Once upon a time, there was a tiny kingdom known as Theandies, where reigned a mighty monarch, King Theandrew XXI. That is, his loyal subjects liked to think of him as a mighty monarch, but, sadly enough, he was unable to rid his kingdom of its most fearsome enemy. Yes, they were ever victims of a loathsome serpent, Theending, who would steal young ladies and force them to cook and clean for him. His home was rumored to be filled with hundreds of lovely maids, who were turned out on their twenty-fifth birthdays. As a result, Theandies's young men could never find for themselves brides under twenty five, nor could they court ladies younger than themselves until they, too, were well in their twenties. This, as you can readily understand, made romance unnecessarily complicated.
One day, King Theandrew grew tired of complaints by all these brilliant young men, none of whom were able to successfully defeat this monster. (This is hardly surprising when you realize that none of them had dared to try.) King Theandrew naturally dreaded facing Serpent Theending on his own. "I shall have to gather an army, then," thought he, "and we shall all go together to defeat this monstrous man--er--woman-stealing beast."
Naturally, Theandrew had no trouble at all in finding a willing army, as young men who had sweethearts were few, and those without girlfriends were also youngest, most energetic and most ambitious.
So King Theandrew (who was, himself, without a wife due to this shortage of maidens in his unfortunate kingdom) led his troops forward one bright day until all his well-trained and obedient soldiers were surrounding each entrance to Theending's home. Theandrew himself, bearing his magic sword, boldly went himself up to a door and knocked.
"May I help you, sir?" came a voice, accompanied by a face that was surpassingly beautiful.
Theandrew cleared his throat. "Er, yes, please. I mean, I am King Theandrew, and I would like to talk to Theending. If you please."
This young lady appeared to be rather flustered at this request, but she curtsied and went off into Theending's house leaving Theandrew outside. She came back out soon enough and shyly declared, "He says to go away." And then her face disappeared and Theandrew found himself facing a bright orange door.
"Er, well, to be precise, that did not go very well," he said, trying to fight a blush.
Theandrew's men were defeated. They all let their weapons fall uselessly to their sides, and they returned home, leaving poor King Theandrew alone on Theending's doorstep. But Theandrew was made of tougher stuff than this. He determined to stay there in Theending's territory until either he was able to return home with Theandies's young ladies or, well, whatever horrible thing Theending could do to him to make him stop. He preferred not to dwell on those particulars.
So Theandrew stayed.
Until finally Theending became annoyed of this visitor (although he wasn't doing anything besides staying--but perhaps that was what annoyed Theending more than anything else). He finally came outside and yelled, "I told you to go away!"
"Now, look here, Theending!" returned Theandrew, quite calmly. "I came all this way just to talk to you, and I shan't go home until I'm done.
"Perhaps you do not realize how inconvenient you have made life in my kingdom, by stealing away all our maidens, right when they are in their prime and should be getting married and having babies. All this time, our young men are waiting to turn twenty-five so that they can find wives. And what do they do while they wait? They come and badger me, their king, saying, 'When are you going to bring me a bride? I want to be married, but I'm not twenty-five yet, so I can't get a bride.'
"Of course, all this time, they are loitering around town, with no girls to get them to shape up. As soon as they are finally twenty-five, they find a bride as quickly as they can, forgetting all that trouble they have caused me, and start having babies.
"And then they complain because there is no one to babysit for them, because you have every single young lady. So of course they don't have as many kids, which means that, by and by, you are going to run out of young ladies to steal!
"And all these complaints I listen to night and day, without anyone remembering that I haven't a wife, either!"
Theending was quite blown away by this tirade, and, as Theandrew seemed to be out of breath and to be rather tired, Theending patted King Theandrew on his back sympathetically. (Which is a rather odd thing for a serpent to do, if you think about it; they don't have hands.)
"I see what you mean, old friend," returned Theending. "But I can't seem to find a way around this little--um--difficulty. You see, I can't take care of my house by myself, because I don't have hands, so when I drop my bowl of cereal and it lands on my nice, clean carpet, I can't do much of anything about it, without getting fuzz all over my tongue. And it takes an awful lot of maidens to keep my house straightened, which is something I can't do by myself. So, I hope you understand, but I can't really help you, old friend." And Theending turned around and went inside.
"Hmph. If only we could find him a wife!" grumbled Theandrew.
So he went and found a young dragoness who was willing to marry a serpent, if Theending agreed.
Fortunately, Theending happened to be fond of ladies with wings, so he was married amid great rejoicing.
* ~ * ~ * ~ *
Why "An End," you ask? Well, because there is another end.
Naturally, as Theending now had a wife with hands (of sorts), he didn't need all those maidens cluttering up his place anymore, so they all rushed home to Theandies. This became a time of great joy and--courtship.
And, of course, King Theandrew XXI found himself a wife, as well, that pretty maiden who had delivered Theending's message to go away. (He decided that she would be nice to have around, to keep away anybody who felt like complaining to him. He was tired of complaints.)
And they all lived happily ever after.
© Copyright 2010 by Mariah B'Forre