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Read most recent stories and your ownDumb Patron Questions
Patron Comments Participant come-backs
What's under your Kilt? "Ultimate dumb patron come-back story"

Dumb patron comments

"Interesting" comments you've overheard the visiting public make.
Though we are Canadian we were working in Northern Florida. I was doing games demonstrations while my partner was doing toys. Each of us had about 30 kids. The following conversation took place with me while I was preparing to demonstrate "Tug of War" with a large rope.
Q. "What did people use ropes for in those days?"
A. To pull your car out of the mud.
R. No, another guess?
A. To pull your truck out of the mud.
Q. No remember this is the old times, when they used horses! What would they use a rope for?
A. Oh I know!!! :-) . To use your horse to pull your truck out of the mud!
Hairy bits
I am a 10c norman re-inactor from Kent in England. As a fair (!) young maiden in reality , I for authenticity's sake portray a strapping young lad on the battle field (as we all know women didn't fight in them days). As an experament to try and become more manly I purchased a realistic false moustache and proceeded to wear said article to a large event. The moustache had mixed reactions , from very good to howls of merriment. I was proud of my bid to become a fine young man , until a small child staring at me fixidly as I walked passed said loudly to his dad "did women have moustaches in them days?" At this point I gave up on the moustache and blamed my strange lumpy bits on to much beer and not enough exercise!
Hudh deVere
Runner-up was the man who, seeing me at a 16th century event asked me about how armies were recruited. I explained briefly about feudalism, and about the fact that if your Lord called you to war, you went, and that you would very probably go quite gladly, as you would see it as your duty to kill your Lords' (and Kings') enemies. His reply will stay with me to my dying day. "Oh no" he said "that can't be right. You see people who lived in the 16th century were in fact pacifists who lived in a much more tolerant age".
Alan, U.K.
Our kids are both "Voo babies", and the summer after the birth of the eldest we were at an event. He was asleep in the shade of our tent on a quilt, while I sat near him and worked on some sewing. People walking by were commenting on how I'd gone to the extent of putting a doll out dressed up...and jumped ten feet when he woke and began crying. "Oh, I didn't think it was real!" Er, he's real. Want to check his diaper?
1995, Michigan Ren Fest. Showed a patron a knife with an dark wooden handle, and naming the wood as ebony. Loud drunk response: "REALLY? I thought ebony was always WHITE?" made most of the people within 15 feet gasp in amazement. Yeah, and Ebony is a magazine aimed at white people, was all I could think. Smiled and waited for later to tell the story over a beer; only to find a neighbor had overheard the exclamation. Fellow particpants and participatrons in the know dropped by all day to see the famous black ebony handle, since we all *know* ebony is always white.
While volunteering at The Stone House,(a field hospital on the Manassas NBP), I was breaking-in a new-be. It was a slow day, so he got very excited when a tour bus pulled up. As the whole group piled into the house, David began to tell them everything he knew about the American Civil War. The tactics, medicine, uniforms, weapons, and he ended his 45 min. lesson on the inner workings of the 1860 model Colt revolver. It was at this point that one of the Japanese tours turned to her husband and said,"OOOHHH, John Wayne, Bang-a Bang-a!". Then, the whole group echoed back,"John Wayne, Bang-a Bang-a!". David stood there frozen as they filed out. The Bus Driver told me outside as they left, "Its O.K., their Korean translator gave-up at Gettysburg!". That has been 15 years ago and I still joke him about that to this day.
Paul B.,Va.
Our 10th C Norman group put on a little re-enactment event - 10 knights and a tent - for a charity event for the local Girl Guides (ages 7-10 years) in Ramsgate, UK.

Among the usual questions you get we had to simplify our answers for the audience.
Q."What's them made of?" pointing at leather shoes. A."Leather"
Q."What's leather made out of?"

