| Grab a hard hat!
This page or section is currently under construction, which could be anything from expansion to a major renovation! The information contained within it should not be considered fully accurate until this tag has been removed.
to listen to Willow Island's theme!
|Democratic Republic of Willow Island
Isola di Salice
|Motto: Anything within reason is possible!|
|Anthem: Once upon a time
Royal anthem: Anything is possible!
|Monarchy's (admittedly macho) family insignia
|Largest city||Pinglomo (20,000 residents)|
|Official languages||Italian, English.|
|Recognised regional languages||Italian, English, German, Czech, Dutch|
|Government||Consitutional monarchy with Parliamentary democracy and a Welfare state|
|-||King||Alberto Marino IV|
|-||Queen||Isabella Marino XV|
|-||Prime Minister||Jonathan Outaplaice|
|Uncolonised||Mostly inhabited by Willowish penguins|
|-||Foundation of Willow Island||470 A.D.|
|-||2018 census||390,000 (approx.)|
|No DST yet revealed|
|Drives on the||Left|
Democratic Republic of Willow Island, commonly shortened to just Willow Island and known in Italian as Isola di Salice, is an island located on the outskirts of the Ninja Archipelago, and situated on the invisible borders of the Yowien Sea - in short, it is sovereign and is in no particular place. Over 42,210 square kilometres and 13,500 residents, it is known for being a fairly mountainous island, with a warm climate. It has four seasons, along with extended heatwaves, autumn monsoons, blizzards, and a sudden ripening of all fruit in the spring.
The attitude of the inhabitants is generally stereotyped as being extremely stubborn and resilient. Not only is this very true, this is not their only common personality trait. In the females, they are also tough, are not subject to bursting into tears or fainting every few days, a sense of fairness and can usually snap back if they are taunted - verbally or physically. In the males, they are also calm, polite, and insistent - if they know that it isn't expedient (unless, of course, they were an outcast of society).
The island's chief exports are timber, workmen, and caramels, though the monarchy also get their money from the mass agriculture, and exporting the highest-quality toilet rolls in the world to richer countries. The multi-million-coin businessman Cornstarch391 is usually the controller of this assorted market, along with the Willowian honey, costumes and other useful things, which helps in improving Willow Island's fragile economy. In fact, he's usually tasked as being the one to improve the sad state of their exchange rates, along with Samuel Smoothie, the penguin who introduced their Welfare State.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Culture
- 4 Climate
- 5 Economics
- 6 Politics
- 7 Monarchy
- 8 National Symbols
- 9 Basic Laws
- 10 Education
- 11 Army
- 12 Transport
- 13 Technology
- 14 Statistics
- 15 Famous Penguins
- 16 Foreign Relations
- 17 Trivia
- 18 See Also
This is only a selection of Willow Island's most important events. For the full history, go here.
Prehistory & Civilisation
Long ago, Willow Island did not look like it did now.
With a flourishing penguin society, what little technology penguins knew then was shockingly advanced. Sadly for them, random rising water levels caused by nearby melting icebergs submerged most of the land, killing half the population outright. This caused the original inhabitants to flee for a better life.
Nothing happened for a hundred years, when, at the estimated year of 470 A.D. a random bunch of Ligurians got lost in a storm. They sailed for a long time to the east, and found a mysterious habitable island. They docked there; the captain got an idea, and declared it the sovereign nation of Willow Island. The penguins proceeded to build huts at the shores, and over time, the penguins, especially the chicks, got acquainted with the island, and decided to live there.
More penguins arrived in their boats to permanently live there, or got to learn of it, and soon, the Ligurian government got to know about them too and signed a document making the island a subsidiary of Liguria, but they kept it a secret, just in case some other power tried to conquer the island off them.
This is what the mythology of Willow Island declares - with a few modern facts inserted - and most of it is likely to be true. For instance, there is proof that Ligurian sailors did start a civilization here.
(Now two states, Isabella is now unwillingly warring against Ferdinand)
"Battle of the Four Weirdos"
(Francterran sailors discover the island; a bunch of random Ligurian, Puffish and Alemanian opportunists arrive and have a fight)
(Treated inhabitants like chicks but they built sanitations systems, etc.)
|“||In this land, you're going to get squares, colonisers, and weirdos. I'm a weirdo.||”|
— Sergeant Goosebumps
(Orphan and rejected officer Sergeant Goosebumps is a turncoat)
(Nearly) Coup d'Ètat
(The government/capitalist bosses/whatever has been having a great time underpaying the citizens)
2008 Civil War
(Somehow nobody guessed that the citizens wouldn't like that idea..."Down with AI!")
