Once upon a time, there was a charming prince who lived in an enchanted land. Yes, I know. Fairy tales are supposed to be about princesses. This is an equal opportunity story.
Anyway, there was this charming prince, living in an enchanted land. When he was young, each day he would ride about the kingdom, enjoying the beauty and wonder around him. He and his friends were well known for their kindness, as well as their laughter. To be sure, the prince had his mischievous side, playing practical jokes on friends and strangers alike. Always harmless jokes, though. There’s no charm in being hurtful.
As the prince grew older, his roaming expanded and he began exploring and experiencing surrounding kingdoms. One day, he entered a neighboring land where the people were demure and quiet. The prince wondered what was wrong. As he inquired and spoke with the people of the land, he learned that there was a Fun-Sucking Dragon terrorizing the land. The prince discovered that before the Fun-Sucking Dragon’s arrival, the people were just as happy as the citizens in his land. However, the Fun-Sucking Dragon imposed upon the people a law preventing anything fun. No singing, no dancing, no running, no galloping horses, and worst of all, no wine! No wonder the people of this land were sad!
Some of the people were actually sympathetic to the Fun-Sucking Dragon, and took pleasure in seeing the quiet and melancholy that descended upon the land. Not that these people were mean, or possessed ill intent. They actually believed that temperance in all things, imposed by this prohibition on fun, was healthy and good; that the people would live healthier, safer, more productive lives. Admittedly, before the prohibition, some of the people did overindulge in fun, and would hurt themselves or miss work. Nevertheless, those people were in the minority. Most of the fun-lovers engaged with moderation, and felt the fun enhanced their quality of life. The prince didn’t think it didn’t seem fair that the entire land should be penalized for the actions of the few people who lacked self-control. So he set about trying to find a way to defeat the Fun-Sucking Dragon.
The prince learned that, despite the best motivations of the temperance groups, the prohibition on fun had unintended consequences. The loss of jobs in the entertainment and libation industries created a financial burden in the land. In addition, many people missed having fun, so they would gather in secret; singing, dancing, and drinking wine and other banned drinks. This resulted in a rise in criminal activity, as unscrupulous people took control of these hidden locations, and demanded money to keep quiet and not turn in the fun-lovers. And clearly, all the otherwise honest and law abiding citizens who engaged in illicit fun were now, themselves, criminals!
The prince organized a group of brave citizens to battle the Fun-Sucking Dragon. The fight lasted several years, and there were many casualties on both sides. Finally, the Fun-Sucking Dragon surrendered and repealed the law prohibiting fun. The people rejoiced, and fun and happiness once again reigned in the land. Mostly.
Despite the victory, the Fun-Sucking Dragon had only surrendered. The prince was unable to slay him entirely. There have been long-lasting effects of the fun prohibition, even to this day. On the one hand, the people became more aware of the risks of overindulging in fun, so this is seen as a positive. Yet nearly 100 years later, there are still residual impediments to fun in the land. Some parts of the country retained portions of the archaic law, making it difficult for the citizens in those regions to engage in as much fun as others.
The prince was happy that he could restore fun and happiness to his neighbors, but knew there was still much more work to do. Slowly, the prince’s influence continues to remove barriers to fun. The fun-lovers in the land are hopeful that one day, all the people will be permitted to engage in all the fun activities equally.
And there will be much rejoicing.
This is a work of fiction. All characters are made up and any resemblance to actual people or dragons is purely coincidental. It is also my entry into this month’s Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC33), the theme of which is “Once Upon a Time” as selected by last month’s winner, Mel of Wining with Mel. No dragons were harmed in the writing of this blog post.