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Volume 6789a
Edgar Rice Burroughs'
Summary and Comments Project
By John Martin

Chapters 9-16


Barney and Emma were easily captured, since there was nowhere to run and Barney did not want to expose Emma to more gunfire. Maenck drove up to where the prisoners stood and bowed mockingly to Emma, then demanded of Barney, "Who are you?" He did not recognize him in the dark and Barney simply replied, "A servant of the house of Von der Tann."

They were closer to Castle Blentz than they had realized, so the journey there was a short one. As they passed the Austrian guard, Barney took note of the password Maenck used, just in case he needed it later. At the castle, King Leopold, Peter and Von Coblich were in the king's chambers. Word was sent and the king ordered them brought in.

The king, a bit tipsy, attempted a cordial greeting to Emma, who responded with a slight, icy curtsy. Then, the king gaped open-mouthed at Barney, and the others gaped as well, at he whom they had thought was dead.

When Barney reasserted his role as a servant of the house of Von der Tann, Leopold exploded that he was an ingrate and Barney called the king an ingrate in return.

The king ordered Barney shot in the morning and Emma demanded to share his fate, saying she would rather die by the side of a man than live by the side of Leopold. The king didn't grant her request, but said he would talk with her again on the morrow.

Barney was amazed to find himself locked in the same chamber into which he had been placed over two years before when he had mistakenly been thought to be Leopold himself. Aided by the servant Joseph, he had escaped that room through a secret passage and gone on to rescue Emma.

Barney went to the fireplace and, after some tense experimentation, found the right place to put pressure and the secret door swung open. He resisted the temptation to whoop with delight.

Fortunately, Barney had a good supply of matches on him. He probably raided the box of free matches at the Austrian inn in which he had dined, and they had miraculously survived through the cooking of numerous stolen chicken dinners and the wade through the river. And, through another stroke of good luck, his captors had not taken them from him.

Barney lit "many matches" to find a passageaway other than the one he and Joseph had used and continued lighting matches along the way. At last he heard voices and realized he was separated from an adjacent room by wooden panels instead of stones. The voice was that of Leopold, who was ordering Emma brought to him and all guards removed so that they would not overhear his conversation with her.

One more match showed Barney the panel was a hinged door with a latch. He opened it, slowly and carefully, and saw the king sitting at a table with his back to the panel. Barney sneaked out and, coming up behind the king, cupped a hand over his mouth and an arm around his neck and told him to keep quiet. Then he dragged the king over to another table where a revolver lay, and whipped the king around with the point of the gun in physical contact with the ruler's face and told him he'd be a dead king if he didn't cooperate.

Barney then ordered the angry and flabbergasted Leopold to disrobe while Barney did the same. As the Nebraskan donned the king's garments, he ordered a reluctant Leopold to put on the disgusting peasant rags Barney had worn.

Barney's first plan was to take the king, blindfolded, down the secret passage and put him in the tower room in which Barney had been held prisoner. As they reached the end of the secret passage, though, Barney realized he probably would be sentencing the king to death. Just as it had at a previous opportunity two years before, temptation entered and suggested Barney could be rid of the king and take his place and none would ever know. But, honorably and with a bit of frustration, he changed his mind and brought the king back to the royal quarters.

Barney ordered the king to write a full pardon for Mr. Bernard Custer and to order that he be furnished with money and set free at dawn.

Barney told the king he didn't deserve what Barney was going to do for him. But because Barney was "neither a thief nor a murderer" (according to Barney) he planned to allow the king (in the guise of Barney) to be released in the morning. He suggested to Leopold that he travel to the Serbian front and await Barney, who promised to come there and change clothes with him. And so Barney once more blindfolded the king and took him down to the tower prison room and this time left him there. Then, he returned to his new quarters and awaited the arrival of Emma.

When she was brought in, she — believing him to be the king — asked him to spare the life of Mr. Custer and give her freedom to return to Castle Von der Tann. In return, she would honor her betrothal to Leopold.

Barney was on the verge of telling her who he was, then realized it would be better to keep her in the dark, rather than place her in the position of becoming an actress in a dangerous play. He surprised her by pulling the already written pardon from his robes and told her that he would escort her to her father's castle. She was concerned that Peter of Blentz would ignore the king's order and still have Mr. Custer shot in the morning, but the "king" assured her that Barney Custer would be safe if they left.