The most mind-blowing surreal moment straight after that when one of the Guides pointed out our stainless steel swords and declared: "Them's not real swords - they're made of metal!"
I blame the teachers. Sir Simon, UK

The Royal School of Needlework is located in Hampton Court Palace. The first part of the building was constructed by Cardinal Woolsey (Canselor to Henry VIII), later William and Mary put up an extention. During the Goldembroidery course which I took ther, one of the teachers told me that she finds it rather amusing to walk through the palace following American visitors. Like those two ladies of which the first commented, that she couldn't understand why they constructed this palace right under a flightpath (a number of flights going to Heathrow pass over Hampton Court).
Johan T.
This didn't happen to me, but I was told about it. A Viking Living History group was doing a demo in West Virginia. They'd set up their Viking A-frame tents and had various sheep skins, including some black sheep skins, lying about. A woman walkes up with her little daughter. "Look at the tipis, honey! And the buffalo skins!"
The reenactor kindly explains that they are portraying Vikings from the 10th century in Scandiavia. These are Viking Tents. That is a black sheep skin.
The lady tells her daughter: "Did you hear that, honey? They're black sheep skins. But *we* call them Buffalo skins."
Fetal Buffalo skins, maybe?

Three stories, all from Texas demos:
I do nature dye demos at public events. It never fails that someone -- almost always a man -- peers into a simmering pot filled with leaves or roots and says, "Hey, is that lunch? (chuckle, snort, snigger)" My answer is "Well, it's been fermenting 3 months but if you want a taste, go right ahead!"
Then there's the religious types who can't get over the image of sorcery over big iron kettles. Couple walks up and blames their kid for this one: "Sonny here thinks you're a witch." Do they think I'd admit it? So I turn to Sonny and say "Zap, you're a frog." Sonny looks down to check (duh!) and I then explain in words of one syllable that my 'spell' didn't work because I am a dyer not a witch. Also, that Sonny's parents will be happy to explain that stereotypes are not always true, right? Parents have deer-in-headlights stare. And also that just because people are different doesn't mean they are evil, right? Parents nod in unison and walk off, Sonny still checking to see if any part of him has become amphibian.
Potter nearby was throwing pots on a kick-wheel when this old duck asks him what he's using to make the pot with. Potter says it's clay. Old guy hollers to his wife, "Hye, Mildred! C'over here and look at this guy making dishes outta dirt!" Bjo T., CA
I work as a re-enactor/interpretor at Sutter's Fort in Sacramento, CA. All the interpreters wear ca. 1840s clothing to reflect the site's active period (1839-1848). Several years ago, under a previous interpretive plan, there was an exhibit of dresses from the 1850s-1870s on site. It has been gone for at least 15 years, removed because it did not reflect the Fort's active period.
I was sitting in Sutter's office, wearing my full 1840s women's kit, work wear as would have been typical at the fort, when a woman entered with her grandaughter. The woman asked me what had happened to the dress exhibit. I informed her that it had been removed since it was not in keeping with the current interpretive plan of showing the fort during Sutter's period. She turned up her nose and huffed, pointing to her grandaughter, "Well, it's too bad that she can't see the clothes of the period!"
Teri P. ,CA
I was demonstrating the use of a butter churn at the 2001 Koh-Koh-Mah and David Foster Living History school day, when one of the students asked "Why don't you just use a mixer? It would be a lot quicker!"
Kyle, IN
I was working my fiorst year of RPFS (pleasure faire south) and I was hawking for a booth. This family walks up to me and is staring at me all interested. I then go into this spiel about my booth and how they have to try our wonderful game, all in accent of coarse. The husband the looks to the wife and says in a thick drawl "Mildred, they sure do talk funny 'round here, don't they?"
I fell over laughing.
Willow, CA
MN Ren Fest 2001; I and my other half (who was in full kilt) were walking past Starfire Swords. Now I've heard some weird patron comments in my time, but this one takes the cake. A family of four (Mom, Dad and two teenage kids) were walking out of a London Broil show and mom asked where they should go next. She pulled out the handy map and said "Well, Surefire Swords is just over there" We tried desperately not to break character and managed to not laugh. The kids just shook their heads. When we told the staff at Starfire, they found it quite amusing. I remember wondering, how many shots does a sword have? And how do you reload?
Lady Cairistiona, MN
I was working in a candle and inscense booth at the OH ren faire one year and on one of the first days this lady comes into the booth and starts smelling the different inscense. She picks up the Frankinscence and Myrrh stick, smells it, recoils, makes a nasty face and says to me, "The baby Jesus must have hated them for bringing him this sh*t!"
Carolyn, OH
A few minutes after we finished a cooking demo, this father appeared with his son in tow. He demanded to know who did the demo cause they lied to his son. Apparently we were incorrect when we told him milk comes from a cow. Because, "Everyone knows milk doesn't come from a cow, it comes from the store."
"Perplexed," VA
