Lee Buttersby

The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby
View of History and Power Presesented

In “The Corpse-Rat King,” a corpse-rat, one who pilfers the belongings of fallen soldier on the fields, is dragged beneath the surface into a world of the dead, with he himself being alive at the time. After being dragged into the subterranean hell, the dead pronounce him King, mistaking him for the king who had fallen in the field that same day. When the truth comes out the dead rush him and, for all intents and purposes, “kills” him, taking his heartbeat and leaving him as one of the dead. Decayed and disfigured they set him out to bring them back a king.
During his travels to find a king, he comes across many, most of which are mad. After arriving in the capital city much later in the work, he finally finds a king, the “one true King of Scorby,” the first king, and it is here that the observation is made. The protagonist and his companion, along with the King, are being chased through the castle by guards and come upon a piece of art representing the King, bloodied in the field of battle. It is commented on that he was known as “the bloody” and was feared throughout the ages after he passed. The king then comments that it was because he had a chronic bloody nose, leading to his nickname, and the misunderstanding that followed.
This fun little jab pokes fun at the fact that history is largely written by those who may not understand just what it is they are writing about. The victors write the history, and for better or for worse, we end up fearing, respecting, or loathing those who may not have had such a life as to be deserving of those feelings. Another king presented in the book, was what could only be described as a complete madman. He sailed off to “fight the ocean” leaving him dead across the sea, and remembered as a madman at home, and rightfully so. The man had, though, built up a large port and dock to build the ships with which he sailed away, causing the industry to grow, making him a fool who did much good but causing him to only be remembered as a mad king who sailed off to fight imaginary threats, a veritable Don Quixote.