Toadying to Royalty
(with apologies to Don Martin of Mad magazine)
I’ve been leading a charmed life now for more than a year. Or I was, until yesterday.
Yesterday was my wedding day. It should have been the happiest day of my life. It was, until she turned up and opened her mouth.
Over a year ago, I wasn’t the man I was yesterday, until that horrible moment in the cathedral. The king’s daughter made me the man I was for such a relatively short time. It was her sensuality that did it, and her fearlessness — willing to shower her love over all the little creatures of this world.
Princess Ingela said that she had never had this effect before, the day she kissed me. She was more surprised than I was. I’d been given hints by my mates in the forest that, before I got my land legs, I’d been cursed by an evil spirit who had a twisted sense of humour: something magical would happen to me one day and I would be ecstatic, but it would lead to massive disappointment.
My mates were right. Magic when Ingela kissed me and magical when I was with her; massive, massive comedown when the priest urged anyone with an objection to our union to speak up.
The cathedral was packed. Everyone looked around to see if there would be any taking up of the priest’s invitation. There was silence, except for the swishing of silk and the flapping of fans. No-one spoke. I let out my pent-up breath and smiled at my beloved.
The priest took a breath to continue, when we all heard a croaky voice from the back of the cathedral: “He’s not free to marry her.”
Everyone turned, but could see no-one. The croak again: “He’s already promised to me.” Then we all saw it — a toad perched on the rim of the baptismal font.
We were all too surprised to move, as the toad hopped along the aisle to where Ingela and I stood. The toad eyed me, then sprang onto my shoulder. I recognised her then and I broke out in a sweat.
Before I could flick her off my shoulder, the toad kissed me and I instantly shrank to her size. She smiled at me, sending shivers down my slimy back. I looked up at Ingela, now a giant to me. It took me only two seconds to make up my mind. I sprang onto Ingela’s shoulder and took a chance — I kissed her. An instant later, she squatted before me, the most beautiful toad I had ever seen.
Better an amphibious life with the love that had found me last year, than with my ugly second cousin, who now looked at us in horror.