Once upon a time the King of Nursery Rhyme Land called his Chief Teller of Fairy Tales to appear before him.
"I want a fairy tale," said the King.
"Your wish is my command," said the Chief Teller of Fairy Tales.
"One without wishes," said the King.
"No wishes, your highness?" said the Chief Teller of Fairy Tales.
"In all the fairy tales you tell, there are always wishes being granted by talking frogs. I want a story with no wishes and no frogs," said the King.
"No frogs?" said the Chief Teller of Fairy Tales.
"No frogs!" said the King.
"How about a toad?" said the Chief Teller of Fairy Tales.
"No toads!" said the King.
"What about a newt?" said the Chief Teller of Fairy Tales (but he didn't hold out much hope).
"No amphibians!" declared the King. "And, by the way, why do things always have to happen in threes?"
"Things always happen in threes, Sire, that's how things happen. If things didn't happen in threes there would be no order to the world and things would just happen randomly and unexpectedly in twos... or even... fours! I don't want to think about it to be honest!" said the Chief Teller of Fairy Tales, the colour draining from his face, "I suppose we should also scrap the "Once upon a time... ...and they all lived happily ever after" framing device while we are at it?"
"Good idea!" said the King, "I have never understood why a story has to take place in an ill-defined distant history or why its protagonists should enjoy enduring happiness after the tale's conclusion."
"If I have this correct then, Sire, you want a story set in a modern day world, where frogs can't talk, events just occur randomly, wishes don't come true and nobody lives happily ever after."
"Yes!" said the King.
"Well," said the Chief Teller of Fairy Tales, "I can set a tale in such a world, Sire, but I wouldn't want to live in it!"
The Black Hole
3 weeks ago