The Original Earl of Sandwich

The year was 782 AD when the original Earl of Sandwich send his Chartreuse Knight out into the depths of Sherwood Forest to collect bi-annual taxes. The forest was sparsely populated, but toward midday the knight came upon a dark sod hovel he might have considered abandoned had it not been for a wisp of wood smoke coming from a hole in the roof.

As was common in those days,  the man of this hovel provided for his family with a longbow. The knight paused at a safe distance and then bellowed. “Hello the hovel”. Nothing but the smoke, and the clatter of his own armor were seen or heard.

“Easy boy,” he muttered to his mount, a jet black Clydesdale, as the horse stamped his hooves and snorted steam in the chilly midday air.

“Hello the hovel,” he repeated, adding: “I am the Chartreuse Knight. I represent the Earl of Sandwich and I have come to collect the taxes.

“I have nothing to give, Sire. You took our dishes, utensils, and furniture last time.  I’m but a lowly woodcutter,” said a gravely voice from within the dark hovel.

A lie, he thought to himself. “If you have nothing else I’ll take your first-born,” threatened the knight. Checking over his armor, making certain he was well protected, he added: “I’m coming in. Any surprises will be dwelt with most severely.”

Dismounting and leaving his mount tethered to a bush, he ducked into the hovel. As the woodcutter had stated, they had nothing. The woodcutter, his wife, and his two children sat on the dirt floor. A large flat rock lay before the open-hearth, a cooking surface, the knight surmised. “I’m hungry. Fix me something to eat,” he ordered.

The woodcutter’s wife rose and stoked the fire. Then she mixed a gruel and patted out a single, round cake on the large flat rock and waited for it to cook. After a few minutes she placed a slice of freshly smoked squirrel on the cake, folded it over and handed it to the knight.

“What is this?” he asked.

“We call it a sandwich,” said the woodcutter.  

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