Why the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon

Once upon a time in a kitchen far far away, there lived a king and a queen. Now mind you, they were no ordinary king and queen. The king, a fork of the finest silver from the royal family, the Cuisinarts, and the queen, a saucer of the highest pedigree, welcomed a beautiful dish, which they named China. The child, with a round moonlike face and the deepest cornflower blue eyes, brought much happiness to the king and queen. They had lived rich lives before but nothing brought them so much joy as their one and only child.
As China grew older, she grew into a free spirit, much to the King and Queen’s dismay. However, as fate would have it, she was their only child so they did little to tame her wild ways. She ran about with gypsies, learning to play the fiddle, and playing such peasant games as hopscotch.
One day the king and queen decided that their daughter had been given enough time to do as she pleased, it was time now for the princess to grow up. As part of the process of growing up, she was assigned three tasks to complete before the end of the year. She was to become a lady, not as if she wasn’t one already, but she was not a true lady. She would never be a true lady until introduced to the glamorous lifestyle of “polite society”. Her second task was to find a husband. This would greatly please the aging queen who was vexed by her daughter’s hedonistic lifestyle and wished for the child to settle down. Her third and most important task to complete by the year’s end was the most difficult to achieve. She was to produce an heir to the Cuisinart throne.
The King, thinking he could kill 3 birds with one stone decided to throw a debutante ball for his dear China. He invited all of the finest families from all over the cabinet to join in the celebration of his daughter becoming a woman. The days began to become one as the ball was fast approaching. Young suitors began to arrive, hoping to win the hand of the fair China. Youthful maidens searched in vain for the perfect dress, hoping that they too would find Prince Charming by the stroke of midnight on the night of the ball. Meanwhile, China dreaded the day that was fast approaching. She went over and over in her mind what she could possibly do to escape the horror that she knew was soon to befall her at the ball. She could find nothing. Her dress was chosen for her, her speech was planned, and every possible worst-case scenario was accounted for so it appeared as if she was out of luck.
Soon enough it was the night that China had hoped would never come. Much to her father’s delight, everything went as planned. His daughter had walked down the ballroom staircase, looking beautiful and to the queen’s surprise, without tripping. She had danced with many matches that her parents had found more than suitable. They were eager to hear the whispers of those who attended the ball, of the gossip of the evening.
As the night drew to a close, the young princess’s feet grew tired so she sat for a spell. As she sat, a spoon caught her eye. He was not the classic prince material for he had a bit of tarnish, but he caught her eye nonetheless. He walked her way; she hoped it was because he was going to ask her to dance. However, he walked right past her and began to clear the table. She thought this rather odd, until she realized why he was clearing the table. She realized to her delight he was clearing the table because it was his job. This was her chance to rebel, she thought to herself. With that, she grabbed the tarnished spoon and began to dance. The spoon was taken aback by this gesture. He had always wished that the beautiful princess would take notice of her. However, until that moment, it had always been wishing, in what he thought was, in vain. His wishing had paid off, he thought.
Those who attended the ball looked on in horror as she waltzed the room with this less than reputable man. The young suitors were disgusted, glad that they had not won her hand if she would lower herself to dance with this greasy spoon. The youthful maidens sighed, thinking of how she had thrown away her chance with all these fine instruments for this inferior utensil. Meanwhile, China smiled at the stir she was causing. That and because she was actually happy. This was the first time she had even considered the idea that she might actually be in love and not just doing this to act up. The King was infuriated by this display of rebellion. China had tested his limits with her acts, but this was more than all those other things, this was an embarrassment to the entire family. In a rage the King grabbed his daughter. The Queen looked on in horror, fearing that the King’s grip would crack their only daughter, so she cried out for her husband to stop. He regained his composure, becoming aware that the people of the kingdom were still present. He ordered them all to leave immediately. The people filed out slowly, each person wanting to be the last out so that they might see the beginning of the altercation they all knew was to ensue. The King wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of such a sight so he waited for each person to leave before he began to scream about how could China do this to him? What was China thinking? What had he done to deserve this sort of shame? In a rage, he ordered the spoon never to see his daughter again. For his daughter China, he devised a special plan. She was to be placed on the top shelf of the cupboard, far out of the reach of the shameful cutlery she had fallen in love with. The guards threw out the spoon, but not before he vowed to China that he would somehow break her free.
China spent many days and nights on the top shelf waiting to be rescued, but she found herself disheartened by the dust that gathered as days turned to weeks, and weeks into months. Meanwhile, the tarnished spoon was working on her escape plan. He had decided to build a ladder of toothpicks to help the princess down. He had no way to get the money for the toothpicks himself so every time he would go to work, cleaning the houses of the people of the kingdom, catering their parties, and packing up the remains of their good times, he would take a small souvenir when no one would look. Each house he cleaned, each party he catered, each time he packed up for them, he would slip off for only a minute to take a toothpick with him to add to his ladder. It took him countless parties and even more days to put the entire ladder together. People began to take notice of the missing toothpicks that couldn’t be accounted for. The young suitors thought nothing of it; it was of no concern to them. The youthful maidens didn’t know what to do about the problem. Meanwhile, China sat on the top shelf, aging, caking with dust, and waiting for her spoon to come. Then the day came that his ladder was complete. He propped the ladder up on the far side of the cupboard, out of the sight of the salt and pepper guards. He climbed each rung of the ladder to rescue the fair China he loved. When he reached the top he was greeted by a squeal of delight as she greeted him. He carried her down the ladder delicately, but the guards had been alerted by her giddy shriek. The tarnished spoon and China began to run from the guards. They ran and ran and ran, but the guards never seemed to be shaken. They continued their chase until the spoon and China reached the edge of the counter. They looked at one another, hoping that the other knew what to do. They looked at the guards who were fast advancing. They looked at the fall to the kitchen floor; the only obstacle between them and the next counter being the ceramic tiles a good 5 or 6 feet below them. The next counter was their only hope. They stepped back a few steps to get a running start before they jumped the 2-foot gap between counters. They ran and ran and ran and at the very edge of the counter, they jumped. Both were unable to get enough momentum to complete the jump and fell to the floor with a crash. China lay on the floor in pieces, with the spoon by her side.
When the King was told of this, he was grief stricken. His daughter had been shattered, all for this worthless spoon. He would never let it happen again, he swore. It was that very day that he ordered, never again would a daughter like his China encounter a spoon, which is why they’re kept in separate drawers and cabinets even to this very day.

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