And I emerge from the war torn realm of the Flu with only a few minor battle wounds, namely, a stupid story. The thought process behind it being, “I’m going to write a stupid story,” and proceeding to do exactly that.
Chronicles, you say? Oh yes, my pretties, I’m not yet done with Sylvestrus Livingstone Clarencourt the Thirteenth. Not by a long shot.
The Strange Tale of Gambergain’s Magic Spoon
Many strange things have been known to happen in the Kingdom of Plerp, and the task has fallen to me, Sylvestrus Livingstone Clarencourt the Thirteenth, to write them down for future observation. Let it be stated for the records that I would be just as happy polishing Sir Taturtaut’s armor instead of sitting here in Gambergains’s study, staring at a piece of parchment and the ink blot I was unfortunate enough to have just made. Let it also be stated that I was only chosen for this project because I drew the long straw, and NOT because I have any involvement, direct or otherwise, in the events I am mandated to chronicle.
That being said, I shall begin with the strange tale of Gambergain’s magic spoon.
As I recall, I was in the royal mess hall when it happened, sitting with the other squires my age and shoveling Greasy Chowder down my gullet. Greasy Chowder itself is a strange creation of Plerp, what with it’s mysterious lumps and copious amounts of grease, but I won’t go into that now. At the opposite end of the long room, our knights sat around their tables, chewing and guffawing with equal amounts of vigor. I could just make out Sir Taturtaut’s exquisitely bald head gleaming golden pink from the light of the great fire that roared behind him in the firepit. I will not recount how many times that fire has nearly burnt down Weeble Castle (the wooden parts, at least), because King Boff has instructed everyone to forget the number, and Gambergain would be exceedingly angry if I wrote it down here.
Anyway, back to the spoon. My fellow squire, Dougal Dogby, was sitting across from me, and as I was endeavoring to discreetly kick him under the table, my foot struck something hard, which skidded across the floor and bumped into Dougal’s toes. (I hope you take note, Gambergain, that what follows is NOT my fault.)
Dougal gave a tremendous squeal. Honestly, you would have thought the boy had been stung by a scorpion, or something equally unpleasant, not an insignificant metal object. But I am never one to rub things in, so I gave him my most sympathetic smile and said, “Oh, Dougal, I thought you saw that large poisonous beetle crawl under your chair.”
As can be imagined, he was touched by how much I cared.
“Look here, you little weasel,” he bellowed, and swung clumsily at my head. I ducked, and he ended up hitting Crumby Blots instead.
What would have ensued if my good knight Sir Taturtaut had not intervened was a first rate fight between us squires, and I presumably would have come out on top (not to brag, but I am best of my class in knight training). But alas, I was not given that opportunity, because Sir Taturtaut intervened.
“What’s this, young rrrascals?” (He has a very odd way of trilling his R’s.) He snatched Crumby off of Dougal and Dougal off of me. “Prrracticing your hand-to-hand skills, is that it? Eh?”
For a moment no one said anything. Dougal looked at me and I looked at Dougal, and Crumby looked at both of us. Then we all looked at Sir Taturtaut and nodded.
“Eh!” he cried, clapping me on the back with such force I nearly fell into Crumby. “The knaves do learn after all! But may I insist that if you prrractice together, you do it in the courtyard, where your drrreadful rrracket won’t disturb anyone?”
We smiled sweetly, and Taturtaut took himself off, crowing proudly about what fine, intelligent boys we were. This obviously isn’t completely true, but Dougal and Crumby couldn’t set him straight because they didn’t know they weren’t. And I certainly wasn’t going to inform my good knight that I was the only intelligent one of us all — at least, not while still in the presence of those two half-wits. So the matter passed, and we sat down to resume our Greasy Chowder.
“Now,” I said, once Dougal had a substantial mouthful in his maw, “Would you be so good as to reach down behind you and give me the object that is resting under your heel?”
