Guest Post: Steven Abell’s “The Toad Prince & Stuff”

Guest Post: Steven Abell’s “The Toad Prince & Stuff” August 16, 2012

Steven T Abell writes the Letters From Midgard column here on Patheos Pagan. If you like this please check out his column, as well as all of our other fine columnists and bloggers.

Once upon a time ceptin it warn’t actually so long ago there was a handsome prince and some people hated him for it cause some folks are like that and also he was rich and a whole lotta folks hated him for that. He knew that folks hated him and he’d stand up there on the balcony of his castle saying Hey don’t hate me for being handsome and rich cause I’m a prince and I was just born that way and I can’t help it. Course he coulda helped how he managed to stay rich cause he made up taxes for all kindsa stuff and it all went to him. Folks complained about the fancy parties that none of us got to go to and why did we have to pay for that? And he said his fancy parties was a good thing cause we could all be so proud of how much prestige and stuff he managed to collect from other kings and queens and princes and such when they came to party at his house. This didn’t carry much water with us as reasons go but at least it was a reason which was more than he could give for himself being handsome not that I cared much about that myself. You might be asking yourself why he was a prince and not a king and that’s cause he didn’t have a queen yet and according to the rules you can’t be a king without a queen in our neck of the woods so he set out to get one. The one he picked was just as nice to look at as he was hisself but in the female way and that was about all he needed. She had a reputation though cause everbody said she was persnickety and vain. Now you know that’s not too uncommon in women and if they do it right it’s even one of those things you can love about a woman but they got to know how to do it right and our new queen she wun’t one of those. We have some experience with this kinda thing around here cause we had a queen a while back who talked a lot to a mirror she had on the wall and that didn’t turn out so good. So now we had ourselves a real king and queen and nobody liked em much either one and some nervy folks was even asking what to do about it? Some wanted to go in and throw em out of the castle in the middle of the night which mighta worked or maybe not but then somebody said somebody should go talk to the local witchy woman cause she could put some hex or hoodoo on em and make em into a real nice king and queen. So somebody did go to see the local witchy woman but don’t ask me who cause I ain’t saying and she said she couldn’t help us much cause the only spells she knew could only make things more like what they already was. We cogitated on this for a while and thought it was OK after all depending how she did it. So those folks no don’t ask me for their names cause I won’t tell they went back and told the witchy woman to have at it and we’d pay her pretty for it. Next day things is real quiet in the castle and somebody finally gets up the gumption to go in and look and there’s the two of em the king and queen but now they’re toads no not great big person size toads but just toady size toads. They warn’t no stupid toads though cause they was kissing at each other which was kinda icky to watch but we could tell they was figuring they could turn theirselves back in to a handsome prince and pretty princess if they kissed each other but it turns out that only works if the one doing the kissing already is a handsome prince or pretty princess so they didn’t get anywhere with that. Somebody found a couple of velvet cushions and they put the toads on em and then they opened the windows so all the flies could come in and after no time at all our king and queen got accustomed to their new lives and selves and stopped complaining so we got on to more important matters like how to run a country without em. Lots of folks was saying we should just vote on everthing and majority rules and everbody said yeah that’s good so we did and the future looked real rosy. It didn’t take long though afore a nice conversation over a beer always turned into a nice conversation about who to gang up on at the ballot box. Then we got taxes for this and taxes for that to make everthing fair for everbody but nobody liked what they had to pay partly cause they had to pay it and partly cause they didn’t get to see where it went. Nor did they like what they got for it neither cause it never seemed like enough. After a while you couldn’t even tell how much you got but you sure knew how much you paid and it always seemed the other guy got more or paid less or probly both not to mention all the tax collectors and stuff we had to hire and pay for and couldn’t seem to fire no matter what. This was getting real out of hand and somebody said it was the witch’s fault. Course nobody really wanted the king and queen back but it didn’t matter none cause the witch knew that spells often don’t work out the way people think they will and then those folks get mad at the witch when maybe they should be mad at theirselves so she had long since lit out for the territories with whatever pittance we had paid her. Yeah that pittance part turns out to be interesting too but that’s another story. So there was no way to get the king and queen back from being toads and like I said that’s OK but we still had this problem. There was a guy named Fred who said he’d fix things for everbody if everbody would just do what he said so we tried that and he was worse than the king. We didn’t have no witch around no more so it was even harder to get rid of him. Then we had Alice. She was a nice lady. When anyone had a question somebody else would say Go ask Alice I think she’ll know so we put her in charge and after a while she was even worse than Fred. We ain’t got Fred nor Alice around now but we still got everbody with their hands in everbody else’s pockets and the folks who tend to talk a lot you know who they are they always say that ain’t so bad ceptin for the selfish people who ruin it for everbody. I don’t know that I agree about it being not so bad but it looks to me like that everbody thinks everbody else is the selfish ones and everbody I know can make a real good case why that is so and they ain’t selfish themselves. The upshot is that nobody wants to do much of anything at all cause somebody will just come along with their gang at the ballot box and take it from them all for a good reason of course not a selfish one. And if you want a nice happy ending to this story well I hate to disappoint you cause I don’t think anything is gonna change anytime soon. Sorry.

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