The Princess's Fingernail
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
A tale of nonsense land.
All through the Castle of High-bred Ease,
Where the chief employment was do-as you-please,
Spread consternation and wild despair.
The queen was wrlnging her hands and hair
The maids of honor were sad and solemn;
The pages looked blank as they stood in column;
The court-jester blubbered,
The cook in the kitchen dropped tears in the stew
And all through the castle went sob and wail,
For the princess had broken her fingernail:
The beautiful Princess Red-as-a-Rose,
Bride-elect of the Lord High-Nose,
Broken her fingernail down to the quick --
No wonder the queen and her court were sick.
Never sorrow so dread before
Had dared to enter that castle door.
Oh! what would my Lord His-High-Nose say
When she took off her glove on her wedding-day?
The fairest princess in Nonsense Land,
With a broken fingernail on her hand!
'Twas a terrible, terrible accident,
And they called a meeting of parliament;
And never before that royal Court
Had come such question of grave import
How could you hurry a nail to grow?
And the skill of the kingdom was called to show.
They sent for Monsieur File-'em-off;
He smoothed down the corners so ragged and rough.
They sent for Madame Ia Diamond-Dust,
Who lived on the fingers of upper-crust;
They sent for Professor de Chamois-Skin,
Who took her powder and rubbed it in;
They sent for the pudgy nurse Fat-on-the-bone
To bathe her finger in eau de Cologne;
And they called the Court surgeon, Monsieur Red Tape,
To hear what he thought of the new nail's shape.
Over the kingdom the telegrams flew
Which told how the fingernail thrived and grew;
And all through the realm of Nonsense Land
They offered up prayers for the princess's hand.
At length the glad tidings were heard with a shout
That the princess's fingernail had grown out:
Pointed and polished and pink and clean,
Befitting the hand of a some-day queen.
Salutes were fired all over the land
By the home-guard battery pop-gun band;
And great was the joy of my Lord High-Nose,
Who straightway ordered his wedding clothes,
And paid his tailor, Don Wait-for-aye,
Who died of amazement the self-same day.
My lord by a jury was judged insane;
For they said, and the truth of the saying was plain,
That a lord of such very high pedigree
Would never be paying his bills, you see,
Unless he was out of his head; and so
They locked him up without more ado.
And the beautiful Princess Red-as-a-Rose
Pined for her lover, my Lord High-Nose,
Till she entered a convent and took the veil --
And this is the end of my nonsense tale.
Source:How Salvator Won And Other Recitations
Edgar S. Werner, New York