17. King Wallbanger

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Once upon a time there was a king who met a beautiful princess, married her, had a child, and was just starting to live happily ever after when, unfortunately, his wife was eaten by a passing dragon. The king was inconsolable. He locked himself up in the most solitary tower of his castle, where he proceeded to wail his heart out and bang his head against the wall.

Bam! Bam!

"Oh God! Do you hear? He's at it again! What shall we do?"

The king's servants and his young daughter had gathered before the tower room. They were all afraid of what the king might do in his despair.

"Can't you get him to stop?" pleaded the little princess.

The royal architect shook his head in despair. "I wish I could, Your Highness. But he will not—"

Bam!

"—listen to—"

Bam! Bam!

"—reason."

"But we most do something!"

"Very true." The royal architect looked grim. "If he goes on like this he might endanger the structural integrity of that beautiful tower. And it's the best example of neo-gothic architecture in the whole city."

Bam!

"Or," the little princess pointed out, glaring at the architect, "he might hurt himself!"

"Oh. Yes, that, too."

"Besides," yawned the lord general, "with that racket going on all the time I haven't gotten a decent night's sleep in three days. I'm thinking of declaring a state of emergency."

The little princess, deciding that her father's loyal subjects didn't quite have their priorities straight, concluded that she would have to take matters into her own hands. She had already tried talking her father out of cracking his head open against the wall, but so far without success. The death of her mother had hit him hard, and he seemed determined to hit back, using the wall as his target. There was no reasoning with him. Thus, there was only one thing she could do.

"Get me a mattress this instant," she ordered. Immediately, two guards ran to do her bidding. When they returned, the little princess led them into the tower room, and once the king's head was away from the wall...

Bam!

Bam!

"Now!"

Thud!

Thud!

The little princess and her retinue stood back, admiring their work.

"Quite an inventive idea, Your Highness," the royal architect congratulated.

Thud!

Thud!

"Yes, but it's only temporary," sighed the little princess. "Find the royal mattress maker. Tell him I need a special order—a hundred mattresses, as soft as possible, but tough and durable, and able to withstand repeated hits by an object—"

Thud!

"—as hard as a wrecking ball. A really, really hard wrecking ball.""

"Are you sure about that, Your Highness?"

"Trust me, know my father."

"Very well, Your Highness, it shall be done." The lord general bowed. "But what should we pursue as a long-term solution?"

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