The King's breakfast in the stars: This week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Feb 20, 2017

Image of the Dairymaid and the cow by E.H. Shepard from "The World of Christopher Robin", imagined as Virgo and Taurus in the February sky.

When you’re a storyteller of the stars, you can’t help but look for them everywhere, not just in the sky, or in the myths and legends of the ancients, but in art and poetry, in architecture, in ceremony…

For this week’s “Storyteller’s Night Sky”, I’ve been looking for stars in one of my favorite places: the nursery rhymes of A.A. Milne, most famously known for his stories of Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh.

Of course, the set up for what I’m looking for is what’s going on overhead, where there’s always a king and a queen, Cepheus and Cassiopeia, and where, in mid-February, there’s a maiden rising up in the East while the cow settles down in the West. That would be Virgo and Taurus, respectively.

And then there’s the delightful rhyme by Milne regarding the King’s breakfast and the royal slice of bread, which trips along like this: 

The King asked the Queen,
and the queen asked the Dairymaid
“Could we have some butter for the Royal slice of bread?”
The Queen asked the Dairymaid
The Dairymaid said, “Certainly,
I’ll go and tell the cow now
Before she goes to bed.”
The Dairymaid she curtsied,
And went and told the Aldernay:
“Don’t forget the butter for the Royal slice of bread…

The rhyme continues with the cow foolishly suggesting that the King consider using marmalade instead, and back and forth it bounces along, like stars lighting up across the sky!

Traditionally mid-to-late February, from the Roman festival Februa, which means purification, is known as the season of fasting, prayer and abstinence, and it’s determined by first Full Moon of the Spring ~ that Full Moon is late this year, so the season of fasting and purification hasn’t started yet. So we can carry on with our royal indulgence in bread and butter for awhile longer, especially since the key players, the King, the Queen, Dairymaid and the Cow are all frolicking overhead for a few more weeks. And if you go out to look for them, remember the adage: that which you seek, you are!


link to the full poem "The King's Breakfast" by A.A. Milne: