There be nary a subject under The King’s Yoke that hath not been to an Ox Jumping derby. Indeed, the Kingdom’s favourite sport ist enjoyed by both low and highborne alike (although not by serfs, since they’re not allowed to have fun).
But inequality of pay betwixt the Jumpers and the Ox hath caused many a gripe amongst the athletes. The Jumpers’ Guild hath even gone so far as to threaten to stop Jumping if they are not paid a wage comparable to their bovine competitor.
“Just because the Ox is the star of the show doth not mean he should be paid more than our entire team of Jumpers thrice over,” sayeth veteran Jumper Ælewolf Springheel, a westwards gullyscamper for the Alesborough Hill Frolickers. “No disrespect to the Ox, of course.”
The Ox hath always been the fan favourite. And some might argue that he does the bulk of the work in any given Ox Jumping contest, seeing as he typically mauls at least half the Jumpers on each team, whereas even the most skilled Jumper only completes two or three successful Jumps on a goode day. But it hath been increasingly difficult for teams to recruit quality Jumpers when the pay is low and there’s a reasonable chance of death or dismemberment every tyme they take to the pitch.
“Sure, we can always recruit a couple pawnsmen on the cheap from the peasantry, since their only jobbe is to serve as a decoy and get trampled whilst the rest of us Jump,” sayeth Gholas Ünspoon, a portside quarterbounder for the Peasanton Halfgroats. “But ye won’t find a sure-footed gullyscamper or starboard bounder without paying them a decent salary.”
Whether the Royal Magistrate of Tournaments and Jousts will see fit to raise teams’ salary caps to allow for such a change ist yet to be seen.
“The Ox ist the one that sells tickets, plain and simple,” sayeth Royal Magistrate of Tournaments and Jousts Rundhar Horseswashing. “Nobody comes to the arena to watch a fancy quarterbounder leap portside o’er the Ox. They come to watch him die below the Ox’s hooves, and the Ox is compensated accordingly.”
If one thing ist for sure, it’s that Ox Jumping contests shall continue to entertain The King’s subjects regardless of what the Jumpers are paid, for the punishment if they refuse to Jump shall be far worse than a meager paycheck.
Ox Jumping, Explained
The ancient sport of Ox Jumping hath been amongst the most popular in the Realm since the days of yore. Whilst the original rules of the game are lost to us, the modern rules, as recorded in the Royal Rulesbooke of Tournaments, Jousts, and Other Riveting Contests of Valor, are as follows:
A large and vigorous Ox bull enters the arena to the sound of great applause and fanfare. Then the Jumpers — nineteen from each side — follow suit. In the ensuing hours, both teams compete to see whomst can Jump o’er the Ox more tymes and amass more points, whilst the Ox tries to maul as many Jumpers as possible.
A Jump sidewise o’er the Ox counteth as one point for the team, a jump lengthwise counteth as two points, and a player being trampled underfoot or otherwise kilt counteth as three points for the Ox.
Only three substitutions are allowed, so if more than three of a team’s Jumpers are speared on the Ox’s razor sharp thrashing horns or crushed by its mighty hooves, they cannot be replaced. The match is over when the crowd generally loses interest or is otherwise too drunk to comprehend what is happening, at which point the contest just kind of ends and everyone goes to the pub.
As per tradition, the surviving Jumpers and the Ox retire to the tavern afterwards to drink turnipwine and nurse their wounds. To date, no fan, Jumper, or Ox hath ever been sober enough following a contest to remember who won.
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