In a Castle on a Hill

The Princess and the Ogre by Richard Dowling

Not so long ago, in a country not so far away, a young princess dreamed of meeting a fine prince. One who would get down on his knee, praise her beauty and beg for her hand in marriage. In short, one who would do all the usual sort of things that princes were supposed to do.

    Yet she knew it would never happen, for no ruler in the world would allow his sons to even look at her.

    The trouble was, you see, that her kingdom was poor, very poor, so poor in fact that she had no dowry. And what kind of prince would marry a princess without a dowry? No kind of prince, obviously. So the princess would put her head in her hands and sigh, “Never will I find my true love.”

    One bright, Spring morning, however, the castle walls echoed with cries of excitement:-

    “Have you seen? Have you seen?”

    “They don’t make ’em like that any more, I can tell you!”

    “Oh, his eyes!”

    “Oh, his nose!”

    “And don’t forget his chin!”

    “Oh, the most magnificent chin in the world!”

    When the princess heard the shouts, she asked the nearest maid what all the kerfuffle was about.

    “Milady, they say he’s come from far away!”

    “Who?”

    “A prince. A dashing prince!”

    Another maid corrected the first one. “No, he’s Prince Dashing.”

    “Well, he looked dashing enough to me.”

    The princess held up her hand to silence the  babbling. “A prince?” she said. “What is a prince doing here? And what’s with all the dashing? Is he in a rush?”

    The maids blushed and tittered, and tittered and blushed, but said nothing. Frustrated, the princess dismissed them and fluttered through the castle hoping for a glimpse of this visitor before he hurried off. It would be her first look at a real prince. Then a strange sensation gripped her chest. Why, she realised, even my heart is dashing!

    Yet the search proved fruitless, for there was no sign of the visitor. Finally, the princess was summoned to see the king and queen for their usual mid-morning meeting, and she cursed her bad luck. Now she’d never see this prince.

    As usual, her parents were sitting on their thrones at the head of the hall. The princess took her position standing at their side just as a single trumpet blared (they couldn’t afford a full brass section) followed by a servant proclaiming, “From the far away kingdom of Osinini, Prince Dashing.”

    And there he was.

    Oh! It was true. All of what the maids had said was true. He was the most beautiful man she’d ever seen. His hair was the gold of the sun at sunset. His eyes were the blue of the sky at midday. His chest was as broad as a barrel of cider, his stomach as narrow as the stem of a wine glass, and his–

    “Is everything all right, my dear?” said the queen. “You look a little peaky round the gills.”

    The princess asked whether they could invite the prince to step forward, as he seemed so lonely there at the end of the hall.

    The king nodded and waved his hand for the prince to approach the throne. “That’s it, my good man. Come over here. I’m afraid I’ve never heard of this Osinini, but I’m sure it’s a wonderful place.”

    Prince Dashing performed a perfect bow and said, “It is indeed a beautiful place, your majesty, but it pales in comparison with the treasures of your fair land.”
    When he said ‘treasures’ his gaze lingered on the princess, whose cheeks suddenly felt rather warm.

    “Too kind,” said the king. “Too kind. So, milad, what is it that brings you hereabouts? We don’t get many visitors I have to admit.” 

    The prince breathed in deeply, puffing his chest out until it looked like it would burst. And once again he was gazing at the princess, whose cheeks were now as hot as burning coals.

    “Your majesty,” said the prince, getting down on one knee. “I’ve come to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.”

    After his voice had boomed throughout the hall, there were gasps of astonishment from the servants, from the courtiers and even from the king and queen.

    The only one who didn’t gasp was the the fair princess herself, for she had, rather unfortunately, swooned on the spot. 

#

“You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Prince Dashing.

    “Thank you very much,” said the princess, who prided herself on always being polite.

    They were on a ship crossing the ocean to get married in Osinini. The sun shone brightly and the sea was so calm it could have been carved of crystal.

    The prince closed his eyes and leaned forward to kiss her. The princess closed her eyes too.

    And then she woke up. She wasn’t on a ship at all. She was on her bed in her chamber with her mother smiling serenely down at her.

    “Bang-up job, my girl” said the queen. “Well done. Nice touch at the end,too with the you-know-what.”

    “What?” said the Princess.

    “You don’t remember? I thought the swoon was an affectation. You mean to say you really did faint? My, what a delicate flower you are. You get that from your father, of course. Wilted like a dried-up daisy he did. All the time. It’s a wonder you ever arrived, my dear.”

