy in question was off like an arrow. His parents heard him rooting in the clothes press, and a few minutes later the splash of water in the washing bowl. When he came back into the hall, not only had he changed his tunic, but had put on a cleaner pair of hose, washed his face as well as his hands, and had wet his hair in a vain attempt to tame the curly black unruliness!
Llewellyn grinned at his wife and taking Barnaby by the arm led him to the storeroom from where he did most of his business. After checking his hands and his son’s for cleanliness, he handed the boy a small bolt of red cloth, edged with gold, while he himself hoisted a bolt of gold cloth and another of green.
And they were off! Out on the street, Barnaby beamed all around him, making sure people noticed him helping his father. He frowned as his little friends came up near him, and shook his head, indicating that he couldn’t play just now.
And on they went, through the streets of London, stepping around tag ends of rotting vegetables, and other offal, and treading warily when they heard the sounds of the pisspots hitting the ditch. As they moved off Butcher’s Lane on to the Church Street, they saw a portly old man being violently ill in the ditch.
“Pish,” said Llewellyn. “Old Jones must have eat of his own meat this morn!” He chuckled and Barnaby just grinned, happy to be with his father on a fine day in the early autumn.
As they moved into the main thoroughfares, it became less crowded, but there were people in strange liveries moving to and fro on errands for their masters, and every now and again, men on large horses thundered by, shouting such thrilling things as “Make way! Make way for the king’s messenger!”
Barnaby was in awe at such activity, but his father looked at one and chuckled. “Lad, look at the devise on his livery! That’s no king’s man. Tudor’s sign is the portcullis, not a black swan!”
Barnaby grinned up at his Dad. He knew so much, he thought. When will I know as much?
They finally made it to the Whitehall where the Queen was in residence with her household, which included all the King’s children. She was a stepmother to them all, but a kind, learned one, not a cruel one. Not like the king’s last wife, that adulteress, Catherine Howard, who even Barnaby knew, had met her end on Tower Hill, a few years past, begging for her life. Now the Queen was Catherine Parr, a twice widowed woman who had caught the eye of the King.
Barnaby stood staring at the magnificent palace, just one of many as he knew, until his father nudged him and steered him to an inferior gate off to the side. There was just a lone sentry there, who asked them to state their business at the Palace. When they told why they were there, he summoned a servant, a young boy, to escort them into the palace.
Barnaby was wide-eyed at all the glorious fitments in the palace and the people wearing a rainbow of colour in finely cut clothes. He looked at the bolts they were carrying, and noted with pride that what his father and he were carrying was at least as fine cloth, if not finer. They went on for what seemed like a long time to a boy, who was gaping like a country hick at the London fair. This was only one of the King’s home, he thought. His schoolmaster had taught them that he also lived at Hampton Court, at Greenwich, and at Windsor, which was almost as old as Christ himself. What was it like to live in so many places like this? Surely, it must be wonderful.
“Boy, shut your mouth before you swallow a fly”, his amused father whispered.
Barnaby blushed and complied.
Finally, the servant boy handed them off to a lady, dressed in a green robe and a quiet head covering, who, on hearing their business, beckoned them to follow.
They had only proceeded a short way, when they heard a single trumpet. The lady motioned for them to stand by the wall, and did so herself.
It was just a small group of men and women moving down the hall. Barnaby frowned and wondered what was going on. Then he caught the eye of a small boy in the middle of the procession. Reddish sandy hair, he had, and a cute face, albeit serious, he was about seven years old, Barnaby thought. He grinned at the boy, and suddenly the boy broke loose and came to stand in front of Barnaby. The procession stopped, and everything was silent.
Barnaby liked the little boy. He reached out his hand in greeting to clasp his arm. A collective gasp arose around them, and Llewellyn let out a sound of dismay, and forced his son to his knees, kneeling as gracefully as he himself could while still carrying the bolts of cloth.
“I beg my Lord’s pardon! My son is a stupid boy, unused to the ways of court!”
Barnaby flushed. His father had never called him stupid before. And all around him he heard mummers.
“You saw, didn’t you? He tried to touch the Lord Edward without permission. Ignorant lout! Great ox of a boy!” And on and on, as Barnaby became redder and redder in the face, and his knees began to hurt as his father held him down with one hand.
But Edward did not move. If anything, he smiled wider, and indicated to Barnaby and his father that they could rise. Reaching out, he grasped Barnaby’s arm, mirroring the same grasp that Barnaby had been going to use on him, and said, in a high treble,
“Greetings boy, and you also sir, greetings! You already know my name. I am Edward, the king’s son. But you have advantage over me, because I do not know who you are, beyond a boy with brown eyes and black curly hair.
Barnaby stuttered. “I I I I I’mmmm Barnaby, my Lord, Barnaby, called Lewis son.”
Interlude the First.
“And that, my little Edward”, said old Barnaby, “is how I met my Edward, the love of my life, other than my own family.”
Edward snuggled up even closer. “You loved him just like I love Tom, Granda?”
“Yes, my boy, I didn’t love him just then, but I already liked him. There is more to the story, but it is nigh on noon, and I see a little boy in his shirt, and with nothing else on. Go you, get dressed and I will put some bread, cheese and cider out for your Dad and brothers. We will continue later”. Edward scurried off to the bed chamber at the back of the cottage and Barnaby sighed, thinking of his long-ago friend.
Simon and Ben came in first. Simon was apparently still angry with his brother for getting him in trouble (not thinking that he got himself in trouble). Ben was trying to cheer him up, but Sim would have nothing to do with the cheerfulness of his brother. “You sin, and I get punished”, he yelled. “Where is the justice in that?”
“Aw give in, you old bundle of misery” Ben cried, “you sure don’t mind a little sinning yourself, when it suits your purpose! I saw you kissing Anna and touching her dugs” And with that, Ben pinched his brother’s bum. “And I saw you do that to Rose too!”
