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Once Upon A Planet   By:

Once Upon A Planet by J. J. Allerton

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[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Amazing Stories December 1948. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Sidenote: The mighty King Miotis came down to Earth to recapture his lost desire for war. But what he saw on this planet, caused him to feel differently.]

Once upon a planet there was a mighty warlord. The warlord's name was Miotis. Some might think it an odd name, but then it is entirely probable that the people of this planet would think the name of Smith or Jenkovitz odd. Be that as it may, however, the important thing is that Miotis was the name of this warlord, whatever one may feel about his name.

Now, Miotis was not just a mighty warrior, he was the mightiest warrior on the planet. As such, he controlled the life of every person there. For isn't it a truism that war bends men's destiny in the strangest fashions? So Miotis, with his entire life devoted to the art of destruction, was able to direct the lives of his subjects.

But one day, to his consternation and amazement, he found that the peoples of his planet had wearied of the sport of war. In the middle of his last campaign, his men as well as his enemies had laid down their arms and had refused to carry on as was their wont. And no amount of threat or punishment could make them change.

On this particular day when our story starts, Miotis was in his palace, his massive head leaning against a muscular palm, and his gaze intent on the face of his vizier, Kannot. It was not the sort of face Miotis was especially fond of seeing, for it was old, wrinkled, full of cunning and wisdom.

The vizier was, as always, full of words, and as he spoke one blunt finger tapped the side of his rather bulbous nose: "So you think it strange, mighty Miotis, to find that life is boring?"

"I do not find that life is boring," Miotis replied. "Life is never boring. It is I who am bored. That is the reason I called you here. I could have called any one of my nine hundred concubines for enjoyment, or had my warders drag forth some of my prisoners and found sport in torturing them. Yet, I did not, and I wonder why. In the past, these diversions made pleasant the passing of time. Now, I feel an ennui too great to even want to bother to summon one of these which used to give me so much pleasurable excitement.

"Tell me, vizier, have I become so full of war that I cannot live without it?"

Kannot clasped his hands behind him and rocked back and forth for several seconds, the while he bent a thoughtful and appraising eye upon his King. For Kannot knew the vagaries of the man before him and knew that a single word, a single gesture which would displease the great Miotis, would make fewer Kannot's days. Therefore, when he spoke again, it was with care, weighing his words so that he could give his opinion and yet not endanger his life.

"Methinks, oh greatest and wisest of Kings," Kannot said, "that since war has but a single end, something phenomenal in the universe must have occurred to make that end seem less reasonable."

He lowered his eyes, yet made sure he could peer beneath the hooded lids to see how his words were affecting Miotis. There was no sign on the other's face to show how he felt.

Kannot continued, "By that, I mean death may have become less attractive as a means of immortality. Is it not true, also, that you, the greatest and most noble of warriors, has yourself felt this same reluctance recently to even plan a war?"

The warlord's head nodded slightly in agreement.

"Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that some force of which we have no knowledge has made its presence felt "

"Now you have presented the problem," Miotis interrupted. "But it is not enough. I want a solution. Already I am weary of this do nothing life, though it is but a week since we have laid down arms."

Kannot made a sign of obeisance... Continue reading book >>

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