Princess Pricklepants and the Never Ending Story of Hedgehog Art Through the Ages


(previously)

Dear everyone,

We regret we’ve been remiss in reporting our wonderful journey into the world of hedgehog art history.  The good news is we’re working on a children’s book that should be something delightful and quirky assuming everything works out well.

We’ve discovered quite a number of works since the book was published.  In case you’ve forgotten to buy the book, you can find it here.  Well worth buying.  And if you already have a copy, you’ll find a second copy incredibly useful as you can read it in stereo.

While the book covered the period from the Renaissance forward, here we present works from the prehistoric to the Modern era.  We’re so excited to share these, we’ll skip a wordy introduction and present our first picture with words under it.

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We begin with a truly thrilling discovery. Further archaeological research of the El Castillo cave paintings discovered in Cantabria, Spain, has discovered this, the earliest hedgehog art yet discovered. The work, from c. 39,000 BCE, used stencils and ochre to create this simple but charming and historic painting.

 

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This is a doubly exciting find. First we present a recent discovery of an ancient papyrus (apparently inadvertently misplaced by E. A. Wallis Budge in a nook in the British Museum) presents a fascinating view of what scholars believe is a hedgehog goddess judging the souls of the deceased. Equally fascinating is that the transliteration of the hedgehog goddess’ name in Egyptian is ‘eid-zil-la’ – it appears that we have discovered the most ancient reference yet know in art history to Hedgezilla!

 

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Here we present a truly remarkable Assyrian bas relief of the Assyrian Hedgehog warrior goddess, Kwillamash, aiding soldiers in a siege. This piece is a detail from the North Palace at Nineveh belonging to Ashurbanipal (668-631 B.C.E.). This piece was only recently discovered in 1985, though was lost in Mosul in 2003, and is now only preserved in photos. It’s believed that Kwillamash was represented by a hedgehog due to their legendary ferocity and deadly quills.

 

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This Greek red figure vase from the early 5th c. presents many mysteries to the hedgehog art historian. It’s possible that the figures depict the tale of Aleterix answering the riddle of the Sphinx (in an unusual Lydian hedgehog form), or alternately this might a tale of Croesis where the figures were replaced with hedgehogs, or one of several dozen other accounts because hedgehog art historians with time on their hands can fill in blanks is all sorts of ways. Regardless, so far as as ancient hedgehog art goes, this is a wondrous masterpiece worthy of a long discussion we will spare you, dear reader, out of the kindness of our hearts.

 

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Here we present a charming Medieval manuscript depicting a hedgehog battling an owl. 15th c., from the Hatton Manuscript. This margin drawing depicts a hedgehog armed with sword and shield fighting an owl. Monks of the era must surely have known about the owl’s cruel habits and enjoyed drawing the underdog getting the upper hand.

 

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Sacred Hedgehog of Mary, Stained Glass, Cathedral of Trier (1430s). This is a very… odd work. Originally commissioned for the cathedral by Otto von Ziegenhain, Bishop of Trier. At the time due to an outbreak of lead poisoning there was a dire shortage of stained glass artists. A mysterious artisan named Egelkopf appeared and offered his assistance. While he was quite skilled in glasswork, he was quite poor at following instructions, and oddly obsessed with hedgehogs. While Bishop Ziegenhain was displeased at the results, and the piece created some controversy, it was eventually accepted. At some point later the phrase “NESCIMUS QUID SIT ERICIUS IN FENESTRA” (we don’t know why there’s a hedgehog there) was inscribed below so people would stop asking.

Egelkopf has been found listed in the mysterious manuscript from the 1500s, “Annales sermonum sublimis inter homines circa erinacei” (Annals of acts of greatness by humans to hedgehogs), a document deserving greater scholarly attention.

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Recently discovered, Da Vinci’s L’Ultima Cena Ma Con Ricci (The Last Supper, But With Hedgehogs) is difficult to explain, but clearly means something, and something big.  We’ve spent many long hours examining this work and seeking the secret meanings, and believe we’re onto something very, very big.  We’ve reached out to Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown about the many new layers of mysterious and conspiratorial meaning this adds to everything, though so far he hasn’t been very polite.

 

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One Da Vinci isn’t really enough, so here we share this, a likely second.  Vitruvian Hedgehog (c. 1490). Experts remain unsure whether the work is an original by Da Vinci, or a student’s sketch, but we think those experts are just afraid to admit the truth partially revealed in The Last Supper, But With Hedgehogs which prove this is also a Da Vinci.  Regardless of origin, or experts being picky about things, the work illustrates the perfection of proportions, and remarkable mathematical harmonies found in the hedgehog form.

