Arthur Thought, the holy spirit of the staircase, is the god of perfect ripostes that you think of approximately 5 minutes too late. He was the youngest of the seven offspring of Catatonica – The Celtic Goddess of Speechlessness. He was born a full century after his youngest sibling.
The temples of Arthur Thought always take the form of a small original building which has been extended multiple times with a complex of additional lean-tos. It seems that as soon as one extension is finished, they find that their numbers of followers have grown, so that they need to start planning yet another. This gives his temples a very distinctive, slightly drunken, look.
Being a god of staircases, there are a plethora of them installed in his temples. None of these staircases actually go anywhere, but are beautifully designed and decorated as meditation spaces. They are known as the “Flights of Fancy”. If you tour the temple you will see the acolytes, each sat on their own step, deep in contemplation about what they would’ve, could’ve, should’ve said. Practising “Thoughtians” will also sit of the Flights of Fancy to plan what they will say in upcoming potentially difficult social encounters. To the outside observer, this may seem like a fruitless endeavour, as these meetings will almost never play out as one imagines.
Should you attend a ritual at the temple, you may find the homily or sermon from the priest or priestess a little unusual. At this point of the rite the presiding member of the clergy will stand before the massed, expectant faithful and make silent gaping fish motions with their mouth for a few minutes. Then they will make a high pitched whine and run from the altar, in tears, with their robes over their head. Don’t worry, this is a traditional part of the proceedings, and their fellow priests are standing by to stop them from burying themselves under a rock. The Thoughtian priesthood are renowned for practicing a rare form of martial art where one beats oneself up. This is said to so confuse and terrify one’s attacker that they end up leaving you alone. The High Priest or Priestess is the one who can descend the fewest steps before thinking of a cutting come back when insulted at the top of the stairs (and are therefore literally the highest of the clergy).
The church of Arthur Thought publishes a popular almanac which retro-predicts what you should have said last year. It also reports barely believable, miraculous cases where “La mot juste” came to someone at exactly the right time, against all the odds. If you visit the home of a devout follower, you will find they have several editions of “The Thoughtian Times” on their bookshelves. They will also often be found listening to the excellent album by the gothic band “The Way of All Flesh” called “Espirit d’Escallier”, which they consider to be a sacred musical work.
Arthur Thought has many equivalent avatars in different cultures around the world. Known as Æfterwitt to the Saxons, Treppenwitz to the ancient Germanic tribes, Retractus to the Ancient Romans and Metametis to the Ancient Greeks. Which only goes to show that the phenomenon he embodies is universal to the human condition.
I am sure that I will recall loads more hilarious facts about this deity approximately five minutes after I have sent this to press.
Thank you to a new Hive Mind member, Alan Boyce, for suggesting Arthur Thought. Welcome to the club!
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