A Dem Bones fairy tale
Long ago in the far away, on an unremarkable hill at the top of a nondescript mountain, there lived a Queen — herself unremarkable, as was her castle. Her problems were few and far between, though her Kingdom was vast. The serfs were often seen skipping through the Royal Meadows, on occasion naked as jaybirds but smiling nonetheless as they ambled through the bramble.
It was known that while the ladies of the court collected rubies and pearls, the Queen was given to collecting…sausages.
Not just any sausages. No, her agenda demanded they be made by her personal chef, and so it was that the Kingdom was often given over to the shrieks and squeals of hogs and cattle dying under the swift blade of Ye Royal Butchers, the last in a long line of the Butchenhogenbeef family from the other side of the mountain, a family of nondescripts with razor- sharp blades.
Once rooted in Slovenia, the family had arrived at the castle with the secret ingredients for smoking sausages of the Slovenian kind: garlicky delights stuffed with beef and hog ground just so. The smell of sausages filled the valley. In later years it was marked on a map as “The Valley of Bad Breath And Then Some.”
No fool among fools, the Queen was exacting in her commands: each sausage must be fully packed, 3” inches thick and a precise 7” in length, and each link was to be linked to the next and on and on and on. A special measuring tool was devised for meeting her demands, and though it was a simple piece of white string (in the days before string was even invented!), it did the trick, thus pleasing her Royal Highness. But that said, she personally measured each and every link the first thing in the morning. A special string was devised just for her and heaven help if it failed to measure up.
And thus began her day. First the measuring, then into her mouth popped the first delicious link (3”x7”) in a long string of links that linked the hours in her otherwise boring agenda, though now and then she paused to breathe deeply and think about the next link, and the ones after that. She rearranged her schedule so as not to miss even one morsel.
With all of the measuring and stuffing and such, the Queen’s girth grew by leaps and bounds and then some. The Royal Alterations Lady was kept busy stitching and ripping and adding fabric to the Royal Regalia in the Royal Wardrobe while awesome quantities of brocades and laces and velvets arrived daily to replenish the vaults of fabrics. Spools of thread, zippers and boxes of elastic transported across the mountains and valley, kept the Queen robed and the union workers smiling.
Until the dawn of a fine summer day when the Queen threw a hissy fit.
“The string… this string lies,” she screamed. “It tells me that the first sausage of my day is not seven inches, but is instead, a mere six! Am I to measure each and every sausage just to make sure I’m not being snookered? Summon the Butchers! I always suspected they were no-goodniks.”
And so began a year-long measuring of each and every sausage of the Slovenian kind festooning her boudoir. Down came the lusty ropes of link upon link upon link. Her personal string was brought forth and handed to the head of the Butcher clan who bent to the task. Each measurement was duly recorded by a scribe wearing bifocals, and none but the first link in the Queen’s day was found to be lacking in length. Alas! it was a mere six inches.
Though who among the bloodied clan Butcher would dare insult the Queen by giving her less than she deserved? Give or take an inch, heads would roll.
“Twas my doing your Royalness,” squeaked a withered old soul wearing a bloody apron and a huge lump on his pate. “I alone am to blame. Beggin’ your Royal forgiveness. The string I measure with is exactly the same as your string, but I’m thinking the day I did me measuring was the same day I slipped on the bloody floor and hit me head on the bronze sculpture of a sausage you ordered from Walkers Emporium in France. Beggin’ your pardon. Or perhaps I was out chasing maids in the meadow.”
Well, all’s well that ends well. The Queen, being generally generous, decided that generally speaking, and since it would never happen again, six inches of sausage is only one inch less than seven, and even the Butchenhogenbeef clan deserved one mistake.
To celebrate her generosity, she ordered free 7” smoked sausages distributed throughout the valley, all of which made the eyes of the maids in the meadow light up the night.
A truer tale has never been told. Under my pillow is a piece of string, even as I write. It comes in handy.