RUMPTY-DUDGET'S TOWER by Julian Hawthorne


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By Nathaniel Hawthorne's son, a lengthy literary fairy tale with a typically Victorian point of view on how good little boys and girls should behave, first published in St. Nicholas Magazine in 1879. Rumpty-Dudget is an evil dwarf who is trying to capture a 1001st child to stand in a corner in his tower so that the world will become a desert covered with gray stones and brambles. He hopes to nab one of the Queen's children during her absence, while they are looked after by Tom, a cat. On his third attempt, he catches Prince Henry; Prince Frank and Tom set off on a rescue quest, demonstrating the value of obedience, among other things; Princess Hilda gets to tend a significant flame, withstand temptation, and ultimately lay herself down on the fire ""like a bit of firewood"" to preserve it. All is saved in the nick of time, the queen comes home (no mention of a king), and the dwarf gets a suitable comeuppance. The best feature of this edition is Goode's carefully designed and detailed illustrations, which add both humor and a period flavor. Interesting, but not essential.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1987
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Knopf