Day 79 – The Wheelchair Prince

Generations ago, Prince Jheremy might have been shunned for being a cripple. Oh, how the times had changed, now that photographers and salacious newspapers ruled the country as much as his own family did. He would predict the common man’s reaction to seeing his parents gathered around a teenager in a wheelchair: “If they can do great things for that boy, just think what they can do for us!”

When the cameras weren’t around, Jheremy was more or less left alone. Less in that he had a bodyguard, Farnsworth, to wheel him wherever he wanted to go. More in that even Farnsworth didn’t care much where that was, or why. Most days Farnsworth just pushed Jheremy through the castle and its gardens and the farmlands just outside the walls.

The prince was encouraged to try as many of the regular princely activities as he could, but the one pastime he could be relied upon to execute with any precision was eagle hunting. Despite his usual twitchings, once a shotgun was pointed from Jheremy’s hands to the sky, he was stone still. But the violence of the sport was difficult for him. He gave it up after killing three great birds.

One day they were stopped while Farnsworth chatted to an attractive farm maid, when suddenly the prince released his wheelchair’s brake and began rolling down a hill. Farnsworth, when he noticed, scrambled to catch the careening prince, but the boy had such a head start that he crashed into a farmhouse’s porch long before the bodyguard could reach him.

There, on the porch, was a spotted white puppy with big eyes. The pup’s back left leg and front right were missing. “Found him after he got mauled by one of our wheat harvesters,” the farmer explained. But the little guy had no trouble bouncing around now, as he barked at the toppled prince and licked his face. “Just shows you how tough a body can be,” said the farmer. “You seem like a tough one, young master. Maybe you two oughter be tough together.”

Farnsworth placed Prince Jheremy into the righted wheelchair and the dog into his lap, and the two were never apart again.

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