The Arrogant King With No Heirs
Tale of the Arrogant King with no Heirs
(From the Lonely Lands Universe)
There once was a king with no heirs to his throne, who was more arrogant than any king who had come before him. He could never turn down a challenge. In swordsmanship or games of strategy, in riddles to boggle the mind, in dancing or even the drinking of wine, he bested every challenger. So it was little wonder that he thought himself the wisest and most talented in everything there was to do or to be. It had come to the point where nobody was willing to challenge him.
Then one day a most unusual thing happened. The court jester put his legs behind his head and walked around on the floor like a twisted pretzel. He said to the king, “I do not believe that you can do this, O honorable one. For even your greatness has limits.”
To which the king responded, “Of course I can do that! You are but a lowly court jester. I can do anything you can do, and better.”
So the king came down from his golden throne and sat on the ground before his people. He tried and tried to put his legs behind his head. He strained, and his face turned red, writhen with pain. But he just wasn’t flexible enough to complete the task. At last a great ripping sounded, and his royal trousers tore wide open, revealing his royal derriere.
At this sight the people gathered in his court pointed and laughed. The king sat up and shouted angrily, “Seize that jester! He must pay for my humiliation!” But his guards were nowhere to be seen, nor was the jester. “Guards! Shackle him and take him to the dungeon. Do it! Do it now or I’ll kill you!” He said, standing up. But as he did so, he felt his head suddenly grow lighter. “What is this?” He exclaimed, feeling the top of his head with his fingers. “My crown! My crown! Who took my crown!? How dare you!” He reached for his sword, but it was also missing.
He then turned to look upon his throne and saw for the first time the truth of what was happening: On the king’s throne sat the jester, the king’s crown on his head, the king’s sword by his side, and all the king’s guards assembled around him, ready to defend him.
“Take him to the dungeon, now!” commanded the new king. “About this I do not jest.” And so the arrogant king with no heirs was deposed from his throne and replaced by his own jester, who reigned for 44 years.