Picture: the King and the Crown Prince photographed through the prying lens of a Paparazzi photographer on the French Cote d'Azur, at the exact moment the King decided to give Prince Felix his first swimming lesson, at the age of 6 months. Of course the King threatened to sue any third party publishing this image, but it did give him a luminous and hitherto undiscovered idea: to found a Ministry of Physical Education and Sports. Prince Bubu was appointed as Minister. As a monument to this great and original idea, he decided to publish the picture himself.
The Royal Stables
Tautalstan being a modern, forward looking nation, it no longer has any working horses, except some grazing Ardennais prize winners who come to sample the fine "herbs". Tautalstan does however, have a State Limousine. The State Limousine of Tautalstan is an ageing, dark blue Rolls-Royce, affectionately known as "The Horse and Sherriage". It is probably the only state limo in the world featuring a permanently stocked champagne- and liquor-bar in the back seat. This enables the King to enact monetary easing measures while en route, and has lent him unbridled popularity among his subjects, as well as some non-subjects. The state limo was acquired second hand at a small fraction of the new price, under pressure from the austerity minded faction in the Tautalstanian government at the time. Note that the Queen Consort doubles as driver of the state limousine, again a complete first in the world of European royalty.
(Picture below: the Royal Tautalstan State Limo on a visit to Stonehenge. The King considered it an educational visit, not so much to learn about Stonehenge, but about how to get pretty much the whole world to come and pay to have a look at a collection of interestingly arranged stones, of which nobody knows why exactly they were put together, or precisely by whom, for that matter. Many such stones could also be found in Tautalstan.)
Welcome To Tautalstan - The Greatest Country In The World !
An Allegory of Modern Life
1. On Tautalstan
2. On The World Today (From About May 2020)
A personal note from the King: "I welcome all visitors, nature lovers and culture vultures to Tautalstan, the whole year around, to stay in any of our happy holiday cottages. Please come and try to get lost in our enchanted forests, explore the rivers Le Cheylat and La Sumène, fathom the depth of our magic lake (hint: about 2 metres, but you would sink deeper into the blubber), and learn about fascinating Tautalstanian history and culture. Taste some excellent, soon to be famous Tautalstanian specialities, usually strongly influenced by the Italian, Spanish and French cooking traditions. I look forward to welcoming you hopefully personally, and - perhaps - appointing you, entirely free of charge, as one of my ministers or even Tautalstanian nobility, should the situation call for it."
The Tautalstanian Orthodox Church differs from all other churches in the world, be they Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant or which ever way Reformed. Although the original "Small Schism" , as the event of separation is historically known, happened over an argument over the correct length of beard for the ceremonial schnapps tasting during the harvest season in 932 AD, today the liturgical and philosophical differences run deep. The Tautalstanian liturgy is pretty relaxed, and the Church is open to all doctrine which is generally considered a "good idea", by the King while sober, and the Patriarch in all other cases.
Other Branches of Government
The Secret Intelligence Services of Tautalstan (SIST) are so secret, that no other government in the world has ever noticed their existence. Their mascot is the Snoring Dormouse and their officers can only be recognized by the all-white double breasted smoking jacket and trousers, worn over crocodile skin western boots, topped off with a black bowtie. The SIST recruits are trained by having them watch all James Bond movies produced to date, several times over. After that, they have to drink a whole bottle of whiskey in one sitting, walk across the border to France unseen and deliberately punch a local in the face. If they survive that, they are hired (NB: many tried but nobody has been hired yet).
It is also a public secret that His Majesty the King from time to time undertakes missions himself, without using any disguise. This feat must count as one of the most daring double bluffs in espionage history: after all, who would suspect His Majesty himself to be In His Majesty's Secret Service? By and large, the world of intelligence gathering in Tautalstan remains shrouded in mystery.
