This week the PeP invites you to employ your hermeneutical powers and ruminate about a recently discovered yarn by Rudyard Kipling. It's about a princess shut up in a pickle-bottle which would not open to any known charm or incantation—till a practical knight-errant pulled out the cork. The bottle being not an enchanted bottle was only affected by ordinary laws. What do you think the moral of the story is? A penny for your thoughts:
The Princess in the Pickle-Bottle
Once upon a time there was a Princess who lived in a Pickle-Bottle because Fairy-Land was full. Now there was only one way to get out of that Bottle and the King who was the father of the Princess said that any one who rescued the Princess should first be compelled to marry her and secondly to govern half a Kingdom. As the Princess was very beautiful and the Kingdom was very large, 10,764,302 Princes, all of unblemished Reputation tried to open the Pickle-Bottle. 9,763,824 Princes consulted Court Magicians, Astrologers, and Old Men whom they met in the Woods. 264,230 Princes took the advice of Fairy Godmothers, White Witches, Magic Foxes, Enchanted Horses and Faithful Servants.
Consequently they killed
10,765 Red Dragons
3,764 Lame Dwarfs
189 One-eyed Giants
And they said 846,729 Infallible Charms and Incantations any one of which was warranted to split Mountains of Glass and open the most Secret Treasures in all the World.
But the Pickle-Bottle would not open, and they all went away very sorrowfully taking the heads of the Blue Dragons, and the Trolls and the Dwergs, and the Lame Dwarfs and the One-eyed Giants along with them and looking back over their shoulders at the Princess in the Pickle-Bottle.
But there came along just one Prince and he was so poor that he could never afford to keep a Court Magician and his only Faithful Servants were his two hands. He walked on his feet because he had no horse to ride and he whistled as he walked.
When he came to the Pickle-Bottle he walked round it and nodded to the Princess inside and put his head askew and shut one eye and whistled as the other Princes told him about the Blue Dragons and the Dwergs and the charms that would not work. The Princess looked at him between her fingers and blushed for he was the most beautifullest of all the Princes.
At last he put his hand into his pocket and said: "What is the matter with pulling out the Cork of this Pickle-Bottle?" And the other Princes said "Ah!" for they had not thought of that.
Then he pulled out the cork with a corkscrew and it came out because it was just an ordinary cork in a common bottle which did not know anything about charms and Incantations. And the Princess came out of the bottle at the open end and all the other Princes cut off the heads of all the Court Magicians, Wizards, Witches, Faithful Servants, Talking Foxes and Enchanted Horses because they were annoyed.
And the Prince married the Princess and they lived happy ever after.
The Moral of this story is: Next time you find a Princess in a Pickle-Bottle, never try to open the Bottle with charms and Blue Dragons. Take a Corkscrew.