The Pink Fairy Book
The Flying Trunk
There was once a merchant who was so rich that he could have paved the whole street,
and perhaps even a little side-street besides, with silver. But he did not do that; he knew
another way of spending his money. If he spent a shilling he got back a florin-such an
excellent merchant he was till he died.
Now his son inherited all this money. He lived very merrily; he went every night to the
theatre, made paper kites out of five-pound notes, and played ducks and drakes with
sovereigns instead of stones. In this way the money was likely to come soon to an end,
and so it did.
At last he had nothing left but four shillings, and he had no clothes except a pair of
slippers and an old dressing-gown.
His friends did not trouble themselves any more about him; they would not even walk
down the street with him.
But one of them who was rather good-natured sent him an old trunk with the message,
'Pack up!" That was all very well, but he had nothing to pack up, so he got into the trunk
It was an enchanted trunk, for as soon as the lock was pressed it could fly. He pressed it,
and away he flew in it up the chimney, high into the clouds, further and further away. But
whenever the bottom gave a little creak he was in terror lest the trunk should go to pieces,
for then he would have turned a dreadful somersault-just think of it!
In this way he arrived at the land of the Turks. He hid the trunk in a wood under some dry
leaves, and then walked into the town. He could do that quite well, for all the Turks were
dressed just as he was-in a dressing-gown and slippers.
He met a nurse with a little child.
'Halloa! you Turkish nurse,' said he, 'what is that great castle there close to the town? The
one with the windows so high up?'
'The sultan's daughter lives there,' she replied. 'It is prophesied that she will be very
unlucky in her husband, and so no one is allowed to see her except when the sultan and
sultana are by.'
'Thank you,' said the merchant's son, and he went into the wood, sat himself in his trunk,
flew on to the roof, and crept through the window into the princess's room.
She was lying on the sofa asleep, and was so beautiful that the young merchant had to
kiss her. Then she woke up and was very much frightened, but he said he was a Turkish
god who had come through the air to see her, and that pleased her very much.