My thanks to Disclaimer Magazine for publishing “King Dramilo” today in their Weekend Fiction feature. Below is the introduction and a link to read more:
The dog showed up one day out of nowhere, and everyone said it wouldn’t hang around long. It was old and mangy, blind in one eye and half-blind in the other, brown and black with patches of whitish skin that made it look like it had undergone chemotherapy. People fed the dog scraps or gave it water, and it got to know almost everyone in the neighborhood after going house to house several times. All the kids got along well with the old hound, who wagged his tail and licked their faces when they petted him. Some kids called the dog “Buck,” others “Spike,” and one knock-kneed, thirteen-year-old girl, Ina, called it “King Dramilo,” because it reminded her of a Slovenian fairy tale her mother once read her. In the fairy tale an old peasant couple found a baby floating in a basket on a river. They named the baby Dramilo, or “a pick-me-up,” not only because he’d been picked up out of the river, but also because he was so cheery and made everyone around him feel good. Dramilo grew into an ugly little gnome of a man, but he had a loving heart, and when he died bravely fighting the evil monster Avar, he became king of a mystical land as big as the heavens. Ina’s name made the rounds once or twice and then it stuck. Soon everyone called the dog King Dramilo, never just Dramilo, never just King.