Bed (Lit à la Polonaise)
Most people today take beds for granted, but they were once thought of as luxury items. In ancient Egypt, pharaohs slept on jewel-encrusted beds of ebony and gold, while regular people snoozed on the ground with wooden "pillows" for comfort. Ancient Persian nomads dozed on goatskins filled with water—an early version of the waterbed.

During the 1700s, beds were covered with expensive fabrics and trims and became status symbols for European aristocrats and royals. Louis XIV, the famous French king, reportedly owned 413 of them. King Louis commonly received visitors in his bedroom. There was a rail separating his bed from guests, and it was considered an honor to watch the king as he woke up or nodded off.

But even the most expensive beds harbored common nuisances: bedbugs and fleas. The phrase "sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite" referred to the insects that lived in mattresses.


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