The Bee-Man of Orn and Other Fanciful Tales HTML version

Prince Hassak's March
In the spring of a certain year, long since passed away, Prince Hassak, of Itoby,
determined to visit his uncle, the King of Yan.
"Whenever my uncle visited us," said the Prince, "or when my late father went to see
him, the journey was always made by sea; and, in order to do this, it was necessary to go
in a very roundabout way between Itoby and Yan. Now, I shall do nothing of this kind. It
is beneath the dignity of a prince to go out of his way on account of capes, peninsulas,
and promontories. I shall march from my palace to that of my uncle in a straight line. I
shall go across the country, and no obstacle shall cause me to deviate from my course.
Mountains and hills shall be tunnelled, rivers shall be bridged, houses shall be levelled; a
road shall be cut through forests; and, when I have finished my march, the course over
which I have passed shall be a mathematically straight line. Thus will I show to the world
that, when a prince desires to travel, it is not necessary for him to go out of his way on
account of obstacles."
As soon as possible after the Prince had determined upon this march, he made his
preparations, and set out. He took with him a few courtiers, and a large body of miners,
rock-splitters, bridge-builders, and workmen of that class, whose services would, very
probably, be needed. Besides these, he had an officer whose duty it was to point out the
direct course to be taken, and another who was to draw a map of the march, showing the
towns, mountains, and the various places it passed through. There were no compasses in
those days, but the course-marker had an instrument which he would set in a proper
direction by means of the stars, and then he could march by it all day. Besides these
persons, Prince Hassak selected from the schools of his city five boys and five girls, and
took them with him. He wished to show them how, when a thing was to be done, the best
way was to go straight ahead and do it, turning aside for nothing.
"When they grow up they will teach these things to their children," said he; "and thus I
shall instil good principles into my people."
The first day Prince Hassak and his party marched over a level country, with no further
trouble than that occasioned by the tearing down of fences and walls, and the destruction
of a few cottages and barns. After encamping for the night, they set out the next morning,
but had not marched many miles before they came to a rocky hill, on the top of which
was a handsome house, inhabited by a Jolly-cum-pop.
"Your Highness," said the course-marker, "in order to go in a direct line we must make a
tunnel through this hill, immediately under the house. This may cause the building to fall
in, but the rubbish can be easily removed."
"Let the men go to work," said the Prince. "I will dismount from my horse, and watch the