Barney summoned an officer and ordered him to get horses for them and accompany them on a journey. He reinforced his order by brandishing his pistol, assuring the man that he would die if he did not precisely follow Barney's instructions.

The three made their way to the stable where three horses were saddled. At the gate, the officer, Captain Krantzwort, ordered the drawbridge let down but the young Luthan gaurd said he could do so only on the orders of Peter. So Barney revealed himself as king and the young guard was overwhelmed and lowered the bridge. As they left, Barney handed him the pardon and told him it must reach Peter's hands before dawn.

Before reaching the Austrian lines, Barney took the captain into some weeds and tied him up and then shooed his horse away. To throw any potential pursuit off the trail, he mentioned that he and the princess were heading for Castle Von der Tann. The real destination was Lustadt.
- - - - -
1. What is the password to get people through the Austrian lines between the village of Blentz and Peter's castle?
A. Soderquist
B. Solomon
C. Silverkrenz
D. Slankamen

2. When Barney calls King Leopold an ingrate, he adds that the monarch is a:
A. scurrilous cad
B. miserable puppy
C. sniveling weakling
D. cowardly baboon

1. A. Barney, in his raggedy and unwashed clothes, told Emma he probably looked like a scarecrow
2. B. Emma wished her bullet had found Maenck


At the Austrian guard stations, Barney gave the correct password and it got him and Emma through sentries at both edges of the village. At last, they were on the open road to Lustadt, where they rode many miles in silence.

As they neared Lustadt, they met a company of the Royal Horse Guard, commanded by Lt. Butzow. Despite having spent two years with Barney Custer in Nebraska, the lieutenant didn't recognize Barney in the kingly garb. Butzow wondered privately what on earth Princess Emma was doing riding docilely along with Leopold, but verbally he offered news that Austria was moving more troops and weapons into Lutha, and Serbia stood ready to side with Lutha to help the little country maintain its neutrality.

Barney, in the role of the king, ordered the lieutenant and his men to escort them to the castle at Lustadt and to fetch Prince Ludwig von der Tann for a meeting.

When Von der Tann greeted them, he was a bit testy with "Leopold," wondering what on earth he was doing with his daughter. Barney explained that Peter had plotted against Emma and that he, the king, had rescued her. Emma affirmed his story, with a qualification, saying that "if" the king had prior knowledge of the plot he had since regretted it and, by his actions, atoned.

Barney then began giving orders, lining up meetings with Count Zellerndorf and the Serbian minister.

Von der Tann briefed the "king," telling him what Butzow had already told him and adding that Austria was favorable toward Peter of Blentz. He told the king that Austria had violated its treaty with Lutha by sending troops into the country, and so, the old prince urged, there should be a declaration of war against the Austrians. That would ensure that the Serbs would fight on the side of Lutha.

Barney spoke first to Serb General Petko, who was surprised to see this new, decisive, and pro-Serb king. King Barney told the general that if Serbia would loan Lutha an army corps to assist them in driving out Austria, that Lutha would loan Serbia an army corps to aid them in their own battle with the Austrians.

After Petko left, Von der Tann told Barney that the Luthan troops were already deployed strategically for the coming battle. Ludwig left and Zellerndorf came in. Barney gave the astonished emissary the word that Austria better pull its troops or face a big battle.

Zellerndorf, scarce believing his ears, tried to get Barney to "Think of your throne..." But "the king" replied: "A throne means less to us than you may imagine, count; but the honor of Lutha means a great deal."
- - - - -
1. What heavy duty weapons were moved into Lutha by the Austrians?
A. tanks
B. howitzers
C. bazookas
D. mortar
2. How long did Barney tell Count Zellerndorf that Austria had to get its troops out of Lutha?
A. Until sundown
B. Until sunup
C. 24 hours
D. 48 hours

1. D. Slankamen (there is a Serbian town named Novi Slankamen. Novi means new and slankamen means "the salty stone")
2. B. Barney called Leopold a miserable puppy to his face.

