Author: Jacob Blanck
Copyright Date: 1950
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pagination: 48 p.
Many years ago in an ancient kingdom lived a young king called Horatio the Great. But because all
the kings in that ancient land were named Horatio, and were always called The Great, the King’s subjects also called him Horatio the Wise.
And this pleased the young King mightily.
In private the King’s Counsellors smiled whenever they heard him called The Wise because they thought the King wasn’t wise at all. For one thing, they thought the King couldn’t add two and two and make it come out a proper four.
The truth is that simple arithmetic puzzled the eight-year-old King. Sometimes when he tried to add two and two, it would come out one, or nine, or three and sometimes eightbut seldom four! So the King always had by him a man who could add like an adding machine. Thus, whenever the King was asked something that had to do with figures (like, for example, should the cook bake fifteen pies or only twelve) the King would say:
“Ask my Counsellor of Arithmetic. He takes care of such things.”
The King had Counsellors for everything. He had a Cousellor of the Weather whose duty it was to tell the King when to wear his rubbers and when to come indoors when it looked like rain!
He had a Counsellor of the Table who told the King when to eat, and how muchespecially when there was lemon meringue pie for dinner!
He had a Counsellor of the Bed-Chamber who told the King when to go to bed at night and when to get up in the morning!
And he had all sorts of other Counsellors who told the King everything that Kings are supposed to know.
King Horatio was very happy, except when his Counsellors told him that he couldn’t sing (when he felt like singing). Or when he wasn’t allowed to feed the ducks in the Royal Duck Pond because the Counsellor of the King’s Bath thought the King would get muddy. The Counsellor of Geography would never let him spin the globe in the Royal Library; and when the Counsellors weren’t busy telling King Horatio what to do, they were busy thinking things he ought to do.
It was all very tiring.