The Tale of a Fairy
The noble steed clattered up the palace steps. The brave prince hammered his sword on the carved gilt palace doors. Two flunkies wearing intricately embroidered uniforms swung open those doors granting horse and rider admission.
‘Doesn’t he know that iron horseshoes and marble floors don’t mix,’ snorted the noble steed as its hooves skidded on the polished marble floor, but not understanding horse, the gathered nobles thought it just a bad tempered beast. The steed struggled to obey its master’s command to halt without its legs splaying apart, not to save its master embarrassment but for its own protection. For a well-hung stallion such a landing would be a painful affair.
‘Hail to the king,’ said the prince once his horse managed to get its legs into a semblance of order. ‘I am the noble Prince Pomegranate of Pomegrania, fighter of foes, slayer of dragons, righter of wrongs and I come to in response to your advert in Ye Tymes wishing to plight my troth to your glorious offspring.’
‘You’re not fighting foes and slaying dragons while sitting on my back,’ neighed the noble steed while studying its own reflection in the highly polished floor. The steed then wondered how to about turn and depart without performing another embarrassing four-legged slither.
The King scratched his nose while studying the prince then leaned towards the queen.
‘I thought I told you, when I agreed to let you place that advertisement, to make it absolutely clear what we required.’
‘Never mind dear,’ replied the Queen patting his hand. ‘I’m sure that Jeremy will consider him most suitable.’
‘Oh I have no doubt that Prince Jeremy will consider him most suitable, but that is not the point. The point, my dear, is that we were meant to be advertising for a princess, a princess preferably of the feminine gender. A princess with long flowing golden hair and soft skin who wears dresses and lacy underwear, not someone wearing shining armour and waving a big sword and clearly of the masculine gender.’
‘Calm yourself my dear,’ the queen continued to pat the king’s hand. ‘You know that Jeremy likes to be called Princess Jeremy and he does have long golden hair and he does like to wear dresses and lacy underwear.’
The kind held up his hands in dismay. ‘I would rather you not mention Jeremy’s underwear in front of the servants,’ he said. ‘Only the other day I caught the royal wash maid wearing his new white lace corset, stockings and frilly knickers.’
The queen’s face grew stern.’
‘Oh yes! And pray tell how you managed to discover what the royal wash maid was wearing under her dress?’
‘Harrumph, harrumph,’ harrumphed the king. ‘Never mind that now. What do we do about the prince?’
‘This one! The one who’s horse has just defecated on my clean marble floor.’
‘It will do the roses good,’ replied the queen.
The king turned to his chamberlain.
‘Are you sure I can’t order her head chopped off,’ he whispered?
‘Yes sire. If you remember, that law was repealed by the House of Commoners.’
‘Can’t I chop their heads off then?’
‘No sire. The most severe sentence you can pass is one of community service.’
‘But that’s what members of the House of Commoners are meant to be doing isn’t it, serving the community.’
The chamberlain started to laugh. He tried to control himself, but the idea that the House of Commoners, in fact any politician, served the community was ridiculous. The more the chamberlain thought about it, the more he laughed until finally he was rolling around on the floor giggling uncontrollably.
‘What’s wrong with the chamberlain,’ asked the queen as two courtiers dragged him away?
The king waved his hand dismissively. The noble steed looked at its feet and sniffed, ‘It’s beginning to smell like a stable in here,’ he whinnied in horse, but the retainers and nobility still didn’t understand.
Prince Jeremy sat in his room in the tower spinning at his spinning wheel. It was the latest model with a computerised embroidery attachment and he was trying to mend his new lace corset. He was also wondering why it had come back from the laundry looking as if it had been torn from the body of whoever had been wearing it. Some sex mad beast, probably, he thought and what troubled him about this thought was that he couldn’t remember having had it torn from his body by any sex mad beast. The obvious conclusion was that he was loosing his memory, just as his fairy godmother had warned him.
His fairy godmother had warned what would happen should he ever get a prick in his hand. His parents interpreted this as a warning against him pricking his finger on a spinning wheel. Mummy and daddy, being the king and queen then tried to banish all spinning wheels from the land, but the National Union of Wheel Spinners and Dyers complained to the House of Commoners, which unfortunately coincided with the debacle of the king deciding he needed new clothes.
On hearing that spinning was to be banned throughout the land, a fashion designer arrived touting a range of new designer label costumes. At first the kings and queen had stated that they could only see a label, until it was explained, by the designer, that the quality of designer costumes can only be seen and appreciated by people educated and of true nobility. ‘Common peasants, the hoi polloi will see nothing more than a designer label,’ spouted the designer.
