The Queen’s Barry

In a sultry southern land, there was once a Queen of great passion and spirit and many princes and courtiers tried to claim her hand.

None succeeded in capturing her heart, save one, the Queen’s favourite courtier: Barry.

A brave and dashing man, Barry was an explorer, a soldier, an athlete and hunter of some repute. His arms were as thick as many men’s thighs. His laugh could make the walls shake. His jokes could make the sailors blush. And the Queen, in his presence, was besotted with him.

Then one tragic day, she received news that her Barry had drowned in a sea voyage. His final promise, that he would claim distant lands in her honour, had been fulfilled, but only this now empty news and his lifeless body could return to her.

Heartbroken, the Queen named the new land Barrynia and ordered her Queendom into mourning.

Years went by and the court could not break her from her misery. Finally, she announced that she would not love nor wed any but a Barry.

The news spread throughout the land and Barry’s from far and wide came to the palace to court and woo for her hand in marriage.

Some Barry’s amused her, some impressed her, some sang songs like a nightingale. Her spirits were raised, her smile returned but none could move her heart in the way that Barry had done those many years before.

And with the Queen approaching middle age, still childless, the members of the palace and court now feared for the future of the realm.

Then one day, a new lord arrived at the palace. He wore no jewels. He brought no carriage. His codpiece lacked the elaborate scaffolding and stuffing of other gentlemen of the court. But his calm, confident manner struck all before him.

The Queen was intrigued by this stranger, much to the annoyance of her never-ending line of suitors.

As she got to know him, she learned of his wit, his intelligence, his charm, the way that he seemed to notice and appreciate every detail of her conversation and appearance. He wrote sonnets of her beauty, painted pictures of her image, sculpted visions of her regal figure, cast in the guise of goddesses of old.

New Barry was different, but she loved him all the same.

She announced that they would marry, and the nation rejoiced in celebration.

Then, but the night before the wedding, the Queen received grave news from the scheming knights and lords of the court: that her new Barry…was a Donald.

Furious, she ordered his execution and Donald was set to be beheaded (rather than married) on the following summer’s morn.

Thousands turned out to see the drama unfold.

Stood on the block, Donald pleaded for a final chance to say his piece and sway her.

Relenting in her rage and grief, the Queen assented.

Then did Donald lay sweet words upon the Queen and crowd such as none had ever heard.

He spoke with great kindness of her Barry.

How the pain of loss does burden our hearts and minds though the past no longer lives.

How the uniqueness, the irreplaceableness of past moments pleasant and painful is what grants them their beauty.

How all things pass away.

And that if we can accept the bright new morn as we weep for the passing of the night then loves fresh hope is not lost nor wasted but lives with us anew in the heart that still lives on.

The crowd and Queen were brought to tears and the beauty of his talk washed away the fight and fury in her heart.

“…after all,” Donald quipped, “what kind of a name would Barry be for a king! Now, that would have been ridiculous!”

And so, rising from her throne, the Queen screamed “Off with his head!” and Donald was no more.

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