I portray a mid-colonial Frenchwoman. Dressed in high french fashions one day at an encampment a mother and small child came near the camp. She began to engage my in some very good questions, ignoring the fact that the young son was eager to continue and was pulling on his mother to go. Since he was at the level of my full 15 decade rosary hanging down the side of my skirt, he decided to pull on it and try to move me along with his mom. He finally looked at what was in his hand (the ebonized wooded cross with a figure depicting Jesus. Over his head was the INRI and under his feet were the symbol of a "violent death" (i,e, a skull and crossed bones) and then moved over to pull much harder and faster on the skirt of his mother, to try and get her attention. When she finally acknowledged his tugging he said "Look, Mom, Jesus was a pirate!"
Diana S, IN
Hey mister, Your dogs' on fire!
I am a living history re-enactor for a museum in Dallas TX called Old City Park. One of the privilages I have is the fact that I can bring my dog with me to work each day. Tip is a mix between of German sheperd and an Austrailian sheperd. Since the day I got him he has been very timid and tries to hide from the public whenever possible. The first few months I started at the museum my dog would hide inside the fireplace while I gave my talk. It was both cool, being August, and it was behind me, putting me between him and the school kids. As the first few months roll by and we begain to get into winter, (Dallas does have them), it was time to start using the fireplace. On the second we had two school groups of about 60 kids each. The fire had already been going for about an hour now and I had my back to it while sitting at a table. Tip had been sitting at my feet which is were he had decided is the best place when people aren't around. The first group showed up and we got them all into the room. As I am speaking of what I am doing and the room I am in, one boy started waving his hand looked as though he had an important question he just had to ask. I politely asked him to keep his question for just a few moments, and that I would get back to him. With a look of sheer disapointment he put his hand down which lasted for only a few seconds when he stood up and blerted out, " He mister! Your dogs' on fire!!!" I turned to look towards the fire and Tip had placed himself as close to his old spot in the fire place as he could but just far enough to not be "in" the fire. He was sitting there with his usual look of, "Hurry and get these kids out dad" on his face but showed no awareness that his hair was smoldering on his back. The smell of burnt hair permiated the room seconds after the boy got my attention to what was happening. I instantly picked up my pitcher of water and dumped the entire thing on the dog. Tip, with this expression of " What did I do now???" on his face, ran out the room and into the breezeway where I caught up to him and noted that only his hair had been singed, but no further dammage was seen. To this day two years later I still here people under their breath or in the office with new personel say the ever lasting words of, " Hey mister! Your dog's on fire".
E. Rausch, TX.
"Hey, your plastic turkey is melting..." -A patron pointing to the bird we were roasting on the spit for our dinner.
"I wonder if that's real hay?" - patron at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival looking at the hay used to cover up the mud puddles on site.
Amazed patron encounters the real thing
At Deer River MN (The White Oak Society Rendezvous) in 1999, there was no camp behind ours, so our living area in back effectively had frontage on the other camp road. A patron with his female companion came walking by and upon seeing a water bucket, stopped, dipped his hand in it, stared at the drips, and declared, "Yup, it's real." His companion nodded her head profoundly.
- Larry H.
At KRF (King Richard's Fair) one season (4-5 years ago) I had a patron ask me if we all flew in from England each week or if we stayed here during the faire! Now really, my accent is not that good. I tried, while staying in character, to get her to understand that this is all pretend, and we have real jobs during the week but she just didn't get it. A little while later I hear her telling other patrons how we all come from England just to do the shows! And we fly back and forth to our jobs!
And they think we're nuts for wearing a costume.
Did that really hurt??
Once at a demo we were putting on one of our fighters (minimum armour barbarian type) caught a tip shot straight on his exposed manly nipple. As the poor guy was writhing on the ground an observor trying to impress a friend was heard to say, "don't worry, He's just acting like it hurt, they don't really hit each other..."
Another from the UK...
At a recent UK show, we had some Brownies and young Guides clustering round, asking all sorts of questions - "Are you real......then?" - and so on. When one of the little darlings got round to the inevitable "Is that a real sword?" we obligingly held out the [BLUNT!] blade for her to feel. "It's not real," she said, "it's only made of metal!"
We were too stunned to find out what she had expected before she ran off!
Purse Holders
The parents of a friend of my wife own a septic service and rent out portalets. they happened to attend an event where their upscale privies were in use. One of the other event goers upon finding that they owned the privies commented on how nice it was that their privies had a sink and soap (urinal and mint) in it, after she had washed her hands in the privie.
-G. Maxwell

