Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Great King Donivaldus

 Great King Donivaldus *

A postmodern fairy tale with a moral


Once upon a time, long, long, ago, there was a great kingdom. The peaceful kingdom was a land of plenty, with bountiful farmland of fertile soil, lush green pastures, and tall timbered forests. The Good King was very generous and did all he could to protect his subjects and make their lives enjoyable. And all the people were exceedingly happy. But the Good King was very old and when he died, Donivaldus was crowned.

King Donivaldus, a large man both in height and girth moved into the castle and ruled the Kingdom. Amazingly, though brash and unsophisticated, he was loved and praised by many of his loyal subjects. He often made them feel good by pointing at certain other subjects and calling them names like “nasty” and “horrible.” He insulted the royal army and the royal navy, saying they were all ne'er-do-wells and gullible fools for serving in the great war. He would tell his loyal subjects stories that were not true, and they would believe him and love him all the more. He gave his princes and rich nobles gold and jewels; they loved him most of all.

King Donivaldus pretended to be pious, but seldom worshiped at the Kingdom’s cathedral. Even though he committed all of the deadly sins, even though he dallied with the courtesans, his loyal subjects loved him all the more. Some of the other subjects thought this was disgusting and were saddened by his behavior. Whenever any of his loyal subjects expressed their adoration for King Donivaldus, he would smile broadly and become puffed up with pride. Some people said he actually became larger. Soon King Donivaldus told people of the Kingdom that he was to be called “Great King Donivaldus.”

Some subjects did not love the King but did not dislike him either. As long as they were safe and happy, they did not care. Other subjects did not love the King at all and were displeased with his wicked ways and falsehoods. In fact, they often wished for him to be gone. While the loyal subjects shouted, “Long live the King!,” they silently muttered “May he slip and fall and hit his head on a rock.”

King Donivaldus wanted more than anything else, even more than gold and jewels, to be loved by everyone. If certain people did not love him, he became very displeased and wanted to rid the Kingdom of those people.

Sometimes King Donivaldus would summon his subjects to a great fair in the village square. There would be horse races, jousting, games, and feasts. King Donivaldus would find the highest place to stand, then would speak in his loud voice. He would talk about how much better the Kingdom was now that he was King, how he was the greatest king who had ever been. The people would cheer and shout, “Long live King Donivaldus!” When he talked about the people who did not like him, the crowd would shout in unison, “Throw them out!”

One winter’s day, it was discovered that a plague had arrived in the Kingdom. The King declared that is had been sent by an evil eastern empire; he proclaimed that no one could come from or go to that empire. He then assured his people that now there was nothing to fear and that the plague would soon just disappear. But the plague did not disappear; in fact, it was spreading across the Kingdom, and many of the people in the Kingdom became sick, and many died. This displeased King Donivaldus so greatly that he proclaimed that the plague was a hoax perpetrated by those subjects who did not love their King.

King Donivaldus told all the people that they would not get the plague if they took magic potions his court magician had concocted. Although the royal physicians, surgeons, and alchemists warned him that the magic potions may not be safe, King Donivaldus continued to urge his people to take the potions.

By summer, the plague had spread across the Kingdom. So many people had been made sick or died, that it was being called the worst plague in 100 years.

Many of the people who had loved the King, stopped loving him so much. Many of the people who did not love the King but did not dislike him either, no longer feeling safe or happy, now developed a dislike for the King. Even some of the noblemen, who had been made richer by King Donivaldus, started to question whether he was the right king for this kingdom. Some of the people in the Kingdom actually started calling him Donivaldus the Terrible or Bad King Donivaldus.

When King Donivaldus was told by a courier, about the growing dislike for him, he got so angry that he banished the courier from the Kingdom (he never had liked the couriers anyway); he then appointed a nobleman to rule over the couriers. The new ruler of the couriers went about dismantling the courier system causing people’s messages to be late; or sometimes not arrive at all. For centuries, couriers had been a well-respected tradition in the Kingdom, so these efforts did not sit so well with the people of the Kingdom

Sometime later, whenever couriers delivered a message, the message would often include the words “Down with the King.” Unfortunately for the King, this resulted in even fewer people who loved him. The love he had been receiving had kept him big and strong. Now without that love, the King was not so puffed up; it got to the point that the King actually started to shrink. Where once he was greater than six feet, now he was barely five feet, then four and then only two feet tall. As this dislike for Bad King Donivaldus progressed, he shrank to the size of a pumpkin. Finally, he was the size and color of a pea.

