Thursday, August 23, 2007

Krankenstadt Palace, The Grand Duchy of Stollen -- 23 August 1767

News Release:

This morning, the Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II was awoken by his English valet, “Hives”, with the news that a mysterious “gift” awaited him in the garden of Krankenstadt palace. Although it was passed 10 o’clock, the Grand Duke mumbled something into his pillow about the impossibly early hours of his job and that “Grizelda”, the notoriously foul-tempered palace laundress, had over-starched the grand ducal long johns yet again.

Down in the palace garden, wearing his silk dressing gown (navy blue with little red-orange lobsters covering it), Irwin-Amadeus II was at once set upon by two friendly hunting dogs, belonging to the ancient Spanish Water Dog breed. The two bounded toward him and then proceeded to cover the Grand Duke’s hands and face with wet, slobbery kisses!

Needless to say, Irwin-Amadeus was extremely pleased -- especially when informed that the dogs were a gift. Overcome with joy and surprise, the Grand Duke at once named his new friends "Max and Moritz".

In the hours since, there has been considerable speculation by those close to the Grand Duke about these "gifts". The dogs were discovered mid-morning, tied to a hitching post outside a side-entrance to Krankenstadt Palace. Apparently, there was no clue left, explaining from whom, or whence, the dogs came, only a sealed envelope attached to the collar worn by Moritz. The letter contained therein was written by an obviously female hand and reads simply, “From a lobster lover.”

Thrown into a nervous tizzy of speculation, Stollenian ministers have sequestered themselves in a government building close by Krankenstadt Palace, to discuss this latest development. Who exactly has presented Max and Moritz to the Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II? And what are her intentions? From which apocryphal 18th century country might the mysterious young lady -- already dubbed "Fraulein von Y" by palace insiders -- hail? Saxe-Bearstein? The beleaugured Town of Tippelbruder? The Principality Hesse-Engelburg? Or the Kingdom of Leder-Hosen?

Might Max and Moritz instead have been a gift from someone in the Electorate of Vulgaria? Or perhaps the vile Kingdom of Stagonia? The specific identity of Fraulein von Y notwithstanding, what are the possible implications in store for the Grand Duchy of Stollen and its ruler? Only time will tell. As further developments come to light, you can read about them in Der Krankenstadt Tageblat!

-- Katrina Bettina von Heffelfinger

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