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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Little Lame Prince by Dinah Craik & A Good Deal of Nonsense

Once upon a time...I do believe the loveliest stories begin like this (or should) & so, I will pilfer it without shame.  While at the same time, forewarning of the nonsense ready to turn cartwheels & tumble pell-mell, & the crazy, little dragon who will belch up magic all over the spiderweb (forgive me, internet is such a dull word!)  My little home in blogland isn't yet decorated the way I like best, but I shall soon remedy this.  And, oh!-there will be books...books galore.  So, I shall start with, The Little Lame Prince & His Traveling Cloak, which was published by Dinah Craik in 1875.  One of my favorite books.  (Writers will always foist a reading list upon your shoulders.)  ;)      

...He sprang right into the middle of the cloak, where he squatted down, wrapping his arms tight round his knees, for they shook a little & his heart beat fast. But there he sat, steady & silent, waiting for what might happen next... The cloak rose, slowly & steadily, at first only a few inches, then gradually higher & higher, till it nearly touched the skylight. Prince Dolor's head actually bumped against the glass...

The little lame prince & his traveling cloak, I still see the soft gray of the weathered material that carries him high, oh, so high, above the clouds. This was a book read to me by Nana, many years ago now.
     My siblings, Nana, & I, not to mention a guinea pig, whose name was Trixie, were crowded onto a single bed as she read the story. Just to impart the humor of the situation, I should mention that the guinea pig had hair as long as Rapunzel's own mane & she must have had a weak bladder... Even so, it didn't much seem to deter Nana.  :)

 "She stretched herself on tiptoe by the help of her stick, & gave the little prince three kisses."

     And something else that made that small book seem especially wonderful to us kids...well, it had been discovered in the attic, along with a slew of other old books, by Dad. "Black Beauty" was another one of the titles. Old houses always harbor secrets, didn't you know?

 "Sliding down to the foot of the throne, he began playing with the golden lions that supported it."

       The book has a very faded, brown binding & an oval picture of a tree & a little house on the cover. There is no publication date that I can find within the pages, but it was inscribed to 'Walter from Rose & Bruce'.

     Well, the little prince, or Dolor, as he was named after his mother Dolores, is made lame by the fault of a nurse to drops him as she hurries him to his christening. This seems to be the theme of the adults throughout the story, who seem to forget all about little Dolor. All except for one strange, gray, little godmother (like Nana!)

       Later, locked high in a tower by his wicked uncle, Dolor's very own fairy godmother gifts him a magical cloak with which he is able to take flight like a bird. It is the kind of book that children should read nowadays, yet I am quite sure very few have ever heard of it. Sadly, so few people I know ever take the time to read one jot...& it makes me wonder at the miracle of bookstores still, as of yet, full of burgeoning shelves. Perhaps I need my own flying cloak, so that I may find all of these lovely, invisible readers.

     I read this book, again, several years ago when I was in Paris &, even so, it has become a little like the fogginess of a dream for me, as I do remember some things from its pages with clarity, yet others have escaped my memory, flying fast as shiny-winged dragonflies.

"Really now, how rosy your royal highness's cheeks have grown."

     With the fervent hope that there might be someone still in search of a little bit of night magic, you can read of the prince, the wicked, usurper uncle, & the wise godmother here...

The Little Lame Prince at Project Gutenberg

Perhaps I shall just have to visit the little prince, once again.

"Prince Dolor's head actually bumped against the glass."

I think Dolor had a pair of magical spectacles, as well, that allowed him to see the things far below his path of flight, but my brain is more vague on that point. I am full of useless trivia, as per usual. ;)

"'Thank you, thank you!' He cried in a gush of gratitude."

"This day the knots that tied up his traveling-cloak were more than usually troublesome."

"Prince Dolor made a snatch at the topmost twig of the tallest tree." 

"'Is that the king?' Whispered Prince Dolor."

"They knew that good was coming to them whenever he approached them."

"He lifted up his thin, slender hand, & there came a silence over the vast crowd immediately."


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