Greetings!

I know I have spoken about largess briefly before, but I didn’t go into details about what it is ans who can give it.

Who can Give Largess?

Anyone can give a token of largess!

What is Largess?

Largess is defined as,

1. Liberal giving (of money or other valuables), something so given

2. Generosity of spirit or attitude.

Largess has been around for centuries. In feudal times it could have been a gift of land or freedom. It could have been a gift of a precious stone to a worthy subject, or an award of title.

Today in the SCA, largess can be anything from someone telling a volunteer, “Thank you for volunteering!” to a Crown giving a well deserved award.

I have spoken about my own experiences of giving largess myself. I usually give beaded jewelry that I have hand made. I have seen other give everything from hand made doilies to purchased strands of beads, and everything in between (including silver individually wrapped chocolate candies in a tear drop shape)!

The majority of largess I have seen has been at the Artisans Showcases at large events such as Pensic and Estrella Wars. The Peers (especially Laurels, but some Pelicans, and a few Knights) come around to each individual display and leave a token of appreciation or admiration. Largess at its best!

Some of these tokens of largess are handmade by the person bestowing them. Some are handmade by artisans who the giver has commissioned to have them specially made. Some are purchased from stores or on-site at merchant booths. Any of these are appropriate for largess.

Some largess is very special, indeed.

At Estrella in 2010, I had set up my little display area at the Artisans Showcase on Sunday. I was displaying my scribal arts as well as some of the porcelain Peerage pendants on hand beaded necklaces that I make, and some other SCA jewelry I had made from friends who had brought it out because they wanted me to display it (this is my friend who makes all my garb, and when she says she wants me to display something, I say O.K. and display it).

A lovely lady came in and looked at each and every individual display. On her preliminary way through, she had given me a little hand cast pewter pilgrims badge, about the size of a nickle. I thought it was really cool.

After she had made her way all the way around once, she doubled back and made a second pass through. On this second pass, she asked me for the token she had given me back. Now, before you get all up in arms and stop reading, I will tell you this story has an amazing ending that you don’t want to miss!

I said, “Certainly” and gave it back to her thinking she saw something “better” down the line and ran out of tokens, or something. I had a couple of other people at my display at the time, so I didn’t have time to analyze the situation at that moment.

After briefly speaking with the other people, I turned to see the lady who had asked for her token back was still there. She explained, “I took the little back because I wanted to give you “this”. She presented me with the most beautiful hand cast pewter pilgrim’s badge I had ever laid eyes on. It is about 2 1/2 inches in diameter with loads of punch work.

I said, “Oo! Thank you.” She then said, “Oh, your stuff is too cool, I have to give you the other one too.” and left the small badge as well. I think I was gobsmacked because I couldn’t say anything but “Thank you.” again. Before I could say anything else, she turned and said goodbye and was off.

Needless to say, I squirreled the big badge away for safe keeping, just under part of my display, and only showed people I knew really well when they came by and told them the story.

I told a friend of mine, Mistress Dairine, from Tir Ysgithr (Tucson, AZ), and she blanched. She said, “You don’t know what that is do you?” I said, “Obviously not.” She went on to explain that it was the winning entry from the Casting category in the Estrella Arts & Sciences Competition from the day before.

I was sitting right next to the Atenveldt Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences, and a very good friend of mine, and I asked him to confirm it. He said, and I quote, “Oh ya! I wondered why it looked so familiar!” (Insert eye roll here.)

I took one really hard gulp, freaked out a bit, and wanted to immediately fine the lady who had given it to me and appropriately gush, but I learned she had already left site to catch a plane back home.

This stranger had liked my work so much, she had given me a prize winning piece of art! This was certainly the best, most prized to me, piece of largess ever!

Later, I was able, through the magic of the internet and a couple of friends, to get her contact info and permission to e-mail her. I was able to get the back story on the piece, and learned she had planned on giving it at the Artisans Display. Her generosity so stunned me. I am forever grateful to her for such a wonderful piece of largess.

One need not be a King, nor a Peer, to give largess and to make someone’s day. If you can’t volunteer, please at least thank the volunteers you see. If you are able to give them a small token of largess, it goes a long way to make someone’s day.

Hopefully Helpful,
Hrefna