Monday, September 10, 2007

Not much nostalgia for the old days

Sultan Mehmet II

From Bruce Felton and Mark Fowler's The Best, Worst & Most Unusual.

Most Unusual Archer: Mohamet II was an avid archer who insisted on practicing his art upon moving targets. Citizens straying too near the palace were frequently found studded with arrows, and it did not take pedestrians too long to learn to stay well out of the range of their mad sultan. Understandably, Mohamet was disappointed when he discovered that his people were avoiding him. Left with no alternative, he ordered the palace guard to round up a regular supply of Instanbullians for hazardous assignment as royal prey.

At last, the terrified Turks appealed to Sheik Ul-Islam, an influential man of the cloth, who was one of the few who still dared to approach the world's most imprudent archer. After patient and tactful negotiations, the sheik persuaded Mohamet to limit his practice to eight targets a day - restricting himself to prisoners of war.

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