The Misery Of Love

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
To give insights on what makes love joyful and bad in the process of dating or courtship.

Submitted: September 15, 2016

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Submitted: September 15, 2016




There was once a duke called Jackson, who was the ruler of the Ashanti Empire. He was a mighty warrior, and had conquered many empires and defeated the Amazons; whose Empire was called Gonja Land. He married their queen Emily, and brought her home together with her younger sister called Lawrencia, in pomp and glory. When the returning duke and his entourage reached the outskirts of the town, he slowed down because he saw a number of women in mourning kneeling across the highway in a double file. They were wailing and lamenting and their cries were moving. They drew near the duke and held the bridle of his horse. Jackson asked them who they were.

“Have you come to spoil the celebration of my victory with your lamentation?” he asked, “And by the way, why are you in black?” he enquired. The women replied that they had come to beg him for mercy and help. They were in great distress and needed relief. Everyone among them was once either a queen or a duchess. Now they were completely disposed, for fortune had not been kind to them. One of them explained that she was the wife of King Stephen, who died not long ago at Gonja. The rest of the ladies had also lost their husbands on the day of the battle. King Joseph has ordered that the bodies of the dead husbands should be drugged out into a heap, which was neither buried nor burnt, but left in scorn or the dogs to devour. This was a serious outrage on their husbands. Jackson was angry when he heard this story. He came down from his horse and was all the more moved by the sight of the pleading, hopeless women. He comforted them and said that as long as he was a true knight, he would do whatever I his power to take vengeance against King Joseph, the tyrant. He promised that the land of Ashanti would forever remember how he met and killed this wicked man.

He ordered his men to turn around, without delay he set out for Northern Region with all his army. Emily the queen and Lawrencia her sister meanwhile rode to Kumasi to wait for the return of the duke. The duke attacked Northern Region and in bloody battle defeated Joseph, who was killed by Jackson himself. The region was ransacked. The bodies were restored to the ladies and were burned according to custom. In those days it was the practice to burn such bodies. After the battle, the duke retired to a field near the town and disposed of the conquered land as he thought fit. His soldiers were in the meantime still ransacking the battlefield and pillaging. A group of them who were so engaged came across two men with bloody wounds lying under a heap, half dead. Those were Guggisberg and Bismark, two princes of Gonja land who were cousins. The pillagers recognized that they were of noble birth and also carried them to the tent of Jackson who ordered that they should be dispatched at once to Ashanti Land and imprisoned for life. He would not accept any ransom for them. His orders were carried out. They were taken to the palace and kept in the tower. The duke later returned to Ashanti land in the full glory of a conqueror. One day in May, young Lawrencia, who was now a young woman and extremely attractive was strolling in the garden of the palace of Jackson. Her skin was smooth and her hair shone like gold. She walked slowly through the beautiful red and white flowers gathering the roses to make a garland for her hair. Near the garden was the well-fortified tower were Guggisberg and Bismark were. It happened that Bismark had got up. Sometime in the past, he had asked the jailer and had been allowed to move up to the top of the tower to view the city. This had now become a habit. It was on one such occasion that he happened to turn his eyes to the garden where he saw Lawrencia in all her radiance.

Bismark nearly fainted at the sight of Lawrencia. His heart troubled with excitement and he was so overwhelmed that he cried in anguish; for she was very, very beautiful and appeared to him like a goddess. Guggisberg heard him and asked him what it was. Bismark told him what he had seen, so Guggisberg came up to have a look. When he saw Lawrencia, he, too, was overcome and swore that he must see her every day. Bismark heard this and became upset and asked Guggisberg whether he was joking or serious. But Guggisberg said he was serious. Bismark added that since he was the first to see her, Guggisberg should have no thought of her, especially to the extent of wanting to see her. Guggisberg must know that, he Bismark was in love with Lawrencia and that it would not do for the two men to love the same woman.Guggisberg told Bismark that he was mistaken. He loved Lawrencia as a woman, but Bismark’s profession of love was only spiritual not physical, and therefore of no consequence. He would like to remind Bismark of the saying “Whoever bound a lover by law, has made a big mistake. Love is a law unto itself.” As far as he was concerned, he was in love with Lawrencia. It did not matter to him if Bismark too loved her. A heated argument took place between these two prisoners about who was Lawrencia’s lover.

One day a great duke called Sampson and a friend of Jackson came to the castle. He had been a friend to Jackson since childhood and has come to spend few days with him. Sampson new Guggisberg and liked him very much. He therefore entreated Jackson to release Guggisberg without ransom. This was a lot to ask but Jackson agreed on one condition. On no occasion should Guggisberg set foot on any land or country belonging to him. He is caught, he will be beheaded. On this condition Guggisberg was set free. But he was a miserable man because he no longer had the opportunity to see Lawrencia again. Bismark meanwhile was languishing in prison and felt sorry for himself. So while Guggisberg grieved for losing the sight of Lawrencia, Bismark wept for being kept in prison. What worried Bismark more was the thought that Guggisberg could raise an army, defeat Jackson and marry Lawrencia, while he became wasted in confinement? Naturally, he became jealous.

