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Prince Bull. A Fairy Tale
ONCE upon a time, and of course it was in the Golden Age, and I hope you may know
when that was, for I am sure I don't, though I have tried hard to find out, there lived in a
rich and fertile country, a powerful Prince whose name was BULL. He had gone through
a great deal of fighting, in his time, about all sorts of things, including nothing; but, had
gradually settled down to be a steady, peaceable, good-natured, corpulent, rather
sleepy Prince.
This Puissant Prince was married to a lovely Princess whose name was Fair Freedom.
She had brought him a large fortune, and had borne him an immense number of
children, and had set them to spinning, and farming, and engineering, and soldiering,
and sailoring, and doctoring, and lawyering, and preaching, and all kinds of trades. The
coffers of Prince Bull were full of treasure, his cellars were crammed with delicious
wines from all parts of the world, the richest gold and silver plate that ever was seen
adorned his sideboards, his sons were strong, his daughters were handsome, and in
short you might have supposed that if there ever lived upon earth a fortunate and happy
Prince, the name of that Prince, take him for all in all, was assuredly Prince Bull.
But, appearances, as we all know, are not always to be trusted - far from it; and if they
had led you to this conclusion respecting Prince Bull, they would have led you wrong as
they often have led me.
For, this good Prince had two sharp thorns in his pillow, two hard knobs in his crown,
two heavy loads on his mind, two unbridled nightmares in his sleep, two rocks ahead in
his course. He could not by any means get servants to suit him, and he had a tyrannical
old godmother, whose name was Tape.
She was a Fairy, this Tape, and was a bright red all over. She was disgustingly prim
and formal, and could never bend herself a hair's breadth this way or that way, out of
her naturally crooked shape. But, she was very potent in her wicked art. She could stop
the fastest thing in the world, change the strongest thing into the weakest, and the most
useful into the most useless. To do this she had only to put her cold hand upon it, and
repeat her own name, Tape. Then it withered away.
At the Court of Prince Bull - at least I don't mean literally at his court, because he was a
very genteel Prince, and readily yielded to his godmother when she always reserved
that for his hereditary Lords and Ladies - in the dominions of Prince Bull, among the
great mass of the community who were called in the language of that polite country the
Mobs and the Snobs, were a number of very ingenious men, who were always busy