Some Fairytales Are More Grim Than Others

Once upon a time, there was a kingdom not so very far from here, ruled by a mad and cruel king. By royal decree, every newborn child was to be delivered immediately to the Royal Physician’s chamber where, behind closed doors, the Royal Surgeon injected each son and daughter with an insidious poison. Afterwards, the child was released back into the custody of its parents.

Now, you might well question the intelligence of a monarch, even a mad one, who would murder every single child born under his aegis. Why, by simple calculation one can easily reckon that, within a generation, such a ruler would have no populace left to rule…deposition by attrition, as it were. Ah, but you have underestimated the shrewd malevolence of the king, as well as the subtle efficacy of his poison.

Working day and night, and calling upon the spirits of the age, his alchemists had fashioned a bane of remarkable malignancy. Such was its nature, that it bonded with the unique, essential qualities of the astrological configurations under which each child was brought into the world; that particular contour of the universe in which every human lifeform was inextricably embedded. Consequently each death, as well as the inherent and various sufferings preceding each death, was exquisitely fine-tuned to each individual. This allowed for an almost infinite variety of afflictions for the king to enjoy, with the added bonus that he could stretch out the misery long enough, in a significant enough percentage of the population, for new generations to come into being- thus perpetuating the cycle, forever. The name of his poison was ‘Fate’.

Oh! There’s one curious detail I’ve left out concerning the mad king, and his kingdom. For you see, the king had no standing army; in fact, throughout the entire kingdom there existed not one single, conscripted soldier. So what, you might reasonably ask, would compel an entire population to acquiesce to the mad king’s cruel and absurd practices? Well, I guess the only answer I can offer, is that it was the way things had always been done in the kingdom, and nobody had really ever thought to question it.

Or, maybe it had something to do with the fact that everybody in the kingdom was related to the king; and you know what they say about madness running in families.





  1. Posted April 7, 2008 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of Nick Bostrum’s Fable of the Dragon.

  2. isaywhattheywont
    Posted April 19, 2008 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I think what Mr. Bostrum fails to take into account is that there’s a far easier solution; one that doesn’t require untold new generations to be ‘fed to the dragon’ whilst waiting for some highly conjectural ‘magic missle’ to be discovered, or invented (and even he admits that the realistic goal is simply to be a little bit older and healthier before being fed to the dragon).

    Simply stated: STOP GROWING FOOD FOR THE DRAGON TO EAT! No new harvest, and the dragon simply starves to death. The end of suffering. The end of death. And the end of the dragon’s reign…in a single generation. And THAT’S no fairytale!

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