    The princess sat up. Her head ached and her chest felt like her heart was trying to climb out. She asked her mother again to tell her what had happened.

    “Prince Dashing has asked for your hand in marriage, my dear, and I do hope it was because of your beauty because your brains are not currently putting on a good show. In any case, in return he will open up trade between his kingdom and ours. Won’t it be splendid? No longer will we be in the grip of that dratted embargo by the kingdom of Suyan. We’ll finally have a market for our goods. Our people will no longer have to suffer. And all thanks to you, my beautiful but brainless little treasure. So get yourself ready.”

    “For what?”

    The queen frowned. “Have you not been listening? You’re going on a trip, my young lady. Right away. The sooner you’re married in Osinini the sooner we can start trading. So come on, snap, snap!”

    The queen marched out, leaving the princess to scramble through her wardrobe. What should she take? What should she leave behind? How did one pack for the rest of one’s life? She couldn’t think straight. Married! She was going to be married at last! It was a dream come true.

#

“You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Prince Dashing.

    “Thank you very much,” said the princess, who prided herself on always being polite.

    They were on a ship crossing the ocean to get married in Osinini. The sun shone brightly and the sea was so calm it could have been carved of crystal.

    The prince closed his eyes and leaned forward to kiss her. The princess closed her eyes too.

    And then she didn’t wake up. They kissed for a long time. And when they were finished, she said, “Tell me about my new home. Tell me about Osinini.”

    “Ah, Osinini is a beautiful land, filled with rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, peaceful lakes and rivers teeming with salmon.” As he talked, his hands sketched out the shape of the hills and the mountains in the air, and imitated the flowing of a river. “There are many beautiful cities, and the most beautiful city of all, the city where we shall make our home, is Oriaria.” His fingers traced out magnificent palaces and towers and the Princess could see it all in her mind’s eye.

    “It’s all too good to be true” she said.

    “Except for one thing, my love.”

    “What’s that?”

    “We are not yet married.”

    “But as soon as we reach the city of Oriaria. . .”

    “Yes. But did you know. . .?”

    “What?”

    “The captain of a ship has the power to marry passengers.”

    “He has?” said the princess. “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

    “I didn’t want to presume.”

    “Could he marry us right now?”

    “Right now?”

    “Right now. Oh, I can’t wait a moment longer.”

    Prince Dashing smiled, bowed, and strode off down the deck.

    It all happened so fast that before she knew it, the ship’s captain, a rugged sailor with silver-white hair, pronounced them man and wife. Overjoyed, she closed her eyes in readiness for her husband’s kiss.

    But it never came.

#

    “Right, lads,” said a deep, unfamiliar voice. “That’s over and done with. Clap her in chains and we’ll soon haver her at work. Look sharp!”

    The princess opened her eyes. Before her, where Prince Dashing had been, now stood an enormous ogre. Its skin was green and scaly and dirty tusks protruded from its mouth. She screamed.

    The ogre reached forward and clamped a foul-smelling hand over her mouth.

    “That’s enough of that.”

    His grip was so strong she feared that he would crush her skull. Instead he said, “Hush,” and let go.

    “What have you done with Prince Dashing?” she cried. “I demand to know.”

    The ogre laughed. The crew joined in. But when she looked around she realised it wasn’t the crew at all—the   figures looming all around her were ogres of varying sizes and degrees of ugliness.

    The first ogre was still laughing, saying, “Oh, you demand it, do you? Well, shall I tell her lads?”

    “Yes!”

    The ogre bowed his head. “I am Prince Dashing.”

    “Impossible,” said the princess. “You look quite, quite different.”

    “You’ve heard of magic, right? Spells and that? Well, now that we’re married, the spell’s worn off. Look closely and you’ll see.”

    She noted that the ogre was wearing an outfit similar to that worn by her Prince Dashing. But where the latter’s clothes had been made of the finest silks, with colours bold and vibrant, the ogre’s were made of some cheap wool, had faded muchly and were covered in grease and food stains.

    Then she saw that the other ogre standing close by wore something resembling the captain’s uniform, but again a cheap imitation.

    Even the ship had lost its glow of well-maintained lustre and now seemed like nothing more than a loose collection of planks that would fall apart in a strong wind.

