“Grandfather, I was going to ask you about how you accidentally killed a king with a banana.”

“Well, that’s a strange thing to ask me about, but, yes, I did once kill a king with a banana.”

“A banana?”

“Yes.”

“Where did you even get a banana?”

“I was in the Levant at the time.  I had a banana packed for lunch.  I was helping some Hermetic magi excavate a tomb, and, as I was but a ‘servant’, in their words, and they had powerful magical protection, I stayed at camp to make lunch. I was making a cooling sherbet of magical created ice and the juice of pineapples…”

“Pineapples?”

“A strange Jerbiton fruit….it has sweet and yet antiacidic juice.  It can also be used to terrify leprechauns. Did I ever tell you about the time…”

“No! No!  Sherbert!”

“Oh, sorry…sherbet, yes.  So, the first magus went into the tomb, and didn’t come out for his sherbert.  The next magus went in, and didn’t come out.  The third magus went in, and didn’t come out, but his familiar hound crawled out of the entrance, and then burned into the finest of white ash.”

“I looked at the head grog, who was a lovely shieldmaiden…”

“Twelve. Move along…”

“…Of course. She and I looked at each other and said “We need to see what’s happened to them at least.””

“So, the grogs all kitted up, and used me as a packhorse to carry their supplies.  But I’d missed lunch because servants eat last.  Did I mention I hated these magi?  Anyhow, we were walking through the tunnel and I thought “I have a heap of bananas here.  No-one will notice if I eat just one.” so when we came into the great chamber, everyone else was carrying a spear or an enchanted sword, and I was breaking myself off a banana.”

“The Great Chamber?”

“Oh, yes, terrible place.  Anyhow, the great statue in the middle of the chamber was lording it over an alter, all robes and knives and heads in one hand.  A voice spoke in my mind and said “You must place your hand on the altar!” and I thought “I think that profoundly unlikely.””

“Hey!  That’s my phrase!”

“You go it from me.”

“I think that profound…”

“I know you do, sweetheart, but I’ve been using it since before you were born.”

“So, what did you do?”

“Well, the first grog placed her hand upon the altar, and there was a great wave of heat, and she was reduced to ash. And I could not turn away. I was compelled to stand in the back of the line ans it worked forward,, as each of my companions also gave themselves to this dark faerie god. “You must place your hand on the altar!”, “You must place your hand on the altar!” and a death between each incantation. People I’d known for years.  I was sure I’d die.”

“So how did you escape?”

“Well, when my turn came, I placed my hand of bananas on the altar.”

“And?”

“In some distant plantation, a tree was reduced to the finest white ash.”

“And then?”

“Oh, I grabbed my bananas and ran away as fast as I could.”

“So, how did you kill the king?”

“Well, the tree caught fire, and set fire to the trees around it, and they set fire to the slave huts, and they set fire to the master’s house, which set fire to a boat.  The boat burned through its mooring ropes and drifted downstream, and struck a wooden jetty. The jetty had barrels of olive oil on it. These burned a nearby warehouse, which burned a counting house, and the king was in his counting house.  And the fire liquified his gold, and set it in the shape of his bones.  And even today, they say it was a miracle that the wicked king was burned, and show his skeleton to the skeptical.”

“And you?”

“I sold my bananas to an eccentric Flambeau archmagus, for they could now be cultivated for Ignem vis, but he wished to use them to taunt his fellows, by eating them with flavoured snow.”

“And that’s why Flambeau magi eat bananas?  Isn’t eating vis bad for you?”

“Oh, no, it has all sorts of salutary effects based on the Rules of Magic.  For example, bananas..”

“Are you about to evoke the Law of Similars?”

“Um…yes?”

“Oh, Grandfather.  You were doing so well.  So, a moral?  Is it “Keep your hands off unknown magic items?”

“Yes, that’s it exactly!”

“I wish you to take note: I will accept no future morals which contain puns.”

“And yet, you have your story, so I may have my nap.  First I may look for my shoes.  Have you seen them?”

“No.”

* * *

“Grandmother, you said the banana story is the sort he’d prefer people not know.  Why?  He didn’t really even do anything.”

“The slaves, child.  How many of them died for his story?”

“Well, he didn’t do that deliberately.  He didn’t know the plantation would…”

“Catch fire?  Of course he did. He just didn’t think it through.  You need to understand that about your Grandfather, child. Sometimes he’ll take terrible risks to make a story come out right, and sometimes he doesn’t think through the consequences, when he sees a clever twist.”

“Oh.  That’s horrible.  I wish he’d never told me now.”

“Well, try not to dwell on it.  Here, have some supper.”

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