There once dwelt, on an island in the middle of the ocean where no boats ever came, a sad King named Mirth. For when he was born, an old fairy with a Magic Eight Ball told his parents that love of him would one day bring sorrow to a lonely Queen. His parents, the King and the Queen of Pavendia, laughed this off. But when Mirth became King, he learned of the prophecy, and swore he would never be the cause of sorrow for any Queen, however lonely. Therefore he had himself banished. He entrusted the Kingdom to his brother, and had himself clapped in chains and rowed away. With him went fifty-two sheep, fifty-two packets of vegetable seeds, fifty-two books about philosophy and other arcane subjects, and a deck of cards.
Years passed. Mirth read every book he owned until the pages fell out, and played so many games of solitaire that the cards were worn white, and it was impossible to tell the King of Diamonds from the Deuce of Spades. Back in Pavendia, he was quickly forgotten, except by the manufacturers of playing cards, who still printed his likeness on the Jack of Hearts.