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Be king, if it please thy mad humor, but be not harmful in it. Sink the title thou
hast uttered-‘tis treason; we be bad men, in some few trifling ways, but none
among us is so base as to be traitor to his king; we be loving and loyal hearts, in
that regard. Note if I speak truth. Now-all together: “Long live Edward, King of

The response came with such a thunder-gust from the motley crew that the crazy
building vibrated to the sound. The little king’s face lighted with pleasure for an
instant, and he slightly inclined his head and said with grave simplicity: ‘I thank
you, my good people.’ This unexpected result threw the company into
convulsions of merriment.

When something like quiet was presently come again, the Ruffler said, firmly,
but with an accent of good nature: ‘Drop it, boy, ‘tis not wise, nor well. Humor
thy fancy, if thou must, but choose some other title.’ A tinker shrieked out a
suggestion: ‘Foo-foo the First, king of the Mooncalves!’ The title ‘took’ at once,
every throat responded, and a roaring shout sent up, of: ‘Long live Foo-foo the
First, king of the Mooncalves!’ followed by hootings, cat-calls, and peals of

‘Hale him forth, and crown him!’ ‘Robe him!’ ‘Scepter him!’ ‘Throne him!’ These
and twenty other cries broke out at once; and almost before the poor little victim
could draw a breath he was crowned with a tin basin, robed in a tattered
blanket, throned upon a barrel, and sceptered with tinker’s soldering-iron. Then
all flung themselves upon their knees about him and sent up a chorus of ironical
wailings, and mocking supplications, while they swabbed their eyes with their
soiled and ragged sleeves and aprons: ‘Be gracious to us, O sweet king!’
‘Trample not upon thy beseeching worms, O noble majesty!’ ‘Pity thy slaves, and
comfort them with a royal kick!’ ‘Cheer us and warm us with thy gracious rays,
O flaming sun of sovereignty!’ ‘Sanctify the ground with the touch of thy foot,
that we may eat the dirt and be ennobled!’

‘Deign to spit upon us, O sire, that our children’s children may tell of thy
princely condescension, and be proud and happy forever!’ But the humorous
tinker made the ‘hit’ of the evening and carried off the honors. Kneeling, he
pretended to kiss the king’s foot, and was indignantly spurned; whereupon he
went about begging for a rag to paste over the place upon his face which had
been touched by the foot, saying it must be preserved from contact with the
vulgar air, and that he should make his fortune by going on the highway and
exposing it to view at the rate of a hundred shillings a sight. He made himself so
killingly funny that he was the envy and admiration of the whole mangy rabble.
Tears of shame and indignation stood in the little monarch’s eyes; and the
thought in his heart was, ‘Had I offered them a deep wrong they could not be
more cruel-yet have I proffered naught but to do them a kindness-and it is thus
they use me for it!’
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