Chapter 1: Christmas in the Castle.
Once upon a time there were two little girls whose names were Princess Katie and Princess Emily. They lived in a beautiful castle by the sea and every day they had an elegant breakfast of sausages and eggs with their parents, the king and queen. The girls loved to sing songs, to paint pictures, dance and run races. They were the best princesses in all the land and everyone loved them – especially their Oma, their Nanny and their Grandad who was very old and tired.
This is not a story about the princesses, however, but about their dollies. Princess Katie had a beautiful doll named Mopsa. Mopsa had brown curly hair, big brown eyes and a white dress embroidered all over with passionfruit flowers. Princess Katie had seen the doll in the window of Blount’s Toy Shop- the best toy shop in the whole kingdom - and she had written a special letter to Father Christmas telling him that she had been a very good girl and could she please have the doll in the window of the toy shop. Father Christmas had a look up in the big book where he kept the names of all the good girls [there was a slimmer, companion volume with the names of good boys] and found that Princess Katie had indeed been very good. Into the sack for Christmas morning, then, went the lovely doll. It carried a label saying Merry Christmas to Princess Katie.
Mopsa the beautiful doll.
Princess Emily’s doll was named Doxy. She was the same size as Mopsa and it would be very difficult to say which was the more beautiful. Doxy was not in the window at Blount’s but she was sitting right on the counter as you walked in so I think as many people must have seen her there as could see Mopsa in the window. Doxy was lovely. Her hair was silvery white; she had cherry red lips and a dress of silver and gold. Princess Emily saw Doxy when she went to buy a present one day for Princess Jocelyn. She was, she was sure, the most beautiful doll she had ever seen. [Emily bought a magic wand as a birthday present for Jocelyn.] When Princess Katie wrote a letter to Father Christmas, Princess Emily decided to write as well. [Being a very busy princess, however, she sent Father Christmas an e-mail.] She also described the doll she wanted and assured Father Christmas that she had been a good girl. It was true and Father Christmas put Doxy into the big bag with Princess Emily’s name on it.
The beautiful Doxy, Princess Emily’s Doll
You can imagine how excited those two little princesses were on Christmas morning when they found that Father Christmas had brought then just what they had wanted. The girls played all morning with their dollies, only putting them down when it was time to wash their hands and faces for their Christmas dinner.
Now of course no expense had been spared in the care of the two little girls and Princess Katie and Princess Emily already had dollies before Father Christmas brought Mopsa and Doxy. Princess Katie’s oldest doll was named Flossie. She had once been very beautiful with long hair and a grand dress but Katie had once decided that Flossie needed a bath and had put her in the washing machine. Some of her hair had fallen out and her pretty dress was mangled but Katie still loved Flossie very much- even though she now looked shabby and old. Princess Emily’s old doll was named Sally. Alas, Sally had once been sick and Emily had tried to cure her by rubbing her all over with Vaseline. This worked remarkably well- Sally was restored to rude health – but her pretty hair and clothes were all smeared and stained – even after the Queen herself had tried to clean her up with Sunlight soap.
Princess Katie’s doll, Flossie.
You can imagine I am sure how Mopsa and Doxy felt when they looked at the other toys when the princesses had gone to lunch. They saw the rude teddy bears [some without even a pair of pants or a shirt], the soft toys [tired and worn] and poor Sally and Flossie looking forlorn and shabby. Mopsa and Doxy looked them all over and sneered:.
“Mopsa,” said Doxy, “did you ever see such shabby, plain toys in all your life? Those teddy bears are broken down, those soft toys are grubby and as for these two [here Doxy pointed to Sally and Flossie] I never saw such awful dollies.”
“To be sure,” said Mopsa. “No wonder Princess Katie was so pleased to find me under the Christmas tree. I was the most beautiful doll in Blount’s Toy Shop.”
Doxy, of course, thought that she was the most beautiful doll – certainly more beautiful than Mopsa- but she said simply. “Princess Emily was certainly excited to be given me for Christmas – and what’s not to like?”
“Well,” said Mopsa, “If you only had a plain, shabby doll like Sally, you would think almost any doll were an improvement.”
“Here, you shouldn’t say nasty things like that about our Sally,” said Flossie. “We were once beautiful too, you know.”
Princess Emily’s doll, Sally
“Yes,” said Sally, “and I’m sure that Princess Emily still loves me. She gave me such a sweet kiss last night before she went to bed.”
“Well, we’ll see whom Princess Emily kisses tonight,” said Doxy with a nasty horrid sneer.
The princesses were very busy that afternoon with a family party. There was a Christmas tree with lots of presents to open. Oma gave the princesses the loveliest golden crowns to wear. They looked wonderful! Nanny gave the princesses some nice smelling scent and glittering nail polish to wear. Grandad gave the princesses some boot polish and a tea towel each. They were very polite and thanked him with a nice curtsey before running off to dab on the scent, paint their nails and walk about in their golden crowns. It was late before the princesses came back to their toys, wearing new pink silk pyjamas [the gift of their uncle, Prince Lachlan] and ready for bed.
“I’m taking Mopsa to sleep in my bed,” said Princess Katie. “She is beautiful.” Katie put Mopsa gently on the pillow and tucked her into her bed.
“Doxy will sleep in my bed,” said Princess Emily. “She‘s he loveliest doll I’ve ever owned.”
After lights out, when the two princesses were sound asleep, there was some horrible sniggering from Doxy and Mopsa. Poor Sally and Flossie heard the new dollies giggling and saying nasty things about the other toys. Flossie couldn’t help crying. Big tears came in her eyes; this was the saddest Christmas she could remember.
“Don’t cry, Flossie,” said Sally. “I am sure that the princesses still love us.” Soon, however, Sally was crying too and it took a hug from the biggest teddy bear before they settled down to a sad night.
This kind teddy who gave poor Sally a hug.