The story we were told was of wicked plotters wanting to overthrow the King of England, a godly man who gave us the King James version of the Bible. The Ladybird book, surprisingly, paints the King as a tyrant, some of whose subjects, persecuted, wanted to overthrow. The truth? Somewhere in between. The plotters were indiscriminate in who they killed along with the King in blowing up Parliament; they were more like terrorists.
But the King was no wise man. The influence of his views - and book - on witches was baneful: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live, says the Bible translation of the KJV. James became obsessed with the threat posed by witches and wrote the Daemonologie in 1597.
In Scotland, the Statutes of Iona were enacted in 1609, which required clan chiefs to: send their heirs to Lowland Scotland to be educated in English-speaking Protestant schools; provide support for Protestant ministers to Highland parishes; outlaw bards; and regularly report to Edinburgh to answer for their actions. So began a process "specifically aimed at the extirpation of the Gaelic language, the destruction of its traditional culture and the suppression of its bearers."
Meanwhile, the word "tyrant" vanishes in translation. The KJV translators remove the words "tyrant,” “tyrants,” and “tyranny” from the text of the English Bible, and James promotes the divine right of Kings. In 1597–98, James wrote The True Law of Free Monarchies and Basilikon Doron (Royal Gift), in which he argues a theological basis for monarchy. In the True Law, he sets out the divine right of kings, explaining that kings are higher beings than other men for Biblical reasons!
The Fifth of November, and bonfire night:
And fireworks explode in glorious sight!
But who remembers now just why?
The story often told was half truth and lie,
And painted Guy Fawkes an evil man.
Of that ancient wicked Catholic clan,
And James I as such a goodly King:
You can almost hear the choirs sing!
But James was on witches very mad,
And his policy on witchcraft really bad;
A believer in the divine kingly rule,
Sharp, cunning, and not much a fool,
But a good man? More a tyrant he!
Kings are higher beings! Bend the knee!
Such was his wisdom, if you call it such,
I think his reputation is over rated much.
And Bible Translation, it is strange to see,
The word tyrant removed, That’s the key,
To understand why the plotters came
To blow him up, to great acclaim;
But foolish men, and Guy Fawkes caught,
And so their crimes just came to naught;
And over time, the story went away:
Penny for the Guy, the children say,
Not knowing his story, just that it is fun:
And when all is truly said and done:
Fireworks, bonfires, and the Guy alight,
More an ancient fire festival so bright;
So leave hatred behind, let history fly,
And brightly coloured be the sky!