1. French edition of "The Mad King" with title of "Roi Malgre Lui,"
that means "The King in Spite of Himself" or "The Reluctant King."
It was translated by Pierre Cobor, according to George McWhorter in his book,
"Edgar Rice Burroughs Memorial Collection: A Catalog," A House of Greystoke Publication, 1991.
There are 192 pages and six black and white interior illustrations by Fiora in this 1937 edition.
This image of the cover provided by Jess Terrell.
2. One of the six interior illustrations by Fiora showing a scene from "The Mad King"
in the French translation, "Roi Malgre Lui."
The scene shows Emma attending to wounded Barney Custer
as troops from the Royal Horse Guard approach.
3. One of the six interior illustrations by Fiora showing a scene from "The Mad King"
in the French translation, "Roi Malgre Lui."
In this scene, Emma lashes out at one of her attackers


The people of Lustadt were aware of the advancing Austrian army but had not yet realized their "king" had made a dramatic switch in attitude. Thus, many conversations took place in the city in which open disgust was expressed for the weakness of their king.

That all began to change, though, as a Royal Horse Guard sergeant began moving from place to place in the city, posting placards that proclaimed that Leopold had declared war on Austria and was calling for volunteers.

Thus, the shouts of "Long live the king!" soon echoed in public places.

The first half of "The Mad King" was published in All-Story Weekly on March 21, 1914, and the battle in that story was essentially a brief civil war, in which the forces of the king of Lutha defeated the army of rival Peter of Blentz.

ERB no doubt planned a sequel, but the character of that sequel was likely changed when, three months after the original story appeared — June 28, 1914 — Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated by a Bosnian Serb, thus sparking combat among nations which expanded throughout Europe to become World War I, which lasted until 1918.

And so, when the second part of the story was written and published, beginning as a three-part All-Story serial on Aug. 7, 1915, hostilities had been under way for a year and ERB set Part 2 against the backdrop of that greater war, and referred to it in Chapter XI this way:
“The battle of Lustadt has passed into history. Outside of the little kingdom of Lutha it received but passing notice by the world at large, whose attention was riveted upon the great conflicts along the banks of the Meuse, the Marne, and the Aisne.”

Barney sent out the Luthan cavalry to meet the advancing Austrians. They fought as they fell back, leading the Austrians into the position of the Luthan line. Though it was a weak line, it stood its ground until the enemy brought up its heavy artillery. As shells fell, people began fleeing from Lutha.

Then, a trumpet sounded and an officer announced that the king was riding to the firing line. The people cheered.

All day, Barney rode along his lines, encouraging the men. Three of those with him were killed, but his presence inspired the Luthan Army and it once again began to take a toll on the Austrians.

Overhead, the Luthan Air Force — consisting of one plane — could be seen. It was to signal when the Serbian reinforcements were sighted. At last the signal came, telling Barney the Serbs were just three miles away.
Barney ordered gunfire directed at an enemy artillery position, ordered a cavalry assault on the Austrian infantry, and then began leading a reserve unit which came up on the preoccupied infantry from the rear and, with bayonets fixed, drove the enemy backward until its retreat became a rout. At last, the Austrians dug in and the battle became a stalemate until another Austrian unit was observed fleeing in disorder in an attempt to escape from a unit of cheering and flag-waving Serbs.

Some of the Austrian units managed to escape back into their mother country, but the rest were taken as prisoners of war and turned over to the Serbs.

In keeping his promise to aid the Serbs, Barney stationed a unit of the Luthanian army corps along the Lutha-Austria border, to keep more Austrians from using Lutha as an access point to Serbia.

Barney rode back to Lustadt where there was joy and celebration, but someone else rode into Lustadt that day as well — a dust-covered horseman, the same soldier who had been sent a week earlier by Von der Tann to carry a message to the king at Blentz. As the Austrian troops had left Blentz to join the battle around Lustadt, the solider's guard had been relaxed and he had been able to escape.

He sought out Princess Emma and told her that Peter was so mad about his plan falling apart that he had decided to ignore the king's pardon and have Barney Custer shot the following day.

She sent him to find Lt. Butzow to see if something could be done to stop the execution. Shortly after, Barney arrived at her apartment and saw that she was greatly troubled.

After she explained, and further softened his heart with tears, Barney finally blurted out the secret he had kept from her, that he was, indeed, Barney Custer himself and that Leopold — thought by Prince Peter to be Barney — was the one who was a condemned prisoner in Blentz.

For proof, he drew from his pocket the diamond ring she had loaned him to cut through the glass before they stole their getaway car (like the matches, Barney had not had the ring taken away when he became a prisoner).

