I come to think of it, it's only about two hundred miles away from me.
But far, far away for some of you who're reading this, I suppose.
when I say a long time ago, some of it happened a week ago last
Thursday, and some of it happens sixteen years in the future, so not
that long ago at all, really.
But narrative convention demands certain formalities, so: A long time ago, in a land far, far away...
"The castle was all a-wonder The castle was all a-twitter The Queen had a face like thunder The King was reading his book in the..."
You know, I don't think that's really suitable for this kind of story...
the beautiful land of England, you can find many castles suitable for
the setting of a fairytale such as the one I'm about to share with you,
which is fortunate because it keeps me in business. The castle we're
visiting today is known as Bones Park, for it is set in the most
wonderful acreage of parkland to be found in the whole of the land.
Such plants as are never seen elsewhere in the nation thrive here, and
several dozen gardeners are employed all the year around just to keep
the grounds tended and trimmed, for it would take only a little
encouragement, a very little time indeed, for the plants to overrun the
parks and cover the castle in thick creepers that even a heroic knight
in shining armour would struggle to cut through.
the gardeners are exceptionally good at their job, and today are
working that little bit harder than normal, because today is the day of
days, the big one, the grand event for which the whole of the land has
been holding their breath.
For today is Princess Susan's
christening, and the beautiful little baby will be cheered from one end
of the land to the other as a shining ray of light, a symbol of the
prosperous future to be enjoyed by the nation she will one day rule as
Of course, right now she's a screaming, squawling,
mess-making infant who'd rather pee on her subjects than wave regally,
but she's a baby. Give her time. By the time she's sixteen or so,
she'll be true royalty and then...
Well, okay, she'll likely
be a screaming, squawling, mess-making brat who'd rather pee on her
subjects than wave regally, but royalty is as royalty does, right?
christening of the Princes and Princesses of the Bones lineage has
always been a grand affair, attracting the finest and richest, the
bravest and prettiest, the smartest and funniest, the most loyal and
the truly deserving. In this it was akin to all royal christenings,
although there was one grand exception which made Bones christenings
the talk of society for months before and months after. Long ago, so
long ago as to be lost to the mists of time, it was a Bones who helped
the very first fairy godmother with her very first assignment. As a
reward, that godmother made her helper a King, and promised that there
would be godmothers at the christening of every Bones there would ever
And so there was, and so there is, and so there will be.
tomorrow Susan Bones will be christened, and the twelve godmothers -
despite strenuous campaigning on the part of godmother Ron, the company
prefers to retain the traditional title - of One Wish, Inc., godmothers
to all, will come to Bones Park and bestow twelve gifts upon the
already beloved infant.
In fact, I believe we can go to our ace reporter on the scene, Rita Skeeter.
one and all to Bones Park, where tomorrow will see the christening of
baby Susan. We're here to witness one of the wonders of the modern age,
the granting of gifts by the godmothers of One Wish, that renowned
godmothering service, who as recently as six months ago fixed up the
marriage of Harry and Ginny Potter. From one success to another, then,
as now it's time for the traditional One Wish involvement in the
christening of the latest Bones child, Princess Susan.
all know, Princess Susan is a child like no other. Not yet three months
old, she is already showing signs of recognising colours, shapes and
forms, which is highly advanced in one so young. WWN news is sure that
such a promising child will play a big part in the continuing
prosperity of the country when it comes time for her to become our
Queen. Gods bless their majesties on this most marvellous of days."
And it may take all the gods in creation to sort out the mess that the
King and Queen of Bones Park have landed themselves in. For twelve
invitations have been sent to One Wish, but, as we all know, there are
thirteen individuals employed at the world's most prestigious
godmothering firm. Thirteen individuals, twelve invitations. You see
"Darling," Queen Bones cooed.
"Darling?" the King replied, looking up from his book.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU ONLY SENT TWELVE INVITATIONS?"
The King, safe as he was behind a door heavily reinforced with Imperturbable charms, cringed.
"Don't you 'Darling' me!"
"I should never have bothered giving you anything to do for this christening!"
"I should have known you'd mess it up!"
"Mother said you weren't made of the right stuff!"
King stood up to his full height, momentarily forgetting that he was in
the toilet and his trousers were around his ankles. Fortunately, the
thick door prevented anyone from receiving an unwanted eyeful of the
Well, other than your narrator, who gets
paid hazardous duty pay for this sort of assignment which helps cover
the cost of the therapy afterwards.
The King glared at the door.
"Woman!" he roared. "Don't bring your ruddy mother into-"
"Don't you say anything about my mummy!"
The King slumped in defeat. One should never come between a woman and her mother or, in this case, mummy.
"Darling," he said, eventually. "The invitations were sent as per your instructions. Twelve invitations for twelve godmothers."
"And the head godmother?"
"What head godmother?"
"Head godmother Draco, the man in charge of One Wish, Inc."
new guy. Blonde hair, slim, looks good in a gown. Did you turn the
sheet of paper over? I specifically remember putting him on the back
side, because it seemed awfully like patting him on the backside."
There was a blissful sigh from the far side of the door. The King eyed the door suspiciously.
"My dear, don't tell me that you've fallen for this Rocky Horror reject."
"He has lovely calves."
"I happen to be your husband."
