The Adventures of Sir Rupert
The Unlikely Tale of How A Mouse Became A Knight
A Faerie Romance
Joseph S. Ray
Once upon a time, there lived a small mouse in a hole beneath a tree in Verde Wood. Like most mouse holes in the land of Animalis, it was a well kept dwelling. On occasion, the mouse did have to drive off invading termites wanting to bring down his tree, but other than that it was a good and peaceful life in Verde Wood. Still the mouse had one desire in his life that had never been fulfilled. He wished to see the great and legendary festival at the fortress of Draeggaer, but the hundred mile trek from Verde Wood to Draeggaer was a long one for a small mouse. The mouse was named Rupert.
One fine day in the middle of summer, Rupert found himself sitting on a small rock near his small mouse hole. In one of his paws, he held a small bit of delightful tasting cheese that he had only just purchased at the nearby market. He was wishfully thinking about the things he had heard of the festival. He knew that the merfolk would come up from the deeps to trade with the land people and to entertain them with their watery music. The voice of a mermaid was said to be one of the most beautiful sounds in all the world. It was why their wicked relatives, the sirens, could draw sailors so easily to their death. With all his heart, Rupert desired to hear those beautiful songs, but he could not make the trip in time.
Now, the mouses of Verde Wood are a strong and independent lot. They make their mouse holes far apart from each other. So it was that there were no other mice around when this next part happened. Rupert heard the sound of running feet. Looking up, he saw a beautiful and lithe woman with long golden hair that fell past her shoulders come dashing into the clearing around his home. She had the long tapered ears of one of the elves of the fairieland of Charm. Upon her brow there rested a silver diadem. Her frantic eyes quickly came to rest upon the mouse. “Help,” she said in a desperate pleading voice, “I need help, good mouse.”
Rupert looked up at her and then said, “Who are you?”
“I am Sigrid,” she replied with a bow of her head, “daughter of Arvid, King of the Elves of Charm.”
“Why do you need help?” he asked in his squeaky voice.
Before Sigrid, daughter of Arvid, could answer, thundering footsteps that caused even the trees to shake resounded throughout Verde Wood. Sigrid snatched Rupert up and began to run with all her might once more.
Trembling, Rupert looked up at the beautiful elvish princess. Twitching his nose, he asked in a somewhat put out tone of voice, “What is going on?”
Sigrid glanced down at him, and her body shuddered. “I was on my way to Draeggaer for the festival,” she said in a sweet melodious voice, “when I and my band were set upon by a mighty ogre bandit named Bok. He is now chasing me. I need your help.”
Rupert stared at the princess in utter shock. You should of course understand that this was not an unreasonable reaction. Ogres often stand about eight feet tall, and their bodies are usually made entirely of muscle. The mice of Animalis on the other hand, usually stand about a foot tall. It is quite understandable then that Rupert would find the very idea of taking on an ogre to be utterly absurd. After all, it was utterly absurd. However, he was somewhat angered at the fact that there was an ogre in his portion of Verde Wood. Summoning up his anger and his wrath, he glanced up at the princess’ fair face and asked, “How do you expect me to be able to help against an ogre of all things?”
“I don’t know,” the princess said as another shudder ran through her body. “I had heard that you mice were clever.”
Rupert though for a moment. It was quite true of course in his opinion that the mice of Verde Wood were some of the most clever beings in all the world of Somnii of which Animalis and Charm were part. He was therefore quite certain that he could win in a battle of wits against an ogre. After all, while very strong of body, ogres were not known for being very strong of mind. Then an idea came to Rupert. “Run to The Roaring River’s bridge,” he screamed.
The Roaring River was a great and mighty river that ran through Verde Wood and all the land of Animalis. The beavers and otters of Animalis were known for sailing up and down it on mighty barges to trade with all the various settlements of that majestic land. At the point where the bridge had been built, The Roaring River ran through a deep valley. The bridge went over both river and valley. Sigrid quickly nodded her head and changed her direction.
After a short run, they came at last to the great bridge that ran over the river. It was a slender piece of work designed by the elves to be strong so that it could bear the weight of the various animals that lived in Verde Wood and of the elves, who often traveled through it. Darting across the bridge, Sigrid looked down at Rupert. “What do we do?” she asked.
Rupert let out a laugh as he drew the short knife that he always wore in his belt. Quickly stepping back onto the bridge he began to make careful cuts into the boards at the center of the bridge to weaken them. He knew that the bridge could probably support the weight of an ogre since the elves, who had made it, had made it to be strong. Yet if the boards were weakened, they would not support the ogre. His work done, Rupert darted back to the other side of the bridge as the ogre came barreling out of the woods.
The ogre drew up short at the bridge. Like all his kind, he feared running water. Rupert let out a call, “You afraid, big, strong ogre? Come now, you have nearly got the elvish princess in your grasp.”
The ogre snarled, “Silence mouse.”
“Surely you aren’t afraid of a mouse?”
The ogre snarled again, “I fear nothing!”
“You’re not terrified of the water?”
The ogre snarled a third time, “Why would I fear water, little mouse?”
“If you are not afraid, then come and get us!” Rupert said in his shrill, squeaky voice.
The ogre snarled and began to come across the bridge. As he reached the midway point, the boards that Rupert had weakened gave out beneath him, and the ogre fell into the roaring waters of The Roaring River below.
Sigrid let out a scream of joy as she picked up Rupert and hugged him. After a short while, she and Rupert set forth to the festival at Draeggaer. Rupert rode upon her shoulder. When they arrived, they were greeted by her great father, King Arvid of the Elves, one of the mightiest lords in The Faerie Protectorate of Charm. Sigrid told him the story, and Arvid looked at Rupert. Then he told the mouse to kneel, and he took up his sword and dubbed him Sir Rupert of Verde Wood.
That night, Sir Rupert listened to the watery music of the merfolk and found it in truth to be quite delightful.
© 2014 Joseph Ray