    When she looked up the very sky itself had changed to an iron grey. If she had had any doubts, they were now all gone. She was onboard an ogre ship, bound for ogre country and, what was more, she had married the biggest and ugliest of all the ogres. What, she feared, would her parents say?

#

In chains the princess was led from the ship through the harbour and into the city of Oriaria, the city of Ogres. A darker, filthier place she’d never seen nor smelled. Drunken hovels clumped up against each other to keep from falling over, while above them loomed black towers. And from these towers came frightful screams that plunged down to earth like vultures upon a corpse.

    Yet the cries attracted no attention from the inhabitants of the city; their leery eyes were on the princess. Pushed through the streets by her ogre captor, she endured jeers and wolf-whistles and all sorts of abuse, not the half of which she understood. She pleaded to be let go, to return to the land of her birth, but the ogre who had been Prince Dashing merely chuckled.

    “Women!” he said. “All the same. Can’t wait to get married, but when the spell wears off they want to go back to their parents sharpish.”

    Reminded of her parents, the princess said, “What about the agreement? Will you be opening up trade with my kingdom?”

    “I’m an ogre, love, we’re not that strong on keeping our word. It’s kind of touching that you’d think so, though.”

    They stopped before a black tower that twisted up through the air and hooked back down at the top like a giant claw. The princess became dizzy looking at it. Surely they weren’t going inside? It would fall over at any moment. 

    “Welcome to your new home, wifey,” said the ogre, pointing at the blood-red door. “I suppose it’s the custom, ain’t it?”

    “What?”

    He picked her up and carried her in like a newly-wed bride. This was too much and, for the first time since she’d been tricked into the marriage, the princess broke down and cried.

    “There, there, love,” said the ogre. “You’ll soon get used to it. Most of the others did.”

     She didn’t know to whom he was referring, but she swore that she would never get used to it.

    Never.

#

When at last they reached the top floor, the ogre kicked open a door and hurled her through. She landed with a thump on the bed.

    “I am a princess,” she protested. “You have no right to marry me under false pretence.”

    “Oh, we all get married under false pretences, Princess. When you think about it. Now, you get yourself comfortable. There’s a jar of water by the bed, and a few slices of bread. You’ve got an hour before you start work. Enjoy it while you can.”
    “Work? What do you mean work? Why would you marry a princess if you wanted a washerwoman? Couldn’t you have married a female of your own species? An ogress?”

    “Nobody wants to kiss an ogress, love. Not even an ogre. And I can charge double for a princess.”

    He winked a pus-filled eye and slam-locked the door behind him.

    The princess picked up the jar of water and hurled it with all her might against the wall.

    Outside in the corridor she heard the Ogre laughing. “Oh, they likes them with a bit of spirit. Yes they do.”

    The water from the broken jar formed a puddle at her feet. She put her hands over her eyes and cried until her throat was raw.

#

The first Ogre was the worst. He held her down and his sticky tongue left saliva all over her cheeks. On his battered jacket was a yellow button and, for some reason, her mind latched onto this object during the ordeal. It was a very pretty button. And while the Ogre was busy pressing his lips to her skin, she ceased struggling and thought about the button—where it had come from, who had made it, and how wonderfully it shone when it caught the light straggling in from the window.

    Then the Ogre had finished and was putting his clothes back in order.

    “Where did you get that button?” said the princess.

    The ogre looked at her, frowned and muttered something too terrible to repeat. When he was gone, she wondered why he’d been so angry. After all, she was the one who was being kissed against her will. She was the one who’d been lied to and imprisoned. She was the one with every right to be angry.

    And then the next Ogre came in.

#

After the second day, she lost track of the number of Ogres. She no longer bothered to look at their faces. But what she did do was always try to find something nice to look at. A well-woven garment, a bright pin or a button. Given that ogres were a foul, messy lot, often there was simply nothing pretty or interesting to look at, and then she would retreat into memories and think of her beautiful palace, her home and her parents. But when she did this she usually ended up crying, which would always upset whichever Ogre she was with and they would rage and shout and pinch her skin. So she forced herself to stop remembering.

    The days passed, then the weeks and the months. One morning, the ogre who had passed himself off as Prince Dashing said, “Hmm. What’s this? You’re looking a little plump around the waist.”

    “You must be feeding me too much,” she said sarcastically.

    “No. I don’t think it’s that. I think it’s something else entirely.”

