Now, children, I am going to tell you a bedtime story …
Once, in a land not so far away, there lived a cruel and evil king who ruled over a small town. The people in the town feared King Porky, for he would often fly into a violent rage and, pointing to the nearest inhabitant of the town, say – Throw her in the dungeon! – or – Off with her head!
Evil King Porky had a trusted helper who never left his side: Knave Redbreast. Knave Redbreast carried a small, sharp dagger under her wing and delighted in pricking the townspeople from behind, then hiding the dagger quickly so when they looked around, they could not tell where the sharp pricks were coming from. Then she would regale King Porky with these tales and they would both laugh.
The nearest village was in the valley where there lived many horses, stallions on one side of the village and mares on the other. In that village, all of the horses, both mares and stallions, were known for their colourful rainbow-hued capes. They would often parade through the village wearing their rainbow capes, cavorting and playing music, and many of the townspeople from the region would visit these festivals to sing and dance and make merry.
For some reason, Evil King Porky did not like those villagers. Nobody knew why, for the horses had never done anything in particular to displease the king, but when the king came upon a rainbow cape one day in his town, he threw it down in the mud and laughed as he spat upon it.
One day, a silly goose came to live in King Porky’s town. King Porky encouraged Knave Redbreast to befriend the goose, for as he said – You are both birds and perhaps the goose will come to live in the castle and work for us. Many of the townspeople were afraid of King Porky and did not want to live close to the castle and so the King and Knave Redbreast were often left alone there to hatch their evil plots.
The next day, Knave Redbreast invited Silly Goose to a dinner at the castle but when Knave Redbreast could not resist pricking the goose from behind, the goose soon tired of their company and decided to move to the town. Before she left, however, the King told Silly Goose about two of the townspeople and said to Silly Goose – I think that Cinderella and Barbie the cat are plotting against me. Cinderella is overly close to Barbie the cat and I am sure this is an unnatural alliance, for why would a cat keep company with Cinderella? Moreover, Cinderella often visits the horses of Rainbow Village and Barbie the cat is also a friend of the horses. Find out what you can about these two and report back to me on anything you can find out about this most inappropriate friendship.
So Silly Goose moved next door to Cinderella and spent much time peering through the keyhole and listening at the door, but in the end, found no evidence of any wrongdoing and decided to tell Barbie the cat about what King Porky had said. Silly Goose also told both Barbie the cat and Cinderella about Knave Redbreast and her habit of pricking the townspeople from behind and then hiding, as well as many other stories of King Porky and his accusations against them. Silly Goose’s words struck fear in the hearts of Cinderella and Barbie the cat and Cinderella decided to leave the town and move to a neighbouring kingdom on the hill. Barbie the cat was very sad to see her friend leave and did not know why King Porky despised the horses of Rainbow Village.
But Barbie the cat could not leave, for she had to tend her small garden where she grew cabbages and carrots. Although King Porky would often pass by and take a bushel of her crops without paying for them, she had to feed her kittens and could not leave her garden. Silly Goose told her – I will move away from here for King Porky is cruel and evil and you should do the same. Barbie the cat just sighed and wished she could leave and move to a place where the mice and the chickens lived freely and did not shake in their boots each time the King and his Knave passed by.