Prompt Day #116: Construct an argument that transpires within the Parliament of Teeth.
Ok, I admit that I spent all day trying to figure out what the hell the Parliament of Teeth was. I even googled it thinking surely someone did not make it up, it must be some esoteric reference that I hadn’t heard of. But, barring the chance of asking Mr. Arnzen personally, I decided it was up to me to decide what the Parliament of Teeth was all about. I read it to my very creative daughter and told her how it had made me think of the Tooth Fairy’s palace from the Hogfather (an amazing movie based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld story) and therefore I was creatively blocked. She came through with a more unique take on it and from there, this story took off.
Honk If You Support The Goose
“Quiet, quiet please! Thank you. Now, I called you all here tonight for an emergency meeting of the Parliament of Teeth because a new family has moved into the village. From what the goose tells us, they are a poor family and the mother is very ill. They have two children so you know what that means—eventually one or both will either be abandoned or end up venturing into the forest on their own.” The wolf, who was the Prime Minister of Teeth, addressed his subjects.
“And then I shall follow them silently, until they are goodly lost deep within the forest. When they fall asleep, I will gobble them up quick as a twitch of my tail” The fox said with a sly smile.
“I beg your pardon, Fox, but I believe it is my turn to eat a child.” Said the bear. “I am large and do not need to sneak around. I will leap out from behind a tree and eat them up in a hurry.”
“Gentlemen, please.” PM Wolf interjected “As you know, when it comes to children with sick relatives, it is I who excels. First I shall swallow their poor sickly mother after their father has left for the village and then—because only I could easily fit into their mother’s clothes—I will shimmy into her nightgown and wait for the children to return to the cottage. It’s my modus operandi.”
“A-A-Ahem” a small voice from the back. The animals turned to see the goose standing there, tapping her webbed foot, her wings resting angrily on her hips. “I believe, believe it is in fact my turn to eat a child. After all it was I who brought them to the attention of the Parliament in the first place.”
“Brahahaha” roared the bear. “You have a fowl sense of humor, goose.”
“Yes, my friend” the fox agreed with a cunning smile “while we do appreciate your gossip, you certainly have no true place in The Parliament of Teeth. You don’t have teeth at all, however would you swallow a whole child. Look at wolf and bear and I, there are many stories told of our child-gobbling skills. Stories told about you are those of nosiness and gabbing and laying golden eggs. No one fears the busy-bodied goose.”
“What, What?? What is this disrespect you all show to me? I have teeth! I do. Look, Look” She opened her beak wide and waddled around the three showing them.
“Goose, my dear” The Prime Minister said, “Those are very lovely—what shall we call them—beak ridges, but you’ll need much more than that to grind up the bones of a child.”
“Well, well, I have a gizzard. Have any of you have a gizzard? No. you do not. My gizzard can grind up stones and bones and grain. I don’t need those big teeth you have, Prime Minister Wolf.” She said proudly, jutting out her ample breast.
“But look at my big claws” growled the bear, for he was getting very tired of arguing with such a silly goose as she. “I can snatch a child right out of his bed. Where are your claws, Mrs. Goose?”
“Claws! Claws! I don’t need claws. I can swim, I can fly, and just try to outrun me when I get my legs and wings going at the same time. I’ll nibble, nibble their little bottoms off til they can’t run away from me! She retorted indignantly.
“But listen to your horrible squawking. You could never sneak up on a child like I could.” Said the fox.
“Sneak? Sneak? Who needs to sneak up on them? Just watch this!” She said and flew into the air. When she reached the ceiling she turned and dove straight down at the fox, opening her mouth wide.
“AAAAHHH” yelled the fox and out he ran, never to return.
“See, See.” She said to the two remaining. “I am very frightening”
“Dear Mrs. Goose, no one can deny that the very sight of your approach makes one cringe. But when it comes to the devouring of children, I believe I have always led the pack. Just look at the big eyes I have which are all the better to see a child with, or the big ears to hear them with. And just look at my large hands to grab them with and of course, I don’t mean to huff and puff myself up but just look at the big teeth I have!” He leaned close to the goose and grinned a wide toothy grin.
Mrs. Goose was having none of it. She leaned right into his long muzzle and honked loudly. “Do you have a long neck all the better to swallow them with? Do you, do you, Mr. Wolf? Sadly, he admitted he didn’t. He hung his head and stepped down as Prime Minister, his Huff n’ Puff deflated.
“And so it is down to the big, hungry bear and the little waddling goose” said the bear. “How shall we settle this?” He sat down with a grunt into the Prime Minister’s now vacant seat.
The goose tossed a golden egg up and down in her wing. “So it is, so it is. How shall we decide.” She said reaching behind her tail feathers and producing two more golden eggs which she began to juggle. The bear perked up, watching the goose as she tossed the eggs about indifferently as if they meant nothing to her.
“Oh my, you gorgeous goosie” he said, his voice honeyed with as much sweetness as he could muster. “Whatever are you planning to do with those eggs when you’ve finished your juggling practice?
“Oh, Oh, these old things?” She said sly as a fox “I was going to donate them to the Parliament before I went off to feast on a lost child, but seeing as there seems to be no Parliament left. I suppose I’ll just go home and tuck them away for safe keeping.” She said heading towards the door. The bear jumped up off his seat and blocked her way.
“I think we could make some sort of arrangement, with or without the Parliament.” The bear said, scratching his back up and down on the door-jam.
“Scratch, scratch” the goose said “You’ll scratch my back if I scratch yours? Is that what you mean?”
“Well that or in a more literal translation; you give me the eggs, I give you the children” He said reaching out for the golden orbs.
“Deal, Deal. Take them and go.” She said handing the eggs to the bear who snatched them away greedily and padded off into the forest. The clever goose giggled, then laughed so hard she honked. She reached back again and pulled out two more golden foil wrapped chocolate eggs.
“Oh children, children, come see Mother Goose, she has some delicious chocolates for you.” She said and waddled off into the forest.