There once was a queen who was brought to bed of a son so ugly and badly formed that the midwife doubted the baby was human.

    “It isn’t normal, ma’am. You may have been bewitched.”

    A fairy who was present at the birth reassured the queen.

    “The boy is healthy. He will always be lovable, because he will have plenty of wit, which is to say presence of mind. By virtue of the gift I now bestow, he will also be able to give as much wit as he wants to the person he will love the best.”

    This prediction consoled the poor queen. Though beyond reproach, she was distressed to have brought into the world such a queer monkey. True enough, when the child began to talk, he said a thousand pretty things. And something in his prinks and pranks won people over. His mother, his nurse, and the inner circle of the royal court proclaimed him utterly charming. (more…)