December 20, 2004

Rumpelstiltskin 3: His Majesty gets greedy

... The day Ingrid’s father declared bankruptcy was the day her mother decided to move in with the village circus’ resident tightrope walker. Being the star attraction of the show (the only other performer was a man whose main act was singing show tunes while dressed up as a seal - it was a pretty dismal circus), the tightrope walker was earning an attractive salary and could give her mother the things her father could no longer give.

The breakup of the family had been hard on everybody, particularly Ingrid’s father who woke up one morning to find his wife missing and a note on her pillow that read: "Bye, loser". Ingrid’s father soon found himself plunging down a spiral of self-loathing, substance abuse and compulsive lying. And it was precisely this pattern of compulsive lying that has ignited their latest father-daughter row.

"Dad, I don’t mean to disrespect you but for god’s sake, you have to stop lying!" cried Ingrid.

"It wasn’t lying. It was just a small case of embellishment."

"Spinning straw into gold? You might as well have told the King I could teach pigs to fly or dogs to sing or cats to bark!"

"Ingrid, let’s not carry on over this," said Ingrid’s father wearily. "Besides, the King didn’t even look interested in what I was saying. He’s probably forgotten all about it by now. Why would he pay attention to the mere words of a poor man in rags when he could be listening to wise words of the wealthy and powerful?"

But little did Ingrid’s father know how horribly wrong he was, for at that very moment, the King was precisely that. In fact, he had been unable to think of anything else since he received news of the magical village maiden who could spin straw into pure gold. It was simply the most marvelous thing he’d every heard.

"But then again, is such a thing possible?" the King wondered. Miracles have been known to happen. There was that dead old lady who had suddenly popped back to life moments before they lowered her casket into the ground, scaring the living daylights out of everybody at the funeral and grabbing major headlines all over the kingdom. Anything was possible. Surely this was too?

"But I can’t be played for a patsy. I simply must find that girl and have her prove to me that she can indeed do what her father claims," he thought, stroking his beard deviously. "With a girl like that spinning all the straw in my kingdom into gold, I will soon be the richest, more powerful man in the world!" His eyes gleamed with lustful greed ...

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