(I've been going through a terrible writer's block, as a result of which I've been turning out complete rot. "So what's new?" you must be saying to yourself, dear reader (silently, though, because you are too kind to discourage budding authors with criticism, however well meaning), but this time, it's Really Rotten. So I decided to attempt a little plagiarism with a story (I swear this is true) I heard from a random uncle at bedtime, many many summers ago. Said uncle is no longer among the living but any shortcomings of the tale are entirely to his account.)
Today, children, I will be telling you a fable. Once upon a time, there lived a just and wise king. A king who was loved and respected by his subjects. Not that this is germane to the fable but one has to build up atmosphere, no?
Right. The king had had a hard day hunting in the forest. He was on the trail of a fierce tiger. His team of drum-beaters and conch-blowers had cornered the beast for the king to kill but somehow, the tiger gave the entourage the slip. Darkness was falling. The king decided to go back to the palace.
At the palace, the king had a quick bath and a meal, washed down with a pitcher of chilled beer, and was asleep in no time, thanks to his strenuous hunt. And soon, he slipped into a dream.
He dreamt he was in the forest again. Chasing the tiger. Hot in pursuit, the brave king outran his entourage and soon, he realised he was in deep shrubbery, without any sign of the tiger. The silence was chilling. The wind would rustle the leaves once in a while. Suddenly, a bird or two would chirp out shrilly, startling the king. There was no sign of the tiger at all.
The king knew it was out there somewhere. He could almost sense it. Night was falling and the king suddenly felt that the hunter and the hunted had interchanged places. It was his turn to feel scared.
Suddenly, the king heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. A sixth sense told him this was not the breeze and he instinctively leaped towards a babul tree which stood before him. It was not a moment too soon, children, for indeed, it was the tiger and it had made a charge towards the spot the king was standing nary a minute ago. The king's instinct had saved him from certain death!
Safely atop the tree, the king looked down at the tiger. After a few tries at climbing the tree, which was too slender to bear its weight, the beast had settled down on its haunches, waiting for the king to come down, as it sensed he must, sooner or later.
The king to do nothing but wait, now, could he? He hoped fervently that his entourage would return and scare the beast away. But night had fallen and the forest was eerily silent. In the dim light of the moon, the king could see the glittering, watchful eyes of the tiger. The king was beginning to despair.
And to add to his problems, he needed to go to the bathroom very badly. Number one, if you know what I mean. Getting off the tree was out of the question so the king decided to do wee wee straight from the branch.
To the kings amazement, the tiger grabbed the stream of pee - yes, just like that - and started climbing up!
The king was startled and stopped peeing. The tiger fell on the ground with a resounding thud. The king decided to pee again.
Again the tiger grabbed the stream and started climbing. When it was almost at the branch, the king stopped peeing again and the tiger fell, this time with a louder thud.
Again the king started peeing and again the tiger started climbing and again the king stopped and again the tiger fell. This time the silly tiger did not get up. It had broken its neck.
The king was overjoyed and relieved. He decided to shin down the tree and ....
awoke to find his missus - the queen, that is - absolutely furious that he had peed all over his mattress.
The moral, dear children, is not to drink too much beer before going to sleep.