A kind sister and a cruel one. A charming prince. A spiteful fairy. A hundred-year snooze. A pea under a pile of mattresses. A kiss.
All the familiar ingredients, but why is the punished sister happy? Where did that extra prince come from, and what does a flock of balding sheep or a fleck of tuna in a chocolate cake have to do with anything?
Gail Carson Levine has waved her magic wand over three well-known fairy tales, and presto! They are transformed and sparklingly funny-in these delightful retellings:
The Fairy's MistakeThe Princess TestPrincess Sonora and the Long Sleep
Happily ever after has never been so hilarious!
About the Author
Gail Carson Levine's first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Ever, a New York Times bestseller; Fairest, a Best Book of the Year for Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and a New York Times bestseller; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; A Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, as well as the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie. Gail Carson Levine and her husband, David, live in a two-centuries-old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley of New York State.
Mark Elliott is the illustrator of many picture books and novels for young readers, including Gail Carson Levine's ever-popular Princess Tales series. He lives in New York State's Hudson River Valley.
Read an Excerpt
Once upon a time, in the village of Snettering-on-Snoakes in the kingdom of Biddle, Rosella fetched water from the well for the four thousand and eighty-eighth time.
Rosella always fetched the water because her identical twin sister, Myrtle, always refused to go. And their mother, the widow Pickering, never made Myrtle do anything. Instead, she made Rosella do everything.
At the well the fairy Ethelinda was having a drink. When she saw Rosella coming, she changed herself into an old lady. Then she made herself look thirsty.
"Would you like a drink, Grandmother?" Rosella said.
"That would be lovely, dearie."
Rosella lowered her wooden bucket into the well. When she lifted it out, she held the dipper so the old lady could drink.
Ethelinda slurped the water. "Thank you. Your kindness merits a reward. From now-"
"You don't have . . ." Rosella stopped. Something funny was happening in her mouth. Had she lost a tooth? There was something hard under her tongue. And something hard in her cheek. "Excuse me." Now there was something in her other cheek. She spat delicately into her hand.
They weren't teeth. She was holding a diamond and two opals.
"There, dearie." Ethelinda smiled. "Isn't that nice?"
"What took you so long?" Myrtle said when Rosella got home.
"Your sister almost perished from thirst, you lazybones," their mother said.
"I gave a drink to . . ." Something was in Rosella's mouth again. It was between her lip and her front teeth this time. "I gave a drink to an old lady." An emerald and another diamond fell out of her mouth. They landedon the dirt floor of the cottage.
"It was more important- What's that?" Myrtle said.
"What's that?" the widow said.
They both dove for the jewels, but Myrtle got there first.
"Rosella darling," the widow said, "sit down. Make yourself comfortable. Now tell us all about it. Don't leave anything out."
There wasn't much to tell, only enough to cover the bottom of Myrtle's teacup with gems.
"Which way did the old lady go?" Myrtle asked.
Rosella was puzzled. "She didn't go anywhere." An amethyst dropped into the teacup.
Myrtle grabbed the bucket and ran.
When she saw Myrtle in the distance, Ethelinda thought Rosella had come back. Only this time she wasn't tripping lightly down the path, smelling the flowers and humming a tune. She was hurtling along, head down, arms swinging, bucket flying. And then Ethelinda's fairy powers told her that this was Rosella's twin sister. Ethelinda got ready by turning herself into a knight.
"Where did the old lady go?" Myrtle said when she reached the well.
"I haven't seen anyone. I've been alone, hoping some kind maiden would come by and give me a drink. I can't do it myself with all this armor."
"What's in it for me if I do?"
The fairy tilted her head. Her armor clanked. "The happiness of helping someone in need."
"Well, in that case, get your page to do it." Myrtle stomped off.
Ethelinda turned herself back into a fairy. "Your rudeness merits a punishment," she said. But Myrtle was too far away to hear.
Myrtle went through the whole village of Snettering-on-Snoakes, searching for the old lady. The villagers knew she was Myrtle and not Rosella by her scowl and by the way she acted. Myrtle marched into shops and right into people's houses. She opened doors to rooms and even closets. Whenever anyone yelled at her, her only answer was to slam the door on her way out.
While Myrtle was in the village, Rosella went out to her garden to pick peas for dinner. As she worked, she sang.
Sing hey nonny May-o!
Oh, June is the flower month.
Sing hey nonny June-o!
Oh, July is the hot month.
Sing hey nonny July-o!
And so on. While she sang, gems dropped from her mouth. It still felt funny, but she was getting used to it. Except once she popped a pea into her mouth as she sang, and she almost broke a tooth on a ruby.
Rosella had a sweet voice, but Prince Harold, who happened to be riding by, wasn't musical. He wouldn't have stopped, except he spotted the sapphire trembling on Rosella's lip. He watched it tumble into the vegetables.
He tied his horse up at the widow Pickering's picket fence.
Rosella didn't see him, and she went on singing.
Sing hey nonny November-o!
Oh, December is the last month.
Sing hey ...
Prince Harold went into the garden. "Maiden..."
Rosella looked up from her peas. A man! A nobleman! She blushed prettily.
She wasn't bad-looking, Prince Harold thought. 'Pardon me,'? he said. "You've dropped some jewels. Allow me."
"Oh! Don't trouble yourself, Sir." Another sapphire and a moonstone fell out of Rosella's mouth.
Harold had a terrible thought. Maybe they were just glass. He picked up a stone. "May I examine this?"
It didn't look like glass. it looked like a perfect diamond, five carats at least. But if the gems were real, why was she leaving them on the ground? He held up a jewel. "Maiden, is this really a diamond?"
"I don't know, Sir. It might be."
A topaz hit Prince Harold in the forehead. He caught it as it bounced off his chin. "Maiden, have jewels always come out of your mouth?"
Rosella laughed, a lovely tinkling sound. "Oh no, Sir. It only began this afternoon when an old lady -- I think she may have been a fairy -- "
They were real then! Harold knelt before her. "Maiden, I am Prince Harold. I love you madly. Will you marry me?"The Princess Tales, Volume I. Copyright © by Gail Levine. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
One of my favorite series that my mother used to read to me when I was younger.
i wish this came in hard cover! beautiful stories and pictures!!
I absolutely love this series. I hope she continues writing more. Levine definetely has talent for writing fantasy books. The way she puts the stories together amazes me! You will enjoy these books and all the others at any age.(I am in High School and was introduced to them through my younger sister. I read the first and was hooked.)
This book may not have the magic of Ella Enchanted or The Two Princesses of Bamarre, but it's still pretty good. If you like books about magic, this is a good book for you.