    He left the room and for the whole of that morning there were no ogres. It was the first opportunity she’d had in the tower to rest; to rest and to escape. But however hard she tried, the door would not open and the window was too small to get through.

    Then at last, as it always did, the door opened. The ogre who came in was old and breathed in gasps through his mouth. To her surprise, he didn’t try to kiss her. Instead he placed first his greasy hands on her belly, and then an ear.

    “You’re pregnant,” he coughed. With that he stood up and left the room.

    Pregnant? She could hardly believe it. Her first thought was that maybe now her captor would release her. But the ogres continued their visits, right up until the day her son was born.

#

The baby plopped and splashed out onto the bed. Not bothering to hide a look of distaste, the ogre doctor picked it up to slap its bottom, wincing when the infant screamed.

    “He seems to take after his mother,” he said.

    “It’s a boy?” said the princess. “Let me look.”

    With great difficulty, because she had been chained to the wall as part of the birth procedure, she held the baby close to her breast, then turned him so she could look at his face. She almost cried out when she saw how ugly he was. Sickly, pale green skin and a face as wrinkled as a raisin with tiny little tusks that stuck out over his lips. There was no doubt, he was half-human and half-ogre. 

    “I shall call him Acorn,” she said. “For though he is small and strangely formed, he will grow into a strong, handsome man, as tall and proud as an Oak.”

    “You can call it what you like,” the doctor wheezed. “It doesn’t matter in the slightest. You don’t think you’re going to keep it, do you?”

    She pressed the baby tighter to her breast. “I’m his mother.”

    The ogre doctor snatched the babe from her arms. Screaming, she pulled with all her strength at the chains. But it was no use. The Doctor left the room with her little Acorn thrown over his shoulder like a bag of flour.

    And this was when the princess vowed her revenge.

#

It had been the princess’s custom to use some of her drinking water for the purposes of washing. Now she stopped. Her only possession apart from her clothes had been a comb, tucked into a sleeve, which she had used to keep her hair under control. She threw the comb through the window. Her room was filled with dust, and now her morning routine was to take as much dust as she could find and grind it into her face. She did other things too, things to mar her beauty, things of which we will not speak.

    As she was so beautiful, she knew it would take some time for her plan to work. But one thing she had learned in this never-ending trial was the value of patience. 

    The weeks passed, then the months, then the years. One day the ogre came up to give her breakfast.

    “What’s this?” he said, peering at her strangely.

    “What?”
    “You don’t look right.”

    “What do you mean? I’m a beautiful princess.”

    “You’re not, you know. Why, you look more like an ogress than a princess.”

    “Thank you very much.”

    He shrugged. “You’re no use to me now, so you aren’t.”

    Her chest constricted. This was the moment she’d been planning for.

    “I suppose you’ll kill me now.”

    He reached into his pocket and something metallic glinted. A knife.

    “I suppose I will.”

    “What will you do with the body?”

    “What?”

    “You can’t leave the corpse here. It will smell and attract rats.”

    “That’s true.”

    “And you won’t be able to use the room for the next princess.”

    “I’ll carry you down and throw your body into the harbour.”

    “It’s quite far, though, isn’t it.”

    “It is a bit.”

    “And a dead body weighs more than a live one. So they say.”

    “They do indeed.”

    “It’s not fair that you have to do all that work on my account.”

    “You’re right,” he said. “Why should I do all the work? Get your lazy bottom out of here.”

    He pushed her down the dark, twisting stairs of the dark, twisting tower and, when they were outside, he threw her into the middle of the road where she landed in a puddle of icy-cold water.

    “And don’t come back,” he called out.

    Passing ogres who’d seen her predicament laughed as she got to her feet and wrang out her sodden skirt. Let them laugh, she thought. What did their scorn matter? After all these years, she was free.

    Then she caught sight of herself in the reflection of the puddle. Where had the beautiful princess gone? Instead she saw a wart-ridden crone with the body of a skeleton.

    Oddly, given the circumstances, she smiled. Beauty had caused all her troubles, she realised, whereas ugliness had freed her. She was in debt to ugliness. And she would repay that debt by becoming the ugliest creature that ever walked the face of the earth. This would be her road to vengeance.

#

The ogre harbour was covered with a fetid miasma that obscured the ships and the cargo wagons, so blackening the air that she thought night had suddenly fallen. Then she realised the fog was caused by rubbish—all the rubbish of the world arrived here because ogres prized rubbish the way humans prized gold.

