The Skeleton Lord of Spooky Doom Castle

Once upon a very long time ago, there was a very bad King. Although to be fair, he wasn’t really bad, he was mostly unhappy. When the King was unhappy he made everyone around him miserable too. His Knights were so unhappy that they all left, except for one, the bravest of them all, Sir Beckham. One day when the King was so unhappy that he didn’t know what to do with himself, he asked his wise man, Bill, what he should do. Now, Bill wasn’t really such a wise man. The only thing he really knew was how to keep his job by suggesting things that he thought the King wanted to hear, or other things that would have been so hard to do that the King was persuaded that only a wise man could have thought of them.

 

“ I am so miserable,” said the King, “ When I go out, everyone in the land is wearing a miserable face. Why does no-one smile anymore?”Bill thought for a minute and then said, “You don’t have enough money!”
“ I have lots of money,” replied the King.
“But not enough,” said Bill, “ If you had all the money in the land they would respect you as being a very powerful King and so when they saw you they would smile.”


The next day the King sent out his Taxmen. They roamed far and wide across the land, taking money from anyone they found. With them they took sniffer dogs who sniffed out money buried in the ground or stuffed in lofts and saved for a rainy day. By the end of the week they had taken every penny in the land and brought it back to the Palace.


They placed all the money and treasure they had found in a big pile in front of the King. The King didn’t think that it looked very much.
“Ah, yes,” said Bill, “but it isn’t all there yet.” And he signalled to the guards who took hold of the Taxmen and tipped them upside down so that all of their own pennies fell out of their pockets.
“ That’s better,” said the King, and went outside in disguise to enjoy the respect and the smiles of the people. When he got outside he saw that all the people looked even more miserable than before. They walked around with their heads down and not even looking at each other. Their faces looked so sad that he stopped to ask someone,  “Why are you looking so miserable? Don’t you have a wise and powerful King?”
“The King thinks that he now has everything,” said the man, “but really, he has nothing.”
“ But he has all the money there is in the land.” said the King.
“Yes,” said the man, “but money isn’t everything.”
 

The King went back to the palace and asked Bill to explain to him what the man had meant.
“I have heard,” said Bill, “that there is another who has as much money as your Majesty. Perhaps that is what he means.”
“Then what shall I do?” asked the King.
“You must defeat him,” said Bill, “and take his treasure. Then the people will understand that you are all-powerful.”
“Who is this other King?” asked the King.
“He is The Skeleton Lord of Spooky Doom Castle, far up in the Western Mountains.”
“Send for Sir Beckham!” said the King.


Brave Sir Beckham arrived on his black charger, Ginger, who he’d named after his favourite spice. Sir Beckham was tall and good looking as all Knights should be, but he wasn’t very clever or he would have run away with all the other knights when he’d had the chance.
“Yes, Sire?” said Sir Beckham.
“I want you to go to Spooky Doom Castle, far up in the Western Mountains, and bring me the treasure of The Skeleton Lord.”
“Ooer!” said Sir Beckham, suddenly wishing he’d run off with all the other knights when he’d had the chance, “Alright, Your Majesty.” And off he charged on  Ginger....

 

...To read this story in full, contact me at childrens@billallerton.co.uk

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