Willow Island has quite a few provinces/counties.
- Pinglomo - - a sad, rich yet poor area, filled with anomie, businessmen and overall alienation; its official name is "Pinglomo Epic Province", but to its inhabitants, the capital city's county is not as epic as it makes out to be. Created on a steppe during the years when Paraffinta was only just beginning, it was at first a prosperous county, but as the years passed, the monarchy, who lived - and still do - in a luxurious county nearby with plenty of greenery and hills, started neglecting the quality of the capital's province, causing it to fall into disrepair. In 2010, when an influx of scrubs cause some of the suburbs to be chipped off for their own Province, things seemed to lighten up for their gloomy mayor, but the funds to improve the entire area failed due to insufficient support, making it the poor wreck it still is today.
- Province of Salice - - created in 2010 from the sad, broken fragments of Omolgnip and a few chunks from Pinglomo, this is a special province for the scrubs to live freely. An eighth the size of Pinglomo, it's located on the same steppe, and has a small port of largely Czech-speaking inhabitants named "Sczypuna" (pronounced szee-poona), next to the city Omolgnip (see below). This province was created because the monarchy took pity on an unusually large influx of them arriving on boats, but the Province isn't too popular because everybody else thinks it's stupid. Curiously enough, despite its predecessor, it's quite rich, glamorous, vaguely pretty and is suited for the adventurous youngsters.
Naturally, melonheads hate it.
- Omolgnip (created 2008; destroyed 2008) - despite the unoriginal name, Omolgnip was created next door to Pinglomo Epic Province, to become "the next big amazing county!". However, it was revealed to soon become the AI paradise, entirely run by high-energy, cheap robots (funded by the monarchy's never-ending supply of gold). As a result, uring the civil war, it was ambushed and the businessmen already living there, who were allegedly preparing for the robots, were forced to evacuate, causing it to be demolished and destroyed completely halfway through the war. Nobody was bothered to fix it for two whole years, causing it to be chosen for the "perfect place" where the Province of Salice could be made. Despite this, there is still a city called "Omolgnip". Male tourists, especially boys, love to go here because it looks like it's in the middle of a war. As a result, nobody's ever bothered to demolish it - a win-win situation.
These are amongst the most famous cities of the island, which are, more often than not, pictured on large-scale maps of the country.
- Salicea - located on the east of Willow Island, it is very close to the coast, but is only famous for having marvelous forestry and amazing food. This may be because this is where all the Ligurians who decide to emigrate to the island all want to stay.
- Sczypuna - located in the Province of Salice. A port city, the majority of the Czech-speaking minorities live here. Not to mention the "cool" eccentrics.
Originally, it was quite poor, because nobody realized the potential for fishing. As a result, the inhabitants moved to other places, making it the island's few ghost cities. Decades later, a random bunch of artistic, Czech-speaking migrators arrived, and they were immediately attracted to the area, due to the deserted city's antiquated and thus Bohemian air, and they all rushed to move here, becoming the island's first dandy/epicurean/etc.-dominated city in the process.
A few years later, a bright spark thought that rather than relying on being tailors, they may do better as fishermen. He tried it out himself, and he got rich quick. Everybody thought that this would be a fine idea, and the daring youngsters, young-at-heart, etc. - in short, more or less everybody else - joined him. Very soon, it became a very prosperous port city. When the Province of Salice was created and they got swallowed up into it, they didn't really mind - a change of scene would be good for them, their Mayor proclaimed.
- Woodwinder - located on the north-west of the island. It is where the first Puffish colonisers arrived, and where the first Alemanian regiment was defeated. Rather than keeping the original Alemanian name (now unknown), they changed it to the name of the general leading the troops - Woodwinder. Today, it is where most academies devoted to studying the era of being colonized are located.
- Neue Boorlin - located on the north by north-east of the island.
