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Solario the Tailor

His Tales of the Magic Doublet

188 pages
Library of Alexandria
IN the book called “The Enchanted Forest” it is related— But I hope that you have read that book, or at least that you sincerely intend to do so as soon as you have time, but no matter; it is all about a Forest Kingdom, and a Great Forest that was enchanted by a witch, an irritable sort of person who— Not that she was to be blamed altogether, in my judgment, for she had been provoked to it by a page boy belonging to the King of the Forest, and I am personally not surprised that this young rogue was in consequence spirited away in the middle of the night, no one knew whither. Another boy (quite a different sort) named Bilbo, son of one Bodad a woodchopper, managed to disenchant the forest and destroy the witch, and for this he was given, when he was old enough, the hand of the King’s daughter, the Princess Dorobel; and in course of time there came to them a little son, by name Bojohn. This Bojohn, with his friend Bodkin, a fisherman’s boy, afterward discovered the lost page boy in a chamber beneath a forest pool, where the witch had placed him for his punishment; and in this chamber, with the page boy, was a company of enchanted men, also placed there by the witch, at various times, each for some offense against her, and each sitting there upright in a kind of cupboard in the wall, unable to speak or move. These men, and the page boy too, Prince Bojohn and his friend Bodkin set free, by means of a magical silver lamp. In the audience room of the King’s dwelling, a noble castle in the midst of the forest, the entire court assembled to welcome the rescued men on the night of their arrival; and the King, after making a speech (which no power on earth could have prevented his doing), created the rescued men, without bothering to ask whether they wanted it or no, an order of knighthood, to be known as the Order of the Silver Lamp. This done, he addressed the new knights,—but here I may as well turn back to the book itself, which thus relates what then occurred: “We are all anxious,” said the King, “to hear your stories; they are, I am sure, of the greatest interest. You, sir,” he said, addressing the oldest of the Knights of the Silver Lamp, who wore a faded spangled coat, of a period no one present could remember, “I beseech you to recount to us the story of your life, and in particular the adventure which brought you to so strange a pass.” “Willingly, sire,” said the ancient man, so readily that it was apparent he had been waiting for this opportunity; and thereupon, with a considerable rustling and a good deal of whispering and nodding of heads, the assemblage composed itself to hear the story of the Old Man in the Spangled Coat.