NB: In the meantime, representatives of Viruses for All, a pressure group formed of existing influenza- and other respiratory viruses and pathogens, can be found protesting on Tautal Square on a regular basis, since the advent of The so-called Pandemic. Leader of the group, a Mr Pale Ale, explains: "Well, it's bloody obvious, innit? We have been around for generations as the main, go-to winter viruses, doing the rounds in the population, killing off some of the elderly and the infirm. We know our way around. It's an honest living, not very glamorous but honest. And then along comes some new-fangled upstart disease, calls itself after some fancy beer from, like, Mexico, ne'er gets pro'e'ly licensed and just takes the whole market! You read the news and it's Corona left, right and centre, blah blah: everything is about them now! They even got the big guys to do daily press conferences, discussions in Parliament, the whole nine yards! We have been trying that for years with, what 20k, 30k dead bodies produced in an average year in the UK alone - and no bleeding MPs gives a damn. And then these guys come along, you know from China, with a fancy marketing story, a brand, attention from the WHO and what not, and they just steal the show! And then the worst bit is, because they get so much attention, it ruins the business for all of us! We barely had a chance to reproduce last winter because of all those nose-bleeding lockdowns. Just because them Corona pathetic pathogens find it necessary to attract so much attention! We have been at it for years, we gave up on bats and pangolins, like, in the 1920s, we mutated for the modern age, and have done the human market for a century or more - not like them Corona newbies. Where is a bit of respect for that know-how, that tradition, I ask you? Well? There isn't. We can mutate just like them Corona dudes, we do a mean dry cough, sweaty chills, nice big headaches, and all better, but those media and medicine wonks just won't listen to us! It's time for action!"
(Picture left: Princess Bubu 2 attempting to stand on the Royal Beer Belly, on the occasion of the assembled staff of the Royal Household singing happy birthday on her 5 month anniversary.)
Music and Languages
Tautalstan is also the only country in the world which has a Royal String Quartet, as opposed to the far more common Royal (or State) Symphony Orchestra. It is led by the Queen Consort, who is also a world famous violinist, well known throughout Tautalstania and the surrounding French villages. The Royal Tautalstania String Quartet (RTSQ) regularly goes on international tours to the church of Valette, for example, across the border in France. Concerts in London, UK are also a regular occurrence. Tautalstan also hosts an annual music festival, "Tautal Tones".
The national language of Tautalstania is a concoction of English, French, German, Dutch, Latin and even some Classical Persian. Conversations between Tautalstanians may switch between any of these languages without notice, in order to confuse potential eavesdroppers. The names of the RTPC (below) are examples of Germanic and English influences in Tautalstan. The French influence comes mostly from diplomatic contact with the neighbours, with whom relations are cordial. (It should be noted that Dutch is dying out in Tautalstan, with only the King able to speak it.)
Royal Family: In November 2015, the whole of Tautalstan celebrated the arrival of the new Crown Prince and Heir Apparent to the Throne, His Royal Highness Prince Felix Emil Aurel Constantin Leopold Filaeus-Von Stutzner bis Tautalstein, Crown-Prince of Tautalstan and its Dependencies, Duc de la Sumène, Dauphin of Tautalstania, Master of the Order of the Golden Fleece Comforter, Personal Aide-de-Camp to the Royal Family as a Whole, Knight of the Order of the Golden Brown Shart. This name is normally shortened to "BuBu". Please find below the first official picture of HRH Felix I, taken days from the birth on 20 November 2015 at 1605hrs local time in London, United Kingdom. By Royal decree the Tautalstanian calendar restarted on that date with the year 1 AB (Anno Bubi).
