The Spoiled and Disagreeable Young Man

Once there was a very spoiled, disagreeable, young man who had inherited a vast kingdom, wealth, and great privilege when his father died. This young prince had promised to marry a woman of the King’s choosing as a condition of the inheritance. Paintings of the women were sent and upon receipt the promise was sorely regretted. Her face could win a beauty contest, but only against the rest of her. Of course every young groom has prewedding jitters, but the new King had opted to drink spoiled milk upon her arrival. Death would have been a mercy. However, serious illness that would keep them separated for several days would have to settle as a small consolation. Unexpectantly, one afternoon, as he sat sulking and watching his death milk curdle in the sun, trumpets sounded the bride-to-be’s early arrival. As the new King watched her plumpness roll out of the carriage, he regretted having left his bacteria milkshake sitting on the balcony.

Her enormous haunches rolled. Perhaps she was a woman, no one could be certain. Clouds rolled over the sun out of mercy. Our new King, who was a bastard in every sense of the word, refused to even greet her and returned to the house. Scuttling servants rushed her belongings into the house. She was left alone in the entranceway of her new life.

As the months rolled by, the King lived up to his youthful reputation by raping peasant girls, murdering citizens to cover it up. He encored with the performance of other varied yet equally heinous acts of social terrorism. Yet a surprising thing happened. The new Queen began to win over the servants, the royal court, and her subjects. She was electric. Once a person had been won over, her appearance faded away. She was right behind the King at every turn building up what he tore down. Many people visited her daily to complain and beg her to do something about the King problem. Several people offered to assassinate him and forfeit their freedom and lives in doing so. She would handle this herself. Once she had become the sole despot, no one would question her actions. She began scheming.

On the fateful night, she crouched behind a blood red tapestry. His shadowed figure entered the bedchamber in a candlelight outline. She prepared. He rustled out of his clothes and slide into the ice-cold sheets leaving his bare chest exposed. It was now or never. She sucked up one last breath of air. A rushing of tapestry, like blood floating in midair, the knife came down and he caught it. He was too strong for her. The candle seemed to flicker a little when her head slammed against the cutting stonewall. The knife was easily twisted from her grasp and poised to tear her throat.
He stopped. Time seemed to stop. The room was filled with nothing, only darkened silence. The candle had swished out in the struggle. Peace replaced the previously twisted face of the King. Everything became clear to him. Regret weeping was the only sound in the fife for a moment. The candle reignited. Tinkling and light flashes, the knife skidded across the floor.
He turned his face to her.

“Will you grant me one wish although I deserve nothing?”

She nodded.

“I wish to be granted three sons. One son will govern each of the furthest reaches of my kingdom.”

She recoiled, but nodded.

The King’s one wish came to be. The boys were named Kinelm, Myson, and Root. Years passed. He raised them well.
The past could not be outrun. When the boys were almost men, a war broke out. The cause was the King’s previous abuses. One son, Kinelm, volunteered. He hastily left to lead an army against the foreigners. Years passed. No one heard from the army. It was assumed they had been lost. Army after army was sent. Finally, after thirty years, a new peace was established. Kinelm was sorely missed. A monument was erected in his honor. A separate, smaller monument was erected for the army that had been lost under his command.

The Queen held her status among the citizens. The King’s popularity grew daily. Everything was coming up daisies or so it seemed. The King had become proud of his good deeds. He was puffed up. So many people had gained admiration for him that he believed he could not make a mistake. He was a perfect man and King, but it was his perfection that made him flawed.
The King went out of town often to use his previously obtained skill for cheating at cards to win money for charity. No one seemed to mind since the money was for a good cause. One day, while the King was away, the Queen went out riding in her carriage. She knew better than to speed along the bumping outlying roads, but did it anyway. She picked up speed on a long straight stretch then planned to catch air as the carriage whipped around an especially sharp corner. The plan was going perfectly until she heard the thud. Her heart filled her throat as she pulled it over to the side of the road. Thick blood and tufts of hair coated the wheels. The dead heap lay a few hundred feet back. Intestines trailed behind it like a twisting tail. The deed could not be doubted. She had done it. Panic squeezed her breath. Only by ordering one foot to fall in front of the other could she bear to approach the heap. She could not return to the fife until nightfall otherwise the evidence would be seen. For three hours, the two companions sat in the road, in the sweltering heat, and ever-growing stink of her guilt, until the summer sun finally, mercifully sank below the horizon.

Her sons, Root and Myson, had become concerned when she did not return at her usual time, and met her at the gate. Their love and concern for a mother had sealed their fate. The trio carried the body to the outermost part of the town and dumped it there.

The King returned to a house of guilty silence although he suspected nothing. One month rolled into another. The summer passed into winter, which in turn passed into summer again. One humid morning in June, a buzzing crowd of excitement entered the courtyard. Ragged, dirty, soldiers were moving across the countryside. There could be no mistake; they carried the kingdoms flag, the lost army had returned. Pulled behind a number of men, a cart was bearing a body, shrouded in thin burlap. The makeshift hearse wheels groaned complaint under their heavy burden as it was pulled into the castle courtyard. Teary, gushing crowds gathered. The King was summoned. Under the blazing sun, the shroud was pulled back decay had eaten away his looks, but it was Kinelm. The soldiers had served with him during their thirty-year odyssey. They knew the face of the man they had fought beside for so long. He left to return home a year ahead of the army. When the army had approached the town, they had found him shrouded and hidden in a cave-make shift grave. How could this fate befall a great general? The army had returned ready to fight or receive an explanation. The King was broken. With his face turned up towards heaven, into the blazing sun, whose daylight nothing could hide from, he swore to God that Kinelm would be revenged. The Queen had not recognized her own son the afternoon she had killed him. The fates must have laughed as they twisted and spun on that day.

The Queen dropped to her knees in front of the King. Confessions were made. She begged for the lives of her remaining sons. Her professing mattered little. The promise had been made. He was the Great King. His word was truth. All three swung that very afternoon. The King wept as he watched his dead future swing in the sweet summer air.

That evening the King stood at his balcony railing for a long silent time and watched the sun set on his kingdom, then he jumped.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 + = ten