"You had lovely calves once."
King looked down at his bare legs, which had bulked up somewhat after
fifteen years of living in a castle with lifts to every floor and a
two-Michelin-star chef in the kitchen.
"And if you didn't
check the backside of the paper, then you haven't invited the King and
Queen of Luxembourg, the Count and Contessa of Greece, the King of
Spain, Prince Bertram of Monaco or--"
"Oh, tarnation. I shall
send more invitations, with extra gold around the edges. They'll go
clang when it's put on the table, okay?"
"Now, may I get back to what I was doing?"
"Of course, dear. Glad we could clear that little mess up."
extra invitations were sent immediately after the King was finished in
the toilet. Godmother Draco's invitation was so heavy with gold edging
that it needed two of the strongest post owls in the country to carry
The King went on to the kitchen to supervise the preparation of canap�s
for the feast afterwards. The owls soared high over the sky, where they
were too plump and tempting a target for a thestral that swallowed them
with one invisible gulp, before spitting out the invitation, which was
in turn swept up by a squadron of magpies that quickly and methodically
shredded the gilt-edged paper and used it to line their nests.
On such acts of nature does the fate of a nation turn.
Actually, the fates of nations usually turn on large wars in which ninety percent of the young men are slaughtered horribly.
occasionally, in fairy tales where death is too graphic a concept for
the small children - who generally don't mind the idea of death, so
long as those who die deserve to do so - there is scope for the fate of
a nation turning on the reliability of its postal service.
for those of you who may have wondered, is why fairy tales are always
set 'once upon a time in a land far, far away'. Imagine the world we'd
have if children grew up believing that the fate of their country
rested on the shoulders of their postman.
But I digress.
(Besides, everyone knows that it's the tobacco lobby that runs the country...)
so the sun dawned on the day of the christening, golden rays of light
kissing the flaxen curls of young Princess Susan as she slumbered in
her crib, preparing herself for the great majority of her life still to
And soon the trumpeters trumpeted, the drummers drummed,
and the cornet players played their cornets, aware that as a name,
corneters was a strangely unpopular noun which none but they saw fit to
use for their brotherhood of small horn blowers. That no two groups of
instruments could agree on which tune to play only added to the general
cacophony, for the day was here at last, the day of the christening,
the day of the dozen-and-one gifts to the precious princess.
a person in the castle was anything but overawed by the prospect of the
day ahead. The Queen herself was struck temporarily speechless when
Princess Susan's nanny cast a clever Silencing Charm upon her, for the
young Princess had recently begun to teethe and did not need her sleep
disturbed, when she managed to sleep at all.
And so the castle
chapel was filled with guests, who alternated between anticipatory
silence, and excited giggles as though they were six years old and
awaiting the arrival of Father Christmas-
-who, by the way, is
a cheerful old boy of Hufflepuff house, eager to see that everyone gets
at least one half-decent present on Christmas morning-
-while they bounced up and down to try and see over the head of the person in front, because at any second...
"My Lords and Ladies, Mesdames et Messieurs, Ladies and Gentlemen... Please be upstanding for the King and Queen of Bones Park."
who weren't standing rose. Those who were standing contrived to stand
at attention. Those who were already at attention fell over in the
excitement, leading to a momentary pause in proceedings as ushers
hurried forward and ush'd them back upright.
And then, in
their finest finery and greatest goodery, King and Queen Bones began
their walk down the chapel aisle. They were - reports vary - around
five steps from the font before anyone had the courage to point that
Princess Susan was still in her pram at the top of the aisle. Still,
such moments are to be expected on such an exciting day.
everyone was in place, and upright, and Princess Susan looked quite the
little angel in her white christening robes, although Queen Susan would
have had much to say about the way in which her daughter's name was
printed in black across her shoulders in an early attempt by her father
to get her interested in Quidditch, had it not been for the Silencing
Charm that was still in effect.
"Dearly beloved," the minister
began, as Princess Susan's nanny held the infant before him. "We are
gathered here today to join this woman and this, er, baby..."
was a short period of confusion as the Minister was lead away by a
kindly person, a substitute was found, and the Book of Services was
turned to the correct page.
"Wuv, twue wuv," the new Minister
announced. Several people groaned, recognising the Minister from a
marriage in Florin that had led to some unusual events.
Susan is the pwoduct of twue wuv," the Minister announced, as the King
and Queen avoided one another's eyes. "And this twue wuv has brought us
here today. Pwincess Susan, please come to the font."
The nanny brought the infant forward, followed by the King and Queen and Princess Susan's godparents.
Susan Amelia Jacinta Theodowa Samantha Thomasina Thumbelina Daphne
Stacy Beatwix Bellatwix Sidney Clawissa Jennifer Sabwina Susan
Stephanie Awiel Belle Jean Gwizelda Awabella Angelina Alicia Katie
Bones," he took a deep breath. "The Fourth."
"Excuse me," the King interrupted, as the silenced Queen tugged insistently on his sleeve.
actually Susan Amelia Jacinta Theodora Samantha Thomasina Thumbelina
Daphne Stacy Beatrix Bellatrix Sidney Clarissa Jennifer Sabrina Susan
Stephanie Ariel Belle Jean Grizelda Arabella Angelina Alicia Katie <