“Help!” Cried Princess Pirouette. “Help! It’s the King! Quick!” For days and weeks, His Majesty had been slowly improving his health. First he began to eat food more substantial than broth. Then he began to speak a few words, more with each day. Now he was getting out of bed to walk to a window and look out upon his favorite garden replete with statuary, topiary and fountains. The day before, he’d even entertained the prime minister for a brief interview, but now he’d taken a drastic turn for the worst.
While eating a small serving of oatmeal, the old King suddenly began to cough, expectorating blood onto the food tray, bed covers, his hands. The sight of the red fluid almost made Princess Pirouette swoon, but she managed to regain her bearing and call for help.