This resulted in the king and queen appearing in public wearing nothing more than a designer label a few inches square. Nor was there a small boy to shout out that the king was wearing no clothes. The king and queen, knowing the propensity for children to say embarrassing things, had long since ordered that all children should be gagged whenever they went outside their house. It is therefore fortunate that theirs is not the sunniest kingdom in the world. Due to the cold the king and queen soon decided that designer clothing was all very well, but it didn’t keep them very warm. However the king ordered designer uniforms to be made for all the younger maids, to be worn only when the queen was away.
High up in another of the castles great towers another queen, not a royal queen but a witch queen, minced in front of his magic mirror.
‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the gayest one of all.’
The mirror sighed wishing it could lie.
‘Well look at your reflection, It’s hardly perfection,
And shaving off that nine of clock shadow, might improve your complexion.’
The queen witch queen flew in rage.
‘Tell me of one who is fairer than me.’
‘Do you want the full list or just those I can see?’
‘Tell me the most gayest, I demand you to say.’
‘Prince Jeremy, Prince Jeremy, oh he’s ever so gay?’
The witch queen grew angry and started to plot, while down in the hall the noble knight’s steed passed another great plop.
The queen wondered whether that damn horse was incontinent, or not while the king mused that the tendency of such tales to lapse into rhyme was just silly.
‘This is no pantomime,’ he decreed before returning to the puzzle of who should pay for the wedding. Tradition demanded that this be the bride’s parents, which is what concerned him most about Princess Jeremy’s feminine inflection.
The witch queen plotted and planned, poisoning an apple and placing it in the prince’s fruit bowl. It is at this stage of the tale that the prince might have ended up living in the wild woods with seven dwarfs, but the politically correct House of Commoners had passed a law stating that people of short stature could no longer be forced into menial jobs such as slaving away down some old mine. This ignored the fact that miners of short stature had been quire happy working in their mine, so happy that they used to sing traditional mining songs on their way to and from work just to show how happy they were. All except Grumpy, but he was quite happy being grumpy. In fact he was so happy being grumpy that if he didn’t have anything to be grumpy about he would become really grumpy, which in turn made him happy. So Grumpy was really Happy. This led to the doctor judging he was schizophrenic and locking him up in the mental hospital, after being judged to be schizophrenic.
This lefty five dwarves living on benefit in a cottage that didn’t meet the requirements for offering bed and breakfast to any passing princess and if they had, they would have lost what benefit they had.
But the Prince didn’t eat fruit; he preferred something meaty to chew. A servant, knowing her duty to give the impression that the prince ate his five a day, of fruit, took the apple from the bowl and placed it in another, which just happened to be the bowl of the witch queen’s bowl.
Down in the royal court the king sat on his throne.
‘Well he is hansom and proud,’ said the queen. ‘Apart from his ears, they seem a bit big.’
‘Prrrrr,’ agreed his horse nodding its head.
‘And if we agree to this wedding he’ll have to dismount. Then we can get that damn horse out and clear up that growing pile of sh**.’
The king had to agree, after all, what did it matter? The prince was only following a long royal family tradition. For if truth were known and gender dressed as gender, then the king would be the queen and the queen would be the king.
‘Summon the prince,’ ordered the king, ‘tell him he is to be wed.’
And so the proclamation was made and wedding day came. The people gathered, the families Riff and the families Raff and one rare individual named Smith.
This was a poor kingdom, considered backward by many neighbouring realms due to the low IQ of the common people. To resolve this the king’s philosopher had suggested the people should be taught to read and do sums, but it was quickly pointed out that if people learned to read, then someone might decide to publish a scandalous newspaper containing derogatory and revealing articles about the nobility. It was also pointed out that if the people were taught to add two and two together, they may be able to work out just how much their regularly reduced taxes had gone up, which would soon happen again to pay for the wedding.
The king’s philosopher considered the problem. IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient, but the same letters could also stand for Idiocy Quotient. This idiocy quotient is regularly measured and judged to be one of the highest around, making the people of this land very proud and so, when the wedding day came, the people, with their high I.Q. celebrated and cheered along with the five miners of short stature, who at least now had something to do.
Unfortunately the witch queen fancied an apple before setting off to join the celebrating crowd. She took a bite and fell asleep and missed it all. And as she slept her beard started to grow, covering lips so they would never be touched by an awakening kiss.
The noble steed watched the newly married Prince Pomegranate of Pomegrania escort his new pride to the stairs thankful he now had another mount to ride, along with a discovery to make, thought the horse as he started to graze.