The Alemanians here overpowered the best of Francterran forces; the latter then tried to summon Ligurian help by bribing their representatives/armies with mountains of coins, but the Ligurians, fearing that they may betray them/bleed them dry and confident that they would eventually win, declined the offer - instead siding with the Alemanians. Sadly for them, the latter, completely misunderstanding the situation, conquered both sides' regiments easily, and established their first Alemania-dominated city instead. It became a hotspot for training new soldiers, but when the Puffish conquered them, many fled via here. Turncoats and the most harmless of the settlers were allowed to stay, but the Puffish kept a close eye on them. Since Sergeant Goosebumps became a turncoat himself and liberated the country, Neue Boorlin more or less became shunned. As nobody cared for them, they gradually became poorer, and, as the poorest Willowians were sent here, more and more penguins began speaking Italian rather than German (today, only 2-4% of the population here speak German).
Flash forward to 2008, and the fervent supporters of the Civil War were located here. After the war was done, the revolutionaries, grateful for their support, gave them generous donations, and, using the money as a starting point, they slowly built the city's economy. Now, it is a fairly well-off city, due to their making top-quality clothes here.
Biomes & Nature
Willow Island has at least three distinct biomes.
The largest biome to behold is the Steppe. This is centred in the island, where the majority of the most famous historical events happened/places/landmarks are, such as the Treaty of Woodman-Goosebumps, Pinglomo Epic Province (see above), and the Mystic Tree of Lady Anne. It is easy to recognize where and when this biome begins - there is always slow but steady blasts of cold winds, and it becomes increasingly common to see the shepherds, massive fields, and so on. The monarchy live in the warmest part of this biome, and so do the headquarters of Cornstarch391 and Samuel Smoothie's economics campaign. The fact that it can get brutally cold here may be a reason why the inhabitants are so tough, but the mountains encircling the steppes may be another factor.
The second biome is the Temperate Forest. As expected, it's warmer than the steppes and Willow Island's most famous forests are here. This is where most foreigners decide to settle in, as it isn't half as difficult to survive than on the steppes. As a result, they have many, many museums, theatres, and amusement parks; many unemployed young penguins decide to emigrate here, due to its massive demand for jobs. Almost all the airports are built here. In short, it's where many promising companies and/or millionaires decide to fund/build things. Some of the most ancient, surviving cities are located here.
The third biome is the Warm Moist Forest. This is where Willowian civilization began, so it's taken with respect. It is an unofficial law amongst companies that tourists, before going here, have to promise to their tourguides that they won't touch anything out-of-bounds, but this is slowly being discarded. There is a large fisherman-community here, and this is where they get many of their imports. It also has a booming shipping industry. Because many of Willow Island's most famous penguins have been brought up here, many of the prettiest houses have been snatched up by ambitious families, meaning that rent is high.
Willow Island is quite famous for its lush forests, which are to be found almost everywhere businessmen haven't bothered to go to.
With an estimated 200 forests, the island is one of the most densely-populated yet floral island on record.
(I like languages! :D)
(Onomatopoeic slang dialect originated in Pinglomo)
(What did you expect?)
The island has, unusually, a specific area in the arts-and-crafts that they have always been good at: bell-making.
Nobody is sure why on earth they are good at making bells, but, all the same, they are proud of it.
The first Bell Foundry was built on Mount Deconamia, at the start of the twelfth century. The alleged reason was that a bunch of wandering vagabond Candvians were loitering on the hills to find some stray sheep in order to sell their wool, but, as things did not go to plan, they literally stumbled upon a huge, empty house which had fallen into severe disrepair. The most artistic and dexterous of the gang got an idea to start making bells (which they could sell to the shepherds cheaply anyway), and, as they were bored with seeing the same Ligurian bells imported over and over again, the others agreed. They got a huge hunk of molten steel from somewhere, and made Willow Island's first bell. They ran back down the hill, sold it to the first shepherd they saw for a good price, and returned, to make some more bells. Thus was the Willowian culture of making bells born.
It just so happens that Willowian literature isn't that famous in the world, but the few authors which are vaguely known worldwide are generally regarded to be quite unique.
Willowian Music can be quite varied, but the basic idea of the music is firmly rooted.
Their anthem and royal anthem is, fairly embarrassingly, Mozart's "A Musical Joke".