Sorry to double-up on artists, this is the last time we’ll do that.

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Monet’s “Hedgehog with a Parasol” (1874). This masterpiece of hedgehog impressionism is so well known it needs no description other than simple words like “painting,” “pretty,” “awesome,” and perhaps a few other descriptive terms you can come up with yourself.

 

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Okay, this one was in the book.  But we’re throwing it out there, since it’s a Van Gogh, and we haven’t blogged about it, and it’s truly delightful to behold repeatedly. “The Starry Hedgehog Night” was a view painted from the east-facing window of his asylum room in 1888. The nurses noticed the various hedgehogs hidden in the painting and were concerned, so Vincent repainted the more well known version of the painting.

Much could be said, though it’s better to just look at it.

 

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Remember when we said we wouldn’t double up on artists?  We don’t either.  Here we present Vincent Van Gogh’s 1889 self-portrait, painted in the sanitarium at a point when he mistakenly believed he was a hedgehog.  This work presents a fascinating view of the post-impressionist hedgehog art master.

 

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Every collection of hedgehog is better if there’s an Alphonse Mucha work involved.  Here we present a print entitled, “Hungry, Hungry Hedgehog.”

 

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Finally, we present “Drawing Hedgehogs,” a lithograph by the Dutch artist M. C. Escher first printed in January 1948.  While there are copious words that could be expended on this work, we’re already well past the arbitrary 1000 word limit we set for blog posts, so we’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to come up with a proper description.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy these magnificent works as much as we do, and until next time, adieu.

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Princess Pricklepants and Yet More Hedgehog Art Through The Ages


 

Previously.

Dear reader,

Apologies for the infrequent updates, Her Highness’ schedule has been busy with the duties of running for president and engaging in extensive art research while maintaining a fourteen hour sleep schedule (and responding to queries regarding etiquette advice).

While this post is about art, we did want to share this glorious vision of the future:

potus_podium

And, while we’re on the topic of the Princess Pricklepants’ Prickle Party run for President, for those who might have missed it, we wanted to mention that Her Highness’s Patronus is a hedgehog, which has made for a powerful campaign poster.

pp_patronus_pres

And so this time we begin or post with our third picture with words under it.

mona-lisa

So far as recent hedgehog art discoveries go, this is historic.  In early 2016, hedgehog art researchers at the Louvre applied laboratory analysis of reflective light and color analysis to the Mona Lisa and made a truly remarkable discovery based on a recently discovered notebook by Da Vinci. The notebook referred to the work as “La Gioconda con Riccio” (happiness with hedgehog), while underpainting analysis now confirms the original work is actually a masterwork of hedgehog art. These are exciting times for hedgehog art critics and historians. We now know what the Original Mona Lisa looks like.

Irises-Vincent_van_Gogh

Here we have another fascinating and historic work, Vincent van Gogh’s “Irises and Also a Hedgehog.” An immediately striking painting created in the last year before his death in 1890, he considered this painting the study on which the later more famous hedgehog-less Iris painting was based on, though it stands alone as a sublime and magnificent work of post-Impressionist hedgehog art.

Belshazzar

Rembrandt’s first version of Belshazzar’s Feast was an enigma to hedgehog art historians for decades until it was discovered that Rembrandt had initially read a faulty Dutch translation of the book of Daniel that had translated the word “Writing” as “Hedgehog.” This work is housed in the National Hedgehog Gallery, London.

Rembrandt-Portrait_of_a_Lady_with_a_Hedgehog

Now as a first, here’s a second work from the same artist.  Forgotten for centuries, Rembrandt’s 1661 Portrait of a Lady With a Hedgehog is a high point in Baroque Hedgehog Art. While not as well known as his Belshazzar’s Feast With Hedgehog, this late work of Rembrandt’s, which highlights his masterful use of light, composition, and hedgehogs.  The work was only discovered post-WW II, having been lost in the basement of the Rijksmuseum.

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Maxfield Parrish’s 1921 “Hedgehog Break” is regarded as one of the most popular hedgehog art prints of the 20th century. Parrish later produced the human-centric “Daybreak,” which went on to even greater fame, though he always considered this work’s composition and symbolism as more powerful.

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While less well known, hedgehog art historians have been spending more time researching this 1648 portrait by Renato d’Angio of Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine (mother of Margaret of Anjou).  Isabella is holding the traditional panier d’ hérisson (hedgehog basket), a symbol of the mythology behind the family’s regal hedgehog lineage.