Barely Armed Forces
Despite being completely landlocked, Tautalstania until recently had a functioning navy consisting of 3 commissioned ships, the Royal Navy of Tautalstan (RNT). It was the only navy in the world which was still primarily powered by sail, and which was completely unarmed. It provided mostly mental support functions to navy units belonging to allied countries. It also served as a representational tool for the Royal Family of Tautalstania, and as such was used for diplomatic missions. The ships were occasionally even used for sea angling. Because of the lack of access to the world's oceans from Tautalstan's territory, 2 of the 3 ships, including HMS "The Fat Duck", the flagship of the RNT, were permanently moored at their base in the UK. However, due to a combination of an austerity program pushed through by the department for Fiscal Fashion & Window Dressing, and pressure from the Security Council of Fictional Nations, the UK navy base was closed and the 2 ships based there were sold. Still, the UK remains the only country in the world where Tautalstan has an official embassy, close to the Houses of Parliament and the Admiralty. The 3rd and last remaining ship is on permanent patrol of the Etang de Tautal, which is a 2.5 acre lake in Tautalstan itself. (Picture below: an archive picture of HMS The Fat Duck while docked on the Kiribati Islands, on joint exercises. Note the large escape hatches, which are required for a quick retreat below decks, in case anyone in the area were to start firing while the crew are still busy having cocktails on the foredeck.)
Tautalstan has as yet no real air force, although a concept Royal Air Force of Tautalstan (RAFT) is in the works. Efforts are being undertaken to select and teach some of the locally abundant predator birds (mostly red kites) to drop mudbombs on cows in neighbouring fields, although so far these have met with limited success. The Royal Tautalstan Army (RTA) consists of 1 cavalry platoon which has 1 Same-Deutz tractor armed with a hydraulic pitchfork, and 1 clapped-out Landrover Defender, equipped with a chainsaw and a hand-axe. It should be noted however that since a cease fire with the neighbouring Arverni tribe was signed in 313 BC, the RTA has not seen any action. Although highly regarded in military circles, it is also unlikely to see any action in the foreseeable future given the generally benign relations with France, especially since the invasion of 1979 was cancelled because the Landrover had run out of diesel (and had to be filled up in France). This allows the manpower and equipment of the RTA to be deployed almost exclusively to light forestry tasks, and mowing some of the fields once or twice a year.
Covid Update: Tautalstan's newly appointed virologist (headhunted from the venerated National General Disease Institute of Chechnya) said: "No covid-plague in Tautalstan, we drink ze wodka from ze garlic, with ze fried balls of ze sheep. Zen we walk 3 times around ze top of ze hill with ze full moon and break ze wind in ze general direction of ze East. Everyone better! No lock ze down! Grreat Success!"
(Picture: Dr PhD Marakov Krolikshapkatski, MD)
Covid: according to the Royal Scientific Committee of Tautalstan, who spent rather a long time stuying the matter, a rabbit carrying the world famous virus ran through Tautalstan some time in the fall of 2019. Said rabbit inadvertently infected a dormouse, which then ate a normal mouse, but it had to throw up on the porch of Tautalstein. A local citizen then stepped into his sick and started to spread the disease in his family. One of his children, while in school, coughed on the son of the postman of the village, who then delivered an infected letter to Tautalstan. However, during this whole episode, nobody was living in Tautalstan. Because of this, it cannot be proven that covid has been eradicated in the country, as it was never actually established that any of its inhabitants had it. The Committee hence has advised to maintain complete lockdown until at least the fall of 2075. Quizzed why such a long dated lockdown is required, The Committee answered: "By 2075 we will all be dead, so you won't be able to sue us anymore for the collateral damage." Typically, these cases of "government blob overreach" are dealt with very efficiently by the King, and a new head of the committee was appointed at the time of writing and further guidance is expected some time before Christmas 2022. Tautalstan remains the only country in the world where Covid simple never existed, because it wasn't given any undue atttention.
(Picture below: the King in a rare private snapshot of a typical homely moment in Tautalstein, enjoying his favourite schnapps and one of his "personal cut" Cuban cigars. The colourful clogs were a gift from the Dutch ambassador. A note on the empty walls: this is of course not because Tautalstein has no significant art collection, but because at the time of taking the picture the art was generously on loan to the world famous Museum of Papua New Guinea, in Port Moresby, PNG.)
