Monday, October 25, 2010

Faery Tale

Wolff sits on the hill crest and he looks far into the distance, before the sea's edge and where the brooding buildings hide. The relationships are simple. Why has nobody bothered to understand them? When Wolff was Sir Wolff, he was bound not to discuss them, because he was a gentleman.

But now that they have told him he is no longer entitled to be called 'Sir', is he still a gentleman? Must he still keep their secrets and their horrors? Wolff is afraid that he too might brood, like a hen. It would be a sad fate for a knight.

So he begins, talking to himself as he counts on his fingers. He tells the story of the ladies and their dreams, and he talks even as his fingers twitch, trying not to be part of the story.

"Once upon a time, there was a mad king who had several daughters."

The distant thunder crashes, as if to evoke Lear, who had three, or Macbeth, who had none. There are so many kings, so many varnishings and tarnishings. Wolff resumes.

"And he had three stepsisters, each by a different father."

He remembers. One was lenient, and she was kind to all. One he nicknamed 'Lady Macbeth', but it was only a nickname. And the last one looked after the household expenses.

"He got it into his head to be king forever, or perhaps a high priest after the line of Melchizedek."

Wolff is unsure, here. Somehow, the story is coming out a little mixed in its antecedents. But he continues, and his fingers tingle.

"His four daughters were called Teach-Me-Not, Touch-Me-Not, Boots, and Beets. Obviously, the first two had been named by one of his stepsisters, and the other two by another stepsister. Or maybe, that is just the way they were."

Wolff remembers. It was all very funny, very amusing, and yet very tragic.

"The king was afraid of one stepsister, but she closed both eyes and he was reassured. He was scornful of the other, but that one opened both eyes and was safe. And the third worked at the back of the castle, and was not troubled by anything."

He looks at his fingers. They are cringing. Perhaps he should not continue. After all, it is a rare story and a dark one. Like most dark tales of the faery, the King in the High Castle is also the King under the Old Hill. The faery are not good people, but little people with sharp knives and sharper tongues. And the King of the Faery was the worst of them all until his inevitable downfall.


It was a long time ago that the Rhymer told Wolff the old stories. Wolff had been Sir Wolff back then, and he tried very hard not to believe them. But the day came when he knew they had to be true.


Note: The fictional adventures of Sir Wolff do provide much that is of interest. You can find them linked here. Just ignore the one about earwax. That was an accident.

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