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Chapter 5

Kornglow found himself lying on a pallet of straw, caught up in a tangle of arms and legs, only half of which were his. The sun was shining brightly through cracks in the half-finished walls of the stable, and a smell of straw, dung, and horses assailed his nostrils. He untangled himself from the woman with whom he had coupled in such abandon, hastily pulled on his clothes, and got to his feet.

"Why such a rush?" Leonore asked, awakening. "Stay."

"No time, no time," Kornglow said, stuffing his shirt into his breeches and his feet into his boots. "I'm supposed to be on an adventure!"

"Forget the adventure," Leonore said. "You and I have found each other. Why ask for more?"

"No, I must not tarry! I must get on with it! Where is my magic horse?"

Kornglow searched through the stable, but the horse was nowhere to be found. All he could locate was a small piebald donkey tied to a half paling. It brayed at him, its mouth open and its yellow teeth bared.

Kornglow looked at it searchingly and said, "Has some enchantment so altered my steed? It must be! If I ride it away, no doubt it will change back in the due course of time!"

He untied the donkey and mounted; he kicked it hard in the ribs, making the creature amble into the courtyard.

The animal didn't like the idea, but Kornglow urged it on. The donkey ambled across the chicken yard, past the kitchen garden, and all the way to the manor gate.

"Hello, there!" Kornglow shouted at the gate.

A man's heavy voice from within called out, "Who is out there?"

"One who would seek the hand of the Lady Cressilda!"

A large balding man in shirt and pants and chef's toque came out. Scowling and unfriendly, he said,

"Have you taken leave of your senses? The lady is married! Her husband cometh even now!"

The door opened further. Out stepped a tall nobleman in fine attire, stern faced and haughty, with a rapier at his hip. "I am Rodrigo Sforza," he said in a voice that would have to be described as ominous. "What seems to be the trouble?"

The cook bowed low and said, "This lout says he comes for the hand of Cressilda, your lady wife."

Sforza fixed Kornglow with a steely gaze. "Say you so, fellow?"

Kornglow now perceived that something was wrong. His way was supposed to have been prepared for him. It was probably the loss of the magic horse that had put him in this strait.

He turned and tried to prod the donkey to a gallop. It set its heels and bucked, throwing Kornglow violently to the ground.

"Call my guards!" cried Sforza.

His men came hurrying around the corner, buckling up their doublets and strapping on their swords.

"To the dungeons with him!" cried Sforza.

And so Kornglow soon found himself in a dark hole, his head ringing from numerous blows.



Chapter 4 | A Farce To Be Reckoned With | Chapter 6







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