It is embarrassing, because anybody well-versed in music knows that he wrote it to tease his contemporaries.
As a result, this annoys fans of other composers, and causes agony to classical musicians, worldwide. To the point that it was crowned the "world's worst anthem, ever".
So, how did this unfortunate oversight happen?
Well, there are two theories set by a group of respectable historians.
The first is that one day, as a colonel was wandering back home one day, he heard, from some villager's house, some nice violin music being played. Enchanted, he entered, and asked for the name of the composition and the composer. This pauper, however, was woefully poorly-informed in his classical music lessons, too, and instead he stated that it was by some fellow called "Hegwarg Welgare", and it was the orchestra version of "The Lark Ascending". Pleased, the colonel took the sheet music, honoured the pauper with one of his medals, and sent it to the new government for consideration. Sadly, they too were badly-informed with their classical music, and decided that the so-called "Lark Ascending" would make a good anthem. It has not been changed ever since.
The second is that, as Sergeant Goosebumps inspected some captured Puffish soldiers to judge who should be went home and who should be kept as a mercenary force, he saw a former member of the navy. This was a good friend of his, so he shook hands with him, and set him free. He knew how wise his friend was (excusing him for the dreadful mistake of remaining in the Puffish navy), so he asked him a question that was on his mind for some time: what their new anthem would be. Unfortunately, his sailor friend was bad at music too, and, after some ho-humming and deliberating, he tried hard to think of a dramatic composition.
He suggested the "William Tell Overture" first, but Goosebumps rejected it, on the true premise that it was "dreadfully overused". Then he suggested the "Tannhauser Overture", but he too dismissed it, under the mistaken impression that somebody else already had it theirs. This went on for a very long time, and all the nice, acceptable pieces - like Fauré's "Theme for 'Listening with Mother'" and Bach's "Air" - were rejected for various reasons. Then, at the peak of his despair, he remembered "A Musical Joke", and he began humming the first few bars. Goosebumps was immediately interested, and he somehow got the sheet music; after ordering his orchestra to play the first five minutes, he immediately declared it to be the anthem. As his friend never told him the name, he never found out how embarrassing his choice was.
(Including blacksmiths, etc.)
The Willowians LOVE clothes. This is probably an inherited aspect from their Ligurian ancestors, who are also fashion maniacs. In fact, the Willowians love fashion so much, the history of it is carefully recorded, in a special book, the original book itself being concealed to the general public due to fears that a
peasant citizen may steal it. The synopsis is as follows:
The fashion trend in Willow Island started soon after the arrival of the Ligurian immigrants - who established their country - when a random peasant/immigrant/whatever thought that rather than simply inheriting necessary clothes and relying on Ligurian imports, making clothes out of the natural resources already there would be a great idea. This penguin then set up a trade selling high-quality jackets made from reeds and carefully-made skirts from palm-leaves, and the idea quickly caught on, spreading like wildfire across the country. For the shopkeepers, this was especially good, as the flora and fauna there, once dry, can easily tear or get mouldy, generating quick business.
A little over a hundred years later, one bright spark thought that it would be great to spin wool/cotton from the fur of the puffles and incorporating it with the plant-based fashion. This was the end of the "flora and fauna only" fad, as it was warmer and better quality than "rubbishy old leaves", and, as the aforementioned shopkeepers rapidly shut down, curious Ligurian immigrants began the tradition of having a venerable band of tailors in every village. They, accompanied by the (already-trained) bright spark, taught penguins how to make the clothes as carefully as possible, and as time went on, new materials were invented/rediscovered/incorporated, for example, Willowian fabric.
Willowian fabric is unique to the island only, as it is a special mixture of raw puffle-fur mixed with reeds and palm-leaves (or any old fragrant plant), boiled into a soggy pulp and, once dry, spun into thread, which is then, in a classified routine, is transformed into soft, possibly fragrant fabric, which is water-proof. This has proved very useful for the fishermen, who, in the past, had extremely fragile nets which, once soaked, would tear as soon as an exceptionally large fish/crab struggled, making fish in short supply and more-or-less impossible to obtain.
This humble tradition continued for hundreds of years, when it was finally disrupted by their opening-up to the public sphere in 2012, due to mass globalization. While penguins can see top-quality clothes and traditional Willowian clothes in certain rural areas, it has slowly been destroyed by mass imports of cheap clothing.
