Chapter Fairytale [folklore] - A very peculiar tale of chance and circumstance.
|The Canary with a Broken Wing
Written by Hektor Thillet
Once upon a time there was a happy kingdom. And in this kingdom there was a happy castle. And in this castle lived the happiest of kings.
He laughed on sunny days, and even rainy days. He laughed so loudly, all around him everyone would laugh as well—all but the poor court jester in the king’s castle, who was the object of such contagious laughter.
Like any other court jester, his job was to make the king laugh. And this he indeed carry out with high praise. Everyone thought him to be the biggest fool that ever lived, especially the king, whose vigorous laughter reassured him. But although such flattery would have been well received by just about any other fool who had been court jester to the king, he wasn’t just like any other fool.
He dreamed of being a respectable gentleman, one whose name was held in high regard, and not a mere buffoon for everyone’s amusement. And so one night, three minutes after midnight to be exact, while everyone rested soundly asleep from another day of laughing, and carrying nothing but a bindle stick stuffed with a piece of bread and a bit of wine, the court jester simply vanished.
Well on his way was the court jester by morning. His first thought as a traveler had been to find someone who would not laugh at him, if this was at all possible. He walked past houses, over fields, and into the jungle. Once there, the court jester spotted a monkey hanging upside down from the branch of a tree. It was a funny sight; as it always is when monkeys do such things. The court jester, believing he had found someone even funnier than he was, presumed the monkey had no desire to laugh at him. And so the court jester stood right below the monkey and called out:
“Hello there monkey! I don’t mean to disturb your routine. But I was wondering… I don’t suppose you find me funny, do you?” asked the court jester as the monkey ate a coconut. “I mean, you’re not laughing, and your hanging trick is the funniest I’ve seen by far. I’m a court jester you see? I would know…”
At that moment the monkey swung the coconut straight at the court jester, and “Smash!” It knocked him over the head and rendered him silly on the jungle floor. Soon after, the monkey laughed at the court jester, who after regaining consciousness, realized his search for someone who would not laugh at him had all but begun.
The court jester took what was left of the cracked coconut and stored it in his bindle stick, in case the bread he had stuffed in it ran out and he found himself hungry on the long way ahead. Once more he was on his way to find someone who would not laugh at him—if this was at all possible.
Making his way deeper into the jungle, the court jester came across what looked like a black giraffe tied to a tree by a rope. It must have belonged to a traveler, for it had a tent strapped to its back and a royal assortment of mounting wear, including a funny dancing-monkey hat. It nipped at the nearby lush vegetation of the jungle as if not concerned by its confinement. The black giraffe seemed so unconcerned, in fact, the court jester felt at ease in its presence. It knew he had been standing there, yet it never laughed at him. Rather it bowed its head ever so slightly at him and then resumed picking at the tree branches. “This had to be it!” thought the court jester. The giraffe had seen him and hadn’t laughed. He had finally found someone who would not laugh at him. And so the court jester walked a little closer to the black giraffe and said:
“Hello there black giraffe! I don’t mean to concern you. But I was wondering… I don’t suppose you find me funny, do you?” asked the court jester while the giraffe picked at the tree branches. “I mean, you’re not laughing. Those tree branches are more amusing to you than my best trick. I’m a court jester, you see? I would know…”
It was then, that someone other than the giraffe began laughing loudly and profusely, as if their lungs wanted to burst. It was more like a roar, really, and it shook the jungle and all things in it. The court jester gazed over in disbelief to find standing there a laughing raja. He thought his eyes must have been playing tricks on him, for this wasn’t just any raja, it was a tiger raja; rather than a human one. A royal hat, which sparkled with gold, rested proudly on its head. The tiger-raja stood there, as tall as the tallest of humans, wearing a majestic tunic, adorned with jewels as radiant as the jungle sun itself.
“Where had it come from? How could there be a tiger raja? Would he become the tiger raja’s meal? And why wasn’t the giraffe laughing with it?” wondered the court jester as the tiger raja laughed and laughed, trying to catch its breath.
“The black giraffe can’t hear you, you fool!” remarked the raja with a mocking tone while holding his stomach in, hoping to catch some breath. “It is too tall!”
Then the court jester understood why the black giraffe wasn’t laughing. It was a giraffe as tall as no other, at least three houses’ height. Its head and ears were so high above the ground that it couldn’t have possibly heard anything other than the tree branches snapping as it picked them.
Once the raja was able to compose himself from so much laughing, he then explained how he was king to all animals in the jungle; including the black giraffe who served him as royal transport. He was regarded as the noble raja and ruler of the secret kingdom of Selvania; a magical place hidden in the heart of the jungle no man had ever seen before. Recent events had forced him and all his animal subjects to keep a heavy guard on the jungle. Animals were mysteriously disappearing without a trace, which brought much sorrow to his kingdom. Birds no longer sang their beautiful morning songs. Crickets and even toads in the river had stopped their moonlight concertos; which the raja enjoyed so much. Even the raja himself had not been able to laugh in many moons. There was unrest in the jungle. But now the court jester’s foolishness had brought happiness to the raja; even if it was a temporary distraction from the unfortunate events at hand.
“I am much pleased with you, my good man!” exclaimed the raja with much contentment. “You have made this despairing jungle cat laugh. How could I ever repay your good deed? I feel much obliged to have you as a guest of honor in my palace. Perhaps you are the one to bring happiness back to my jungle in these difficult times.”
It is true that any other man, who would have been invited to such place of wonder, would have quivered with anticipation. But the court jester wasn’t just like any other man. He would have refused the invitation and continued his travels. After all, this was the second time he had failed to find someone who would not laugh at him, if this was at all possible. But now he was simply too tired. The long walk and the heat of the jungle had exhausted him. Now all the court jester cared for was a warm bed and perhaps a bit of food, and he knew any palace would suffice. And so, for these reasons, and these reasons alone, he agreed to stay in the raja’s palace.
For once, maybe only this once, the court jester realized he wasn’t just the funniest of fools. He was also the luckiest.