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FrankenPaulson, RumpelstiltBen, and the Spinning of Gold

By       Message John Q. Camarillo     Permalink

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Once upon a time, in a dimming city on a hill, FrankenPaulson, a sad assemblage of discarded souls, vacuous principles, and excessive skin, stumbled about the grove, lonely and despondent.

All of his magical woodland friends were in dire straits, (not the ‘80s band, but a tenuous state of being). Their magic was exhausted, having been used in excess to build grand castles, moats, and hordes of zombie-like protégés, and a great flood was soon upon them. Imposing edifices had already fallen as the waters approached. They did not know what to do.


So, the great kings of Crimson Hall decided an unusual pairing was necessary, and thus they called upon RumpelstiltBen, well-known for his unique ability to spin gold from straw, in exchange for the souls of the future-born.

“Go into the villages, RumpelstiltBen, and find us, oh, let’s say 300 million or so naïve villagers, and take all of their straw, so that all of it may be spun into gold. You shall have deed against their future-born.”


“The villager’s will resist,” RumpelstiltBen insisted. “How will we take all of their straw when they cling to it so?”


The great kings motioned to a guard, and in walked the towering FrankenPaulson. “Behold, the FrankenPaulson,” the great kings declared. “We have taken pieces from every treacherous henchman who has served us through the millennia and created this.” The great kings winced, assessing the monstrous specimen before them. “We were in a hurry…” they muttered apologetically.


“Go with FrankenPaulson into the villages. They are naïve and easily scared. Tell them that doom is upon them and only by giving up their straw can they be saved from the coming deluge.”
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Days later, FrankenPaulson and RumpelstiltBen returned, forlorn and distressed.


“The villagers descended upon us, oh, mighty king,” RumpelstiltsBen declared. “With pitchfork and crude instruments, they drove us off, saying, ‘You may not have our straw to save the woodland creatures. We need it to build our houses and feed our cattle so that we may survive this deluge!”


The great kings glowered at FrankenPaulson. “We’re you not scary enough? Did you not declare crisis and dark forebodings?”


“Yes, sires,” FrankenPaulson groaned. “But they volleyed upon us a new enchantment, one long since not heard, and it drove us back into the woods.”


The great kings seemed dismayed. “What manner of enchantment did these peasants use, our loyal beasts?”
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FrankenPaulson lowered his head in shame. “I cannot utter such curses, but they applied both to us and the horses we road in on.”


The great kings considered this, mumbling among themselves. Finally, they turned back to their brave soldiers.


“Go back to the village. Tell the Grand Decider of the village that he must win the people’s cooperation.”


A few days past, the duo returned. Again, the pale hue of failure blanketed their brows. Though arguably, FrankenPaulson always had such a hue.


“The Great Decider of the village spoke, but no one listened.”


“No one?” the kings decried.


“Not a soul, dear kings.”


“We thought he was the Great Decider?” they chided.


“The Villagers hold him in…lesser esteem, great kings.”


The kings huddled again, but soon returned to the Court. “Redirect the swelling river, so that a small portion of the flood is upon them. When an imposing building falls, they will have greater fear and give up their straw.”


The plan was executed and the great edifice Wamoo crumbled into the raging torrent. The villagers watched with dismay. But they continued to mill about with pitchforks chanting curses towards the kings.


“They have not been shaken,” RumpelstiltBen exclaimed. “Do they not see the might of our power? Where are my future-souls? How shall I have sustenance?”


The great kings considered the problem deeply, but soon returned to the halls. “Return, oh diabolical duo, and take counsel with the leaders of the villagers. Promise them reward upon success, and death upon failure. They will ignore the Villagers and collect the straw.”

The pair returned shortly. “The leaders fear the Villagers, oh, lords. For the villagers have pitchforks and stand united.”


Grumbling with frustration, the kings declared, “Return, then, and negotiate with these peasants and their cowering leaders. Do not return until you have struck a deal.”


The Creatures of the Kings and the leaders of the peasants huddled for days in the hallowed halls of the imperial temple. Soon, FrankenPaulson and RumplestiltBen emerged, parchment in hand.

“Behold, great kings, we have formed a deal!” They laid out the parchments before them and the words sprawled across the oak table.


After minutes of consideration, the great kings spoke:


“Is this not the same demand we made at the beginning, but with more words?”


“Yes, sires,” the two replied. "Many more words."


“And do those words have no boundaries, rendering them trivial?”
“Yes, sires.”


“And do we not get all of the straw of the Village, which we will spin into gold, leaving them with the debt of the future-born hanging above them?”


“Yes, sires.”


“And does not the ‘oversight’ preclude courts or law, and renders such imposition minimal because the overseers work for us anyway?”


“Yes, sires.”


The great kings mused among themselves. Finally, they posed a final question.


“What, then, is different about this bargain then the one you initially proposed?”


“Nothing, really, sir.”


“Then what was this all about?” they asked impatiently.


FrankenPaulson rolled his eyes. “Democracy, sires.”


“What manner of king is this, this ‘Democracy’?.”


“A king of a million crowns, your lordships. And they march upon us, in defiance of you, the leaders and Great Decider.”


A dark countenance fell upon the kings. “Ready our legions. As soon as you have collected the straw, render it into gold, for the deluge will sweep away all remaining straw.”


A meek voice cried out from the court. “Then, this will not save the villagers, oh lords?”


The kings seemed chagrined. “Of course, it will not. But soggy straw will not feed the spinning wheel, and no gold can be derived from such. So, we must collect up as much straw as possible before it is swept away.”


The voice in the court considered this revelation. “Perhaps the villagers march, pitchforks in hand, because they know this to be true also, my lords?”


RumpelstiltBen cackled nervously. FrankenPaulson regressed into the shadowy corner. The great kings rose to their feet.


“Perhaps, nameless voice, but we are prepared for such an end.” They motion to the guards who ring a bell. On cue, a dim specter drops from the shadows, unfurling is wings with a furious motion as it alights upon the marble stairs.


The kings smile, confident in their treachery.


“Behold,” their voices boom in unison, as the court trembles. “Count Chertoff…”


To be continued…unfortunately…

 

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