Rebecca Hussein

The Library: A Cautionary Tale

Credit - Faerie Girl, Flickriver

Credit – Faerie Girl, Flickriver


Once upon a time, in the far away kingdom of Royal Leamington Spa, there lived a princess. If one were feeling kind, one might describe the princess as full of joy and virtue, a gleam of innocence amongst a fog of cynicism and corruption. If one was not feeling so kind, one might describe her as stupid and naive. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” sniffed the princess.

The princess lived a happy life and, despite having to give large sums of gold every month to the wicked King of Royal Leamington Spa in order to keep her cottage made of jelly tots, she tried her best to save some money for herself. Three days a week, the princess travelled to the grand University of Warwick in a golden, horse-drawn carriage (or the Unibus if the horses were not available). The princess liked everything about the University of Warwick, particularly the prices of the food outlets and the way in which the Student Union resembled an airport. “It makes me feel as if I am about to go on a great adventure,” she reflected happily. But above all, the princess’ favourite place to be was the library, with its many available computers. One exciting day, a wise wizard at the university informed the princess that she had an essay due. “Huzzah!” cried the princess. And lo, she skipped off happily to the library’s great pearly gates.

As the princess reached the gates, she saw that a long queue had formed. Many of the subjects of the University of Warwick looked concerned about the length of time the queue was taking and fiddled with their short loan books anxiously, peering at the clock as it ticked closer to 11:00. When the princess finally reached the front of the queue, she realised she had forgotten her uni card. “What a silly sausage I am!” she exclaimed. She skipped over to the bad fairy at the head of the pearly gates and smiled sweetly. “Hello bad fairy. It appears that I have forgotten my uni card, could I perhaps have a temporary pass just to check around for essay books?” she asked.

“No,” said the bad fairy.

 “But why not?” the princess stammered.

“Because we have no evidence that you are a subject of the University of Warwick! You could be a stranger and we do not take kindly to strangers in the land of the library! You might run around trying to trip everyone up and making lots of noise!”

Dear readers, you do not need to know the rest of the exchange, safe to say that after many tears and humiliating begging, the princess was finally given a temporary pass only to find her uni card in the bottom of her bag all along. “What a silly sausage I am!” she exclaimed again. The princess then continued on her merry search for books, avoiding the perils of the moving book shelves, only to find that the ones she desired had all been taken. “Shit,” she muttered to herself.

And lo, with a short loan book that she did not really need, the princess proceeded to exit the library, with a new, slightly dead look in her eyes. One might think that this is end of the princess’ sorry tale, and yet there is more misery. Believing that she had been successful, the princess continued to watch many hours of “Come Dine With Me.” It was only when she attempted to hand the book in that she lurched back in horror. In fact, someone unbeknown to the princess had placed an order for the book, meaning that she had been unable to renew it. The princess frantically tried to pay the fine online but the payment did not appear to go through, and so the princess desperately ran to the bad fairy of the library. “It takes a few hours for the payment to go through when you pay online,” the bad fairy sniggered. The princess was forced to give up a £18 sum and hand in a book that she had not even read. She walked slowly away, only pausing to listen to the sound of a champagne bottle popping open as a group of bad fairies gathered around to cackle. And so dear readers, do not do as the princess did and trust in the land of the library, for it is a ruthless, barren place. Our poor heroine now dances for Smarties.

Click here to view the original article in The Sanctuary, April 2011


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This entry was posted on August 6, 2012 by .
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