(What did you expect?)
Willowian theatre is basically one massive joke. The famous line, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA MY CAR IS GONE", from a historical comedy/parody about the first mass war on the island, is a good example of this.
It began as a serious endeavor in the 14th century, with equally serious composers and actors, but something changed in the general mood in the 16th century.
A rather bored Willowian king named Augustus IV was tired with all the seriousness, so he thought that breaking conformity would be a fun idea. This began when he renamed himself "IIIIIIII IIII", to the fury of all his relations and citizens. He then ordered that the theatre did the opposite of what it usually did. Fortunately for him, his personal troupe were all bored too, so they wrote a comedy about two irritating penguins name "Slippious IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIV" and "Ridiculous VIIIIIIIIIIIII". This caused a total outrage, and the king was banished to sea by his brother, after a short war involving nothing else but bad chess skills.
Sadly for the new king, the theatre never returned to its original seriousness.
(The Four Seasons)
Their currency, the "twig" (ʆ), was invented back in the 17th century by the Good Queen Isabella I. The reason why she invented them was because due to an increasing population (thanks to the cultivation of good agricultural soil), their original method of simply exchanging goods for what they wanted suddenly became awry - they found that the cook eventually didn't want, say, a new pot from the blacksmith who desperately wanted some pie because (s)he already had enough pots, and the florist didn't want to exchange flowers for any more of the pots.
So, to fix the chaos, she allegedly picked up a twig, stared at it as if she was spellbound, and declared it the new currency of the island (though, amongst her family, she secretly traded with gold pieces). Word spread like wildfire (suitably), and the penguins living near or in forests quickly became rich.
When the Alemanians took control of the country, they too discovered quickly enough that twigs were the currency, but they figured out that it would be obsolete - anybody could get a windfall if they decided to visit the forest. Fortunately for them, nobody apart from those already living there had thought it up, so, via the puppet king Marcus III, they announced that the currency would change from real twigs to bits of iron with the shape "ʆ" and the value stamped on it. Fortunately for them, nobody cared less.
The Puffish thought that it was a grand idea too, and didn't change it, simply introducing paper money and changing the iron to alloy metals instead. To this day, the small, thin pieces of alloy metal and the paper money are in good circulation; even pieces from during the Occupations are still used, even if they are made from the antique Iron.
One twig was, during the aftermath of the Civil War, equated to approximately 0.10 Coins - that meant that there were ten twigs for every Coin, making it a rather destitute economy. Fortunately for them, the success of Cornstarch391 and Samuel Smoothie's capital/commerce/advertising campaigns slowly allow the exchange rates to improve. As of 2018, a Twig was upgraded to being equal to almost 0.50 Coins - a dramatic inflation when compared to a few years back. It is expected that, by 2036, the Twig will be more or less equal to a Coin, outdo the coin in 2042, and return to it being pretty much equal a few years later.
Result of Civil War
(Poor wreck of a country)
(Depends on how rich you are)
(Ridiculous name but good guy who introduced the welfare state)
(Socialist semi-communist lover of anarchists welfare state)
Willow Island's monarchy has been around since the foundation of the island, but it isn't as popular as it once was. Here are three of their most influential leaders.
The monarchy's line began, when a mysterious entity/sailor known simply as Marino was the leader of the group of random sailors who docked on the island, waaaay back in 470 A.D., and decided that not only they should live there, he should lead them too. "Anything within reason is possible", as his personal motto was. He eventually managed to build the first civilization there (e.g. huts), suppressed a chick uprising, and, despite the islanders suddenly falling sour/independent of each other, managed to keep a fairly large kingdom for himself, populated by his loyal followers. Although he died before seeing the island reuniting, he planned a mass invasion of the tyrant Molly Trifle's troublesome tribe, which was successful.
The next important member of the monarchy, ruling long after him, was a queen named Isabella. Living in the 16th-17th century, she was generally considered to be their most noble and fair leader, and was also well-liked. She invented their currency - twigs (ʆ) - due to the increasing population, and ended up unwillingly fighting a war against her distant-cousin-once-removed, Ferdinand, who didn't know this. Unlike the aforementioned, she managed to live long enough to gain victory over her distant relative, only to die a few days before the power flipped; fortunately for her legacy, the peasants, aided with her banished Candvian husband Lucius, rioted and eventually vanquished Ferdinand, and as Lucius had died by then, they put their son in power, leading the island to be reunited.
