Once upon a time, five hundred years ago to be exact, Germany was ruled by a king named Big Bear the Fat. He was well known throughout Europe, but he kept mostly to his own affairs. King Big Bear lived in a castle on top of a hill in Bavaria. He was quite fond of looking down to the forest below from each of the windows in his stone home. From there he could see little birds chirping in the trees, squirrels collecting nuts, and even the quiet stream from which his servants brought water to the castle. His realm was vast. He had no neighbors within sight. Only the little steeple of the closest village church stuck out from the tree tops to the north of the royal residence.
King Big Bear was fortunate. Not only did he have one of the largest castles in Germany, but he was blessed with many different kinds of riches, including plates and cups made of gold, a chest filled with gemstones, silk cloths for his bed, illuminated manuscripts, and the finest clothes a king could wear. King Big Bear was also handsome. His fur, the color of a hazelnut, was thick and soft. He had a large, round head, ears that folded back and oval cheeks. Two bright brown eyes lit up his face. The king had a very big stomach, of which he was proud.
— the preceding is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of A Father’s Wish