She rode beneath the sea on a silver fish. The fish flashed a sharp sword beak and threatened any who dared to draw near. No one did, at least not if they chose to live for long. Like Bartholdi, a brash young merman with a dearth of common sense. On a whim, and much encouragement from his friends, he chose to challenge the low of the sea to approach the queen as she journey through her realm.
“Stay back,” warned the swordfish who slashed to right and left, up and down.
Bartholdi laughed. “I’ll go where it pleases me, and the queen most definitely pleases me.”
The queen dismounted the fish and sent her sentry on to his duty. Bartholdi and the fish grappled and struggled. The fish was strong and deadly but Bartholdi was young and in the end the merman’s vigor won the day.
“What is it you want?” asked the queen.
“What are my choices?” asked Bartholdi.
She appraised her headstrong subject. “You may choose the method of your execution.”