The Pudding Apprentice

December 21, 2010
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A long time ago in a land called Ur, there lived a boy named Ud. Although this boy appeared quite normal to the untrained eye, something strange happened on the day he was born. The young king of Ur, called Artemis Maximus -but only by those who feared him- decided that he liked pudding. Then he decided that he loved pudding. This love of pudding eventually led him to believe that in order to properly function he had to eat a bowl of tapioca pudding with each breakfast. While at first glance this does not seem like too strange a happening, this sudden passion was peculiar because the tapioca pearls in this magnificent pudding were given to the Royal Chef by a mysterious, jolly, fat stranger who, although the Royal Chef did not know it, was a pudding god. The pudding god.

As time went by, the pudding god continued to supply the Royal Chef –who became known as the Royal Pudding Chef- with the sacred tapioca pearls, King Artemis Maximus -called Arty Max by his friends- gained some weight, and Ud grew up as a clumsy kitchen boy in the Royal Kitchen.

Life was normal -besides a few broken frying pans on Ud’s part- until one day the jolly, fat stranger who we know as the Pudding God, and who the Royal Pudding Chef knew only as the Jolly, Fat Supplier of the Tapioca Pearls, became not so jolly and stopped supplying those key ingredients to the yummy pudding that Arty Max loved so much. He did this because when he looked in his storage room he found it to be almost empty, and this made him mad. Without the sacred tapioca pearls the pudding was not good, so the mighty Artemis Maximus became less mighty, and the Royal Pudding Chef ran away so that he would not have to face the consequences of creating this less than adequate pudding. This left Ud in an uncomfortable position when the Royal Fetcher came to fetch the instigator of the king’s discomfort -namely, the Royal Pudding Chef- and instead found Ud scraping a pudding pot clean. Jumping to conclusions, he fetched Ud to see the king, ignoring Ud’s hasty attempts to explain himself.

When Ud reached the king he sighed, then explained to the king that he wasn’t really the Royal Pudding Chef, but that he had seen a mysterious, jolly, fat stranger bring the tapioca pearls to the actual Royal Pudding Chef each Sunday. Ud was asked –quite pathetically, as Arty Max was becoming very weak- to find this mysterious stranger, and to bring back the pearls to restore peace to the world. This was a Royal Order, so Ud had to do it. Thus his quest for the Jolly Fat Stranger, and his sacred tapioca pearls, began.

Not knowing quite where to begin, Ud decided to begin where most quests begin -by getting advice from the wise elder. In this case, the wise elder was an old dish-washerwoman. She had noticed when cleaning the pudding pots that the tapioca pearls were supernatural, and had surmised that the jolly, fat stranger who brought them must be a god. She told Ud this, and advised him that to get the pearls back he would have to steal them from this god, for a god who has retracted his gift is not likely to be talked into giving it back -especially when the one doing the talking is a clumsy kitchen boy-, but a god who has been stolen from is not likely to admit it. Since she knew this must be a god of pudding, she told Ud to look for his home where the land meets the Sea of Jello, and the sky meets the Clouds of Congruous Conclusions. This seemed to Ud like a leap of faith, but she was very wise, and he trusted that she knew what she was talking about. Dish-washerwomen picked up this sort of information over time.

Ud set off with a pack of food (two loafs of what is now called Italian bread, a block of cheese, three pears, and a slice of bologna) in the general direction of the Sea of Jello. He walked for seven days and seven nights, and by the time he arrived at the idyllic green Sea of Jello he was quite hungry. The pearly pink fluffs of what Ud knew must be the Clouds of Congruous Conclusions hovered on the other side of the sea. Ud knew that King Artemis Maximus would soon be known as "poor old Arty Max" by everyone if he did not hurry up and steal back the tapioca, so he couldn't wait for the Clouds of Congruous Conclusions to slowly drift over to the side of the sea that he was on. There was also the little problem of how to get up to the clouds once they got there, but he put that out of his mind for the time being. He decided that he would just have to swim to the other side. This proved to be difficult once he got in the sea, which you would understand if you have ever tried to swim through jello. Ud couldn't swim through it, so he used his hunger to his advantage and ate his way through the whole Sea of Jello. He waddled to the bank of the sea, and sat down to ponder how to get up to the pudding god's home in the clouds. The clumsy kitchen boy, who was also -though I had not yet mentioned it- clever, finally devised a plan. It was a plan that would rid him of the discomfort of carrying around the Sea of Jello in his stomach. Bit by bit he spit out the green jello, until it created a gelatinous mountain that reached all the way up to the Clouds of Congruous Conclusions. Ud scrambled up the side, only slipping once or twice, until his head peaked through the pearly pinks into the land of the gods.

From there, he followed the painted sign on the side of the road that read as follows: Pudding God, that-a-way---> until he reached an impressive home with columns and everything. Assuming that this must be the home of the pudding god, he entered, passing by the lazy watchdog -who was really more of a mutt- with a hastily muttered, "I'm the new pudding apprentice." The pudding god was a forgetful fellow, so he had set up a series of signs pointing him to his storage closet in case of a case of momentary memory loss. This was almost too convenient, Ud thought to himself as he tiptoed along, following the signs. When he reached the storage room (marked STORAGE ROOM in decisive black paint) he peered through the window, did a double take, and almost knocked over a heavy vase. There was the jolly, fat Pudding God, whistling a pudding song to himself, and picking up the remaining tapioca pearls to take to his divine workshop for rehabilitation purposes. Ud flattened himself against the wall, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, as the Pudding God passed by doing a little jig. Ud waited five seconds, then followed him, making sure to keep his elbows and knees in so as not to disturb any other heavy vases. He slipped through the doors after the Pudding God, and hid behind a crate. The Pudding God had progressed to singing at the top of his lungs, flinging flour all over the place. In the midst of the flour haze, Ud scrambled to the main worktable and snatched the bag of tapioca pearls that was lying there, then made a hasty exit.

This would have been a good idea, what with the Pudding God not being able to see because of the fog of flour, except Ud also couldn’t see and he crashed into a set of pans, making quite a bit of conspicuous noise. "Whaaaat? Nooooooo!" warbled the Pudding God as he jumbled after Ud, through the door, down the carefully marked hallways, out the front door -both Ud and the Pudding God narrowly missing the sleeping mutt-, down the carefully marked road, through the pearly pink fluff of the Clouds of Congruous Conclusions, down the Sea of Jello mountain, and through the empty pit that had previously been filled with green jello. Finally, the Pudding God had to stop to catch his breath, as jolly, fat Pudding Gods can only take so much running. At this point, Ud was blazing up the trail back to Ur. By the time the Pudding God was ready to run again, Ud was long gone.

Ud made the journey back to Ur in one-fourth the time it had previously taken him, even though he was carrying a large bag of tapioca. His homecoming was met with much fanfare, and the newly restored King Artemis Maximus personally appointed Ud the job of Royal Pudding Chef. The Pudding God didn't want to be made fun of by the other gods, so he pretended he had never retracted the tapioca pearls, and continued to supply Ud with them. All was good in the land of Ur, as peace was restored. In time, Ud met a nice girl, and they made lots of pudding together.

The End.

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