In the realm of “odd jobs,” we find that some jobs were not just odd, some were downright cruel. I know that some of the Egyptian slaves were covered in honey, so the flies bothered them and not Pharoah. Of course, that was not really an occupation, because they were slaves. I’m sure there were a number of other things slaves were subjected to that were equally as cruel, and they just had no say in the matter.

In the world of monarchies of the past, while people weren’t slaves, there were a number of odd occupations. I simply can’t imagine choosing the occupation of “whipping boy.” Apparently, it was thought, in times past, that while princes needed discipline, and the discipline of choice in the past was spanking, one should never spank a prince. So, when a prince needed discipline for fracturing the rules, instead of the naughty royal, there was a “whipping boy,” who had the unfortunate job of stepping up to receive the punishment for the prince.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I was going to have that job, I would want to be well compensated, because I’m not real fond of spankings, and since the prince wasn’t getting the spanking, who knows how hard the spanking was. I suppose it was dependent on what rule was broken, but since I wouldn’t have broken said rule, I wouldn’t be really happy about any punishment. To make matters worse, what if the prince simply enjoyed seeing the whipping boy get spanked? Some princes, have a tendency to feel entitled, and might enjoy watching someone get punished for something the prince did. It’s really not a position anyone wants to find themselves in…especially if they weren’t given any choice in the matter.

The whipping boy had the advantage of being educated alongside the prince, so I suppose that was one good thing. The boys most likely became friends, so the whipping boy could hope that seeing a friend punished would provide an equivalent motivation for the prince not to repeat the offence. Whipping was a common punishment administered by tutors in early to modern Europe. This was not a highly documented occupation, and some princes were indeed whipped by their tutors, although some people suggest that nobles might have been beaten less often than other pupils. Some historians don’t even believe that such an occupation existed either. Others believe that if it does exist, the use of a whipping boy was only applied only in the case of a boy king, protected by divine right, and not to mere princes. Whatever the case may be, I don’t think “whipping boy” would be an occupation I would want to have, nor would I want it for my child.

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