Mongolian Pie

mongolian chess set

The jester bowed before the king and queen.  His coat, a tattered, borrowed thing, seemed unfit in the presence of royalty’s eminence.  “I will sing you a traditional overtone song of my people.”

The jester pulled the bow across his khuuchir, and the two-stringed instrument wailed.  The voices of the people came from his throat, some deep and worrisome while others were clear, melodic.

After the song finished, the king stood from his seat and clapped.  “Excellent show!”  He bent to look down on the jester.

The jester reached up and snatched the king’s gloried crown, then dashed away.


This was written for the March 28th Flash Fiction Challenge on the Carrot Ranch, where the prompt word was ’eminence.’

Now, many of you probably caught that this was a bit of a cheat.  Most of this story is heavily borrowed from Don McLean’s American Pie, originally recorded and released in 1971.

When the jester sang for the king and queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me
Oh and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown

But what about the Mongolian part?  Well, the lyrics of the American Pie song contained the line “And a voice that came from you and me,” which to me sounds a lot like Mongolian throat singing.  Here’s my favorite Mongolian song, which you should check out:


So I placed my story in Mongolia.  I hope that this mishmash of cultures wasn’t too much appropriation (I think I did it ok – I at least cited my sources!).  I had a terrible time finding an image that represented Mongolia and looked royal (most free images were of horses, landscapes, or wolves, which can be very Mongolian but aren’t about people), so you get an antique Mongolian chess set.

Have an excellent day!

23 thoughts on “Mongolian Pie

  1. Charli Mills says:

    Wow! Love the mishmash of cultural themes derived from American Pie. I always thought of those lines as prophetic though not really knowing of what exactly. The Mongolian throat singing is awesome! I’ve not heard it in a band like that. My daughter once went on a cultural exchange with Inuit students from Baffin Island and she recorded their throat singing. It was a game of sorts, like a challenge where the girls faced off and each did one part of the song then passed it to the next. I think if I remember correctly, that this was part of storytelling they learn at a young age. They have all kinds of crazy games to deal with the boredom of long winters!

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I’ve always thought that winters were probably hard a long time ago – and not just because of the lack of food! Without much labor to perform, you had to have all kinds of indoor games and things to play in the winter.

  2. Jules says:

    You mash cultures and storytelling like I mash my prompts!
    I enjoyed your references. And of course learning and listening to something new.
    Beautiful costumes and instruments.

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