A 21st Century Fairy Tale
I read an article earlier this week which claimed that most people find their first fairy tale more memorable than their first history lesson. I can understand why this may be so. Many history lessons are devoid of the human drama that is a key part of our history.
So how will history represent the critical issues of this time period? Will it depict the day to day struggles of Americans trying to make ends meet? Will future generations feel the anxiety we currently feel as a result of the high unemployment rate? Or will history just impartially divide us into two groups; the employed and the unemployed?
For many people, learning history is boring. On the other hand, most children and adults find fairy tales exciting; they emphasize the best and worst of human characteristics. Maybe that’s the reason why Cinderella, Snow White, The Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter are more memorable than Tories, Loyalists, Allied forces, Axis powers, employed and unemployed.
Perhaps the best way to insure that future generations remember our daily angst is to put our current history in a fairy tale setting. That is exactly what I have done here. This tale is our story. The setting may be different; however the characters are remarkably similar to their real world counterparts. As one of my mentors, the late Rod Serling would say, “Submitted for your approval is the following”…
A 21st Century Fairy Tale
Once upon a time (I just can’t get past the fact that I love that opening!) there was a kingdom in a world that was not unlike our own. It was not a perfect world, but almost everyone who lived there was happy; everyone knew they had an important role in keeping the kingdom vital: From keeping the royal streets clean, running the daily events, to training children, adolescents and young adults who will eventually take over the roles of their elders. It was not the best of worlds; however it was far from the worst of worlds.
This was the kingdom of Mianaton. The ruler of the kingdom, King Nictolin, was praised by most of his subjects. The secret to his successful management of the kingdom could be found in a magical book, known as the Enchanted Book. The Enchanted Book was handed down from generation to generation. By following the directions in this magical book, he was able to keep his kingdom prosperous and hold back the evil demons from destroying the kingdom.
But alas, King Nictolin’s time as ruler was nearing its sunset. According to the Enchanted Book, it was time to pass his crown to the next generation. He called a meeting with his trusted advisor, Prince Ogre. The King, looking outside his palace window, was concerned. The neighboring kingdoms became jealous of the good fortune that his benevolent monarchy enjoyed.
“Whatever you do, make sure you do not lose this book”, stated the king. Prince Ogre agreed that it was important that the book be protected at all costs and recommended that Prince Bamoa attend the next transition meeting.
As the sun set on the happy kingdom, King Nictolin observed his subjects finishing their workday. He hoped that their future would be bright. Little did he know, the forces of evil were working hard to undermine his kingdom. Those forces were led by evil King Fuller. Unlike the King Nictolin, King Fuller was not interested in the happiness of his subjects. King Fuller, instead, was interested in his own personal wealth. His personal hero was King Midas, who gave up all he loved for his own personal wealth.
King Fuller ruled over many domains, and wanted to make Mianaton part of his kingdom. His spies informed him that the reason why the kingdom prospered was due to a magical book owned by King Nictolin.
“If that book is the reason why I cannot have Mianaton as part of my realm, then we must destroy that book!” said King Fuller in a rage of fury.
“We will destroy the book”, stated one of the spies, “then the kingdom will be yours to pillage, plunder, and destroy if you wish!”
King Fuller let out an evil laugh. He ordered his spies to break into King Nictolin’s castle and destroy the magical book.
Meanwhile in Mianaton, King Nictolin followed Price Ogre’s recommendation and invited the young Prince Bamoa to the transition meeting. Prince Bamoa had a photographic memory. The King also felt that the young prince might be able to help in the event that the magical book was lost. King Nictolin handed Prince Bamoa the book. “The contents of this book must never be forgotten”, stated the king. It will insure the prosperity of our kingdom for all time!” The prince started reading the book immediately. Several hours passed. There was still much to read, and it was getting late. Prince Baoma had read almost one-third of the book when he decided to finish reading it at his castle.
At the same time, the spies were ready to put their plan into action. They organized a small army; they were ready to storm the King’s castle. One of the spies noticed Prince Baoma leaving the castle with the Enchanted Book. The spy caught the prince off-guard, knocked him unconscious, and took possession of the book. The evil spy followed King Fuller’s instructions and burned the book. As the last pages of the Enchanted Book turned to ash, a tremendous storm began. At the same time King Fuller’s evil forces took over the castle. To this day no one knows if King Nictolin or his successor, Prince Ogre survived the attack. Neither one was ever seen again.
King Fuller was in control now. The storm continued to rage. A tornado destroyed most of the enchanted grain, used to feed the horses. With the magical book gone, it seemed as though the very fabric of Mianaton changed.
The cost of the enchanted grain skyrocketed. Most subjects could no longer afford the grain, and as a result, their horses suffered. King Fuller then took many of the jobs that Mianaton’s subjects performed and gave those responsibilities to other kingdoms in his domain. The prosperity that Mianaton enjoyed for so long was gone. As a result of King Fuller’s actions, the jobs that contributed to the financial stability of the kingdom no longer existed. A word rarely used before, unemployment, became commonplace. With King Nictolin and Prince Ogre gone, what would the subjects do?
The subjects tried to stage a rebellion, however it was unsuccessful. Their “Occupy Castle Road” movement was swiftly ended by King Fuller’s knights. As a last act of desperation, the subjects sought out Prince Bamoa, who was banished to the remote province of Haiwi.
“You must do something” cried the subjects in a tumultuous roar. The prince looked upon the faces of the subjects. He knew the pain they were suffering. Many lost their homes; their livelihoods were ripped away from them. They could not afford the taxes levied by King Fuller. Their horses, the only means of escape and chance of additional income, were not capable of transport. Many died due to the lack of enchanted grain. King Fuller taxed the grain that was not destroyed, making it unaffordable to most of the subjects.
End of Part One
Time to get back to the real world now. Yes, like everyone else, I am not a big fan of cliffhangers, and I hate season ending cliffhangers even more. However, I can promise you that Part Two is definitely worth the wait. In the meantime, here are some questions to contemplate:
Will this be a “happily ever after” ending, and will the Enchanted Book ever be recreated?
Why do some of the names in this tale look familiar?
Till next time, Good Hunting.
-Howard K. Young
Art by Magicblood