Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Picky Princess


Dear readers,

We have a few items of note to address before this, our next episode of Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder.

For people who stumble on this, here are the previous three episodes:

First off, sorry if we scared any of you with the brief Princess Evilpants interlude.  There was a brief accident involving a malfunction when transporting her from the Huffledome, but things have been sorted out. Princess Evilpants was from a Mysterious Mirror Universe, but the technical glitch was sorted out and our polite Princess has returned.

Second off, we haven’t got a second item, so this is just pointless rambling.  Please just skip this sentence and the previous one so we can move forward without getting bogged down in a pointless digression that just wastes words and adds nothing of note.

With that brief preamble, we begin our story with a picture with words under it.

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Princess Pricklepants was moderately displeased.  The last few elections had all nominated her to serve as night watch on the ship.  Democracy sometimes didn’t really seem very polite.  This shift was particularly difficult since she had only gotten ten hours of sleep during the day, so she was somewhat tired.

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Very tired, really.  So tired that she drifted into sleep and dreamt a peculiar dream full of mysterious symbolism very relevant to the story even if it’s maybe a little overt.

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Princess Pricklepants was concerned.  (She was also oddly sleepy for being in a dream where she was awake). She knew she was a princess, and she therefore merited wearing a crown or tiara or other princess-related regalia for her head, and that it was her quest to find this. The hand servants offered to her a crown of paper, but it was not good enough for the very picky princess. She huffed and pouted at the affront of it all. A mysterious beaver-like voice with a mildly Canadian but more overtly pirate-like accent spookily said, “Paper is how the journey begins, but beyond it there is more to win.”

Princess was puzzled, “The journey started with a boat, and the boat is not paper.  Also, why the rhyme?”

“I’m rhyming for dramatic effect.  Come on.  Also, not, paper, you know, like the map.”

“Oh. I suppose that makes sense.”

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She went to look for another more suitable crown under the table.  A different mysterious voice, that of the mysterious narrator we try not to bring up said, “dang.”

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She found a chenille crown, and the hand servants placed it on her head (and also cleaned up the table a bit).  This crown too was completely unfitting a hedgehog of her nobility and regal stature.  It was sparkly, which was better, but it was still altogether wrong.  The mysterious pirate voice spoke again, “Chenille, arr, I don’t even know what that be, yet I be sure it’s symbolic of something, though.  Maybe gaining the bottles of mystery or some such.”

Princess said, “I’ll take your word for it. I’ll keep looking.”

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She searched under the couch to see what other crowns might be found and caused even more damage to the set, much to the dismay of the narrator.

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The next crown was nicer than the first two, and she rather liked it, but it wasn’t properly speaking a crown. It was a cap. The mysterious pirate voice spoke once more, “Wait, what be this? I have no idea what’s going on here.”

Princess said, “Isn’t is great?  I like this cap.”

The mysterious voice spoke, “Arr, keep to looking, and try not to get distracted, matey.  Oh, perhaps this symbolizes the dangers of being distracted on the quest for the Gem of Destiny. Just a guess.”

She decided to save the nice cap, but to continue looking. After some further digging in her surroundings a much nicer crown was found.

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The crown was nice, but heavy was the crown that sat on her head.

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It was so heavy it fell off repeatedly which was rather irritating to the narrator (who was also the photographer).

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The hand servants offered their help, but their assistance seemed to stick out too much for proper regalia, and this solution didn’t see at all suitable for such a noble hedgehog.

The mysterious pirate voice spoke to her, “The heavy crown will weigh you down, but will be sparkly all around town.  Sorry, just making up a rhyme there. I think this is symbolic of trials yet to come on the Island of Mystery.”

Princess replied, “I guess that sounds like a plausible explanation.  What is the Island of Mystery?”

The mysterious voice replied in a slightly spooky and mysterious way, “It’s a slightly spooky and mysterious mystery yet to be spoken of.”

Princess was frustrated with this, “mysterious mystery” – what kind of diction was that?  Yet she realized that the mysterious pirate voice was not really always polite, helpful, or even grammatically correct, so that was all she was likely to get. She sought again for a crown suited to a hedgehog of her bearing that was perhaps a bit lighter and more comfortable to wear.

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With a bit more searching around, she ruined the set once more, but discovered something wonderful, and was very pleased.

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The hand servants set upon her head the final crown, and it was really quite nice.  She was delighted, so delighted that she tipped the crown at a jaunty angle which to hedgehogs is symbolic of really liking having things that are set upon them.

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She was very pleased, and felt happy that she would no longer need to keep looking, since she knew she had found what she had needed.

The voice pirate spoke once more, “As the suitable crown is discovered, so too will the Gem be found, with peace and merriment all around.  Remember these things.  By the way, I was really trying to think of a nice rhyme for this bit, but they’re tricky, and I’m not really a poet.”

