A tale of cunning cunts and their shepherd

© MMXVII Agimar N. Edelgranberget

Once upon a time in a huge kingdom far, far away, there was a high and wise King. But the king had gotten old, so in reality the kingdom was run by his three counsellors. The three counsellors ruined the land as they pleased, just because they could and nobody dared to speak against them, because speaking against them was deemed to be treason.

One gloomy day a farmer from a place somewhere deep in the kingdom, who had lived and farmed all his life in an ominous valley, appeared on the markets of the kingdom. He had a huge flock of goats and a rich surplus of oats, because winter was about to fall over the land and he was always well prepared.

The farmer was a decent man, who didn’t want to immerse in the locals‘ habits whenever possible, so he basically lived like an eremite.

Because the other peasants and shepherds in the country had a hard time, had to give almost everything they produced to the three counsellors, they became jealous of the lonely farmer. So they accused him of using black magick.

The farmer was taken to the high king and his counsellors by an enraged people and they made their accusations.

The first counsellor found the man very likely to be guilty.

The second found the man to be guilty.

The third was pointing at the evidence of that man’s guilt.

Eventually, shortly before the kings sentence, the farmer was allowed to talk in his defense. So he said: High King, I do not even live amongst your flock, nor did they ever ask me for my assistance or company. Instead, I was helping them, selling my surplus on their market. Now they complain, just because they do not know me and are jealous for no obvious reason, or – maybe they just despise my wealth and liberty or the color of my skin.

The high king thought about this for a while, then he said: my three trustworthy counsellors find you to be guilty. You are the only one who speaks against it, naturally. It is not possible for me to find out the truth, as of now, it may never be revealed at all – so instead I got three questions to all of you:

The first question is easy, so don’t be fooled: Where does the sun rise in the morning?

The second question is: How far is it from earth to heaven?

And the last one: What am I thinking?

Wrong answer – head off.

I will ask everyone of you, every week and one at a time – only the last two will stand before me together. The one who answers all questions right will be my new counsellor. Why, because it’s obvious: Here we have got four people, but only two opinions. That already makes two of you completely useless. 

The week after, a first counsellor was being asked: where does the sun rise in the morning?

He answered hesitantly: What a wonderful question that is! Of course, the sun rises every morning at nine o‘ clock here in this palace when you begin to hold your audience, my king.

The face of the king became grim. He said: I even told you not to get fooled! It was, in fact, meant literally. If I had wanted to hear comforting lies, I’d call for my queen in the evening. Besides, I was really getting fed up with your counsels lately. Now, how about you taking me literally for once: Off with his head!

So the first counselor was lead to the scaffold and was beheaded.

Another week later, a second counsellor was asked: where does the sun rise in the morning?

He answered swiftly: In the east, my king.

The king nodded and asked the counsellor to proceed: how far is it from earth to heaven?

The counsellor was trembling, a bit puzzled: Why, my king, I do not know the answer! Heaven is high above us and not even the birds would know how far away it is from earth.

I respect your honesty, the king said. But you didn’t answer my question satisfyingly. Begone, my headless chicken!

So the second counselor was lead to the scaffold and was beheaded.

The last week was near and the third counsellor was a wee bit scared, because he was well aware of his two dead comrades, but didn’t know their answers. So he went to the countryside, picked the first shepherd he met and said to him: Give me your staff, your flock and your clothes. Take my stuff, here you are, there you go. Suits you well. Go to the king next week and answer his three questions: where does the sun rise in the morning, how far it is from earth to heaven and what the king is thinking. I’ll give you the answers, remember them precisely. If they are right, and I’m pretty sure they are, return to me for your reward; if they are wrong for some reason or you make a mistake – shit happens.

When the king, the farmer and the disguised shepherd met that next week, the farmer noticed instantly, that there was something fishy about that counsellor. But he didn’t say anything, of course. The king didn’t seem to notice, for he really was old, you see. So, as one can imagine, he had already seen a lot of counsellors come and go.

Anyway, the counsellor was asked: where does the sun rise in the morning?

He answered: In the east, that is. Although we can never know for sure. Tomorrow it might even be in the north. We have to stay alert.

The king was pleased.

What is your answer, farmer, the king wanted to know.

The farmer said: The sun does not rise at all, my King. The earth is revolving around the sun. Therefore, from our perspective, it looks like it did rise. 

The king thought about that for a moment, then he said: I cannot prove that you are wrong. Therefore I accept your answer, although I do not believe you.

Now, how far is it from earth to heaven, my dear counsellor, the king asked.

He replied: A good question. Does heaven begin right above the deepest grave or does it begin right above the highest mountain? It sure does right above ground – so we may all walk in the heaven of your kingdom. But the most funny answer would be for sure: as far as from heaven to the earth.

The king was pleased.

What is your answer, farmer, the king wanted to know.

The farmer said: It’s the length of a dagger’s blade divided from each other. Your Kingdom has become a living hell. It only takes a dagger in the heart to measure the distance between earth and heaven. But since you also accept funny answers: It’s as far away from each other, as it takes a man to reply to his woman’s question.

At first, the king was furious. Eventually he calmed down and said: I do not know for sure, that you are wrong. Therefore I accept your answer, although I do not believe you.

As of the last question, you may begin again, my counsellor. I’ll hear you afterwards, farmer, and then i will pronounce my sentence.

So the shepherd said: I know what you are thinking, my King. I have been your counsellor all those years, ever since and you always trusted my decisions. Now that the other two are finally gone, you know perfectly well that it was me who ran the show all the time. I know you, my King, and you know me. So although I know exactly, what you are thinking – I am not going to tell in front of that disgusting little liar next to me. He doesn’t deserve to know.

The king was pleased.

Just out of curiosity, my dear farmer, what would your answer have been?, the king murmured into his beard.

The farmer grinned: Honestly, I don’t have the slightest clue. What is actually going on or not going on in your head? But seriously, I’d ask myself if that guy of yours really is your counsellor. To me he looks just like any other shepherd.

The king was furious, again, but took a closer look at his counsellor. 

He immediately noticed that it was not his counsellor.

Forgive me, my King, but the counsellor made me to, the shepherd cried out anxiously. 

The king said: If a shabby shepherd is braver than my finest counsellor, he shall be rewarded richly.

You, my farmer, shall be my new counsellor. The old counsellor’s head is wanted and to be chopped off as soon as possible.

The farmer replied, that he couldn’t care less. He’d propose proclaiming the shepherd to be the next counsellor, if he’d like to, because the farmer actually had planned to return to his farm in the valley. He was granted to leave and lived happily ever after. Mostly because he wouldn’t show up again on the markets of that kingdom.

There were some rumors from time to time, that the farmer furthermore had been granted, by the high king himself, the answer to one of his dearest questions. He was said to have asked the following: You are blind, indeed, Iustitia – aren’t you? Because I wonder if you had not believed me, even if it had been the real counsellor. If it had made any difference. You still wouldn’t have been able to tell, to be absolutely sure, I bet. 

However, the answer to this question got lost over the decades. That is why some say so, and some say so. Some even went so far as to claim, that they had heard some birds twitter, that the shepherd’s answers weren’t even the counsellor’s original answers. Well, who knows, right? Anyway, it’s rather obvious that the king didn’t believe in black magick in the first place.

Veröffentlicht von Agimar N. Edelgranberget

I am insane.

Ein Kommentar zu “A tale of cunning cunts and their shepherd

  1. Regarding this story, it’s helpful if you know ‘the tale of Kunz and the shepherd’, because it’s a parody on that fairy tale. But I think it nonetheless works pretty well on its own.

    Greetings, A.N.E.

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