Daily Words

by Friday Jones

Friday in a pink beret and a blue dress, cartoon version.

The Page

[A Kingdom Story]

The Wizard, Dr Cervantes, looked at the King over a breakfast roll. They were sitting at the main all dining table, occupying one end, with Carruthers, Millie and Marjorie in attendance. Carruthers served tea and sat down, taking out a napkin. The Wizard fixed the King with a gimlet eye.

“So this is how year, gonna fix the empire, is it? Takin’ breakfast with the servants?” He said with some asperity. The King finished buttering an extra piece of toast to go with his eggs before replying.

“I’ve made some changes to the economy which will take some time to trickle through, but in the meantime, Carruthers and Millie et. al., are employees, and entitled to eat while they are at work. Since this is a working breakfast, they have kindly given up their time to be with us.” Carruthers inclined his head, Millie smiled shyly.

“And what about ‘er,” said the doctor, pointing rudely at Marjorie, “I see Granny’s got ‘er hooks well in ‘ere.” A dark cloud crossed the King’s face, but Marjorie cut in before he could say anything.

“I am my own person thank you very much, and you won’t be welcome here if you make many remarks like that.” She said, primly.

“Wot makes year think I want to be ‘ere?” Came the reply. Millie put her hand up. Surprised, they all looked at her. Marjorie nodded encouragingly.

“I read, um, last night, that Wizards can affect the minds of men. All that stuff you said yesterday about being morally coerced wasn’t quite right, was it? You could have sent the men back their families at any time, and they’d be convinced that they’d done their duty.”

“They wouldn’t have though, would they?” The Wizard Snapped back, “So they’d be punished by the Emperor, sorry, ‘King’ so-called.”

Millie could see the King drawing breath for a retort, and held her hand up slightly to forestall it. She continued,

“For all your common speaking ways, Dr Cervantes, you’re an educated man, and you know the King wouldn’t punish men who were so tricked. The old Emperors would, but not the King, and you know that. Ergo, you’re here of your own accord, whatever you might say, and you’re here to hear what he says.” She took a sip of her tea. “And probably to acquiesce.”

They all looked at her in silence for a moment, and to cover her embarrassment she began to eat her eggs on toast, cutting the assembly into neat little squares.

“Hoo-rah” Said Dr Cervantes. “You’re a right clever little thing aren’t you?” No trace of accent audible to anyone now, “Did you work that out all by yourself?” Millie finished her mouthful before replying.

“I did. But I also read a great deal about you and Wizarding, and the wars. I know what you’re capable of, I think.” She looked down at her plate again.

“Do you?” Dr Cervantes said this without any animosity in his voice, just, instead, a little touch of wonder. “Tell me something. Why do you think I will acquiesce?”

Millie looked down further if that was possible. She mumbled something. The King spoke up instead.

“It is because I do want you to use your power, Sir…” Dr Cervantes took up a look of thunder on this face, but the King continued, “…on her Mother, who is ill. The doctors cannot find a cure for this malady, and the poor woman hasn’t got long left.” Marjorie passed Millie a handkerchief and she dabbed at her eyes while the King spoke further. “Millie has been researching at night for a year, she knows just about everything anyone knows about the human body, even the witches, and she has found very little.”

Millie blew her nose and tidied herself up for a few seconds before she started on an explanation of this, which quickly lost most of the audience. Carruthers fetched another pot of tea, and the conversation continued, and then he sat down and took notes.

After a while, Millie and the doctor came up for air. Millie looked at Carruthers and addressed the King.

“I have a suggestion, Sir.” She said, not at all diffidently. “You require a personal assistant to take notes and keep your calendar. You need someone knowledgable and discreet.” Before the King could open his mouth to reply she said, “I will get the head librarian to appoint someone directly.” She tapped her finger on her lips, thinking. “Three people actually.”

“I’m only one person.” Said the King, mildly. She fixed him with a stare.

“Surely you must understand the reasoning here, Sir? You need two because the task is laborious and lengthy, they will need to be with you all day and most evenings, and people are people and need time off for grandmother’s funerals etc. You need three.” She said firmly. The King looked at her for a moment.

“I see,” he said. Marjorie piped in,

“I told you in the bedchamber last night to promote her.” Millie blushed furiously and looked down.

“I’m sure I serve at the pleasure of His Majesty.” She mumbled.

“Ah, er,” the King stuttered, “we often talk about affairs of state before we, ah, go to sleep, Millie.” She looked up.

“Oh! I’m so sorry, I thought you meant, I thought, it seemed…” she trailed off. The King took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“What I mean is, how would you like to be Head Librarian and Chief Intellectual Consultant to the Crown?” Said the King, carefully. “You’d be on a bigger salary, and would have the staff and your own assistants.”


“You’d only answer to me, Millie. You’d have the weight of the Crown behind you.”


“The entire weight of the crown, for social change.” The King said, looking meaningfully at the Wizard.

“But I’m not even sixteen! I can’t…” The King fixed her with a stare.

“Outside the palace, some of your friends are getting married, settle down to a life of toil and childbearing. You’re not. They’re growing up by main force and you’re still feeling like a child, all the while building yourself into an intellectual colossus. You’re ready to serve.” He was stern. “You can either go back to that life, or you can step up here. I’d rather you do this.” She looked at him, a little fear and hope on her face.

“But my Mum,” she started. The King raised his hand.

“Dr Cervantes?” The old man shook his head as if issuing a denial, but said,

“I’ll go and look at your mother, I’m sure I can cure her.” The King looked sternly at the Doctor. “And all of those with her malady, I’ll make something up and not just wave my hands around at it. Is that what you wanted to hear O King?” he said with a sardonic lilt in his voice.

“Why, yes, as a matter of fact, that exactly what I wanted to hear.” Said the king. His wife proffered the teapot.

“More tea, Doctor?” Published January 2022


Site Design by Friday Jones.  Coded by Hand in vanilla HTML, CSS and JavaScript, for a better web experience.

No data is collected, we'll let you know if that changes.

We believe in simplicity for websites. Write to Friday about the site at aniakovas@gmail.com