Once upon a time there lived a very fabulous Princess named Delilah, in a ramshackle old castle in a land called Plenty. Her father was King, and he was a kind man, though he was careless with gold and had over time spent their small family into poverty and now couldn’t find a replacement Queen to reign over the lands with him. He was plump and poor and peevish and the ladies of the land were not immensely drawn to him as they had been back in his courting days when he was honourable and healthy and hunky. Delilah’s beautiful and brilliant mother had long ago set sail for the island of Anywhere-but-here, a hardly populated but exquisitely lovely and remote island many miles away, where she was now a professor of pretty papillons and had a yummy young lover named Winston who liked to cook her feasts and rub her feet.
Ostentation the Fourth, King of Plenty and father of Delilah, was unruffled when his heavenly wife Honeypot hupped sticks and left him. Delilah was less then delighted, but she had taken it on the chin, as was her general modus operandi. And the island of Anywhere-but-here was a lovely holiday home to visit now and again. When she had a window of opportunity, that is. Most of the time she was bloody busy with work, you see.
Ostentation IV didn’t like to work. He resented reigning. Frankly it was too much effort for him to contemplate going it alone, so for the most part he let Delilah take care of the pesky politics and people and peculiarities of Plenty. He himself liked to sit in a bubble bath and drink champagne and fart, basking gleefully in the blissfully boisterous scent of bubbles in bubbles in bubbles.
Delilah loved Plenty. It was a wonderful land, full of perky people and most ardent adventures. There were always little troubles to tweak and faults to fix, but for the most part, the land prospered and was… Well, plentiful. Delilah was happy, though sometimes she wished she could make decisions without consulting her pedantic pappa as he sat, bubbling his own bath and wafting weird whiffs her way. Sometimes, he would insist upon the opposite of what she wanted, simply to assert his pathetic power. Delilah had dabbled in dirty tactics, coming to him with the backwards bluff of a bill she was trying to pass, or a request to deny a deed which she truly desired to do. But Ostentation IV was perfectly un-predictable and Delilah pretty soon learned that she did more gross harm than good trying to get him at his own game. Instead, she would beleaguer her butt-naked pappa in a belligerent battle for days on end, to try to bargain for what was best for her beloved land of Plenty. Sometimes, it still wouldn’t transpire to her tastes and she would leave in a temper, vowing to turn off his hot water supply for all time. To which he would pompously reply “Perhaps if you were Queen you could do such a thing, but you’re not, you’re just a cheeky little girl!”
And then one rare day, when the King was not in his bath and his prune-wrinkled pink posterior was almost properly covered with his purple cloak, and he was in a benevolent mood as he quaffed quail and Cointreau in the kitchen with some of his favourite footmen, he made a statement to Delilah which changed everything.
“You need a husband, daughter of mine. A good, rich, smart man of means would do you the world of good!”
Now, what Ostentation IV really meant here was that a good, rich (not so)smart man of means would do him and his lifestyle the world of good. After all, quail wasn’t cheap and he had a rather large appetite for the teeny tiny tasty birds.
Delilah’s face must have shown her recognition of the underlying lousy intentions of her daddy dearest, for he added an adorable addendum which made her eyebrows twitch and her frown turn upside down:
“If you were married to a suitably made man, I would crown you Queen and let you off to change the world as you seem to be always whimsically wishing to do.”
And so Delilah set about speed-dating her way through the many suitors that she had never turned her attention to in the past, so busy was she with her whimsical wishes to change the wonderful world of Plenty. Or, as she preferred to see it, maintain the wonderful world of Plenty, just as it was. She met many men of means. But none of them were right for her rather rarefied tastes. Some reminded her of her pappa and his pernicious personality. Others were lewd and lascivious and a lady such as Delilah would never tolerate such nonsense in a lover.
Harold had a horribly horny head. He looked like a toad, exactly like a toad, and though the Princess had heard tell of kissing frogs and finding future happiness, she just couldn’t bring herself to hobnob with Horny Harold.
Maverick was marvellous, but he made her mad when he declared his stance on persecuting the poor and championing the change to a capitalist society here in Plenty, instead of her carefully constituted laws of equality and love for all… Marvellous Maverick was never going to make it to marriage with our delightful Delilah.
Anthony was handsome and half-horse, a charming handful of a man, but he was a horrible bore. He trotted off with a sugar cube instead of her hand in stately wedlock.
Ni-Vicles was from far off lands and he came closest to Delilah’s dreams and desires of what a husband should be; wildly liberal and imaginative, exquisitely elegant in an exotic way and with the most perfectly peachy posterior…
But she just didn’t sense that spark. And Delilah was determined to marry for love as well as power, she was not the cold-hearted politician many presumed persisted under her pretty exterior.
And then one day, as she was wandering through the woods under the watch of one of her father’s fancy footmen (this one called Anderson) she caught her chiffon dress (perfect perambulating attire, might I point out, Princess; pretty and pink and prone to snagging) on a bramble and he came to untangle her.
Their eyes met and a happy ending burst into existence between them; without a word, they embraced and all was well in the world of wonderful wishful whim… But unfortunately, not in the land of Plenty. When Delilah presented the handsome and witty, warm, kind and loving, delightfully good with his hands and possessed of a tender touch too, Anderson to her father and suggested a simple shotgun wedding that very day, Ostentation IV barked his refusal like a basset hound.
Delilah was shocked, but not for long, soon she came to her senses and saw the scenario so cleary. Anderson was all she had ever wanted in a man, but he was of modest means and mean ole pappa made it massively clear that meant NO.
So Delilah did what any girl in such a situation would do. She ran away with Anderson and lived in his modestly made man-home in a town called Maybe, and she really liked the landscape and the lovely cuddles and the long, lazy lays by the fire. And she was head over heels and her heart was full and how sweet it was to be held by him. Treacherously, time just flew through their twined fingers…
But all wasn’t well in Plenty and by the time Delilah came out from under the duck down duvet long enough to discern the disrepair that devil daddy of hers had delivered onto her dream world, the damage was done.
People were poor. Households hung on by their fingertips. Weary workers worked to the bone wore their bad dreams on wizened faces. Even the bony babies looked baleful and blue.
Delilah was devastated. She looked into the amber eyes of Anderson, her true love, the apple of her own amethyst eye, and she eloquently enunciated:
“Darling, don’t debate with me. I must make moves to right the wrongs my dastardly daddy has wrought on the people of Plenty, my people of MY PLENTY. I must be the quirky Queen I’ve always been destined to be… And I’m afraid that means that the distraction of lovely love is not for me…”
A tear fell from each of their amazing eyes and Anderson scooped them both up on his big, beautiful finger. He smooshed the salty substance onto his sexy saucepot’s lips and wished her safe travels back to Ostentation’s castle. Then he turned on his handsome heel and headed home, heartbroken.
Delilah rode like the wind. When she walked into the familiarly whiffy wetroom, and her wasteful wally of a pappa laughed in welcome, she was wildly angry. She picked up a conveniently placed toaster (the King had a thing for waffles with his bubbles) and tossed it into the tub.
It did the trick.
Delilah was crowned tootsweet and she ruled her land of Plenty from that day forth with flair and a fantastic favour for fairness. And of course, she moved her man, adorably awesome Anderson, into the castle and allowed him to do all the repair work and occasionally share a bubble bath with her now and then too. But they never got married.
And so the perfect pair lived happily ever after in a heartfelt home of universal love in a uniquely useful union which allowed Anderson to always be amazing and Delilah to never get too distracted.