Many sad stories are told about the land of Educasia, not the least about Princess Hekia. Her relationship to the ‘Family’ was one fraught with undertones of doubt and mystery. She had only recently arrived in the ‘Family’ but that did not stop King Jono from elevating her to great heights.
Oh yes, others in the ‘Family’ were most put out, quite literally in some cases, but their names quickly receded into history. Jono saw her as a way of keeping his supporters happy, particularly the ones from far off regions of his realm. King John decided that Princess Hekia should be made responsible for the ‘learning of the young people of his kingdom. He had heard that she had an interest in this position.
Princess Hekia moved into the newly furnished offices and sent for her underlings. She was determined to make changes to the way things had been. She met with the leaders of those charged with the learning of young people and these important people learnt very quickly that it was her way or the highway. The fact that there were many highwaymen already operating did not concern her. Princess Hekia had read somewhere that other Kingdoms were using new methods of running schools and that along with one of King Jono’s supporters in Council, the leader of the Merchants Society, there was now a strong push to replicate these methods in Educasia. Even when the leaders in the present system pointed out that there were many failings in these schools, she did not listen, such was her determination to please King Jono.
As word filtered out through official notices and promulgations, a great deal of unrest became apparent in the Kingdom. Educasia was quite unlike some of its neighbours; indeed it was seen as quite an enlightened Kingdom, with a long history of tolerance. Some would say that the King or Queen as recent history had proven, held their position at the behest of the people, all of whom had a say in who should be their leader.
People other than just employed officials began to leave notices nailed to trees and some were even printed by the members of the ‘Teachers Guild.’ The parents of many of the children also began to speak out, but all was in vain; the King and his Princess simply did not listen, no matter how much evidence that such schools were repugnant, the Guild and parents’ group produced.
As if that issue wasn’t enough to inform the King and the Princess that all was not well in the Kingdom of Educasia, another favourite product of the King’s ‘Think Tank,’ a new system of remunerating the teachers and their helpers was introduced. ‘New Pay’ was based on a system used in a neighbouring Kingdom; a huge Island Kingdom, across the wide ocean. This system used a new technology; one that had also failed in that Kingdom, but that was not taken into account by the Kings ‘advisors.’ So it went ahead and within weeks, there was an outcry at the inaccuracies of this system.
‘All will be fine,’ Princess Hekia decreed. ‘Give it a chance,’ she exhorted, while King Jono watched from his throne as he thought up more schemes to divert the peoples’ ever increasing doubts about his rule.
Every week the problems remained and there were murmurings about the stupidity of the system. King Jono began to look quite nervous when he made appearances in public. It seemed that wherever he went, he was dogged by those affected by the New Pay system. Stories circulated about people not being paid and how schools had to dip not their ‘grants’ to enable teachers to be able to feed their families. Finally, King Jono brought in a ‘fixer,’ much to Princess Hekia’s chagrin. The fixer was a smooth operator and the body language of the Princess said it all; she was not impressed at King Jono’s action.
Smooth talking ‘fixer,’ immediately released an enouncement that he would make things right, but sure enough--- the problems continued. Finally along with the Princess and the King, the ‘fixer’ announced that the Royal Mint was going to strike more coins in order to bring in extra workers to make the system work. The teachers, officials and the parents shook their heads in amazement and decided to bide their time.
Watch out for Part 2 of ‘The Princess’s woes.’