Chapter Eleven: Wherein we discuss evil, the secret to good pie crust, and a writer of little importance.
As the sorceress said, disconsolateberries grow all over the southern coast of Lyrria. As you may know, disconsolate is a word meaning sad. It is a medium powerful word for sad, which is to say that it is more sad than crestfallen, but not so sad as woebegone. A disconsolate person is somewhat worse off than a person who is merely downcast, but not in nearly so bad a shape as a person who is inconsolable. You might suppose that the name of the berry comes from the feeling that one may feel after eating a few disconsolateberries, but you would be mightily mistaken. If anything, disconsolateberries lighten the mood of anyone who eats a few handfuls of them. It is my understanding that their name comes from a young man who lost his love. Wandering the hills along the coast, he was determined to die of starvation, but was unable to because he tasted one of the berries and thereafter kept eating them, despite his sadness and desire to die.
“You just made that up,” said the sorceress.
“Made what up?”
“That bit about the young man who lost his love.”
“Were you reading my thoughts?”
“No, you said that aloud.”
“I heard that the disconsolateberry got its name because being so tasty that one cannot stop eating them when out picking them, one can never gather enough to make a whole pie, leaving the maiden who is trying to do so, disconsolate.”
“I like my story better,” said I. “Although your story does have the benefit of having a pie in it.”
“I see you’ve finished your piece,” said Myolaena. “Would you like more poison pie?”
“I was being sarcastic.”
“So I can’t have any more?”
“Why would you keep eating the pie, once I told you it was poisoned?”
“For one thing, being evil, you are probably lying about the poison…”
“I’m not evil.”
“Evil people never think they are.”
“What about Shakespeare’s Richard III? He is determined to play the villain.”
“I’ve never heard of him.”
“Who? Richard III or Shakespeare?”
“Neither one of them.”
“One was a king in a faraway country. The other is the greatest writer of all time.”
“Which is which?” I wondered. “Never mind. I don’t care about a king in a faraway country, and clearly I am the greatest writer of all time.”
“That is a matter for some debate,” said she.
“Anyway, for another thing, once I’ve been poisoned and I’m going to die anyway, it seems a shame to deprive myself of one last piece of delicious pie.”
“You really think it’s delicious?”
“Yes. Did you use magic to create it or did you kill some poor cook and take her pie?”
“Neither. I made it myself.”
“You did? Really? How about the crust?”
“Of course I made the crust. You can’t have good pie without good crust. It’s one of the simplest recipes and yet it is so important.”
“That is so true,” I agreed.
“The trick is that the butter must be chilled.”
“Absolutely. And you must work it in enough to incorporate it, but not so much as to warm it up all the way.”
“It is so nice that you took the time to make it right,” said I. “So many people just go through the motions now-a-days.”
“That is true.”
“So tell me the truth. You didn’t really go to all that trouble of making such a fine pie, just to poison it.”
“No,” she said. “I went to all that trouble of making such a fine pie to poison you.”
Suddenly the room began to spin. I slid from my seat and flopped back, smacking my head on the dirt floor and stared up at the wooden ceiling. Myolaena moved around the table to peer down into my face.
“Goodbye moron,” she said.