The Queen Consort is Her Royal Highness Elizabeth Ute Coralie Paula Ludowika Barbara Auguste I of Tautalstan, Freiin Sybille von Oberschützen bis Unterschützen, Baroness von Stutzner, Dame de Tautal, Sénéchale of the Golden Scroll and Bow, and Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Bathrobe. The Queen Consort's interest in music has been apparent since age 3 and hence she habitually heads the Ministry of Cultural Affairs (see below), in addition to many other important and honourable positions in the Kingdom. The Queen Consort is also, sometimes, affectionately known as "BuBu the Bach-Playing-Baroness". It is highly recommended to check with the King before using this soubriquet when meeting the Queen Consort as protocol is not entirely clear and constantly subject to change. People who break protocol could be arrested, charged with insulting the Monarchy (Lèse-Majesté) and whipped for 3 days non-stop using rosemary bushes, which are grown especially for that purpose. Elisabeth is credited with influencing the erstwhile Duchess of Cambridge, now Princess of Wales, in her choice of "Le Chameau" wellies.
(Prince Bubu modelling the Autumn/Winter 2016/2017 beta-collection of Tautalstyle, in the front garden of Tautalstein, October 2016 (Bubu aged 11 months). The scarf is by Astrid de Sologne, and can also be used to carry infants around in during long walks, or when out and about hunting wild boar with the whole family.)
Meat: That's not Cricket!
Creatures with more than 4 legs, including all insects and arachnids are exempted from Tautalstan's widely lauded form of holistic government, tautalitarianism. This is because they are to be munched up by environmental activists.
Although the last known insect-eater in Tautalstan probably lived during the Stone Age (this was the mythical figure Arachnix the Spider-Gnawer, who according to legend lived in a cave for 100 years yearning for his beloved she-goat), the King is recently sensing a new commercial opportunity. It is envisaged to establish an "Appellation d'Origine Protégé" especially for the Tautalstanian Wolf Spider (pictured below), the first such distinction of its kind globally. Even better, under the label "Le Bio", a certified organic edible spider is in the pipeline. Surely, this would make the invertebrate an item on the next celebratory law-signing drinks session, in Davos, or in the canteen of expensive private schools around London, who have already shown an interest in a regular supply. This would increase the resale value of the plentiful spiders many times over (at the moment most end up dead, inside a vacuum cleaner).
Tautalstan is a proud non-member of all international and intergovernmental organisations. That said, it is in preliminary talks to establish a lose alliance of microscopic nations around the globe. The alliance would pretend to stand up for the interests of microscopic countries, defined as those under 250 hectares in size. More accurately, the organisation would provide an almost perfect excuse to stage elaborate quarterly banquets at randomly chosen exotic locations, laced with a few deliberately vague speeches, and self-promotional photo-ops to benefit the politicians of the day, all paid for by the general population. What's not to like!
2. On The World Today (from around May 2020)
Picture: the King and the Queen Consort on a visit to the United Kingdom for a gathering of Heads of State of Ridiculously Small Countries with Even More Ridiculously Big Cars, the so-called "V8 Summit".
(Right/Below: Cate Moss posing at one of her favourite spots, shortly after being released (again) from mouse-rehab. As mother and grandmother to a good part of the RTCP, she was named by THYME magazine to be one of the world's top 100 most influential felines.)
(Pictures: the King in a casual outfit during an inspection of Bellevue Airport, the highest point in Tautalstania. On the occasion, the Monarch was ceremonially signing the contract for the supply of half a dozen disused Yakolev Yak-24 helicopters which are being scrapped by the Molvanian airforce to be used by TautalAir, the yet to be incorporated, low-cost Royal helicopter and zeppelin airline - the only one of its kind worldwide. The search is still on for suitable zeppelins which would operate under the brand "TautalZep". safety concerns, not for the passengers but for any sheep which might get bruised by aircraft landing in their midst, have slowed down the licencing process.)