Finally, there is Sebastian V. He was the leader during the last years of Paraffinta, and survived long enough to see the 2008 Civil War turn against him, oust him from power, and put his grandson's cousin and his younger sister into power. He was a tyrant, treating his subjects horribly, and this didn't end too well for him. Thanks to the aforementioned war, he was banished into the urban jungles of Pinglomo - "Serves him right", as Jonathan Outaplaice puts it - to have a taste of his own medicine, with no help from his family. In 2017, the monarchy announced that they had cut all ties with him, as the ultimate rejection act (a few extremists were angry, but they were quickly hushed). To this day, the former king is wandering around Pinglomo, likely as a beggar in some back-alley somewhere.
(Basic history, whatever)
Interestingly enough, Willow Island has two national plants - a national tree, and a national flower. They are the willow (obviously!), and the Williowian Hydrangea.
- Willow -
- Willowian Hydrangea - generally known as the symbol of the Province of Salice, in acidic soil it is red, and in alkali soil it is light pink. The earliest-known case of the flower being recorded is in the National Fashion Book (see above), where it appears as a metal brooch on Isabella I's green dress. Botanists suspect that, as there was Candvian and Batavian political and economic interaction going on at the time, a hydrangea from either of those countries was smuggled in, where the mountainous climate and extreme amounts of acid/alkali in the soil caused it to mutate spectacularly, into four to six carnation-like bunches (per stem) of four petals each, with a star-shaped "support" underneath it. It has a sweet scent, similar to that of an orange.
It was briefly adopted as the royal family's imperial seal during Isabella I's reign because she was fond of it, but once she died, it was scrapped. It only returned into the (albeit semi-)political scene when the scrubs decided to incorporate a simplified version of it in their county's flag. Fortunately for the flower's reputation, it actually became popular, and, in 2018, it was declared a "national flower", to be kept alongside the willows in every garden owned by the Marino family.
According to the Prime Minister, Jonathan Outaplaice, these basic rules were created when the Province of Salice was opened to the scrubs in 2010, to make sure that the scrubs - some of whom were tourists - wouldn't break fundamental parts of the law. He casually states that they should not be changed until "the economic situation brightens up"; these rules are published and are distributed at every tourist/information hotspot so as many foreigners as possible know about the rules. They are the following:
- If you discover somebody smuggled in something digital, don't hesitate to call the police. Even if it's, say, some really important guy like the monarchy, don't wonder whether it's okay or not. We're totally not a dictatorship wanting to steal your information. I mean, who would?
- All full-time residents should pay their taxes to help the Welfare State.
- Only the police in Pinglomo can carry guns; everybody else need special licenses, or are at the risk of being arrested.
- Allow the PETF and the PETP to go wherever they want, freely.
- Allow the scrubs to go wherever they want, especially in the Province of Salice.
- Don't go and mess with any tailors or librarians, for classified reasons.
- Keep in mind that nobody is arrested without a trial.
- Anybody can do a "citizen's arrest".
- Don't pretend you're a policeman/woman if you're not.
AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL...
- 10. Whatever you do, please, don't feel tempted to throw rocks at Marino Castle, okay?*
* - fortunately, it is 100% fine to speak against the royal family, as long as you don't decide to start a civil war by offending His Highness Sir Toby Gravy, the Head of the Royal Palace Guards, and his constant companion, Sir Toby Gravy Junior, his hypochondriac, paranoid pet puffle. They are easily triggered, the former due to his age, and the latter due to his temperament. If you're really bad, you can even get shot on the spot and offend your entire family, as well as all the spectating democracies/tyrannies who feel like meddling with the private matters in a wretched country or two! Now, how is that?
In short: watch out, kids!
Willow Island's education is also government-run, but was only officially established during the Alemanian rule of Willow Island, during the 1800s, by opening the first schools and universities, under the generic name Weidenholz Island State University/School/Kindergarten. The Puffish did nothing to change it drastically, but simply renamed it - and the other institutions with the same name - University/School/Kindergarten of the Puffish Colony of Willow Island. Since then, it has changed its name several times over the years, but while the original schools and kindergartens have since been shut down, the university - the best in the country - is now known simply as Willow Island University.
