When the kids were little and asked for us to make up a bedtime story, the story would often start with the exact same intro. This was a hand-me-down story with a funny family history behind it. This one sentence could lead a million directions.
“Once upon a time there was a King in the forest. . . “
To this day, this line is a funny fall back that can make anyone in the family laugh. The intro can lead into the obvious fantasy fairy tale. It can also become immediately fantastical and bizarre. The Forest could be ANYTHING. It could certainly be trees, but it does not need to be trees. Like the concrete jungle of Daredevil it could be whatever the imagination decides as the story unfolds.
Between this Intro Prompt and the Three-Word Prompt, I should not be surprised that at least two of my three kids aspire to be writers.
And now, let’s try and put that Intro Prompt to work!
The King in the Forest
Once upon a time there was a King in the forest. He was King of all the ants. Not simply the black ants or the fire ants, but also King of the flying ants, the carpenter ants, and all the other cousin ants. The King’s job was to coordinate the meetings of all the Queen Ants in each hive within his forest. This was an important job.
The King spent much of his time traveling between each colony. Sometimes he had to walk many kilometers and many miles in a single day when the messages were time sensitive. The King did not travel alone. He led an entourage of princes who were his secretaries and scribes. It was their job to record all the events in Forest of Ants. There were three Scribe Princes for every Queen to ensure that all the events were properly recorded. The Princes worked hard to be accurate and yearned to be rewarded the role of Archivist Prince.
The Archivist Princes could retire from travel between colonies and live in a single colony serving as historian and secretary to just one Queen. Matching an Archivist to a Queen was a tough job for the King. The Queens varied greatly in personality.
Some of the Queens were excited to see the King and hear all the news from their Sister-Queens. Some Queens wanted pomp and circumstance to surround the visits, while others enjoyed a casual chat over snacks. Some of the Princes revelled in the operational details of the Queen’s Colony Updates. Others used elaborate description of the emotions and relationships within the colony.
The King’s life was busy, but it was very rewarding. He loved his role in spreading important news. He also cared deeply about the Princes he mentored into Archivists. He had a full and important life.
The King lived many years walking every centimeter and every inch of the forest. And when the years aged him and the trips began to take longer between news, the Queens all vied for him to retire at their colony. He chose to retire with the Fire Ants. The King had always found their energy and spirit exciting.
When the time came for his retirement ceremony, all the Queens cast their votes with their Archivists and the tally was carried by the Princes to the Fire Ant Queen, who announced which Scribe Prince was elected to be the new King of the Ants.
In the Colony of the Fire Ants all the Worker Ants cheered and partied for the new King on the eve of his inauguration. And the next day, the New King’s entourage left the Fire Ants to journey to the nearest Colony and begin his reign.
And thus the story begins again. Once upon a time there was a King in the Forest. . .
326 Days to go.