Do you like fairytales? (Or your children... or grandchildren...) This one is for you. But please remember - I'm German and I'm not a professional translator so maybe it’s not perfect.
The dissatisfied king
Once upon the time in a kingdom far far away there lived a king who always asks for more than he received and who was constantly unsatisfied.
One day a new servant arrived at the castle and his first commission was to prepare the king’s breakfast.
But when the king entered his dining room there were only a loaf of bread, salt, a bit of butter and a mug of milk at the table.
The king turned around the servant and said with a sigh: “I know you’re new and you gave you’re very best, but I’m the king and I want a kinglike breakfast.
I need fresh white bread, pungent rye bread, dark whole grain bread, crispy crisp bread, soft buns, crunchy pretzels, nice-smelling croissants, sweet cakes and cookies. As well fresh butter, scrambled eggs, much strawberry jam, a bit red currant jam, golden honey, a few slices semi-hard cheese, a little pot cream cheese, several kinds of sausage, a drop liverwurst and cold meat.
To drink I want freshly pressed orange juice, tea and coffee with milk and sugar and naturally I will only eat from my golden plates and golden cutlery. Oh and somebody has to lecture me the newspaper.”
Ashamed the servant left to answer the king’s wishes.
After breakfast the king wants to take a bath and instructed his servant to prepare everything necessary. But when he entered the bathroom it was ice cold and a wooden washing tub was standing in the middle of the room. On an footstool nearby lays a chunk of soap and a itchy towel.
Instantly the king called his servant. “That’s a kind of joke? I’m the king! Shall I freeze to death? Make a nice warm fire and than get me my silvery tub! I want to stretch my legs while bathing. Aside from that I need warm water, not cold. Much warm water and fine soap which smells like roses, lavender and herbs. Bring me my soft towels, my cozy gown and my fluffy slipper as well as my body cream, my face cream, my toilet water and my after shave and tell my hairdresser to come and make my hair.
After doing this you can pull up my carriage I will go for a drive.”
Depressed the servant sneaked away. He really wants to make a properly job but every thing failed.
When the king was ready to go – kinglike dressed and coiffed – and left his castle for his carriage he found a common buckboard, hitched up with the most beautiful black horses you can imagine.
But the king was dissatisfied again. “I’m the king!”, he railed against the servant. “I can’t go for a drive in a buckboard. What will subjects think? I need my golden carriage! And I don’t like black horses! My beautiful golden carriage is only drawn by the most gorgeous white horses in my stable. And where are my golden, diamonded crown, my scepter and my orb? I will need them! Furthermore I’ll have my comfortably warm ermine coat and my fur-lined boots. It’s cold outside! Go and get them and than prepare my dinner.”
The servant hurried away and was intend on doing it right this time.
In the evening the king returned from his ride and was hungry as a wolf. In the dining room the servant had set the table with the king’s golden plates and there were a delicious smelling roast meat with potatoes and a ruby red wine in a crystal glass.
But once again the king was unsatisfied.
“You’ll never learn. I’m the king! I’ll have stuffed pastries for dinner, delicious soups, superb meats, fresh venison and game, crispy poultry and baked fish. As side dish I’ll have fresh bread or dumplings but never ever potatoes! And for dessert I favor chocolate puddings, strawberry ice creams, layer cakes, fresh figs and sweet dates. And where are the musicians to amuse me with her melodies? Go! Get them and turn my bed down.”
The servant bolted to clear up the matter.
After dinner he ushered the king to a bedroom with a plain bed inside.
Certainly the king wasn’t satisfied.
“What shall I make of you?”, he shouted. “I’m the king and that’s not a king’s bed! I want my wonderful, big four-poster bed with velvet curtains, lots of little pillows and my fluffy duvet! Get out of my sight and make it better tomorrow!”
With tears in his eyes the servant went to bed. All day long he’s made a stream of mistakes. He’s hardly fallen asleep when was woken up from the king’s chamberlain.
“Stand up! The king is in bad health. Go and get the doctor.”
The servant rose up immediately. First he wants to get the king’s personal doctor but than it comes to his mind how that worked the day before and he set off to do it right this day.
Meanwhile the king was laying in his bed, squirming with pain. He had a bad headache, a evil collywobbles and twitching toes.
“Where in the world is my servant with the doctor?” he moaned, but nobody knows. He waited and waited… Finally, in the late afternoon, the servant returned to the king’s bedchamber.
“Where the mischief have you been?!”, the king asked angrily. “I’m the king and I’m in blinding agony!”
The servant bows his head.
“Pardon me, but I was as fast as possible. I got you all doctors I could found: the personal doctor, the surgeon, the neurologist, the ophthalmologist, a midwife, a dentist, a veterinarian, a pediatrician, a faith healer, a shaman, a herb woman and the gravedigger.”
The king’s eyes went bigger and bigger while the servant told who he had brought. He really found every single doctor who lived in the kingdom. When the servant finished the king starts laughing. “Truly, you’re a bad servant but you’ll make an excellent jester.”
© Petra Staufer, 2002
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