"Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder!" Lucinda screamed at the top of her rather prodigious lungs.
All the palace was awakened because she'd been yelling like a cornered banshee for the past two hours without let up.
"Don't you dare quote such drivel,...as if those platitudes should make me feel less pained!"
Lucinda was beginning to lose some of the power behind her caterwauling, due to the length of time she'd been holding forth. Her mother, Pauletta, Dowager Queen, was doing her level best to quiet her daughter, the Little Queen, as all knew her behind her hunched back.
Yes, there was the matter of the hump... slight slope actually...nothing too remark upon in the polite society of the Little Queen's Court.
Among the Little Queen's entourage,there was an odd man, rumored to be a Sorcerer, but hiding his dark magic behind the Jester's facade.
Unfortunately, Lucinda had overheard the Court Jester taking extreme liberties, naming this slight curvature and including it in his newest limerick. Her attention was first captured by the jolly sounding recitation as he began:
"I'll prance like a ninny from the bloom of the sun, till the curtain of night crashes down
For crumbs from the table, I'll spin like a top, or juggle the apples my Lady has munched
I sing for my supper , a tuppence to feed me while I'll whirl like the devil's own clown
For the Little Queen's fancy, I'll stand on my head, until her back is un-hunched!"
"I shall not be mocked by my own Court Jester! Cut out his offending tongue, string him up by his twiddling thumbs..."and so it went on long into the graying of the day.
Alas, the Little Queen wore herself out with all her emotional outpouring and finally had to take to her bed to recoup her strength. Her Ladies in Waiting hoped she also recovered her senses during her rest.
As she lay upon the downy bed, she thought better of removing the Jester's tongue or hanging him by his thumbs. "Too cruel" she thought dreamily. Her eyes drowsed shut and she dreamed of having a beautiful, straight back. No hump to ruin the line of her gowns and draw unwelcome stares and whispered comments behind fans.
In her deep slumber she saw herself as free of the hunch back and when she awoke, she made a vow.
"If the odious Jester is in truth a powerful Sorcerer, he will be made to repair my back and I'll allow him to live."
With this resolve firmly planted, the Little Queen called the offending Jester into her presence.
He was covered in whip marks and filth from the dungeons, but his appearance was more remarkable still when the Little Queen noted the large hump upon his narrow back.
"What manner of taunt is this?" she screamed, thinking he mocked her still.
"Look only to yourself, Majesty and see the truest love I bear, that I would take your pain upon myself."
The Little Queen ran to the first large mirror in the hall and saw that the hump on her on slim back was gone. She stood straight and slender, beautiful in her own eyes.
That's when she heard a deep and growing wail of grief and sheer terror begin to rumble and roll like thunder through the castle keep.
"What's this? What is amiss? Guards..."
But they too were screaming out in dismay and clutching at their faces and rubbing their eyes and moaning! Over and over the words flew like swords..."I can't see! I am blind! Oh gods help me, I am stricken without sight!"
The entire Court was struck blind except the Jester and the Little Queen. He was smiling slyly and she...she was still screaming with fear and frustration.
The moral of this story? Be careful what you ask for from the Dark Jester!