The Princes of Duvy

0 Click here to post a comment

Dirt hung in the air as the door to the tavern swung inward. It was a hot summer day in the outskirts of Paris. The day was more than half-spent when the brightly polished boots beat their path across the rotting floorboards and stopped at the counter.

The jingle of a coin on the counter brought the barkeep around to find it was a well-dressed lord who had entered. The richly colored houppelande with silk-lined sleeves fell gracefully down to the floor; a small belt with a golden dagger fitted about his waist, and the full-plumed blue hat was not as common a sight as it had once been in this establishment. The pained expression and formal attire related to the bartender that his guest had returned from a funeral and stopped to refresh himself.

Stray rays of light seeped into the parched room from high windows on either wall so that little of the countryside, thirsty and scorched, was visible. The lifeless grey wood clung to the building’s frame with disparity, contrasting with the bold presence of the guest.

“Not many a lordly character has come across my threshold. What name should one call you, Master?”

“I am the last Prince of Duvy,” the lordly figure responded.

A scoffing jeer was offered by a heaped shadow that was riding the far end of the bar.

“Prince of Duvy? There’s no prince of Duvy. It cannot be big enough to have a prince. I might as well say I am the prince of the stool that holds me.”

“And perhaps you would be right about your stool, but seeing as you are a drunk and a pauper and here is a lordly gentleman, I might take his word over yours.”

The tapster was not happy to have his less-than-savory regular pushing such a fine and undoubtedly wealthy lord out the door sooner than he might wish for.

“Thank you,” the prince said to the barkeep before alighting onto the stool before him. “A fool may scoff at truth, but had this man knowledge of my misfortunes, he would weep for me. Now before I must continue on my path, please offer me a drink and a rest from this accursed heat. I am almost lost!”

This request sent the host scurrying off to the cellars to find a bottle that did not bear the heat of the day, that his guest might be refreshed. When the keep was out of sight, the figure at the end of the bar dragged himself down a few more stools until he was but one stool away from the prince.

“Now that I am the prince of a new stool and not the prince who offended you earlier, might we not drink together, and I shall share the burden of your woes with you?”

The prince extended no objection to this but rather started in to his own story.

“I am the Prince of Duvy, as I have said, and I can so call myself for it is my place to claim what I will, and it is the place of others to try and take it from me. Thus is my fortune and fate, the curse that I have borne now since I was but on the brink of becoming a man.

“This whole story of evil and fate started back many generations ago with a peasant who, on a day not unlike this one, was wandering down the road to Duvy. He was bickering with his luck and destiny when he chanced upon a beggar sitting by the side of the road.

“‘Have ye anything to spare for a starving man?’ the beggar beseeched the passerby. ‘I have naught to eat myself, for luck has grinned at me with the same ravenous smile he has shown you,’ replied the wanderer. Yet the pauper felt compelled to sit with the beggar and share his water and sorrows. The beggar began to weep. ‘There has never been a man to face the morning sun who bears such weights as I do. For though I am a beggar, richness and wealth I have at my disposal. Yet none of it shall avail me.’

“This stranger shared his curse with the foolish pauper who had happened across his path. The beggar related how he was now poor but had once been rich, and so greedy was he that he took every cent from everyone in the countryside, causing many to die of want for food. Now his punishment forced him to roam the earth until someone would take from him this curse to try his own luck. One life that would endure until the man so desired death, for four generations spent without.

“Greed sparkled in the wanderer’s eye at the mention of what the beggar had to offer. Instantly the man thought of the riches that could be gathered by a man who could choose his own death, for he could also not choose it. Surely with no fear of death he could acquire enough wealth that the next four generations could have the poorest of luck and still he would be able to provide for them. For fools always look for luck instead of working to make their own.”

The keep had returned and poured a glass of the cooler liquor for his wealthy patron, who readily lifted the bottom skyward. “So what did the man do? Did he take the beggar’s offer?” the liquor-soaked patron asked.

“A handshake set the fate of the fool and lifted the curse from the beggar and bound it to wanderer and his offspring. Then the beggar became the wanderer and left with a fit of laughter.”

Another glass was emptied.

“Well then what?” The shadow on the bar began to sit more upright at the chance to hear a proper tale.

“The fool went to find his fortune, and readily he did. In battles and conquests, both by truth and with deceit, he gathered to himself more money than one man ought to have. And love found him, for he fell in love with the most beautiful and devilish woman in many lands.

“No sooner would he return with greater riches and more treasures than she would send him out again after far loftier and more outrageous gains. There was no content to be found in her heart, for she was as a sea is to the sailor, a love more fair than all others and as foul as might take one’s life.