Princess replied, “So should I be digging under couches and tables, then?”

The mysterious voice seemed irritated and not particularly polite.  “No, seriously, the dream is a metaphor for the search for the Gem of Destiny.  Your quest will involve searching but not by literally climbing under furniture, please try to keep up.  I’m not sure everyone is all that pleased by you climbing under everything.”

“Oh, well that’s a shame, there’s little more delightful than climbing under tables and couches.”

“Sorry, eh. And sorry if I was a bit impolite, it’s been really frustrating waiting all these years for someone worthy of the great quest for the Gem of Destiny.”

“Oh, it’s okay, pirate ghost voices aren’t expected to have the best manners. I have a helpful guide to manners if you’d like to read it. In the future, if you do these dream thingies again, do you think you could skip putting heavy things on my head though?”

“Oh, yeah, sorry about that too, eh. It looked lighter than it was. Your pickiness has served you well. Now waken.”

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Princess woke up and looked around.  The stars in the night sky were lovely. It was a very strange dream, with a very annoyingly heavy crown, and she wished there would have been more digging under furniture, since that was such a delightful thing, but in all seemed like a helpful interlude on their adventure somehow. She remembered the mysterious pirate voice, and knew her quest was making progress.  Soon there would be an Island of Mystery with some new trial.

Will they finally find Captain Quillbeard’s mysterious treasure? Will we sort out a better way to make something island-like? What exactly is this mystery of Mystery Island?  Is this thing going to wind up being like eight posts long before we can finally finish?  These and other questions may be answered in our next episode, Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Mystery Island (or something similar).

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


Dear readers,

Thanks for your patience while we were off enjoying our trip to Rome not taking pictures of our hedgehog or writing stories about her adventures.  While we were away we received several pieces of correspondence.

First our mom says hi.  Hi mom!

Second, an oddly irritable reader, Ryan, wrote in to complain that we were ruining the Internet by writing about something so trivial as our pet.  It was his contention that by doing this we were contributing to the problem of unseriousness.  Dear Ryan, we fully admit to this.  We are definitely part of the problem of unseriousness and apologize for ruining the Internet.

Thirdly, Quentin wrote in to ask where he left his keys.  Try looking in the basket by the door under the things you let pile up in there.  Otherwise, check under the couch cushions.

Fourth, this blog post contains some scenes that may be disturbing to people who are upset by violent imagery involving cyclops art models being attacked by sharks.  For readers who are sensitive to this sort of thing, avert your gaze once you spot this part.

And with that, we begin our story.  Princess Pricklepants and her plucky peers piled upon the ship and set sail for adventure.  Princess put on her pirate hat to properly prepare for their plucky pirate plunder pursuit.  She was slightly put off by the photo following the first bit of narrative instead of being the other way, but was excited enough at the journey beginning that she gave it a pass.

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Boris was puzzled.  “Princess, so, um, I notice you’re dressed as a pirate.”

“Aye, and a fine pirate, indeed.  Arr.  Hey Boris, what’s a cannibal Pirate’s favorite lunch?”

“What?”

“A bacon, lettuce, and two-matey sandwich.”

“Lovely.  To the point, we’re looking for pirate treasure, but we are in fact not pirates.”

“Shiver me timbers, you’re right! So what has two eyes, two hands, two legs, and two belly buttons?”

“What?”

“Two pirates!”

“Yes, so as it turns out, dressing up as a pirate might cause others to think that we are pirates.  That would be bad, as people would be likely to do something unfriendly to us if they thought we were pirates.”

“Arr, we wouldn’t want to hornswoggle any land lubbers, that would be impolite indeed.  What’s a pirate’s favorite letter?”

“Look, this is not the time for pirate riddles.  Would you mind not dressing like a pirate as we travel the high seas?  Also, it’s R.”

“Fine, then, I’ll not dress up as a pirate.  By the way, while you might think a pirate’s favorite letter is R, it’s really the C.”

Boris wished that bears were able to roll their eyes.  He ignored her and wandered off to finish eating the last of the pie.

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Boris returned a few minutes later.

“Um, Princess?”

“Yes?”

“I notice you’re still dressed as a pirate.”

“Well, no.  Now I’m dressed as hedgehog royalty playing dress-up as a pirate.”

“That still counts as being dressed as a pirate.”

“But it’s really very different, actually, isn’t it?”

“Hey, look over there, the Universe!”

“Where?”

Boris grabbed her hat and tossed it overboard.

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Several sharks enjoyed eating the hat.  They thanked Princess for the lovely treat and mentioned that they’d be happy to offer more help so long as that help happened to involve eating other things – they were huge fans of eating things.

