And it came to pass, although it was clearly a no passing zone, in the by gone days of King NeverDidCeasar, that a man arrived in his court, gasping for air, and clearly on death’s doorstep. He apparently had run uphill to school both ways in many feet of snow and across blistering deserts, to bring words of wisdom from a wizard far away.
King NeverDidCeasar never did, because he was rather old and slow. He had reigned for many years. Unfortunately, it had not rained for many months in his kingdom and they were on the brink of a terrible drought. But that didn’t change the fact that he would still like to seize her. He just couldn’t catch her. And with this drought, he couldn’t even catch a break.
So he beckoned for the man to crawl forward, asking him not to get blood all over the royal court.
The man did as he was told, well, except for the bleeding on the floor part, since he simply couldn’t control that.
The King was incensed. The Royal Censer was immediately dispatched, as the incense irritated the King’s allergies.
“Did I not instruct you to not bleed on my floor? asked the King. You bled on my floor!”
The man held his head up, no easy task for a nearly dead man to do, and denied the accusation. “I did not.”
“You did. There’s a red streak behind you.”
The man looked back, and then up at the King. “I didn’t do that.”
The King was clearly enraged and annoyed. “I am clearly enraged and annoyed! You’ve bloodied up my floor. You’re bleeding. It’s red. That streak is red. And it’s because of you!”
“I beg to differ your majesty . . . ” He paused to cough up blood on the floor in front of the King. “That streak has been following me since I left the Wizard’s castle. Good Heavens! I think it has caught me!” He hacked up another mouthful of blood.
“Bloody hell! You’re making a mess. Why are you here?”
“I bring you words of wisdom from the Wizard.” It seemed to take all his effort to get the words out.
“The Wizard? The Wizard? Have you seen the Wizard?”
The man coughed, no blood, but he spat on the floor just the same. “Nobody’s seen the Wizard. Not nobody. Not no how. Even I have not seen the Wizard. But I heard him plain as day!”
The King consulted with his wise guys. They murmured among themselves, told a few jokes, and then they told the king that “he surely must be a wonderful wizard to send a messenger such a long way to give the King words of wisdom. Perhaps this man will cure the drought!”
So the King reluctantly agreed to hear what the dying man had to say. “Tell me these words, bloody man.”
The man cleared his throat, and it sounded like he might just die doing that. But he recovered to say, “First . . . . Love is such sweet despair.”
The King repeated the words for his royal audience. “First love is such sweet despair.”
No one really knew what the dying man was talking about, but they had to agree on premise that it made sense. Dame Sybil Thorndike of the thornier Thorndikes made a mental of note of that. But they all looked skyward and saw the ceiling. But there was no rain regardless.
The man coughed and wheezed and gasped. He held up two bloody fingers. “Second . . . .Marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”
The king repeated aloud, “Second Marriage is the triumph of hope over experience!” He was already on his third and he certainly could not agree more, but he was beginning to worry about where these words of wisdom were going. And despite the fact that they all stared at the ceiling, no rain came.
The man slumped over, apparently in the throes of death. He saw the light. But he came back. It might have been a reflection off the King’s crown.
With all his final effort, he managed to lift his head up one last time. The crowd applauded. The ref stopped counting. The match would go on.
“Third,” rasped the dying man with his final breaths, holding up three bloody and badly shaking fingers, ” . . . . Time’s the charm . . .” And then he died before he could complete the sentence he meant to have said. Instead, he took the final words, “that heals all wounds,” with him. The fourth and final dictum, “The drought will be relieved by sacrificing a virgin,” never was heard either.
But the King repeated the phrase, “Third time’s the charm!”
And since the dying man was a virgin, having not been around these parts and not around any royal goats that we know of, and he had been left to die in the royal court as an unwilling sacrifice, the sky opened with rainfall and all rejoiced.
And that’s how the phrase Third time’s the charm was coined.
And if you are wondering what this post is all about, check out the Daily Prompt at The Daily Post!