Ma Bell

Other versions of this one are more reminiscent of the Billy Goats Gruff.

King John and King Paul had been at war for years, and King Paul was getting tired of it. He decided to make peace between himself and King John. So, he sent his eldest son, his most trusted Prince, to see King John and arrange the peace. Well, the Prince traveled for days and finally arrived at King John’s castle. It was a huge stone fortress, surrounded by a deep moat which was filled with tiny Piranha-like fish called Yellow Fingers. These Yellow Fingers could strip a cow to the bones in minutes! So the Prince yelled up to the guards, “Lower your drawbridge! I come from King Paul to arrange the peace.” They did lower the drawbridge, but just as the prince put one foot on it, they yanked the drawbridge back up again, causing the prince to flip into the moat, where he was eaten by the Yellow Fingers.

When King Paul heard this he was very upset, but he was still determined to make the peace. So he sent his most trusted Barons as his emissaries. One by one they were tricked into falling in the moat. King Paul sent his Dukes. They too were eaten by the fish. Finally no one was left n the castle but a little page boy. “Page,” said King Paul wearily, you are my last hope. You must make the peace between King John and me. lad, and good luck.” The page went to the drawbridge “I come from King Paul to arrange the peace!” As they had done many times before, King John’s men lowered the bridge, then yanked it back up just as the victim put a foot on it.

But a strange thing happened! The page, instead of being eaten, waded right across the moat, climbed onto the drawbridge, and entered the castle. King John was so impressed by this that he made peace!

So, what is the moral of this story???

Let your pages do the walking through the yellow fingers.

Chuck Cartia added the following historical note:

Read with great pleasure many of the stories on your website. I can remember the original Ferdinand Feghoot stories from the good old days when I enjoyed sci-fi.

With reference to # 124, “Ma Bell”, let me add an interesting footnote. I first heard this story sometime in the 1970’s(?). It was in the form of a cartoon and was a Bell Telephone commercial on televison. I only saw it once, but I was so impressed by it that I never forgot it. The story was only slightly different.

A king had to get a message to the king of a neighboring kingdom. The kingdoms were separated by a mountain range that could only be crossed through a single high pass. The pass was guarded by a huge yellow hand. The king’s best knights and soldiers were easily defeated by the yellow hand (shown in the cartoon as a hand standing on two fingers). The king asked for volunteers but the only volunteer was a young page. Everyone scoffed until the young page easily walked right through the pass and deliverd the message.

You know the moral.

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