A Folk Tale with a Twist


Tonight at Hasiwriters, we decided to take a traditional tale and tell it from another’s point of view. The Cockroach King comes to 400 words.

The Cockroach King

I heard the tune and there was a great rushing of feet. It was when I woke. I must admit that lazing in the sun and feeding on ears of corn or scuttling away from predatory birds and mice was never far off, but the sun, oh the sun. How glorious to bask in the sun.

For much of my life, I guessed, I’d lived in field and under shallow roots. Big clumsy feet would quickly squash you if you strayed too close to the village. And at night, smaller feet, swift and merciless, patrolled the barns and cottages. Rich, ripe, rotten vegetable waited to be sampled. The refuse tips crawled with life. Small, like me; larger like the scuttling, squeaking killers; and larger still, with yowling and spitting, and those even more so who used low, sonorous howls and barks. Each might prey on the other, and all preyed on my kind. I did not go near the middens for I was a full grown juicy morsel to the squeakers. The squeakers worked in packs, often cornering and murdering the barkers and the yowlers. Even the two legged ones walked in fear. The days passed quickly. They ruled; their squeaks reigned supreme

Then one fine summer’s day, one of the great clumsy, two-legged kind came along. He played music. Some say we are dumb but I know good music when I hear its harmonies. I heard his song and it pulled at me imploring me to follow. My legs are thin and small – I could not follow.

For a time the music was gone, then all of a sudden it struck up, searching out lower and higher. All who heard it lamented for its beauty. There was a great scuttling of legs and I knew that something was changed. A multitude of squeaks disappeared into the distance. My feelers turned to the midden heaps. They were silent.

I ventured apace and made discovery my business. What did I find? Some of my kind, small, ill treated, still nestled there, but I was big and strong. Nature has provided me with many wives. The midden heaps are ours. I live and my progeny are many. I still wonder about that music though. It wakened more than the King in me.

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About Terence Park

Collections: vinyl records, comic books, paperbacks; I've plenty of them all. I also do spreadsheets.
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