The greatest compliment a MacThoy will pay to a non-Clansmen is that of the practical joke.


The Barley Stein

The stone which was to be the Barley Stein first received literary mention when Jacob used it for a pillow.  That night he had such amazing dreams that it was later employed as a pedestal for the Ark of the Covenant. 

In 70 A.D., the Roman Empire Road Crew removed the Temple of Solomon to make way for a new freeway off ramp.  One of the Construction Supervisors saw the stone and took it to Rome for his portico.  His son inherited it and brought it with him when he was assigned to the Hadrian's Wall Team.  In Gaul, he lost the stone in a game of dice to a man named Patrick who was headed for Eire.  Patrick promised to put it to good use exterminating snakes (of which he displayed a profound phobia to) and as a coffee table.

The Stone moved the length and breadth of Ireland before crossing the waters to Scotland and finally the home of MacBeth, one of many kings made famous by William Shakespeare.  MacBeth placed the stone under his throne, starting a precedent soon followed by all kings of Scotland.  And there it remained until 1296.

Enter Edward I "Longshanks", King of England.  History tells of his storming into Scotland, without knocking, and taking the coronation stone.  He placed it in Westminster Abbey that it might sit under the thrones of English kings.  There it remained until 1996.

Recent evidence uncovered by MacThoy Researchers indicates that the real Stone of Destiny never made it to England.  On the return trip from kicking William Wallace's butt and stealing the Stone of Destiny, Longshanks' host made camp at the edge of the village of Dunn Burrow (ancestral home of the Clan MacThoi.)  The warriors were warmly welcomed by the villagers there and feasting ensued.

The revels went late into the following week,  with the villagers continuing the celebration after the exhausted combatants had gone to bed.

The heavily guarded tent in Edward's encampment aroused the curiosity of the MacThoy.   With the English tucked safe away in bed, several of the Clan went to investigate. 

Within the tent they beheld one heavily locked chest.  Hoping for beer, money or something of value, they smashed it open and discovered a rock.

The Reader can imagine the stunned silence of the Clansmen as they gaped down at the large, marble slab in the chest.  One Clansman remarked, "well it is a pretty rock."

It was at that moment that inspiration flooded the soul of Conan Flynn MacThoy, the Master of Revels.  


Touch up of a Rubbing taken of the Barley Stein.

He didn't know why Edward valued the stone but the King of England had proved a good sport and hosted a lavish party, Conan knew what had to be done.

They stole it.

Not only did they steal it, they replaced it with a retired privy cover from the MacThoy Keep.  The MacThoy relocked the chest as best they could and returned to their village. 

Edward went on his merry way none the wiser and with one of the fiercest hangovers ever conceived.  Thus did a privy cover reside under the English coronation throne from 1296 all the way to 1996 when it was "returned" to its rightful place in Edinburgh Castle.

Back at Dunn Burrow, fully expecting Edward to return in a fortnight looking for his rock, they were quite surprised to hear of its installation in Westminster.  They were also stuck with a rather large rock.

Well, it was a pretty rock.

Dubbed Conan's Folly, some of the Clan wanted it to be shaped into a millstone that he might wear it about his neck.  He was divested of his title as Master of Revels and renamed Village Idiot by the Clan Laird.  Conan's career as party master might have ended there but the Widow Tamara Dea MacThoy took to scheming.  She volunteered to follow the Laird's edict and haul the rock to the mason that it might be shaped into the ordered millstone.  Upon arriving at the mason's shop, she instructed him to shape it into a large stein with heavy lanyard.  Thus she was able to keep with the spirit of the Laird's edict and make the marble boulder serviceable.  Her only regret was that it could only hold 2 gallons of beverage.

That evening he was presented with his millstone.  "It's a bit small," claimed Conan, "but it will do, barely."

"Don't you mean 'Barley'?" replied Tamara Dea.  "And it is rather pretty, your 'Barley Stein.'"  Conan's scream of delight or horror (This pun is even worse in Gaelic--ed) was heard throughout the village.  Only his good drinking companion, Tamara Dea would cheer him this way.

Conan thanked her-- lustily as all good MacThoy men should-- and praised the stein by throwing a large celebration.  It proved to be a truly excellent gathering.  In a state of euphoric intoxication, the Laird reinstated Conan as Master of the Revels.

Over time, they noticed that the Guzzlewhompers failed to appear in the presence of the Barley Stein.  At first it was attributed to Conan's great skill as the Revel Master but others suspected something else was at play.  MacThoy scholar, Hell Louise Van Gelt discovered the true history of the Barley Stein and its role in Biblical history.  It is suspected its hallowed properties ward off evil to this day.  Due to these wonderful attributes, the Barley Stein was to become part of the Clan's Holy Days and serve a large role in the Beltaine Celebration.

As for the current location of the Barley Stein, well every MacThoy knows were it is.  And for a few beers one just might tell you.

Last modified: October 01, 2005

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