Plight Thee My Troth

There were two brothers, the older named Kain, the other Unable. Their
father turned sickly and was put to rest, leaving all his riches to the first-born,
which was the custom all men followed when the end took hold of them.
Kain had 600 acres of fine grazing ground, and a lordly house on a high hill.
Adjacent to this grandeur stood a single shack on a swampy spit, the shack no
more than a leaning shelter previously a chicken coop. It was here that Unable
trod his bitter days, along with three chickens stolen from the brother on a dark
night. Here also was buried the doomed father, spaded down so deep the grave
had all but become water, a fact which would become relevant epochs after this
story has reached its natural conclusion, which it will in another 800 words.

What happened is Unable, one cold night, was picking up sticks to make a warming fire, when he chanced upon a beautiful starving creature whose clear voice said without preamble, “Feed me, and we both shall prosper!”

“Feed you?” said Unable, “when I cannot feed my own self and my old father laughs nastily, nightly, in his watery crypt where my brother sent him.”

“You have chickens roosting with you,” the creature said. “They lay no eggs and are only good for eating. Cook them and you may sleep with me.”

So Unable wrung the necks of these chickens, plucked and basted them and turned them on a spit above the fire until their fat sizzled, and the creature ate them almost in one breath as insects swarmed about.

“I am still hungry,” the thing then said. “Go ye yonder to your brother Kain’s homestead, and round-up every young pullet can be snatched. Pluck, salt, and roast them: then shall we eat them and I bed you and shower your flesh with undreamt-of worldly pleasures.”

“Low though I am to earth,” said Unable, made irritable by his status in God’s kingdom, what haughty beast are you, to issue such instructions?”

And the “haughty beast” reared up, swaying one way and another, dappling the night sky with long fingers.

“Beneath the mulching twigs yoking me,” she said, “reside a being of unparalleled youth, beauty, and intellect, which paragon shall be yours the whole of your fleeting time on earth. ‘Princess,’ they call me, and Princess I am and ever shall be.”

Unable was dazzled by this speech, and by the vision appearing before him, and he scurried away on bare feet to do as bidden.

In truth he was deeply smitten by this hour, and calling the hag Princess, since to his eyes she was.

Brother Kane, meanwhile, was sleeping on an airy mattress imported from the heavens, when a great noise from the chicken yard compelled his one eye to snap open, and his one arm to reach for the cudgel.

“A fox among my precious foul” was his certain thought, and up and down his many acres did he run, taking swing at every shadow seen: This through the long night, all to no avail.

Princess licked every last chicken bone and rubbed her pretty tummy, at last saying to Unable, “Now for bed.”

Now, naturally, this was only a manner of speaking since both knew Unable possessed no bed, so they got together in Unable’s toe sack, which was his normal sleeping arrangement.

It bothered him no little bit that her bones creaked and cracked at his every touch and that her flesh felt rough to his hand as cut glass on a boar’s hide, but the poor man had never slept with a princess before, as with little else, and he pronounced himself on the whole content. Yes, content, and his smelly coop a mansion beyond compare.

But there remained the angry brother who, with daylight’s arrival, followed a path of feathers to the hovel’s very door.

Kain saw the sack, and movement inside the sack, and he circled that sack the longest while, until at last curiosity overcame dread and he poked it with his weapon, saying, “Fox, if you are in there, know that you are a moment removed from breathing your last.”

But then he felt faint, as first a pretty hand emerged and, second, a naked shoulder, and, next, a lovely form more exquisitely sculpted than Mother Eve’s, with legs longer than either of his two sisters, and the bosom higher…

“Feed me,” said this form, “and you shall prosper beyond all human design.”

But Kain was no fool, all the family’s brains having come to him, and his sickly father and cunning mother and daft sisters having been dispatched to their swampy reward, and him left happily alone a titan in princely solitude.

“Food I have aplenty and you shall have it,” he said, “if such is your wish. I rule this domain like a fearless baron, and vengeance in all instances has been mine. I shall now be climbing in the sack with you, to anoint you as I please, to frisk and frolic, clink and churn. Afterwards, you may sleep outside my door on a rotted mat, running to my every call.”

This was the speech he made, and then some.

Whence… he entered the sack where now the form awaited and upon her bones did his own creak, crack, churn and thrash until eventually did they fall apart and scatter, soon to become dust blown hither and yon by sundry winds.

Gradually, the form slid free of the sack, grit biting at knee and elbow but now aligned with divinity. And where she strode burnt grass turned green, bent plants regained foliage, shrub and tree stood higher, each and every brook ran clear, and the swarthy sky swirled pink and blue.

The old gospels had got many things wrong and now all was put right.

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