Stone Boots guard the narrow path. For this is the path leading to the King’s garden.
If the rumours about the King’s garden are true, then the blossoms are larger than soup tureens and explode in every possible colour, the lawns of fragrant herbs are softer and thicker than the most skilfully woven Persian carpets, and if you so desire you can swing in a hammock of luxurious twining vines or walk among leafy trees from whose boughs come the most exquisite birdsong.
To reach the garden you have to go to the very end of the narrow path where you will need to search for a small wrought iron gate entirely hidden by a thicket of blackberry bushes covered with thorns the size of pitchforks and berries larger than soccer balls. (These berries are luscious beyond belief. Do not be tempted! Trust me on this.)
Beyond the gate, once you find it, is a thick wooden door reinforced with iron studs and locked on each side with twenty-three heavy duty bolts.
Beyond that, a fifty-foot wall topped with broken glass and barbed wire.
Inside is the garden.
But even before you get to the gate and door and wall, you have to pass the Stone Boots.
The first to come along the narrow path is the loud-mouthed Glenhan prince, determined to snatch a trophy blossom from the garden.
Then the pale Bulwib chieftain. A girl, this one. She may look sickly but she’s always won any fight or argument with her twelve older brothers. Why should she not try her hand at claiming the sweetest flower in the garden?
Finally the youngest son of the yellow-biled green-spleened Taggewit Emperor from the ocean beyond the river leaps from his boat and races down the path, believing the prize bloom is already clutched in his hot little hand.
The Stone Boots, able to crush seventy with a mere tap of the toe, make short work of all.
The Taggewit prince! What a mess! Yellowish-greenish slime covers the narrow path for days. And the smell! Even after a thorough wash down with Lysol and a torrential rainfall the smell lingers.
“Good job,” says the King. “Keep it up, lads.”
The Stone Boots make that shuffling stomping sound that signifies “Thank you Sire.”
But the Taggewit smell has affected their enthusiasm for stomping princes, chieftains and youngest sons.
Now they find themselves dreaming (they all think and dream alike) of the cool waters of the river that rushes past behind their backs. Of the boundless blue sky above their heads. They dream of the King’s garden with its vines and grasses and blossoms. They dream of sun twinkling through the leaves of a spreading oak while they sit beneath on a golden swing with the princess.
For of course there’s a princess in the King’s garden.
The Stone Boots dream and plan. Together they will deal with the wrought iron gate, the fortified door and the fifty-foot wall. No problem. Likewise the King.
But then? Then?
The Stone Boots watch each other, waiting, dreaming and plotting. Which one will win the fair princess for himself?
Thanks to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow for the inspiration!
“Site/Interlude” by David Moore (1994) can be seen in Montréal’s René-Lévesque Sculpture Park.
This is Blurt #31 in my Year of the Blurt! My new year’s resolution was to write one Blurt – a quick, spontaneous story – each week through 2016. If you’d like to read more, scroll down through my blog posts or click on 2016 Thursday Blurts. Thanks for visiting.