Click on an image to view a slideshow of illustrations and quotations in full screen format. All illustrations are by Christi Williams.
”Once upon a time, so long ago that I have quite forgotten the date, there lived a king and queen who had no children.’
Chapter Two: ‘Won’t I, Just?’ ‘After waiting and waiting in vain for an invitation, she made up her mind at last to go without one, and make the whole family miserable, like a princess as she was.’
Chapter Three: ‘She Can’t Be Ours!’ ‘The king stood staring up in speechless amazement, and trembled so that his beard shook like grass in the wind. At last . . .he said, gasping, staring, and stammering, “She can’t be ours, queen!”
Chapter Four ‘Where is She?’: ‘A frolicsome fairy wind, which had been watching for a chance of mischief, rushed in at the one window, and taking its way over the bed where the child was lying, caught her up [ . . .] like [ . . .] a dandelion seed, carried her with it through the opposite window, and away.’
Chapter Five, ‘What is to be done?’: “My dear queen,” said he, “duplicity of any sort is exceedingly objectionable between married people of any rank, not to say kings and queens; and the most objectionable form duplicity can assume is that of punning.” “There!” said the queen, “I never made a jest, but I broke it in the making. I am the most unfortunate woman in the world!” She looked so rueful, that the king took her in his arms; and they sat down to consult. “Can you bear this?” said the king. “No, I can’t,” said the queen. “Well, what’s to be done?” said the king.
Chapter Six ‘She Laughs Too Much’: ‘It happened several times, when her father and mother were holding a consultation about her in private, that they were interrupted by vainly repressed outbursts of laughter over their heads; and looking up with indignation, saw her floating at full length in the air above them, whence she regarded them with the most comical appreciation of the position.’
Chapter Seven, ‘Try Metaphysics’: ‘She does not belong by rights to this world at all, but to some other planet, probably Mercury. Her proclivity to her true sphere destroys all the natural influence which this orb would otherwise possess over her corporeal frame. She cares for nothing here. There is no relation between her and this world.’
Chapter Eight, ‘Try A Drop of Water’: If I had my gravity,” thought she, contemplating the water, “I would flash off this balcony like a long white sea-bird, headlong into the darling wetness.”‘
“Don’t you like falling in then?” said the prince. “It is the most delightful fun I ever had in my life,” answered she. “I never fell before. I wish I could learn. To think I am the only person in my father’s kingdom that can’t fall!” Here the poor princess looked almost sad. “I shall be most happy to fall in with you any time you like,” said the prince, devotedly.
‘When the moon was nearly full, one of their great delights was, to dive deep in the water, and then, turning round, look up through it at the great blot of light close above them, shimmering and trembling and wavering, spreading and contracting, seeming to melt away, and again grow solid.’
Chapter 11, ‘Hiss!’: ”[O]ut [ . . .] came the head and half the body of a huge gray snake. But the witch did not look round. It grew out of the tub, waving itself backwards and forwards with a slow horizontal motion, till it reached the princess, when it laid its head upon her shoulder, and gave a low hiss in her ear.’
‘”As I must on no account die before I am fairly drowned, and the waiting will be rather wearisome, the princess, your daughter, shall go with me, feed me with her own hands, and look at me now and then to comfort me; for you must confess it is rather hard.”’
Lady, keep thy world’s delight/ Keep the waters in thy sight/ Love hath made me strong to go/ For thy sake, to realms below
All the pent-up crying of her life was spent now. And a rain came on, such as had never been seen in that country. The sun shone all the time, and the great drops, which fell straight to the earth, shone likewise. The palace was in the heart of a rainbow. It was a rain of rubies, and sapphires, and emeralds, and topazes. The torrents poured from the mountains like molten gold.