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Stories, Poems and Humor
Left Book Mistletoe Who Hated Kissing
by Unknown
Right Book

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Once upon a time, long, long ago, a king ruled a smallish kingdom in a green and fertile land. Now the king's family had a long tradition of royal gardening, which was their peaceful side, and of royal warmaking, which was their definitely unpeaceful side. The rose bushes in the queen's rose garden were very proud, descended from some of the earliest roses hundreds of years before brought from China and India, and the herb plants exhibited great dignity, as they could trace their roots back to cuttings first brought from Persia by Alexander the Great. The King's personal grove of Christmas trees could remember back when they were merely pinecones, to the tales of the eldest trees of the journey from the Black Forest. Even the dandelions were elegant, and put on airs when their seeds blew away in the wind. But no one was more pompous than the garden of mistletoe which the Queen raised for Christmas, because she was inordinately fond of kissing the king.

Now, you may know about mistletoe at Christmas and kissing, but in case you don't, here is a quick review. A very old tradition is followed by hanging a sprig of mistletoe - a shrubby, viny plant with green leaves, and little white berries - over a doorway, or from a light in the center of the room. Anyone who stands under the mistletoe can be - or, possibly, must be - kissed. Some people may spend the better part of Christmas just lurking in doorways, hoping that the right person will show up, stand under the mistletoe, and be ready to be kissed. It's one of those traditions that makes a great deal of sense from around the age of sixteen or so on up, but tends to be puzzling, if not downright gross, if you're much younger.

The Queen's mistletoe plants were the aristocrats of the garden, and their royal destiny to be cut for Christmas was considered the highest honor. But one year, the youngest mistletoe plant, whose education had been neglected, decided that he wouldn't be cut. "I can't stand mushy stuff," he said, "not hugging and certainly not kissing." So he grew around the oak tree where he was planted, higher and higher, trying to hide. When the official royal mistletoe cutting staff went into the garden, just before Christmas, he almost escaped. But they needed a great deal of mistletoe, for the castle had so many doorways, and just before they returned to the castle, he felt the quick cut of the shears, and will he or nill he, he was off to the royal chambers to be hung.

"No Kissing!" he shouted into the gardeners' faces, but they completely ignored him, and as destiny and the whim of the Christmas decorating staff would have it, he ended up hung directly over the king's throne. The king wasn't celebrating Christmas at all, for he was arguing with a visiting prince, from a neighboring kingdom. "Awesome," thought the young mistletoe. "Fighting's much more fun than kissing stuff." The two leaders argued about treaties, and borders, and who had rights to the river and the deer in the forest and anything else they could think of, while the youngest mistletoe listened excitedly, wondering if they'd actually draw swords and fight a great duel. With lots of blood. And bits chopped off.

Meanwhile, the queen was most put out, because this was a time of year when she had planned on kissing the king a great deal, as was her custom, and in spite of her hanging mistletoe everywhere, even right over his head in the throne room, he was far too busy arguing with that nice young prince from next door to pay her the least attention. So she assembled her staff of ten royal Christmas decorators, and the eleven royal ornament carriers, as well as the twelve official bearers of eggnog and the fifteen designated lords of cookie trays, and last in line, the royal bearer for the queen's footstool, which she stood upon to be tall enough to kiss the king (for she was quite short and round, just as the king was tall and skinny). And the entire troop descended into the king's throne room.

And the ten royal Christmas decorators surrounded the king, as the eleven royal ornament carriers grouped themselves around the neighboring prince, while in between the two, the twelve official bearers of eggnog and the fifteen cookie tray lords all prepared refreshments for the assembled multitudes. The youngest mistletoe was deeply disappointed, but the worst, he saw, was yet to come.

The Queen's stool bearer placed her stool right next to the king, who was trying unsuccessfully to see where the prince was, behind all the servants, so that he could insult him one last time. She climbed up on her stool, firmly kissed the King, and proclaimed that all wars would be delayed at least a fortnight, for the holidays. The King, and the mistletoe, sighed deeply in unison, for it had looked to be a grand duel - although the neighboring Prince was actually secretly relieved.

And then the King kissed the Queen back, and declared peace for a little while, and the mistletoe was so upset at the proceedings that he flung himself off the golden hook above the king's throne, landed on the king's crown, and perched there, grumbling, for the rest of the Christmas season.

Which didn't bother the Queen - or reportedly the king - one bit.

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