Rat King

To the honorable Mr. and Mrs. Tiller on the occasion of the birth of their sixth child:

We congratulate you on this accomplishment. Please update us at your earliest convenience as to what increase in aid packages we can expect as a result of the addition to your labor force. Ourselves, we have seen an undisclosed but considerably larger number of new additions to the constituency this year and our needs are commensurately increased.

Signed, Chiravis the Rat King

To His Highness Chiravis the Rat King

As you might recall if you have access to the records of your predecessors, our children take a considerable time to produce more than they consume. The odds of our happy news yielding any more agricultural surplus at all, instead of what would represent both a deadweight loss economically and a devastating personal loss for our leadership, will be greatly improved if there is less tourism within parts of the residential building frequented by Mrs. Tiller and the infant. It is unlikely that any rat living today will see the fruits of this politesse in terms of reduced risk of local epidemic, but for the sake of your grandchildren, perhaps your subjects will see the rational self interest in remaining in areas specified by the Fourteenth Treaty, as vulnerable members of the population are seldom in the barn and the fields. Particular caution is warranted in the silo, however, as some reckless elements of the rat population who we assume are acting without their government's authorization have violated the Fourteenth Treaty provision against leaving droppings in any part of the described area which may contact strategic reserves of grain for the Tiller populace. At Your Majesty's convenience we would be happy to have a meeting clarifying the regulatory structures around access to the silo.

Sincerely, Mr. Tiller

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tiller,

I am afraid no renegotiation of the silo is possible. Gleaning has been particularly difficult in the recent weather and as I am sure you are aware access to a food supply is an existential matter for my people. I can issue strongly worded announcements regarding the etiquette associated with the visit but wonder if perhaps you are unfamiliar with some of the biological constraints faced by, particularly, our young and inexperienced, which we have many more of than you. Surely you do not mean to suggest that dozens of rat children should be starved to protect a singular Tiller child from a consequence that is in any event dubious; I have soundly scolded my advisors who have suggested such unsavory interpretations of your requests and will be delighted to show them your clarification.  Thank you in advance for your accommodating us.

Yours, Chiravis the Rat King

Eyes only for Chiravis the Rat King

I don't care what you have to tell your ratlings or your secretaries or anyone else, but if you or yours poop in the silo and I catch you at it one more time, I'm voiding Treaty Twelve.

Sincerely, Mrs. Tiller

Dear Mr. and Mrs Tiller,

Please forgive the presumption of my reminder that the acquisition of any animals of the types listed in Treaty Twelve would additionally violate Treaty Two, the dissolution of which I believe would be equally tragic for both signatories. I simply do not have the police capacity to achieve the standards you have set, any more than you are able to prevent the more mobile of your children from terrorizing some of my more outgoing subjects with loud noises and large feet. Would that all monarchs could enforce perfect behavior from their subjects, but alas, it is impossible. I hope that with some time to reflect you will come to the same conclusion that I have, which is that all treaties must remain in effect.

With that in mind, please note that winter's approach means that we are owed bedding and access for certain frailer parties to the hearth, with some interest from last year's shortfall. We are so pleased to have been in a position to extend you this loan as a symbol of the goodwill between our peoples, and glad especially given that the winter promises to be hard to have such staunch allies as yourselves from whom we may receive such gifts.

Yours, Chiravis the Rat King

Respectfully to Chiravis the Rat King,

Please forgive any suggestion that we would consider any treaties invalidated without the proper procedures. Naturally, if any such amendments proved necessary, diplomacy having broken down in a way that I venture only lesser kings than yourself might ever allow, we would bring in arbitration rather than take any unilateral action. I have taken the liberty of writing to the office of our First Treaty's designated mediator to confirm their availability, though I have assured them that it is tremendously unlikely that either of us may be driven to that point.

Of course I have no expectation that your control over your subjects is absolute. You are a generous and benevolent king, not a cruel tyrant. Still, I wonder if perhaps you have assigned silo ventures to the most responsible of your rats? Perhaps it is at present not taken very seriously, and a task given to junior or feckless individuals whose character might be better suited to something with fewer implications. Alternately, perhaps you would be willing to forego direct access to the silo in exchange for a larger ration left in the trading post. I urge you to consider creative solutions to this problem, as it is one of particular importance to us.

Regards, Mr. Tiller

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tiller,

There will be absolutely no need to call in arbitration about this matter. Please forgive my poor attempts at communication; I can only hope I will be more successful with impressing upon my people about the seriousness of the matter you describe. The Crown Prince expected to take my position this coming spring at the latest has proposed that a systematic coprophagic sweep of the silo following visits from any less than perfectly professional rats might be satisfactory to both of our needs. Kindly let me know directly without troubling yourself to involve any third parties if this is not a solution you find acceptable and in keeping with the terms of the treaties.

Yours, Chiravis the Rat King

Dear Chiravis the Rat King,

Please find at the trading post the bedding you requested. If it is inadequate you are as always entitled to supplement with straw as necessary. The lambing season this year was not as fruitful as our optimistic projections and so the quality may be variable, but it is offered with the best of hopes for your warmth and comfort in these coming months.

Regarding the hearth, kindly remind your subjects that it is imperative that access during nighttime hours be silent - not only squeaking but also footsteps, particularly quick and frantic footsteps, have the potential to disturb sleeping occupants of the household who are, of necessity, themselves quite close to the fire. We are aware that the cold night is the highest priority time for you to access the warmth we share and mention this requirement as a prophylactic against the incidents last year which resulted in such a troubled episode in your father's reign. If the Prince's clever idea regarding sanitation in the silo is successful in that sphere we can look into adding a rug to make the constraints on how visitors to the hearth may walk and run less onerous under similar conditions. Please send him our sincerest congratulations on his precocious contributions to the peace between our peoples.

Sincerely, Mr. & Mrs. Tiller

Dear Chiravis the Rat King,

soon I am going to School. I am going to be a Wizard. the Wizard who came to our Farm said so. he had a Toad in his Pocket. I think this is a Wizard Thing to have a Pocket Friend. my Mother says that it is in the third Treaty that all the Stuff we leave around for Rats is (one) to get all of the Rats to give us Privacy in parts of the House where we want to be alone, but also (two) if we think of Things that Rats can do for us we are paying for those Things with the Food and Wool and the not having any Cats. so, I have thought of a Thing. I would like a Rat to be my Pocket Friend. I would most especially like it if the Rat is a Princess. I think it is good when there are Princesses in Places such as my Pocket. please send me a Princess to go in my Pocket away to School with me.

Sincerely, Beff Tiller

Dear Beff Tiller,

I am overjoyed to dispatch this letter to you in the care of my fourteenth daughter Princess Reeinuchu, who will be your loyal friend and familiar in honor of the many generations of fruitful collaboration between our peoples. Please take care of her for me; she is one of my favorites. And please ask your next youngest brother to construct his piles of rocks in your kitchen garden more soundly. I don't like to bother your parents with every little thing, but some of the youngsters do like to climb them and have had close calls with collapsing cairns.

Best wishes,

Chiravis the Rat King