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Alma-Tadema’s 1884 A Reading from Homer to a Hedgehog is a lovely late Victorian painting. Through attention to details such as architecture and dress, Alma-Tadema’s work imaginatively re-created everyday life for hedgehogs in ancient times.

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Next we present Alphons Mucha’s delightful “P. Pricklepants.” The work is a masterful Art Nouveau print from 1897. Little is known about its origin, though the work appears to have been a 1897 commission by Marchioness Pricklepants of Paris.  It’s quite lovely, really, so wonderful there’s not much to say.  Just look at it!

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Her Highness was somewhat taken by Mucha’s work, so here is Alphonse Mucha’s, “Hedgehog Princess Perusing Art,” c. 1890. This is a truly lovely later work by Mucha, who clearly had a fondness for hedgehogs. Unfortunately, little is known about this work, though the greater subtlety and simpler composition than “P. Pricklepants” suggest this work was inspired by different themes.

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Finally, we present Jacques-Louis David’s 1786 “The Discomfort of Socrates,” which details the event of the initial cup of hedgehog handed to Socrates, because the jailer misheard “hemlock.” David’s masterful rendering of the cup being handed over is a truly powerfully captured expression of awkwardness.  Created by David for Napoleon’s palace, the painting was poorly received, and has been much less popular than the later version.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through the remarkable world of hedgehog art. We’re planning to post on other topics in the future, but may discover other works which you can keep up on via Facebook or Twitter (we’re not great about our Instagram account, sorry).

Stay tuned for our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Never Ending Story of Hedgehog Art

Finally, in an awkward act of gross commercialism, we also suggest you take a look at our fabulous, tasteful, and sophisticated merchandise that will make the wearer seem even more to smart, attractive, and interesting than they already are.  Look, aren’t they cool?

Raphael’s Birth of Hedghog

Mucha’s Art Nouveau Hedgehog

My Patronus Is a Hedgehog

Van Gogh Irises and Also Hedgehog

These and more available here.

Also, there are notecards and things here.

 

Princess Pricklepants and More Hedgehog Art Through the Ages


previously

Dear reader,

Sadly, or perhaps happily, we haven’t offered much coverage of Small Furry Animal Campaign 2016, something we’ll work to rectify in some future post if we don’t get distracted by arguing with squirrels on Twitter, reading wikipedia (did you know about Moon Trees?), or researching hedgehog art through the ages.  But lately we’ve mostly been arguing with squirrels and researching hedgehog art through the ages.

Despite efforts to build bridges and create a Small Furry Animals coalition, radical squirrel partisans have created strife that’s even extended to some humans.

Breakfast_Table

Once again, there will be no story in this post per se other than the magnificent story of hedgehog art, a story that needs telling, and which goes on and on, perhaps endlessly, like a run-on sentence of art.

Let us begin with our first picture with words under it.

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Whistler’s Hedgie Mother (formally titled Arrangement of Pets in Grey and Black No.1) was painted in 1869. Whistler eventually managed to convince his mother to stop posing for portraits with her pets in 1871. While both the pet-free and petful works are held by the Musée d’Orsay, the hedgehog version has not been exhibited yet.

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Leonardo Da Vinci’s Lady With a Hedgehog (c.1488-1489) is a true high point of Renaissance hedgehog art, masterfully executed.  The human subject is not known with certainty, though the hedgehog is strongly believed by experts to be Contessa Mirandella di Pricklipanzia, a distant relation of Princess Penelope Pricklepants via the Venetian line of the family.  While the hedgehog is an actual noble-hog,  as a hedgehog she also serves as a symbol of elegance, grace, and excellent manners.

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The enigmatic and sublime beauty of Raphael’s early work, Portrait of a Lady with a Hedgiecorn, has been a subject hedgehog art critics have discussed for centuries. The influence of Da Vinci on Raphael’s work is clearly seen here in the similarities to the Mona Lisa in pose, gaze, and format of this painting. Da Vinci’s influence can also be seen in the use of a hedgehog, following Da Vinci’s Lady with Hedgehog, and again symbolizing elegance, grace, and impeccable manners. A true Renaissance hedgehog art masterwork.