“Over the course of a few years, among more bloodshed and the gains so vast that lesser treasure was abandoned, the accursed man fathered two boys. The oldest, Isaac, was two years in this world before being joined by his brother Adrian. Isaac was a proper and upright boy. It seemed odd that one born of two unrepentant sinners took to schooling and to the church, but their eldest set aside his body for the church, devoting himself to the life of a priest. His brother, in contrast, took more after his mother with a cruel vein that wound in him like a spring. Never was he pleased unless foul deeds ran their courses unhindered.

“When Isaac was 18 years old, he returned to visit his father and ask that he give all his wealth to the poor to follow in the footsteps of the Savior. Ah, the foolish man would have done so and ended the afflicted lineage; perhaps the suffering might then have been only set to him. Yet as the father considered his eldest’s pleas, the younger son grew bitter at this brother’s attempts to sever him from his future fortune.

“Although no proof could ever be found, there is little doubt that it was Adrian who laid his brother’s body into the pond after giving him a drink which rendered him senseless. He went with a smile to tell his father of the ill fate that found his eldest, not even attempting to mask his satisfaction.

“The father, who had claimed the title of Prince of Duvy, grew furious, suspecting, nay knowing, that the youngest was the executioner. The young Adrian was expelled from his father’s house with nothing but the cloth on his back. His mother tried to bind herself to her son, but before she could wrap the cords about her waist; the prince had carried her off to their chambers. A few days later she was found in the pond, having drank the same drink he eldest had been given.

“The Prince drank deep from the sins his first born had instigated. His hands touched the flesh of many women of various tones and races. Yet his conquests left him the more bitter. He ran back to the sword, but the blood that bathed his face offered no consolation. He hoarded the more his riches and withdrew into the back of a bottle, keeping some women about that would at a moments notice attend to his burning passions. Yet in all things he was drowned in misery and otherwise unable to save himself.

“The whores of his house gave him many more children but each one he had killed at the age of one and their body tossed into the pond. Life continued as such for him for many years, until one day upon returning from the slave markets with new women for his house, the Prince found a beggar at the entry to his estates.

“He sent his soldiers, who had just finished beheading the Prince’s now unwanted women, to fetch the beggar who dared to sit at his gate. The heap of rags was thrown down in the midst of the blood and naked bodies. ‘How dare you set your rags upon the edifice of my house?’ the Prince declared in disgust. ‘Is not the face of the father the face of the son?’ the mangled heap retorted insubordinately. The murderous son had returned to confess his crimes and seek for forgiveness or more likely to say what he could in hopes of finding a share of riches.

“The Prince had lost his anger towards his son, having shouldered the burden of the son’s sins himself years ago. So the heir had returned, and he was not cast out into the pond where he had sent his brother to stew. And as the father had become as the son, a murderer, so the son became as the father and took to women, bottle and sword, killing his offspring when they turned one and taking for himself the title of Prince of Duvy as was his birthright.”

“It is true, Messieurs, that your family must bear a curse after such murdering and debauchery,” the bobbing shadow retorted as the prince drained his cup again. “But what else have they earned?”

The prince mostly ignored his company and seemed to hear little of that which was said to him.

“Adrian, unlike his father, never married; for he fancied no woman his equal but rather as a mere pleasure such as a bottle of wine or the thrill of a blade tearing flesh asunder. The women of whom he had grown bored were killed and sent to the lake. Then he would replace them with new and exotic women as was tradition. He spent his whole life without ever knowing of love. This was the inheritance the first prince conferred to his son.

“Yet, one of the women escaped the grasp of the second prince. She fled not only for her own life but also for the life of the one she bore inside. Then, after she gave birth, she was found hiding in a convent, and the prince had her abducted and returned to him. She lived only for a few more weeks at the castle, spent tied up to a bed in the Prince’s chamber, left unclothed and unfed until she had taken her swim in the pond. Yet the child, unwanted, remained unknown to the prince.

“The unfound child, named Benedetto after the saint, was a son and heir to the wealth of the Prince of Duvy, and although he was raised by the nuns of the convent, his heart kept account for the wrongs his father had waged against his mother. Passions, the nuns said, burned from behind his eyes, and unless he could detach himself from them, they would surely end him.

“While Adrian grew old, his son grew stronger. The boy flourished and became a man, and his resentment became hatred. Then after some years, the young man could no longer stay his wrath and stole into the Prince’s house in the middle of the night and struck the sleeping form. Yet the misfortune of his family found him then, for he struck not the father of his discontent but rather two women who had found themselves in a similar predicament as his mother. The blow had been dealt and the frail women breathed their last.

“It was in that moment that clarity came. For in his actions he had become his father.

