Genghis Khan

It was another one of those nights. He got up and walked out of the yurt. Genghis surveyed his army’s camp in the chilly predawn air. He could not concentrate. His stomach felt like it was the setting of a fierce, explosive battle. He resolved then and there to refrain from eating large meals so late at night. It was bad this time. He felt like he might vomit, but, then again, he might not. There was no sense in ordering his shaman to administer treatment at this point. It was going to be a long, restless night, he figured, and belched, staring past the yurts at the expansive plains of northern China.


He ripped the cushions off the chaise longue and threw them on the floor. What a disaster this was. A half hour ago, Napoleon had been ceremonially presented with the keys to Vienna. His army had captured the old capital two days earlier and he had been in a great mood. How things had changed. He would look like a fool if he didn’t have the keys at the afternoon reception. Thus, he couldn’t leave the palace until he had them, nor could he tell his aides he’d lost them, because it would be a disgrace, and so his many responsibilities were put on hold until this embarrassing inconvenience was settled. He tried to retrace his steps. Where had he placed them last? It was no use! He’d spitefully thrown them at some peacocks that had crossed his path outside, but he’d put them in his coat immediately after. They had to be there somewhere …


Man, was it hot. As Cortés trudged through the jungle, he suddenly threw his hands up in disgust. He realized that he had spilled wine on his shirt at lunch and it was going to be stained. He reflected that it was just a shirt, but, still, this was one of his last remaining nice shirts. The rest had been splattered with blood, ripped, or burned, and now this one was as good as ruined, too! He just could not believe it. He contemplated scrubbing it that night at camp. But, no, the stain was set—it would be futile. He would have to discard the shirt that night. He’d look like a fool going about in stained clothes. Maybe one of his men would lend him something to wear.

Attila the Hun

It was starting to get late. Attila ordered his general to begin preparations for setting up camp and calling it a day. As he did so, he accidentally bit into the soft flesh of his inner cheek. He could taste blood. It stung horribly. He’d been biting that cheek all day. He turned away so his pain and frustration would go unperceived by his inferior. He got off his horse and walked down a dirt path to analyze the terrain. His thoughts drifted and he began lamenting that, with the current swelling, he would begin biting his cheek more and more. Would this painful irritation never end?