While we were playing chess at Court, we heard the queen talking to herself from behind a wall. We got up and put our ears to a crack in the wood. Then we heard her say, quite plainly: “When I yawn a little, then I am a nice little maiden; when I yawn half-way, then I am half a troll; and when I yawn fully, then I am a troll altogether.”
We could see through the crack that her shape had changed entirely! Just then, a giant with three heads came up through the floorboards holding a trough filled with raw meat. She devoured the whole thing.
No wonder that queen now sits at the king’s table and eats very little. Her appetite has been sated. For now!
The Chess Player in The Witch in the Stone Boat, Yellow Fairy Book. Painting by Benjamin Eugene Fichel.