From The Guardian, January, 1982:
"I don't want to die in Fairbanks!" -- HRM Steingrim
WIZARD'S KEEP AP -- The Province of Winter's Gate was pleased to welcome His Majesty, King Steingrim, who joined us here for Yule. During his stay, Steingrim was treated to such pleasant diversions as a concert by Banish Misfortune, an evening at Clinkerdagger, Biggerstaff and Petts' Publick House, and a full massage by the ladies of Songhaven Manor each evening before retiring. The ladies sent him off to a fighting workshop to get him out of the way while they cooked for the feast. His Majesty instructed them to "cook up a storm". Unfortunately, the meringue cumulus clouds fell in the oven, and all they got was a low fog.
At the event, the King was treated to a healthy helping of Northern hospitality. He seemed to enjoy himself throughout the evening, engaging in friendly conversation with the members of the province and the college and their captain, helping to decide which of the ladies had the finest, softest hair, and singing with the populace.
For some reason, the theme of "sheep" kept popping up all evening, evidencing itself in the fleecy centerpiece (four small woolly sheep on a field of green coconut "grass"), a leg of lamb served in the second remove ("WHAT IS IT???" "L-l-l-lamb, Your M-m-m-majesty"), and a lady who sat in one corner of the hall spinning a large quantity of wool into yarn which she presented to His Majesty at court. The members of Zachary Keep Abbey presented a box of greeting cards showing the lamb and the lion (cat, in this case) lying down together, and bearing the noble sentiment, "Towards a Peaceable Kingdom".
His Majesty presented several awards at a midnight court: to Lady Morgana n'ha Keridwen, the Order of the Pelican, to Lady Fanchion Mountaintamer of Skyhaven, Lord Mixial Medvedev iz Kieva, and Lady Antadina Exeter du Nordlac, the Order of the Leaf of Merit; to Lady Danpira Snowsong of Skyhaven and Lord Hirsch von Henford (reawarded), the Order of the Rose Leaf; and to John St. Andrew of Zacarhy Keep Abbey, WOlf Feder Weiss, Tanji do Mounteloup and Flynx van Halen, Awards of Arms. The event ended in the early hours of a frosty Winter's Gate morning.
We would like to extend our thanks to His Majesty for visiting the Province and the College, and we would urge him to come back soon. He was a most delightful and informative guest.
"The week of this event was a riot, because King Steingrim came to visit. It all started back at An Tir's First Crown Tourney, when Antadina du Nordlac and I visited the Crown Tourney in An Tir. We came back, and Antadina hatched a plot to try to get a royal visit to Winter's Gate specifically. We were both College students at the College of St. Boniface [then calling itself "Wizard's Keep"] (the University of Alaska, Fairbanks campus). Antadina and her roommates (Danpira Snowsong of Skyhaven and Fanchion Mountaintamer of Skyehaven) wrote up a letter (the text seems to have been lost in time) that basically said that while visiting the lands of An Tir, and being starving College Students (tired of soggy lentil soup and stale black bread day in and day out), saw some sheep frolicking on the hill. Some of those sheep, including a black one with a mysterious tag of "Steingrim, Junior" on it, had oddly enough found themselves in the cold lands of Winter's Gate, with hungry college students eying them ...
"Anyway, it was a funny letter, and was enough to entice His Majesty to come visit. He stayed for the week before the official Yule event at the apartment of Antadina and roommates, attended fighter practices, went to a concert of an Alaskan folk group "Banish Misfortune" (a group that SCAers visited every chance they got for some time, as about half their repertoire was well within out time period).
"Steingrim is a funny man, if you've never met him ... we had much fun with him. The car that belonged to Falchion was named "The Galactic Hunk-a-Junk" (after a reference from Star Wars), and Steingrim was picked up at the airport in this tired old car. He made some comment about "I'm going to die in a Fairbanks, Alaska in a car named the Galactic Hunk-a-Junk!" because he wasn't used to icy roads, and all that. There was one point when walking to a concert from the parking lot, where His Majesty slid halfway across the street on the ice, and exclaimed that he almost never got to do that back home.
"The night before the event, there was a feast at a local restaurant called "Clinkerdagger, Bickerstaff and Petts", which had decor based off an English Pub. We had reserved a private dining room, and had a lot of people in it. During dinner (which was really good) every once in awhile, someone would "Baaah" and His Majesty would look up and say "Who said that?", at which point various people would look up at the ceiling, whistling ... yet when questioned about the letter, His Majesty would never say a word. He was toying with us, but boy was His Majesty in for a surprise the next day.
"The Yule event was held on ... I am guessing ... Eilson Air Force Base in the base housing. This meant the event was a bit cozy. But it was pleasant, albeit a bit warm (in mid-December, in Fairbanks, AK, we're talking about too warm? Yep!). One bad idea was to have pipers in this small building. I nearly had my eardrums blasted out.
"During court, His Majesty gave out several awards -- Morgana's Pelican dates from this event, for example. His Majesty also received various presents sporting sheep, usually a black one in the mix ... Wolf Federwiess and I had determined that this being His Majesty's second reign, that of course He would be granted the title of Duke when He stepped down at 12th Night, so we did up a rendition of an achievement of arms for Him. This was presented in court with a cover over it. His Majesty sat there looking it over. He looked directly at me, and said "Hirsch, armor up!" To which I quailed and quaked! I wasn't a fighter! Good grief! (Luckily His Majesty knew that, and he actually apparently really liked it ...) He didn't even look at Wolf, who did most of the real work on this ... I guess He figured out it was my idea or something. Sigh.
"During DINNER (I can't recall if this was before or after Court), the High Table was decorated with, oddly enough, a bunch of sheep. One of them was, again, oddly enough, black. When the leg of lamb was served, His Majesty looked at the server (I cannot recall his name), and said "What is this?" The server, slowly backing away toward the kitchen said, "Meat, Your Majesty!". His Majesty replied, "What KIND of meat?", and the server, realizing he was doomed, but right at the kitchen door (it wasn't that big of a place), said something like "Aw, the heck with it! It's LegOfLambYourMajesty!" (running the last words together) and went through the door ... His Majesty got a sorrowful look on his face, looked at the leg, patted it and said "Poor baby!", and then promptly carved a hunk off it. His Majesty was told later that when the sheep were asked about contributing to the feast, the one we had named "Stupid" came forward, and the rest was history ...
"It was a fun time, His Majesty appeared to have a blast, and I know that those of us who were around Him had a lot of fun." -- Hirsch von Henford
Description of this event (if any), taken from The Page, or from memory of at least one person who attended the event.
The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).