“Upon hearing the announcement of the returning self-declared lord with his new fold of women, the son’s passions flamed anew. Upon the steps of the house, the second prince’s body was crushed and then was bound to the two forms from his chamber. In the pond he set them to float.

“The man took the title which his cursed family bore and abandoned his saintly namesake and his moral guide. He did not take to women and wine at first but rather spent his days wandering the halls of the estate looking at each stone and asking them individually for forgiveness. Yet none ever offered what the third prince requested. The days passed and his feminine companionship began to bore him, but rather than resigning to the barbaric ways of his father, he simply sent the women away from his house in order to make room for the new. In telling truth one would be right to say that he rather hated the faces of the women for they reminded him of his failures. So in sending them away he rent from himself his past sins in order to afford new.

“After many years, the priest of the parish in which the former Benedetto had been raised came to the man, for the church was in great need of money. The priest also brought a young ward of his who was altogether a beautiful woman but had already been given in marriage to the Lord, as it is said of nuns. Yet Benedetto’s eyes began to burn for her, and he gave sparingly to the Father as to mandate further visits. He was paying for indulgences and absolution, but his heart cared for neither but was wholly bent on the pursuit of the young nun who came each journey with the Father.

“The third prince would often whimsically ponder on the hardships of such sacrifice when the two came to visit. ‘It is lonely and bitter in the service of the Almighty,’ he would murmur. ‘Yet it is a worthy one,” the father would sharply answer. This retort always brought a bitter glance from the prince but the father showed no signs of noticing.

“Further and further the desire to have this woman fell into the prince’s heart and mind. He would rant and pace the night through until he finally hatched a plan. The next time the father and the nun came to visit he offered them some wine and bread, a meager meal but one easily accepted after a long journey. The wine had been mixed with herbs that, upon drinking it, caused the Father and the nun to fall fast asleep. Instantly the damned prince fell upon the lifeless form, for he was no longer in control of his mind.

“Yet the priest was much larger than the nun and had not drunk greatly. He quickly aroused from his slumber to find the prince at his dastardly work upon the nun. This poor father’s heart fell, as did his hand, for he struck with all his force, which was considerable. Yet he was unable to knock the Prince from his endeavors, only succeeding in rousing the slumbering woman. Upon grasping her predicament the nun cried out in horror, ‘Madre de Dios, Holy Mother save me!’ Yet her cry fell limply to the halls without notice.

“The father struck again and again but with his efforts changed nothing. When the prince had completed his evil task he gathered the shattered woman and bound her to his bed as his father had to many a woman before him. Then the rage the father had roused in the prince spurred him to blows upon the priest, killing him in short order. The prince then dragged the heavy man to the pond and set him next to it to feed the birds in the midday sun, afterwards returning to his captive.”

A gasp fell from the lips of the drunk that had pulled himself to the prince’s side. He had never heard of such horror in his whole life and the thought of it was as much as he could bear.

“Surely this cannot be, for no one raised in a parish could have done such a thing.”

“Yet it is so,” the prince answered. The glass dropped to the bar empty again.

“Benedetto kept the former nun sedated with the same toxin he first supplied her. For many months she stayed on the bed, only allowed short walks as was necessary and never without a guard present. Eventually she was allowed around the house, but she was never alone. Gradually this horrible life settled into a routine and the nun had resigned herself to her lot in life and even gave of herself willingly to Benedetto.

“Yet Benedetto began to see the evil that he had done and to despise his own actions. But his stubborn heart refused to give the woman her freedom. Instead he began to send large donations to the cloister every month. Inevitably he would find his gift scattered on the steps of his estate the next morning with a note demanding first the woman’s freedom and then for him to bring the gift himself. Benedetto began to grow angry with the priests and feared that they would try to steal the nun away in the night. He again had her tied down to his bed and guards posted at each corner of the bed.

“Yet he persisted in his giving and still the gifts were returned, accompanied by threats of eternal damnation. So angry did the prince grow that he sent a small group of mercenaries to lay siege to the abbey and nothing, not a single soul was allowed in or out save the prince’s bags of gold. But every morning of the siege the bags would be hurled from the cloister and pronounced unclean.

“Finally the last of the prince’s patience wore to its end and he attacked the parish to bring the father before himself. ‘Why will you not take these kingly gifts and offer me the absolution I desire,” he questioned of the priest. ‘I cannot forgive those who are not penitent and do not humble themselves before the Lord.’ The Prince was staring with a sweet face at the priest, trying to hide his malice. ‘What then must I do to earn eternal peace? Tell me what I must do to prove that I am penitent.’ The priest drew his hands across his breast in the form of a cross before responding. ‘Firstly, set free her whom you have captive here and have taken from her the innocence and love which she had promised in her marriage to Christ and the church. Then remove the siege on our abbey that our parishioners may come and pray. Lastly, give all that you have to God and submit yourself in person to that holy calling. For you there will be no salvation in anything less.’ But his words only embittered the prince.

