King in the Cauldron
“Hey, up there, look up there, Rory.” Katie pointed as they walked into the Sykes Hot Springs area. He could see clouds of steam rising off the pools of naturally heated water. “No one’s here yet. Let’s go in, relax, and later we can make dinner.”
Setting their backpacks down in a clearing, Rory pulled out his towel, stripped off his clothes, and went over to the higher basin. He set the towel on a rock outcropping someone built up to make the pool deeper, and eased himself into the warm liquid.
“Come on in, Katie!”
He watched her remove her clothes and wiggle into her green swimsuit. She grabbed her towel and walked towards him.
“Katie, I forgot to get our water shoes. Can you bring them over?”
She smiled, nodded her head, and turned around. “Here you are,” she set the shoes and towel down on the rock brim, finding a spot opposite Rory.
He smiled at her, unsatisfied, looking for closeness.
“Come over here, sweetie.”
She put her hands up. ”Wait, Tarzan, just a sec. Give me a moment to float here. It’s been a long hike, and I need to relax.” She slid her head under the surface of the warm, crystal clear water, then resurfaced and took a deep breath. She smiled at Rory, sinking back down beneath the surface, lying motionless, in a relaxed, spread-eagle position. This was certainly worth the walk. Relaxing further she sunk her head underwater, blocking the noise.
Rory sat straight up on his rocky seat, not unlike a stone throne, overseeing his steamy liquid kingdom. “Katie! Have I told you the story of the King in the Cauldron?”
He was yapping when she surfaced.
“What?” She asked shaking her head, realizing her man was talking at her.
“Have I told you the story of the King in the Cauldron?”
She shook her head.
“No? Okay, here goes. Once upon a time, there was a King whose kingdom was a steamy cauldron. One day a fair maiden, no, a very beautiful maiden, floated by the King. Now, no one knew whether the floating fairy was real or imaginary. However, the King had vast courage, and ordered his hands to touch the fairy’s feet. Tickle them; his courage told his hands, see if the fairy is alive. So the King tickled the feet of the floating fairy until she could be still no longer. She laughed, and sprinkled the air with her laughter, also filling the kingdom with her wit and beauty. And the King was overjoyed, so the King pressed on. 'Why do you wear a green cloth to cover your beautiful body, fair fairy?' the mighty King asked. The fairy curtsied, best as a fairy could curtsy in this liquid kingdom, and said, 'Mighty King, I doest agree with thee, this cloth is too cumbersome. It should be removed ASAP. So the King arose to help her remove the horrid green cloth, and then… ”
“And then some strangers hiked into the kingdom, and the king was mightily depressed.” Katie finished his story for him as she climbed out of the pool wrapping a towel around her, their plans ruined by unexpected company.