The Princess and the Pie

Once upon a time there was this place. No one could reach the princess when she was there, so she went there often. It wasn’t that she didn’t love being a princess or serving her people; she just liked to be alone in her quiet place sometimes. It helped her think, it helped her rest, and it helped her understand what needed to be done.

One day she was in her place when a man on a flaming pie appeared.

“Oh! How did you get here?” cried the princess. “No one can reach me in this place.”

“And yet here I am, said the man. “I’m surprised that you didn’t ask me who I am first.”

“I don’t care who you are,” she said. “This is where I go when I don’t wish to be disturbed.”

“If I am disturbing you —“

“Of course you are.”

“— then I apologize,” he said. “But I have an important message that —“

“Can’t it wait?”

“—cannot wait.”

“Well, then,” the princess huffed. “What is it?”

“Do you see this flaming pie?”

“You’re standing on it,” she said. “How could I not?”

“Yes, well,” the man said, “it brings tidings of great suffering across the land.”

“A flaming pie is an harbinger of doom?”

“Scoff if you like, milady,” said the man, “but flaming pies are rare and important messengers.”

“Oh, such as ‘You shall be Beatles with an A’?”

“Ah, you’ve heard that one.”

“‘Rare and important’?”

“Imagine if they were merely Beetles.”

“Must I?”

“No, you mustn’t,” he said. “That is, you may if you like, but it is not required. But this message does indeed affect the entire kingdom.”

“We have no king,” said the princess.

“Whatever you wish to call the land,” the man said, “the flaming pie says it is imperiled.”

“Do tell,” said the princess, skeptically.

“On the 17th day of the 17th month after the cloudy moon, a rebel will arise to end the monarchy as we know it.”

“And how does this rebel intend to end the monarchy?”

“The pie is vague on that point,” the man said. “It only wishes to sound the warning, and one other clue: The rebel will gather strength from the monolith at Dubyedodown Down.”

“I think you’re mad,” the princess said. “There is nothing to be found at Dubyedodown Down but geese and random toads.”

“Nevertheless,the revolution will begin there, on the 17th day of the 17th month after the cloudy moon.”

“Yes, yes, but I must return to my quiet now,” said the princess. “When was the last cloudy moon anyway?”

The flaming pie lifted the man into the sky, but as he rose out of sight he called, “Seventeen months and 16 days ago.”

“So,” she replied, “the rebel arrives tomorrow?”

But the man on the flaming pie was gone and could not answer or, if he could, could not be heard.

The princess pondered this vision and the message for many minutes, and then she emerged from her quiet place, not at all alarmed but a tad wary. Who was the man on the flaming pie, and how had he encroached on her quiet place? Who was this rebel? And how could one rebel break up the monarchy from down Dubyedodown Down? It seemed so very hard to do.

Still, she knew it could be true, and began to make precautions.

To Be Continued?

Leave a Reply