My favorite tale comes from the MD RenFest. An actor brought her mom to the fair and at some point mom had to use the porta-potty. Upon emerging, she remarked on how nice they were, adding that they even have a purse holder! (It's a urinal, Mom!!!!)

Elizabethan Bloods
I play one of the Queen's Guards. We dress alike. Red doublets or mandillians, black venetians or red slops. Pretty consistent look. We also tend to go out in groups. Recently, at Northern Ca Faire (Nut Tree), a patron pointed to a group of us and told his kid, "Look son, they're a street gang!"
-Yeoman Joshua Foxe
Rental Socks
Driving back from the Feast of the Hunter's Moon, we stopped for a quick meal at a Denny's in "Whocareswhere" Indianna. As we were paying for our meal a boy of about 12 years old walked up to me, eyed my outfit from top to bottom, and asked "Are y'all going to the rental socks fair?
Clan MacHiavelli?
Four of us descended randomly on a public gahering, still dressed from faire. Two of us were dressed as generic Scots: great kilts, feathers, claymores, etc., etc. The two women that were with us were in Elizabethan nobles. A woman approached us, looked us -all- over, and offered forth the question - are you guys supposed to be -Italians?
125th aniv., July 1988. Several touristees, (a term from the late 1970's) were going hog wild with a stellar collection of cannon cameras -every size shape model imaginable, this family of four had 'em. All the live long day we were hounded by this same 4 person litter. The event had about 8000 participants but why they elected to follow us around EVERYWHERE is beyond me. Whatever we were doing, whereever we went, hell, once we even went into town to "do the visitor center" lo' and behold, who greeted us at the door. One of our pards had had enough. He whipped out his pocket instamatic (remember those?) crawled onto the hood of their station wagon and took about 3 rolls of pictures of this terror sticken family thru the windshield of the car. he just kept re-loading and re-loading. A park service constable finally pulled him off the hood and sent us on our way. he was drooling like a madman, laughing hysterically, 'click-click-click' with lines of spittal seeping out of the corner of his mouth. the rest of us were beginning to get a little 'disturbed'.
Same event, later when it was over we went for a park walk-about' overheard a visitor say, (a woman of course) how nice for all the units to have markers so they knew just where they were to be for the battle. To suppose that the monuments predated the battle to indicate troop positions! man with woman shook his head and muttered something about getting kentucky fried chicken for lunch.
Heard at Marietta Mansion
At the Marching Through Time event at Marietta Mansion
The Jacobite group was on the parade ground for their demo when a group of young Black kids came running up. One of them said, "Hey, are those the no-underwear people?"
I have a sutlery at which I sell repro portrait miniatures among other things. One of the pictures is of the beauteous Venetia Stanley wearing an EXTREMELY low-cut gown. A young woman was looking at it and said to me, "Gee, even Britney Spears doesn't show that much."
-J. Nickerson
A few years ago my now husband and I were helping man a booth at the 'Book and the Cook' food and beverage fair in Philadelphia. We were to pass out beer samples for the Tun Tavern Brewery, the original which dates back to 1683 in Philly. Our reenactment group is the Admiral's Regt., the precursor of the British Marines which was formed in 1664 and disbanded in 1689. The regimental coat is dark yellow/gold with red breeches (which are still Marine colors to this day). The best way to get to the 'Book and the Cook' show, held in the convention center, is by bus. So here we are in full Restoration rig on the bus. A woman and her two children sat in the seat in front of us. The small boy kept trying to get his mother's attention and was saying, "Mom, there's pirates back there I tell you, real pirates!"
-J. Malestein The Admiral's Regt.
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