Monday, 30 June 2014

Man with Chicken on Head Longs to be Taken Seriously

Noble Readers should be warned that men who dress like this are likely to be trouble. While other men might be content to sport simple spikes on their helmets, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany – for it is he - decided he would benefit from a nine-inch tall gilded eagle.

Along with the epaulettes, sashes, cavalry boots, sabre and curiously enlarged tassel, Wilhelm looks quite the part. But what you don't see in the picture is the sad, fact that blighted Wilhelm's whole life and outlook - that magnificently uniformed left arm of his was deformed.

Nowadays, right minded folk would overlook such a bodily imperfection. We would reprove our children for remarking cruelly on physical differences among their school pals. But in Wilhelm's time - and, more importantly, in Wilhelm's mind - possession of a malformed arm was an unforgiveable weakness.

Imperial tailors were tasked with the mission of hiding the problem in plain sight. The Emperor's new clothes must act as camouflage, so that resurgent Germany could not be mocked through its leader. Wilhelm must be presented to the world as faultless, virile, strong!

Noble Readers, I have to tell you now, they went too far.

The Deadly Playground, 1914 is out now.  Why not click on this link and get yourself a copy?


  1. Misdirection is key to hiding things. I would have thought that the huge tassel would have been better placed on the right side. But the chicken hat does do it's job of taking the eyes off the arm, doesn't it.

  2. Very interesting post. Shows how far we have come in regard to acceptance - and changes to the attitudes of disabilities. Your post made me curious about the rest of his life, so I may go back and research the man, knowing full well nothing written will be the real truth. Thank you for sharing.