So Guggisberg went to Gonja in great pain for having lost the lady he dearly loved. Two years passed. One night as he slept, a god appeared and spoke to him saying, “You will go to Ashanti and there will be an end to your misery”. Guggisberg had a start and woke up. He decided to go at once to Ashanti land. He was determined to see Lawrencia even if that would mean death. He dressed carefully disguised as a laborer looking for a job and in this manner, stole into Ashanti land to the court of the duke. Guggisberg was a very good servant, strong, tall and hardworking. For two years he worked for Lawrencia as her page-of-state under the name of Kenneth. All this he was able to do because he had changed in appearance as a result of excessive grief. He had a burning love for Lawrencia whom he thought he had forever lost. Everybody in the court liked him, for his behavior was that of a born gentleman. Jackson promoted him and made him his chamber squire and paid him a lot of money. In addition, Guggisberg own people brought him money secretly. This was the revenue due to him as the prince of Gonja. He spent the money carefully and for the next three years he was an extremely happy man. Seven years passed Bismark was still in prison. But in the seventh year, he managed to escape. By the help of a friend, he got some opium. He put it into wine and gave it to the guard. The opium was narcotic and soon the guards slept deeply. Bismark was able therefore to get the key and unlock the door and escape. It was almost day when he fled from gaol, so he had to hide in a bush near the city so that during the night he could escape to Gonja. He planned to raise an army when he got back and attack Jackson, defeat him and marry Lawrencia.

Guggisberg was now the principal squire to Jackson and had freedom to do many things. It was his habit to ride into the outlying fields for pleasure and exercise. It happened that on this day, for no apparent reason, he rode straight to the bush where Bismark was. He was so happy that he was singing aloud by himself. Bismark heard someone coming and singing, he was frightened and crouched in the bush. Guggisberg suddenly stopped singing and was soon lost in thoughts of Lawrencia. After some time, he started talking audibly lamenting his lot. Finally, he spoke about Lawrencia saying among other things: “You kill me with your looks, Lawrencia. You are the cause of all my misery!” After saying this he fainted but recovered a short while after.

When Bismark heard these words, he shook with anger and forgot that he was a prisoner on the run. He crawled under the bush to go and challenge whoever had spoken those words; and there was Guggisberg who was speaking of Lawrencia. Bismark recognized him immediately he tried to challenge him because he knew him very well. There was a bitter argument and Guggisberg drew his sword to finish Bismark off. But like a true knight, he realized that it was not fair to kill Bismark when he was not armed, so he said, “Tomorrow, on my word of honor as a knight, you will surely find me here. I swear that I will come here with arms and armor for both of us, and you will have the privilege to choose first the best arms and leave me with the worst. I shall also bring you enough food and drinks as well as clothes with which to make bed. And should you be fortunate to kill me in this forest, you may have my lady.” So back to the town he went to find the arms for the tournament. He returned the next morning, and without ado, the two engaged in a desperate fight after helping to arm each other.

That very morning, the duke had gone out to hunt with his nobles followed by a long retinue. He was accompanied by Emily, his lovely queen, and Lawrencia who was dressed in lovely green. It was indeed a royal sight to behold. As they rode across the field they saw a bush into which the barking dogs had entered. The duke followed the dogs and suddenly the hunting group came upon Bismark and Guggisberg in the midst of the bloody fight. He immediately ordered them to stop the fight. “Whoever strikes again will be put to death immediately!” He asked them to disclose who they were; for he could hardly recognize them because of the state in which they were. Bismark spoke first. He said, his enemy was no other than Guggisberg the man the duke had ordered not to enter his realm on pain of death. It was Guggisberg who had treacherously returned and presented himself as Kenneth. This was the man he had made his most trusted servant. And this was the man who had dared to love Lawrencia. He continued, “I know you have caught me too and I know that the penalty is death. I’m therefore prepared to confess who I am. I am your enemy Bismark, who broke from out of your prison. I am in love with Lawrencia. I have spoken the truth and I am prepared to die. The duke replied, “This is interesting. Your confession is enough to send you to the gallows and you shall both surely die!”

When the duke pronounced a death sentence for the two princes, it was a sad thing. And when the queen heard the duke’s words, she began to weep. So did Lawrencia and all the ladies in the company. It was a pathetic sight. They cried for the two gentlemen who, because of their love for a woman were going to be killed. Already their bodies were covered with bloody gashes gasping wide. The women pleaded with the king to have mercy on them. The king told the gathering that he had been in love once and he knew what love could make men do, so he was prepared to listen to the queen, her sister and the ladies; and spare the lives of the two young men on condition that on no account whatsoever should they try to raise an army and attack his kingdom.