(Mind you, Gambergain, I wasn’t going to keep it, and if I had known it was your magic spoon, I would have given it back post haste.)
But that doesn’t matter, because Dougal didn’t give it to me. He picked it up. I saw that it was a small, silver soup spoon with a red jewel embedded in the handle. Dougal grinned at me, and a sinking feeling sank into my stomach. You see, Dougal Dogby is not the grinning type. If he grins at you, it is most assuredly a bad sign.
“You know what this is?” he asked me. I shook my head. “This is Gambergain’s magic spoon.”
“Oh la,” I scoffed. “How would you know?”
“I seen him hold it once, when he thought no one was lookin’.”
“Gambergain’s spoon,” breathed Crumby. “What do you think it does? Would it make Zira the kitchen-maid fall in love with me?”
The poor fellow really is an imbecile. Nothing could make a girl in her right mind fall for Crumby Blots, least of all a spoon that is supposed to have magical qualities.
“Why would you waste it on that skinny prig?” Dougal said in disgust. “No, there are more important things, like invisibility. Just think, fellows; when we miss training, no one will be able to find us!”
I felt it my duty at that point to inform them that there was no such thing as magic spoons.
Crumby looked at me, aghast. “Sacrilege!”
“Really, Crumby,” I said with infinite patience. “Do you actually think a spoon can give wishes?”
“Not just any spoon; the magic spoon of our court wizard. He’s magical, right?”
I have always had my doubts about this. For one thing, Gambergain, you’ve never actually done anything to show your wizardly capabilities. When Princess Dipwad came down with the flu, King Boff sent for the apothecary. But wouldn’t it have been so much easier to call for the court wizard and have him heal her with one swish of his wand?
And that’s another thing: You always, always wear your wizardly costume, complete with pointed hat, robe, wand, and fake beard. (I know it’s fake because I accidentally ripped it off that time you were showing me a trick move with my sword, and the next day it was back on like nothing happened.) Knights are still knights even when they are not wearing their armor, and I think the same would go for wizards, so why do you always wear the costume, if you have nothing to prove?
Anyway, back to Crumby and Dougal. I figured I ought to make them return the spoon, so I said, “What do you think we could wish for?”
Dougal looked around the room, and his eyes latched on Sir Taturtaut in a way that I did not like. Taturtaut may not be the cleverest at times, but I am still his squire, and it is my duty to stick up for him around the other boys.
“Dougal,” I said, “Don’t you dare…”
“I wish a cooked turkey would fasten itself to Sir Taturtaut’s head,” blurted Dougal, pinching the spoon between his forefinger and thumb.
There was a poof of glitter, and all the knights jumped to their feet with a cry of astonishment. My heart gave a jerk; Sir Taturtaut had a turkey on his head, but it wasn’t cooked. It was the fattest, loudest, livest turkey you ever saw.
We all stared, mouths gaping, at the fowl sitting atop his pate, and for a moment all was silence. Then the bird began to shriek and struggle, and Sir Taturtaut clawed wildly at it, trying to pull it from his head, all the while spurred on by the excited bellows of the knights. But it was sealed to his head with something far stronger than glue, and could not be budged from it’s unfortunate nesting place.
Dougal turned slowly to me, his eyes wide. “This—is—amazing!” He gasped. Holding the spoon up, he said, “I wish two turkeys were fastened to Sir Taturtaut’s head!”
Taturtaut got more turkeys. Four, to be precise.
“Dougal, you’re doing it wrong,” Crumby whined, looking paler than usual, the blot on his nose particularly red. “Sylvestrus, tell him he’s doing it wrong.”
“Quite right, Crumby,” said I. “Dougal, give it to me.”
Dougal wouldn’t. “I wish—”
I snatched it from him. “Dougal, hold your tongue.”
To my mild amusement, he did just that.
“You’re doing it wrong too!” Crumby wailed. “Let me try.”
