Have You Ever Seen A Great Dane Fly?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
The King of Denmark hatches a plan to eliminate his useless son before he has a chance to take the throne.

Submitted: February 02, 2014

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Submitted: February 02, 2014



Have You Ever Seen A Great Dane Fly?

Centuries ago, the King of Denmark had a problem. His problem was about 6 feet tall, had a cracking voice, enough pimples to supply the oil to boil prisoners with, and something resembling a dead caterpillar on his upper lip. His problem had perfected a certain sneer. This sneer usually came right before he called his mother, the Queen. That was another problem. The King wasn’t a small man by any means, but his wife was a full head taller than him and still muscled from her time in the mountains. (Not that her majesty had done any physical work, but rather had spent the time alternately berating her husband on the lousy choice of routes to invade the neighboring countries, and browbeating the poor baggage carriers so much they were each half the man they were when the trip began. Literally.)

The real problem was that the King thought the Prince was an idiot. He was arrogant, he expected everything to be handed to him (preferably on silver platters), and he tended to take offense at anything a commoner said to him, even if they had kept quiet out of abject terror. In any case, he was not the kind of man you wanted to run your country after you passed on. Unfortunately, it was the only son they had since the queen had turned as cold as the glacier they had once had to cross.

So here was the King and his son one day standing atop a mountain cliff overlooking the lands they had conquered because the Queen had decided they needed to spend quality time together. The King drew his sword and used it to point out over the fjords.

“Do you see all of that son?” He asked Majestically.

“You mean the ice?” The Prince sneered.

“Yes.” The King sighed. “And the land, and the seas, and the huts and the peasants, everything.”

“I’m not blind.”

That remains to be seen, thought the King. “One day, you will be King of all that land yourself. You will be expected to rule with an even hand and an even temper. You will be expected to manage the income and the debts of this great Kingdom. And you must be able to do so without angering our neighbors.”

“I know all of that. I just have to wait for you to kick off.”

The King glared at that remark, frozen in the mist that hung over everything.

“The point is,” he resumed, “that you have paid no attention to your lessons, and are shaping up to be one of the biggest brats this kingdom has ever seen.”

“So?” The Prince asked absentmindedly. He was staring at a gull with a fish in its beak that kept circle around looking for a good place to eat. It couldn’t find a good ledge because the King and Prince were standing on it.

“So! Listen to me you little whelp. If you don’t straighten up and fly right, you’re not going to last two weeks on my throne.”

The Prince’s lip curled up into that famous sneer. “Is that a threat?”

“Think of it as a promise. Those people down there are the backbone of this country. Piss ‘em off and you have no laborers, no industry, and an awful lot of torches and pitchforks at your front door at two in the morning.”

“That’s what your army is for.” The Prince said snidely. “Anyone tries to rebel, and our troops will put it down.”

A barely controlled urge to push the Prince off the edge welled up within the King. The only thing that stopped it was the thought of trying to explain to the Queen what had happened.

“Look, son.” The king sighed. “Running a country is like running a business, right? You have people working for you to produce the things you need to survive; you have people who sell you the things you can’t make. There’s tribute to be paid to the other kingdoms to keep them from invading…”

“I won’t pay it.”

“What?” The king spluttered out.

“When I’m king, I won’t pay everyone else to behave themselves. If they want to pick a fight, I’ll send in the army.”

“You can’t…” the King was at a loss for words. “Is that all you…?”

The Prince yawned, then turned to walk back down the path. “I’m bored with this…I’ll be in the city if you need me.”

The king was steeped in anger. It boiled up through the top of his head and out his ears as if it could escape like steam. If the Prince had looked back, he would have seen his father standing on bare rock, surrounded by a rather large puddle of melted ice.


From that point on, the King had decided that the Prince needed a lesson. It would preferably be a painful lesson, one with lots of broken bones. And if he didn’t survive…well, the King’s brother could take over the throne when he passed on. And after him, his nephew could take over; he was a much more solid and well-rounded person all in all than his own son.

So he began to look into various means by which to teach his son that lesson in a fashion that would leave him mostly blameless; perhaps some sort of new sport that carried with it a tremendous risk to life and limb. He called upon all of his advisors, he bade the clerics look through every test they could lay their hands on, hoping that he could find something that would suffice. They found nothing. He then put out a decree that included a reward for anyone who could come up with just the right thing. (Being very careful, of course, to not mention the result he most wished for. The last thing he needed was a bad reputation.)

The King spent days looking over hopeful claimants to his prize. The first that showed any promise was a gentleman who recommended lacing the Princes ankles together with a length of rope, and then encouraging the prince to jump. It was all the rage in the West, they said. So he gave it a try. He was terribly disappointed that the other end needed to be tied as well, and whenever he tried to cut the line while the prince dangled, he was met with many serious looks. Besides. The Prince loved it.

Weeks passed, and winter came on. (This simply meant that the air was colder than before, so that it took less time for someone to freeze. It also made the ice much more slick.) The annual ice sled race came up. However, despite many well-placed bribes, the Prince came in first place. The judges had forgotten to remove the prince’s sword, so anyone who came close enough to ram or bash or otherwise hinder his progress ended up with a splitting headache.

