After the wedding of her sister Lily White to Rufty Tufty, a fête champêtre or country feast that took place in the woods between the two kingdoms, Brown Betty contracted a mysterious illness. She no longer wanted to eat and drink, not even a sliver of honey cake. She no longer had the strength to walk, not even to see and smell the flowers abundant at that time of year.

    Most alarming, the wit Brown Betty had from birth, the store of intelligence and sparkle which won universal admiration, this sense of humor left her in the lurch. She no longer read the latest books and offered her own amusing opinion. She heard important news from abroad and yawned with indifference.  Even to the latest gossip at court she seemed at a loss for what to say. All she could do was lie in bed and listen to the birds repeat their songs again and again, with slight variations.

    The royal physician examined Brown Betty and reported to the queen. (more…)