The trip to Henakau by ship was a very long one, so they played Scrabble, researched more about Captain Quillbeard, and sat around doing various things while the robotic helpers piloted the ship. Boris mentioned that the narrative structure seemed to be coming along better than he’d expected and droned on about possible tropes that they might incorporate into the story. Nobody listened to him, not even the narrator, so we can’t offer any quotes. Princess told pirate jokes, since when sailing this is a very polite thing to do.

“Hey Jane, did you hear about the pirate who got his left side cut off?”

“No, but I expect you’re going to tell me all about it.”

“He’s alright.”

Boris said, “I wish there was a way for the Universe to fling your pirate jokes into the sea.”

Princess replied, “What do you call a thousand pirates secretly meeting? Avast conspiracy!”

After sailing for a long time, which felt even longer to many members of the crew due to the onslaught of pirate jokes and bears talking about literary criticism in their personal lives, they approached an island that seemed like a good place to take on more fresh water and perhaps find some supplies. They prepared the ramp and piled off the ship to look around.

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After looking around a bit they decided to name the island “Skull Island” after the mysterious fortress that had a subtle skull-like shape about it. They were wonderfully delighted to find that Skull Island had a number of fresh baked pies, particularly Boris.

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“I think we should take as many pies as possible on board,” said Boris, “Ideally we should take several more than is possible.”

“But these pies must belong to someone, surely someone must have made them.  I’d be upset if someone took my pies,” said Princess.  “They’re lovely, and must have been a lot of work for someone to make.  It wouldn’t be polite to take them without asking.”

“Well, perhaps these pies grew on an unusual tree native to this island?  Or perhaps they were made as gifts to us from the Universe?  Perhaps as part of the Universe we should take our pies?”

“Maybe, but those all feel like iffy excuses for taking pies that don’t belong to us.”

“Perhaps I could just eat all the pies now?  I have an idea.  Universe (or pie owner, whoever you may be), if you agree to let us take the pies, send us a sign by not doing anything of note.”

They waited.  Nothing of note happened.

“Okay, I guess we can take a few onboard, then.”

They began to prepare to load the pies.

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As they prepared to load the pies onto the ship, an angry cyclops baker appeared.

“Who dares to trespass on my island and steal my pie?!  I, Artopius, king of the bakers of Baker Island, disdainfully criticize you!”

Jane, the cow accountant said, “So, wait, which island is Baker Island?”

“This is Baker Island.”

“No, this is Skull Island.”

“No, it’s Baker Island.”

“No, but the fort looks like a skull, so it’s Skull Island.”

“No, that’s Baker Fort, since it looks like a thing named Baker Fort.”

Jane and the cyclops argued about the name of the island for a long time, though you need not hear all the details.  Eventually they resolved to agree to disagree, and moved to the Cyclops angrily decrying the pie theft.

Boris explained, “We weren’t trying to steal them, we thought the Universe was giving them to us.  It even agreed.”

“Thieves!  You will suffer for your pie crimes!”

“Please, we aren’t pie criminals, we’re a noble hedgehog, a literary bear, a cow accountant, a sheep who hasn’t said much recently, a generic cow (who can program robots), and a helper robot on a quest.  Our quest is quite important, we’re seeking the treasure of…”

Jane interrupted, “Maybe we don’t need to explain all the specifics at this point?”

Artopius was tired of conversations and generally grouchy.  “I challenge one of you to a rap battle.  If you win, you can take three pies and leave.  If I win, I’ll eat you.”

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In retrospect, they probably should have selected a different rapper from their party than Princess Pricklepants, since she insisted on rapping politely.  The rap battle went extremely poorly.

Artopius imprisoned them in Baker Skull Fort and announced, “My friends, soon I will eat you one by one.  That hedgehog looks particularly plump and delicious.”

Princess noticed that Moonflower wasn’t really exactly imprisoned.  She whispered down to Moonflower, “Moonflower, since you’re not trapped, you should open the cow door, let Bessie free, then let her reprogram Redbot to save us all.”

“I am trapped, though. I’m a prisoner in a world sized jail!”

Clearly they needed an alternate plan.

Princess called out, “Alas, what shall we do?!”

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Dear readers, you may remember our previous warning to those who are sensitive or upset by violent imagery involving cyclops art models being attacked by sharks.  Just above this paragraph you’ll find the upsetting image, so please avert your gaze if you need to.

Their shark friends heard Princess’ plaintive plea, and due to an interesting coincidence, the phrase “Alas, what shall we do,” also happens to mean “free fresh delicious Cyclops ready for the eating” in Shark language.  The sharks pulled the cyclops into the sea.  Oddly, the cyclops disappeared once he was pulled into the sea, making the sharks very sad.  The pies did not disappear, making Boris very happy.

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With their island adventure complete, they loaded their pies onboard and got back underway.  Princess said, “Thanks Mr. Shark!”  And with that we end Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part II – The Great Middle Begins.

