TUMBY BAY - Once upon a time there was a great king who ruled a prosperous and happy kingdom of middling size on a far flung island in the South Pacific.
(Actually, he was a small, fat king with a balding head and glasses who ruled a grumpy and dissatisfied kingdom whose inhabitants were heartily sick of his delusions of grandeur.)
Anyway, this king decided to show off his kingdom to the rest of the world and organised a great festival to which he invited all the other kings from near and far.
To make sure his festival would be a success he borrowed money from wherever he could get it and built a huge and elaborate palace over the sea to show off his might and importance.
He also built large and elaborate accommodation for his guests and even arranged for several luxurious ocean liners to be moored off his island for their pleasure.
As this palace grew bigger and bigger and the accommodation more elaborate and outrageous he began to run out of money.
Not to be denied his moment of glory he ordered his princes and dukes to empty their coffers to pay for his extravagant plans.
Some of these princes and dukes protested. They said that if they emptied their coffers they would not be able to provide for their people.
The king was unmoved by these protests. “Let them suffer,” he told his noblemen. “The festival is much more important than those common peasants.”
On the appointed day the kings and queens from all over the world arrived in the kingdom. They were met by elaborate carriages and conveyed to their luxurious accommodation along specially constructed roads lined with newly planted trees decked with ribbons and garlands.
A sumptuous feast was held in the new palace and the king made a great speech of welcome and paraded before his guests as he offered each of them a special gift.
However, as he gazed across the heads of all the other kings and queens busily gorging on the rich food and wine that he had provided, he detected the sound of titters and chuckles.
These important people could not hold their mirth any longer as they watched the fat little king parading before them in his outrageous robes.
Soon they were rolling around on the plush carpets laughing out loud. The common people who had been watching from outside crept to the windows of the palace and stared inside. When they saw what was happening they began to laugh too.
The guests saw the people staring through the windows and with great glee they flung open the doors of the palace and beckoned them inside to partake of the feast too.
The little fat king was forgotten by everyone except a few drunken citizens who carried him down to the sea and threw him into the waves.
The kings and queens then collected all the gifts and food they could carry, jumped in their carriages and left the island.
The common people continued feasting until they were all satiated and fell asleep.
The last anyone saw of the fat little king was as he bobbed on the waves towards the horizon.