I could never please my old mother. My brothers did. They were always buying her fine clothes that made her look really smart. Me, I just got in her way. I was too slow, too stupid. She had no patience for me.

When the king decreed that he would marry his daughter to the man who could build a flying ship, I knew I was meant to do it.

My mother thought my brothers were far more capable. She dressed them in smart clothes and packed their bags with food and brandy. When I asked her if she would do the same for me, she said, “What would become of a dolt like you? Why, you would be eaten up by wolves!”

“I will go!” I cried. “I will go! I will go!” I repeated the words, over and over, until she packed me some bread and water, and sent me on my way.

Now I’m on the road, off to make a flying ship!

Simpleton with a Big Dream in The Flying Ship, Yellow Fairy Book. Picture by W.H. Robinson.

flying ship