Will they encounter another island and have a similar adventure?  Will the disappearing cyclops be explained?  Will we figure out some way to make a different island-related set?  Will they continue to mangle the plot of the Odyssey with pirate treasure thrown in?  Will the chickens we ordered finally show up?  This and other questions may be answered in our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part III – The Great Middle of the Middle (or some similar title).

No art models were harmed in the creation of this story.

On a separate note, Artopius is the Latinized form of the Greek word for baker, in case you were wondering.

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:

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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:

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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 Surfing


Dear reader, perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “Hmm, this is odd, I thought they just posted a thing a couple days ago.  Don’t they usually drag their feet and delay for at least a week and a half before posting a second thing?”  If you thought that, you are slightly in error, as in the past 586 days since we started, we’ve posted 92 things, which comes to an average of one thing every 6.3 days.  Sorry about the math.  Anyway, out of those 92 things, we’ve scientifically determined that 29 were basically empty posts of a picture or something, so if you subtract those, it comes to a post every 9.3 days, so yes, you’re right, really.  Sorry for saying you were slightly in error.

But, fear not, because this is actually a throwaway post with some pictures (and scientifically verified to not be a story due to the lack of cows or dialog) in which we display lovely photos of Princess Penelope Pricklepants surfing.  We had at one point thought about doing a Point Break style story, but realized that as a part of our research we’d have to actually watch that movie, and that’s just too much to ask of anyone.

With that out of the way, here are the pictures we narrowed things down to for the 2015 Carolina Storm Summer Photo Contest, along with one that we took later when Princess Sophie suggested it.

Oh, by the way, did you vote?  It’s still running through July 6:

http://carolinastormhedgehogs.com/2015-summer-contest.html

cute, but the color temperature was terrible:

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the one we first decided to submit before changing our minds:

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the one we submitted:

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the one that was really cute, but was sadly neglected:

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the one that in retrospect we wish we submitted:

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the one Princess Sophie came up with that is awesome:

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Princess Pricklepants, Farmer, etc.


Dear readers, we’ve made a few small changes thanks to your feedback.  We’ve made images smaller and lower quality to load faster (you’re welcome, reader H), are using simpler vocabulary (you’re welcome reader Quentin), and we’ve added more characters to stories (can’t remember who mentioned that).  We also will digress less, since someone mentioned that digressions are distracting and don’t add to the narrative form we work so hard to perfect.

Enough preamble, here’s the first picture with some words under it (see Quentin, simple words):

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Princess Pricklepants was very busy working on her farm, but even with more cows than she could count (anything more than four is really hard), she wasn’t making a lot of money selling milk.  She held a council with the cows, and asked for ideas.  Bessie the cow spoke up, “I think if we got more animals we’d ultimately benefit from increased production.  Also, Quentin needs a dictionary.  Cows have large vocabularies, it’s the way we are.  Deal with it.”  So Princess went to the place where you get animals and got some more.

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The new crocodiles were happy in their pond.  The cows seemed moderately concerned but were hopeful that crocodile eggs would fetch a good profit.  Jane, the cow accountant ran the numbers, but even after a few hours there was still no new money coming in.  Strange.  She said some technical things about taxes and capital investment we don’t need to repeat.  She complained that she got a CPA, and we really should go into those details, but we ignored her.  While Jane complained that it would add to the believability and richness of detail to the story if we talked about tax benefits from depreciations of capital something-or-others, Princess went to the place where you get animals to get some more.

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The cows weren’t so sure about the bear.  Bessie, the generic cow, said something very inappropriate that we can’t repeat.  Other cows mentioned that the bear didn’t seem as polite as the crocodiles.  Jane, the cow accountant, noted that bears don’t actually produce anything that farms need.  Christine, the cow safety officer, mentioned that bears were potentially dangerous.  Bessie, the generic cow, also mentioned that the bear looked angry.

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“Rawr,” said the bear (whose name was Boris, and who was offended that nobody had really given any proper introductions, so impolite – he was Canadian, and was upset at how rude these animals were).  Princess and the cows decided to spend some time far from the bear whose name and nationality they didn’t know.

They had another meeting.  “Princess, you need to do something about the bear.”  Jane, the cow accountant, mentioned that there were some concerns about accounts, but maybe they could wait for the bear situation to be handled.

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They had a farm to run, so Princess bravely introduced herself to the bear formally and used her impeccable manners to make friends.  But still even with cows, crocodiles, and a bear, Jane, the cow accountant, was insistent about the fact that the farm still wasn’t earning enough money.  In fact it seemed like they somehow had less money, which she tried to explain in a long drawn out explanation.  While Jane was rambling, Princess left to go to the place where you get animals to get some more.

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In retrospect, it probably wasn’t a good idea to get a Spinosaurus.  The Spinosaurus was terribly rude as well as terrifyingly dangerous.  The cows all insisted that a Spinosaurus was not a farm animal.  Boris mentioned that he thought that Spinosauruses were extinct, though obviously he wasn’t a well educated bear.

