Friday, September 20, 2013

Ch. 10: The Bane of Little John

Hey Friends! 
Just wanted to let you know that I did the final edit on this one myself in order to get it out faster.  Editing is not my strong suit so I hope you can forgive any mistakes and just enjoy this important story.  My boys had plenty of things to say about this story.  Some were very profound.  I'd love to hear what thoughts you and your kids have regarding this story so feel free to leave a comment.

Happy Tales!

Ch. 10

The Bane of Little John

By Kristen S. Sandoz 2013

I think now it is a good time to tell you the story of Little John.  Oh, I know you have already heard part of his story.  He was a bandit who helped rob from the rich to give to the poor.  A seemingly honorable occupation, but a bandit he was and one does not merely become a bandit, a thief, or a lying beggar overnight.  We must always remember that everyone has a story and some stories are not happy ones.  Some are complicated, hard, rot with pain, and very sad.  Such is the case with Little John.

Before I tell you the rest, or rather I should say the beginning, of his story I need to tell you about one very important little thing called a Soule Locket.  Every child ever born in the world in which this particular kingdom exists is given a Soule Locket on the evening of the seven night of life.  This Soule Locket is given them by the Keeper of the Lockets.  He is a mysterious and elusive man known for his wisdom and power.  Some would call him a wizard others a warlock but regardless of what you call him he is good.  He appears to baby and, sometimes mother, that magical night of the baby’s life, much like the fairy in Pinocchio but with less glitter and sparkle.  He places a single Soule Locket, engraved and fashioned by his own hand so that no two lockets are the same, on the neck of the baby and whispers a blessing which he encloses in the locket.  This blessing becomes what is known as Soule Dust and it is the single most precious element in this mystical world.  Most children are taught at an early age to guard and protect their Soule Lockets. Some never learn their true value therefore lose it or carelessly give it away.  Still others are forced to pawn it in order to maintain their own miserable existence.  Then there are those who have them ruthlessly stolen from them.  If the truth be told a Soule Locket with its contents fully intact is a priceless and highly coveted possession that some would even kill for one.

I hope you have a clear understanding of what a Soule Locket is.  Now let’s get back to Little John.  He was the youngest child of a beloved and faithful priest.  The priest had three daughters and another son, named Benjamin, who was the eldest.  When Little John was four his older brother was 16.  Most people in their village called him Big Ben for he was a large and strong lad for his age.  In fact Little John was called little because his small boy stature next to Big Ben made for a decided contrast which was hard to ignore.  The two boys, despite their age and size difference were very close.  Big Ben loved having a brother to look after, wrestle, tease, teach, and love.  Naturally, Little John thought the world of Big Ben.  How could he not?  Big Ben was kind, brave, sharp, and strong. Everything a young boy admires.

That is why it was a total surprise to everyone when an outbreak of the pocks infected all five children of the priest’s family.  All recovered from the illness except Big Ben.  His fever lingered and soon an infection set in that eventually took his life.  Little John was devastated.  How could a strong lad like Big Ben die and he himself, who was so weak in comparison, live?  The question was too incomprehensible for Little John and the hole left in his heart was far too great for any answer to fill.  He became a sullen boy, quiet and brooding never saying much and smiling even less.  For two years he wandered the forests around his home endlessly neither playing nor hunting like he and his brother use to do.  He wandered and did nothing more. Every effort was made by his parents to help him process his older brother’s death.  But eventually they concluded it was something he must work out on his own.  They let him be and instead lifted up prayers on his behalf.

When Little John was six a strapping young nobleman in his year of Quest came seeking a temporary resting place from the priest of this small village in which he was passing through.  No one expected Little John to even notice.  But notice he did and the family thought for sure this Quester was the answer to their prayers.  He was handsome, friendly, and fun.  Little John took an instant liking to him.  The Quester gave him rides on his horse and taught him sword play. They went fishing and played hide-n-seek in the forest.  To Little John it was as if Big Ben had returned from the dead. 

The family was so pleased with Little John’s happiness they begged the Quester to stay with them for a whole month for they had grown fond of him as well.  He was a great help around the priests homestead.  He chopped and stacked firewood, hunted game, and escorted Little John’s sisters into the village where he would often buy them little luxuries such as fragrant soaps or silk flowers for their hats.  He would never return to the priest’s home without something special for the Misses.  One time he even brought her a five pound bag of sugar, an expense which far out paid his boarding fees.  He seemed to take delight in entertaining, helping, and giving to everyone.  Light had returned to their dim part of the kingdom.
Renaissance man image

Then one day the Quester was gone and with him went Little John’s Soule Locket and with the locket went the spirit of Little John once again.  It was quite a nasty turn of events.  Over the course of his stay the Quester had gained more and more trust from the family.  Little John loved and trusted him most of all.  The Quester knew this.  In fact his single plan for staying with the family at all was to obtain at least one valuable Soule Locket.  Originally he thought it would be from one of the sisters. He was very good with the ladies.  But when he realized how attached Little John was to him he knew that Little John would be his easiest prey.  In the end all he had to do was ask Little John and the locket was his.  Having got what he came for he left.

You may have already ascertained that this Quester was none other than the malignant Duke Monstroke himself in his true year of Quest.  Only he was bored with the whole thing and had already wasted all of his money in his first three months of quest on drinking too much, showing off for beautiful women, and gambling with men who were clearly smarter than he.  Now in order to survive he spent his time looking for weak, innocent, people to prey upon.  He would either convince them to give him some of the dust from their locket or just out right steal it all together.  Although he was handsome and seemingly kind, his true self was neither of these.  He was the most devious wolf in the most striking sheep’s clothing. 

Poor Little John had not a chance.  Once Monstroke knew he had the lad’s heart he set his teeth deep and when for his very soul.  This he obtained when he left.  Little John was happy to give him his Soule Locket but he did not expect him to leave the very next morning without a word of farewell.  This was the end for Little John.  He was but a shadow after Monstroke.  A shadow that somehow managed to live until he turned 10 at which point he ran away from home never to be heard of again.  He eventually joined a band of thieves that took their grievances with the wealthy to a new level.  They robbed from the rich and gave to the poor and this occupation was a type of revenge for Little John, who by this time was a huge hulk of a man, just like his late brother Big Ben.  Every wealthy man he robbed from he imagined was just like Monstroke (which was not at all true) and although it made his heart sing in the moment it did not bring him peace and it never brought back his Locket.

So there you have it a sad sad story!  I hope you can sleep tonight without having dreams of revenge on Monstroke yourself.  As for me I like to remember the wise words of the gracious Witch Hazel, “It is not revenge that brings peace but a heart of forgiveness and one is much harder than the other.”  I also hope you remember to heed the warning she always tells Pearl, "If you are not willing to give your life for it, don't give your Soule for it either."


1…Now my story is done.

2…I love you!

3…Please, kiss me.