Barney told her he and Butzow would ride to Blentz to seek Leopold's freedom but, after that, it would be necessary for Barney to make for the border, as Leopold's reputation for ingratitude was well known. (Not to mention the fact that Barney had called him a "miserable puppy" to his face!)

But first, said Barney, he would seek to obtain from Leopold a document releasing Emma from her betrothal and giving permission for her to wed Barney. And should that happen, he asked Emma: "Will you marry me?"

In words and actions, the lady said yes.
- - - - -
(Both Parts I and II have battle chapters in which Barney Custer inspires the troops by leading them astride a strapping stallion. The art by Frank Frazetta depicts the battle in Part I, since Barney still had his beard at that time. He was clean-shaven in the second battle. There are two versions of the Frazetta art, though, one dominated by orange tones in the first Ace paperback edition and the other by blues on a later Ace reprint.)
- - - - -
1. Which of the following statements is true?
A. During the battle, Barney shot his horse so he could take shelter behind its body while firing at the advancing Austrians.
B. During the battle, Barney had two horses shot out from underneath him.
C. Barney's horse was killed by friendly fire.
D. Barney's horse was seriously wounded and he shot it to put it out of its misery.

2. How did the Luthan aeroplane signal Barney that the Serbs were three miles away?
A. Fired three shots with a red-smoke flare gun.
B. Dropped three small parachutes carrying white smoke bombs.
C. Dipped the right wing three times as it flew over the Lutha line
D. The pilot flew in close and held up three fingers and Barney counted them

1. B. The Austrians had howitzers
2. C. Barney gave Count Zellerndorf 24 hours to get his troops out of Lutha


After Leopold realized he was alone, he removed his blindfold. As soon as he recognized that he was in the tower room where he himself had spent 10 years imprisoned, he tried calling to the guards to persuade them that he was actually Leopold. The results of such an effort were predictable.

By morning, Leopold was such a quivering and quavering mess that the guards could almost believe he was actually the king, since they had anticipated the American would face his death with more bravado.

However, Peter had indeed received the pardon that the king himself had written, and the guards told him he would not be shot...that morning.

Two days passed and finally Leopold learned — from a servant who brought him food — that the Austrians had been repelled.

Leopold gained some hope from the news. Had not Barney Custer promised him that, if the battle was won for Lutha, that he would return and restore the king to his rightful place? Leopold hated to admit it to himself, but the American had so far shown himself to be a man of honor, despite the way Leopold had treated him.

Later that day, Peter and Maenck showed up, still thinking Leopold was really Barney. Peter was there to make "Barney" talk and give some explanation for why Leopold had a change of heart and signed a pardon for him.

Leopold tried to tell the two that he was really Leopold, to no avail. Peter couldn't imagine what really happened — secret passages and all that — so he imagined that Barney must have found a confederate who had taken a message to Leopold. Peter wanted to know who the confederate was, and what kind of message he delivered to the king.

However, Leopold could only reiterate his ignorance and restate his claim to be the true king. Peter promised him he would die the following day if he was not forthcoming with better information.

The secret passage had a slight incline, so it was surprising that Leopold did not realize he must have come to the prison room by some other route than the main hallways. But, if he spent 10 years a prisoner in the room and never figured out there was a secret passage, it's not surprising that he didn't think of it in the few hours of worry and agony while he was again its prisoner.

The next morning, hope came with the dawn. Horsemen approached the palace and asked that the gates be opened in the name of the king. There were messages of negotiation sent back and forth, including one demand Leopold overheard — that Peter of Blentz be granted a full pardon.

However, the negotiations fell through, and soon the horsemen retreated. Shortly thereafter, Maenck and some soldiers came and roughly hauled Leopold from his prison. He was to be shot so that, when the horsemen came back, they would find his dead body in the courtyard.

Leopold was dragged to the courtyard, nearly mad with delirium. A soldier doused him with a bucket of water so he could face his death with a clear mind.

He was stood up and Maenck began giving commands to the firing squad. With incoherent mumblings, Leopold begged for his life.
- - - - -
1. When the guards refused to open the door at Leopold's demand, he endeared himself to them by calling them:
A. Dogs
B. Rats
C. Pigs
D. Weasels
2. Maenck told "Barney" (Leopold) that "Until you return to Lutha he (Leopold) considered the Austrians....
A. His staunchest allies
B. His comrades in arms
C. His greatest assets
D. His best friends
1. B. Barney had two horses shot out from underneath him.
2. B. The aeroplane pilot droped three small parachutes carrying white smoke bombs.