Sim could take no more but whirled and clouted his brother on the head. Ben gave back as good as he got, and brought his fist into his brother’s stomach. Edward, back from the bedroom, stared hard at his brothers, and Barnaby moved to separate them. But before he could do anything he heard the boy’s father roaring at them. He lifted them like bundles of faggots and threw them into the corner.
“No more will I have fighting in my house”, he said. “You will both join me for the ploughing this afternoon. I think I will give the oxen a rest. You two will take their places, and then maybe you will learn to respect each other. No cider for them for dinner Dad, sour beer will be good enough for the likes of them!”
And the boys followed their father into the cottage, two sullen, and the other thoughtful, no doubt storing up the information learned and determining how he could use it to his advantage.
And then, in the afternoon after Ben and Sim had reluctantly followed their father to the fields to plough under the just harvested land, Edward shifted the bench to catch the afternoon sun, and when his grandfather was settled, he climbed into his lap and looked up at him expectantly.
“You little black imp”, Barnaby growled, “go and fetch a pail of water from the well. All this talking I’m doing sure makes a man thirsty!” This done, and the dipper filled, the little boy resettled himself into his favourite story telling position and waited. Truth be told, it was a favourite position for Barnaby too. He loved the feeling of a little boy on his lap. It reminded him of days gone by when he had had Peter in the same place, and those poor babes who died. And the other Edward, his beloved Prince.
Barnaby at Court
Edward, still holding on to Barnaby, moved with him to the centre of the procession, and turning, beckoned Llewellyn to follow, while at the same time dismissing their previous escort. Then he started forward again, bumping the men in front of him from their stunned inertia. He turned to Barnaby and giggled sweetly, winking at the same time. It was a good thing he was holding on to Barnaby, because Barnaby’s legs wouldn’t move well either.
He looked around and saw his father at the end of the procession, a resigned look on his face, as if he were to be thrown in the Tower immediately. They moved on and down several more corridors. All the while Edward was holding on to Barnaby, sometimes commenting casually on the passing scene.
Finally, the procession stopped outside a large apartment. Edward turned and beckoned to Llewellyn who came nervously up to the centre.
“Well, Barnaby’s father, here is where I leave you, and you may go on your business. I would like to see you again, but I must go greet the Queen, my mother.”
Llewellyn bowed, but Barnaby broke out of his silence and said, “But that is where we are going, as well, are we not, Da…Father?”
“I beg your pardon, Lord, for my boy’s manners. Barnaby, we will wait to see one of the Queen’s ladies to deliver the cloth. Let the Lord Prince continue alone, as he must.”
“Oh, no, that is not necessary”, rejoined Edward, “I know the Queen and her ladies will be most pleased to see you and your goods” And so saying he motioned to the men guarding the door to open them, and his herald to announce him.
“The most High and mighty Edward, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall, and… er…two…errr men of trade approach the Queen and beg audience!” stumbled the usually unflappable herald.
A lady in her mid-thirties looked up, startled at the unusual announcement, as did another in her late twenties, and a red-haired girl, just about Barnaby’s age.
Edward tugged Barnaby a little lower and whispered in his ear. ‘The gentle lady in green is my Lady stepmother, Katherine, the Queen, the lady in the yellow and white robe is my younger sister, the Lady Elizabeth, and the other in black, a little apart is my other sister, the Lady Mary. You had better kneel, as you approach them”.
So saying, the boys moved forward, Edward easily and fluidly, Barnaby, now totally bewildered, and Llewellyn following behind, still clutching the cloth, and praying that this day would not end in his death, or that of his son for lèse majesté.
Then both father and son were startled to see Edward himself kneel on one knee, and hastened to follow his lead.
Barnaby chanced a look up. The queen was looking at them all quizzically, the Lady Elizabeth looked amused, and the Lady Mary was looking scandalised, as were the other ladies who were in the room.
“You may rise, Lord Edward, and come forward to greet me and your sisters” the Queen sounded just as Barnaby’s mother did, when Simkin was being a little jester.
Edward moved forward and went into his stepmother’s embrace, and kissed her soundly on the cheek.
He then proceeded to whisper a long period in her ear, and comprehension dawned on the Queen’s face. Elizabeth, who was nearby, and could hear everything that was being said, looked as if she were about to break into laughter. Edward greeted her with a loud kiss then stepped over to give the Lady Mary a quick peck. He came back to face the Queen.
“My Lady, I would present Llewellyn, a clothier who has cloth for you, and Barnaby, his son. I met them in the passage ways coming here, and since we were coming the same way, I invited them to come with me,” Edward said politely. Then he grabbed Barnaby and went over to a casement, saying loudly, “My father gave me some jacks to play with. I am not very good yet with them, hut you may be, since you are older! Will you show me? The boys settled down on the casement seat, and proceeded to play. Barnaby heard his father displaying his wares to the compliments of the Queen and her ladies.
The Queen called Edward over, and showed him the red cloth that Barnaby had carried. She said to him, “Ned, this cloth will be made into a new costume for your presentation to your Lord Father on your birthday in three weeks. You will be at Windsor for that day and for the week to follow, and then since you are going to be seven, the King has decided that you will have your own household in the country near Windsor. He deems the London air unhealthy for you for any long period. Soon then, you will be given over to the care of men, and will no longer need your nurse.”
Edward looked excited, then stricken. Another whispered conversation followed, with Edward’s whispers becoming more emphatic. Finally, the Queen smiled, and said, “I will ask your Father. For now, be patient.”
Edward scampered back to his jacks and his new friend.
The Queen beckoned one of her ladies forward and instructed her to pay Llewellyn. As Llewellyn bowed his thanks, the Queen ordered, “Now Master Llewellyn, it is understood that you will be present here on the morrow with an order of dark blue cloth for the Lady Mary. And the Lord Edward wishes you to bring your son. I will leave instructions at the tradesmen’s gate for your entry. No, wait,” and she turned away to a writing table, and wrote a short note, which she gave to Llewellyn and dismissed him.