“Dragging the priest by his collar into his private chamber he displayed the naked form bound to the bed. ‘Look upon her this last time, Father, for if you had simply asked for all save her I would have given it, but in her your request will never be answered. She will not leave this house while I am alive.’

“The father looked with pity upon the poor soul whose eyes no longer conveyed the terror of her existence but rather the distant dulling of her spirit. The father asked to offer the woman mass, and the prince consented and covered the shivering form. No tear rolled down her eye, and her only response to the comforting words offered her were, ‘Escape, for this is the house the devil dwells in.’ The priest took his leave and the siege was lifted. Neither the parish nor the prince made any further overtures towards the other.”

“Ave Marie!” exclaimed the barkeep, holding to his breast a crucifix he had retrieved from the wall.

“The life fell from her eyes, and she became nothing but a husk, human in form only. She was again given reign to wander about the grounds, save for when she was called to lie with the prince. The torment of her soul ravaged her body until the Prince no longer looked on her with favor, preferring the company of others to her whom he had defied the church to possess. Still he would periodically desire her. One day upon being called she did not come, but she was found to have taken her turn in the waters. But she did not take that turn alone, for in her she bore the final prince of Duvy.

“The evil veil had been savagely ripped from the heart of the prince. Upon seeing the malevolent work his hands had toiled for, he bore his grief upon a sword and fell to his own end in the shallow water’s edge.

“Thus had it come to pass that all the fortune and prosperity in the world could not find sway over iniquity, death and the sins of the father passed on for four generations.”

Then turning to the man who had crawled from the shadows to greet him, the prince spoke. “Do you not weep that I should know such sorrow and misery? Will you not weep with me?”

“It is true that to hear such a story a man is driven to tears. Yet it is clear that the beggar who met the first prince could be none other than the devil himself. Blame must first be set upon the evil one.”

The guest quickly answered, “Then he met his equal, for the first prince not only sought out sin but gave it as part of his inheritance, and thus his lineage was that of the devil’s.”

“True,” the owner of the establishment joined in the conversation, “the whole of the tale is bitterness and deceit. There can be no doubt.”

“Yes!” The drunk chimed in “But who are you who weeps so fervently? For all your tears you have not tied yourself to this ill-fated tale! Surely you are a relative standing to inherit a fortune from the last prince. Soon your tears shall be transformed into gold and you shall weep no more.”

The proud guest drew himself to his feet and fell another glass. “You may take all the money and I hope you drown with it for I am the first of the princes of Duvy, and now I am the last. Here I choose my death!”

A flash of gold crossed the faces of the two on-looking men as the form in front of them fell to the ground.

Rags for Riches

0 Click here to post a comment

Imagine if you will for a moment that you are a young man. Not only are you young, but you come from a poor family. All your life your family has struggled for the funds to feed, clothe and shelter themselves. But you have a talent. This talent makes you a commodity.

Now imagine that you have an opportunity to use this talent to make your life better, and eventually make the lives of your family better. This talent is basketball and you are a pro-bound player at the age of 17, but in the USA you can’t play professional basketball because the NBA won’t let you until you have been out of high school for a year. So you go and play basketball for a college team.

While you are at college you family is back at home, still struggling as they always have to find the money to exist. You are being charted around the country and never miss a meal. Then you notice that the stadiums are filled, people are buying jerseys with your number on them; in short, there is money being made off of your talent. But you aren’t getting any of it.

Instead you are told that you are being rewarded with a free education that you have no intention of finishing, because if you could have, you be playing pro ball right now. So your “reward” is something you don’t want.

Then you look up into the stands and see one of the many vendors selling food at the game. It is a college student who got the job to help pay for his bills and that is when you realize, he is making more than you are. The question is, how is any of that fair, or right?

The NCAA has been trading rags for riches off of student athletes for a long time, forcing them to play for a year by convincing the NBA to make a rule prohibiting players coming directly from high school to the NBA. Then when a player finds the means to make money while playing ball they crucify them for breaking the NCAA’s honor code. It’s hard to imagine telling someone they don’t have honor while you take advantage of their talent to line your pockets, while they have no money for themselves or their families to live on.


There are going to be many. I have a simple one. A percentage of endorsements for the team goes into a pot where all the student athletes get an equal portion. They won’t get rich but they should get something for all the revenue they are bringing in.



Looky Here

Recent posts



Web Site Counter
Online Degree Clicky Web Analytics