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“What a shame,” said Marco, looking very downcast. “Of course, I don’t mean it’s a shame about (Princess) Aurelia; I’m glad she was rescued. But I just can’t seem to do anything right. What on earth am I going to say to the king, my father?”

“I suppose,” said Sylvia, thoughtfully, “no other princess will do? It had to be Aurelia?”

Marco brightened. “Why, no. All I have to do is rescue a princess,” he said. “Any princess – it doesn’t really matter which one.”

“In that case, everything is all right,” said Slyvia. “I am a princess.”

“You are? How splendid!” Marco said. “What shall I rescue you from?”

“You’ve already rescued me,” Sylvia answered. “You rescued me from boredom. Until you came along, I was ready to scream with weariness and dullness. But with you, I’ve never known a dull moment.”

Marco laughed with delight and took her in his arms. Then his face fell again. “No, it won’t do,” he said. “Why, I can’t even tell my right hand from my left.”

“That doesn’t matter in the slightest,” said Sylvia. “You’ll have me, and I can always tell you which one is which.”

They kissed each other and turned about, and set out hand in hand for home.

[This is from the short story, “Stupid Marco”, from the children’s book “The Practical Princess and other Liberating Fairy Tales” by Jay Williams]

The Practical Princess and other Liberating Fairy Tales

Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to find a copy of this book. The one or two copies I’ve found online are so expensive, it’s almost a collectors’ item. If you get the chance, I highly recommend reading this book. It doesn’t matter if you’re a little girl or a grown woman. The stories contained within these pages have had far more impact on me than any other feminist movement. It has shaped the way I view myself and my understanding of what it is to be a strong, self-reliant woman.