Christine, the cow safety officer, mentioned that bears ate berries, roots, and honey, cows ate grass, crocodiles didn’t eat, but she was pretty sure that the Spinosaurus ate hedgehogs, cows, and bears.

The crocodiles were happy, though, as they basked in the sun at the pond.

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“I have an idea, eh,” said Boris, stepping forth with great gravitas and bearing.  “Things are getting complex.  It’s especially challenging with that hoser Quentin limiting our prodigious vocabularies.  I am a very erudite bear with a Masters degree in Comparative Mythology, so this is killing me.  Let’s check the internet to see what it says about hedgehog-run farms with cows, bears, crocodiles, and Spinosauruses.  There’s probably tons of web page site whatevers about that topic.”  So Princess searched websites, and finally went to a hedgehog farmer’s web forum (hedgehogfarmercentral.com) to try to figure things out.  The other hedgehogs on the Internet suggested she go to hedgehogfarmsupply.com to order some automated assistants.  One helpful forum member mentioned that if she used her Ink credit card she would earn points that might be useful to offset farm expenses. There was something else about how it would code as office supplies, but the post was too long to finish reading. Princess had online farm shopping to do. So she ordered some automated farm assistants.

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The helper robots were very good at teaching the Spinosaurus manners.  The cows liked the robots, they worked with the bear to overcome his irrational fear of Spinosauruses, and the crocodiles liked the robots, bonding over the fact that they had a lot in common.

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The farm started making a profit, they were producing milk, crocodile eggs, the robots taught the bear to collect a lot of honey to sell, and the dinosaur did an incredibly nice job at being a dinosaur.  The only problem was that the robots did such a wonderful job at running the farm that there wasn’t a need for Princess to even be there any longer.

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So, with all her farm business humming along nicely, Princess decided to take a trip to the outer reaches of interstellar space to pursue her real passion – space exploration.

Next: Princess Pricklepants and the Planet of the Dinosaurs

Princess Pricklepants’ Continued Guide To Politeness, Manners, Delightfulness, and Grace In Common Situations


Previously: Princess Pricklepants’ Guide To Politeness, Manners, Delightfulness, Grace, and Related Things

Hello again!  We should really have waited a month or two before posting again, since it’s impolite to post to your blog too often, but several readers had emailed in to express their gratitude for our practical and helpful guide to manners, but wondered about manners and politeness in other common situations that could arise besides tea parties.  For instance, they wondered about manners on buses, and in supermarket lines, and when family visited and things along those lines.  Unfortunately hedgehog princesses aren’t the types to ride buses, and the hand servants take care of trips to the market, so she doesn’t have a lot of advice to offer on all of the topics that inquiries were made about, but here she volunteers to you, our gentle readers, a guide to several common social circumstances where questions of manners, politeness, grace, and social grace often come up, with tips, advice, and pointers for navigating the complexities of day-to-day social life with others that were inquired about.

Lesson 1: Catapults

“Dear Princess, I throw tea parties regularly since it is the polite thing to do, but I have become very concerned with the actions of my husband Humperdink.  During these parties he will load our catapult with sugar bowls, cups, small animals and other items and fling them around.  The costs in lost china have begun to really rack up, and I am afraid the ASPCA might show up!  What should I do?”

-Big Trouble With A Little China

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Dear Big Trouble,

At times you might have a guest over (perhaps at a tea party, though perhaps in some other circumstance, for readers who don’t throw tea parties regularly, please ignore any tea party related references, these lessons are still generically valuable) who wishes to test their catapult in your home using your fine china (or other things).

What do you do?

Explain to them that catapulting is an outdoors activity, and recommend they take the catapult and your china outside where it’s appropriate and delightful to fling household objects through the air.  Have fun with it, try suggesting that if they take the catapult outside that they could fling jewel encrusted antiques, rare glasswork, a cat, or other items that would be fun to watch fly, so they are more motivated to move it outside. Please note that cats belong indoors, since outdoor cats can cause environmental harm, injuring and eating native species, so after you’re done flinging the cat, it’s good manners to bring it back in.

-Princess

Lesson 2: Cows on the Couch

“Dear Princess.  I try to be as classy as a lady as I can manage, but I’ve run into something that’s burning me up.  My husband Vern has started bringing his cows inside the darned house!  They even have managed to climb onto the couch!  It’s driving me insane.  What should I do?”

-Flustered With The Cows

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Dear Flustered,

Unfortunately, time and again, we all run into the situation of visitors bringing cattle into our homes, with the cows peacefully grazing atop a couch.

What do you do?

Politely but firmly explain that animals are not permitted on the couch (unless they are hedgehogs), and that it would really be best to leave the cows on the floor.

