**** 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!


The King’s Sons
by [?]

Prince Proper looked at her sternly.

“Economically,” he said, “it is to the advantage of the State that the submerged classes should be a charge on the State itself and not on individuals. The civic interests of the community demand that promiscuous charity should be sternly discouraged. Surely you see that for yourself?”

The Fairy didn’t quite. The language had taken her by surprise. In all her previous adventures of this kind, two of the young Princes had refused her roughly, and the third had shared his last piece of bread with her. This adventure was going all wrong.

“Let me explain it to you more fully,” went on Proper, and for an hour and twenty-seven minutes he did so. Then he went on his way, leaving a dazed Fairy behind him.

By and by Prince Clever came along. Suddenly he saw a poor old woman in front of him.

“Please give me something to buy a crust of bread,” she pleaded. “I’m starving.”

Prince Clever burst into a roar of laughter.

“You don’t catch me,” he said. “I’ve read about this a hundred times. You’re not an old woman at all; you’re a Fairy.”

“W-what do you mean?” she stammered.

“This is a silly test of Father’s. Well, you can tell him he’s got one son who’s clever enough to see through him.” And he went on his way.

By and by Prince Goldenlocks came along. I need not say that he did all that you would expect of a third and youngest son who had pink cheeks, long golden hair, and (as I ought to have said before) a very loving nature. He shared his last piece of bread with the poor old woman….

(Surely he will get the throne!)

But the Fairy was an honest Fairy. She did understand Proper’s point of view; she had to admit that, if Clever saw through her deception, it was honourable of him to have said so. And though, of course, her loving heart was all for Prince Goldenlocks, she felt that it would not be fair to award the throne to him without a further trial. So she did another thing that she was very fond of doing. She changed herself into a pretty little dove and–right in front of Prince Proper–she flew with a hawk in pursuit of her. “Now we shall see,” she said to herself, “which of the three youths has the softest heart.”

You can guess what Proper said.

“Life,” he said, “is one constant battle. Nature,” he said, “is ruthless, and the weakest must go to the wall. If I kill the hawk,” he said, “I am kind to the dove, but am I,” he said, and I think there was a good deal in this–“am I kind to the caterpillar or whatever it is that the dove eats?” Of course, you know, there is that to be thought of. Anyhow, after soliloquizing for forty-seven minutes Prince Proper went on his way; and by and by Prince Clever came along.

You can guess what Clever said.

“My whiskers!” he said, “this is older than the last. I knew this in my cradle.” With one of those nasty sarcastic laughs that I hate so much he went on his way; and by and by Prince Goldenlocks came along.

(Now then, Goldenlocks, the throne is almost yours!)

You can guess what Goldenlocks said.

“Poor little dove,” he said. “But I can save its life.”

Rapidly he fitted an arrow to his bow and with careful aim let fly at the pursuing hawk….

I say again that Prince Goldenlocks was the most beautiful youth you have ever seen in your life, and he had a very loving nature. But he was a poor shot.

He hit the dove….

“Is that all?” said Margery.

“That’s all,” I said. “Good night.”