Llewellyn took his leave, and motioning to a reluctant Barnaby, exited the Queen’s presence chamber.
Father and son were quiet on the way home, but as they entered their house Barnaby could contain himself no longer.
“Ma, Simkin!” he shouted. “We went to the palace and we saw the Queen and I met the Lord Edward. He’s small Sim, hardly bigger than you, and a really nice boy. We played jacks. And Da has a letter. Show them Da, show them!”
The letter was shown and Barnaby read it for his mother and little brother.
“From the Queyne."
“The bearer of thys lettre, the clothier, Llewellyn, & his sonne Barnaby, are to be brought to my Preseynce Chambre instanter they are come at 10 o’clock of the forenoon."
“I have commanded it."
“Katheryn the Queyne.”
“And look, there is her seal, Oh Da, it will be so nice to see Ned, err the Lord Edward, on the morrow.”
Interlude the second.
“Ugh”, grumbled old Barnaby, “that be enough storytelling for the day, my man. My legs are numb, and I cannot even feel my balls anymore, you great hulking lump”
Edward giggled up at his Granda, but hopped down and offered a hand to his grandfather to help him up, grinning cheekily.
The next morning, the old man and Edward saw the other boys heading off to the fields with their Dad, Sim sulking and unhappy, Ben, not happily, but quite willing to be considered old enough to be doing a man’s work and not be a boy’s helpful hindrance.
Edward now knew the routine. He set the bench in the sun, got the water bucket and dipper and placed them close at hand and squiggled his bum in his Granda’s lap waiting for the end of the story. For today the story would end, come willy; come nilly, as Margaret Mary was expected home from the child-birth she was attending.
And the story took off again, as young Barnaby and his Da reached the Whitehall.
“Da, do you think we will see the
Lord Edward again today?” queried Barnaby.
“I know not”, said Llewellyn, “but the Queen’s grace did ask that you come back, even though she knew well that I was capable of bringing the bolt without your help!”
Entrance into the palace was easier today. The note was shown, and a page in Tudor livery was quickly summoned for them. He escorted them at a trot to the Queen’s presence chamber. The young man had just opened the door to announce their arrival to the room, when a red-haired whirlwind of a boy ran up and grabbed Barnaby, and took him off to a casement to chat as one boy to another, not as a Prince to his subject.
The Queen saw this and smiled gently. “You see, Master Llewellyn, how my son-in-law is taken up with your boy. I am glad to see the cloth, and did indeed want it”, she continued, as she gestured for one of her ladies to come and get it, and arrange for the payment. “But I verily wished to talk to you of your son coming to court to serve the Lord Edward. When he is seven, as you may have heard yesterday, he is to have his own establishment. He already has many servants, and tutors and governors, but he has no boy near his own age to share a bit of his life. I think your son – Barnaby? – will do well in service here, as a personal servant, and as someone with whom the Lord Edward may share his lessons. If you agree, he shall enter the Prince’s service today, for I do not think that he will have any delay in this matter. Truth, the little lad asks for so little for himself, and he is taken with your boy. Do you agree?”
“Your Grace’s wish is my wish, my Lady. I would take the boy home to say farewell to his mother and little brother, who will miss him sorely.”
“Do so master, and come back to us by supper this evening”.
The Prince had overheard the conversation, and he had relayed it to a startled Barnaby, who nervously agreed, when the Prince outlined his new duties. Truthfully, they did not seem much different from Barnaby’s home duties with his own little brother.
Llewellyn and his son took their leave, bowing deeply first to the Queen, and then to the Prince of Wales, and went home to announce the unexpected change.
Old Barnaby paused here and took a sip of water and a sup of cheese and bread, sharing the same with his little grandson.
“The news was borne home and although my Mam cried and cried, and little Sim was confused, they were both proud that I was to be in the Royal service. After much kissing, and blessings and god-speeds we made our way back to the Palace. To my surprise, when Da and me arrived at the Palace, there were some servants awaiting us. They handed Da a gift of three gold florins, to compensate him for the loss of my services, saying that it was at the Queen’s command. After I had taken my little bundle of possessions from him, and kissed and hugged him, and received his blessing, with many admonitions to visit my old home, I was led away to the Prince’s apartments.
And thus began my service with my dear Lord.
As Barnaby entered into Lord Edward’s
chambers, he wondered what he was getting into. The room was
packed with serving boys and gentlemen who were standing around
watching a little boy eat. He was to learn that they also stayed around
to watch him get undressed, go to bed, piss, shit, study and play.
Edward saw the nervous boy enter and beckoned him to come forward. Standing up, he held his right hand out flat, palm down. Barnaby understood what to do; he was, after all, a polite boy, well brought up, even if he were naught but a commoner, and not a well-born boy. He knelt before the Prince and resting his hand under the outstretched hand, he kissed it and thus rendered fealty to the little boy.
After this little ceremony, Edward turned to his dinner audience.
“This boy is Barnaby; he is today entered into my service as my personal servant. He will live with me and do my bidding, and mine only, saving the King’s Grace.” The little boy’s commanding treble ran through the room, and Barnaby was startled to see even elderly men nodding agreement. This was a side of Edward he had not seen before.
Barnaby was bidden to stand and take some supper and the Prince waited politely to finish until the older boy had had his fill. Then the tables were cleared and most of the men-in-waiting disappeared.
Since by that time it was nearly ten o’clock, the prince indicated that he wished to retire. He motioned for Barnaby to stand by the side, as his attending gentlemen first offered him scented water to wipe his hands, and then proceeded to undress the boy. When he was completely naked, a pisspot was brought to him, and he used it. Then he was placed in a nightshift and cap, and escorted to his bedchamber.
Barnaby followed, unsure of what he was supposed to be doing. He soon found out.
Quiet orders issued from the little Prince and a trundle bed was brought out. It was apparent that Barnaby was to use this. Edward then dismissed his gentlemen, saying that his good Barnaby would be his only companion that night, and that the men who normally slept at the foot of the bed were henceforth to sleep outside the closed door.