Caravaggio

Caravaggio’s Boy with a Basket of Fruit and Some Hedgehogs, c.1593, is a stunning work, the light, expressiveness, and technical execution are all superb, and illustrate the transition from the more constrained and austere styles of the Renaissance into the more dynamic, dramatic styles of the Baroque, as we can see by the pair of hedgehogs striking dramatic poses and the powerful lighting on the quills. Strangely, this work was not well accepted by the public. The culture of Renaissance Italy held unusual cultural superstitions regarding the idea of hedgehogs crawling in their food as “unclean.”  Caravaggio ultimately reworked the painting without hedgehogs (weakening the dynamics and drama the hedgehogs bring to the work).  The hedgehog painting was forgotten until it was recently rediscovered when a shopper bought the painting at a Goodwill in West Covina.

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Donatello’s first version of this statue created for the Vatican was titled, St. Mark With Hedgehog  and was commissioned for St. Peter’s Basilica.  Sadly, Pope Leo X was not amused, and Donatello was forced to create another statue, this time without the hedgehog.  One little known fact about this work is that Martin Luther was finally motivated to write his 95 theses because of Leo X’s unwillingness to embrace hedgehog art (according to Uncle Pricklepants).

This work marks a true high point in our excursion through hedgehog art, as we’ve now shown hedgehog artworks by Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello, which completes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sequence, and unlocks the next level.

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Hogs Playing Poker by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (yes, that really is his name) has generally been looked down upon by art critics who accuse the work of being faddish, kitschy, lowbrow culture, and a poor-taste parody of “genuine” art, which is why modern art critics are not worth listening to.  Several critics who aren’t jerks have noted that this work was very significant in helping bring hedgehog art into the modern mainstream in America, and point out Coolidge careful studied and used motifs, styles, and composition from Caravaggio, Cezanne, and other greats of hedgehog art.

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Once discovered, Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Hog (c. 1817) quickly became an iconic hedgehog work from the Romantic period. The self-reflective pose, and invitation to see things from the hedgehog’s perspective make this an incredibly powerful work which has been featured on the covers of hedgehog books, hedgehog album covers, and has become part of modern hedgehog culture.

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Finally, we turn to Warhol’s Four Hedgehogs (1962).  This work was accidentally left in the basement of the Tate until recently and was initially assumed to be some kind of parody of Warhol, while now art critics debate whether it’s parody, self-parody, meta-ironic parodying of self-parody, or the other kinds of things art critics argue about.  As with all Warhol works, it’s very hard to explain.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this continued overview of high points of hedgehog art and hope you may have learned something as well.  There are yet more works that we will likely share on Facebook and Twitter over time, and it’s likely our gift shop will be ultimately be carrying related merchandise over time, if you are a hedgehog art aficionado, keep an eye out.

Stay tuned for our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery of Monkey Voters (working title)

Princess Pricklepants and Hedgehog Art Through the Ages


Dear Reader,

Since Her Highness has taken an interest in education, we’ve found a number of works of Hedgehog Art through the ages to share to aid the much neglected field of Hedgehog art education.  There is no story in this post per se, other than the magnificent story of hedgehog art, a story well worth telling.

We begin with this less well known Botticelli work, Birth of a Hedgehog. A beautiful and sublime work of art, and a true milestone in Renaissance Hedgehog art:

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Next we have another Renaissance hedgehog art history milestone by Michelangelo. Sadly, the Vatican rejected Michelangelo’s first hedgehog-based design for the Sistine Chapel:
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Grant Wood’s American Hegehog Gothic is less well known than his more popular painting, but this remarkable piece is truly iconic in hedgehog art and culture:

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Leutze’s Hedgehog Crossing the Delaware is a high point of 1850s art – stirring imagery, truly remarkable artistic composition:

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When Hedgehog With a Pearl Earring went to auction in 1947, it was widely considered by experts as a forgery of Vermeer done by the notorious Van Meegeren. Thanks to painstaking research by Princess Pricklepants, the provenance of this piece has been authoritatively traced back to Vermeer, and it’s now a favorite piece in Her Highness’ collection. A true Dutch master-work:

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Magritte’s Le Fils de l’Herrison is difficult to explain, but here it is:

Magritte

Edward Hopper’s Nighthogs was recently discovered in museum archives of the Art Institute of Chicago among works willed by Hopper to the museum that were lost in storage vaults. It’s very exciting to see this remarkable discovery come to light.

