Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Magic Fishbone



Well, what a funny little book this is!

One of Charles Dickens's lesser known works. I'm not the biggest Dickens scholar it must be said, but I wondered if it was one of his earlier works, but it is actually one of his later works, written in 1867 (he died in 1870).

A rather bizarre book. Princess Alicia is the oldest child of a rather poor king, King Watkins the First, and his queen who have a rather astonishing 19 children from 7 years to 7 months.

The Fairy Grandmarina, an old lady "dressed in shot-silk of the richest quality and smelling of dried lavender", comes to visit King Watkins at the fishmonger, after he buys a pound and a half of salmon. She directs the king to share the salmon with Princess Alicia and to give her a fish bone- and that she must dry it, rub it and polish it until it shines like mother or pearl. The fish bone will then be magic, and grant a wish, provided she wishes for it at the right time.


I did love that the queen swooned her way out of the story really. Princess Alicia of course revives her mother the queen with smelling salts. And I don't know that you can end books these days by choking the annoying little dog, mores the pity....

I was lucky and found a lovely old edition illustrated by FD Bedford and published in 1921 at a local op shop.  It has clearly been loved, or at least used by some previous child readers as they have coloured in some of the line drawings in the book.




196/1001

1 comment:

whisperinggums.com said...

I must say that I haven't read this, but it looks very pretty! Dickens was such a versatile writer.