I tried to entertain the court today, but alas my antics were somewhat lacking. Luckily, The Imaginator was on hand to ensure that things didn’t go too far awry. And he did what he does best, he imaginated:
The jester completed his routine with a flourish, then sidled over to the throne, gently tapped the king with his pig’s-bladder-onna-stick, and sidled back again quickly before striking a pose and grinning eagerly.
The court held its collective breath, awaiting a response.
Some time passed.
The king, who had been staring at the floor all this time, looked up, sat up straight and adjusted his extravagant attire. He cleared his throat and smacked his lips.
“Ah, yes…very good, very droll” the king said, clapping twice very slowly. He turned his head to one side and waved away the jester with his left hand, heavy gold rings glittering. The jester bowed slightly and hurried away as the king gestured to an elderly man with a long beard and a pointy hat who was stood nearby with a look of concern on his wrinkled face.
The wizard walked briskly over to the throne and bowed. The king waited for a few moments, as always,before clearing his throat again. Then clearing it again, more loudly. The wizard, grimacing, slowly straightened up, a succession of audible clicking and cracking sounds emanating from his back as he did so. Once he had stood up and was able to look the king in the eye, the king beckoned him over so that he could speak into his ear.
“Iffengrohld” said the king,“we rather think that we need to find another solution to our little problem. We are not persuaded that being beaten about the head by our fool is helping overly much; besides, his jokes are terrible”.
“Oh, er, well, yes…” stammered the wizard. “well, erm, perhaps a herbal remedy your majesty?”
The king shook his head and waved away the idea as if shooing away a bothersome insect. “No, we think not Iffengrohld. No, we think that we have tried herbs before; they either made us too sleepy, too awake, or irritated our bowels.”
“Nn…nn..nyah…” replied the wizard, tugging at his beard thoughtfully, “perhaps then, if I might be so bold, I might suggest that his majesty may be in need of sowing his royal oats?”
The king raised his eyebrows. “Don’t you think that we’ve thought of that already man? We’ve been most proactive in that regard, we’ll have you know; pleasurable though it was, our heart simply wasn’t in it. Our food tastes bland, our wine no longer cheers us, and we tire of the machinations of the court. Iffengrohld, we are bored.”
“Mmm…yes…quite…” the wizard said, as he stroked his beard some more. “there is one thing, your majesty, something we haven’t tried yet.”
The king leant forward in his throne and stared intently at the old man. “Yes? What is it?”
“Well, it will take some time of course; a lot of travelling you see…and there will certainly be need to hire some sort of mercenaries with some quite unique skills…they’ll need to be fairly intelligent to make use of the herbs I give them to put the giant to sleep…” said the wizard, staring into the middle distance.
“Yes yes man, out with it!” the king said impatiently.
The wizard shook himself out of his reverie and turned towards the king once more; chastened. “Well your majesty, what I am suggesting is that we should obtain a plate of sunshine for you to eat. I think this will restore your spirits.”
“A plate of what?” the king asked, somewhat taken aback.
“Sunshine your majesty. Guarded by a fearsome giant in a land far away from here. He’ll need to be sedated of course, hence the mercenaries must deposit the herbs in his wine or ale at night when he will be feeling sleepy anyway. Then they can steal a few jars of sunshine and return to Mammoth Mountain.”
“Jar of sunshine? How would the giant get sunshine into a jar?”
“Oh, well he wouldn’t, your majesty. No, that would have been the elves over in the golden meadow. You see, every now and then, the giant leaves his cave and stomps all over the place and eats some of them, then he takes some of their jars of sunshine to cheer himself up. The elves give him frightful indigestion you see, but he eats them anyway. I don’t know why.”
“Elves eh? Well why don’t we just get some jars of sunshine from them then?” asked the king.
“Well, we could, but it would be very expensive. Besides, I was rather thinking that they might agree to provide regular supplies if we solve their giant problem for them. Kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.”
“Ah, yes. Capital idea Iffengrohld, capital” replied the king, reclining back into his throne and making himself comfortable. “See to it would you? Hire the best mercenaries you can find, the very best. See to it personally my good man. We expect results!”.
“Straightaway your majesty” responded the wizard, backing away from the throne and bowing profusely. “Right away”.
That crafty wizard always has a trick up his sleeve. I for one want to know what happens next even if instead of ensuring things didn’t go awry he was helping make sure they did. And while these are not continuations of this story, they are other stories, with twists and turns, that are worth a read: