Ludwig the Werewolf

Ludwig II of Bavaria was also called the Fairy Tale King because he was obsessed with building castles. He avoided politics and lived in his own fantasy world; this, along with his pathological shyness, caused others to diagnose him as insane. He didn’t care about practical things, like his kingship or his extravagant debt; he only cared about Wagner music, theatre, and castles. He died mysteriously, of what appeared to be a suicide drowning, though no water was found in his lungs. He probably wasn’t actually insane, but he might have been a werewolf.

The first nightmare I remember having was about talking wolves surrounding me in a cold, empty castle. I woke up right as one of them was about to bite off my ear. For this reason, I have had a lifelong fear of wolves, and consequently, I have feared the woods. Mostly I think I am afraid of being lost. The very concept of lostness is frightening. Especially lostness in the woods, though. As a child, “lost” and “woods” were synonymous. I have a peculiarly good memory, but I am very bad at remembering where I am. To be lost in the woods would be death, and wolves could very well be involved.

I enjoy thinking about what it would have felt like to live in Paris in 1450, when a whole pack of man-eating wolves was stalking the community and killing people off. There’s a sort of magic in thinking about the things that scared you the most as a child.

What I like about King Ludwig II is that, even though he had real-world power, he was more interested in having power over a fantasy world. He would be thrilled to know that Disney World modeled the Sleeping Beauty castle after one of his own designs. I have never cared much about fantasy worlds, but pretty colors have always been paramount to my mental and emotional status. Cakes were not cakes if the icing was not a pretty color. When I think about my inner self or how I like to mentally exist, I think about pink glistening bubbles flying through the air. Yes, they pop. The reason why purple is my favorite color is that Mary Poppins rode on a purple carousel horse. That shade of purple is still my favorite.

One of Ludwig’s cousins asserted that he wasn’t really insane. He was a creative introvert, just an eccentric daydreamer occupied by his own flights of fancy. Thus, random castles kept popping up in Germany.

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