"The Lad Who Found His Fortune"
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Kabumpo in Oz, "The Wizard of Pumperdink", "King, King! Double King!", etc.
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, Novmeber 2, 1919.
Once upon a time there was a king who promised his daughter and half of his kingdom to the man who could find his fortunes in one hour and without going abroad.
After posting proclamations to this effect throughout the kingdom the old fellow retired, chuckling, to his throne.
"That will put a stop to this courting business!" he murmured contentedly. He had been pestered to death with the princess's suitors and, being extremely fond of his daughter, could not find it in his heart to favor any of them.
The princess herself, while not averse to marriage, had grown weary of the endless procession of dukes, lords, princes and honorables. Often she was even rash enough to wish for a plain man, for instance, like the minstrel who sometimes serenaded her in the evenings when the rest of the court had retired.
The proclamation caused a great excitement. Some took it to mean one thing and some another, and the dukes and lords and honorables were in a state of great perplexity. Most of them had fortunes already without seeking for them. What, then, did his majesty mean?
On the other hand, all the poor chaps in the realm were determined to win the princess, for it was perfectly clear to them that the king wished to bestow his daughter upon a poor man clever enough to find his fortunes in an hour.
The king refused to be interviewed, and while the fortune seekers were digging holes and climbing mountains and doing other various things they thought likely to bring them a fortune he and the princess played chess and enjoyed the first peace and quiet they had had for many a long day.
But one man in the kingdom neither sought information nor hunted for hidden gold mines. He ordered a fine suit from the most expensive tailor in the realm and when it was finished told the fellow he would be paid when he married the princess.
The tailor set up a loud clamor, but a few taps on the head convinced him that argument was useless.
Arrayed with great splendor and carrying his fiddle carelessly, the minstrel, for, honeys, it was none other than he, boldly walked into the palace.
"I have come to see the king about marrying the princess!" he announced to the head footman, who forthwith relayed it to the second footman, who in turn relayed it to the third, till at last the message got to the king himself. The king looked up in surprise, for he had thought the problem would keep the whole kingdom guessing for many a day. The princess was also surprised, but pleasantly so, judging from the roses that quite suddenly appeared in her cheeks. Without wasting words the brave minstrel made a deep bow then, seizing his violin, began to play.
At the first bar the king grew pale with dismay, but as the tune progresse4d he began to tap his foot in time to the music.
From one piece the minstrel hastily went to another, at which the king's amazement was unbounded.
The minstrel played on with great composure until he had finished four tunes then, putting aside his violin, he looked expectantly at the king.
"Well?" said the minstrel.
The princess also looked at the king with such a happy light in her eyes that the old gentleman fidgeted upon his throne.
"Does this person seem suitable to you, my dear?" he asked faintly.
The princess inclined her head ever so slightly.
"Then let the marriage be celebrated!" sighed the king. And it was, with great pomp and ceremony, for the minstrel had found his (the king) four tunes in less than an hour and without going abroad.
"But how did you know my meaning?" the king asked him over and over. The prince (yes, he was a prince now you see) only smiled and said music was a wonderful art, especially when you knew how to use it. I'd tell you the name of the four tunes the king loved so well, but I'm afraid you would not recognize them, for this all happened a thousand years ago, and in a kingdom you have never heard of.
THE FORGETFUL POET
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 27, 1918.
The answer to Mr. Bookmarker's puzzle is Huckleberry Finn, while in the Forgetful Poet's verses a tomahawk and the word foresee - 4-c - were referred to.
Mr. Bookmarker is spending the month in Bulfinch's Mythology. See how many of the mythological fable folks you can find. He says that a city of our southern States will give you one, a city of France another and a cooking utensil still another. The following words combined and correctly arranged will give five more:
And what do you make of these?
I was eaten up
And yet am here;
Now, can you just
Explain this, dear?
By a thing without teeth
I was bitten,
Just a while before
This rhyme was written?
[Answers next time.]
Copyright © 2006 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.
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