Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Children's Novel > The Little Lame Prince10 > CHAPTER VIII
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 What, I wonder, would be people's idea of a king? What was Prince Dolor's?  
Perhaps a very splendid personage, with a crown on his head and a scepter in his hand, sitting on a throne and judging the people. Always doing right, and never wrong—“The king can do no wrong” was a law laid down in olden times. Never cross, or tired, or sick, or suffering; perfectly1 handsome and well dressed, calm and good-tempered, ready to see and hear everybody, and discourteous2 to nobody; all things always going well with him, and nothing unpleasant ever happening.
This, probably, was what Prince Dolor expected to see. And what did he see? But I must tell you how he saw it.
“Ah,” said the magpie3, “no levee to-day. The King is ill, though his Majesty4 does not wish it to be generally known—it would be so very inconvenient5. He can't see you, but perhaps you might like to go and take a look at him in a way I often do? It is so very amusing.”
Amusing, indeed!
The prince was just now too much excited to talk much. Was he not going to see the king his uncle, who had succeeded his father and dethroned himself; had stepped into all the pleasant things that he, Prince Dolor, ought to have had, and shut him up in a desolate6 tower? What was he like, this great, bad, clever man? Had he got all the things he wanted, which another ought to have had? And did he enjoy them?
“Nobody knows,” answered the magpie, just as if she had been sitting inside the prince's heart, instead of on the top of his shoulder. “He is a king, and that's enough. For the rest nobody knows.”
As she spoke7, Mag flew down on to the palace roof, where the cloak had rested, settling down between the great stacks of chimneys as comfortably as if on the ground. She pecked at the tiles with her beak8—truly she was a wonderful bird—and immediately a little hole opened, a sort of door, through which could be seen distinctly the chamber9 below.
“Now look in, my Prince. Make haste, for I must soon shut it up again.”
But the boy hesitated. “Isn't it rude?—won't they think us intruding10?”
“Oh, dear no! there's a hole like this in every palace; dozens of holes, indeed. Everybody knows it, but nobody speaks of it. Intrusion! Why, though the royal family are supposed to live shut up behind stone walls ever so thick, all the world knows that they live in a glass house where everybody can see them and throw a stone at them. Now pop down on your knees, and take a peep at his Majesty.”
His Majesty!
The Prince gazed eagerly down into a large room, the largest room he had ever beheld11, with furniture and hangings grander than anything he could have ever imagined. A stray sunbeam, coming through a crevice12 of the darkened windows, struck across the carpet, and it was the loveliest carpet ever woven—just like a bed of flowers to walk over; only nobody walked over it, the room being perfectly empty and silent.
“Where is the King?” asked the puzzled boy.
“There,” said Mag, pointing with one wrinkled claw to a magnificent bed, large enough to contain six people. In the center of it, just visible under the silken counterpane,—quite straight and still,—with its head on the lace pillow, lay a small figure, something like wax-work, fast asleep—very fast asleep! There was a number of sparkling rings on the tiny yellow hands, that were curled a little, helplessly, like a baby's, outside the coverlet; the eyes were shut, the nose looked sharp and thin, and the long gray beard hid the mouth and lay over the breast. A sight not ugly nor frightening, only solemn and quiet. And so very silent—two little flies buzzing about the curtains of the bed being the only audible sound.
“Is that the King?” whispered Prince Dolor.
“Yes,” replied the bird.
He had been angry—furiously angry—ever since he knew how his uncle had taken the crown, and sent him, a poor little helpless child, to be shut up for life, just as if he had been dead. Many times the boy had felt as if, king as he was, he should like to strike him, this great, strong, wicked man.
Why, you might as well have struck a baby! How helpless he lay, with his eyes shut, and his idle hands folded: they had no more work to do, bad or good.
“What is the matter with him?” asked the Prince.
“He is dead,” said the Magpie, with a croak13.
No, there was not the least use in being angry with him now. On the contrary, the Prince felt almost sorry for him, except that he looked so peaceful with all his cares at rest. And this was being dead? So even kings died?
“Well, well, he hadn't an easy life, folk say, for all his grandeur14. Perhaps he is glad it is over.............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved