Thursday, April 24, 2014

#3: The Merciful Mummy's Revenge (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)

The Parrot King was the greatest ruler Egypt had ever known. He was responsible for ending the longest Civil War in history and bringing Egypt back together. He was a just king and was known for being especially kind of animals, and was even mummified with his pet parrot (and thus the posthumous title, the Parrot King). He was so loved that all his laws remained unchanged for thousands of years.

Measopholees, a descendent of the Parrot King, was set to inherent the throne and all of his family's riches. He was a handsome man with bright blue eyes, but most people revered him as a great warrior. He was especially known for his strategic brilliance, and always wore the family crest (a Falcon rising above a tornado) with pride. Yet he secretly disagreed with one of the Parrot King’s laws: the law against incest.

His inability to abide by this law wasn’t entirely his fault: his sister, Ruby, had always admired her brother’s intelligence and wanted her own children to have his smarts. So she seduced him from an early age. The two were usually careful with where they broke the law, but on the night before Measopholees’ coronation, he was so taken by lust and excitement that he had sex with Ruby right in the Royal Plaza. When they were seen, Measopholees’ claim to the throne was immediately revoked. They took his family crest and he and Ruby were shamed in the street. From now on Measopholees and Ruby would have no ties to the royal family, and would be considered less than peasants.

“You must fix this,” Ruby said, for she wanted her children not only to have a sharp brain, but also the heart of a true King. “If you cannot, you are not the man I thought you were.”

Measopholees was nothing without Ruby's love. He quickly came up with a plan not only to regain his inheritance, but to also shame the Parrot King, who had made the stupid law in the first place. He broke in to the Parrot King’s tomb, where he had been mummified and laid to rest.  A king was said to rule even in the afterlife, and any failures would be represented in this world. An exposed head meant the greatest transgression, so Measopholees ripped the bandages off the Parrot King’s head. To further shame the king, he took the bandages off his groin and exposed a long-hidden family secret: the Parrot King had testicles the size of mangos.

Measopholees wasn’t satisfied. The humiliation the King’s law had caused him…Measopholees decided he’d leave with a little trophy. He was tempted to take the urn (which was said to hold the Parrot King’s brain) as a symbol of his own superior intellect, but stealing such a thing would be too easily found out. Instead, he took the bright red ring off the King’s pinky. “You stole my inheritance from me,” Measopholees said as he removed the ring. It looked marvelous on his own finger.

The next day the tomb cleaner discovered the King’s desecration and soon the whole city knew: the Parrot King had done something terrible in the afterlife and was thus shamed. The king was so widely loved that no one even considered this could be vandalism. Measopholees quickly took advantage of this and made the case that he should be given back his inheritance, and that the incest laws should be abolished once and for all.

Measopholees enjoyed his riches for two and a half weeks. Towards the end of the third week, a dark mist crept across the desert and fell over the land. No one in the city could hide from it. When they breathed in the mist it made all of their hair fall out, except for a single strand. The mist grew so thick that it blocked out the sun and caused freezing temperatures that no one had ever experienced before. For the first time in recorded history, it snowed in Egypt.

It snowed everywhere, except for over Ruby. A special cloud hung over her and a circle of rain followed her wherever she walked. And when Measopholees made a speech to the city about the current crises, he couldn’t finish, he was coughing so much. It was well known that both omens were signs of a curse. The city council launched an investigation on Measopholees and Ruby. At their trial, Measopholees wore all his jewelry, along with his pinky ring. The tomb cleaner recognized the ring as the Parrot King’s and everyone knew the truth: Measopholees had disrespected the king for his own gain and thus brought this hardship over the city. Ruby was befuddled as they took them in to custody. How could Measopholees do something so stupid as bring evidence of the crime to his own trial? That was so unlike him!

The only way to cure the town of the Parrot King’s curse was to get rid of Ruby and Measopholees. Since the Parrot King had been a merciful king, instead of killing them, they sent them into exile, but not without doing some damage first. Measopholees was sentenced to 10 lashes from the whip. They had to drag him to the courtyard kicking and screaming. Again, Ruby was surprised: Measopholees was a brave warrior. When had he become a coward? The city’s strongest law enforcer gave Measopholees his licks. On the last, the Enforcer purposefully hit Measopholees on the face, popping out one of his beautiful blue eyes. A stray dog ran by and snatched up his blue, bloodied eye in its mouth.

Measopholees was stripped naked of his clothes and Ruby was given only a toga to protect her from the desert sun. Then they were driven out of the city. The hot sun burned Measopholees from head to toe. Ruby still had the rain cloud hanging over her, but the heat made the water boil. As the bubbling water dripped down her body, it burned her hair from her head and boiled her skin. Soon both lovers looked like someone had hung them by their legs and dipped them in a vat of acid.

One night, when Measopholees tried to make a sand mermaid (it was actually pretty good, too) using Ruby’s rain, she realized why his personality had been changing and why his intellect was deteriorating: her lover’s brain was turning in to mush from the Parrot King’s curse. She had fallen in love with him when they were children because of his smarts, and now he was getting dumb and dumber. He got worse and worse, and as they continued on through the desert, his speech was the last to go. Soon he would only ever yell the letter ‘A’ in response to anything Ruby said.

As a last resort, Ruby told Measopholees news that she’d been holding in ever since their exile. If any of Measopholees was left, this would bring him out.

“Measopholees, my dear,” she said. “I’m with child.

Measopholees stopped and looked at her. He opened his mouth, then screamed, “A! A, a, a, a, A!!!” He sat down in the sand and continued to scream. Ruby, devastated, left him there to die.

Ruby finally comes to a small town called Munich. With the bad omen still hanging over her, only one inn will let her stay the night because the innkeeper can see she is with child. She is in grueling labor for three whole days.  When her son is finally born, the rain stops. Ruby does not rejoice, because she knows this only means the curse has passed on from her to her child. She wanted her child to have Measopholees’ robust mind, pretty eyes, and the heart of a king, but, because of her greed, instead he would forever be dumb, blind, and heartless.

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