Generally, your average Willowian chick joins kindergarten once they are five, and leave for primary school when they are seven. If the village/town is too small (as decided by the government) to have kindergarten, or if the chick in question lives in the middle of nowhere, then they are home-educated until they are sent to the nearest primary school - if they want to, however, they can freely be homeschooled until university, or even beyond. Usually, these villages/towns are in the countryside, and some studies claim that the chicks that are home-educated until primary school know 25-40% more than the city chicks, and those who are homeschooled for an extended period of time know 55-70% more than others - in short, home education is a priority for those who have the time to do so.
Once the chick joins primary school, they learn English, Italian, Literature, Geography, History, General Science, Mathematics, and Sports. Every six months, a mock test-paper scheme called the "7 Skills" (excluding Sports and one for each subject) is used, to see how well the pupils are progressing. Lasting for a total of four weeks, if somebody fails - or gets a bad score - in a certain subject, they are asked to do extra paperwork on it until they can re-take the test, and get a better score. By the time they are 13, they will be expected to be good at all 8 subjects until they can move to Secondary School. This is the suspected reason why the adults are so tough.
The chicks - by now teenagers - are expected to stay throughout Secondary School and get great grades. Here, they have the choice to start learning the basics of a few new subjects, such as German, Fashion, Cuisine, etc., in preparation for university, or to continue with the "standard" subjects. They carry on like this until they are sixteen, when, after a mass test, they get a six to seven-month break off school. Sounds great, right? It's not like it seems! Half of their time away from school is used for revising for applying for the notoriously tough University entrance exams.
Compulsory university subjects are:
- English - introduced during Puffish rule
- Italian - introduced during Puffish rule
- Literature - introduced during Alemanian rule
- Mathematics - introduced during Alemanian rule
- Science - introduced during Alemanian rule
- Geography - introduced during Alemanian rule
- History - introduced during Alemanian rule
Non-compulsory subjects are:
- Art - introduced during Puffish rule
- Architecture - introduced during Puffish rule
- German - introduced during Alemanian rule; originally a compulsory subject
- Journalism - introduced during Puffish rule (the previous journalists were all Alemanian and trained overseas)
- Chemistry - introduced during Alemanian rule
- Physics - introduced during Alemanian rule
- Biology - introduced during Alemanian rule
- Botany - introduced during Puffish rule
- Sports - introduced during Puffish rule
- Football - introduced during Puffish rule (obviously)
- Cricket - introduced during Puffish rule (obviously)
- Theatre - introduced during Puffish rule
- Tailor - introduced during Alemanian rule
- Fashion - introduced during Alemanian rule ("gotta keep the peasants happy!")
- Cuisine - introduced during Alemanian rule
Subjects which are no longer continued are:
- Propaganda studies - introduced during Puffish rule to get their own back on Alemania; discarded in 2012 as "that will toooootally upset the Alemanian tourists"
- Cooking - introduced during Alemanian rule; discarded in 2000 as "pointless"
- Puffle history - introduced during Puffish rule; discarded in 1999 as "100% chickish"
- Blacksmith studies - introduced during Puffish rule; discarded in 1984 because "apprentices are a thing"
- Pizza - introduced during Alemanian rule; discarded in 2001 as "seriously why is this here"
- Bookmaking - introduced during Alemanian rule; discarded on on April 1st 2010 by a mischievous worker as a joke, but accidentally destroyed the contract confirming it to bring the subject back; to this day, book-lovers are furious by this action
(Before you start smuggling in weapons, I'm sorry to say that guns are illegal unless you've got a general/sergeant/whatever and a licence/uniform to kill other guys with generals/sergeants/whatevers in licences/uniforms, okthxbai)
When it comes to technology as in the modern-era "digital" developments, Willow Island is still in analogue antiquity. Thanks to the 2008 Civil War, the inhabitants have successfully banned anything digital because of the mass fears sparked about AI, causing things such as smartphones and computers to be absolutely illegal. If anybody smuggles in anything related to the aforementioned, once they are caught, they will receive dire consequences, ranging from a 20,000,00-twig fine (approx. 10,000,00 coins) and a month in prison for a smartphone, and a 180,000,000-twig fine (approx. 90,000,000 coins) and a life in jail for anything directly connected to the dreaded AI.
