brandorf.com The everyday ramblings of one nerd.

23Aug/11

The boy with a screw in his bellybutton.

Once upon a time there was a little boy born in a little town. He was perfect, or so his mother thought. But one thing was different about him. He had a gold screw in his belly button. Just the head of it peeping out. Now his mother was simply glad he had all his finger and toes to count with. But as the boy grew up he realized not everyone had screws in their belly buttons, let alone gold ones. He asked his mother what it was for, but she didn't know.He asked his father, but his father didn't know. he asked his grandparents, but they didn't know either. That settled it for a while but it kept nagging him. Finally, when he was old enough, he packed a bag and set out, hoping he could find someone who knew the truth of it.

He went from place to place, asking everyone who claimed to know anything about anything. He asked midwives and physickers, but they couldn't make heads or tails of it. The boy asked arcanists, tinkers and old hermits living in the woods but no-one had ever seen anything like it.

He went to ask the Cealdim merchants, thinking if anyone would know about gold it would be them. But the merchants didn't know. He went to the arcanists at the University, thinking if anyone would know about screws and their workings, they would. But the arcanists didn't know. The boy followed the road over the Stormwal to ask the witch women of the Tahl but none of them could give him an answer.

Eventually he went to the King of Vint, the richest king in the world but the king didn't know. He went to the Emperor of Atur but even with all his power the Emperor didn't know. He went to each of the small kingdoms, one by one, but no one could tell him anything.

Finally the boy went to the High King of Modeg, the wisest of all the kings in the world. The high king looked closely at the head of the golden screw peeping from the boys belly button. Then the high king made a gesture and his seneschal brought out a pillow of golden silk. On that pillow was a golden box. The high king took a golden key from around his neck,opened the box, and inside was a golden screwdriver.

The king took the screwdriver and motioned the boy to come closer. trembling with excitement the boy did. The high king took the golden screwdriver and put it into the boy's belly button.

Then the high king carefully turned the golden screw. Once: nothing. Twice:Nothing. Then he turned it the third time and....the boy's ass fell off.

-From The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

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