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Julie's Book: the Little Princess

by Richard Seltzer

Copyright 1976 Richard Seltzer Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim electronic copies of this story for non-commercial purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

This story originally appeared in the collection Now & Then and Other Tales from Ome. You can buy that book from

Long ago, there was a castle with towers taller than church steeples, with stairs that wound round and around a thousand steps high. And at the top of one of those towers lived a little princess named Julie.

She had everything that a little princess could want: a crib, a warm blanket, a thousand steps to run up and down, a mommy, a daddy, and a thousand playmates.

Every night her mother would tell her stories about witches and wicked step-mothers and fair damsels; and Prince Charming how always came to rescue them.

But the Princess wasn't a very happy princess. She wanted to be Rapunzel or Cinderella or Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. She wanted a wicked step-mother and a Prince Charming to rescue her.

Her mother loved her dearly and did everything to make the little princess happy. But the harder her mother tried to please her, the sadder the little princess became.

All the lucky little princesses, the ones that people told stories about, had wicked step-mothers, and Prince Charming rescued them and fell in love with them. And here she was a plain ordinary princess with a mother who loved her, and she was never miserable, and nobody ever treated her badly and Prince Charming would never come to rescue her.

Prince Leroy and Princess Mary Jane and Prince James and Prince Ricky and Prince Raymond and Prince Michael and Prince David and Princess Penny and Prince Frank and Princess Desire and Prince Chuck and all the princes and princesses for miles and miles around wanted to play with Princess Julie. But she didn't want to play with anybody.

She shut herself up in the top of the tower, and she wouldn't let her mommy tell her stories, and she wouldn't even curl up in her crib with her blanket. She just sat on the stone ledge by her window and watched and waited. She'd make herself the most miserable little princess in the whole world, and Prince Charming would come galloping up on his white charger and carry her off to Neverneverland.

Since the little princess wouldn't come down to the courtyard to play, her mother sent playmates up to the top of the tower. But soon all the princes and princesses got tired of just sitting in the top of the tower and watching Princess Julie wait for Prince Charming. All except Prince Chuck. Chuck liked to talk to the little princess.

"You mean you know how to make Prince Charming come to rescue you? I always wanted to meet Prince Charming. I mean I always wanted to find out where he got that white charger and shiny armor and how he finds fair damsels to rescue. And maybe if I wait here with you, and Prince Charming comes to rescue you, he'll tell me where I can find a fair damsel to rescue who'll fall in love with me and live happily ever after."

Then one morning, just after the milkman and the breadman, Prince Charming arrived.

The little princess was so excited she didn't know what to say or do. So Chuck did the talking, "Hello, Prince Charming. Where did you get that white charger and that shiny armor?"

"Jordan Marsh. They were on sale. Just $10.98. Regularly $15.45."

So Chuck ran off to Jordan Marsh to buy a white charger and shiny armor, and Prince Charming rode off to Neverneverland with Princess Julie.

The next day, Chuck rode all up and down Everydayland, showing off his white charger and his shiny armor.

But the armor was a bit tight and very heavy, and his bottom was sore from riding all day. Besides, he had forgotten to ask how to find fair damsels in distress. And after all, there was no reason to go riding around with shiny armor on a white charger unless you had a fair damsel to rescue.

Then an old hag with one magic eye drove up Main Street in a VW. She stopped next to Chuck and told him, "Sonny, if you're looking for fair damsels, (and I don't know what else you'd be doing in that get-up), there are hundreds of them in Neverneverland at Prince Charming's castle."

Suddenly, it occured to Chuck that Prince Charming had been rescuing damsels for years and years and taking them to Neverneverland. If he were a nice prince, he would have rescued only one damsel, or two, or three. But he had rescued hundreds and hundreds. What could he want with hundreds and hundreds of damsels, unless he was an ogre or something. After all, how many kids can a guy play with at a time?

So Chuck galloped off to Neverneverland and galloped right up to the gate of Prince Charming's castle.

Prince Charming walked out in his pajamas, and he looked very very tired. But Chuck showed no mercy. He said, "Prince Charming, I demand that you free Princess Julie this very instant."

Suddenly, Prince Charming looked very very happy. "Why don't you take the rest of them, too? This is a terrible job rescuing damsels all the time. But the worst of it is that they just sit there in my castle and jabber away with each other and play dolls and things. I'm not as young as I used to be. I just can't take it anymore. In all these years, you're the first guy who ever asked for one of them back. Please take her. You're welcome to her and to as many others as you want."

But Chuck only wanted Princess Julie. He picked her up, put her on his white charger and rode off with her back to Everydayland.

Chuck was very happy because he had rescued a fair damsel. He told everybody all about it, time and again.

But the little princess was very very sad because she missed all the friends and dolls and things at Prince Charming's castle.

And she was very, very mad at Chuck for taking her away from all that.

Ever after that, she did everything she could to make herself the most miserable little princess in the whole world so Prince Charming would rescue her again and carry her off again to Neverneverland.

But in spite of everything she did to make herself miserable, she lived happily ever after. privacy statement