The Royal Tautalstan Pussycat Corps (RTPC), are a platoon of semi-wild cats living around Tautalstein responsible for the folding of any rodent infestation plots. To the extend they have names, they are called Cate Moss, Cate Middleton, Struppi, Strumpfi and Schlumpfi, Flauschi, and Flauschi, and Alastair (Darling). It is the only task which the cats actually perform without complaint, provided they also get enough catfood.
(Picture: The original 3 of the Royal Tautalstan Pussycat Corps ready for action, in typical stealth formation. Don't be fooled by their cute appearance. Whilst consisting of young volunteers, the RTPC has already gained an enviable reputation in Tautalstan and neighbouring territories for being one of the most effective anti-rodent squads in the world. Selection for new entrants is extremely strict, and supervised by the King himself. Note that the RTPC is the only elite force in the world which increases its numbers not only through selective hiring but also through natural reproduction.
Religion: Tautalstanian Orthodox Church
Religion is not very important for Tautalstanians, although the associated holidays are strictly observed, as long as they involve opportunities to throw elaborate, boozy dinner parties. In the beginning Tautalstan was proudly Pagan and certain traditions and feasts hark back to that era. In fact, looking at the annual calendar of religious events, one might conclude that Paganism never truly died out in Tautalstan. The Advent of the Gospel was welcomed primarily because of the many feast days promised by the missionary in question, the Holy Saint Spiritus, who passed through the area in AD 432, about a century later than the rest of Gaul. The sentries of the then Royal Court of Tautalstan insisted on tasting a sample from the wine sack of the venerable holy man, and were impressed with the nose, colour, soft tannins and finish of the contents. To cut a long story short, they let him through, he met the King, got him drunk, and the rest is history. It is likely that this course of events formed the foundation for the fact that to this day good quality wine is legal tender in Tautalstan.
Over the centuries, worship evolved and the various French Wars of Religion washed over the area, leaving a faint preference for the Huguenot side of things in Tautalstan, although that depends on the time of year. During this tumultuous era all churches in Tautalstan were destroyed, leaving only the current Maria grotto just outside Tautalstein. Since 1632, in an attempt to get over all these pointless squabbles, the Royal Court of Tautalstan has appointed an official Patriarch of All Tautalstania, who has, among other duties, supreme authority over the Holy Wine Cellars. Recently, initiatives have been undertaken to convert the resident wild boar and roe deer population to the Tautalstanian Orthodox religion. It usually starts with inviting them to a dinner party. It usually also ends there.
The capital and only hamlet in Tautalstan is Tautalstein, locally also known as Château de Tautal Bas. It functions as the home of Tautalstan's only 4 permanent human inhabitants, the King of Tautalstan himself (see below), the Queen Consort, Prince Felix and Princess Sophie. In keeping with what used to be the fashion of royalty of smaller European nations, the royal couple also used to live in London in the UK.
Tautalstan has an international airport equipped with a 50 by 30 metre grass-and-rock paved landing strip, and a wooden bench in the open-air departure lounge. It is a highly suitable airport for helicopters, zeppelins and hot air balloons. It is locally known as "Bellevue Airport" and direct international flights to most major global cities are being planned and will be offered to the public as soon as suitable arrangements have been made with the air traffic control authorities of the surrounding country, France. Negotiations around this have been ongoing since the mid-1920's and although some progress has been made, it has been a bit slow.
(FYI: requests for temporary or permanent citizenship should be made directly via email to the King, who has full discretion over immigration.
Note: in keeping with European tradition, taxes are subject to whim (of the King). Any edible animals can just show up, and usually will be granted citizenship without further ado. They might also be invited to take a central place at their welcome dinner.)