    I am rubbish, she thought. I am here.

    But how was she going to get onboard a ship? This was the most difficult part of her plan. To get back to her kingdom seemed impossible.

    “Oi!” growled a voice.

    “I’m sorry,” said the princess. She’d bumped into someone in the haze. “Did this frail old woman hurt you, ogre?”

    The ogre leaned down to get a good look at her. His face was different to the other ogres, softer. And he smelled sweet. Could it be. . ?

    “Acorn? Is that you?”

    The ogre sniffed her hair. “Mother?”

    It was him! Her heart trilled like a morning bird. Her little Acorn was alive and well, and he had grown big and strong, just as she had hoped, like an oak. He reached down and enfolded her in arms as thick as tree trunks and she kissed his cheek.

    “My son!”
    “Mother! I never thought I’d see you again.”

    “You remember me? You were just a baby.”

    “Oh, I never forgot. And I never forgot that Doctor who took me away from you neither.”

    “Did you–?”

    “Snapped his neck like a twig. No one’s as strong as me mother. I got my strength from you.”
    “Good. We both need to be strong, Acorn. We have important work to do. Will you help me?”

    “Just tell me who you want bashing.”

    “That’s my boy,” said the princess. She stared at the harbour, at a black ogre-ship, at a pirate flag that set fear in the hearts of all who looked upon it. All, that is, except the princess and her son. 

#

Acorn overpowered the ogre pirates without breaking a sweat, tossing them overboard like toy soldiers. They found the captain of the ship cowering in his cabin on his knees begging for forgiveness.

    “I recognise this one,” said the princess. “He was the one who married me to the so-called Prince Dashing. The one who stole my soul.”

    “Want me to turn his head back to front?”

    “No, since he’s so good at marrying things that shouldn’t be married, such as human and ogre, I think we should marry him to an anchor and send him on his honeymoon.”

    In the captain went, into the sea with a scream and a splash. The ship was empty, the ship was theirs. It was time to set sail and return to her parents. 

#

They sailed for forty days and forty nights. They were lucky that the ship held provisions for thirty or so ogres so there was more than enough food and water for two. And because Acorn was stronger than any ogre, he was able to manage the sails with ease while his mother steered the ship. On the morning of the forty-first day they sighted land. The princess’s kingdom. Home.

    The port, however, was empty. Perhaps it was a holiday, the princess thought. On sacred days the fishermen did no fishing and the port would lie vacant. Yet she would still expect to see their boats bobbing in the harbour. 

    The crop fields on the way to the castle were barren, with no men to be seen tending the soil. Perhaps there had been trouble with a harvest? Maybe her people had moved to greener pastures.

    At the castle there were no guards. Worse, the walls of the castle were battered and ruined. For this, the princess could come up with no welcome explanation.

    Inside, the castle was empty. From top to bottom they searched, but it wasn’t until they entered the kitchens that they found a single living soul. It was a young girl of 10 years old or thereabouts.

    “What are you doing?” said the princess.

    “Same as you,” said the girl. “Looking for food.”

    The girl did indeed look very thin. The princess reached into her dirty robes and pulled out some dried biscuits she’d saved from the ogre-ship’s hold.

    The girl devoured the biscuits, and while she did the Princess asked, “Where are the king and queen?”

    “Yum. They’re dead, miss. Yum.”

    The princess had known it in her heart as soon as she’d seen the empty port.

    “What happened here?” she said, recovering her composure. “Where is everyone?”
    “Yum. My mum said that there was a war with the evil kingdom of Suyan. Yum. And that the king and queen were slain. Yum. And then all the men were killed. Yum.”

    “Who would do such a thing?” said Acorn.

    The girl, her belly full of biscuits, noticed the half-human ogre for the first time and trembled.

    “Don’t be scared,” said the princess. “This is my son.”

    “Is he a man? I’ve never seen one before.”

    “He is half-man and half-ogre. But you have no need to fear, because he is my son and he will not harm you. Isn’t that right, Acorn?”
    Acorn nodded his head. He reached into his pocket and brought out more biscuits for the girl to eat.

    “Who are you then?” said the girl to the princess.

    “First, tell me your name.”

    “Victoria, miss.”

    “Victoria, I am the daughter of the king and queen. I am the Princess of this land.”
    “You look too old to be a princess,” said the girl.

