Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The tale of the Princess and the growers - A Fiddlydy tale

In the faraway land of Fiddlydy the growers of dontmakesuchafussplant were happy. The year one thousand and twelvesincethefamilyofvonfiddlydychensteinreigned had been a very good year, an excellent year. There were enough plants to feed the Fiddlydy babies until the next harvest, brew a follow-up dontmakesuchafuss juice with added addedness for babies over six months, and even maybe whip up an energetic-with-added-vitamins-and-iron-special-growth-intellectually-stimulating drink for children over a year. Oh yes, that sounded good!

If only things were still as they had been in the good old days... Not that long ago the juice of the dontmakesuchafuss plant was more than the best food for babies, it was the only food for babies ! But when the year before the whole harvest had been lost people had had to find other ways to feed their little ones. Fiddlydy scientists had managed to synthetise the dontmakesuchafuss plant, which was a lesser wrong for the dontmakesuchafuss growers. The problem was that Princess Josephine-Elisabeth-Eugenie-Mary had started feeding her baby herself and liked it and if the Princess of Fiddlydy was doing it, well, everybody tended to follow. It didn't even cost anything, which showed that there had to be something dodgy about it.  You never got anything that is any good for free!

It was even said that Princess  Josephine-Elisabeth-Eugenie-Mary was a bit of a feed-your-baby-yourself activist. She encouraged other mothers to do the same and she had formed a group for feed-your-baby-yourself mothers to meet and help each other. What would be next honestly ? Keep your own teeth until they fall out (Fiddlydy people generally had all their teeth removed at the age of forty-seven, five months and eighteen days) ?! And although Princess Elfie had now celebrated her first birthday rumour had it that  her mother was still FEEDING HER HERSELF!!!

And the growers of the dontmakesuchafuss plant were right. Princess Josephine-Elisabeth-Eugenia-Mary was still feeding Elfie herself. She was enjoying it immensly. She had also made some interesting discoveries about the feed-your-baby-yourself practice. Some books in the palace library related that it had been done ages and ages ago in Fiddlydy. Up until Princess Amelia-Gertrude-Brunehilde-Sidonie became the first Fiddlydy princess destined to be a Queen in her own right. Her Grand Chambellan had put an end to her feeding her baby herself and introduced the dontmakesuchafuss plant. The old custom had then died among the villagers too. For several centuries after a lot more babies died, mainly from the runs. More women also died from malign tumors of the breast. All in all 'progress' had had a high cost in Fiddlydy lives...

After her discoveries Princess Josephine-Elisabeth-Eugenia-Mary was more than ever in favour of the feed-you-baby-yourself thing. But the growers of dontmakesuchafuss plant were giving her trouble. The harvest, the day before Elfie's first birthday, had been the best Fiddlydy had ever seen and the growers intended to sell their plants. They were even coming in the palace offering free bottles of dontmakesuchafuss juice, giant pens and notebooks marked 'Dontmakesuchafuss plant baby juice!' (you could not fit that on normal size pens and notebooks). The giant labels with your own address also printed on were utterly ridiculous. They were bigger than the standard Fiddlydy enveloppe...
Then the group of feed-you-baby-yourself mothers organised a public display of feeding-your baby-yourself on the market place, which was a bit of a to do. The Fiddlydy ladies clothes do not really allow to feed-your-baby-yourself discreetly, you actually have to show quite a lot of flesh. So each lady who came to the display (all thirty five of them from the palace) brought with her a lady's maid and a windscreen. Decency was saved but the display didn't display anything at all in the end. Anyway, they had made their point.
It was duly taken by the growers who retaliated by organising what they called a baby fair. Makers of perambulators, swaddling clothes and wodden rocking horses were invited. There were books and toys for the little ones, beauty creams for the mothers, and of course the dontmakesuchafuss plant juice, follow-on juice and energetic-with-added-vitamins-and-iron-special-growth-intellectually-stimulating drink.

On and on it went, feed-your-baby-yourself mothers, dontmakesuchafuss growers, feed-your-baby-yourself mothers, dontmakesuchafuss growers...
Princess Josephine-Elisabeth-Eugenia-Mary, meanwhile, thought. And after lot of thought she decided to draw up some rules about how the dontmakesuchfuss plant should be offered and sold to new mothers. She got the growers to sign the rules, which were more or less to revert to what they had been doing before the loss of the harvest, when Elfie had been born. They were to sell their juice to who wanted it but no more going into the palace and offering free things, no more baby fair.
Unfortunately Princess Josephine-Elisabeth-Eugenia-Mary quickly realised that the small growers of dontmakesuchafuss plants respected the rules but the big ones, the rich ones, did not.
In the end Princess Josephine-Elisabeth-Eugenia-Mary did something she wasn't proud of but she felt she didn't have any other choice. She just bought the growers off, paid them handsomely to get them to work with her towards promoting feeding-your-baby-yourself.
Amazingly it worked ! And the Princess thought "If only everything was that simple..."

Copyright 2012 Mother Goutte

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