James G Huckenpöhler, who bears a startling resemblance to Professor Archimedes Q. Porter, has published his research into Luthan history and provided appropriate maps. Since maps of Lutha aren't readily available, Huck put this one together with painstaking care and attention to the details that he found in musty records and diaries of men long dead.

See Huck's original article featuring this map from Phil Currie's ERBivore Fanzine of August 1973 . . . reprinted in ERBzine's coverage of Mad King


After Barney, Butzow and 20 troopers were turned away from the Castle of Peter of Blentz, Barney assured the lieutenant there was another way. He led them off the main road and into underbrush where they had to dismount and then made their way through thick brush to the wall of the castle, where Barney led them through an entryway.
It was the long-hidden outside exit from the secret passage that Joseph had used back in The Mad King, Part I, Chapter V, to bring Emma to her freedom. Emma had given Barney explicit directions on how to find it.

Having served for a couple of days as King of Lutha, Barney had ample time to restock his supply of matches, and these he lit as the troopers followed him through the passage. They climbed a ladder to the third floor and Barney opened the latch to the king's apartment, which was vacant.

From the courtyard below came the pitiful wailing of Leopold, and the men charged through the castle and down the stairs. Maenck, once again his own worst enemy, had been deliberately and cruelly stretching out the commands to the firing squad as long as possible, the more to enjoy the mental anguish of the man he thought was Barney.

But before he was about to give the command to fire, he heard a commotion and turned to see "the king" and a squad of men coming at him with weapons.

The firing squad turned and fired at the invaders and were met with a volley from seventeen carbines. Maenck fired at King Barney, who was hit and fell. Maenck then yelled at the firing squad to "Shoot the American." Barney, trying to struggle to his feet, lost site of Maenck in the resulting hand-to-hand tussles, but saw that one Blentz soldier was making toward Leopold, carbine ready. Before he could shoot, Barney fired and the soldier fell. Once again, he had saved Leopold. A couple other soldiers, further back, also aimed at the king and Barney shot at both of them, but not before one discharged his weapon and felled Leopold.

Barney passed out from his wound but awoke in the king's bed with Leopold himself, thought to be Barney, lying on a nearby cot. Leopold had learned his lesson about declaring he was the king and was biding his time. Barney asked everyone except "the prisoner" to leave the room and, as they left, Butzow reported his regrets that both Peter and Maenck were nowhere to be found.

He told Butzow to secure Castle Blentz with his soldiers and then to ride to Lustadt and inform Von der Tann that he wanted the two villains captured and brought to Lustadt, dead or alive.

Finally alone with Leopold, Barney said he would keep his promise and see that Leopold was once again recognized as the true king. But first...Barney had a few details to discuss.
Before he gave them, though, Leopold once again proved that Leopold will always be Leopold.

He charged that Barney had: "...assaulted me, stole my clothing, left me here to be shot, and sat upon my throne in Lutha."

Barney responded that, in doing so, he had "...saved your foolish little throne...drove the invaders from your dominions...unmasked your enemies...and once again proven to you that Prince von der Tann is your best friend and most loyal supporter...."

But Leopold continued to exhibit such lack of gratitude and blindness that Barney knew his likely fate should he change clothes with the true king.

Barney laid down three conditions for returning the king's throne:
    First, he must agree to try to hang Peter, Maenck and Von Coblich.
    Second, he must agree that Von der Tann would remain chancellor during the king's lifetime.
    Third, he must sign a paper relinquishing any claim on the hand of Princess Emma and recognize her right to marry Barney.

The king readily agreed to the first two but went livid upon hearing the third.

Nonetheless, Barney threatened that the king would either agree to the terms or Barney would simply stay as king. He suggested that Leopold might be able to find other gainful employment, if he was lucky.

The king finally agreed. After he signed the documents, Barney told him when he (Leopold) was well, he must ride to Brosnov. Barney would go to Lustadt and get Emma and ride to Brosnov and there switch clothes with Leopold, so Leopold could ride back, as king, with the troop escort.

Barney suggested they both get some sleep, and then started doing that very thing.

