Ah, that’s lot 21C, the sleeping knight. He’s a grand specimen, don’t you agree? The flowing sable hair, the stoic jaw, the broad shoulders, the well-defined calves — and he comes with his own shield and broadsword.
He’s easy to care for, so don’t worry your pretty little head on that account. The sleeping magics slow his metabolism, so it costs little to feed him. A bowl of gruel or broth once a fortnight will keep him in tiptop shape. Just press the spoon to his lips, and he’ll swallow. It’s an automatic reflex.
The armor does need tending on occasion. Assuming you don’t leave him outside in the rain, a light polish once a month should keep it fresh and rust-free. You can trim his hair or not, as you prefer. Myself, I’m partial to the rugged, shaggy look.
What? Oh, yes, originally he came with a horse. Quite a beauty — long, white mane and a gently dappled coat. I believe he called it Lightening. Sadly, the sleeping spell didn’t affect the knight’s mount, so it eventually passed away. The price for the lot has been lowered to compensate.
Wake him up? Well, anything’s possible. Read that plaque on the side of his palanquin. True love’s kiss is supposed to end his eternal slumber. A bit cliché, in my opinion, but what does a mere merchant know about phrasing a good spell? I have always wondered what would happen if he woke up. Would he revert to his true age? An octogenarian knight would be little in the way of defense. And I can’t even imagine poor Gavin with wrinkles and a receding hairline.
I can tell you that since my father’s time, no true love has appeared, and this fellow has been smooched more than any other unconscious man I know. The sleeping woodsman at the stall down the way? Not nearly as popular. Not as handsome, either, but don’t tell Bertha I said so.
Personally, I think Gavin is better suited as a conversation piece. Real knights are boors — they eat too much, drink too much, and their heads are too easily turned by a pert barmaid or a buxom wench.
With this fellow on display — perhaps in a glass case in your drawing room — imagine the compliments you’ll garner at your next soiree. He might even help you rise to the next social echelon. Look at that stoic profile in repose. I’m sure even royalty would attend your gathering if he’s the guest of honor.
No, dear, you cannot kiss the knight without proof of purchase in the form of money in my hands. I’m afraid I must insist. What kind of businesswoman would I be otherwise?
Oh, please don’t cry. All right, you’ve appealed to my better nature. Give me half of the fee now — nonrefundable, of course — and you may kiss those chiseled lips just the once. However, if he doesn’t wake up and propose marriage, I’m not liable.
Hush, people! It’s just a noble girl kissing a sleeping night. Nothing to see here — move along, unless you’re interested in some jeweled palm frond headdresses or a peacock feather fan. I also have some lovely apples enchanted to taste like grapes. They’re delicious!
I’m sorry, dear, but the kiss doesn’t take time to “set in”, as you say. If you were Gavin’s true love, the pair of you would be dancing off into the sunset by now, probably not even bemoaning his lack of a horse, and I would be out half of my fee, not to mention the cost of all that gruel. Alas, you must not be his true love. However, you can own him if you pay the rest of the fee; then you can gaze upon those striking features as often as you wish.
Well, you know, to my recollection no one has kissed the poor lad more than once. I suppose it’s possible that multiple kisses could do the job, but I’m afraid you’ve only paid me for one. Buy him, and you can try all you like, in your own home, of course. He’ll be your kissing slave, not that he’ll mind. You’re quite lovely, and I’m sure being in your presence will improve his dreams at a bare minimum.
Oh, wonderful! I’m sure you and Gavin will be deliriously happy together. Do you have a wagon with you, or would you like him delivered? Perfect, my man will ferry him over this evening. Have a lovely morning, and come back soon. Next week, I expect a shipment of frogs that I think you’ll be quite interested in. Rumor has it that at least one of them is a bespelled prince!
Erin M. Kinch lives and writes in Fort Worth, Texas, where she shares her home with her husband and a rambunctious golden retriever. Her short fiction has appeared in various print and online publications, including “Allegory”, “A Thousand Faces”, “Electric Spec”, and “Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic”. For more information about Erin’s stories, visit her blog at www.erinmkinch.com.