I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Here’s the story so far.
Enjoy the latest fairy tale:
The Man with Less than No Friends
(Containing the inexplicable story of Minister Azriel Jones.)
On the first day of his reign, King John the Cute came to Minister Azriel Jones’s room in the palace. “Tell me your story,” the king said.
Minister Azriel Jones, King Charming the Fourth’s Minister of Celebrations and now King John the Cute’s Minister of Celebrations, explained his situation, “I am a man with no friends. In fact, I am a man with minus four friends.”
“Minus four?” King John the Cute did not understand.
“Yes. Negative four friends.”
“I do not know what that means,” King John the Cute said. And so Minister Azriel Jones told his tale.
During childhood, Minister Azriel Jones began, I had many friends. But I was always fearful that my friends would leave me. I began to convince myself how one friend was talking about me behind his back, how another friend was telling lies about me, and so on.
Whenever I became convinced the story I had told myself was true, I confronted the friend and would not stop asking questions. At a certain point, my friends would always have enough of my questions and suspicions and stop being my friends. I would then always belatedly realize that the friend had no intentions to stop being my friend until I questioned him as if he was criminal.
But at the time I could not stop myself from behaving this way.
Friend after friend, I developed suspicions. Friend after friend, I approached and questioned. Friend after friend left me because of my behavior. And yet I could not stop myself.
By the time I had become a grown man, I had been left with no friends at all.
“This I understand,” King John the Cute said. “But how could you have less than zero friends?”
“Ah,” Minister Azriel Jones said. “That is because I began to see a psychologist.”
The psychologist explained, Minister Azriel Jones continued his tale, that the road to healing is a process, and that I must begin this process until it is finished. The process will take years, the psychologist explained. During those years, people will approach me and become my friends. But the process would not yet be done, and so I will lose those friends as I have all other friends in the past.
In the psychologist’s estimation I will lose four friends until this process is complete. Then and only then will I be able to keep real friends.
“And so you see,” Minister Azriel Jones told King John the Cute, “I now need to gain four friends to have zero friends. This means that I have minus four friends. I must lose four friends, even though I have none, before I have a real friend.”
“I will be your real friend,” King John the Cute offered.
“Then I will lose you. It is part of the process.”
“The process will eventually end. I will be your friend now, and I will be your friend after. I can wait.”
Minister Azriel Jones found it hard to believe his king, but he desperately wanted to.
“Thank you,” he bowed to his king.
The king smiled and returned to his chamber, to study the Fairy Tale Tree.
This has been the inexplicable story of Minister Azriel Jones, a man who had less than no friends.
(To be continued on Sunday…) Do you like the stories? Share with your friends.