Friday, June 28, 2013

Never Give Up

There once was a wizard named Fred.

Fred was not a particularly good wizard.

In fact, he was a particularly bad wizard.

Fred was not "evil" bad; he was "inept" bad.

Despite his being a particularly bad, Fred had advanced degrees from respected schools of wizardry and he was well connected. So despite his being a particularly bad wizard, because of his credentials and endorsements, Fred held the most prestigious wizardly appointment in all the kingdom. Fred was the king's personal wizard and advisor.

The queen had had her doubts about Fred when she interviewed him for the position. However, not knowing all that much about wizardry, she had discounted her reservations and deferred to others more knowledgable in such matters.

That was a big mistake.

Each time the queen sought Fred's counsel on whom to appoint to a position among her royal advisors, Fred chose someone with impressive credentials, sterling endorsements and absolutely no experience in his areas of expertise.

Each time the queen sought guidance regarding the selection of implements for an upcoming battle, Fred chose exactly the wrong one ones. When Fred advised "rock", the opponent would invariably show up with "paper". When Fred advised "paper", the opponent would invariably show up with scissors. When Fred advised "scissors"...  well, you get the point.

Fred's acts of wizardry were no better. He'd consistently call out the names fifty-one wrong cards before naming the one selected. When making a canary disappear, the only one who could no longer see the canary was Fred. His acts of levitation always resulted the summoning of the royal paramedic squad.

After years of terrible advice and cringing every time Fred offered to perform magic or cast a spell, the queen decided that Fred should no longer be chief wizard. Unfortunately, Fred's was a lifetime appointment... unfortunately for Fred that is.

One fine morning, the queen called for a full session of her court. No one knew why the session had been called. The hall buzzed with rumors and gossip as the queen's clerk turned to the crowd and called the session to order. The room fell silent as the queen rose, looked to Fred and asked him to come stand before her.

Fred, who thought that perhaps he was receiving an award or even a knighthood, smiled gleefully, waving to the spectators as he strode to towards the throne.  He turned to face the queen, gave a slight bow, and then looked up expectantly.

The queen said, "Fred, over the years you have proved yourself to be an exceptional wizard and advisor. I dare say, no queen has ever had one like you."

Fred smiled, thinking that perhaps he might even be receiving a promotion.

The queen continued saying, "Fred, you are, in my not so humble opinion, the worst wizard and advisor ever. Therefore, I am terminating your appointment."

Fred cried out, "But Queen, my appointment is for life!"

The queen said, "Yes, it is. Therefore I have commanded my executioner to complete the terms of your appointment at sundown today. As is the case with any member of my court, you may chose the manner of termination."

Fred said, "May I suggest, 'old age'".

The queen answered with a glare and then continued, "You may be burned at the stake, beheaded by axe, hanged from the gallows or any combination thereof."

The queen looked to her left and said, "Guards, please remove the chief wizard and detain him in the dungeon."

It's inner workings frozen and rusted from years of inactivity and neglect, Fred struggled valiantly to engage his mind. What he needed was... what he needed was... was...  a... what he needed was a thought! As each of two burly guards grabbed one of Fred's arms, he blurted, "Queen, if you will please hear me, I have something to offer you that may cause you to change your mind, something quite valuable, indeed."

The queen gestured for the guards to pause. Fred struggled to generate the next thought.

"What have  you to offer me, Fred", said the queen.

"Your majesty, I must confess that I have withheld from my most powerful wizardry. My deeper skills are so powerful that I've always thought them too powerful to reveal. Unfortunately, I find myself in a position where I must now confess them to you."

"Go on", said the queen.

"Yes, um", said Fred. "Perhaps a demonstration would be appropriate."

"Indeed it would", said the queen.

"While I could call down fireballs from the sky or call up earthquakes from below, I believe something a bit less destructive might be appropriate", said Fred.

"Mm, hm", said the queen, beginning to lose in interest.

"Queen, if you will give me just six months, I will teach your royal horse to speak", said Fred.

"Teach my horse to speak?", asked the queen.

"Yes", said Fred, "I will teach him to speak fluently and expressively."

Every one in the hall held his breath as the queen pondered Fred's proposal. After a few moments, the queen looked Fred in the eye and said, "Fred, you have six months. However, you will be held under guard until either my horse speaks or your term has ended."

Later that evening as Fred sat alone chained to a wall in the dungeon, the door to his cell swung open and in walked his apprentice, Harry. Fred smiled, glad to see his friend.

As the sat talking, Harry became more and more gloomy. Fred asked him why he looked so sad and Harry responded, "I'm so glad that you got a six month reprieve, but I don't understand how it's ever going to work out."

Fred, who seemed not at all bothered by his prospects said, "Look Harry, today I went from having six hours to having six months. Many things can happen over the course of six months. Any one event has the potential to change everything. Who knows? The horse could talk. The queen could die."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Read, smile, think and post a message to let us know how this article inspired you...