Canting Arms

The canting arms of Sir Willowsby bore a willow tree, and he was heartily sick of it.

Ever since his birth he'd been surrounded with nothing but willows, willows, and more willows. He had even been beaten with a willow switch when he'd misbehaved.

This was why he was in London, to face the King of Arms and request a new grant. He'd been waiting to see said personage for over an hour now, and while he realized that he was only a knight from a minor holding and not a particularly lofty visitor, he was starting to have second thoughts. But then he closed his eyes and saw once more before him the hated willow, and shuddered. No, he had to go through with this.

"Ah, yes, sorry to keep you waiting," the King of Arms said as he bustled into the room. He was a portly little balding man, but he exuded an air of affable authority. "Now then, Sir...Willowsby, is it? You have applied for a grant to change your arms. Is that correct?"

Sir Willowsby's throat was dry from waiting without refreshment, and he had to swallow before replying. "It is, m'lord." He was suddenly uncertain of the proper form of address.

The King of Arms chuckled. "Oh, no need for excess formality. I am nothing more than a knight myself. I may be of the Garter, but I well recall asking for my first set of arms. I was a second son, you see, and had no desire to bear anything related to the arms of my father. But that's a long story, and you've been waiting somewhat longer than I'd planned. But the Prince will not be put off when he wishes his latest court favourite given a canton for some supposed service. Would you like some wine?"

Sir Willowsby nodded, beginning to feel more comfortable with the chatty man. "What should I call you, then?" he asked as his host fetched a decanter of wine.

"Well, my title is Sir Evanston, but call me Horace. Everybody does. Now. About your arms. Azure, three willows in fess proper. What in particular troubles you about them?"

"The willows, Sir...Horace. I can't bear them any longer."

"Yes, canting arms can get a bit wearing after a while, I suppose. Well then, what did you have in mind for a replacement?"

Sir Willowsby gathered his courage, then said, "Oak trees."

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