About Reptilspire Productions
Once Upon A Time

A revision on a much older tale, by Matt Hohnstein.

- I -

The judge’s gavel rapped.  “Mr. Knight: for the crimes of embezzlement, solicitation, and capital dragon-slaying, I hereby sentence you to…”

The Knight swallowed hard.

“…death by catapult!”

But, that would make for an awfully short story now, wouldn’t it?  So, let’s just say that the judge said this instead:

“…undertake a series of quests to atone for your crimes!”

There we go.  That’s better.

The quest began and the Knight was grateful of his opportunity to redeem himself through the performance of one good deed for each of his charges.  As he made his way through the countryside, he stopped at houses and asked if they had any good deeds for him to perform, but alas, they did not.  After many hours of traveling down country dirt paths, he became fatigued and stopped at an inn in a small village.  The innkeeper told the Knight that he was out of single rooms and only had a room for two occupants.  Partially not wanting to waste the fare to sleep, partially giving in to his old ways, the Knight sought companionship for the night.

The Knight patrolled the village in search for a female companion but to no avail as most of the occupants of this village were trolls.  Literally.  The search continued this way for the next few hours until the Knight came to a cloaked man that offered the Knight companionship with the most beautiful strumpet in all the land if he would only answer a riddle: “What moves about on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?”

The Knight replied: “a one-armed man riding on a horse that gets off and walks to get lunch, only to spill his grog and have to crawl back in the evening.”

“That is correct” the cloaked man replied.  “I will send down the most beautiful strumpet in all the land to your room this evening.”

The Knight returned to the inn and waited in anticipation.  When the Knight heard a knocking at his door, he knew the cloaked man had kept his word.

“Come in,” the Knight said.

The most beautiful strumpet in all the land entered the room.  The Knight recoiled in terror.

“It can’t be!” the Knight shouted.  “No!”

“Daddy!” the most beautiful strumpet in all the land shrieked.

- II -

After the humiliating incident with the most beautiful strumpet in all the land, the Knight’s own long-lost daughter, he rode off from the village in shame.  Not only did he have to atone for his embezzlement, solicitation, and capital dragon-slaying charges, but now he felt that he must also do penance for the previous night’s incident.  After several days of riding, the Knight came to a bridge that was guarded by a troll.

“Guess my name or you shall not pass,” the troll stated.

“Hermey,” the Knight boldly stated.

“Ha!”  The troll laughed.  “That is not my name!”

The Knight scratched his chin.  “Ralph,” he stated confidently.

“Wrong again!” the troll shouted gleefully.

The Knight was perplexed.  Certainly this troll was named either Hermey or Ralph, since those were the only two names that trolls named themselves!  “Your name must be Hermey or Ralph!” the Knight exclaimed.

“Close, but it is indeed Not Hermey Nor Ralph, my good traveler,” the troll replied with a confident grin and a wink.

The Knight gritted his teeth and pointed at the troll.  “You are wrong!”

“No,” the troll replied.  “I am telling you, good sir, that my name is: Not Hermey Nor Ralph!”

“Liar!” the Knight yelled at the troll.  It was then that he dismounted his steed and killed the troll, only to realize that the troll had been standing in front of a wooden sign which bore the name “Bridge of Not Hermey Nor Ralph The Troll.”

- III -

The Knight regretfully added “troll murder in the second degree” to his list of penances and continued.  Further down the road there was a kingdom that was suffering from a terrible famine that was due to the curse of an evil dragon that lived in a nearby mountain.  Upon entrance to the kingdom, the Knight found the people starving and unable to move.  The princess of the kingdom called upon the Knight to save the people by slaying the vicious dragon to remove the curse upon the land.

The next morning, the Knight rode up to mountain lair of the dragon on his trusty steed and fought the dragon to the death, finishing off the beast with his magical sword.  The Knight then chopped the body of the dragon into pieces and hauled them back down to the kingdom and served a great feast of dragon to the starving people.

Unfortunately, the dragon was poisonous and everyone in the kingdom died a slow and agonizing death.

- IV -

The Knight grabbed his list of penances, which now contained embezzlement, solicitation, capital dragon-slaying, picking up the most beautiful strumpet in all the land, troll murder in the second degree, and wrote in “dragon poison genocide.”  At a river just south of the now-dragon-poisoned village, the Knight noticed two small boys drowning.  He was quick in his rescue.

“Thank you mister,” the first boy said.

“It is my pleasure,” the Knight replied as he patted the lad on the head.  “Because of this deed, I will be able to remove a bad deed from my penance list.  Will the two of you come along with me on the journey as proof that I did a good deed?”

“Sure, mister,” the second boy said and they continued down the road.

“Hey kids,” the Knight said as he reached for something on his belt, “would you like to hear a song on my flute?”  The boys excitedly nodded and the Knight grabbed the flute from his belt and began to play.

The Knight played several rousing tunes and his new travel companions quite enjoyed them – until the pack of flying monkeys with eight-foot wingspans were attracted by the flute playing and swooped down and snatched the two lads.

Copyright 2009 Matt Hohnstein. All Rights Reserved.