This was done, and Barnaby was surprised when the Prince went to the door and bolted it. He then turned to Barnaby and skipping quickly over the rushes in his bare feet, he jumped up, and wrapped his legs around Barnaby’s waist, all the while hugging him fiercely, and kissing him soundly. Barnaby wrapped his arms under the Prince’s little bum and held him tightly, returning the kisses with equal fervour.
He carried the prince over to his canopied bed, with the rich tester embroidered in roses and fleurs-de-lis. Edward snuggled under the rich woollen blankets and said his first words since the door had been bolted:
“Get you undressed, now and ready for bed.”
Barnaby complied and undressed as he would at home, and then prepared to slip naked under the cover, which looked warmer than what he was used to, but which was merely a plain greyish blanket. He heard a surprised little voice.
“But where is your nightshift and cap? Come here!”
Barnaby walked naked over to his master. Edward was having a good and close inspection of his body, and noted the thickening erection on the older boy. He playfully reached over and grabbed it, and watched as it increased even more in length. He worked himself out to the top of the comforter and motioned Barnaby next to him.
“Od’s bones”, he exclaimed, “that is bigger than I expected it to be! But look you; even my little pricklet is stiff!” And he lifted his shift, showing the bemused Barnaby a small erection. “For tonight I wish you to sleep with me, for certes, you will be lonely and missing your mother and father” So Barnaby, his head awhirl, got under the blankets with his prince, who showed remarkable dexterity in divesting himself the little he had on. The boys lay and cuddled and petted each other, and chatted away, Edward explaining to Barnaby what the day would bring. Levée, break fast, studies, greeting his parents, dinner, more studies, playtime, more studies, and then supper and bed. He indicated that Barnaby, suitably attired, was to attend him each day, except Sunday afternoon, when, if he were in London, he could go and visit his parents, after church.
But finally, conversation was finished and soon after that, the mutual exploration of bodies. They fell asleep. At three o’clock in the morning, Edward asked Barnaby to bring the piss pot, and also a platter of honeycakes which had been left on a small table. He used the pot, and invited Barnaby to do the same, which he did. After sharing the cakes, Barnaby went naked to his own bed and Edward back to his.
Eight o’clock came early enough, the next morning and Barnaby was startled awake by a knocking on the door. He went to open it, and stood there naked and somewhat embarrassed as several gentlemen entered and went to wake and dress the prince. This done, Edward noted that Barnaby was still standing there in the cool air, naked and somewhat shrivelled. He giggled, and told one of the pages who had entered to go fetch a suitable costume for the boy to wear, one with his own devise on it. Now dressed and ready to eat, a light break fast was offered. Barnaby served his little Lord under the watchful eyes of the gentlemen.
After breakfast, the tutor came in, and having set a course of study of Latin and Greek for the prince, was instructed to test Barnaby in English, grammar and arithmetic. Barnaby tested well, but not wonderfully, considering that his attendance at his grammar school had been sporadic, but he showed a lively interest and promised to soon be as sharp an arrow as the prince.
The tutor, Dr Cheke, also instructed Barnaby in one other duty. If the Prince made an error, or was inattentive, it was Barnaby who was to be birched, since Edward’s body was not to be touched.
This was startling news indeed, and Barnaby gulped noticeably, despite Edward’s assurance that he seldom erred. And indeed on that first day he kept his promise. Finally, his lessons being finished for the day, the boys went into the garden, where they romped and played like two little puppies under the amused eyes of some of the younger gentlemen.
But before supper, they returned to the chambers, and they found a learned preacher there, who then preached a sermon on some obscure passage of the Bible. Barnaby was stunned when he heard Edward dispute what the preacher said, and he was being rather rude in his dismissal of the poor man’s oration.
Nothing else was said, the preacher left, and supper was served and there was a repeat of the previous night’s ceremony, with the exception of a visit to the privy closet. Once again there were two naked boys in bed, fondling and kissing and chatting over the day’s events.
The next morning, Dr Cheke arrived and demonstrated what he thought of Edward’s arrogant behaviour the night before. Barnaby was laid bare-bum against the table and birched six times. There were many sniffles and sobs, and red welts raised on round and chubby cheeks. Afterward, Edward promised to be better, and Barnaby completed his own studies, standing up.
At bedtime that night, Barnaby waited until Edward was undressed and in bed, and then stripped and went to the trundle. He was about to get in his bed, when he heard a gasp, and a little boy sobbing.
Sighing, he went to Edward, who reached around and stroked his bum with the still angry welts. Hugging him, the Prince said “Barnaby, I am so sorry for your sore bum; I hope I never make another mistake like that.” And taking a wet cloth, he soothed the sore spots. “Now we will be friends again, and when we are alone at night, you will be my Barney and I will be your Ned.” So saying, he hugged again his whipping boy, his friend, and showered his face with kisses.
And time went on, as it must, as day flew to night, and dusk to dawn, Barnaby grew in stature and knowledge and suffered the occasional attention of the birch with stoicism. The prince too, grew in knowledge, if not in stature as much as Barnaby. Christmas flowed into Easter and Trinity and Michaelmas, then Christmas again, until the winter of 1546.
Interlude the third.
Old Barnaby sighed with remembered pain, as he stopped his story before dinner. Edward had been intrigued by the story this day, and suitably appalled by the thought of his Granda being birched, not once but several times. He chuckled when he heard the pet names, and teased his grandparent a bit by calling him Old Barney, which as every boy knew, was a synonym for the Devil. He was interested in the Prince’s name, and insisted that he was to be Ned from now on. It was enough for him that a King had once had that name.
The rest of the family joined for some cider and oatcakes. Ben had caught and skinned a hare, and gave it to Barnaby to hang so that the meat would age. His mother would cook it on the morrow. Edward announced his new name and his indulgent brothers readily acquiesced, as did his father.
In the afternoon, man and boy settled down for the rest of the story. The old man went back to the winter of 1546.
