The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

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EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

THE MAD KING







PART I


I

A RUNAWAY HORSE


All Lustadt was in an uproar. The mad king had escaped. Little
knots of excited men stood upon the street corners listening to each
latest rumor concerning this most absorbing occurrence. Before the
palace a great crowd surged to and fro, awaiting they knew not what.

For ten years no man of them had set eyes upon the face of the
boy-king who had been hastened to the grim castle of Blentz upon the
death of the old king, his father.

There had been murmurings then when the lad's uncle, Peter of
Blentz, had announced to the people of Lutha the sudden mental
affliction which had fallen upon his nephew, and more murmurings for
a time after the announcement that Peter of Blentz had been
appointed Regent during the lifetime of the young King Leopold, "or
until God, in His infinite mercy, shall see fit to restore to us in
full mental vigor our beloved monarch."

But ten years is a long time. The boy-king had become but a vague
memory to the subjects who could recall him at all.

There were many, of course, in the capital city, Lustadt, who still
retained a mental picture of the handsome boy who had ridden out
nearly every morning from the palace gates beside the tall, martial
figure of the old king, his father, for a canter across the broad
plain which lies at the foot of the mountain town of Lustadt; but
even these had long since given up hope that their young king would
ever ascend his throne, or even that they should see him alive
again.

Peter of Blentz had not proved a good or kind ruler. Taxes had
doubled during his regency. Executives and judiciary, following the
example of their chief, had become tyrannical and corrupt. For ten
years there had been small joy in Lutha.

There had been whispered rumors off and on that the young king was
dead these many years, but not even in whispers did the men of Lutha
dare voice the name of him whom they believed had caused his death.
For lesser things they had seen their friends and neighbors thrown
into the hitherto long-unused dungeons of the royal castle.

And now came the rumor that Leopold of Lutha had escaped the Castle
of Blentz and was roaming somewhere in the wild mountains

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