He said also that as far as the queen’s sister was the cause of their jealousy and deadly fight was concerned and no two men could marry her at the same time; he therefore proposed a solution. Each of them should go away for a year and return with a hundred knights fully armed and ready for battle. The two team of knights would fight each other in a tournament. The prince of whichever side won would have Lawrencia as his wife. He himself would be the judge. Both prince were highly pleased with the duke’s proposal and went away full of thanks and hope.

For this tournament the duke prepared in the course of the year a splendid arena, the magnificence of which no one has seen before. It was about a mile in circumference and the tien for the spectators rose sixty feet high. On the east of the field was a marble gate. Another white marble gate was at the west. Portraits and carvings decorated the stand of the duke and the queen. There were also statues. The duke himself supervised the details of the setting. The day for the tournament approached. The two rivals had been to Gonja and had recruited a hundred knights each. They wore special helmets and armor and were fully armed and eager for the joust. Each knight had sworn on his honor to fight gallantly according to the rules of chivalry. On the eve of the tournament, the noble duke Jackson led the knight in a procession through the town. He gave them very comfortable lodgings and feasted them royally. Their apartment were beautifully decorated, the food was tasty and nourishing.

An hour before sunrise on Monday, the day before the tournament, Bismark prayed and offered sacrifices to Venus, the goddess of love, to let him win so that he could have Lawrencia in his arms. Lawrencia however was in no happy mood. She prayed to the goddess Diana to find some way to make both men forget her so that there would be peace between them. The goddess promised in response to her prayer that the one who suffered more for her would win her in the long run. Guggisberg too, prayed to Mars, the god of war. He offered sacrifices also and asked the god to make him win the battle the following day. As he prayed a voice said, “Victory!” Guggisberg became happy, thanked the god and went away full of hope. The day of the tournament came and great were the activities. The knights came out fully dressed and in full splendor. The pageantry was wonderful to behold. Jackson was awakened early in the morning by the music that had already started. He got ready for the tournament in his full royal robes. He looked gorgeous, almost like a god, he sat in state; and the people came to pay their respects.

At last everybody was seated. The knights had mounted ready for battle. Jackson commanded silence and said, “I have decided that no one shall be killed in this tournament. Anyone who fight to kill will forfeit his life. If a person is injured he must be carried away and treated. No blow should be inflicted with the intend to kill. As soon as anyone is dislodged from his horse he should consider himself defeated and must quit the fight. I wish you all the best and may the gods bless you. The crowd applauded the duke’s ruling and roared with joy. The trumpet sounded and the combatants came forward; then a procession was formed. The duke led it, flanked by Bismark and Guggisberg. The queen and Lawrencia rode immediately behind them. The rest followed according to their rank. Slowly the procession moved to the arena. Everybody settled down waiting heartlessly. The fight was long and interesting. Bismark saw Guggisberg and took him on. As they fought, strong Emetrus came to the aid of Guggisberg and his sword cut deep into the flesh of Bismark who in spite of his wound kept fighting. Lycurgus seeing Bismark plight rushed to his aid but he himself was unhorsed and had to quit the lists. Emetrus too, in spite of his strength was thrown off his horse by a powerful blow from Bismark. All the same, Bismark after hitting Emetrus fell from his horse with him, and he had to admit defeat and had to leave the arena. Jackson then ordered the fight to stop and declared Guggisberg us the man who won Lawrencia. There was rejoicing all over the place. But not quite so had the gods ordained, especially Venus. She appealed to Saturn and Saturn consulted Pluto. And what happened? Suddenly, Guggisberg’s horse panicked because of the magical spell of the gods. It danced round and round and reared. Guggisberg was thrown headlong to the ground with a broken leg and he lay as if he was dead.

He was taken to the palace for treatment, and the doctors did what they could to revive him. Slowly he became conscious and calling the name of Lawrencia all the time. At last, Guggisberg sent for Lawrencia and Bismark and said, “Oh Lawrencia, I love you. My life is done but my ghost will serve you forever. I had a long struggle with my cousin Bismark because of my love for you and my jealousy. I recommend Bismark to you. He is a deserving man, if ever you choose to marry, never forget Bismark because he is good!” As he said these words; slowly he speech failed him and he died. Jackson built a wonderful tomb for Guggisberg at the sight where he came across Guggisberg and Bismark fighting to settle who should marry Lawrencia. It took years to complete the funeral rites. One day after these rites, Jackson sent for Bismark as well as Lawrencia. All his court was present and there was absolute silence. Then he said, “Guggisberg who manfully won the hand of Lawrencia through chivalry is dead and we are all sorry for this. But sometimes, through sorrow we get joy. I have decided that Lawrencia and my people have agreed_ should be given to you, Bismark, who have always loved and suffered for her since you saw here. You are therefore her husband according to the law of this land. Give me your hand and Lawrencia give me yours. I need not to say much, the two of you are joined in holy matrimony!” great was the rejoicing when Bismark and Lawrencia became man and wife and they lived as happy couple.

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