The Fifth Story

The Pageboy


King Ferdinand the Thirteenth of Vàldovar sat on his splendid golden throne in the great hall of the royal castle, and stroked his chin thoughtfully. Queen Berenice, who sat on her golden throne next to him, put down the book she had been reading.
    ‘You are very distracted today, my dear,’ she said to the King. ‘Is something worrying you?’
   ‘Hmmm,’ the King replied. ‘Well, as you know, Old Joliphant the Butler is not as young as he used to be.’
    ‘Yes, that is why he is called Old Joliphant,’ said the Queen.
    ‘Yes, quite,’ said the King. ‘Anyway, he is now finding it very hard work to carry out all the tasks he has to do, day after day.’
    ‘Then we must find some way of helping him,’ said the Queen. ‘Why don’t you appoint someone to be his assistant?’
    King Ferdinand frowned and thought very hard. Then a smile crossed his face, and he said: ‘I know! I shall appoint someone to be Old Joliphant’s assistant.’
    ‘How clever of you to have thought of that,’ the Queen said, with a little smile.
    ‘Thank you, my dear,’ replied the King. ‘But who, I wonder, would be suitable for such a position?