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  • Once upon a time was born a princess.
    Cunegunda was her name.
    To Princess Cunegunda's birth
    Three magic fairies came.
    Each a gift to Cunegunda gave
    And did each her gift proclaim:
    "To you princess I give Beauty!"
    The first one she did sing.
    "And I have brought you Grace
    Sweet child, a most important thing."
    Then fairy number three chimed in,
    "Princess Cunegunda, my name is Hortense.
    And I've brought you a treasure true
    The gift of Common Sense!"

    The villagers applauded and
    The King was heard to say,
    "My precious baby princess has
    Been greatly blest this day with
    Beauty and with Grace. But what
    Use has she for Common Sense
    When she's got such a pretty face?"

    Well the years flew by.
    As years will do!
    Eighteen or more in all.
    And with each passing year
    Cunegunda grew. In time she
    Was a tall and graceful princess
    Of great beauty, but, Princess
    Cunegunda was much more
    Than just a cutie!

    "He's right you know, that's oh so true
    I'm not simply very pretty. I can read and
    Write and think! In short I'm very witty!
    Why I've even helped my father here
    To rescue our fair city."

    "Indeed she did! Not long ago
    A dragon came to town.
    A princess he demanded
    Or else he'd burn us down!"

    "But wait I said. I used my head.
    This sounds like a con-job!
    The dragon doesn’t know a princess
    From an ordinary slob!
    I think he only asked for one
    Because he is a snob!"

    "Perhaps that's true,
    Perhaps it ain't.
    Perhaps we'll never know.
    But I know not what else to do.
    To the dragon you must go!"

    "Oh Daddy dear I do declare
    Why must you be so dense?
    We can best the dragon, see,
    If we but use our common sense!

    "My dear I'm King,
    I'm King, you know!
    You know I am that's true!
    But in matters of intelligence
    I must defer to you..."

    "Oh yes you must for
    After all a king is just a man.
    So pay attention father dear.
    Here now is my plan:
    Hand me that!
    Fetch me those!
    Now tie this up real tight!
    We'll make this robe a doll of me
    Stuffed full of dynamite. Then
    Feed it to the dragon and
    Blow him up just right!
    But wait! But wait! But wait!
    Ah yes
    Lets do this instead!
    Hand me that axe!
    Watch out!
    Off with his head!"

    And so it went
    More than that once
    Cunegunda's wits won out
    They made of her a legend within
    Her land and out!
    Now it should be mentioned here
    This is certainly the time
    That Cunegunda lived in Ipswich
    A beastly place to rhyme.
    But be that as it may
    Ipswich was where she dwelt,
    With Buttland to the south of her
    And on three sides the land of Gelt.

    Gelt was a foolish country
    With a roguish oaf for king.
    His name it was Odiferon.
    He lusted for one thing.
    For the land of Ipswich
    And it's Princess fair!
    The witty Cunegunda
    With her beauty and her flair
    For feats of bravery had
    (To a degree that was intense)
    Charmed stinky old Odiferon
    With her good looks
    And common sense.
    So now it was that to
    Her Dad he came and
    Cunegunda's hand in marriage
    Odiferon did claim.

    "I want Cunegunda!
    I swear I'll have her too!
    She'll be my princess bride!
    If you refuse then I'll kill you!
    You've this long to decide!"

    "Odiferon, Most Gracious Lord
    Please do not fight nor fuss.
    And please do not kill the King!
    We would like time to discuss
    This ultimatum thing..."

    Then waiting not a heartbeat
    For Odiferon's reply
    Cunegunda grabbed her daddy
    And told him (on the sly)

    "Oh dear me Dad what do
    You think Odiferon will do
    If I refuse to marry him
    As I've the right to do?"

    "Cunegunda you're a smarty
    You know exactly what he'll do
    He'll slaughter me!
    Then invade you!
    He'll kill our people too!"

    "Well then it's clear.
    It's clear as day.
    And I don't need to ask.
    Before he gets to marry me
    He must perform a task or two.
    And if this task (or two)
    For me he cannot do
    Then I'll be free to
    Blow him off and
    Stay right here with you!

    My Lord Odiferon your offer
    Is flattering that's true.
    But before you'll get
    This Princess, there are
    Tasks that you must do.
    In Nibia there grows a tree.
    It’s been there quite sometime.
    'Tis an olde enchanted oak, my lord,
    And awfully hard to climb!
    High upon the lofty treetop
    Sprouts forth a jewel-encrusted bough
    With silver bark and golden leaves.
    Go and fetch it for me now!"

    "I'm off to do your bidding
    This task I shall perform
    I'll bring you back the magic branch
    Then you shall keep me warm!"

    "I don't think that we'll be
    Seeing him around here for a while
    Nibia is far away, at least a million miles and..."

    "Cunegunda here's your magic branch
    I hope it suits your style!"

    "Oh goodness me! Why so it is!
    Well it took you long enough!
    Give it here, Odiferon dear,
    Let me appraise this stuff.
    I see!
    Well! Well! Well!
    What have we here?
    This branch is fake I'm sad to say.
    Yet my lord you've brought it here.
    Do you take me for a fool?
    I'll have you know I've been to school!
    There is no way that this is real
    And so my lord we have no deal!"

    And Poo!
    If you do not like this trinket
    Give me more chores to do.
    Assign me all twelve tasks of Hercules
    If that be your wish!
    For you I will do anything
    You're such a tasty dish!"

    "Oh very well perhaps I shall
    Give you just one more chance.
    But this won't be an easy one.
    Do you own asbestos pants?
    I hope you do because you'll
    Need them you old wretch,
    They'll come in very handy
    When for me a special
    Hide you fetch.
    And not just any dead old hide.
    Oh no!
    This skin that I desire
    Is a salamander hide from one
    That lives in Vulcan's Lakes of Fire!"

