Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Kingdom of Butterball: The King, the Croc and the Minotaur, Part 1

While rummaging around in some old computer files, I found some stories I wrote for my cousins about five years ago as a Christmas present. Actually, my cousins--three sisters--were the ones to imagine the characters of the stories, and the seed to begin the plot, as part of their imaginary play. I simply transcribed and elaborated on their ideas. Below is one of them. Since this story is rather long, I'll post it in a few separate blogs for easier reading. This is definitely different that what I've posted before, but I hope you all enjoy them!

The Kingdom of Butterball:

The King, the Croc and the Minotaur

Part 1

In the Days of Yore (which happened between Hither and Thither, but after Yon), there existed a small, peaceful kingdom called Butterball. It was ruled benevolently by, who else, but the King and Queen of Butterball. They lived in a glass-frosted castle perched on a hill overlooking a very green valley, where the town of Hockham lay, bordered on one side by the Gleaming River and on the other by the Perilous Forest. While there had been such events as epic battles, black magic hunts, and dragon raids in the past, no such disturbances had occurred for at least two generations. For the most part, the people went about their daily routines in peace and happiness, enjoying the niceties of life after a hard day’s work. However, that did not mean exciting things did not happen. Many of the adventures that went on were much more thrilling than dragons.

For example, one day, the King and Queen were having their usual mid-morning snack—wheat toast with butter and marmalade, and Earl Grey tea—on the sunny balcony overlooking the fountain garden below, when the Royal Page arrived, all white faced and trembling. “Announcing the Royal Jester with an urgent message for your Majesties.”

The Royal Jester entered and bowed pompously, the bells on his multicolored hat jingling merrily. When he stood straight, the King and Queen saw that his face was white too.

“Your majesties—I was just coming back from my regular morning walk, when I saw it: the Princesses Buttercup, Butterfinger and Butterfly being taken into the Perilous Forest by two huge crocodiles!”

“What?” the King was so shocked he would have dropped the teapot had he been pouring his own tea. But the Royal Servant did that instead, and immediately began to clean up her mess.

“Whatever for?” the Queen gasped.

“Why, in my grandfather’s day, we had an allegiance with the Crocs!” the King spluttered. “We aided the other when they were in trouble. They protected Hockham from the dragons when they went out pillaging after someone stupidly raided their treasure cache, and we defeated the Leviathan who decided to take up residence in their swamp without their permission. And now they’ve gone and done the opposite! This is outrageous—“

While the King continued to rage, the Queen began to give out instructions. “Royal Servant, I think we’re done with our snack, please clear it away.” The Royal Servant piled the used dishes onto the silver tray and skipped quickly away. “Royal Page, call on Sir Zap and Sir Matt, bring them here at once, tell them its urgent,” The Royal Page bowed and fled the room.

“Why call on Sir Zap and Sir Matt?” the King asked, puzzled.

“Why, to rescue our daughters of course!”

“If anyone is doing any rescuing, it will be me,” the King announced. “What sort of king would I be sending others to fight my battles for me?”

“But this concerns all of us,” the Queen reasoned.

“But the Crocs have insulted me by taking my daughters! They obviously want to pick a fight with me—“

“But dear, you’re not young anymore. It has been at least twenty years since you have fought in battle, let alone a creature like a Croc. You will hurt yourself!”

At this instant, the Royal Page arrived, and announced Sir Zap and Sir Matt. Two tall, lean fellows entered, dressed in mail shirts covered with bright blue tunics bearing the emblem of Butterball—a bouquet of buttercups, with butter knives crossed below them. They bowed graciously. “You called for us, your Majesties?”

The King cleared his throat. “Actually, the Queen did. Our three daughters have been abducted by the Crocs of the Slimy Swamp in middle of the Perilous Forest.”

“This will never be stood for! What an outrage!” Sir Zap boomed.

“We shall go rescue them, my Liege!” Sir Matt drew his sword.

“Humph! I will be rescuing them,” the King stated

The Queen rolled her eyes.

“But I do need your help,” the King continued. “You will create a diversion.”