Mad King (a 6-word story)

The mad king burns the village.

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(Photo from Wikimedia Commons – Charles the Mad. From Recueil des rois de France. (FR 2848, f� 150)., by Jean de Tillet (16th century). In the Bibliothèque Nationale de France)

Author’s Note: I’ve always been interested by the familiar fiction trope of the “Mad King.” Most people know it was popularly used in The Game of Thrones. One could argue Donald Trump was a kind of mad king while president. I looked up “mad king” and found a list on Wikipedia of allegedly mentally-ill monarchs from history, including a few Roman emperors.

I decided to use a picture of King Charles VI of France, who ruled from 1380 to 1422, because his actual nickname was “Charles the Mad.” According to Wikipedia, Charles VI suffered from bouts of pyschosis, including “glass delusion.” Glass delusion was a psychiatric disorder in the Middle Ages in which people feared they were made of glass and would shatter into pieces if touched.

I’m not sure if Charles VI ever burned a village (that’s the fictional part of the six-word story). Also, as someone who’s struggled with mental illness, I find the mad king history pretty sad. Wikipedia says Charles VI refused to allow people to touch him and wore reinforced clothing because of his glass delusion, so it sounds like he suffered a lot.

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