Left and Right: the Royal Couple in 2 fashionable shots, showcasing the hip yet practical slings available on the baby market today. Soon similar items will be launched on the new "Tautalstyle" label. The Prince's "avant garde" hairdo on the left picture is by Timmy & Gay of Mayfair, a steal at only £559 for babies under 6 months old, (£959 over 6 months), and is achieved by actually NOT washing the hair for a period of 2 months, and subsequently washing then rubbing with Babygel (™), a new product based on natural Tautalstanian roe deer fat, available soon through this website.
(Below: paparazzi picture of Lorentz CXXXVII, King of Tautalstania, during a recent incognito visit to Italy where he was trying to look like just another German tourist. He practiced the double chin pose for weeks to make it look real. Accidentally, he almost won a prize in a local "Look-Like-A-Rich-Kraut" Competition, without even participating in it. Wunderbar!
(Picture: current Patriarch His Holiness Patriarch Bruno the Bearded of All Tautalstania is performing a ritual blessing of the famous Bellevue Airport, from which it is said you can see more cows than from any hilltop in the world. In fact, in 1688, the then Patriarch, His Holy Hirsuteness Baldo the Bearded, climbed the hill and exclaimed "Sanctes Vaches!", using the local Occitan vernacular. This translates into modern English as "Holy Cow!" - and it is claimed by Tautalstanians that from this first spontaneous use, the now well-know expression found its way to the languages of the world.
A note on the title of the Patriarch: the nominalisation "Hirsuteness", although still largely applicable to contemporary Patriarchs, was officially dropped in 2009 following pressure from the Tautalstanian Movement Against Discrimination for General Bodily Hairiness. In a much debated case which was fought up to the High Court, it was judged that hairiness cannot as a matter of course be maintained as a job requirement or (as part of) an official title. Consequently the honorairy name "His Hirsuteness" was dropped from the official title of the Patriarch.)
King of Tautalstan - Tautalstan is a constitutional monarchy ruled, usually by decree, by His Royal Highness King Lorentz CXXXVII (the One Hundred and Thirty Seventh), Sovereign of Tautalstan and its Dependencies, Freiherr Von Westkreuzen bis Tautalstein, Seigneur de Tautal, Knight of the Order of the Garterbelt, Grandmaster of the Priory of Maria Dancing the Tango, and Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Barely Armed Forces of Tautalstania.
The constitution of Tautalstan calls for regular elections for the various branches of executive and legislative power. The turn-out for these elections is typically 100%, the highest in the world. It is admitted however, that both the passive and the active electorate currently consists of only 4 people, including 2 children under the age of 18. One of the other 2 is the King himself.
In a drive to increase diversity within the voting population, Tautalstan is the first country in the world about to grant both passive and active voting rights to all wild boar, deer and indeed any other creatures with up to 4 legs (insects and spiders are sadly exempt), roaming its territory.
In anticipation of these changes in constitutional law, the King has prohibited all forms of hunting and shooting on Tautalstania's territory. The announcement of this draft-law has met with widespread approval of all the electorate and especially of the yet to be created electorate in the forests of Tautalstan. Ever media savvy, the King calls this form of holistic government "tautalitarianism", a term soon to be included in the world's dictionaries.
How to Enjoy: This exquisite arachnid (see picture) is best served the French way or "cru", that is to say: while still alive. The proper way is to allow the creature to crawl from a plate (or a short, especially prepared rosemary scented twig) onto one's tongue, to be kept there for up to 30 seconds for a traditional process called "Le Chatouillement" or "The Tickling": the spider will fight viciously in the mouth, thereby stimulating the taste buds, before being lightly chewed, allowing juices to escape. The arachnid should be paired with a dry white wine. The cobwebs can be cleaned and made into a delicious sabayon, using the same wine. According to widely credited new-age food expert Azalea Von Gottenburgh, 6 such spiders a day provide enough protein for the average humanoid. And best of all, for the faint-of-heart, the spiders could also be fried simply in butter, provided the butter used is milk-free of course. Quelle Délice!
