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The Gift Of The Simple King
by [?]

Once Macavoy the giant ruled a tribe of Northern people, achieving the dignity by the hands of Pierre, who called him King Macavoy. Then came a time when, tiring of his kingship, he journeyed south, leaving all behind, even his queen, Wonta, who, in her bed of cypresses and yarrow, came forth no more into the morning. About Fort Guidon they still gave him his title, and because of his guilelessness, sincerity, and generosity, Pierre called him “The Simple King.” His seven feet and over shambled about, suggesting unjointed power, unshackled force. No one hated Macavoy, many loved him, he was welcome at the fire and the cooking-pot; yet it seemed shameful to have so much man useless–such an engine of life, which might do great things, wasting fuel. Nobody thought much of that at Fort Guidon, except, perhaps, Pierre, who sometimes said, “My simple king, some day you shall have your great chance again; but not as a king–as a giant, a man–voila!”

The day did not come immediately, but it came. When Ida, the deaf and dumb girl, married Hilton, of the H.B.C., every man at Fort Guidon, and some from posts beyond, sent her or brought her presents of one kind or another. Pierre’s gift was a Mexican saddle. He was branding Ida’s name on it with the broken blade of a case-knife when Macavoy entered on him, having just returned from a vagabond visit to Fort Ste. Anne.

“Is it digging out or carvin’ in y’are?” he asked, puffing into his beard.

Pierre looked up contemptuously, but did not reply to the insinuation, for he never saw an insult unless he intended to avenge it; and he would not quarrel with Macavoy.

“What are you going to give?” he asked.

“Aw, give what to who, hop-o’-me-thumb?” Macavoy said, stretching himself out in the doorway, his legs in the sun, head in the shade.

“You’ve been taking a walk in the country, then?” Pierre asked, though he knew.

“To Fort Ste. Anne: a buryin’, two christ’nin’s, an’ a weddin’; an’ lashin’s av grog an’ swill-aw that, me button o’ the North!”

“La la! What a fool you are, my simple king! You’ve got the things end foremost. Turn your head to the open air, for I go to light a cigarette, and if you breathe this way, there will be a grand explode.”

“Aw, yer thumb in yer eye, Pierre! It’s like a baby’s, me breath is, milk and honey it is–aw yis; an’ Father Corraine, that was doin’ the trick for the love o’ God, says he to me, ‘Little Tim Macavoy,’–aw yis, little Tim Macavoy,–says he, ‘when are you goin’ to buckle to, for the love o’ God?’ says he. Ashamed I was, Pierre, that Father Corraine should spake to me like that, for I’d only a twig twisted at me hips to kape me trousies up, an’ I thought ’twas that he had in his eye! ‘Buckle to,’ says I, ‘Father Corraine? Buckle to, yer riv’rince?’–feelin’ I was at the twigs the while. ‘Ay, little Tim Macavoy,’ he says, says he, ‘you’ve bin ‘atin’ the husks av idleness long enough; when are you goin’ to buckle to? You had a kingdom and ye guv it up,’ says he; ‘take a field, get a plough, and buckle to,’ says he, ‘an’ turn back no more’–like that, says Father Corraine; and I thinkin’ all the time ’twas the want o’ me belt he was drivin’ at.”

Pierre looked at him a moment idly, then said: “Such a tom-fool! And where’s that grand leather belt of yours, eh, my monarch?”

A laugh shook through Macavoy’s beard. “For the weddin’ it wint: buckled the two up wid it for better or worse–an’ purty they looked, they did, standin’ there in me cinch, an’ one hole left–aw yis, Pierre.”

“And what do you give to Ida?” Pierre asked, with a little emphasis of the branding-iron.