-Princess

Lesson 3: Passages to Secret Gardens

“Dear Princess P. P., recently my children have started to claim that they’ve discovered a secret door that leads to a magical garden, and go on and on about their fantasy life, neglecting chores, failing to do their homework.  I’ve tried to talk some sense into them, but their odd obsession has started to take over their life.  What do I do?”

-Mom Of The Delusional

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Dear Delusional Mom,

Time and again, youngsters will become very excited at the discovery of a secret door that leads to a mysterious and wonderful secret garden full of mystery and wonder, and excitedly try to enter.

What do you do?

Explain politely, but firmly, that the time for entering into the magical alternate universe full of adventure, wonder, and talking animals (not parrots or hedgehogs, but ones that don’t normally speak) is after one has finished eating all the food on one’s plate, taking care of chores, and completing other responsibilities, and not before.  This will ensure that the important things are done before one wanders off into a realm of infinite possibility and delight.

-Princess

Lesson 4: Witch Accusations

“Dear Princess, I have a tough one.  My daughter, Zenobia, has gotten out of control.  It started with things like pointing out my weight, and has moved to to her angrily ranting.  What do you do with an out of control child? She even called me a witch!”

-Frazzled

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Dear Fraggled,

It’s a sign of our times that it’s become commonplace to find that over a cup of tea, in a spirited debate, or while playing cards, someone will insist that you are a witch.

What do you do?

Find a Witch Scale and weigh the accused to see if they weigh more than a duck.  If you don’t have a duck handy, find something that’s roughly duck-weight, for instance a sugar bowl, and put them to the test.  Since ducks float, this is a very scientific as well as practical way to sort out the answer.

-Princess

Lesson 5: Pirate Treasure Maps

“Dear Princess, my husband works on a cargo ship that’s been traveling through Indonesia and around the Horn of Africa.  There is a lot of piracy in those areas.  I’ve told him that I want to take out insurance, for fear of something terrible happening, but he’s fought it, saying that I should trust him to be able to handle the situation.  I even showed him a web site on the internet with maps of piracy and pointed out how his routes intersect on the map, but he’ll have nothing to do with it.  What should I do?”

-Dreading Pirates Robbing

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Dear Dread Pirate Roberts,

Very often in day to day life, we all run into the situation of having a pirate or two drop by to visit bringing with them a treasure map that leads to untold fortunes in gold and gems.

What do you do?

Remember this simple principle – sharing is caring.  Be sure to arrange to have the booty evenly divided among the survivors of the treasure quest.

Lesson 5.1: Climbing under the table and knocking over the treasure map and some guests.

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It’s considered polite to climb under tables at tea parties, but in pirate negotiations things are a little different.

What do you do if you climb under the table and knock over the map and perhaps a guest?

Say, “excuse me, so sorry to knock over that map (and/or guest), I really didn’t mean to.  I apologize.”  That’s typically all it takes to sooth the feelings of pirate treasure negotiators whose precious map/colleague has been flung to the floor.

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Lesson 5.2: Pirate Treasure Negotiators Fainting

Very often when making deals over treasure, one party might get over-excited and faint/be knocked over to the ground.  This is a very delicate situation.

What do you do?

Offer the fainting/falling party a nice cup of tea, and gently help them back up.  Do not bring up their clumsiness or criticize them for falling just because a table knocked into them.  This is not polite.

Lesson 6: Annoying Photographers

“Dear Princess, I’ve been looking at your photos, and I’ve noticed a few things that I’d like to offer as a helpful critique.

Lighting: It looks like you’re using normal indoor lighting for your photos.  That warm directional lighting is fine for day-to-day life, but photos tend to work better with somewhat cooler color temperatures and more diffused light.  Also having a few sources from different directions can fill shadows nicely.

Perspective: Your photos are often shot from odd and jarring angles.  It’s best to try to get down to the point of view of your subject.

Depth of Field: Many of your photos have a very deep depth of field.  If you shoot with a fast prime you can gather more light in lower light situations and also have attractive blurring (“bokeh”) in your photos.

Sets: You use a lot of pieces for sets in your shots, but they look like you picked toys up from Goodwill.   A few higher quality props and a backdrop would make for much more effective photos, keeping distracting elements out, and making sure that the elements in the frame were compelling.

These are just some constructive tips to help you on your photographic journey.”

-Camera Man

Manners - 08

Dear Photography Male,

There’s little in life that’s more insufferable than some relative/friend/visitor whose gotten a new DSLR or other fancy camera to gush on and on about photography, yammering on about f-stops, trying to show you pictures of birds they’ve taken, and being generally dull and droning about their little hobby. They may also criticize your photos and criticizing your equipment for not being fancy/expensive enough.

What do you do?

Politely but firmly explain that they should find other camera-nerds to ramble on with, since bringing up cameras and photography in polite company is something of a faux-pas. If they keep yammering on, kick them out. Nobody needs a know-it-all photographer being a party-pooper.

