My epic fantasy novel, Tickling Butterflies, is being serialized with a new installment every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Here is the latest installment:
JOHN THE CUTE’S CHILDHOOD
The Birth of John the Cute
(Containing the sad story of how John the Cute was born.)
Nine months before John the Cute was born, two mysterious travelers came upon a small farmhouse outside Bambooville, a tiny town in the farthest corner of the farthest shire in the farthest land of the Land of All Legends.
The travelers were hungry and weary of what they claimed to be a week-long walk without rest. The farmers, Kate the Catty and Frank the Frank, were humble people. When they saw the distress of the travelers, they offered them their barn to sleep in and their water and food to drink and eat.
Come morning, when the farmers and the travelers breakfasted at the same table, the two strangers suddenly pointed at Kate the Catty and began to speak as one.
Years later, when Kate the Catty would recount this tale to her son, she would always quote the strangers’ words thusly:
In a land of legends torn and worn,
A special infant will be born.
At eighteen years, shrewd and wise,
To the throne the child will rise.
To save the land from danger’s strife,
He’ll pay the price with his own life.
Prince Charming’s sword will pierce his heart
Two years after his reign will start.
Before Kate the Catty and Frank the Frank found it within them to respond to the enigmatic poem, the mysterious strangers had vanished, leaving their plates clean of food.
A big argument ensued, in which Frank the Frank accused Kate the Catty of becoming pregnant with a future king on purpose. Frank the Frank, in his frank manner, told Kate the Catty the truth: He did not want his children to be royalty, he wanted them to be farmers, as his parents were and as their parents were, and so on for generations. Most of all, he did not want a son who would surely die at the age of twenty.
Kate the Catty said she did not even know she was pregnant. And even if it turned out that she was, there was no way to know if the strangers spoke truly.
But Kate the Catty, not being as frank as Frank the Frank, lied. When the seers relayed their terrible message, she realized that she truly was pregnant. This discovery made her happy. More than this, she was happier still that a child born of her and her humble heritage would grow up to be king of the Land of All Legends.
With this argument, a rift began to form between the couple. As Kate the Catty’s stomach grew during pregnancy, so did the rift between her and her dutiful husband.
On the day John the Cute was born, his father, Frank the Frank, took one look at his newborn son and fell in love. He named him, fittingly, John the Cute. But immediately afterwards, Frank the Frank became so upset that his cute son may die as the strangers foresaw, that he became enraged and left the new mother in bed to take a long walk in the woods.
Frank the Frank was so distraught that he did not look where he was going and strayed into the dangerous part of the woods.
In the woods, wolves attacked Frank the Frank and ate him.
Later, lions ate the wolves.
Later still, elephants stomped on the lions and vultures ate the lions’ carcasses.
A hunter shot the vultures, and his family ate them for dinner.
The hunter’s family died later that year of a horrible disease that wiped his village, and they were all buried in their family’s plot, on the highest spot of a hill called Burial Hill.
Years later, beautiful yellow flowers with streaks of orange, flowers the likes of which have never been seen in the Land of All Legends, grew in the ground on the highest spot of Burial Hill.
This has been the sad story of John the Cute’s birth.
(To be continued on Tuesday…)