April 21, 2018

The King of the flat land west of the hills was small and weak. He spoke so softly that the royal lip reader was more important than the prime minister or the Queen. Owing to the facts that neither the prime minister nor the Queen possessed patience enough to learn lip reading and they both hated the arrogant lip reader with a passion, the pair of them conspired often about what to do about the King’s lack of backbone and audibility.

“We’ve tried everything. Everything does not work, and so we will have to try something else,” said the Queen.

“Well said, Your Majesty,” replied the prime minister. “What do you suggest?”

“I suggest that you hie into the ravine of gloom, find a witch, bribe her, and return with whatever it is that you return with,” said the Queen.

The prime minister obeyed. When he returned, smiling weakly and clothes in tatters, he offered a small ruby to the Queen, saying, “This is a deep ruby blush. It activates when you place it on the King’s left eyelid when he is asleep.”

After the prime minister was carried off to recover somewhere else, the Queen hurried to the bedchamber where the King most often napped between naps. She placed the ruby on his left eyelid and stood back. The room was of a sudden drenched in gorgeous ruby gloom. The King awoke.

HELLO, SWEETHEART! GREAT WEATHER WE ARE HAVING, WHAT?” said the King, and he leaped from bed, punched the wall, and, laughing a high cackle, danced from the room.

And that is how the weak King became strong and loud, and how the Queen undertook a permanent solo world tour, and how the prime minister went to live quietly alone in a mud hut.

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