Tales of the Fantastic Kingdom
Episode 143: The Rabid Unicorn
Narrator: Return with us now to the fabled Kingdom of Skonnsen, Land of Snowenbere, known from afar for its sacred symbol, The Golden Wedge. We go to the Palace of the Circular Ceiling, where Good King Fanollen sits upon the Elephant Throne. The king speaks …
King: Captain Aag, attend me.
Captain: My lord?
King: Tidings have reached me from a far corner of the realm that the Dark Principality of Mwockey has been beset by the ravages of an evil rabid unicorn, yclept Voterfrodd. I am sore troubled that this vile beast endangers the security of our fair land under the continued benign rule of the House of Elephants. Go forth, captain, seek out this hellspawn, vanquish it utterly, and bring me its horn as evidence of our triumph.
Capt: Ah, a largish task, my liege.
King: Aha! I take your meaning. You have my leave to select half a hundred of my most accomplished minions from amongst the ranks of Clan Aag to accompany thee to darkest Mwockey, there to battle the foul creature and save the land we love.
Capt: At your command, my king.
Narr: And so the legion set out on its noble quest. They were absent for 14 days and 13 nights, even forgoing the great quadrennial Festival of Lekshun Day, which was particularly jubilant in the capital city that year, but eventually Captain Aag again stood before the Elephant Throne, somewhat bespotted with bloodstains.
King: What report, captain? Hath thou vanquished the rabid unicorn as I bade thee?
Capt: Alas, sire, we have not. We searched far and wide, high and low, night and day, and nary hair nor hoof nor horn of the loathsome creature could we discover. It was as if it never existed.
King: Ah, my worst fears are confirmed, captain. It appears that the beast had word of thy coming and so, in trembling and trepidation, retreated to its hidden lair, there to skulk for a season and a half, when prophecies foretell the return of the dread Son of Abraham. The auguries portend that it will then emerge again and surely, surely ally itself with that pernicious threat to the realm.
Capt: Thy wisdom knows no bounds, my liege.
King: As you say. But, if thou didst not engage the creature directly, captain, whence cometh these sanguine stains upon thy overtunic?
Capt: My lord, wishing to leave no stone unturned upon the great commission which thou hadst set before us, we didst seek out every white horse in the principality, on the off chance that any of them might turn into a rabid unicorn, and we didst put twelvescore and nine of them to the sword, and fully slew them all.
King: Oho, splendidly done, my good fellow! Much better to be safe than sorry. And were the rabble properly appreciative?
Capt: Nay, sire, it pains me to say this, but it was quite the contrary. The common folk had expressed astonishment at our arrival, which we took at first for gratitude, but their mood turned dark as we set about our task. They did fall to, with much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, even as we sternly admonished them that this was all for their own good, which they would come to understand as they continued to prosper under the rule of the House of Elephants. But, at this, they turned even more sullen and resentful. Thereupon we didst recall thy foresightful command and became grim of visage and fierce of mien, which produced a most satisfactory response of trembling and cowering.
King: Well, well, who can understand the ways of the common masses, eh, captain? It was a noble effort on the part of Clan Aag, and, in the event, affrighting the rabid Voterfrodd into hiding is almost as effective as having dispatched it altogether, nay? Kneel before me, captain, that I might knight thee for thy gallant service.
Narr: At this the courtesans and sycophants gasped in surprise and applauded in delight, except for one little girl at the back, who was heard to remark …
Girl: Dork! Unicorns don't exist!
Narr: … but, inasmuch as she was a mere child, and innocent in the ways of the world, no one paid her any mind.
That's all for today, kids. Be sure to tune in again next time when the dark secret of "Good" King Fanollen will be revealed. Until then, this has been …
... a George W. Trendle production.