Saddle Up!

The Princess waited until the sky was very dark. It was fortunate that clouds had rolled in and covered the moon and stars. She dressed warmly, having the night maid bring her breeches and a plain overcoat. The night maid returned to build up the fire in her room, dressed in a hooded cloak, just as the princess told her to. The Princess put it on and walked right out of her room, leaving the night maid to sleep in her bed until morning.

The Princess went to the stable and quietly took her stout mare out into the night. She paid the stable boy to saddle her, and told him she was going out and getting a surprise for her father for his birthday. The stable boy raised his eyebrows, but said nothing.

It was too easy!

Now, to decide where to go. She wanted to be away from Dunmarr and away from her own kingdom where her father would surely comb. What had her father said about geography? No one wanted to go near the swamp lands! She headed toward them.


The ogre and human slept that night in the cage, parked beside the largest tent in the human encampment. In the morning, the human was yanked out and his face washed so he could see the Captain.

"Do you speak well?"

"Yes, of course!"

"Good, then answer my questions. Why are you living with the Ogres?"

"I was found as a baby by them. I floated there in a reed basket."

"Yet you speak perfect English!"

"This is what the Ogres speak. It is the same."

"No, the Ogres grunt and growl. They do not speak."

"I tell you, it is the same!"

"Then you can translate?"

"Translate? What for?"

"Dare you cross me, BOY?!" The Captain rose and the soldiers flanking the human drew their weapons upon him. Thinking fast, he responded, "No."


"N-no, Sir."

"Can you translate?!" The Captain yelled.

"Y-yes, Sir."

"Good. Then you may prove yourself useful. I need you to tell the Ogres that they must surrender their swamp to the King of Dunmarr! They must pay him a tax every year of 10 silvers. If they cannot pay, he will make them work it off. If they do not agree to these terms, we will kill not only your Ogre friend here, but outright refusal of the terms is acceptance of war! And make them understand that they cannot defeat us!"

"Yes, Sir!"

"Take him back to the swamp!" the Captain ordered his soldiers.

The human thought about the odd situation he was in. The Ogres would not accept the terms, and they would probably even fight him for being the bearer of bad news; a bad omen which must be killed.

The soldiers placed him on a horse, tying his hands to the saddle in front of him. He had one short horseback ride in which to come up with a plan.

The End

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