A Modern Day Fable

“When the mighty dragon stole the sweet prince away, the kingdom was thrust into an era of gloom. The artists who had once derived inspiration from the prince’s smile now made alcohol their muse. The merchants sold fruit as hollowed out as their hearts. And the king? He numbed his pain by increasing the taxes and in turn, the misery of his subjects.

The prince had been a very lively sort of a lad, who burst into songs (which were always in perfect rhyme scheme) at every opportunity. Sometimes, lowly woodcutters would be treated to the sight of him serenading confused woodland creatures. His attire was always simple and elegant, and every morning he’d find a pretty flower to ornament his luscious locks.

Some say the prince had been singing to the dragon when the vile creature decided that it was in dire need of a radio and kidnapped the poor boy.

The king had issued a ransom for the dragon’s head, but though the prince was well liked, he wasn’t indispensible to the common folk. They continued to grumble and work. Word on the street is that they had wanted the dragon to take the king instead.

The nobles, on the other hand, thought themselves too important to risk their life for the feeble prince. Neither could they spare their knights. What if the dragon comes for them next?

And so the story went that it was a little forest girl who found the prince. She heard his cheerful voice as she was picking up firewood, and mistaking it as a deer’s cry for help, went to investigate.

The dragon and the prince welcomed her whole-heartedly and fed her fruit. The prince, with a delicate blush, explained that the dragon was blind and had mistaken him for a baby dragon by his voice. At first he had wanted to escape, but slowly and surely he had come to love the poor beast like his own mother.

The girl bit back her comments on Stockholm syndrome and tried to be genuinely happy for the prince.

She left the dragon’s cave with a basket of rare fruits and promises of secrecy.

The prince’s story soon faded into an urban legend. As such, it grew more and more fantastical until the prince morphed into a dragon tamer who had left the country in search of new additions to his collection. The king’s numbed pain resurfaced in full force when the peasants finally revolted and the kingdom now became an equally depressing democracy.  The artists disappeared into other professions while the merchants flourished in the era of capitalism.

And the little forest girl? Her fate was never recorded, as it often happens in history with those who own no gold. But one can assume that she had led a very ‘fruitful’ life.”

He saw his son’s eyes narrow at his last words. “Dad” the child sighed, “Please don’t tell me that the entire reason you cooked up this story was just to deliver that pun at the end.”

“I don’t understand why you’re complaining. It was a very good pun.”

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