23 August 2007

Mysterious Gifts to the Grand Duke

This morning, the Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II was awoken by his English valet, “Hives”, with the news that a mysterious gift awaited him in the garden of Krankenstadt Palace. Although it was passed 10 o’clock, the Grand Duke mumbled something into his pillow about the impossibly early hours of his job and that “Grizelda”, the notoriously foul-tempered palace laundress, had over-starched the grand ducal long johns yet again.

Following a breakfast of English-style kidneys and toast, served with copious amounts of Earl Grey tea, the Grand Duke appeared in the palace garden, wearing his silk dressing gown (navy blue with little red-orange lobsters covering it). He was at once set upon by two friendly hunting dogs, belonging to the ancient Spanish Water Dog breed. The two dogs then proceeded to cover the Grand Duke’s hands and face with wet, slobbery kisses!

Needless to say, Irwin-Amadeus was extremely pleased -- especially when he was informed by Hives that the dogs were, apparently, a gift. Overcome with joy and surprise, the Grand Duke at once named his new friends "Max and Moritz", launching into a game of Fetch the Stick with the handsome canines immediately thereafter.

In the hours since, there has been considerable speculation by those close to the Grand Duke as to the exact origin of the magnificent “gift”. The dogs were found mid-morning, tied to a hitching post outside a side-entrance to Krankenstadt Palace. Apparently, there was no clue left, explaining from whom, or whence, the dogs came. Only a sealed envelope accompanied Max and Moritz. The letter contained therein was written in an obviously female hand. It reads simply, “From a lobster lover.”

Although the Grand Duke, Max, and Moritz have been active for the last few hours, palace artists were able to get one of the dogs to pose briefly for a visual rendering. The above picture captures Max in a moment of sunny repose in the palace garden.

Stollenian ministers have, in the meantime, sequestered themselves in government chambers, not far from Krankenstadt Palace, to discuss this latest development. Who exactly has presented Max and Moritz to the Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II? What are her precise aims? From which apocryphal 18th century country might she come? And what are the possible implications for the Grand Duchy of Stollen and its ruler?

Only time will tell. But keep reading future editions of Der Krankenstadt Tageblat to find out.

Katrina Bettina von Heffelfinger

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