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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest · #658710
Entry for Letter Box Contest. A letter of Napoleon's personal guard from Elba.
This letter won an HONORABLE NOMINATION in the contest.

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Edmond Danglars,
Le 15 Novembre, 1814.

Isla de Elba.
[An English Version]

Dear Clarion,

                    How are you? I am fine too. You know I’m in the personal guard of Napoleon Bonaparte. After living in Elba with the exiled King, I came to know this life has its own charm. All time is leisure time, and I have to do nothing, just rest. About seven months have passed and Napoleon still remembers the great ceremony in which he was sent here. He wrote a letter to the British Government, telling them he would like to celebrate such ceremony again, but they flatly refused. Now he thinks he should escape from Elba to wage a war against the Allies so that they can defeat him and exile him again after a great and awesome ceremony.

         A pension of two million francs, a small personal guard, and the possession of the Island of Elba have made him lazier and relaxed. Three weeks ago, he realized he’d put on a bit of weight, and he started to feel fat. He solved the problem by playing Hide and Seek with the British Captain Robert, who was recently appointed to Elba. Of his personal guard, he also selected ten soldiers including me for this game.

Robert said, “Your Majesty, are you trying to lose weight or just practicing how to escape?”

Clarion, you know that Napoleon is 101 percent in favor of escape. It doesn’t mean he dislikes the exiled life. Look, if he ever escapes, the purpose would be to play Hide and Seek on a larger scale, so that he can lose more weight and be slim and smart (though he’s already a smart man).

          But, Clarion, now he has changed the plan for reducing his weight. You’ll certainly ask why. Actually, it was a lie, and a little tale of Colonel McMillan, which not only reduced Napoleon's weight a lot, but also made him think how to escape from Elba. Ah, ha! I see now. McMillan wanted to cause Napoleon to be depressed. Two weeks ago, after hearing about the game of Hide and Seek, Colonel McMillan came to Napoleon, and they had dinner together. McMillan had been in Asia for a military venture and now he is working in the allied forces. After dinner, they went out for a walk. McMillan told him a tale of an exiled king of Central Asia. His name was Chughtai and he ruled a small kingdom near the river Oxus. He had bitter relations with his neighboring kingdom of Shaibani Khan, across the river Oxus.

Shaibani invaded Chughtai’s territory to show his power. Chughtai came in the battlefield to defend his territories. But Shaibani defeated him and forced him to pay heavy tribute and give his daughter in the marriage to Shaibani's son.

          Chughtai had two beautiful and well-mannered daughters. Now he could save his kingdom only by accepting Shaibani’s conditions. So he had to pay heavy sum and give his daughter in marriage to Shaibani’s son. Chughtai couldn’t tolerate this humiliation and started preparation for a great war secretly. Soon he came in the open battlefield to challenge Shaibani Khan. But Shaibani again utterly defeated him, conquered his whole Kingdom, and forcibly married Chughtai's second daughter, his second son. Chughtai was exiled and confined to a far-flung fortress, where he was waiting for his death in hopelessness. Now Chughtai had lost everything. After one month, he died helplessly.

          How sad! Clarion, Napoleon was very disappointed to hear this tale. McMillan left him and promised to come again. That night Napoleon couldn’t sleep. He thought he would die like Chughtai. You know a brave king like Napoleon doesn’t like that kind of death. So he was very dejected. The next day, he didn’t eat anything. The whole week he remained very sad and didn’t go out.

When McMillan came again, he was very happy, but I hated his smile. He cheerfully told Napoleon, "Your Highness, you’ve reduced your weight, and now there is no need of Hide and Seek.”

I was surprised to hear that he told Napoleon a false sad story to make him dejected so that he could reduce his weight. Oh, how crazy! McMillan told him that the end of that story was totally different from that he described.

          Then he told Napoleon the real story of the Chughtai king. He said, " Chughtai was exiled and waiting for his death. After one month, Shaibani Khan died. The old commanders of Chughtai's army, who went underground after the defeat, secretly organized their soldiers and plotted to overthrow the rule of Shaibani’s sons. Chughtai’s daughters, who were now princesses, poisoned Shaibani’s sons. Meanwhile, his commanders raided the fortress, and Chughtai was freed from the fortress. When Shaibani’s army came to know the reality, it was too late. Chughtai King came in the open battlefield and gave the final blow to rival army and captured the whole kingdom. Now his rule was on the both sides of the river Oxus. He ruled the whole kingdom for many years. After his death, his grandsons ruled the country." This was the true end of the McMillan’s tale.

Clarion, look, how crazy this Colonel is! He said he had more stories to reduce Napoleon’s weight. Oh, no! Napoleon hates these stories that can cause a heart attack. Napoleon called Captain Robert and told him "I need no Hide and Seek. I’ve already reduced my weight.”

Clarion, you know I’m one of the trusted persons of Napoleon. Napoleon had a secret meeting with us and told us, “Though McMillan’s story was wrong, it compelled me to think that I should not die in exile. Now I’m thinking how to escape from Elba. Soon I’ll make a master plan to get rid of this Island.”

Well, Clarion, you’re my friend, as a duke in Marseilles, no one knows you’re a companion of Napoleon, and if Napoleon escapes, we may need your help. I’ll let you know more detail through another secret letter.


Edmond Danglars

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