StoryRhyme After Dark: The Children of Melot

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The Children of Melot
By Harry Buschman

Around the corner of the rare bird aviary and just beyond the conservatory you can still see the ornate playground the King of Melot built for his children.

The entrance is framed by a miniature Arc de Triumphe and in sunny weather the King’s many children once spent their days in this playground idling away their hours under the watchful eye of their nurse. They lived in isolation and none of them knew anything of the ways of the world – the playground was their universe. Famines afflicted the subjects of the King, wars came and went, and great natural tragedies frequently plagued the countryside – but still the children played on.

They rode their carrousel until they tired of it. They walked the tiny bridges that spanned the painted landscapes. Tiring of that, they see-sawed, swung and sang to the wind chimes. Sometimes they listened to stories told by the bards of the castle of Melot. In rainy weather they played indoors. The King’s musicians would perform for them, or the King himself might tell them of his glorious exploits in the Royal House of Melot.

On a particularly bright and sunny day, the eldest son of the King stood atop the playground slide and looked over the parapet and down to the fields below. There, he could see men, women and children working in the fields. He asked his nurse who these people were. “They are slaves,” she replied. “Common people, slaves of your father’s realm. They toil in the fields of Melot so we may eat.”

“ I cannot see their playgrounds, have they no time for play?” He asked.

The nurse had no answer to the question of the eldest son. Neither did the King’s wise men nor the King himself. But everyone agreed that was the way it always had been and would always be in Melot.

One morning, to everyone’s surprise, the slaves of Melot moved away. No one in the castle – neither the King, nor his wisest of wise men could explain their disappearance. But suddenly, to the astonishment of everyone in the castle, there was nothing to eat. There was no one to make the beds and no one to groom the horses, no one to play music and no one to remember the stories of the history of Melot.

The Royal family languished with no one to serve them. No food appeared at the Palace gate, the cooks could no longer be found and the Royal barber was gone. The King and his many wives and children slowly starved in the grand and beautiful Castle of Melot.

The overgrown ruins of the castle can still be seen on the hill overlooking the desolate fields of Melot. Around the corner from the rare bird aviary and just beyond the conservatory you can still see the ornate playground the King of Melot kept for the children.

(c) 2010 Harry Buschman


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