Tale #113: The Unfairness Of Being

There was a man who was granted many wishes. His first wish was for money, and he was given more than he could ever spend. His second wish was for power, and he was placed upon the throne. His third wish was for immunity from the consequences of his actions, and so the judges of the land agreed to place him beyond the reach of the law and justice.

His fourth wish was for universal adoration, and he never forgave those that would not grant it.

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Notes:

1. Written on July 16th, 2019
2. My subtlest story yet

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Tale #112: The Sad Tale Of Lonesome George

George had been alone all of his life. Each day, he asked every maiden in turn for a kiss, and always they would say no. But the next day he would ask them again all the same, and the next, and the next. Never, of course, did they say yes.

Eventually all the maidens were married, and George had nobody left to ask. One night soon after he sat in the town square and cried beneath the moon. Out in the woods a spirit heard his cries and came forth to see the source of such despair.

“Why do you cry?” the spirit asked him, for never had it seen such a sight of abandonment and anguish.

“I have been alone all my life, and never known the touch of another,” said George. “I would like to know what it is like to kiss another, just once, before I die.”

And so the spirit kissed him, and granted him his wish, and returned from whence it came.

***

The next morning George was found in the square, his heart caught between his teeth. His lungs fluttered in the branches of a tree, and when the people of the town touched his body, his skin fell away like pages from a book.

His bones were placed in a box for the schoolchildren to play with, and he was never mentioned again.

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Notes:

1. Written ages ago
2. But I can’t find exactly when
3. 2015, maybe
4. But I’m sure it was before
5. The real Lonesome George was a tortoise
6. And a hundred and something years old

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Tale #111: The Wooden Man

In the woods there stood a wooden cottage filled with wooden furniture, and inside lived a wooden man. Each summer he grew slightly taller and wider, and the leaves on his head grew into a thick dense tangle. When autumn came he shed his leaves and planed down the summer’s growth from his waist, and burnt it all on the fire to help keep himself warm through the long barren months of winter.

One spring he had a son, and he was overcome with happiness. He watched with pride as the boy grew steadily bigger and taller throughout the year. When the winter came and lingered on as it does, he could not bear to see his boy go cold, so he built the fire bigger than ever and let it burn long into each night to ensure that the cottage never allowed the chill to seep in and freeze his sapling son’s fragile young roots.

Every day, before his son rose, the wooden man would peel off his outermost layer of bark and put it on the fire. At first he noticed no difference in himself, for he was old, and big with it. But as the days turned to weeks and eventually months he became steadily thinner and frailer, until eventually there was nothing left of him but a spindly twig without the strength to move.

That morning the boy rose from his wooden bed, threw the twig onto the dying embers of the fire and stepped outside into the sun, into the glory of the first day of spring.

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Notes:

1. Written in November 2013

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Tale #110: To Lose A Beard

A bald man woke one morning to find that his beard had moved from his chin, where it usually resided, to the back of his head.

Soon, he went mad and died

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Notes:

1. Written on April 2nd, 2019
2. And another one for this list
3. It’s okay though I’ve stopped now

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Tale #109: To Stroke A Hedgehog

A noblewoman of some renown liked to stroke the animals of the court and countryside. Cats and dogs; cows and horses; sheep and goats; the King’s crows and the Queen’s swans; the noblewoman petted them all, and took great delight in doing so.

One spring, a hedgehog took up residence in the bushes of her garden. Each night, she put out food for the creature, and over the long months of summer she slowly gained its favour. One night, she sat in the garden in her nightgown, the bowl of food in her lap. The hedgehog climbed up onto her, and while it ate, she reached down, and gently, ever so gently, stroked the hedgehog’s back.

Over the coming days, many asked her to describe how it felt to stroke a hedgehog, but she could not find the words to describe the sensation, and so she stayed silent, no matter the clamour they made for her to impart her wisdom.

Before autumn turned to winter, the noblewoman went mad and died, and her knowledge was lost to the world.

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Notes:

1. Written April 1st, 2019
2. Part of my ongoing “To…” series
3. All of which utilise the same ending formulation
4. The series began with To Follow A Cat
5. And includes To Lose Your Faith, To Follow A Child, and To Ponder Infinity
6. But, confusingly, not To Be Kept Safe

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If you like the things you've read here please consider subscribing to my patreon. Subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real. Thank you.