Fortune Finds A Pauper (Short Stories)

Once upon a time in a land called Clever lived a boy destined to be his own downfall. He was born into nothingness with a father best described as an old city thief, and a mother whom the church barely tolerated for her philandering bouts. About that time, he was to be stoned one day for picking up a nickel which was lost and returning it to the city chief. They said he did not return it out of good will but out of fear that if caught, he would be stoned to death for taking another’s hard work. He was however flogged and allowed to break rocks in the mountain field.

Elsa hurried home to tell her mother what she had just seen- she stood agape clenching to her left breast as if to stop her heart from jumping out of her chest. “Mother they tortured him again.” Rose turned to look at her daughter’s face as she heard her trembling voice. “Calm down now, Elsa. Why was he punished this time?” She asked. “For being kind enough to return a nickel he found on the alley,” Elsa speedily mentioned. “And how would you know that he didn’t…” The stare from Elsa made Rose swallow what was left of that sentence. The last time Tobi was in trouble, Rose had had to intervene upon the insistence of Elsa. And Rose grew bothered that Elsa was beginning to be enamored with him

Elsa and Tobi first met when she fell off her cart on her way from a soiree. Tobi was wandering his usual way when he stumbled on the scene. Without caring who was guarding Elsa, and risking being flogged as was the regular punishment for misdemeanor, Tobi sped to Elsa’s aid and lifted her off the ground, took off his shirt and tied it over her right ankle which she had knocked on the fall, and before being bundled away by her guards, he said; “You have to be an angel to be this pretty. Why didn’t the heavens keep you from hurting an ankle?” Ever since then, Elsa would steal away to go look for him. She described his choice of words as “poetry that would turn a man into an immortal.” She couldn’t wait to be 18 so she could have him marry her. A wish that her father, the King has ruled as abominable.

“I have made arrangements for your father and mother to be moved to the port land. I believe no one will hurt them there once they find out,” Elsa said to Tobi. “Are you sure you want us to do this?” Tobi asked her. “I have never been so certain,” Elsa said.

The following morning word went out that the princess had left her courtyard and was seen heading South with the thief’s son- Tobi. The king, her father had placed a bounty on his head for anyone who could find him and bring back his princess. He also ordered the arrest of his parents.

Rose knew all about this. She always wanted the happiness of her daughter. She prayed that the gold she gave to them would be enough for them to start a new life together until they were old enough to return.


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