“Windsor!" exclaimed Barnaby to his little brother when he arrived home for a short visit at Christmas 1546, “that’s where I will be for the Twelfth Night Celebrations! Oh Sim, it is so wonderful, so many things to eat, so much mummery, so much foolery! The King’s Grace keeps a merry house.” But looking at the woebegone look on Simkin’s face, he calmed down and cuddled his dear brother, “Truth, Sim, I would be here rather, but I must go with my Lord Edward. He has promised me a whole week at Eastertide to visit with you and Da and Mam. And I will bring some sweet cakes from when we break the Lenten fast. What think you?” And so saying, the boys passed into the hall where his parents were waiting to have a Christmas feast.
With what mixed emotions did Barnaby return later to the Palace and his other life. Edward and he enjoyed many things together, the sleeping, the studying, the eating, and the playing. Edward was more and more dependent on Barnaby for everything, except when he was absent doing Princely duties. When he was off duty, he was just another boy, and Barnaby’s friend and bedmate. The boys had kept up their sleeping arrangements, and Barnaby felt bereft when he could not share a bed with Edward. Edward even came to Barnaby’s pallet in the summer time, where it was more comfortable than his own bed. The Prince was growing slowly; he was just past 9 years old. Barnaby on the other hand was showing signs of growing into his manhood, at twelve. The cuddles and kisses and little touches had increased, and, in private, neither boy was shy with the other’s body.
Arriving at the Palace, Barnaby waved at the sentries and went right to his Lord’s chamber. When he got there Edward was already abed. The younger boy found the constant revelry a strain to maintain, since he was so quiet and studious.
Barnaby just stripped off his cloak and clothing and was ready to go to his own bed. He had no wish to disturb the Prince’s sleep, but knew that he would probably be called before dawn. He hurried under the warm blankets left for him, very aware of what the cold air was doing to his boyhood. He curled up with his hands between his legs, to both warm his hands, and to bring life back to his privy parts. He awoke to hear moaning and realised that he had woken himself. His hands were sticky and wet, and his privy member was likewise damp. Barnaby turned on his back, and was startled to see a shadow above him.
“Barney, ‘tis Ned”, he heard, “Are you not well? Dost have a fever?”
Barney, momentarily forgetting the state of his hands, grabbed Ned’s hand to calm him.
“Why, what do you have on your hand?” said the little boy, as he instinctively raised his own to his mouth to clean it.
The older boy had no time to react, so he could only giggle as his Ned sucked his man seed.
“I’m sore cold, Barney, let me in with you”, said the prince, as he suited his actions to his words. Lifting the blanket he saw by the dim light of the night candle where the wetness had come from, and was shocked. Not so shocked, however, that he didn’t snuggle up to his friend, and place his hands where he normally did, and fall asleep, now that he knew his friend was safe.
The next morning, Barnaby shared with the Prince his worldly knowledge of what had happened. Edward just giggled loudly when he realised what he had licked from his fingers. He made the older boy promise to let him watch the next time they could share a bed alone.
And then there was organised chaos, after the boys had broken their fast and then shared an ewer of warm water to wipe the night sweat off their bodies. Servants scurried back and forth, packing the wagons as the Court prepared to move to Windsor. It would take the better part of the day, and then the next morning early they would remove to Windsor to be there for the Feast of the Holy Innocents.
In all the time Barnaby had been in the Prince’s household, he had only seen the King from afar. The Queen was quite another matter, as she was more immediately concerned with the welfare of the King’s only son, even if he had his own household. But he knew that the King would be in the Great Hall at Windsor to watch the mummery. Most of the servants, except for the cooks and the kitchen boys and maids would be there, as well as the royal retinue. Everyone who could be was there, and the music, the plays, and the food on Twelfth Night were not seen too often. It was amazing to see what was served at the Royal table, the meats, fish, and exotic fowls, the sweet and savoury puddings. The lower orders did not do badly, he knew, but the High Table still make his eyes widen in pleasure. Because it was a formal time, Barnaby would not be there to see to his master. But he enjoyed himself with the other servants. The final event of the night was the selection of the Lord of Misrule, whom even the King, had to obey. Even the high members of the king’s council were not spared – indeed they were often the butt of the best japes. But though the King joined in the fun, the boy who was Lord knew better than to make him look too ridiculous. The King had a long memory the next day.
The days of Christmas continued with music and song and storytelling, and eating, lots of eating. The King was not much in evidence; he had not been well, and the affairs of state were never ending.
Finally Twelfth Night evening arrived. Even the smallest child was kept awake for the entertainment. Barnaby had watched Edward being dressed in all his court finery, and had himself been kept busy fetching rings and other jewellery for his Lord. Just as Edward left to join his family for the celebrations, he whispered to Barnaby “Check your clothes press for your new outfit” Barnaby had planned to wear his good working tunic with the Prince’s devise on it, so he was startled that he had received another outfit. But not as startled as he was when he saw what he had. Basically, it was the same as the Prince’s doublet and hose, but of course without the cloak, cap of maintenance, and the jewellery. Barnaby knew that the beautiful outfit of black velvet with white hose and dark slippers was his, however, because the royal insignia was quietly stitched on the left breast, just above his heart.
With trembling fingers he put on the hose and tied the strings. Next came a plain undertunic and then the sumptuous tunic, which the boy knew that he would not be allowed to wear outside the palace because of the sumptuary laws. As he slid his feet in the slippers, he felt something hard in his right one. Removing his foot, he dug in the shoe, and retrieved a small gold locket on a chain. It was in the shape of a heart and had the initials EP etched on it. Barnaby’s mouth was agape! His very first jewellery and a present from his Ned! His Latin had improved and he knew that the initials stood for Edwardus Princeps. Proudly he slipped the locket on, under his tunic, and his heart beating rapidly, he marched proudly to the Great Hall for the festivities.
He was early, since the Royal family and the courtiers were not all there yet. Many girls and not a few boys stared enviously at the fine figure he cut as he wandered the hall, listening to the music being played.