    "Is that all you want?
    Cunegunda say no more!
    I've been down to Vulcan's place
    One thousand times before.
    I'll have no need of fireproof clothes!
    I won't even hold my nose!
    I love to swim in Fire Lake!
    This'll be a piece of cake!
    I'll dive right in
    Grab a flameproof newt
    Then back to Ipswich
    Will I scoot
    And present to you
    The nuptial loot!"

    Good luck!
    And good riddance too!
    Ya weird old duck!
    I think that we shall not soon hear
    From Lord Odiferon again, you see,
    Vulcan's Lakes of Fire have
    Consumed much braver men than he."

    Here you are then Cunegunda
    Just what you desire:
    Salamander skins from
    Vulcan's Lakes of Fire.
    But I'm hazy on one thing my love
    So will you tell to me
    Did you want a single salamander hide?
    Or did you wish for three?"

    "Give them here Odiferon
    And tell me what it is you're on?
    What sort of joy juice
    Did you drink to make your
    Silly old self think
    That you could fool me with
    This bush-league trick?
    You really rouse my ire!
    If these were where you say
    They're from they wouldn't catch
    On fire when I put them in the candle flame!
    You see!
    You are so lame and
    Also you're a liar!"

    "And your point,
    Is what?
    If I may ask?
    I ought to be your hero
    It appears I’ve done the tasks.
    And yet you grade me with a zero.
    Mayhaps I am a fraud...
    'Tis with that title you award me,
    But still, an "A" for effort
    Is what you should accord me.
    For I have not been put
    So blindly to the test!
    You are being tested too
    And I speak not in jest!

    "...My previous two offerings
    (Most cunningly devised)
    Were hoaxes that is true.
    Although they surely would have
    Fooled a lesser intellect than you.
    So you see
    In spite of my grotesquerie
    I do possess good taste!
    I want you for your mind
    Not simply for your waist
    Nor eyes
    Nor your most ample charms!
    I want your brilliant mind my dear.
    For when I've bought the farm
    I'll need a Queen with smarts like yours
    To keep the land of Gelt from harm."

    "Lord Odiferon you flatter me
    And not without due cause.
    I'd be the smartest queen to rule
    From Timbuktu to Oz!
    But now my lord I feel
    I really must confess to this:
    A comment you made earlier
    Did fill my heart with bliss.
    You asked me to assign to you
    The dozen tasks of Hercules.
    I have given it much thought
    There are some things a girl must have
    That simply can't be bought!
    So it will greatly please me
    Lord Odiferon,
    If you fetched for me the golden girdle
    Of the Queen of Amazon.
    She's a priestess and a warrior
    Hippolyta is her name
    Bring to me her girdle, sir,
    And perhaps you'll win our game!"

    "Hippolyta's golden girdle?
    That'll be a breeze!
    I'll snatch the old broad's panties
    With style, finesse and ease!
    But Cunegunda
    Be forewarned
    This act may bring
    Destruction to her nation:
    Hippolyta's girdle is the Amazon's foundation."

    " Oh my goodness, what a card!
    His humor really slays me!
    And I must say I do enjoy
    The way that this man plays me.
    But still and all I have my doubts
    That he can fetch this toy.
    Steal the girdle from an Amazon?
    Perhaps even while she has it on?"

    "Of course!
    Or my name's not Odiferon!
    Here Cunegunda - Try it on!
    It's hot from the fanny of
    The Amazon Queen!
    She's really kinda cute
    If you know what I mean!
    I wooed her and I charmed her
    Then when she closed her eyes
    I peeled the girdle off of her!
    I hope that it's your size!"

    "Well of course it's not my size
    My lord, but you're right!
    It is still warm!
    I'd simply not a clue
    You know
    That Hippolyta's form
    Was so substantial.
    It's such a big surprise!"

    "Princess Cunegunda
    I am pleased
    To have surprised you and
    I hope you will soon see
    How worthy that I am for you
    So you'll want to marry me.
    But I am an old, old man
    My dear
    With an old man's failing heart.
    And I fear my last adventure
    Has blown the thing apart.
    So kiss me quickly Cunegunda
    Before us Death does part!"

    "Odiferon I love you!
    You cannot die like this!
    I'd give all I have to save you
    With the power of my kiss!"

    Princess Cunegunda!
    You've restored my life forsooth!
    But if you kiss me once again
    You will restore my Youth!

    I had been bewitched my dear.
    But you have broke the spell.
    You simply did that voodoo
    That you do so well!

    "What lovely thoughts Odiferon.
    Expressed in rhyme so tight.
    But don't you think that
    (Just perhaps)
    You’ve infringed a copyright?"

    Mayhaps yes I did my dear
    But you know what they say.
    If it works by all means steal it!
    All the worlds a play and
    We who trod upon the stage
    Mere players in the game
    Are princes and paupers
    Vagabonds all!
    We're rogues by any name!"

    " Prince or Pauper or Vagabond King
    I love you more than anything!
    We are two who share one soul.
    Apart undone together whole.
    I love you once! I love you twice!
    I love you more than beans and rice!"

    "Dear Princess Cunegunda,
    Those are my thoughts precisely.
    Methinks that thou hast summarized
    Our twisted plot concisely!
    Although I had some doubts at first
    It worked out rather nicely!"

    "Odiferon my sweet young king!
    You've really made my day!
    Into my life I've watched you bring
    The precious gift of laughter!
    So now without further adieu
    Or more undue delay
    Let us go and live as one!
    Happy ever after!"
    Illustrations by SnuFfy- copyright 2012
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