The island kingdom of Bugbe in planet Tellus was prosperous being a fruit producing centre. The soil was fertile and a large variety of fruits were grown there like banana, papaya, guava, mango and jack fruit. King Fez ruled Bugbe. He was an able ruler and ruled fairly with the advice of his Chief Minister (CM). Fez had married a very beautiful young woman and their only daughter Chumci was lovely. She had now turned 17 and many suitors had come forward to marry her.
Bugbe would celebrate the coronation day of King Fez annually by feasting and competitions. Prizes would be awarded to those who won in various competitive fields. There would be boating and wrestling and archery competitions, fruit and vegetable shows, beauty competitions and the like. Those who excelled in each field would alike be rewarded. As the time for the coronation festivities was approaching, King Fez conferred with CM on the matter.
After the discussion Fez said “CM, Chumci is now of marriageable age. During coronation festivities we arrange so many competitions. May be we could find a winner who could marry Chumci and succeed me.”
“Your Majesty the contestants will all come from various kingdoms. Would we want an outsider to marry the princess and succeed you?”
The king shook his head uncertainly.
“We’ve to concentrate on young men in martial arts. Not only that, he should be capable of ruling justly in peacetime.”
“I agree with what you’ve said. But suggest some way to find someone to succeed me.”
“Your Majesty please give me some time to think over the issue.”
“I’ve one more piece of information to give you. You know my wife hails from the royalty of Rubi Isle. She has been approached about a suitor from that family.”
“May I remind you that inbreeding isn’t desirable. Give me some time and I’ll try to come up with a solution.”
The CM went home engrossed in thought. Were there any enemies who would like to overthrow Fez and rūle? Names of various chieftains came to mind but none seemed competent. What should be the criteria he asked himself: He should be young, handsome, dexterous in weapon handling and above all coūrageous. Thinking of courage made CM think of Penz from a family of oūtlaws. His mother Villi had never married and had run a tavern in Bugbe. She had then met Mash who had been rescued after a shipwreck. Mash was a giant and looked formidable. Mash associated with Villi and Penz was born. Mash had then disappeared from Bugbe. It so happened that Villi smothered a drunk who had tried to outrage her modesty. She had been tried and outlawed.
CM had kept himself posted about outlaws. He knew Penz was handsome and well-built like his dad and had grown up largely in a forest as a typical hunter gatherer. He woūld hunt for food, and climbing trees woūld seek products to eat. Penz was a good swimmer and could run a boat on his own. He was also an exceedingly skilled archer. CM felt that Penz would be a suitable match for Chumci. But how could he suggest an outlaw to be the king’s son-in-law? He again reasoned within himself that Penz wasn’t the outlaw but the mother.
After a long debate within himself he decided to speak to the king. CM then met king Fez and said “Your Majesty after a great deal of thought and after weighing many matters I’ve come to recommend a suitor for princess Chumci. I request your majesty not to be angered by my suggestion. It is a lad who is young, handsome, and dexterous with weapons. He has lived in a wilderness and is very courageous. He is a highly skilled archer. He is the son of an outlaw and needs to be granted royal permission to be allowed into Bugbe to face competition during tḥe coronation festival to prove himself.”
At the king’s bidding CM named the suitor he had in mind as Penz son of the outlaw Villi. After much persuasion the king said “Alright. I’ll allow him to participate in the coronation day contests. You know I’m myself a good archer. I’ll set up a difficult challenge for him. If he wins and the princess approves of him, I’ll accept him as my son-in-law.”
CM immediately sent word to Penz about the king’s decision. Penz spoke to his mother Villi about having been approved to participate in the festivities.
Penz said “Mum you’re still an outlaw. You can’t be present to see me participate.”
She saīd “Don’t worry about me. I can survive here. You go ahead and participate in the festivities. I know you will do well and wish you all the best.”
But right before festival time, the king’s permission came allowing Villi to also be present and to participate in the festivities. Accordingly Villi and Penz were present for the competitions. Shumci had been told about Penz having been allowed into the kingdom. She took one look at him and was charmed. She wished fervently that he would triumph over challenges and marry her.
The coronation festivities commenced. Poets sang praising the king. The boat race concluded with the winner being rewarded. Wrestlers showed their abilities and were applauded and of course were rewarded. Beauty contests were held and there was singing and dancing. Now came the archery contest.
The king said to the CM “This will be an acid test for the archer. Villi will stand on the edge of the water storage tank with a small papaya frūit on her head. Penz has to shoot an arrow at the fruit aiming at her reflection seen in the water in front of her. He will stand on the opposite edge of the tank about five human lengths away. I hope both understand and consent to my conditions.”
Villi said “I’m sure my son will aim true. I’m unafraid.”
The king asked “Penz what have you to say?”
”I should be permitted two arrows.”
“Allowed. I’ll be watching closely.”
Villi took her position and Penz took aim at the small papaya on his mother’s head in her reflection in the water. He did it thrice before releasing the arrow. It strūck the papaya which shattered on the īmpact of the arrow. The feat was applauded by the king and all onlookers.
The king gave the prize for archery to Penz and asked “Why did you ask for 2 arrows? I assumed you woūld make two attempts.”
“Sir, with due respect I say I asked for the second arrow for me to kill you in case I killed my mother.”
King Fez appreciated the man’s courage. Shumci’s marriage with Penz was celebrated with due eclat. Villi’s sentence was revoked.
NOTE: I have borrowed and modified a feature from the celebrated William Tell story.