nighthogs

Norman Rockwell’s love of hedgehogs is not well known. He made this painting as a cover for the Saturday Evening Post in 1958. At the time, featuring an African on the cover in the diner was a brave move by Mr. Rockwell, but unfortunately the theme was too controversial and was ultimately not accepted until it was reworked.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of various high points of hedgehog art and hope you may have learned something as well.  There are many other works that we will likely share on Facebook and Twitter over time, and you can find awesome shirts here:

http://urchinwear.net/product-category/shirts/hedgehog-art/

Now there is a book available here: https://www.createspace.com/6456156

and also available on amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Hedgehog-Through-Ages-Steven-Bach/dp/1539641880/

Stay tuned for our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery of Monkey Voters (working title)

Next: Princess Pricklepants and More Hedgehog Art Through the Ages

Princess Pricklepants, Magnificent Mender of Monkey Manners


Dear reader, hopefully you were led here from this post’s immediate antecedent. Due to technical reasons far too risky to explain, we shall now only refer to that previous post as The Post That Must Not Be Named.  Still, there’s happy news – those previous complications, digressions, and Dark Arts can now be left behind (provided they are never discussed, explained, or named).

And so we begin with our first picture with words under it.

DSC_0935Princess Pricklepants was profoundly pleased.  After a complicated series of events and delays (which must not be discussed, explained, or named), she was finally able to fulfill her supreme destiny in teaching a monkey all the things a monkey should know – politeness, manners, and grace at a tea party (well, there was also dancing, singing, and proper diction, but those were a digression, and at this point Her Highness had become very suspicious of digressions). The tea was set out, there were some nice snacks, and she had her artful friend Artemisia as a model manners  assistant. There was even a fancy chair for the monkey. Things were going swimmingly.

Now all she had to do was teach the monkey.  She’d been so busy with email and avoiding meetings that she’d overlooked making a lesson plan. She decided to wing it as delightfully as possible.

“Now Monkey, um, let’s see.  To be polite, one should use the term ‘one’ instead of ‘you’, smile nicely (as I and Artemisia always do), and also… Hmm…”  She thought about having Monkey walk with a book balanced on the head to teach grace and poise, but that really didn’t seem like the right thing to do around cups of tea.  Enunciation lessons would be frustrating since Monkey didn’t speak English like a normal hedgehog, bear, or cow. At a loss, she decided to google something polite to do at tea parties.

DSC_0928Puzzlingly, when she looked up ‘Tea Party’ on google, the results were utterly bizarre and distressingly impolite.  Google was clearly confused, it seemed to be looking into some strange and rather grumpy alternate reality she was pleased to be no part of.

With no help from the internet, she bravely forged ahead. She began a lesson showing Monkey how to make a plate of treats with impeccable manners. Surely this would be a simple and foolproof lesson.

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She illustrated daintily placing a treat on a plate with grace and poise. Next came Monkey’s turn.

DSC_0948Unfortunately there was a mishap. But in every mishap, there’s an opportunity to be polite and helpful. “Oh dear, Monkey, are you okay? Let me help you back up.” She politely helped Monkey back to the seat. Monkey got back on the seat but at this point, things took a turn towards the complicated, as reality cruelly conspired against etiquette lessons.

DSC_0964Monkey sat upon the chair, but in a sense that was not so much “upon” as “upon, but in the entirely wrong way.” Monkey sat in a manner sadly lacking in refinement and sophistication. Princess politely looked away to give Monkey the chance to correct the posture problems.

In retrospect, looking aside was a poor choice. While looking anywhere but at the monkey, she noticed the wonderful beckoning dark space under the table. The beautiful, hypnotic, irresistible dark space. The allure was strong, so she decided to gracefully climb under the table.

DSC_0970She felt wonderfully sublime exploring this mysterious and fascinating new space, but the monkey posture problem remained. She had to think of a solution. She thought, and realized the solution. It was incredibly simple and elegant. “Monkey, perhaps you’d like to look under the table? It’s so lovely to crawl around there, and it’s so polite and refined,” she helpfully suggested.

DSC_0977It a was a perfect solution. The posture problems were in the past. There was a slight down side, though. The monkey’s trip under the table left Artemisia inexplicably distressed. Princess Pricklepants felt great concern. She tried to comfort her artful model friend.

DSC_0991Some aspects of this may have comforted her friend (though the quill stabbing aspect was much too uncomfortable to be very comforting), but it had an unfortunate complicating effect. Monkey noticed that comforting Artemisia looked incredibly fun and decided to try it too.

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Unfortunately, despite the monkey’s best efforts at being comforting, the end result was somehow not comforting at all, but distressing.