On hearing loud trumpets, he stood still and looked to the entrance of the hall. The royal children entered first, Edward leading the small group. His sisters were finely dressed, Elizabeth in red and green to celebrate the season, and Mary in her usual black, but with green trimmings as a concession. The royal children moved to the High Table and stood facing the door. Then with another flourish of trumpets, the corpulent, gouty king limped in with his arm on the Queen’s.
As they came to the centre of the Hall, all men and women bowed, including the children at the High Table. The King sat, and there was a general scurrying for the others to find places on the benches. Barnaby was seated according to his rank, far below the salt, but not as far below as some whose parent was not a member of a London guild.
A plethora of dishes were served, with copious beer and ale. Finally, the sweets arrived, and the music became louder. Barnaby was startled when one of the servers from the Royal table arrived and gave him some marzipan and a slice of an orange. He looked up at the High table and saw Edward smiling. He smiled and tasted the rare orange, gasping at the bittersweet taste. He nibbled at the marzipan, ignoring the looks of envy from those around him who had only honeycakes stuffed with apple.
The evening’s entertainment continued and the boy enjoyed the juggling and the singing, and the storytelling, laughing uproariously as the King’s fool aped his royal master and other stern faced councillors. Finally the high point of the evening arrived. The Lord of Misrule was to be selected to rule over the assemblage for the rest of the evening until midnight was declared. Barnaby wondered who it would be. Last year, it had been the eldest son of a newly ennobled country gentleman, whose support the king was seeking in his reform of the tax collection system in the provinces.
The fool was the one who was to make the selection, and he bent to learn his master’s will. The king chuckled and pointed at his son. The fool, Will Somers, was not a fool in truth, as Barnaby knew. However, he always played his part, and bent to hear the wishes of the boy, making sure to wag his posterior at the assemblage. Having received his instructions, he descended in the hall, looking about him as if he did not know just who to pick.
Barnaby laughed as he saw a page a few places up from him get scanned from head to toe and the fool put out his hands to touch him. At the last moment, though, he shook his head and moved away.
Barnaby put his head down to clean up the last bit of the marzipan, and startled as he felt hands on his shoulders. He looked up into the wise eyes of the fool, and realized that he, Barnaby Lewis’ son, had been chosen to be Lord of Misrule.
Scarcely hearing the roars of the crowd, he let himself be led to the High Table, where he was enthroned next to the king, wearing a tablecloth for a robe and a cap and gold circlet which seemed to come from nowhere until he noticed that the prince was now bareheaded. A makeshift sceptre was placed in this left hand, and the fool was placed to receive and relay his commands. But first to his amazement, he saw the king and queen rise and bow to him, then the princesses gave a small curtsey, and Edward grasped his hand and kissed it in fealty. He looked into his eyes and saw that they were twinkling, and his master was grinning broadly.
Fuelled with watered wine and sweetmeats from the Royal Table the Lord of Misrule decreed many things, which made the audience laugh, but caused naught but a mildly bruised dignity on the part of those subjects he had singled out. Scullery maids danced with Lords, ladies kissed blushing pageboys, and even Master Cheke, Edward’s tutor, was part – the only real vindictive thing Barnaby did – he was swatted hard with a wooden ladle and made to wear a fool’s cap, which Will Somers cheerfully donated. Barnaby considered that sight was good payment for the last of his birchings which had really hurt. Edward had been in tears that night and had kissed each welt tenderly, before applying some ointment the he had ordered the physicians make ready for such events. Of course the ache in his front part was kissed as well, but the boys fell asleep before anything else happened.
Midnight arrived, and with a flourish of trumpets order was restored in the Hall. Barnaby was divested of his regalia, and the cap and circlet were restored to their rightful owner. But instead of retiring to his former place at the table, Edward indicated that he was to stay and serve him for the rest of the evening. Which Barnaby happily did, even gaining a frosty smile from the Lady Mary, and a whole shilling from the King for his good service as Lord of Misrule.
At last Edward indicated that he wished to retire, and taking respectful leave of his parents and sisters, had Barnaby lead him to his bedchamber.
Arriving at the chambers, Edward noted that there was no one there and there was unlikely to be anyone for quite a while. He turned and shot the bolt, crying in glee,
“Well Master Barney, we’re alone at last!”, and at that, the Prince disappeared and became little Ned once again.
Ned reached up his arms, and Barnaby stepped closer, expecting that he should undress his friend. But he was stopped, and thin arms clasped his neck, whispering
“This night you are still Lord of Misrule, and I will do your every bidding, my sweet Lord”
And with that, the new servant boy eased off his master’s slippers, and sat him down in a chair and awaited orders. They were not long in coming.
“Divest yourself of your own clothes, and put them away, you lazy boy. Then come and undress me carefully, for I am tired and wish to go to bed soon.”
The servant Prince complied, and was undressed to his undertunic, which the Lord of Misrule let him keep on because of the cold. His little pricklet jutted out from his body in excitement. He carefully folded the clothes in the press, as he had seen others do for him. He then hurried to his new Master and carefully undressed him, taking care not to wrinkle or soil any of the clothes. By the time he had finished Barnaby’s cock was pointing to his stomach and its head completely exposed from his long foreskin. His servant noted with satisfaction that Barnaby was wearing his little charm. He left it on.
Barnaby said something and Edward started.
“Heedless boy! I will teach you to listen!” And with that he hauled the younger boy over his knees and began to softly paddle a bare bum which no one had ever paddled before. Ned giggled. There was no pain; it was more like a soft tickle. And their cocks, one larger, one smaller were rubbing together with pleasurable sensations. Finally the punishment ended, and Ned was lowered to his feet. He stared in amazement at Barney’s cock which had a clear fluid leaking from it, and looked at his own, which was covered with the same. He smiled, and without being told, for he knew that Barney would never ask this, grasped the larger cock and began to stroke it with one hand, while fondling his balls with the other. Barney gasped with pleasure and soon his cock spurted all over his belly and Ned’s hand. The little servant was pleased. He had wanted to do this since Christmas night, when Barney had first spilled his seed, and he had been its unknowing recipient. Barney heard a gasp, and looked up from his orgasm soon enough to catch the little boy as he reached a dry orgasm of his own.
