In all the time Mymble worked in the castle by the sea, she had to go to the king. Every week, she went to the king, whose name was Sveinfeldt. Naturally, she never got to see him in person, only the little administrative hemulens who served the king. The first time she came there she had given them her money and seen it disappear into the big, beautiful treasure chest that was kept in the king's big castle. She had pointed to the little wooden chest in the corner and asked the hemulen who guarded all the treasure chests in the room what it was for. The hemulen had replied that the wooden chest was for everyone who had fallen on hard time. Those who fell ill or who lost their positions and couldn't get any money. That way, they could have some coins so they could get by.


Mymble still didn't understand and asked why her coins - she had to hand over greater part of what she earned in the castle - weren't put into the wooden chest. Why were they placed in the big, beautiful chest? The administrative hemulen regarded her sombrely and almost a little menacingly and assured her that king Sveinfeldt knew what he was doing and would be handing out the coins from the big, beautiful treasure chest, placing it in one of the more modest chests. After that, Mymble didn't ask any more questions. She walked to the king's castle every week and obediently did as she had been told. She was hoping that if she were to fall ill, or lose her position at the castle, she would receive help from the king.


Then what shouldn't happen happened. Mymble fell ill. The mean gaffsies at the castle sent her packing, without a second thought as to what would happen to her now. So Mymble went to king Sveinfeldt and politely asked the administrative hemulen if she could have some of all the coins she had delivered to him. He told her angrily that it was completely out of the question. She had to go and get a certificate with five copies, proving that she really was ill. Once all that was taken care of, she was to hand those copies in. The administrative hemulen would send them along to all the other administrative hemulen. They would put the official stamp on the certificates and only then would Mymble receive her coins. But, asked the Mymble, timidly, how will I be able to afford to buy food in the meantime? The administrative hemulen had shoved her outside, telling her that it wasn't his concern. She would have to deal with the situation any way she liked.

There Mymble was, ill and hungry and sad. While she got the certificates she had to turn over every little coin she had left from the time when she'd worked at the castle, but in the end even those ran out. Fortunately, they were enough to live on until the administrative hemulen received the five copies of the certificates and Mymble got a handful of coins. She almost couldn't keep the tears at bay. How would she manage on so little? She toiled on and tried to live as frugally as possible. When the coins ran out and she wasn't allowed to return to the administrative hemulen, she had to sell some of her beloved possessions.


Then one day, when she came to collect her coins, the administrative hemulen told her that that was it. "You're not ill anymore", he declared. Mymble tried to explain that she wasn't up to returning to the castle by the sea and she wasn't up to working anywhere else either. The administrative hemulen explained to her that she had to earn her keep and he was sure there was some position she was capable of dealing with. In any case, it wasn't his concern, but hers. She had to get by any way she could, he opined.


Mymble walked home, with tears streaming down her face. She was well again, they said, and that meant that she had to start looking for other positions. She asked everyone she knew and everyone she didn't know and everywhere the answer was 'no'. They told her to stop being lazy. "I'm not lazy", Mymble said, "I want to work for you." "We don't have anything for you", they said, "but do start working somewhere. Leave at once. We don't like lazy mymbles here."


So Mymble continued her eager search for someone who might take her in. She knew that she wasn't lazy, but the more time that passed, the sadder she became and the worse she felt. Sometimes there were those who told her they wanted to have a chat with her, who said they might have a position for her. Each time, Mymble became very expectant. Though even if she oftentimes seemed to be well liked, there was always someone else they liked better.


Mymble kept going to the administrative hemulen to get back a little of what she had paid while she worked in the big castle by the sea. Each time she asked the hemulen if she really had tried to get a new position and each time Mymble had to tell him about every position she had enquired about. The grumpy hemulen always seemed to doubt her and used to ask her if she really had done all she could. There's no place for lazy mymbles here", he would mutter as she was leaving. Mymble wanted to scream that she really wasn't lazy. That she was doing everything she could, but all the time she knew that it wouldn't be enough. That instead she risked not getting any more coins, if she did something that would upset the administrative hemulen.


So Mymble gritted her teeth and kept struggling to find a new position. Some day her luck would change. What she now feared the most was something that the adminitrative hemulen had hinted at. When lazy mymbles and whompers had been idling about long enough the king's administration would have to put a stop to them. That the charity would end. What he meant by that, Mymble didn't quite know, except that she would get even less coins to spend. How would she survive then? She had to eat and live somewhere even in the future and no one wanted her.

FIN

© Minwynn

Comments

  • Author Portrait

    I'm very curious just what exactly hemulen and mymbles are. Are your stories happening within some fantasy universe or are those just common foreign words that I never heard of? Great work and thanks in advance!

  • Author Portrait

    Wow, this is really sad AND alarmingly close to reality. You really did a great job capturing this kind of heartless bureaucracy within your work!

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