Months more passed and summer rolled around. The air was warm enough now to not freeze as it left the lungs, and the fjord swelled with water as the glaciers melted off an imperceptible amount. Finally, a wily looking merchant approached the king.

“I understand you are looking for a pastime to keep the young prince occupied?” He said in an oily voice.

“That is correct.” Replied the king.

“Furthermore, you wish that he should some of life’s lessons at the same time, correct?”

“As it says in the royal decree.”

The merchant began to look around the hall, making sure they were completely alone. He waved the king closer and dropped his voice to a whisper. “You also wish maybe that he not survive?”

The king whispered as well, due mostly to that phenomenon wherein if one person whispers, everyone feels they must as well. “How did you come to that conclusion?”

“Please, your Majesty. Don’t take me for the fool your son is. I’ve seen what you’ve tried to do. The rope jumpers from the land of Bun-Jee. The sled races. Anyone who looks can see what’s been happening.”

The king coughed uncomfortably for a few moments. “Well, what can you do about my problem?”

“I have an invention here that is the hottest thing going. They use a variation of it in the Far East for their military. The Italians, bless their souls, use it for fun. Of course, it is a complex device, capable of breaking down in many fascinating ways.”

“Really.” Said the king thoughtfully.

“Of course,” smiled the merchant, “It is not cheap. There are few who can pay the price.”

“If you can guarantee the results I need, I’ll pay your price, whatever it may be.”

The merchant’s smile widened, he licked his lips with a tongue that had an unusual split in the middle of the tip. He pulled out a sheet of parchment that was sealed with wax. Beneath the seal were the words ‘Top Secret.’

“In order for me to construct this device, I will need you to order everything on this list.”

The king broke the seal. After reading a few minutes, he smiled. “You’re sure this will work?”

“I guarantee it cannot fail.”

“Which means it will fail, Right?”

“Most spectacularly.”


Three weeks later, the king and the prince were once again standing on the ledge over the fjords. This time the merchant was there as well along with a huge wooden and canvas structure. The merchant was just finishing telling the prince about the device which creaked sullenly in the wind. The prince looked doubtful.

“And you say that it is the rage all across the world?” His sneer was firmly in place.

“You’ll be the envy of the known world. No one has one like this one.”

“And where do I sit?”

“Up here, on these cushions.” The merchant quickly tugged on the prince’s arm, leading him towards the seat. The king followed to watch.

Before he sat down, the prince pointed up at the canvas sheets fluttering in the breeze. “What are those for again?”

“Merely to catch the wind and power the machine.”

“Oh, like sails.”

“Indeed, your highness. Now, if you would just sit there, and attach these straps, we can get started.”

The prince sat where indicated, and the merchant led the king away. He whispered into the king’s ear: “Those straps won’t do anything for him. He won’t be able to do anything but fall.”

“Good.” The king replied. “The sooner this is over, the better.”

From behind them, the prince called out, “There’s a lump in this cushion!”

The king turned and shouted back “No there isn’t.”

“There is. It’s uncomfortable.”

“Shuffle around a bit until you find a comfortable spot.” The king was losing his temper again.

“There is no such place.” Came the whine.

“Let me see!” The king climbed up to where the prince was sitting, pushed him off the cushions, and sat down. “There’s no lump here! Now get back here, and sit down, you pansy!”

However, the only reply the king got was a sort of panicked struggled to maintain balance. Turning, the king saw that he had pushed the prince so hard, he was falling out of the machine prematurely, and if he continued, his head would intersect quite efficiently with the firing lever. Before the king could reach out to catch his son, the boy fell, the lever went down, there was a loud sound much like the sound of the counterweight of a siege engine begin dropped (which, in fact, was what was happening), and the entire contraption leapt off the ledge and into the sky. There was a tremendous scream that sounded much like a terrified eunuch. The king had been launched in the contraption instead of the prince.

The scream ended for a moment when the canvas sails filled with air and lofted the machine up into the sky. The prince and the merchant watched the receding machine climb and dip, turn a lazy spiral, and then climb some more. The king’s voice drifted back to the two watchers.

“This isn’t bad. Quite fun in fact. You cheat! You said this thing would fail!”

At that moment, a loud snapping sound echoed across the fjord, the contraption folded in on itself, and the king let loose another scream as he descended entirely too rapidly into the valley below.

The prince turned to the merchant with a grin on his face. He pulled out a bag of gold coins. “You had me worried there. I was beginning to think the thing wasn’t going to fall apart.”

The merchant bowed. “It had to happen at dramatic moment, sire.”

The prince looked into the valley below. “Do you think he survived?”

“That old goat? I doubt it.”

“Many thanks, merchant.” The prince handed over the coins. “I thought he was never going to pass on and leave me the throne.”


When the prince returned home that night, his mother stopped him, a look of typical anger boiling over on her face. “Where have you been? I haven’t seen you or your father all day. Do you know where he is?”

“I’m not sure exactly. He left suddenly. Seems he had a flight to catch.”


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