As a result, there is no Wi-Fi. Instead, they use land-wires and telegraph poles.
Yep. They're that antique.
Not only that, the only mobile phone allowed is the 1980s-1990s "brick-shape" and/or flip-phones, which is always guaranteed by the government/monarchy to be totally not be tracking you by having some kind of "magic" (note the apostrophes) GPS-chip installed to watch your every move (We mean, who would?), and the really, really slowest form of telegraphing that penguins in any other countries ever have seen.
On the brighter side, high-quality gramophones, vinyls, jukeboxes, etc. are easily found in the market, as well as good-quality radios, clothbound books, and (shock horror, to almost everybody else) high-resolution black-and-white television, which anybody can fiddle around at the back to transform it to colour and back. Willow Island's steam-trains are generally considered to be the fastest steam-trains that still exist in the world, and fans of the beginning of the last century like to invest in their antique cars, the highest quality - and fastest - to still exist in the world.
As previously mentioned, there is 100% no Wi-Fi, rendering computers and related items pretty much useless, as well as illegal. This means that if somebody has to send, say, an important and confidential update on somebody's bank account, then they're going to have a tough time getting it across to the recipient. They shouldn't really use the phone, because for all they knew, it may be a counterfeit, and is trying to tape their every word, and hack into the poor victim's account. If they use the telegraph service, then it may have run out of ink, or it happens to be on a day when it's closed.
So, what else's better than going to the humble post office?
Willowian post offices show no sign of being discontinued, or crumbling down, as they are open for 24 hours a day, and hundreds of visitors go there every day. The Post Office is generally known amongst the community as being the best workplace that ever existed; in fact, every native Willowian citizen has been involved in the post office, one way or another. It's a government-run business (which helps its reputation, due to the Welfare State), and nobody is allowed to take complete control over it.
It has a veritable army of postmen, all of whom have been guaranteed and verified to not, in any normal circumstances, open the parcels they are delivering, or steal them. This sort of incident has only happened once, when an ex-soldier was employed by mistake, and as a result, being a postman becomes, in its own way, an extremely desirable job for recognition, and the good wages (4500 twigs per day; twice the minimum wage and can result in a fortune).
In fact, the penguins there love their post office so much, there is a Post Office Museum.
Willowian stamps are simple, cheap things - just a slip of paper saying, for example, 1 Twig - and as a result, they are, surprisingly, treated like rubbish among your average Willowian family. This is also repeated in foreign countries, rendering them pretty much worthless for their plainless. This is why that, while there is a National Post Office Museum, there is no Official Stamp Museum.
However, there are a few stamp maniacs who think that even these are worth a mention, but they are almost always pushed to the sidelines, due to their opinions conflicting to everybody else's. These penguins think that Willowian stamps are fun, due to their interesting typefaces which have developed over the years, and their minimalist design. Sadly, as inferred before, the ideas have not quite caught on.
(How many so-and-so there are)
- William Thistlebasket - a penguin generally considered by not only just Willow Island's population but almost every penguin in Antarctica as well as a weirdo, he wanders around the place with situationist maps saying meaningless sentences such as "REMEMBERANCE IS THE MEANING AND BATTLE OF WASTING TIME"; his only reason for being famous is because of his weirdness.
- Add more!
(Add relations now if you want)
- Ghostlia - Fair. For some reason, Willow Island's monarchy takes pity on this band of scrubs, and have recognized them as a legitimate country. Despite their not knowing this, their relationships are fair enough.
- United Provinces - Great. President Simon McClark established relations with Willow Island in the spring of 2019, and Willowian diplomats paid an official visit to Winsburg in May 2019; plans to construct an embassy there have since been made. Relations have been gradually improving since then, and the United Provinces supports Willow Island's territorial integrity and independence.
- Double Sicilia - Bad. Bugzy- ahem, Double Sicilia accuses Willow Island of being "a total copycat" of their country. Nobody knows why they think this, and, despite Willow Island's best efforts, nothing can smoothen their relationship.
BugzyDouble Sicilia just seems to have a mysterious grudge against them.
- This article was inspired by Sicily.