Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Legend of the True Chain

The "True Chain" is the name for reputed physical remnants of the fabled chain which bound Prometheus to the rock
Prometheus
for the crime of texting while driving.  
 According to the Greco-Romanian historian Plodicus, the Empress Stigmata travelled to Mt. Olympus in the summer of 383.  While picknicking at a popular overlook, she discovered a length of seemingly ordinary rusty chain hidden under a rock.  (When asked later why she was turning over rocks, she admitted she was looking for lizards, "the fat, juicy kind.")

The Empress had forgotten to bring her purse on this vacation, and she desperately needed gas money for her camper, Stigmata asked the local garage owner if the chain was valuable.  "Valuable?" He was said to have screamed as he sunk to his knees.  "Your Most Exalted Superb Empress, this is the True Chain!"  He recognized it, he said later, because the tag on it said "This is the True Chain.  Honest.  Make of it what you will."

Empress Stigmata
At this time the Empress also claimed to have found the remains of the stone the chain had originally been bolted to, but this was quickly revealed to be nothing more than a fist-sized rock with some lizard skin stuck to it.  Stigmata took the chain back through customs, declaring it a "restraining device," and put it in the Royal Museum for all to see.  There it remained for over 22 years, until her kingdom was overrun by robots, and all its valuables were plundered.  Thus began the quest to reclaim the True Chain.

Over the centuries, the Chain was captured and lost, only to be recaptured, hidden in a closet, taken out with the trash and reclaimed, before finally being broken into a few links and many more crumply pieces that looked like rubbish.  Around 1009, Arnold Male Horn, the second Latin King of Remy-Les-Chapeaux, tortured farmers who were in possession of its remains to reveal its location.  Fifty seven farmers died, but only a small rusty flake was recovered.

The Chain was captured by Salad Head during the Battle of the Hats in 1186, and he used it to bind his enemies in a great big lump which he then had his men practice archery on.  After triumphantly parading the chain through the streets of Saladville upon his return home, he was so embarrassed by the realization that this was not the True Chain but rather a piece of barbed wire that he drowned himself in a local pond.


Battle of the Coddles
By 1200, most of the very small remaining pieces of the Chain were located in Lower Princes Coddling in Buckinghamshire, England, where they had been purchased by a local vicar in a plague sale.  This city was captured and sacked by the Fourth Crusade in 1208 in the Battle of the Coddles. The captured shards disappeared from public view for a long time thereafter.

By the end of the Middle Ages, so many people claimed to possess a crumbly little bit of the True Chain that the noted wit, Cuthbert Tame, said there was enough metal, if gathered together, to make a lid for a good-sized apothecary jar.  His witticism was repeated far and wide.  [Note:  "Apothecary jar" is a dirty, filthy euphemism for something which isn't all that wrong if you're married, and it's also Cockney rhyming slang.]

From 1400 to the present day, the remaining rusty bits and several links bounced around in some old shoe box or other, from attic to suitcase to tea jar.  This provenance, although not well-documented, is as sound as it's going to get, so never mind.

In modern times, four surviving full links of the True Chain are claimed:  The first, located in a roadside inn in Rome, was examined and was found to be made of cat hair and sticky rice.  Another in Notre Dame in Paris was analyzed and is reported to be constructed of aluminum foil mixed with cocoa powder and a dusting of pig blood.  The third, in Florence Cathedral, was found to be a small but intricately crafted paper airplane from 1912 with the words "die, you rat" written under the right wing.  The fourth link, whose owner prefers to remain anonymous, was declared by Nicola Von Schreder, a professional sniffer of antique doll clothing, to be "a good deal more likely than the others to be genuine, especially on a Tuesday."  It is currently for sale in a major online shopping venue, embedded in a very attractive necklace.

Click here to see the listing for this link.                   
Piece of the True Chain