As one might expect, it is particularly difficult to rule a Kingdom if you are only the size of a pea. It is hard for people to hear your commands, not to mention the danger that you might end up in a pea soup. Soon, the people began to demand a new king, saying that they could no longer that see that there was any king. Finally, the nobles and princes appointed a regency of 538 regents who then selected a new King.

On coronation day for the new Good King, Bad King Donivaldus was terribly angry. He jumped up and down and screamed for the palace guards to bar the new King from the castle, but the guards could not hear him because he was the size of a pea. His jumping caused him to roll across the floor just as a palace guard opened the door for the new Good King. Castles are almost always built on the top of a hill and this castle was no exception. Bad King Donivaldus rolled out the door and bounced down the hill, never to be seen again.

There was a village in the valley below the castle, where a story circulated among the village gossip. It was about a woman who was shelling peas into a large bowl in her garden. A flock of chickens clucked around and in her garden. Chickens provided eggs and an occasional chicken dinner for the family, but chicken feed was expensive. So, the flock had the run of the yard and the garden, where they ate bugs in the grass and the peelings and shells of whatever food the woman was preparing.

When the woman thought she heard a voice coming from the bowl of peas, she was so startled that she spilled some of the peas on the ground. Her chickens quickly ate the spilled peas and she vowed to never again drink wine from that cask they had opened the night before.

And the people of the Great Kingdom, so happy to be rid of Bad King Donivaldus, lived happily ever after..


A moral for kings, monarchs, and leaders of nation states: It is never a good idea to attack or disparage the courier or postal system.

A moral for readers of fairy tales: It is better to not believe in kingdoms or kings; and especially not potions, magic or otherwise. Just get out and vote.

* Donivaldus, Latin for Donald

Sunday, May 10, 2020

A Good Thing

A Good Thing

A Mother’s Day Poem by John Marius Nelson

It’s a good thing she didn’t know
How isolated she would be
A new bride out in the country
With a baby on the way

It’s a good thing she didn’t know
How hard it would be
Caring for babies
Without electricity or plumbing

It’s a good thing she didn’t know
How hard it would be
Raising four children
With an alcoholic husband

It’s a good thing she didn’t know
When I was born
What I would be like
As a teenager

It’s a good thing She
Was young
Resourceful and

Saturday, April 11, 2020

How Dust Bunnies Saved an Old Man

A Postmodern Fairy Tale

Once upon a time
In a land of great plenty
Where everyone was happy and wealthy
A terrible plague swept over the country

A frightened old man
Went to hide under the bed
The Government had ordered
All the elderlies to stay home

Thinking it would be even safer
After all, what self-respecting virus
Would go around looking
Under beds for its next victim

The old man was startled to see them there
As he crawled under the bed
Dusty, Musty and Cottonlint
Introduced themselves

“How do you do.”  Said the old man
“How long have you been here?”
“My whole life.” They answered in unison
Not really understanding the concept of time

“I have to go to the bathroom.”
“What’s a bathroom?”
“Oh, never mind.”
“I just have to leave for a while.”

“Please, please don’t go out there.”
They begged of the old man
“There is a terrible monster out there.”
“He will gobble you up.”

“My brother Cottonfoot ventured out one day.”
“We heard the monster whirring and clicking”
“He screamed, there was a puff of dust.”
“And then he was gone.” Sobbed Cottonlint

On the way back he saw it
The Roomba clicking and whirring as it
Made its rounds, and chuckled at
The irony of the metaphor

He unplugged the Roomba and
Returned to the safety
The Dusties cheered on seeing
The old man was back safe and sound

“You’re safe now.” He told the Dusties
“I slayed the evil monster dragon.”
“He won’t come around anymore.”
“He won’t be eating any more Dust Bunnies.”

The old man taught the Dusties
How to play pinochle and other games
He brought them a small TV
So they could watch the cartoon network

So, the old man stayed under the bed
With his new friends
And he didn’t catch the virus
And they all lived happily ever after

Thursday, January 16, 2020

TV at the Hospital

Today I was at Sanford Medical Center, at the OCC getting a biologic 'chemo' infusion
I was thinking about how I can sometimes taste the medications in my IV infusion
while there I was watching TV, the
The Senate Impeachment swearing-in ceremony
senators leaning over the secretary's desk to sign in
old men w/ bald spots

Those tastes brought up some memories
Remembering watching the TV
While on a dialysis run
It was the '74 hearings
The Nixon impeachment
house Judiciary Committee hearings
remembering Barabara Nettinga
my nurse angel
Sen Barry Goldwater
who carried the bad news to
Richard Nixon