At this point Artemisia needed additional comforting due to these attempts at comforting. Princess politely jumped in great enthusiasm to offer aid and comfort. The outcome was truly memorable, which is the hallmark of a good party, so it worked out really well.

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There was one tiny issue. She may have jumped in a little too enthusiastically, since bits of party ended up strewn across the floor. Still, there was a happy side, since some cookies had fallen to the floor. With the floor cookies she could both practice and illustrate her manners at not eating off the ground (challenge level: extreme), and there was added bonus – she could say “excuse me” for the minor faux pas.

While the incident had many wonderfully polite and delightful aspects for Her Highness, there was one very, very unfortunate side effect. In clambering across the table, she spotted something with an allure even greater than the magnificent sub-table space. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted the wonderful, enticing, tantalizing Gap Under The Sofa (so delightful it had to be capitalized). An irresistible space with an allure so tempting that there was only one possible polite pursuit.

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Clambering under the couch was so fantastically, irresistibly polite that Monkey, as a new student of politeness, joined in happily. This pleased Her Highness to no end. These manners lessons were going so well!

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With Her Highness sniffing under the sofa in the most refined and delightful way she could manage, and with Monkey following suit, her heart swelled. Her charge in charm training was clearly getting the knack of politeness, grace, and delightful things! Monkey Manners Mission Accomplished!

And with that happy ending, she was as delighted as could be. Clearly Monkey had seen that manners are fun and would now behave like a proper monkey. With a bit of work at balancing books on heads, a bit of refinement of diction, and perhaps some ballroom dancing lessons, things would be peachy. Now she just had to get those chickens in shape.

Coming soon in our next episode:  Will the monkey manners be maintained?  Will the chickens learn civility? What happened to the skunk?  Will the story shift in some other unrelated direction pretending none of this ever happened?  Will the author lighten up on the adjective extravagance? Will the crocodiles (or is it alligators?) return? These and other questions may or may not be answered in Princess Pricklepants and the Chicken Charm School (working title – subject to change).

 

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part I – The Great Beginning


Previously: Princess Pricklepants and the Dinosaur Denouement

Dear reader,

Happily, and/or sadly, nobody has sent us any correspondence, so we have no reader responses to offer. We did find one search that led someone here for “how to have manners like a princess.” I’m sure we were very helpful. Someone also came here looking for “pleasantries synonym.” I assume they found what they were looking for.

This will be a brief prologue, since we have work to do here, thus we now offer our first picture with words under it:

DSC_0023

Princess Pricklepants was generally enjoying a regal life of leisure with her friends. They caught up on hedgehog documentaries, tried out surfing on a vacation…

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…and hung out with their old friend Moonflower the sheep from back in the farm days. One of the robots, Redbot, had moved in as well, to help as a personal assistant, tea connoisseur, and generally nice robot.

One day, while having tea and enjoying some truly delightful baked goods, Bessie, the generic cow and robot programmer, had a suggestion.

“Remember that pirate treasure map that you’ve had sitting around forever? Maybe we could go seek out the lost treasure of Captain Quillbeard.”  They looked at it to help justify this picture:

DSC_0072 (1)

They were impressed.  It looked like it must have taken someone a fair bit of work to make that map.  Also it clearly indicated something important.

Princess said, “This sounds like a very plausible premise for an adventure.”

Boris was puzzled, “Wait, we just found the pile of treasure chests in the quiet spot. What would be the point of even more treasure?”

“Because it would be fun. Also Captain Quillbeard’s treasure is a mystery. Maybe there’s something better than old coins.”

“Well, I suppose that does sound like a plausible premise for an adventure.”

They decided to start the adventure the typical way, by surfing the web for a while. Princess looked up Captain Quillbeard to do some research. She found nothing in wikipedia, which was strange. A query on hedgehogtreasureseekercentral.com returned no information. Google was no use. They even tried Bing, which returned results with a wikipedia article on chickens. After reading articles on chickens, red junglefowl, Christmas Island, and a number of other fascinating things, she had almost given up when she discovered an ancient secret web site that told about Captain Quillbeard. (note to reader: please make sure to visit this important link and read the important information therein, then come back here.)

The story told by the mysterious ancient web page seemed like typical pirate fare, but had some interesting information. Unfortunately that was all she could find, and all the links on that page to other notable things were broken.