But the light in the chamber still burned.
- - - - -
Comment: Does it really make any sense that the king's courtiers would put "Barney," a commoner, on a cot in the king's quarters? Shouldn't he logically have been placed elsewhere? What reason could they have had for putting him in with the king in the royal bedroom?
- - - - -
Just as Ace Books published its first two editions of "The Mad King" with the same Frank Frazetta cover art in two different color schemes, as shown in an earlier installment, so they did the same with the later cover art by Boris Vallejo, the first being with light green tones and background, and the later printing with more of a light pink background. Frazetta painted Barney astride a horse and wearing a helmet. Vallejo's had him with neither, but in both he brandished a sword. It is hoped that Barney's gunshot in Vallejo's painting did not damage his sword.
- - - - -
1. In "negotiating" with Leopold, Barney refers to Lutha as:
A. Your two-bit kingdom
B. Your two-by-four kingdom
C. Your two cents worth of kingdom
D. Your two-timing kingdom

2. When Barney hints to Leopold that he may retain the throne, he makes a suggestion for another occupation for which Leopold might be qualified. It was:
A. A head waiter
B. A stable boy
C. Assistant to a shopkeeper
D. A corn farmer in Nebraska

1. C. Leopold called his guards "pigs"
2. D. Maenck regarded the Austrians as Leopold's best friends


It was midnight in the room where Barney and Leopold were, but just one of them slept and a third, an interloper, was awake as well.

The interloper was behind the portrait of the stern Blentz princess, and he opened the painting door enough to watch what was going on in the room. Meanwhile, Leopold, unaware he was observed, steathily arose and crossed the room to be sure Barney was sleeping. He then took the clothing of the King of Lutha and donned it, and took his sword and poised it over the heart of the sleeping Barney. Coward that he was, though, he could not bring himself to stab a sleeping man. Perhaps it was his fear that his blow might not be effective enough to end the sleeper's life before he awoke and overpowered him. All the while, the man behind the painting continued to watch.

Finally, Leopold settled for removing the documents from beneath Barney's pillows and then left the room and went to the guardroom of the Royal Horse Troops.

The guard sentry saw the king and immediately called the sleeping troopers to attention. The king told them to prepare to ride to Lustadt. He also told them that the American had died of his wounds.

Before they left, Leopold pressed a buzzer which was answered by a longtime servant of Peter of Blentz. Leopold whispered some instructions to him and pulled a wad of money from his king's robes and placed them in the fellow's hands. He warned the servant not to fail him.

As they departed the castle, a man watched from the window of the apartment of Peter of Blentz. He then entered a secret passage and came to another man sleeping on a pile of clothing and woke him up.

The two men were Maenck and Peter. Maenck had been watching Leopold and Barney from behind the portrait of the Blentz Princess, and like everyone else he assumed that the true king was in the king's bed and Barney was on the cot. So, he thought that Barney was now masquerading as the king and, thus disguised, was on his way to Lustadt.

Maenck and Peter decided they could turn this to their advantage by going to Leopold (in reality, Barney) and telling him what was going on so that they could cement their favor with him for all time, which would be a neat trick, since they had attempted to execute him!

Meanwhile, the servant of Peter had been busy all night, following the true king's instructions. He had dug a grave-sized hole in the garden and then went into the shop and constructed a coffin-size box. Then, grabbing a sharp ax, he made his way through the castle, grinning to himself.

Back at Lustadt, Butzow had arrived on his mission and delivered his message to Von der Tann, and then went to bring Princess Emma up to date. He spoke of the bravery of Leopold in saving Barney's life, and Emma smiled to herself, knowing it was really her Barney who had saved Leopold.

Later that day, Leopold himself and the Royal Horse Troopers arrive in Lutha. The king, knowing the princess would think he was really Barney, sent a message to Emma, telling her Leopold had died of his wounds and that he, Barney, must now assume the throne. He told Emma the best thing for them to do was to marry that afternoon. He signed it: B.C.

Emma pondered her reply. Finally, she wrote a simple sentence for the courier to take to "Barney": "The king's will is law."

Lutha was buzzing with activity all day as preparations were made for the sudden wedding.

At last the great moment came. All were assembled in the cathedral. The bride came down the aisle. Then the king himself entered.

As he moved toward her, Emma noticed a slight limp, but its significance did not immediately dawn on her. Then Butzow noticed it, and it slowly dawned on him: The man Butzow thought was king had been wounded in the chest; the man he thought was Barney was wounded in the leg.

