In the first day of the fourth year of the reign of Doofalon III, King of the Hoptoads, Lord of the Pond, and Supreme Warlord over the Action Figures, the Second Suitor of Lady Loopy Lilliputian tripped and broke his nose upon a rock shaped like a mushroom.
He had been pacing stiffly along the pond in what he hoped was a sedate, snobbish manner, when he noticed the First Suitor of Lady Loopy Lilliputian rowing the aforementioned Lady in a delicate boat made of a maple leaf. The Lady was waving a flower-petal parasol around, showering the First Suitor with smiles all the while. He looked quite pleased with this arrangement, and smirked at the Second Suitor.
This sight made the Second Suitor rather vexed, and he immediately drew his pine-needle sword, held it aloft, and began marching in circles, singing rowdy sea chanteys and adding lyrics that quite insulted the First Suitor.
When Lady Loopy Lilliputian heard the Second Suitor’s song, she began to cackle with glee, shaking the boat with her mad, melodious mirth. Annoyed, the First Suitor reluctantly changed out his contented expression for a peeved one, and quickly traded that for one of righteous indignation. He angrily rowed the boat over to where the Second Suitor still marched in circles, the song growing louder and more insulting by the second.
The First Suitor leapt from the boat and demanded to know what the Second Suitor was thinking. The Second replied affably that he wasn’t, really, and wanted to know how he could continue suiting if Lady Loopy Lilliputian was kept out on the water all day. The First replied that he had studied all the regulations, and wanted to know how Second had gotten into this story to begin with. Only one person could hope to marry Lady Loopy Lilliputian, and now that there were two of them, it would only cause conflict. I intervened and let them both know that this was my story, and if either had an issue with the way things were turning out, they could take it up with me.
The First Suitor fell into a sullen silence, thinking rebelliously that an author couldn’t just insert himself into his own story like that. A bird immediately dropped a whitewashed present on his head, and he quickly began a different train of thought.
The Second Suitor drew another pine-needle sword from his belt, and offered the hilt to the First Suitor, explaining as he did, that he would fight a duel to claim the right of Suiting Lady Loopy Lilliputian. First removed his whitewashed hat, chucked it into the pond, wiped his hands on his trousers and stated that that was the first bit of sense he’d ever heard come out of the Second Suitor’s mouth.
The two readied their blades, Lady Loopy looking on in amusement. Just as the suitors were about to begin, a passing ant trod on the Second Suitor’s foot, sending a jolt of pain running up his leg. Dropping his sword, he hopped around in a perfect imitation of a grasshopper. Until he tripped, that is.
Coattails flying, the Second Suitor smashed his nose quite painfully against a rock. When he looked up, he saw to his horror that this stone was not just any mere pebble, but had been weathered in the shape of his least favorite dish: a mushroom. The fungal stone leered at him with sinister intent, and the Second Suitor backed up, holding his bleeding nose. He turned to see the First Suitor methodically snapping the pine needle swords into absurdly small pieces and tossing them away into the pond. First, the clear victor, gave Second a gallant bow, then walked back to the boat, Lady Loopy Lilliputian on his arm. She had the grace to glance at Second sympathetically, but she went with First nonetheless.
The Second Suitor was crushed. All of his dreams of love had come to an end because of an ant and an eerily mushroom-shaped stone. He sank to his knees as the First Suitor rowed Lady Loopy Lilliputian away from the bank and out of earshot. “Why?” he demanded of the ant, but she just twitched her antennae and scurried away.
“Calm down,” I told Second. “The story isn’t over yet.”
The First Suitor and Lady Loopy were happily married the next day. Second was present at the ceremony and festivities, and did enjoy the day immensely, though it must be said that he had to wear his third-best pine needle sword. First apologized about the broken swords and the broken nose, and Second told him not to mention it, but did admit that he hoped the broken nose would make him look rugged and adventurous when it healed. First assured him that broken noses usually do.
Lord and Lady Lilliputian lived happily ever after (more or less), though I’m inclined to believe that Second got the better end of the deal. It turned out that Lady Loopy had many unrefined manners that, though forgivable in creatures of lesser rank, were disgraceful in a Lady, however Loopy she may be. For instance, resting your elbows on the table during supper is offensive no matter what. However, when you are having dinner with the delegate from Crickadia, it is not at all advisable, as he may (and will) think that you are mocking him, and in response, sever all diplomatic relations. So although the Lord and Lady loved each other and wanted what was best for the kingdom, King Doofalon stopped sending them invitations to public events, and they were forced to live quietly by themselves.
The Second Suitor met a charming young maiden at First and Loopy’s wedding supper, and soon thereafter, proposed to her. She accepted, and they too were happily wed. Second became a rugged, adventurous-looking moss farmer, and built a nice little cottage in the crook of a tree root. The couple were very happy, and got along quite well. The one thing that they ever quarreled about was what to make for dinner.
Second refused to eat mushrooms, but his wife enjoyed them heartily.
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