This done, the boys used the piss pot together, giggling madly, and clambered into the bed together where they slept in a mass of arms and legs until they heard a cock crow.
The next morning Edward declared he wished a hot bath. One was prepared and brought to him. Shunning his usual servants, he decreed that Barnaby should bathe him, and then himself. With an audience, there could be no fooling about, but Barnaby took especial care to clean every part of his little Lord. The gentlemen observed his care and smiled to themselves, happy that the prince seemed to have found a servant of his own who loved him. When Edward was dried and clothed, the gentlemen retired, having no interest in watching a servant boy clean himself. But as soon as they had gone, Edward removed his tunic and knelt on a towel by the tub, and cleaned his servant with the same care his boy had shown him. Then order was restored and they waited for Master Cheke, Edward with anticipation for his lessons and Barnaby with some trepidation, considering what had transpired the evening before.
And January, 1547 rolled to a close, with the usual daily routine of Court and the Households of small princes.
Then on the 26th a double tragedy occurred. First was Barnaby. One of his father’s neighbours rode in from London with the terrible news that his entire family, mother father and little brother had succumbed to a sweating fever, two days before. Fearing contagion, the keepers of the ward had decreed a swift funeral and even swifter burial. Barnaby was devastated. Never again would he see his parents, or his little brother to whom he had made a solemn promise to visit at Eastertide. But comfort was not to be his that day, because word spread though the palace that the King had been stricken with apoplexy.
Edward was removed from his chambers and brought to be with the Queen. His sisters had repaired to their own households and were being summoned back to Windsor, Doctors were called, and physicks were applied, but to no avail. In the early hours of the morning of the 27th the King died, and Barnaby was awakened from his lonely bed, and tearful himself, was led into the presence of his prince. No, Barnaby shook his head, not his Prince, but his King, his liege lord. He knelt before the Queen, who gently asked that he take Ned back to his own bed and stay with him, since he wished that. Barnaby was stunned that the queen referred to the Prince by his pet name, but her smile told him that she knew what they called each other. Bowing again, he turned to Edward, and was about to make his obeisance when the little boy looked up from his chair and saw not his servant, but his friend. He raised his arms, and although Barnaby was scarcely 4 inches taller than the king, his lifted him into his arms and carried his light burden back to his apartments, ignoring the scandalized stares of the courtiers, who saw a prince, nay, they saw a king, being carried. Barnaby only saw his friend. In bed that night, two sad little boys comforted each other, and finally fell asleep.
As the morning arrived, so did all the panoply of state. Courtiers left the still warm body of the king to the doctors and undertakers, and plans for a funeral were sorted out. Over Edward’s objections a mass was to be celebrated, albeit in English.
But before that ambassadors were to be received and affairs of state were to be handled. The old King’s privy seal was scored crosswise and was used to approve documents until new seals for the boy king could be prepared. Prisoners of state were removed from the Tower of London, and old Norfolk was pardoned. The Tower was prepared to receive the King and his retinue, as in times immemorial, for the days preceding the coronation.
Barnaby was lost in the shuffle. He took a small part in the funeral which was held at Windsor on the night of the 30th. When the court returned to London, he was given permission to visit his parents’ home, and found it looted and his father’s goods pilfered, Those responsible were never caught and Barnaby was now cast in the world as a near penniless orphan, but not homeless, depending on the bounty of the King.
And the world changed. Not entirely, because as often as possible the two boys slept together and took comfort in the closeness and warmth and remembered boyhood. But the King was caught up in matters of state, though decisions had already been made for him by his Lords Protector. Schoolwork and lessons filled the rest of the time, and Master Cheke became more and more cantankerous, and Edward was often the subject of his wrath for inattention. Of course this meant that Barnaby spent most of his day standing up until the birching pain subsided. There was little of the play which Barnaby had enjoyed, but the King still wished him about and made him a Page of the Presence, with a substantial increase in pay.
And the years rolled by. The Protectors of the realm changed and ambitious Northumberland took over control of the kingdom. The Book of Common Prayer was formalised for the Church of England and the last vestiges of Catholicism disappeared from the land (or so it seemed) The young king began to gather some powers to himself, but he was still under the control of his Council and would be for some years yet. He was growing into young manhood, and Barnaby noted the changes when he was called to the King’s coucher or levée. But there had been no bed play between them for years, although the King still greeted Barnaby with affection, and spoke with him often. Barnaby, himself was grown to his full manhood size, by the time he was eighteen, and was beginning to court a young girl whose father was a greengrocer, who supplied the court with such vegetables and fruits as were needed. Jane Matthews was her name, and she dearly loved Barnaby, as did her father, who had no sons to take over his business, and was beginning to think that Barnaby was a good catch. But for the time being, he was in health and Barnaby had an excellent paying post with the Court. So things remained the same, except Barnaby courted Jane every Saturday afternoon, and had supper with the Matthews. He returned to Court late on Saturday so as to be ready to wait upon the king in his chapel on Sunday.
And things continued as they were until the summer of 1552 when Barnaby heard of the sudden marriage of Lady Jane Grey, the King’s cousin, to Guilford Dudley, Northumberland’s son, and heard that pressure was being put on the King to disregard his father’s will and name the Lady Jane as his successor. He was also saddened to hear that the King was ill that fall and had a consistent cough. Lack of exercise and air and confinement to stuffy rooms had weakened the King’s already frail condition, and Barnaby wished that he could take the king to play like he did when they were younger.
The King grew sicker as 1552 went on, but he rallied as he reached his fifteenth birthday in October. By his next birthday, the King would dismiss Northumberland, and take control of his own affairs.
