The enemy had been hammering at our castle’s gates for two weeks now, and our defences were barely holding up. Our walls were broken in various places, we’d run out of food, and had just one day of drinking water left for our people…my people.
Five thousand of them. Men, women, children. All would be gone by the evening. There was no hope left, I had played my last card, and lost.
I looked around desperately for options, a sign, that we could prevail over our enemies despite the odds being stacked against us. And it was then that I saw the sign…on the door of a shop.
With nothing to lose, I knocked, and entered the shop. But imagine my surprise, when I found myself in a marvelous garden instead of the drab interiors of a shop that I could see from outside.
Inside, there was a long queue of people, lined up in front of a mahogany desk, behind which, on a walnut brown leather sofa, sat the strangest creature I had ever seen. Twelve feet tall, with the head of an elephant, and the lower body of an ant… a really big ant, that is.
Curious despite all my troubles, I waited patiently in the line, eager to know whether, and how, this creature could help me. My turn finally came, and I now stood in front of him… her… IT? like a common supplicant, much like the common folk used to stand in front of me till a few days ago.
“I need help in saving my kingdom,” I told it humbly.
“Well, I can provide you with an army of the most ferocious creatures, but you need to tell me which creatures you want,” he replied in a strangely shrill voice.
I knew how these ‘favor’ things worked, having watched all the Disney movies in my childhood, and so I asked,” And what do you want in return? “
“Didn’t you read the sign,” he asked in an insulted tone, “it’s absolutely free, no strings attached. Now look at the line behind you, I need your specifications within the next three seconds.”
Cornered, I quickly came up with the name of the scariest creatures I could think of, those which had given me nightmares ever since I was a kid.
” Are you sure?” he asked me. I nodded, and POOF, I suddenly found myself back on the ramparts of my castle. But this time, I was happy, for I knew what was coming to save me and my people.
The walls were breached at 4pm, but I kept smiling. I couldn’t wait to see the expression on the faces of their enemies when they came face to face with my backup.
The enemy soldiers had swarmed the castle by 5pm, but I kept my chin up. Any minute now.
By 6pm, they had taken all my soldiers prisoners, and started the slaughter of my citizens. It was then that I started panicking, and ran to that shop again.
I barged in, and pushing everyone aside, banged hard on the table of the elephant-ant and shouted, “Where is that army you promised me, it’s all over.”
The creature calmly looked at me and said, “They’re just starting out Your Majesty, so that means they’ll reach your castle in around six months.”
“WHAT? We would all long be dead by then!” I cried out.
The creature replied, “If you were in that much of a hurry, Your Majesty, maybe asking for an army of giant snails was not the smartest of ideas!”