Friday, March 3, 2023

a tale

by horace p sternwall

the queen looked out the window.

what she saw horrified her.

eventually she made her way back to the safety of the room.

a rooster crowed.

it was time for breakfast.

yolanda, her loyal maid, brought her a cup of tea and a piece of toast.

the undersecretary of war brought her a memorandum as she was slowly chewing the piece of toast.

i am afraid i bring bad news, the undersecretary , whose name was isidore and whom the queen did not care for, intoned.

leave the piece of paper on the table, please, and you may go, the queen informed him.

if it please your majesty, i would be happy to answer any questions, isodore began.

that will not be at all necessary, the queen assured him, and he departed.

the queen sipped her tea and finished her piece of toast.

doom hung over the kingdom like a great dark cloud.

there is a fine line between indifference and despair.

the kingdom had known great days.

however… you know the rest.

[[ jumpy, the jester, appeared at his regular time, as the sun rose in the sky.

the king was wheeled in a little later.

he seemed in rare good humor, and produced a letter tom the depths of his royal robe.

but the queen had no interest in anything he had to say, and told him so in no uncertain terms.

the king had expected no less, and lapsed into bemused silence.

cosmic the clown entered and punched jumpy the jester in the head.

on the border of the kingdom, the invading army is winning a great victory, jumpy announced.

but we already knew that, the king assured him.

nothing more was said.

the clown spread marmalade on the toast he had helped himself to.

the queen excused herself, and left the room.

the undersecretary of war was standing at the head of the grand staircase that led down to the courtyard.

would your majesty care to accompany me to the southern border, the undersecretary of war enquired politely.

the queen hesitated, and saw, through the glass door at the bottom of the stairs, a slender tree waving in the breeze in the courtyard.

thank you, she replied, that is very kind of you.

i am here to serve you, the undersecretary replied.

yolanda, the queen’s maid, watched as the carriage containing the undersecretary and the queen rolled away down the graveled drive and headed south.

now only yolanda, the jester, the clown ,and the king were left to greet the advancing barbarians.

yolanda turned into a white bird and flew north.

jumpy the jester turned into a blue dog and headed east.

cosmic the clown, after finishing off the toast and marmalade, turned into a turtle and began crawling west.

only the king was left to welcome the leader of the barbarians, which he did with all the courtesy and good breeding which had been taught him since his early youth.

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