This is an allegorical story about the implications of dictatorship and non-progressive industry. Do not assume that weasels, ferrets, and other bad beasts are bad here; species will be used with liberty.


King Elgum was a portly weasel, and he lived in a castle; nothing remarkable about that. He was the sole ruler, with no Magna Carta to control him. Still, nothing remarkable about that. What is remarkable is his punitive system. An armada of lictors would dress in commoner garb and mingle with the people, noting their transgressions. Recording them continuously, each year, they would meet and create punitive sentences for each individual, which were then approved by the king with his trademark seal, Aquila Magna: an eagle striking down on what appeared to be disloyal citizens, with the kingdom's motto encircling the gruesome image: "Sic semper malis proletariis". The punishments would be carried out in public, with the portly king presiding over them. The punishment day was known as Dies Verberum—Day of Whips. It instilled fear in everyone, and kept them aware that there was always a lictor watching: every transgression added up. The kingdom was very strange; a son would always take up his father's trade, and women were not permitted to work at all. Why? No one knew why, but every beast felt that the rules were an inherent moral code.

King Elgum relaxed on his bed, letting his head sink into the soft, velvet pillow. Dies Verberum was tomorrow, and he had to give a speech. He sighed.

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