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Prince Bull – 1855 – a short fairy story
Dickens published this first in Household Words in Feb 1855 (Vol XI, No 256).
|THE STORY: |
In the Golden Age, which the narrator cannot define, there lived a Prince called Bull, He lived in a rich and fertile country. He had done a great deal of fighting but was now a steady, peaceable, good-natured, corpulent, and rather sleepy Prince.
He was married to Princess Fair Freedom, who had a large dowry and bore him many children. She had been responsible for setting them to spinning, and farming, and engineering, and soldiering, and sailoring, and doctoring, and lawyering, and preaching, and all kinds of trades.
As a result their coffers and cellars were full. But the Prince had two bugbears, he could not find a servant to suit him and he had a tyrannical old godmother called Tape.
Tape was a fairy,she was prim and formaland bright red all over. She needed only to touch something and say her name, Tape, and she could halt the fastest thing and make the stronget thing weak.
Whenever someone presented the Prince with an invention or a discovery she laid her hand on it. As a result these people tended to take it to another Prince in foreign parts.
But the Prince had grown weary and did not do anything to rid himself of her. His family did nothing to change this, nothing to help him from the situations Tape created.
His indolent servants bristled if criticised but merely enriched themselves at his cost. He called his servants togther and told them to send his army against Prince Bear. He promised unlimited funds for the effort.
The servants set about equipping the army, but Tape would interfere so that it went awry. She also interfered in their shipping goods to the army.
She then flew by broomstick to the location of Prince Bulls army and said Tape, and it withered away.Prince Bull suspected his godmother, but dismissed his servants.
He needed to replace the servants and was shocked to find just twenty five among his twenty-seven million inhabitants. These questioned him as if they interviewed him. Tape flew among them asking if they would serve Prince Bull.
The tale ends without a satisfactory conclusion, he seeking servants, Tape frustrating his aims and his family not wanting to get involved.
Fair Freedom, Princess
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