Butzow caught Emma's eye and she suddenly realized the significance of his stare. Both immediately knew the wedding could not proceed, but for different reasons:
— Butzow knew she could not marry Barney Custer;
— Emma knew she could not marry Leopold.

The only one with power to do anything to stop the wedding was Emma. And she did what was most logical under the circumstances:
She feigned a faint.
- - - - -
1. The portrait of the past princess of Blentz is of a woman who is what relationship to Peter?
A. Great aunt
B. Mother
C. grandmother
D. great-grandmother

2. Emma realized from the limp that it was Leopold, not Barney, who was walking up the aisle to wed her. What other distinctive did she note that was her final clue that she was about to marry the wrong man?
A. When Leopold smiled, his upper lip would curl into a slight sneer
B. Leopold's hair was parted on the opposite side as Barney's
C. Barney had a small scar on his right cheek, near his ear lobe, and this man didn't have one.
D. Leopold had food stuck between his teeth and Barney brushed three times a day, and chewed Dentyne when he could not brush after every meal.

1. B. Barney referred to Lutha as a "two-by-four kingdom"
2. A. Barney suggested that Leopold could always find work as a head waiter

The cover for ERBapa No. 15, which featured numerous fan articles about "The Mad King."
The cover of that issue was from the pen of ERBapa member Bill Waters.


Peter and Maenck breakfasted at Blentz and then rode, Peter toward Austria and Maenck to Lustadt. Neither knew orders had been issued for their arrests, so Peter took no precautions and was soon in custody and on his way to Lustadt. Maenck, however, being a more overt shady character, was practiced at deception, and managed to get to Lustadt without being seen.

At the home of a confederate, he learned of the impending wedding and rushed to the Cathedral.

The guard at the door did not recognize him (if he had, he would have arrested him) but still denied him entrance (he'd forgotten his invitation!!). Frustrated, Maenck circled the cathedral until he found a way over the wall and then an open window into the cathedral. He entered a room and heard voices and, cracking the door, saw the reclining Emma being attended by a doctor while others, including Leopold (who Maenck thought was Barney), standing around.

Maenck drew his revolver, opened the door, took aim, and fired.

Earlier, at Blentz, the old servant with the sharp ax made his way to the king's room and entered and sneaked up on the sleeping Barney and raised his ax to swing it at the exposed neck. At just that moment, Barney woke up and, in the glass of a nearby painting, saw what was about to occur. He leaped from the bed and, as the ax-wielder approached, grabbed the very painting in which he had seen the reflection and smashed it down over his attacker's head. He grabbed a chair as a weapon and, as the now-beserk old man attacked, Barney let him have it.

After tying the old man up, Barney looked for his clothes and found the king's wardrobe missing, along with the documents Leopold had signed. Barney figured it all out pretty quick, and searched the closet for other clothes. He rejected the idea of donning his peasant duds and instead chose several items for outdoors or hunting wear and, taking the ax, went in search of a horse. When he got to the stable room, no soldiers challenged him. He appropriated some other weapons, then had the stable boy saddle a horse and he rode over the lowered drawbridge and took the short horse trail to Lutha, rather than the longer route of the wagon road.

However, the shortcut proved longer, due to a river canyon bridge that had been destroyed by the retreating Austrians. Unable to ford at that point, Barney had to retrace his steps and try a different route.

The story at this point switched back to Lustadt. Maenck's shot had dropped the king and Butzow immediately returned fire and dropped Maenck. As Butzow wrestled the revolver from the fallen assassin, Prince Ludwig ran to the king's side as the bishop and doctor attended him, and Emma's eyes widened in horror.

At about that time, Barney himself burst into the room. He had arrived in time to spot Maenck climbing the cathedral wall and had followed him in.

The doctor announced that the king was dead and the wounded Maenck called them fools and pointed at Barney and said, "There is the king."

Butzow agreed, citing the evidence of the wounds. Von der Tann looked at Barney and asked "Is this the truth?"

Barney looked at Emma, and then he boldly told the entire truth, including the fact that he fully intended to switch back identities with Leopold so that he could once again reign as king, but that Leopold had screwed things up, resulting in his own death.

As he spoke, Emma crossed the room and took his hand.

Prince Ludwig von der Tann bowed his head in thought, then spoke. He said the dying Leopold left the throne to a brave man, in whose veins flowed the blood of the Rubinroths, hereditary rulers of Lutha.

