Once upon a time in a kingdom far away the excitement was growing as coronation day approached. Princess Clifton would ascend to the throne and wrest power from the landed gentry and enable the serfs to better their lives.
The people loved their kingdom. They were proud of their way of life guided by honesty, courtesy, freedom, and the right to rise as high as their natural talent could bring them. Over the years it was not uncommon for a common serf to rise to the landed gentry class. Yes, they were a proud people, and generally happy too because they realized that some other citizens of other kingdoms did not have it nearly as well as they did. And no other kingdom had a beautiful cherry tree like the one in the kingdom's fairground. The cherry tree was a symbol of everything they loved about their kingdom.
The rumor started at dawn. "Someone chopped down the cherry tree". Word spread quickly among the people and lo, their rage was great. The kingdom's scribes were interrupting the pap broadcasts to proclaim the horror. Torches were lit and pitchforks in hand as the people made their way to the fairgrounds, enraged at the insult to their cherry tree, and their kingdom. Clouds gathered overhead, a cold wind picked up, bloodlust in the air. Soon they beheld the abomination themselves, the cherry tree
lay forlornly on the ground and the stump, flat as a tabletop, sat sadly by. A great cry went up among the gathered citizens, a cry of loss, a cry of rage. They followed a trail of sawdust over the fairground, through the woods, and toward's the castle of Princess Clifton. And there in the garden, sipping tea, covered in sawdust, sat the Princess, with a smoking chainsaw next to her. With an angry roar the people started towards the princess when one of the scribes, a noted and respected chronicler of life in the kingdom, rose up and shouted "STOP!!" The crowd held back as the scribe worked his was to the front of the throng and directly addressing the Princess asked "Princess Clifton, did you chop down the cherry tree"? She put down her teacup, smiled benignly at the scribe, brushed some sawdust from the leg of her pantsuit, and said. "I did not chop down the cherry tree, I'm a woman." A murmur rose among the people, punctuated by angry cries and curses.
"Wait!!" shouted the scribes, "these angry accusations and innuendos are insulting to the Princess and will do nothing to help us get to the bottom of this". And turning to their future queen, they smiled and promised to find the man responsible for chopping down the beloved tree.
In The Coming Weeks...
The town criers and scribes were engrossed with the mystery of who chopped down the tree. Hundreds of oak trees were felled to supply paper for the daily sheets. Meanwhile the citizens were divided, some accepting the Princess's word, others, many others, were suspicious and distrustful. Some wonder aloud if the Princess had anything at all with the death of their beloved tree, only to have their questions scoffed at, called vast conspiracies to besmirch the good name of Princess Clifton.
The kingdom's investigative team proclaimed there was "absolutely no evidence that the Princess had chopped down the tree, not a smidgen of evidence". The chief magistrate asserted that he would not lend credence to crazy conspiracies and wild accusations and declared the case closed.
In the coming weeks the town criers and daily flyers were giddy with pictures of the evil Crump holding an ax as a teenager, next to pictures of miles of tree stumps. (The trees were felled to print the flyers).
The scribes were busy picking their dresses and tuxes for the coronation ball.