The Blinder King.
There was once a blinder king who came upon a small town.
Tall and lean, with tattered clothing, he introduced himself to everyone as being the “Blinder King”, a sojourner from great lands looking for work and a temporary place to stay.
Transitioning from one shop to the next, he would ask each of them, “Do you have any work for me here?” “Not here.” Each of them would reply. Becoming increasingly frustrated, the blinder king decided to press his luck one last time at the town pub.
“I am the Blinder King,” he introduced himself to the tavern owner. “I've come from great lands, with many tales, and am a performer of miracles of sorts; able to heal the very sorrow that you or any of your future customers may have, for I am the great Blinder King!” Awestruck by his dashing charisma and hypnotizing appeal, the tavern owner jumped at the opportunity to have such a dashing young man work for her. His tall and iconic personality would surely draw in new customers!
And so, it was there that the blinder king worked. Each night, listening to the problems of local customers while serving them drinks. Each day, cleaning up the pub before sleeping to make it to his next shift. It was a good life, filled with free food, free board, but most of all, free drink!
Then, one night, while listening to yet another tavern patron bellow on and on about their daily woes, the blinder king had a thought, “You know, I could teach you how to never get upset over these trivial problems again.” said the blinder king. As if witnessing a miracle unfold, the tavern goer pleaded “Please, sir, teach me!” “I shall,” said the blinder king, “but allow me to prepare first.”
That night, as the blinder king lay in bed, he began to plot. He schemed. He created an entire pathway to alleviate the man’s sorrow. “But,” he thought to himself, “at a price!”
The next night, the blinder king encountered the same man at the bar. “Is it time yet?” the man asked desperately. “Not yet,” said the blinder king “we need a few more people first. You see, I have learned many skills while on my travels, but my time is not cheap! To make our time worth while, we will need to find at least 12 other individuals wishing to learn. And the price? Well, that will be 1,200 Gillings.” “1,200 Gillings?!” The man said with shock, “that is just way too much!” “Do you want freedom from your sorrow or not?” said the blinder king. After some deliberation with himself, the man conceded. “I shall find you the 12 others.” the man said.
The night was yet another crazy one at the bar. Perhaps a little too crazy. For, this particular shift the blinder king had forgotten to shut the kitchen door on his way out after tidying up that morning. As the blinder king made his way back into work that afternoon, he was met by a now furious tavern owner. “You forgot to shut the door when you left!” she yelled, “now the rats have all gotten in and made a mess of the place!” Clearly exasperated, the blinder king remained calm and simply patted her on the arm, saying, “It was not my fault, madame. You see, it is yours. If you had only installed a spring to automatically shut the door whenever people left, we would not be here in this situation. Thus, it is actually you — the owner — who had the little foresight of knowing, who is at fault.” The owner looked at him in disbelief. “However!” said the blinder king, “I can solve all of your woes, both now and in the future, if you will allow me to teach you. You see, I am gathering up a group of 13 other students to teach regarding the various techniques I have learned along my travels in order to help them alleviate their sorrow as well. As you are my boss, I shall cut you a deal! You can join us and learn, and we shall forget about this terrible mess as it is obviously difficult for you to see past your own fault. That is, in exchange for allowing us to use your tavern during the day as a meeting space.” Reluctantly, though eager with the opportunity for redemption, the tavern owner agreed.
That night, the blinder king was met by his first student, the bar patron, who was excited to tell the blinder king about what he had accomplished. “I have found them!” said the bar patron, “I have found 12 other eager students wishing to know how they may also alleviate themselves of their sorrows!” “Perfect!” said the blinder king, “we shall meet here tomorrow during the day. The tavern owner shall also join us as one of the additional students, making it 14. She possesses much sorrow and begged me to increase my number to 14, so that I may accommodate her.” “Amazing!” wailed the bar patron, “you truly are a wonder, Blinder King!”
And so, the 14 of them met alongside the blinder king the next day. Each of them paying their Gillings beforehand. Each of them eagerly taking on the lessons and challenges from the blinder king. Each of the lessons becoming weirder than the last. They did this for 12 straight weeks. Day after day; listening, watching and learning. Never questioning, only open to the promise of alleviating themselves of their sorrow.
Then, on the 13th week, the blinder king said to them, “I must depart for a while, my friends. You see, I am a sojourner, and though I have taught you some of what I know, I am being beckoned back by the people of Britainia to answer a few of the questions they still have, prior to my lessons there.” “But when will you return?!” they all asked with grief. “Fear not, my trusty and loyal students of sorrow, I will be no more than two weeks there in Britainia.”
The next morning, the blinder king was off.
And the people waited.
Four weeks had gone by with no sign or message from the blinder king. “Where has he gone?” They asked amongst themselves. “Perhaps he has left us.” “No, he wouldn’t do that! He's a good man.” “Good man or not, he has taken all of our money and not fulfilled his end of the bargain.” “I still trust him!” “You can trust him all you want, but I think we should go after him. If not, at least, to make sure he is alright…”
The students eventually agreed and set off for Britainia.
It took them a total of four days of travel, but they had finally arrived. Eager to rejoin their blinder king, they hurriedly asked the nearest shopkeeper, “Have you heard of the blinder king? Is he here? Where is he?” “That fool?” “Fool?” the students were taken aback. “What do you mean by fool?” “That rapscallion has done away with a great deal of the towns people's money, all with the promise of redemption and an alleviation of their sorrow. Yet, the only thing he hath given them is more sorrow!” Now stricken with panic, the students asked the shopkeeper, “Where might we find him?” “Find him? He has left town some 6-odd months ago now and we have never seen or heard from him since.” Growing more panicked, the people pressed, “Did he teach here? Where did he teach? Can you point us in some direction?” “Yes, of course,” said the shopkeeper “he gained fascination by hanging around the locals with the most sorrow and likely the most desperate to learn; for, they believed that he held their answers. You can find his former students at the town bar.” And with that, they were off.
Pushing ahead and into the bar, the tavern owner-turned student spoke first, “I am the tavern owner of Rivendelle, I am looking to speak to the bar owner here.” “I am the bar owner,” a man replied, “what is it that you want?”
They spent the new few hours exchanging stories and grieving over their evident deception.
“…I see.” finished the tavern owner of Rivendelle at last, “…so he has conned us all. Conned us all with the promise of alleviating our sorrow, and in our desperation to be freed, we each fell right in without question.” “And do you know what the funniest part of all was?” the bar owner of Britainia said, “all this time he claimed to be a king.” “No, no…” rebuked the bar owner of Rivendelle, “he truly was a king...”
“…a king of tall tales.”