And, he added, Barney's blood lines was closer to the throne than Prince Peter's, who was already out of consideration anyway, due to his traitorous acts.

Von der Tann raised his sword and said: "The king is dead. Long live the king!"
- - - - -
1. As the old man attacked Barney with the ax, he
A. gave a cry like the wail of a banshee
B. uttered a whistling noise from between his teeth
C. cackled like an old witch, mad with insanity
D. gasped for air lost by the unaccustomed exertion

2. The horse which Barney rode from Blentz was called a:
A. hustler
B. hunter
C. hounder
D. hoofer

3. Barney's ride to Lutha was along the banks of the
A. Ru River
B. Rubin River
C. Rubinroth River
D. Rubinrothkowsky River

1. D. The portrait was of the great-grandmother of Peter of Blentz.
2. A. When Leopold smiled, his upper lip would curl into a slight sneer.


The last chapter is a brief one and ties up all the threads (well, most of the threads).

First, Barney demurred about being king but Von der Tann persisted with logic.

In American democratic fashion, he responded: "Let us leave it to the representatives of the people and to the house of nobles."

After the people's reps heard the full story, the reply was unanimous. And to make it fully unanimous, the Princess Emma agreed with their decision: "With her blood your mother bequeathed you a duty which you may not shirk. It is not for you or for me to choose. God chose for you when you were born."

Barney responded by saying "Let the King of Lutha be the first to salute Lutha's queen."

And so—
Barney was crowned.
Emma became his queen.
Maenck died of his wounds.
Peter was convicted and hanged.
Von Coblich committed suicide.
Lieutenant Otto Butzow was given a title and Peter's estate and made general in charge of the army of Lutha, commanding the forces that Lutha had committed to aid the cause of Serbia in World War I.

But, did they all live happily ever after?
Did Butzow ever find true love with Barney's sister, Victoria?
ERB doesn't say.
- - - - -
1. B. As the old man attacked Barney, he uttered a whistling noise from between his teeth.
2. B. Barney's horse was a "hunter." (maybe a second cousin to a "stalking horse!")

1. Prince Ludwig von der Tann was always impressed by Barney Custer and now at last
he had the right to swear allegiance to him as king. This scene is from one of their earlier meetings
2. An earlier meeting of Barney Custer and Emma von der Tann.
At the conclusion of "The Mad King," they finally become King and Queen and man and wife.


Barney Custer spit out stagnant moat water, as he crawled up the slick, muddy bank after escaping from the grim Castle of Blentz.

A car wreck, a beautiful princess, mistaken identity, a land teeming with deadly bandits, imprisonment in a castle -- enough excitement in one day to last a lifetime.

He was sure Joseph would successfully lead Emma to safety... no need to worry.

"What I need to do," thought Barney, "is get the heck away from this place and out of this country as soon as possible, before anything else happens!"

And so he did, and spent the rest of his life as a successful corn farmer in Nebraska.
- - - - -

Peter of Blentz drew his sword and began waving it menacingly in Barney's face. “You dare to thwart my aspirations to the crown? You shall die, varlet!”

"Now wait just a minute," said Barney. "I'm too young to die!

"But I warn you," the American continued. "I used to play with wooden swords in my home town." He pulled his own sword but his arm was shaking so badly it was a blur and his teeth chattered in fright.

“With swordsmanship like that," sneered Peter, "I may bury you.”

"Mayberry? How did you know that was my hometown?" asked the still-shaking Barney Fife.

More on The Mad King

On-going Mad King comic strip by Martin Gately, script; 
Enrique Alcatena, artist, and Josh Aitken, letters, 
is among several available by signing up for COMICS at ERB Inc.:

If you visit Lutha this summer, be sure to wear
your T-shirt promoting Edgar Rice Burroughs's "The Mad King." 
These shirts, and many others (three web pages full, in all) are available at:

ERBzine book publication information, e-text, other features and links:
Read the e-Text Edition
An Analysis of "The Mad King" by R.E. Prindle
The Hillmans visit Barney's home town:

Off-Site References
ERBlist summary project, Mad King
Edgardemain Mad King summary
Tangor's “The Sane King”

By John Martin
ERBzine 6787: INTRO and CONTENTS
ERBzine 6788
ERBzine 6788a
ERBzine 6789
ERBzine 6789a

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