I was not about to give a magic spoon to Crumby Blots, but he took it from me when I wasn’t expecting it. I tried to get it back, Gambergain, I really did, but Crumby was faster.
“I wish that a fig would hit Dougal in the face.”
Only Crumby would have asked for a fig. I would have said a load of bricks or a flaming house or something epic, but not Crumby. He asked for a fig.
There was a poof of glitter, and out of nowhere came…a pig. The poor squealing thing flew through the air and walloped Dougal in the face.
“I said fig, not pig!” Crumby shrieked. There was a poof of glitter, and another pig hit Crumby in the face.
My two comrades being incapacitated, I took the spoon from them and surveyed the room, which had very quickly melted into chaos. A chain of knights were holding Sir Taturtaut, while another chain of knights were yanking with all their might at the four turkeys stuck to his head, bellowing the entire way. To add to the confusion, the two pigs suddenly ran in between their legs, knocking the whole lot of them down.
I do not take pleasure in others’ tribulations. But it is often told to me — by Sir Taturtaut himself — that tribulations “strrrengthen” the soul, so I thought it my duty to add to his. “Spoon, I wish that a pig would hit Sir Taturtaut in the face.”
From out of nowhere, a fig struck me in the head.
I repeated myself. Another fig, still aimed at me, of all people. Then I realized my mistake, and said, “I wish that a fig would hit Sir Taturtaut in the face.”
A pig did not come. But a veritable rain cloud of figs did.
They pummeled every person in the room, including my good self, who wasn’t in need of tribulation at the moment. And they were painful. Oh yes, they were painful. Crumby had the first sensible moment of his life and crawled under the table, but I wasn’t about to get under a table with a Blot, figs or no figs.
“Stop the figs!” I yelled at the spoon. That was when the torrent of pigs began.
If the pigs and the figs had continued for much longer, I think we all would have been dead within the hour. But suddenly the door to the mess hall was thrown open (and I swear it was accompanied by a clap of thunder) and a crooked figure stepped forth.
Yes, Gambergain, that was you. And even though you know what happens after this, I’m going to write it all down anyway, just in case someone else — who doesn’t know how the story ends — reads this.
You strode forth with a clap of thunder, fake beard and all, and in a deep, booming voice proclaimed, “Egad!”
Everyone, even the thirty or so pigs, stopped dead in their tracks.
“Egad!” Gambergain said again. “I say, did the circus come to Plerp?” Then his gaze fell upon me, who happened to be holding the magic spoon. Mind you, it was only in my hand because I had been trying to prevent Crumby from doing something foolish with it. I hadn’t been using it or anything equally stupid. But Gambergain’s eyes narrowed, and he stepped forward.
“Have you heard, young Sylvestrus?” He asked. “My magic spoon has gone missing. You wouldn’t happened to have see it laying around anywhere, would you?”
Thus I was framed for Dougal’s stupidity. And the rest is completely unimportant.
Gambergain got the turkeys off Taturtaut’s head, and that good knight, to make a long story short, was furious. The pigs were rounded up and Zira was fetched to herd them off to the pigsty, the turkeys were taken to wherever Weeble keeps it’s fowl, the figs were put in barrels and brought to the kitchen, and I was dragged off for some sort of chastisement.
So I hope you’re happy, Gambergain, now that I’ve spent nearly all morning writing this down. My hand is cramped and I missed sword training, not to mention Sir Taturtaut has become extremely unpleasant to be around. And it’s not my fault you leave your spoons laying around the mess hall for any simpleton to find. It might have happened to anyone.
And that concludes the tale of Gambergain’s magic spoon, of which I had no part in, minor or otherwise. I was merely a victim of circumstance.
Stupidity, thy name is Plerp? Well, yeah, maybe. But in my defense, I’ve been writing a book for the last two years that is not silly, but actually quite serious, and it was nice to write something with zero point for a change.
Go away now.