NB: The Tautalstanian insects and arachnids have united into a pressure group, led by Mr Hopper Grills, using the slogan "Meat: That's not Cricket!" Unfortunately, given the intellectual level of the climate debate, it is not expected that this kind of clever pun will give the protesters any more legs. Having said that, Mr Grills was invited for a meeting and snack in Brussels. Nobody has seen him since.
Breaking: New Disease Controller in Tautalstan.
EVEN MORE BREAKING NEWS - Following the commercial and critical success of "Bubu", the Royal Couple decided on a sequel, using the working title Bubu Zwei ("Bubu 2"). Officially named Princesse Sophie Gertrude Barbara Julia Coralie Filaeus-Von Stutzner bis Tautalstein, Dame of the Realm of Tautalstan, Duchess of l'Etang-sous-La-Lune, Lady of the Grand Lodge of Lupus the Fluffy Leopard, Mistress of the Virginal White Muslin, Voix Royale de la Chanson de Lait and the queen of cuteness. Intimi can shorten this to "b2" or "Meisje".
1. On Tautalstan
Tautalstan, officially the Kingdom of Tautalstan, sometimes referred to as Tautalstania or "Tautaly", is a fictional start-up country based on a real place. It is located in between 2 villages, somewhere in South-Central France.
At 47 hectares / 117 acres, it has a slightly bigger land area than the smallest real country of the world, which is the Vatican, measuring 44 hectares. This makes Tautalstan the second smallest country in the world. Tautalstan is also about a quarter of the size of Monaco, the 3rd smallest country.
Tautalstan has a population of roughly 14, if you include the resident sheep and cats to at least get to double digits. More inhabitants of various species tend to wander in and out.
Most of Tautalstan's territory is forested with a few open spaces and several mid-sized meadows. The country exports entirely negligible amounts of firewood, forest fruits and game. It imports everything else. Its main industries are the occasional renting out of holiday accommodation, throwing elaborate BBQ parties with as many friends as possible, and the production of limitless amounts of light-hearted satire.
Tautalstanian Chief of Defence Staff General Odilia von Gazebach commented: "We recently completed Exercise Raging Thunderstorm, a mock-war with bovine enemy elements: a platoon of marines successfully crossed Lake Tautal while holding pointed sticks aloft. The chaps then completed an amphibious landing on the farm opposite, where several pro forma-bovines made of papier-mache were neutralised using only corkscrews. This was followed by the troops engaging in cold water weapon maintenance in the stream along the north border of the territory, and a fast yomp through the forest back up the hill for a well deserved spanking. I am very proud of the chaps and we feel ready to take on any threats, especially anything coming from across the border." NB: General Von Gazebach doubles as Tautalstan's Chief Midwife (licensed for all species), Abortionist and Veterinarian.
(Picture: the King during an unofficial State Visit to the capital of Molvania, where a pig was slaughtered in honour of the Monarch. Note that there are villages in Molvania where the pigs are so fresh, that even though the pig is already dead for an hour, it takes up to 5 grown men to subdue and slaughter it properly. Some of these pigs are known to glow in the dark.)
Tautalstan is the only country in the world where red or white wine of higher quality estates in France, Italy and Spain is accepted as legal tender. The value of this currency corresponds to the retail price of the bottle in question. As a result, Tautalstan is the only country in the world, which has a currency which can be exchanged pretty much in any good off-licence or supermarket in the world. Small change can also be kept in the form of good quality schnapps or eau de vie, and the majority of Tautalstan's inhabitants carry around small silver flasks for minor purchases.
