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 Did Prince Dolar become a great king? Was he, though little more than a boy, “the father of his people,” as all kings ought to be? Did his reign1 last long—long and happy? and what were the principal events of it, as chronicled in the history of Nomansland?  
Why, if I were to answer all these questions I should have to write another book. And I'm tired, children, tired—as grown-up people sometimes are, though not always with play. (Besides, I have a small person belonging to me, who, though she likes extremely to listen to the word-of-mouth story of this book, grumbles2 much at the writing of it, and has run about the house clapping her hands with joy when mamma told her that it was nearly finished. But that is neither here nor there.)
I have related as well as I could the history of Prince Dolor, but with the history of Nomansland I am as yet unacquainted. If anybody knows it, perhaps he or she will kindly3 write it all down in another book. But mine is done.
However, of this I am sure, that Prince Dolor made an excellent king. Nobody ever does anything less well, not even the commonest duty of common daily life, for having such a godmother as the little old woman clothed in gray, whose name is—well, I leave you to guess. Nor, I think, is anybody less good, less capable of both work and enjoyment4 in after-life, for having been a little unhappy in his youth, as the prince had been.
I cannot take upon myself to say that he was always happy now—who is?—or that he had no cares; just show me the person who is quite free from them! But whenever people worried and bothered him—as they did sometimes, with state etiquette5, state squabbles, and the like, setting up themselves and pulling down their neighbors—he would take refuge in that upper room which looked out on the Beautiful Mountains, and, laying his head on his godmother's shoulder, become calmed and at rest.
Also, she helped him out of any difficulty which now and then occurred—for there never was such a wise old woman. When the people of Nomansland raised the alarm—as sometimes they did—for what people can exist without a little fault-finding?—and began to cry out, “Un-happy is the nation whose king is a child,” she would say to him gently, “You are a child. Accept the fact. Be humble—be teachable. Lean upon the wisdom of others till you have gained your own.”
He did so. He learned how to take advice before attempting to give it, to obey before he could righteously command. He assembled round him all the good and wise of his kingdom—laid all its affairs before them, and was guided by their opinions until he had maturely formed his own.
This he did sooner than anybody would have imagined who did not know of his godmother and his traveling-cloak—two secret blessings6, which, though many guessed at, nobody quite understood. Nor did they understand why he loved so the little upper room, except that it had been his mother's room, from the window of which, as people remembered now, she had used to sit for hours watching the Beautiful Mountains.
Out of that window he used to fly—not very often; as he grew older, the labors7 of state prevented the frequent use of his traveling-cloak; still he did use it sometimes. Only now it was less for his own pleasure and amusement than to see something or investigate something for the good of the country. But he prized his godmother's gift as dearly as ever. It was a comfort to him in all his vexations, an enhancement of all his joys. It made him almost forget his lameness—which was never cured.
However, the cruel things which had been once foreboded of him did not happen. His misfortune was not such a heavy one, after all. It proved to be of much less inconvenience, even to himself, than had been feared. A council of eminent9 surgeons and mechanicians invented for him a wonderful pair of crutches10, with the help of which, though he never walked easily or gracefully11, he did manage to walk so as to be quite independent. And such was the love his people bore him that they never heard the sound of his crutches on the marble palace floors without a leap of the heart, for they knew that good was coming to them whenever he approached.
Thus, though he never walked in processions, never reviewed his troops mounted on a magnificent charger, nor did any of the things which make a show monarch12 so much appreciated, he was able for all the duties and a great many of the pleasures of his rank. When he held his levees, not standing13, but seated on a throne ingeniously contrived14 to hide his infirmity, the people thronged15 to greet him; when he drove out through the city streets, shouts followed him wherever he went—every countenance16 brightened as he passed, and his own, perhaps, was the brightest of all.
First, because, accepting his affliction as inevitable17, he took it patiently; second, because, being a brave man, he bore it bravely, trying to forget himself, and live out of himself, and in and for other people. Therefore other people grew to love him so well that I think hundreds of his subjects might have been found who were almost ready to die for their poor lame8 king.
He never gave them a queen. When they implored18 him to choose one, he replied that his country was his bride, and he desired no other. But perhaps the real reason was that he shrank from any change; and that no wife in all the world would have been found so perfect, so lovable, so tender to him in all his weaknesses as his beautiful old godmother.
His twenty-four other godfathers and godmothers, or as many of them as were still alive, crowded round him as soon as he ascended19 the throne. He was very civil to them all, but adopted none of the names they had given him, keeping to the one by which he had been always known, though it had now almost lost its meaning; for King Dolor was one of the happiest and cheerfulest men alive.
He did a good many things, however, unlike most men and most kings, which a little astonished his subjects. First, he pardoned the condemned20 woman who had been his nurse, and ordained21 that from henceforth there should be no such thing as the punishment of death in Nomansland. All capital criminals were to be sent to perpetual imprisonment22 in Hopeless Tower and the plain round about it, where they could do no harm to anybody, and might in time do a little good, as the woman had done.
Another surprise he shortly afterward23 gave the nation. He recalled his uncle's family, who had fled away in ............
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