To Barnaby’s surprise, he was summoned to attend on the king one evening, and when he arrived he found the King nearly alone. These others were summarily dismissed and the door was barred. Edward looked at his old friend, and grinned a little boy grin.
“Greetings, you old Barney! ‘Strewth, you’ve gotten huge. I hear you are courting now. Does that mean that you are too old to give your old friend Ned a hug and a kiss?” And he held out his arms as the little boy used to do. And his Barney went forward and cradled him as he used to, with the boy’s arms around his neck and his legs gripping his sides. Out of habit he provided a seat for the royal bum, and the young men kissed and cuddled. Barnaby was stunned at how frail the King felt, but he also noticed that one part of him had grown appreciably, and was poking into his stomach.
Ned grinned and looked at his bed. And the king gave the old command.
“Undress me and yourself and come to bed with me!” And Barney obeyed Ned. Gently he undressed his friend and himself turn for turn, until they were both naked. Ned stared at Barney. He had grown proportionately to his size, and there was a considerable difference from eight years ago. But Barney looked at Ned and thought the same thing. “Small and frail, you might still be, Lord King,” he thought, “but that privy member will make some princess very happy!”
Ned grabbed Barney’s cock, and began to stroke it. Barney returned the favour until he noticed that Ned’s testes were drawing into his body, and stopped. Ned whimpered and told him to continue.
“Go on Barney! I did it for you these many years ago, and now you will the first to do it for me! Go on!”
And Barney continued until the king spurted over his hands, and Ned continued until Barney had done the same thing over his hands. They smiled, and hugging each other they fell asleep.
Old Barney looked down at Ned. He was grasping his little cocklet and stroking feverishly as he stared into the distance. Barnaby raised his eyes and started when he saw that Ned hadn’t been staring into the distance. He had been staring at Tom Wilson who was sitting cross-legged on the ground in front of them, slightly damp and wearing only a farmer’s smock, Barnaby knew this because he could see the older boy’s cock twitching. Beside him was that spawn of the devil, his grandson Ben, similarly dressed and in the same state of arousal.
“Lord stone the crows,” grumbled the old man, “You startled me, How long have you been sitting there?”
The boys grinned and Ben spoke, “Since we got back from swimming in the pond. Dad let me go early, and I met Tom there, having a swim too. He decided he wanted to come and see his little boy friend.” And reading the unspoken question in his grandfather’s eyes, Ben added, “When we got here you were just undressing the king and hugging and kissing him. I think Tom wants to hug and kiss our Ned. And from the look in Ned’s eyes he wants to make Tom spill his seed. He looks just like Tom’s sister Mary when she was kissing me on the other side of the haystacks from where Tom and Ned were doing the same thing. Can’t do it yet for Mary, but soon! It will be fun to have Tom as a brother in law, eh Neddy? Except I expect he will be your husband. I will ask Da for this farm for Mary and me, when he gets old, and you and Tom can have the Wilson farm. When one of our boys is old enough, he will come to live with you and be your son. Sim has already told Dad he doesn’t want to farm, he wants to be a schoolmaster. Probably he will enjoy birching little boys. He damn well won’t birch mine”
Having settled the future for everyone, he leaned back on the ground, and grinning like a cat, said
“But Granda, you haven’t finished the story. If the King loved you, why are you not at Court still? Instead you are here, on a Norfolk farm, near Fritton”.
Barnaby sighed. There was so little left to tell. But tell he would, though he might cry at the end.
“After that night, I only saw the king in the course of his business, or mine. It was as if it had never happened. In the king’s sixteenth year, it was obvious he was sicker. He coughed and spit blood. But he shrugged it off, and England prepared to live under a Calvinistic king. I heard he had changed his will and had left the crown of England to the Lady Jane Dudley, who thought like him in matters of religion, He also told me privately, that he had left me a sizeable legacy should he die before his time. At that time I wasn’t worried. I fully expected that he would live to see his grandchildren grow, and I think he did too, but as he explained Kings, of all men, must be prepared for death.”
“And then at the end of May, he became ill with measles. I had already had a mild case when I was a little lad, so I wasn’t afraid to go nurse him. Turns out he asked for me first. So I went to him and began to care for him. Those doctors, may God curse them, had been trying all manner of remedies on him. His poor body couldn’t take what those old quacks were doing to it. On the last day of his life I was sitting alone with him, listening to him mutter prayers invoking God’s help for the Lady Jane and for England. Suddenly, he clutched my hand and smiled and asked if I still had the little heart with his initials. I pulled it from my neck and showed him. He smiled, and offered me his hand again. I kissed it then in fealty as I had kissed it first so many years ago. He gripped it harder than he ever had before. Then, of a sudden he let go and I looked down upon my lovely boy and realised he was dead. Between my tears I kissed his eyes into eternal sleep. I left to find those unworthy councillors and give my Ned over to their uncaring hands. I went then to the Lady Jane and offered my obeisance, as my liege would have wished. And that is why I am not at court. When the Lady Mary overran the forces of Queen Jane, she discarded her brother’s will. And when she died in her turn in 1558, I went to the Queen’s Grace who now is. She remembered me and we had a little talk of the year I was Lord of Misrule. But she was her father’s daughter too, and refused to honour her brother’s will. I was already married to your Gram, and your Dad was a little boy and there were more yet on the way. So I think, nothing venture, nothing gain. I ventured but didn’t gain, but I had a good life anyways, and the money I earned at Court and the business your great grandfather left me gave me enough money to help your Dad take the lease on this farm, and school you ungrateful little imps. And yes I still have the heart. Your Gram understood why I couldn’t take it off or sell it, for all that its solid gold and has two little ruby chips embedded in the heart. If I did take it off, it would mean forgetting my boy, my dear little Prince”. And clutching the locket, he closed his eyes and cried, and he heard the boys sniffling with him.
Then Ned’s stomach grumbled and they all laughed and went on with life.
12 October,1537- 6 july,1553