Monday, 28 January 2008

Melisande by E. Nesbit (short story)

A short story published in 1900

When Princess Melisande was born, her mother, the Queen, wished to have a christening party, but the King put his foot down, and said he would not have it.
"I've seen too much trouble come of christening parties," said he. "However carefully you keep your visiting book, some fairy or other is sure to get left out, and you know what that leads to. Why, even in my own family the most shocking things have occurred. The Fairy Malevola was not asked to my great-grandmother's christening – and you know all about the spindle and the hundred years' sleep."
This is a lovely subversive fairytale, written by Edith Nesbit, author of Five Children and It, and several other magical children's stories set in Victorian London. She is probably most famous for The Railway Children, but all her stories are full of wonderfully pragmatic characters and in this one, subtitled "Long and Short Division", the royal parents are no exception.