So it was that the King died, bringing the Queen to grief, overworking the jester, who perished in his poverty-stricken wife’s arms, leading her to work as a servant for a most malicious baron, bringing her to the brink of death with her infant son in her hands.
That infant son grew up in the baron’s household, despised and enslaved. He knew nothing of his mother or the events leading up to her death. That is, until one day.
“Your mother died when you were but three moons old, ye know?” one of the man-servants said to him.
“Actually, no, I didn’t know that,” he replied.
“Well do go on, please.”
“Why should I?” the man-servant spat.
“Because I asked nicely!”
“Fine, fine, fine.”
The man-servant recounted the tale to the boy in full, leaving out not as much as a single detail.
The boy’s face was scrunched up in anger. “And how did the King die?”
“The King, oh, I haven’t a clue.”
“Try to remember while I go kill the baron.”
“Okay.” The man-servant took a deep breath and put on a thinking face. He looked up suddenly and shouted, “Kill the baron!”
“Why, yes. He led to the death of my mother. I really must kill him.”
“Very well. At least let me help.”
“The more the merrier.”
The boy and the man-servant went out to the shed of the estate. They withdraw two iron sickles.
“How exactly do you plan to kill him?” asked the man-servant.
“We have sickles, don’t we?”
“You haven’t a plan then?”
The man-servant reverted to his thinking face as he walked through the vast yard. “I have it!”
“Do go on, please.”
“Why should I?”
The boy flicked his sickle in front of the man-servant’s throat. “Because I’ll kill you too if you don’t tell me!”
“No need to get hasty,” said the manservant as he pushed away the sickle’s handle, frowning. “We must first re-enter the manor. Next, we shall go into the entry chamber and coo loudly like birds.”
“What type of birds?”
“Whichever kind you like.”
The boy smiled.
“Anyway, this will certainly lead to the baron coming down to see why there are birds in his home. I will conceal my sickle and recite some long anecdote on the spot, during which you must get behind him and chop off his head. I’ll make sure that he’s dead.”
The boy stopped walking, his mouth hanging open. “Brilliant!” he screeched, raising both fists, almost hacking off the man-servants head by mistake.
“Woah! You’re killing the baron, not me.”
The large oak door of the manor opened into a large marble room leading into a large entry hall.
“I always wonder why this house is so very small,” remarked the man-servant.
“I thought I was the only one.”
“Well, we had best get to cooing.”
Lovely sounds crashed through the hall as they got to their cooing. A loud thump overshadowed them.
“Why are there birds in my house?” the baron shouted in a deep, annoying, overly-regal voice.
The man-servant stepped up to him and said, “In a little hallow in Silver Creek there lies a tree. On that tree are many branches. On one of those branches there is a nest, the prettiest nest that you ever did see.”
“Ooo, and does that nest have birdies in it?” asked the baron childishly.
“Don’t rush me.”
“Sorry, sorry, please go on.”
So it was that the man-servant asked the baron, “Why should I?” and the baron lost his head as he scrambled for an appropriate reply. The man-servant gave the baron an extra hack to the chest and dropped his sickle with a clatter, raising both fists for a wicked double fist-bump.
They lived happily for the next several minutes. Then they died.