Dragged by a Nightmare

Once there was a man who had seven wives and countless horses. He rode his horses hard and did not care for them at all. The weaker the horse was the more whipping it received. He drove strong horses to their breaking point and then broke them more for breaking at all. He replaced them so quickly that many a horse collapsed only to watch him ride away on another. He always blamed the horse whenever he took a wrong turn and cursed a horse whenever it strayed. All his horses seemed disloyal and mean to him for he could not really see how they reacted to him, rather he only saw how they acted towards him and how he felt he had to react to them. When they flinched, he hit them even harder for thinking bad of him.

He remembers when he was a kid – maybe it was a dream, he could not be sure since it was so long ago – he wandered off into the jagged mountains one moonless night. And he lost control of his dark horse who threatened to buck him off the perilously steep trail. His little hands could barely clutch on. At one point he dangled from the mane over a cliff. The smell of the horse’s anger made him feel so powerless. His dad had died around that time but he could not remember that specific day at all or even how it happened. He was told his dad died in those same mountains. But he could not remember it nor if he was there to witness it.

And on his deathbed, his seven wives gathered around and were about to even feel sorry for a dying person when he told them he had no regrets at all except for the nightmare he would never share with anyone. And so they tied him up and let his horses pull and drag him to pieces over the jagged mountains after all they had suffered from him.

The King’s Finger

Once upon a time a king had a brilliant idea.  He had inherited a kingdom with many problems that he cared not to solve nor did he think could be solved anyways by any other king.  And with some bad luck the problems got so bad that the king knew there were subjects plotting to usurp him, not to mention the peasants had already marched to his castle with pitchforks and torches and demanded solutions he could not come up with.  

The king divided his power amongst his court as widely as he could.  He spread his actual responsibilities as thin as possible while keeping enough power to enjoy his wealthy habits like hunting and fireside concerts and lavish banquets and playing hide the finger with various subjects in his court or even by himself while taking a hot bath overlooking his vast countryside.  After all, he thought to himself, who doesn’t enjoy the pleasures of this world over the pains? And who would think it even possible to eliminate the pains altogether?

His brilliant idea for any problem was that he would put somebody else in charge of it so that when the people and the others in the court were fed up with that problem, they demanded that he cut off the head of the one in charge.  And he did so with ease because he knew that it was in exchange for his own. But he played reluctant and pretended to hold the burden of executing someone. And he shrugged as he pointed his finger. What else could he do? He had succumbed to the burden of leadership.

Anytime someone came to the king with a problem, all he had to do was point his finger at whoever he placed in charge of that problem.  The executions satisfied the kingdom’s anger and a new person in charge of that problem gave the kingdom hope again until the next execution. Before anyone could figure it out or do anything about this cycle that satisfied their feelings but solved none of their problems, the king passed away from natural causes after a long life of more pleasure than pain.