What do you give a king–who already has everything–as a present?
Let’s give him an elephant!
What do you feed an elephant?
A bit of grass will do.
And what does an elephant drink?
You couldn’t give it water. Not back in the old days, it would have gotten sick.
You couldn’t give it beer, either. Obviously, you can’t give beer to an elephant. That would be silly.
Let’s give it wine instead.
… The elephant didn’t last very long.
Some of the other animals held at the Tower didn’t fare much better, either. An ostrich died after being fed nails, because people believed they’d eat iron. And the polar bear probably didn’t quite enjoy fishing in the dirty Thames either. Apparently, the Tower was home to the Royal Beasts for over 600 years, until the London Zoo opened in 1826.
Of course, you also get to hear all the gruesome execution stories during the The Yeoman Warder tour. For example, there was mention of those three bishops burnt at the stake in Oxford, one of whom supposedly haunts Broad Street each year at midnight on the 26 October. The tour alone is absolutely worth a visit at the Tower. And once you’re there, you could also have a look at the crown jewels. Although to be honest, I was expecting some more … well, jewellery that’s not a crown. Something to dream about and be jealous of.
What else should I not miss in London, Oxford or the rest of the UK?