Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Chronicles of Jack The Axe


The King’s secret

It was long held opinion of those in fiscal circles that the Kingdom’s economy should have collapsed years ago with the influx of the Fairy creatures. The sudden and rapid population growth due to their immigration was more than the Feudal based economy could sustain. The Kingdom was small and surrounded by ocean on three sides and an impassable mountain range on the other what had been cleared for agricultural purposes and live stock over the years had been heavily forested after the emergence of the Fairy folk. When the Fairy folk came the Kingdom increased its import from the larger and much richer neighbouring countries.
The Fairy folk contributed little to the financial status of the Kingdom and generally bartered for goods with the humans or passed themselves off as entertainers as a means to support their kin. They were also a burden on the Kingdom’s social security budget.
But still the roads into the Kingdom continued to be upgraded and the Town prospered and grew outward as the Kingdom managed to meet its debts.
While the humans still tended their small farms and those that ran the markets lived in small cottages on the town perimeter, the Fairy folk were content to live in tree hollows, mushrooms and under bridges. One old lady moved her extended family into a discarded giant’s boot.
The secret to the Kingdom’s sustainable wealth lay hidden on a small island behind a heavily guarded part of the Palace.

Surrounded by armed guards all day and night on all boundaries, the island was accessible only by the King and then only via the royal barge.
The reason for this was due to the massive Troll that cohabitated the island with the secret. Due to a pact with the King years earlier the Troll was given free food and lodging to protect the secret and allow only his Royal Highness unlimited access anytime deemed necessary.

Trolls are a rare and vicious species and almost impossible to ambush but are happily bound by legal contracts that they pore over in meticulous detail before declaring their oaths. Quite surprising for a creature that looked like it would pierce its brain when picking its nose.
The King was never in doubt that the secret was safe on the island. Given a couple of goats a week, the Troll was more than content to idle his hours away growing shrubberies.

The King stepped onto the short pier which was almost obscured by tall weeds, careful to make sure the barge operator was the agreed 10 footsteps from the pier meaning the oarsman was sitting high up on the bow of the barge. If the oarsman was able to have his way he’d be on the other side of the lake still. The island gave him the creeps in a big way.

The King walked onto the island and past the Troll, both totally ignoring each other; (mainly because it was Monday and goat days were Wednesday and Saturday) the Troll weeding under some hedgerows hoping for some worms to dry out for a snack later.
The King made his way through the ornate arrangements and paths that the Troll had decorated the island with. He did a sharp turn at what appeared to be an extremely large rib cage rising up on his left (in actual fact it was) that had been converted into a shelter using sacks of hessian, instinctively stepping over what appeared to be a moss covered log. That was, in fact, a fibula once belonging to same giant who had owned the rib cage.
Moving on just a few dozen steps more the King came to a large enclosure in the middle of the island proper. Opening up the gate and then making sure it was secured behind him before he proceeded, the King stood stationary listening for a noise. A loud HONK made the King’s face light up and he moved across the large pen towards the sound.
Sitting on a shady patch of grass under a large willow tree sat a large pure white goose casually cleaning under its wing.
The King walked past the goose into the coop that obviously housed the goose. Reaching in and feeling around the King withdrew his arm, and there in his hand he held two large eggs that almost glowed so pure was the gold they were made of.
The secret to the Kingdom’s economical and financial wealth was the fact that King literally owned the goose that laid the golden egg.

To be continued.......

Edited by Cathie Tranent, art by Simon Sherry

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