Lesson 6.1: Crying Photographers

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After helping photographers learn that they shouldn’t keep going on, and on, and on about their pictures and cameras and lenses and fancy lights and tripods and speed lights and so on they may burst into tears, deeply upset at not being able to drone on autistically about their prime obsession.

What do you do?

Give them a hug, and tell them that it’s OK.  You can also them know that their OCD is probably biological, and there’s little hope for them, but that they have families that care about them, so perhaps they could go off and find them now.  Suggest that people with their afflictions might benefit from a comfort animal.  Also recommend some other hobby, like coin collecting, that highly obsessive anti-social nerds like them might enjoy in the quiet of their home so long as they don’t inflict it on everyone all the time.  Be sure to be polite.

Lesson 7: Pirate Maps

“Dear Princess, I got your reply, but I feel that you didn’t quite understand my question.  I was talking about life insurance, not pirate maps.  I only brought up maps to make the point that the routes my husband was traveling on were areas where modern piracy is a serious issue.”

-Misunderstood

Manners - 10

Dear Misunderstood, Hedgehogs have very poor eyesight, which makes reading much harder for them.  Sorry if there were any misunderstandings.  Due to their poor eyesight, they rely on their sense of smell to guide them.  It smells like you like pirate maps a lot, which is great!  I didn’t exactly have a lesson to offer here, but wanted to show you this lovely and delightful pirate treasure map that I skillfully negotiated away from the others.  Please ignore the dead cow (and the Witch Scale) in the background, the poor lighting, the distracting elements in the scene, and the other things that annoying photographers might bring up.

Relating to your other question smells, here are a few more helpful lessons.

Lesson 7.1: Pirate Map Sharing

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Sometimes when you have a treasure map, others might become interested in it, and interested in joining your grand adventure to seek out the lost treasure of Captain Quillbeard.

What do you do?

Remember that sharing is caring.  Let them join you in the quest, making sure to explain that treasure is only divided among the survivors of the adventure, and cows have been known to have some very unfortunate mishaps on past treasure quests, but that they really are welcome.  Once you’ve formed a team, be sure that you’ve got a strong friendship, and consider mentioning to the cow that they can be kind of passive aggressive, but then don’t.

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Pals.  Good.

Lesson 7.2: Pirate Maps and Crocodiles

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How many times has this happened to you?  You and your cow friend have a treasure map and are getting ready to set off on a grand adventure, when a pair of crocodiles show up and one leaps on you in attack!

What do you do?

Remember the words or Gandhi, MLK, and Thoreau, and suggest that you all go get some ice cream to settle your differences.
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Mmm.  Ice Cream.

Lesson 8: Guests Crocodile Wrestling

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A common event when you have crocodiles at ice cream parties is that a youngster will get a little too excited and begin crocodile wrestling.

What do you do?

Remind the guest of the following:
Alligators and crocodiles are rather different, and generally it’s more dangerous to wrestle with a crocodile.
Explain that while it’s good practice to heavily feed ice cream to either before wrestling them so they are less aggressive, both should be trained before such activities.
Note that it takes a lot of training to be able to safely wrestle them, and that many people are injured by these prehistoric death machines.
Firmly but politely note that like flinging your fine china with a catapult, crocodile wrestling is definitely not an indoor activity.
You should also remind the guest that both crocodile wrestling and alligator wrestling are rather barbaric activities, so while their enthusiasm is understandable, that it is not at all polite to engage in crocodile (or alligator) wrestling at a tea party.
Finally, remind them of the words or Gandhi, MLK, and/or Thoreau, and suggest that they learn to peacefully coexist with the crocodiles.

Here is a helpful illustration of Princess explaining these things to the young crocodile wrestler:
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“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Lesson 9: Weird Guests/Uncles Talking About Ways To Get Many Air Miles and That Sort of Thing

“Dear Princess, my husband is obsessed with collecting air miles and other bonus points.  If I use the wrong credit card to buy some gas, I’ll hear all about it.  He’s starting to use all kinds of weird code words like vanilla, dollar coins, fungibles, 3x, and other things where they are referring to some arcane way to get points.  I do like vacations, but it sometimes feels like the obsession with gathering these points isn’t about getting a cheaper vacation, but just showing off a point balance to other people who are obsessed with this kind of thing.  And advice?”

-Points Widow

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Dear Window,

Sometimes a guest or weird uncle or other person may show up and start rambling on and on about personal finances, and how to get a lot of air mile points, or mention some credit card or another that they can use to get some reward or another. It’s very strange and confusing. They may even try to show you their credit cards, when everyone know one doesn’t do such things in polite company.

What do you do?

Tell them to find some internet forum where weirdos gather to discuss such things. Under no circumstances should you ever engage them, it only encourages them.

