nce upon a time, in a land not quite so far away as you’d think, there was a magical kingdom. In this kingdom there lived a king. Several kings to be precise, each with a princess. But there was one king, whose princess greatly surpassed the others in beauty and wit. This princess and her king lived together in a castle, the sturdiest and most magnificent in all the land, a marvel of what was then modern stone masonry. This formidable fortress stood at the top of a hill and its walls rose thirty-seven and a half feet high, taller, by far, than any other. Atop the lofty battlements fierce there were thirty-seven towers that rose higher still, from which one could see all of the surrounding land. Each of these thirty-seven towers was topped by a gilded parapet of green stone and crowned with a purple flag flap-flapping in the wind.

Within the walls of this mighty fortress lived many courtiers: there were the jesters, all bells and whistles, thirty-seven in all; the knights, in their shiny suits of steel, and there were thirty-seven of them as well; there were thirty-seven maidens in waiting, gowned in gossamer, kind of heart and beautiful to behold. And of course, in this castle lived the wisest of all kings: King Bill, they called him, not because Bill was his name, but because they felt it sounded more dignified than his real name, which was Chevy. King Bill had a single daughter, Deidre, and she was the most stunning princess in all the land and outside it. But Princess Deidre was a stuck up little bitch.

Hour by hour, day by day, she would stand, admiring her voluptuous curves and generous cleavage, her sparkling eyes and luxurious locks. And as she admired her angelic physique in front of her full length mirror, she would ask “mirror, mirror, on the shelf, can you name one fairer than myself?” As you would expect, the mirror made no reply (it was not a magic mirror, and mirrors that are not magic do not often speak without the aide of controlled substances, as I am sure you know), but Princess Deidre took this as confirmation of her matchless beauty, so she smiled, smug and cold.

She was beautiful, believe you me, but this pretty pretty princess had a heart of stone. She cared little for others and least of all for those who were not beautiful. She cared, instead, about how beautiful she looked. Beautiful by the light of day and beautiful as the moon shone. And every once in a while she would think just how beautiful she was when there was no light whatsoever. Indeed, she was beautiful in all of these varied levels of illumination, but her mind was nearly consumed with these self-centered thoughts. When she did think of others it was only to curse them for vilifying her vision with their repugnant presence.

For all this, Princess Deidre’s father was sad, as he was a kindly king, caring for all his subjects and even the subjects of the kings in neighboring kingdoms when it was called for . King Bill spent much of his time wondering where he had gone wrong as a father. Perhaps he had loved her too much. Or perhaps not enough. Perhaps he had devoted too much time to his monarchial obligations and not enough to his filial responsibilities. But it was not his fault; he had been a good father and an excellent king. He had given as much as he could and Deidre had thanklessly taken. There were some who thought, though not in the king’s presence, that Deidre was simply a rotten person through and through. ‘I’ll tell you right now,’ they whispered covertly, ‘that princess is as ugly on the inside as she is beautiful on the outside.’

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