THE GHOUL PRINCESS
A Traditional Ghoul Fable

Translated by Kenny Brechner

THE GHOUL PRINCESS

     Once Upon a time, in the land of the humans, there was a Kingdom called Rugalia. Rugalia lay in the arms of the Fastral Mountains, near the border of the Land of Ghouls. In the Kingdom of Rugalia there once lived a King and a Queen who had no child of their own, for it had been prophesied that if the Queen bore a child, then the black plague would surely visit the kingdom for five hundred years.

    King Ruper and Queen Liana greatly desired a child, and they sent across the lands for help, seeking the advice of wise men and wise women who might find some way to confound the prophecy. Yet no way was ever found.

    At long last word of Ruper and Liana's distress came even unto the Land of Ghouls. And the Council of Ghouls pondered this news, wondering whether they might not strike upon some way to turn the Rugalian Monarchs' desire to their own benefit.

    One evening a Ghoul named Gathlia came before the Ghoul council. In her arms was a Ghoul baby, her own child just delivered. "Harken Ghouls, and look well," said Gathlia, holding out her child as though for inspection, "have any of you ever seen a Ghoul child who looked so like a human child. And the Ghoul council looked, and they goggled and wretched, grunted and said that it was just as Gathlia had spoken.

    "Now," declared Gathlia, Aa Ghoul child in human form has always been thought a great shaming and misfortune to a Ghoul, yet the longing of the King and Queen of Rugalia makes me think that my child shall be a blessing and not a misfortune to the Ghouls. And the Ghoul council clapped and shouted, for they saw the wisdom of Gathlia's words.

    Two days later a basket was found outside the castle of Rugalia, and in it was a baby girl wrapped in a blanket. There was also a card which read, "Dear Queen Liana and King Ruper, please accept this child as your own." Signed - A loyal subject who wishes you health and happiness."

    The King and Queen were overjoyed. They named the Child Apelia, and raised her with the greatest loving kindness and care. One strange thing the King and Queen noticed about their daughter was that though Apelia refused all food she nonetheless seemed to thrive and grow swiftly. It was also noticed at this time that a strange sound was to be heard around the castle late at night, a stealthy crawling noise as though a silken animal were slipping softly about. Furthermore it was noted that the castle's mouse population seemed to be shrinking.

    Over the next decade Apelia continued to thrive and grow, while the Castle's population of mice, then rats, then cats, and then dogs, gradually disappeared. About the time that the last dog disappeared from the castle The King and Queen began to worry about Apelia, for she appeared to be losing weight and growing weak. One morning Liana came into Apelia's bedroom and was overjoyed to discover that her daughter appeared to have completely recovered, almost as though she had eaten an enormous feast in the night. Later that morning Apelia's governess was discovered to be missing. No trace of the Governess could be found.

    Liana questioned Apelia ,but all her daughter was able to say was that the governess had been very good. A month later Apelia appeared to be wasting away again. Yet on a morning Liana was reassured to find her daughter looking healthy again, plump to bursting almost, as she put it. That afternoon the gardener was reported missing. A castle wide search could turn up no information.

    A month later Apelia again appeared to be wasting away. Liana ran off to express her concern to the King, but she could find him nowhere. After great and frantic searching she came into Apelia's room. Though greatly agitated about her husband's disappearance, the Queen was pleased to find that her daughter had recovered once more and returned to robustness and health.    

    No trace of the king was ever found and the Queen, whilst mourning her husband, felt that she had a double sorrow, for once again her daughter was seen to be wasting away. She found Apelia lying in bed looking weak and famished. "My darling," sobbed Liana, isn't there anything mommy can do for you, mommy would do anything for you." Would you really mommy," asked Apelia. "Of course darling," said the Queen.

    Queen Liana was never seen again, and Apelia became the new Queen of Rugalia. At Apelia's coronation an embassy from the land of Ghoul's showed up. From the Ghoul ambassador Apelia learned of her true origin, concerning which she never told the humans. She straightway announced to her subjects, however, that it would be her policy to try and make peace with the Ghouls. Throughout her glorious reign Queen Apelia sent embassy after embassy of Rugalians to the land of the Ghouls, none of which ever returned.

    Apelia was a great Queen. She made many outstanding new laws, such as the law requiring her subjects to shower with salt and pepper, rather than water, so that they would be more tender and taste better. In the Land of Ghouls many new dishes and delicacies, such as Ambassador's ankles, and Envoy's Earlobes, were named in her honor.

    After five years of Apelia's reign, for unknown reasons, her ungrateful human subjects rose up in revolt against this goodly Queen. Fortunately however, thanks to secret preparations made by the Queen with the Ghoul council, the Rugalian conspirators were surprised and defeated, and the entire Rugalian population was eaten by the Ghoul army during a memorable and delicious victory feast.

    After the consumption of her human subjects Queen Apelia retired to the Land of Ghouls where she became an important member of the Ghoul council. Apelia is still remembered in the land of the Ghouls as a great ruler. Perhaps Queen Apelia's greatest legacy was that never again, in the Land of the Ghouls, was a Ghoul child born in the shape of a human called a misfortune.

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