Government of Tautalstan
The Government of Tautalstan consists of a Ministry of Interior Decoration, a Ministry of Gardening & Barbecuing, a Ministry of Culinairy Affairs, a Ministry of the Navy & Sea Angling, a Ministry of Foreign Intelligence, a Ministry of Intelligent Conversation, a Ministry of Random Administrative Procedures, a Ministry of Fiscal Fashion (aka Window Dressing), a Ministry of Monetary and Oenological Affairs, a Ministry of Rodent Affairs, a Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace, a Ministry of Cultural Affairs, and, finally, a (usually small and dormant, owing to its relative un-importance) Ministry of Non-Tautalstanian (Foreign) Affairs. Unfortunately, owing to the lack of permanent inhabitants in Tautalstan, the ministerial posts are regularly vacant. In fact, they are vacant most of the time. However, it is quite common that visitors and neighbours who come to Tautalstan are suddenly and without too much protocol appointed to be temporary ministers, of pretty much any field for which there happens to be a need at that particular time.
Also, under the principle of Tautalitarianism, every creature can hold down any job in the kingdom. Apart from their rodent elimination tasks (see below), the cats surrounding the main house have, for example, typically run most branches of the civil service. They take to the various roles easily as they usually involve a lot of lying around in the sun, being generally intransigent, yet begging almost constantly for more food. (Picture below: Tautalstan's Public Sector Union holds a plenary meeting to debate the question of whether to ask for more food or less work, or both.)
(Picture: Crown-Prince Felix I of Tautalstan, here aged approximately 5 days, pictured on the Ceremonial Golden Fleece Comforter, draped on the Royal Couch at the Royal Tautalstanian Embassy in London. The surprised, even startled, look on his face can be explained by the fact that he has just realised to his dismay that his daily menu will not consist of a McDonalds Happy Meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but rather solely of small amounts of luke warm milk.
Note the pillows are from House of Fraser's polyester filled range, while the Golden Fleece Comforter, the all-white sleepsuit and the muslin cloth are all from John Lewis's newborn collection. All these items can be ordered online and delivered to your front door for less than the cost of your average weekly shopping. To make this all a bit less mundane, and to generate some much needed hard currency, the Royal Family is in advanced talks with major fashion brands to launch a line of highly overpriced baby goods, to be showcased in official and unofficial content involving Prince Felix. This label is expected to go on sale some time in 2026 under the name "TautalStyle".)
In response to the Tautalstanian government's response to the response from the Royal Committee to the Covid pandemic, a pressure group headed by Ms V. (Vesper) Aspic (pictured right while sunbathing on a boundary wall in Tautalstan) has attempted to not release the population and keep lockdown in place forever.
"We live under a rock and never cause anyone any trouble. But why can't everyone, except the mice, just do the same thing: live under a rock? In general, we think it is wrong for the Government to allow any species to die. It's their responsibility to keep us alive and if they fail, then it's racist."
Apart from her activism against dying in general, Ms Aspic and her (more down to earth) partner Mr S. (Salomon) Snake (pictured right, below his partner) are representatives of Rainbow Snakes, the pressure group for transgender & homosexual serpents. They feel that transgender rights acquired by humans should also apply to other species. Ms Aspic transitioned to a female snake after nibbling on some forest mushrooms a few weeks ago and then met Mr Snake, who had just transitioned from being a female to being an "adder without an udder", as he likes to joke, with a split tongue-in-cheek. However, after transitioning and going to the male bathroom for the first time ("a relief like never before"), he found he had homosexual feelings for other male snakes. To cut to the chase, he fell in love with Ms Aspic, who, while she has been feeling 100% girl-snake for over a week now, still had to go into the male bathroom, and who had not actually "chopped it all off" yet, so to speak.
"He is gorgeous.." sighs Mr Snake. "She! I am a she! Gosh, my scales are ruffling from anger when I hear this. I want the law to change so I can go into the girl's bathroom to do my scales, do my fangs just like all other girls do. And I want to go to a snake spa for a nice skin change, with some bites and bubbles, with my girlfriends. Who are you to tell me otherwise? Why does life have to be so complicated?", sighs Ms Aspic.
The couple has since reconciled, and they have decided to live together, under a stone.
In fact, they decided to adopt an existing baby, partially to avoid having to go through the trouble of having to make a brand new one. And in order not be seen as specie-ist they opted for a baby mouse.