Stacey Plaintree Gets Stuck in the Mud
There once was a very good and wise king. Everyone in his kingdom loved him. And many important people from other lands had heard about his wisdom and his grandness. They would come very far to see him, laying down gifts. Some glittered with gold; other sparkled with precious gem stones the colors of the rainbow.
The king would smile kindly as each dignitary laid before him another precious gift. But after awhile, he got very bored. Day after day, these great men brought him the same things, until one priceless object blended in with another.
Lacuse, the curly bearded duke from the seaside kingdom of Norl, was laying a gilded goblet full to the brim with pearls… when all of the sudden the king heard clearly a small cry from outside his palace, across the kingdom and very far away.
Stacey Plaintree was playing in the mud. Though a subject of the very kind king, she ignored his one rule… “Don’t play in the mud.” Bordering the kingdom was a sticky swamp full of mud. She had been led there by friends, and though they no longer came, she couldn’t get enough. She loved caking clumps of mud on her skin. She was thrilled when she slid down mud slides into slimy pools. And her favorite pets were the brown bugs that lived in the swamps. She figured that if she cleaned herself off before going back into the kingdom, no one would be the wiser.
But one day, Stacey Plaintree got stuck in the mud. One moment she was rolling around, enjoying the feel of mud between her toes, and the next the floor underneath her gave way. She began sliding into a pit that had appeared where none had been before. She grabbed at the roots of a nearby tree, but the mud was too slick, her hand slid right off. Down she fell, hitting the bottom of the pit with a thud.
She tried as best she could to jump for the edge of the pit, which was just within finger’s reach. But each attempt just seemed to make her sink deeper and deeper into the mud which covered the floor of the pit.
Night fell, and when a murky sun rose the next morning, Stacey Plaintree’s hope of escaping had vanished. There was only one thing left to try, but she was afraid to even consider it. It was said throughout the kingdom that one had only to call out to the king, and your cry would reach his ears no matter where you were. But if Stacey tried this, she would have to stand before the fury of the king drenched in forbidden mud. The only clean spots left were the paths her tears had made on her cheeks.
Falling to the ground, Stacey Plaintree whispered, “King if you can hear me, please, oh please help me. I’m stuck in a pit.”
Lacuse, the curly bearded duke of Norl, made many fine speeches to the king as he presented his gift. But the king didn’t hear a word Lacuse said. All he could hear was the broken whisper of a dirty young girl. He knew that Stacey and many others enjoyed visiting the forbidden swamp, thinking that he didn’t know about their disobedience. But the king knew. He loved his subjects, he feared for their safety, but he wouldn’t force them to obey him.
But all it took was one call and the king would hear. He rushed out of his throne room. In a flash, he ran out to his stable, and mounted his favorite white steed. The earth seemed to tremble underneath him as the stallion was led by the king’s urgency.
Yet even as the king made his way toward Stacey Plaintree, large grey clouds churned in the skies bringing darkness. Rain poured, sheets of water like a river from the sky. Stacey’s pit began to fill, until water crept up to her ankles, her knees, her waist. As the waters rose above her shoulders, she gave one last cry. Just then, a strong arm reached down from above. It didn’t wait for Stacey to hold onto it, it just grabbed her and pulled her out of the deepening water. There he was, the terrifying and beautiful king.
Still dirty and soaked through by muddy water, she pushed away from him. But his arms came around her. He pulled her onto his horse and slowly rode back to his palace. Stacey, feeling completely safe, fell asleep to the gentle clip-clop of the horse’s feet.
When she woke, she lay in a large canopied bed with a fluffy down comforter. Her clothes were clean, her skin was clean, even her hair was clean. And there beside her on a stool, sat the king. She cried as she saw the mud stains on his clothes where he had held her. She expected him to be angry.
“I am so sorry,” she cried.
But the king didn’t look angry at all. In fact, he smiled at her.
“All day, I’ve had great lords bring me beautiful treasures. They made speeches, and paid me compliments, and praised just about everything about me.”
Stacey looked away. “And I ruined it,” she said.
“No,” said the king. “Your cry for help was the greatest treasure of all. Welcome home Stacey Plaintree. I love you so much my beloved child, please stay with me.”
And she did.
And Stacey Plaintree lived happily ever after with the king who loved her more than all the treasures on earth.