Enchanted Spark

Writing Inspirations
Congratulations to our April Photo Flash winner Shari Klase!


$76,464,126
By Shari L Klase

King Ferdinand was out of touch with his people. His people were farmers, but King Ferdinand didn’t know a rutabaga from a radish, which is interesting because a rutabaga looks more like a turnip than a radish. King Ferdinand much preferred riches to vegetables, though. He loved gold, silver and precious gems. He spent massive amounts of time determining how to acquire more.

In his drive to become even wealthier, he decided he would sell his daughter, Willomena, to the highest bidder, or suitor as he called it. Willomena was as anyone would expect, unhappy about the prospects of marrying just for money. She was a romantic and she wanted to marry for love. In fact, Willomena was much more than a romantic. She was a caring, compassionate but stubborn person. She decided that she would not stay cooped up inside a mildewed castle waiting for the fruition of her father’s will. Instead, she silently slid from her window one evening to find her own way. 

“Oomf,” she said as she fell on her bottom.

“Meowr,” said a cat underneath her bottom, struggling wildly to disentangle itself from her skirts. It sprang away from her angrily and then paused to glare at her.
“I guess curiosity can kill the cat,” Willomena said, smiling. She dusted herself off and headed to the village, where people strolled the streets before the soon coming sunset.

“Will we really lose the farm, father?” a young man asked.

“If King Ferdinand keeps taxing us all our profit, I fear we will, Francis.”

“Maybe I could petition the King. Surely, if I explained our situation to him, he would understand,” Francis reasoned.

“The King doesn’t grant audiences to peasants. He is a hard, uncaring man.”
Willomena winced. It was her father they were talking about after all.

“If I had my way, I’d thrash him to within an inch of his life. I bet he’d listen to me, then.”

“You’d be thrown in the dungeon. I fear we have no recourse, son.” At that, the father left his son and walked dejectedly home.

Willomena cleared her throat loudly. “Excuse me; are those things you said true about the King?”

Francis studied the girl suspiciously. “Why do you want to know? Are you the King’s spy?”

Willomena shook her head. “I am the King’s daughter.”

Francis laughed. “Hobnobbing with the Rif Raff, I suppose.”

“Have you really no money or gold left with which to pay the King?”

“The only gold we have is the dazzling yellow corn kernels in our storehouse.”

Willomena hesitated. “Corn is golden, isn’t it? I think I have an idea. You’re about to become a prince.”

Francis laughed. “In these clothes?”

“I think my father has something that would fit you nicely.”
                                                     
#

“Announcing Prince Francis,” the royal servant called as Francis appeared in robes fit for a king with a large basket of shiny, golden corn kernels. A silver tag marked them as $76,464,126.

The King’s eyes brightened. “This is extraordinary. Where did you obtain these wondrous bits of gold?”

Francis laughed. “I have much more in my storehouses.”

“Amazing! You are the highest bidder, I mean suitor, I have seen so far. You shall have my daughter’s hand in marriage.”

The King’s royal advisor guffawed. “But your majesty, this man is obviously a charlatan. The contents of that basket are not worth $76,464,126. Doesn’t your highness realize…”

“Silence!” the king shouted. “You just want all the riches for yourself. I have always suspected you of that.” He turned to his royal guards. “Seize my advisor and exile him to the farthest island from my kingdom. And summon my daughter. She shall meet her new beau.”

“This is wonderful, father,” Princess Willomena said. “With such wealth you will no longer have to tax the peasants in your kingdom.”

King Ferdinand stroked his chin. “Very true, daughter.”

It did not take long for Willomena to realize Francis’ heart was pure gold, so she was able to marry not for money but for love. This may sound corny, but the pair lived happily ever after. Everything turned out well for all concerned. King Ferdinand’s time and efforts were taken up counting all the golden kernels of corn in his royal store. Prince Francis eventually became king and together with his queen, ruled the kingdom wisely, which goes to show that the saying is true that all that glitters is not gold, but it really doesn’t matter anyway.


Bio: Shari L Klase lives with a husband who paints and a daughter who writes and a corgi that keeps it all real. She writes because she loves it and because she must.

1 comment | Add a New Comment
1. Holly Jennings | May 10, 2014 at 07:39 PM EDT

Another great story, Shari! Loved the voice of the narration. Also loved how crucial the picture was to the tale. Well done.

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