    “Nevertheless that is precisely what I am. Now, have you fed your belly? Do you have strength? Can you do something for me in return for all these wonderful biscuits you’ve eaten?”

    The girl nodded her head.

#

The next morning the Princess looked out from the drawbridge over the castle moat and saw that Victoria had been successful. Before her had gathered all the women of the kingdom. Some of them had children, but as she looked amongst them she saw no boys.

    “All the male children were killed,” explained Victoria when the princess had gone out to meet them at the castle gates. “They wanted no boys growing up into men who would want revenge.”

    The princess growled. “Hear me, women,” she said. “Though my hair is grey and my skin wrinkled, I am the princess of this kingdom. I was lured away by a prince who turned out to be an Ogre but I made my escape and have returned. I had planned to raise an army to effect vengeance upon the kingdom of the Ogres. But now I see how my kingdom has been laid waste, how my people have had their husbands, fathers and sons killed. I swear to you that the men responsible for this will pay.”

    Many cries went up. “How? What can we do? We’re just women.”

    “Have we not arms? Can we not use swords? You work the fields, you cut wood, you carry stone, your arms are as strong as any man’s. But what’s more, you will fight as no man has ever fought. You will fight not to conquer land or gain money. You will fight because the land cries out for revenge on all the blood spilled. You will fight, and you will win.”

    A great roar went up from the many thousands of women surrounding the castle. “Follow me, my army, follow me to the armoury. There are weapons a plenty still. A little rusty, but we shall clean them in the bellies of our foes.”

#

The army of the princess was like no army in the world. Not only was it made up entirely of women, but it was also accompanied by children. And because the female warriors knew that defeat would mean the certain death of their offspring, they fought with a ferocity never before seen on the field of battle.

    Aided by the invincible Acorn—whose valour and strength on the battlefield were worth a hundred men—the army laid waste to the surrounding kingdoms, winning battle after battle until every single enemy had been vanquished.

    The princess was merciless in victory. Every defeated man was put to death. Every male child killed.

    The princess did not need to look in the mirror to know that she had, indeed, become the ugliest creature on the face of the earth. 

#

Five years later, the war-fleet was ready. On the deck of the flagship, the princess, with Acorn and Victoria at her side, led her ships to the kingdom of the ogres.

    Never had the Earth seen such battle. The ogres were strong and terrible in battle, but they had never fought women before. Especially not human women, who they thought were fit only for kissing and housework. They made the fatal mistake of underestimating their enemy. The princess’s army tore through city after city. Destroying everything and leaving only ruins in its wake.

    And yet, the princess was not happy. When Acorn asked if her success was not pleasing, she would say, “It is not yet finished, even though I conquer the world.”

    Acorn knew what was bothering her. He would shrug his shoulders and turn to Victoria. “Even if she gets her revenge, I doubt she’ll be happy.”

    “But we will,” said Victoria, and kissed him.

#

    The last ogre to die was, fittingly, the ogre who had been Prince Dashing. He was found in a faraway country, delirious and starving in a cave.

    In chains, he was led before the princess at her new castle. Slowly, because she was now very old, the princess descended from her throne. She looked him over, nodded her head in recognition and asked if he had anything to say in his defence.

    “I’m sorry,” said the Ogre. “I’ll do anything you want if you let me go.”

    “I’m a woman,” said the princess. “We don’t believe in forgiveness. It’s touching that you’d think so, though.”

    Then she kissed him on the cheek and ordered her guards to burn him alive.

    As the flames rose higher, the walls of the courtyard echoed with excited shouts:-

    “Oh, his stomach!”

    “Oh, his neck!”

    “Oh, his eyes!”

    And that was the last of the ogre, and of all ogres.

    “It’s done,” said the princess, and smiled.

    #

    As you probably realise, Acorn, for a short time at least, was the only male left in the world, which means that all men alive today are his descendants. And even though Acorn was faithful and good, this drop of ogre blood in their veins explains why men are the way they lamentably are.

 THE END

2 Responses to In a Castle on a Hill

  1. Absolutely Brilliant! This works on so many levels. Clever, entertaining, knowing, sly, funny, easy to read but with a strong moral thread – and the punchline TREMENDOUS. A fantastic tale for older children and adults alike.

  2. Richie D says:

    Thank you so much, Anne! Glad you enjoyed the tale. I really appreciate your kind comments!

    Regards,

    Richard Dowling

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