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Jane was concerned. “OK, so this is one of those things we can’t just wrap up quickly, like most things.  So we need to actually for the first time in our lives have a plan.  And we have to make a real plan.” She was still recovering from her tech. career, and thus began most sentences with either “OK,” or a conjunction.
Boris suggested a plan, “First I finish this pie, then we take a helicopter loaded with shovels and stuff to the place the map indicates, then we dig the stuff up, then we take the stuff we find back in the helicopter. Finally, we have more pie.”
“OK, there are some problems, though. First, the island is part of Henakau. And they don’t permit helicopters and hasn’t got an airport. And the only way to travel there is by boat.  Also, quit hogging the pie.”
“So we fly to the nearest normal place, then hire a boat, eh?”
“OK, but part of their customs require that you take the boat from your home.”
“Fine. We have to take the boat. I hate boats.”

They ordered rope, shovels, metal detectors, food, and boat-related supplies from hedgehogtreasureseekercentral.com with free two day shipping, then sat around for two days binge watching Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog on Netflix and baking macarons while they waited, except Bessie who worked on reprogramming Redbot to serve as a Henakau protocol droid.

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Princess Pricklepants, Boris, Moonflower, Redbot, Bessie, and Jane prepared for adventure while robots loaded the ship.

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Boris said, “Maybe we could use a helicopter and air-lift the ship to Henaku?”
Jane explained, “That would be prosaic and dull. Besides, you can’t have adventures with helicopters.”
Boris began to think about explaining that you could have many adventures with helicopters, but then realized that using a pirate ship to seek out the treasure would add extra symbolism that would enhance the narrative. He then worried that there wasn’t a proper call to adventure, as a conversation over tea and cookies was barely a call to adventure at all. He thought about many other things as well, but we won’t dwell on them here, since the literary thoughts of bears are not the point of all this.  While he thought about pie and came up with a plan that didn’t involve eating more pie, but would help the narrative.

Boris pulled out his cell phone and called Princess. “Hello, this is Princess Pricklepants, hedgehog adventurer, who is calling?” (She was still working out etiquette for answering phones, she really preferred texting, where manners were easier to understand).
In a deep spooky voice, as mysterious as he could muster, Boris said, “It is I, the ghost of Captain Quillbeard. You must seek my treasure, for the Universe now needs it for its very safety, and only you can undertake this great quest!”
“Boris, is that you? Why are you using that odd voice?”
(spooky voice) “No, it’s Captain Quillbeard’s ghost, eh!”
“Why does my phone say Boris is calling?”
(spooky voice) “I am haunting his phone.”
“Oh, but also Boris is standing next to me, and is using the same funny voice and saying the same things.”
(spooky voice) “Pay no attention to the bear, eh, listen to me, the ghost of Captain Quillbeard. Seek the treasure.”
“Well, we were seeking the treasure, so I think we’re all set here, thanks Bor… Captain Ghost.”
“Oh, thanks, eh… hey, wait, you’re supposed to refuse at first, then go along with it…”
“Well then, I refuse to not seek the treasure.”
“No, you refuse to… Well, never mind. See you on the ship.”
“See you, Boris.”

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With that settled, they were ready to go. Boris was not fully satisfied, and was also annoyed that that last photo put the hedgehog in focus and left him in the background, but figured it was a start. Boris knew they needed to meet a wise person to mentor them at this point for everything to work out. He figured they’d met Moonflower recently, so that was pretty close.

“Hey Moonflower, got a second?”
“I have all the moments in the Cosmos, all in the now.”
“Oh, perfect, you sound like a wise mentor. I need to ask you a favor.”
“Right on, man.”
“Uh, so we need someone to help Princess make decisions on the journey, a kind of wise counselor who can guide her.”
“Oh, I’ve helped out on some really wild trips, I am so in.”
“Perfect. Thanks!”

Things were going swimmingly, except with a boat and ideally no swimming. They prepared to board and begin their journey.

End of Part I

Coming soon: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part II – The Great Middle

Will they find the treasure? Will there be sharks involved? Will they keep reusing one small set with boat pictures over and over? How will they manage to make a set that involves digging up treasure? These and other things will be answered soonish. Here is one small preview that answers the shark question, though:

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Princess Pricklepants, Entrepreneur


Dear reader, we regret to inform you that we haven’t got any proper introduction to this, our latest post, nor any apologies to offer, nor any reader letters to review, nor other things like that which fill up space at the top of a post that are easy to use as filler to help avoid going and writing the other parts of the story that involve more work, and thinking, and coming up with ideas, and setup to do. Rather we are going to immediately jump into this tale, with no delays, rambling, digressions, or other peripheral delays. And here we are… Jumping right in.  Oddly, while it feels unsettlingly like somehow that isn’t happening, clearly this is an illusion. Probably it’s to do with Quentin, who had recently written in to say something, though we can’t remember what.

