The occasion was Princess Pirouette’s eighteenth birthday and the entire court was abuzz with excitement. The old King, feeling awfully chipper, insisted that he have the first dance with the birthday girl. She was only too happy to oblige him. His Majesty’s arthritic feet seemed to glide on the black and white tiles of the ballroom floor.
Just as the old King was getting ready to give Princess Pirouette a little spin, he suddenly swooned in her arms. Alas! She was not strong enough to support his weight, so he fell to the floor as if in slow-motion. Cries of alarm filled the ballroom. The royal physicians, always in attendance, rushed to their patient, leeches and knives in hand. What these learned men did not know, nor could ever know, was the His Majesty was suffering from a serious malady: encephalopathy. Neither a thousand leeches, nor a thousand cuts could cure His Majesty of this ailment. Bedrest and prayers were the best treatment available at the time.