My Fool is a Crock
My fool, Mandol, is a crock.
It was the day of my coronation as King of all the lands of the southeast and things were not going well. Word had spread fast that I had poisoned my father in order to assume the throne. This was true, however, I had also stuck twenty arrows in him, had him dragged behind a chariot, tossed of a cliff, and paraded through the village square, however, the town criers were only talking about the poisoning. The full extent of my ruthlessness was not being recognized and I was upset. Add to that some awful concoction from the kitchen which had my stomach in disagreement with me.
I called for my manservant. "Brandl!"
The little man came running over. "Yes, your majesty?"
"Make a note," the butler promptly pulled a roll of parchment from his robes followed by quill and inkwell."
"Make note of what, your majesty?"
"Have the cooks stoned for making me so ill," I said lifting a grape from a large fruit tray and dropping it into my mouth.
"Also, tell my ladies in waiting that they will have to wait a little longer than usual because I am not feeling too well and it takes a while for the 'little general' to respond."
He jotted this down dutifully.
I could hear sniggering to my left. Apparently one of the guards could not appreciate the fact that his king was having man problems.
"Kill him," I yelled. "Painfully." A devious smile spread slowly across my face. I made the butler wait while I enjoyed the sounds of murder and bloodshed.
Suddenly my head began to pound.
"Is there something wrong, your majesty?" Brandl asked.
"All this stress is just too much for me to take right now," I answered. "Planning festivities, receiving gifts from lesser rulers and watching the systematic slaughter of my enemies is tearing me apart." I looked up, waiting for a soothing word.
"Not to mention having to work so hard to kill your own father," Brandl answered.
"Ah, yes," I said. "How could I forget? The things one must do to become king these days. Why I still remember dear old Grandfather telling me how all he had to do was break his father's legs before he could assume the throne. Why did tower prisons have to go the way of the rapier? Now it's all broadswords and cold-blooded murder. God forbid what Junior will have to do to me."
"I understand, your majesty," Brandl answered.
"I knew you would," I replied.
Just then a servant boy ran in and whispered to the manservant some piece of information I could not hear. "Ah, your highness," Brandl said. "It is time for you to be received by the people!"
"Is everyone here?" I asked. "I do not like being disturbed only to find out that not everyone has arrived."
"We've counted three times, your majesty," Brandl answered.
"Very well," I said. I got up slowly.
"Remember: move daintily, highness," Brandl said.
"Oh pish posh," I exclaimed. "Who came up with such a foolish thing!"
"Your fathe,r sir," Brandl answered.
"I see. Have his body brought back to the castle. I want to kick it. How dare he impose all these rules!"
"Sir," Brandl said. "You are King now. You can change the rules."
I stopped walking and rubbed my chin, "Change that rule. I will no longer walk daintily! I'm glad I thought to change the rule! A grand idea, wouldn't you say, Brandl?"
"A testament to your genius, highness," he replied.
"I knew you would think so!"
I strolled out to my waiting public.
Later that evening after the festivities had died down and everyone was settling in to sleep. I decided I wanted entertainment. "Send in the fool!" I bellowed, startling the royal court.
"Sir," Brandl answered, wiping the sleep from his eyes. "You ran over all of the jesters in your chariot this morning."
I could feel myself going red in the face. "You mean to tell me that there are no fools in this kingdom to entertain me!"
"Well, highness," Brandl mumbled.
Just then the heavy doors burst open and in stumbled a jester, a fool if there ever was one. He had obviously been into the wine for he was teetering from side to side. When he spoke his speech was slurred.
"I am heeeerre, highness!" He yelled.
The entire court froze. I had taken the opportunity granted by my public reception to properly inform my subjects of my abject cruelness. So naturally, everyone feared that this jester had only a short time before I ordered him dead. For some reason, I felt compelled to allow him to entertain me.
"Well, entertain fool," I bellowed. I had been practicing my kingly voice and was pleased with the way it bounced effortlessly off of the walls.
He began to juggle three multicolored balls. Impressive given his state of intoxication, however, I wanted something unique. "No no no!" I yelled. "Do something unique".
He seemed lost in thought. The faces around the court were still ashen white with dread.
"Weeelll, mah-jesty!" He screeched. "I can walk through walls".
I pondered this ridiculous claim. "Lets see then."
He ran down the red carpet a ways and then got a good running start and crashed headlong into the stone. Rather than go through he actually bounced back a bit.
"See? Easy as a king's daughter," he exclaimed. Everyone gasped.
I could only shake my head at the Princess's lack of discretion. I would have to have a talk with her then have her fed to the lions.
In order to continue pleasing he took off running and continued bouncing off the walls. The sickening "THWACK", of flesh and bone meeting cold stone filled the royal hall. Eventually he began to leave blood on the walls and floor as he ran.
Suddenly, I felt a warm feeling in my stomach. Slowly but surely a belly laugh rose out of the depths of my being.