As a break from the usual format, we’re also going to not start with a picture, but instead start with words and then a picture, and then words under that picture.

Princess Pricklepants had given up the farming life, and was preparing to retire to a life of royal luxury, when Jane, her accountant gave her a call. “These phones, they’re so hard to dial with hooves. Anyway, I was calling to tell you that the farm wound up eating a surprising amount of capital, to the point that it’s a plot device requiring you to find some form of livelihood.” Princess wasn’t sure what that meant, but assumed it was good news. Jane went on, “You have to find a job.” Maybe not great news. The lack of a photo above the dialogue was moderately unsettling to Princess, somehow, adding to her sense of unease.

But Princess, in her inimitable metaphorical style, decided to make lemons out of lemonade. So, Princess decided to pursue her true passion, acting.

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Sadly, in addition to breaking the fourth wall, she also broke a table, a chair, several cups, and broke the skin of several actors. While the director of the show she was trying out for was a patient dinosaur, he eventually had to say “rawr,” which is dinosaur for “Don’t call us, we’ll call you, and we’ll be sending a bill for the broken props and medical expenses.”

Jane noted that this meant that there were going to have to be some lifestyle reductions until they had an income.

Princess came up with a brilliant plan. She would play to her core strengths, and pursue her true passion, acupuncture.

Accupuncturist

While it seemed like a great idea, in retrospect, acupuncture was very difficult to make a living at. While she tried to be polite, her patients kept whining. And screaming. No patients ever returned after their first visit, and most refused to pay, even when they seemed much healthier once they had every acupuncture point stabbed artfully (and politely) with her quills. A few sent medical bills to her saying something about blood transfusions.  When she checked on hedgehogaccupuncturistcentral.com she was surprised to find many other hedgehogs had similar problems.

So she decided to pursue her real passion, photography.

Photographer

She decided that taking photos of small farm animals on table-top sets had to be the start of a brilliant and lucrative photography career. Strangely, her work never became massively popular in a whirlwind of fame bringing in no cash, prizes, or wonderful adventures as a brilliant and respected photographic artist.  She did get a photo shared on Cute Overload, her favorite blog, but somehow that didn’t bring everlasting fame, but more like twenty views. Perplexing.

Clearly that was a ridiculous way to spend her time. So she looked around at what was popular in the Internets and noticed bird photography was very popular. She could still pursue her true passion, photography, by doing a different type of picture-taking. Also, birds were moderately interesting, at least for nerds, so she could use them as a market. Perfect. They buy all kinds of worthless things.

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At first things were going pretty well. She found a bird, it didn’t fly away, and she took a picture.  Then she looked at the blurry picture, poorly composed, and with terrible light, and determined that she’d need to find another bird. This was tedious. She also realized that while she could pursue this course for a very long time, enough to fill a few blog posts full of Princess Pricklepants, Bird Photographer, this would be very dull for the poor readers. Also, her blurry duck photo was rejected by National Geographic.

So she decided not pursue this as a career. What was left? She had so many skills, advice columnist, farmer, warrior, space traveler, but none of those things were a proper job fitting a hedgehog of noble bearing, regal poise, and impeccable politeness.

Then she had a great idea! She would be a web entrepreneur. She began to study…

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This was slow and dull, so she began a montage with 80s music to make it go faster.

Princess Pricklepants, System Analyst

Yet, the post was already too long even with this career-related activity compressed into a peppy compressed series of images edited into a sequence to condense space and time illustrating her hard work. Also when she put in her resume, all her applications as a programmer and systems analyst were rejected by the companies she applied to. They said things about degrees, and prior experience, but it was clear that they were hiding the truth – another sinister side of the Perils of Pet Prejudice.

And so she decided that next episode she would pursue her real passion, doing a web startup.  But that is something to tell about another time, since we’re close to 1000 words, which is how long these things typically go. So, for now, adieu.  And soon, Princess Pricklepants, Startup Founder might appear.  Or maybe not soon.  Given the way these things go, we might wind up with Princess Pricklepants Pirate Adventurer in a few months.  Or maybe, Princess Pricklepants, Bird Photographer, because we’d really like to do that even if it’d be dull and tedious for everyone but us.  Sorry, we like taking bird photos, even though it is definitely not a profitable venture.

next:

Princess Pricklepants, Startup Founder Extraordinaire