Voices of Poetry & Prose Issue #1 June 2014 - Page 22

Once upon a time, there was a Princess and Queen that ruled over the rich kingdom of Rodillen. The Queen was wise and fair while the Princess was beautiful and kind. They were loved by their people and shared their wealth with everyone. It was one of the happiest kingdoms in the world.

Then one day a stranger appeared before them. He was a charming man from a far off land whose people needed a home. Through a silver tongue and wonderful stories, he charmed the Queen and Princess. They allowed him to stay as a member of their court and his people were allowed to share in Rodillen’s wealth. Everyone was happy and the new citizens soon became family. Then one day the charming man proposed to the Queen and they became husband and wife.

It was the night after the wedding that Rodillen fell into despair. The Queen and the Princess were locked in the dungeon by the charming man. Revealing himself to be the Thief King, he took over the wealth of Rodillen and let his loyal thieves take over the kingdom. The citizens became scared and poor as the thieves took everything for themselves. The Thief King claimed the greatest of prizes that his followers stole and amassed a fortune in his treasure rooms. News spread and Rodillen became known as the kingdom of thieves.

Ten years later, a halfling thief named Nimby slipped into Rodillen. He was a friendly little thief with curly hair on his head and thick fur on his feet. Always dancing and telling stories, Nimby made many friends in the kingdom. One day he was told about the Princess and the Queen who once ruled Rodillen. He realized that many citizens were unhappy and that something had to be done. Being a helpful and trouble-making thief, Nimby decided to have some fun with the Thief King. The next morning Nimby went to visit the Thief King in his castle full of riches.

“It is an honor to meet a thief as skilled as you,” Nimby said with a low bow.

“Thank you, my little halfling,” the Thief King replied. He glowed with pride and leaned down from his golden throne. “What brings you here?”

“I am a humble thief and wished to learn what makes you so powerful,” Nimby answered. He smiled humbly and kept his eyes on the Thief King’s feet. “How do you control so many thieves?”

“I am their leader, so they obey me,” the Thief King declared.

“Thieves are not loyal people, your majesty,” Nimby calmly said. “Are you not afraid that they will betray you?”

The Thief King laughed loud enough to shake his piles of treasure. He cast aside his cape and revealed a patch sewn onto his shirt. It was a piece of golden cloth shaped to look like a raccoon’s face.

“This is the badge of the Thief King,” he proudly announced. “As long as I wear this, I am the master of every thief that has sworn loyalty to me.”

“Couldn’t one steal the patch?” Nimby politely asked, looking confused and dumb.

“I fear no thief because I am the smartest and most cunning of all!” the Thief King declared. He leaned back in his throne and yawns. “Now, I have my riches to count, so I bid you good day, little halfling.”

Nimby bowed and left the Thief King to count his riches.

That night, Nimby snuck around the castle guards, climbed over the castle wall, and slipped into the Thief King’s bedroom. Without a sound, he cut the Thief King’s patch out of his shirt and disappeared from the castle. The next morning, he was brought before the angry Thief King.

“I know you took my patch!” the Thief King yelled.

“I am but a humble halfling thief,” Nimby declared with a low bow. “I could never steal from someone as cunning and smart as you.”

The Thief King grinned at the halfling’s words because to him they rang true. His pride was too strong for him to see the truth. The idea that another thief could steal from him was ridiculous.

“Though I guess the thieves will be after your treasure now,” Nimby casually mentioned.

“Let them come,” the Thief King said in a powerful voice. “My treasure is protected from all who wish to steal from me.”

“I am sure there is someone that could do it,” Nimby politely argued. He gestured to the piles of coins and gems around the room. “Your treasure is everywhere.”

“This is nothing compared to the wealth in my vault,” the Thief King said. He pointed at a large metal door with a silver lock on it. “That magic lock can only be opened with the magic phrase created by the person who locked it. Only I know how to open it, so nobody will ever take my treasure.”

“You truly are the smartest and most cunning thief in the land,” Nimby praised with a happy grin. “I will leave you to your treasure.”

Nimby hid in a dark corner of the castle, sitting still for hours until the Thief King went to open the door to his treasure vault. The halfling thief snuck closer as the Thief King said the phrase to open the magic lock.

“Ducats and coins are the loves of my life,” the Thief King whispered.

Nimby waited patiently behind a nearby curtain. He stood still for hours waiting for the Thief King to leave the treasure vault. It was dark when the Thief King locked the treasure vault using his favorite phrase. Minutes later, Nimby had stolen the lock and left the castle. Wearing the Thief King patch on his chest, he spread word around Rodillen that the former Thief King’s treasure was defenseless. The thieves silently descended upon the castle and took every coin that they could get their hands on. As before, Nimby was summoned to the former Thief King’s castle the next morning, the lock and patch in his hidden pockets.

“I know it was you!” the Thief King shouted at the cowering halfling.

“I do not see how,” Nimby said with a low bow. “I do not have the patch to control your thieves. I did not know the phrase to open your magic lock. It is probably someone that is close to you and wants revenge.”

“The only ones that would want revenge are the Princess and Queen in my dungeon,” the Thief King declared with a wave of his hand. “They would revel in my downfall and reclaim their kingdom.”

“I would assume so,” Nimby agreed, nodding his head. “Could they have a secret passage in their cell?”

The Thief King stared at the halfling and realized that he had never considered that idea. In his haste to take the throne, he had thrown his new wife and her daughter into the dungeon without a second thought. With a grim look, the Thief King raced to the dungeon with Nimby a few steps behind him. The Princess and the Queen were startled when their hated captor barged into the dungeon and approached their cell.

“Is there a secret passage in your cell?” the Thief King asked, his mind confused by fear and anger.

“No, my husband,” the Queen defiantly replied, holding her nose up with regal pride.

“They are not going to admit it,” Nimby whispered into the Thief King’s ear. The halfling drew a dagger and smiled. “You will have to search the cell. I promise to watch them while you do your search. After all, I am sure you are a highly skilled hunter of secret passages like all thieves.”

“Thank you,” the Thief King said, pulling out the key to the cell.

The Princess and the Queen hurried out of their cell while the Thief King turned over their beds and kicked at their walls. With a loud clang, Nimby slammed the cell door shut and placed the magic lock around the bars. The Thief King stared at the halfling in stunned silence until his rage took over. He shook and pounded on the door, but it would not open for the former ruler of Rodillen.

“Ducats and coins are the loves of my life!” the fallen Thief King yelled.

“Do not bother, dear fool,” Nimby laughed as he placed the Thief King patch on his chest. “I changed the phrase to something you will never say. I will keep that phrase a secret, so enjoy your new home.”

Nimby, the Princess, and the Queen left the dungeon where the former Thief King can still be heard yelling to this day. He is forever trapped with his rage in the small cell among the rats and the cockroaches.

“The kingdom of Rodillen is thankful to you, Nimby,” the Princess said when she was back on her throne. “What can we do to repay you?”

“Do me one favor, your majesty,” Nimby answered with a friendly smile. “Never trust a charming stranger until you meet their true self. I cannot always be around to steal your kingdom back for you.”

Nimby set out with his loyal thieves in tow and never found a reason to return to Rodillen. For the Princess and the Queen never let themselves be tricked by a charming stranger ever again.

Nimby Fairy Tale

by Charles Yallowitz