Title: The Magic Fishbone; A Holiday Romance from the Pen of Miss Alice Rainbird, Aged 7
Author: Charles Dickens (1867)
Illustrator: S. Beatrice Pearse
Publisher : Project Gutenberg (ebook)
Release Date: November 5, 2007 [eBook #23344]
Once, there was a King and a Queen who had nineteen children. The eldest, Alicia took care them all. One day, the Queen asked the King to bring a fish when he got home from his office. Then he met Good Fairy Granmarina that told him to give the Princess some of the salmon, then he should tell her to polish the fish-bone, till it shines like mother-of-pearl, and to take care of it as a present from the fairy.
“Is that all?” asked the King.
“Don’t be impatient, sir,” returned the Fairy Grandmarina, scolding him severely. “Don’t catch people short, before they have done speaking. Just the way with you grown-up persons. You are always doing it.”
The King again hung his head, and said he wouldn’t do so any more.
“Be good then,” said the Fairy Grandmarina, “and don’t! Tell the Princess Alicia, with my love, that the fish-bone is a magic present which can only be used once; but that it will bring her, that once, whatever she wishes for, provided she wishes for it at the right time. That is the message. Take care of it.”
The King was beginning, “Might I ask the reason—?” when the Fairy became absolutely furious.
“Will you be good, sir?” she exclaimed, stamping her foot on the ground. “The reason for this, and the reason for that, indeed! You are always wanting the reason. No reason. There! Hoity toity me! I am sick of your grown-up reasons.”
So, the Princess had her magic fish-bone. Then suddenly the Queen began to ill. Princess Alicia took care of her. The King expected Alicia to use the magic fish-bone, but she didn’t. The next day, one of the Prince injured his hand. Alicia snipped and stitched and cut and contrived, and made a bandage. His father looked at them and asked about the magic fish-bone. But the Princess said that it was in her pocket, she didn’t forget, nor losing it. The truth is, Alicia had her own secret.
“They think we children never have a reason or a meaning!” (Princess Alicia)
Several times, Alicia settled the household problems while her mother still needed some rest. And one day, she saw his father sat down so miserably and low-spirited. She asked the King, and he said that they were terribly poor then. Even the King had done everything, it couldn’t be enough for their living.
“Papa,” said she, “when we have tried very hard, and tried all ways, we must have done our very very best?”
“No doubt, Alicia.”
“When we have done our very very best, Papa, and that is not enough, then I think the right time must have come for asking help of others.”
So, that became a time for Alicia to use the magic fish-bone.
It’s a beautiful story, about hard work and independence. We should do our best for everything, we should settled every mess by ourselves as long as we can do that, and to be responsible to our duties. We may ask for help, only if it is needed. Dickens showed this value in the hands of a child. Love it!
This second part was ‘written’ by a girl, so the story became more feminine. With the peculiar theme of a kingdom–though it was a little bit unreasonable setting for this kind of story. But, come on! this is Dickens and his children’s story. I’m going forward to the next part sooner.