In Chapter CLXXXI of Violet Crepuscular’s interminable epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we get the pleasant little Estonian folk tale we were promised in Chapter CLXXX. It is intended to tide us over while Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s foot heals from being accidentally shot by the American adventurer, Willis Twombley.
We are not convinced that this is a genuine Estonian folk tale, but it will have to suffice.
Once upon a time, King Patrick of Estonia had three daughters but no sons. Needing a male successor, the king advertised in the newspapers for suitable princes to marry his daughters. Meanwhile, he questioned his daughters to see which of them loved him the most.
“I love you so much, O father of mine, that it makes my socks roll up and down,” said the eldest, Princess Jackie.
“That’s nothing,” said the second eldest, Princess Foozle. “If every ant in India brought me a gold doubloon, it still wouldn’t be enough to buy my love for you. And there are an awful lot of ants in India!” We are assured that “Foozle” is a genuine Estonian girl’s name of great antiquity, but we are at liberty not to believe it.
But the youngest, Princess Chimney, answered, “I guess I love you as much as I’m supposed to. I mean, you’re okay.” Outraged by this answer, the king marries Chimney off to a beggar with dandruff. Meanwhile, he marries Jackie to the Duke of Flatbush and Foozle to Prince Huitzilxochitl of Kizzuwatna.
(“It’s jist the kinda thing them dam’ Hittites always used to do,” interjects Twombley. “Asia Minor went to pot when they moved in.”)
The two eldest princesses turned against their father and divided up his kingdom, putting him on public assistance.
But Chimney’s husband turned out to be the Emperor of Peedle in disguise. His fantastically large army conquered Estonia and restored King Patrick to his throne, and sent the now-impoverished elder daughters and their husbands into a humiliating exile. They were last seen begging for food in Detroit.
“And that,” concludes Ms. Crepuscular, “was enough to make the king leer!”