**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

A Matter-Of-Fact Fairy Tale
by [?]

Once upon a time there was a King who had three sons. The two eldest were lazy, good-for-nothing young men, but the third son, whose name was Charming, was a delightful youth, who was loved by everybody (outside his family) who knew him. Whenever he rode through the town the people used to stop whatever work they were engaged upon and wave their caps and cry “Hurrah for Prince Charming!”–and even after he had passed they would continue to stop work, in case he might be coming back the same way, when they would wave their caps and cry “Hurrah for Prince Charming!” again. It was wonderful how fond of him they were.

But alas! his father the King was not so fond. He preferred his eldest son; which was funny of him, because he must have known that only the third and youngest son is ever any good in a family. Indeed, the King himself had been a third son, so he had really no excuse for ignorance on the point. I am afraid the truth was that he was jealous of Charming, because the latter was so popular outside his family.

Now there lived in the Palace an old woman called Countess Caramel, who had been governess to Charming when he was young. When the Queen lay dying the Countess had promised her that she would look after her youngest boy for her, and Charming had often confided in Caramel since. One morning, when his family had been particularly rude to him at breakfast, Charming said to her:

“Countess, I have made up my mind, and I am going into the world to seek my fortune.”

“I have been waiting for this,” said the Countess. “Here is a magic ring. Wear it always on your little finger, and whenever you want help turn it round once and help will come.”

Charming thanked her and put the ring on his finger. Then he turned it round once just to make sure that it worked. Immediately the oddest little dwarf appeared in front of him.

“Speak and I will obey,” said the dwarf.

Now Charming didn’t want anything at all just then, so after thinking for a moment he said, “Go away!”

The dwarf, a little surprised, disappeared.

“This is splendid,” thought Charming, and he started on his travels with a light heart.

The sun was at its highest as he came to a thick wood, and in its shade he lay down to rest. He was awakened by the sound of weeping. Rising hastily to his feet he peered through the trees, and there, fifty yards away from him, by the side of a stream sat the most beautiful damsel he had ever seen, wringing her hands and sobbing bitterly. Prince Charming, grieving at the sight of beauty in such distress, coughed and came nearer,

“Princess,” he said tenderly, for he knew she must be a Princess, “you are in trouble. How can I help you?”

“Fair Sir,” she answered, “I had thought to be alone. But, since you are here, you can help me if you will. I have a–a brother–“

But Charming did not want to talk about brothers. He sat down on a fallen log beside her, and looked at her entranced.

“I think you are the most lovely lady in all the world,” he said.

“Am I?” said the Princess, whose name, by the way, was Beauty.

She looked away from him and there was silence between them. Charming, a little at a loss, fidgeted nervously with his ring, and began to speak again.

“Ever since I have known you–“

“You are in need of help?” said the dwarf, appearing suddenly.

“Certainly not,” said Charming angrily. “Not in the least. I can manage this quite well by myself.”

“Speak, and I will obey.”

“Then go away,” said Charming; and the dwarf, who was beginning to lose his grip of things, again disappeared.

The Princess, having politely pretended to be looking for something while this was going on, turned to him again.