I am here to grant the good king a wish, and, true to character, he doesn’t ask anything for himself. He wants something for his son.

“Most certainly,” I say. “I can give him riches, good looks, power, and so on. What will it be?”

“None of those,” says the king. “I simply want my son to be a good king.”

Well, I tell him, no fairy can grant that wish. Goodness must be earned through action. Instead, I will give the little darling a magic ring that will prick his finger whenever he does a bad deed. We’ll see how long he can wear that!

The Fairy Truth in Prince Darling, Blue Fairy Book. Painting by Gustav Klimt.

fairy truth