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The Stars Might Lie..
The Stars Might Lie
The small hut went up like a torch within two seconds of Larry the Ogre placing a match to its thatched roof. As usual there was a ‘wow’ moment as the fire blazed high into the night sky and all the goblins cheered – except for Gerald of course. He stood facing the miserable human’s penned-in sheep, feverishly trying to count the shifting livestock.
“Hey! You goblins!” shouted a nearby dwarf. “Grab as many sheep as you can and carry them back to the castle.”
All the goblins did as ordered, mounting a sheep on each shoulder – all except for Gerald of course. He was busy multiplying the number of goblins times two and scribbling the result into his pocket notebook.
Donald the goblin seethed at him loudly: “Lucky, put that darn notebook back into your pocket and pick up a couple of sheep like the rest of us. You can’t afford to get in trouble again – not after that whole ‘These aren’t the druids you want’ debacle!”
Gerald picked up two ewes and hissed back: “That would never have happened if I had just asked for their Social Security numbers!”
“Their what?” asked Donald.
“Their Social Security numbers – an idea I’ve been playing with for giving every citizen of the kingdom a number when they’re born and…”
Donald fell in line behind seven other goblins and Gerald got in line behind him.
“Lucky. I hate it when they call me Lucky,” he muttered, knowing he’d get a whack on the back from the gatekeeper for being the last one through the gate again.
Later, back at the castle, Gerald dropped off his sheep, counted the ones in the pen, and then went walking through the market place. He happened past the open door of the mail office and noticed the troll behind the desk accept three stamps to send a scroll to the next kingdom.
“Are you certain that’s enough postage to get the message to Dwarfinburg?” asked the King’s knight.
“Of course – I send all the scrolls out with three stamps –no matter how much they weigh or how far they go,” said the mail-troll.
Gerald took out his pocket notebook and scribbled down a tiny note.
The next morning it was time for all to grovel before the Dark Lord King and give an accounting of themselves.
“Hear ye, hear ye. All those having business with his highness the Dark Lord step forward,” announced a guard.
Another knight came forward, approaching the throne while bowing. “My Darkest Lord, we have yet to hear from the Western Lands. I beg your permission to raze their castles to the ground because of their insolence in not returning your summons.”
“Really?” asked the king weakly. “My favorite brother is the ruler there. I hope it doesn’t need to come to that.”
Gerald crawled over to the throne. “My Deepest apologies, but perhaps I might have a moment…”
The king and all the court laughed at the tiny goblin. “What is your name gremlin?”
Gerald grimaced at the whole ‘gremlin’ thing. “My name is Gerald.”
“No, no, no…” said the king. “You’re Lucky aren’t you?”
“Yes, your darkest highness…Lucky.”
“These aren’t the Druids you’re looking for...” shouted the king, laughing.
“Your highness,” Gerald replied - taking out his pocket notebook, “it seems that all mail is being sent out at 3 postage stamps regardless of how much it weighs or how far it goes. However, a scroll sent to another kingdom automatically kicks over to 6 stamps. So your brother may never have received your message because of postage due.”
“Then I don’t need to kill my brother? I can just send out scrolls with appropriate postage?” His royal emptiness thought for a moment before saying, “I like this little troll. Someone get him a pillow to sit here, beside me, on the step.”
So Gerald sat on a pillow as a knight came forward. “Your Cruelest Majesty, the troops were planning to attack the village McKenna on the 21st of this past month but by the time our battering rams and catapults arrived, the town had already been pillaged and burnt to the ground by another king’s warriors.”
His Grand Nastiness was obviously agitated. “What do you think, little gremlin?”
“I think that if you want to be sure your shipment of armaments get someplace on time; send them near their destination one day early. That way the United Pillage Service will be certain your weapons are there, ready for your Knights when they arrive.”
“Great idea little elf!” shouted the king. “Someone get Lucky a drumstick,” shouted the king.
“Next!” yelled the guard.
Three ogres shuffled forward. “My king, we have been plundering the countryside of cattle, stealing helpless wenches – all to increase your coffers and your herds.”
“Ogre Curly – How many sheep did you bring in?” asked the king.
“Some,” answered Curly sheepishly.
“Ogre Larry – How many sheep for you?”
“More,” answered Larry.
“Well ‘more’ is certainly greater than ‘some’,” said the king. “Ogre Mo – how many for you then?”
“A lot,” he answered.
“Well ‘a lot’ is certainly greater than either ‘some’ or ‘more’. Kill Larry and Curly.”
There was a cry of distress as the two ogres were grabbed by eager hands. The king’s eyes drifted over to the tiny gremlin, errr – goblin. Lucky flipped open his notebook.
“Well, in truth your royal viciousness, Curley confiscated 10 sheep, Larry brought in 8, and Mo pillaged 15 – but had 10 put into his herd on the way to the castle.”
Mo started shaking but Larry and Curley were ecstatic, placing the tiny Goblin on their shoulders in triumph.
“This day a new kind of hero has been born!” proclaimed the king. “All hail Lucky the elf, ruler of all numbers everywhere!”
“I am Lucky!” shouted Gerald. “And the saying is true: The druids might lie but the numbers never do.”
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