In September, the co-authorship credit goes to the Scottish Campbell clan. It is derived from the traditional wool “tartan” used to make kilts.
It was specifically the Campbells who in the 16th century started wearing knee-high socks with a pattern that matched their kilt.
However, the situation may have turned out completely differently if it had not been for one minor trip-up. In the late 1200’s, the peaceful reign of Alexander III allowed for the gradual economic and cultural blending between Scottish and English aristocracy. When later, in 1286, he impatiently rushed to visit his young wife in order to rectify their lack of throne-eligible offspring, his faithful steed tripped on a cliff above the Pettycur bay.
The fallout, no pun intended, was harsh not only on the monarch. Disputes about the new vacancy on the Scottish throne were ruthlessly abused by Edward I, King of England. He earned the nickname “Hammer of the Scots” after igniting the first, thirty-two-year-long war for independence. The second war came shortly thereafter, wreaking havoc for the next twenty-five years.
Who knows what Scotland would look like today if it had not spent half of the 14th century entangled in brutal wars. For sure, we would have never heard of William “Braveheart” Wallace, a knight with an ax and the killer expression of Mel Gibson. Perhaps we would have seen a gradual “Englishification” of Scottish aristocracy to such an extent that the Campbells would no longer wear their traditional garment. And this month’s sock would never be born.
We can only speculate. Even Alexander III of Scotland himself would agree that something can always trip you up.
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