Lesson 10: The Call To Adventure

“Dear Princess, I wrote earlier and tried to explain that my kids are spending too much time in a fantasy world.  There is no real secret garden, they just imagine it, I think as some kind of escapism.  It’s concerning.  Also, my pen name was ‘Mom Of The Delusional’, not ‘Delusional Mom.’  I don’t think it’s very polite to get people’s names wrong.”

-Now Kind of Annoyed Mom Of The Delusional

Manners - 19

Dear Annoying Delusional Mom,

It smells like you’re having some trouble with manners!  At times a guest or relative might show up with a space ship/time machine/magical portal/interesting magical or technological item that brings one into a new world of adventure, mystery, and wonder.

What do you do?

Agree.  Even if you try to say no, the author will figure out a way to force you on the adventure, and it’s not polite to disagree with or interrupt story tellers.

Manners - 20Adventure ho!

That concludes this simple guide to etiquette in common social circumstances.  We hope that the next time you encounter a guest crocodile wrestling at your ice cream party, encounter a crying photographer, have to figure out how to deal with cows on the couch politely, or manage any of these other common social situations that our guide will have given you pointers to navigate them with grace and politeness.

Princess Pricklepants’ Guide To Politeness, Manners, Delightfulness, Grace, and Related Things


Princess Penelope Pricklepants presents this practical guide to manners, politeness, and related topics to you, dear reader.  This guide is not presented out of any concern that you are impolite, ill mannered, or uncouth, but only because this is a topic which she, as royalty, has a deep and extensive knowledge about.  In this guide she hopes to share some insights, thoughts, tips, and pointers with the hope of helping to make the world a more polite, well-mannered, and generally delightful place.

Lesson 1: Hats

Princess Pricklepants wearing a nice hat at her tea party.

It’s perfectly delightful for hedgehogs to wear hats indoors, so long as they remain on the head, or so long as they fall in a delightful or pleasant way when wandering about.  Hats with straps are not delightful at all though, as we illustrate in this helpful example:

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If you look carefully, you will note Princess’ gentle concern at the impoliteness of the hands that put this hat on her.  Do not under any circumstances ever strap a hat onto a hedgehog.  It’s distressingly impolite.

Lesson 2: Tea Parties

Tea parties are always wonderful places to practice manners, politeness, and that sort of thing.  For our example tea party, the kind and gracious models Artemis along with her daughter Arteminica are hosting a small party for our delightful guest to help guide the teaching of lessons in manners.

At tea parties, hats are optional, as you see in the following illustration.  Also, note how Princess shows an interest in whatever things happen to be on the table, in the room, on the couch, under the table, or in any other interesting spots.

Princess Pricklepants politely hatless at a nice tea party.

Lesson 3: Peeing

Hedgehog sitting on couch at tea party, wearing hat.

If you happen to pee on a couch (and who doesn’t pee on the couch at times?), it’s polite to make sure that any photos of the event don’t include unpleasantly specific details.

Lesson 4: Eye contact

Hedgehog, hear turned away, wearing hat at tea party.

If there are guests who have eyes, try to look at them sometimes, this is polite.

Lesson 5: Unexpected guests

Hedgehog at tea party with toothpick holder.

If an unexpected guest shows up, like Princess’s special friend, Pick, who is also a hedgehog, though a different species, be sure to greet them and make sure they feel welcome to the tea party. You may wish to compliment them on their colorful quills or other interesting qualities, like the ability to stand remarkably still for very long periods.  If you happened to poop on the couch while meeting the new company, be sure to be discreet, have a helping hand clean it up, and be sure to thank the hosts for using a plastic couch that’s very convenient for taking care of such things quickly and discreetly.

Lesson 6: Climbing under the table

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If a guest should try to climb under the table during a tea party, this isn’t considered polite.  Gently remind them to try to remain above the table, perhaps with an unassuming hand gesture, as Arteminica illustrates here.  Also remind them that while in general wearing hats to indoor tea parties is polite, it’s considered extra-polite to remove your hat before climbing under the table.

Lesson 7: Toppling over other guests

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If, while politely wandering about under the table, you happen to inadvertently fling one of your friends on the ground, be sure to say something polite, for example, “Oh, pardon me, I didn’t mean to knock you over.”  Also remove your hat as a gesture of respect.

Lesson 8: Stepping on friends

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If you inadvertently clobber a friend, and stomp on their hand and/or arm, try being subtle about it.  Helpfully lighten the mood by wandering off a bit to sniff at something.

Lesson 9: More knocking and fleeing

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If you happen to knock a friend over while trying to climb under their chair, and they inadvertently kick another guest in the head, be sure to say, “excuse me.”  Note also that the hat has been respectfully removed.

Lesson 10: Helping hands

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Sometimes the hand friends might grab you and hold you in poses.  If they do, make sure to let them know that you appreciate their gentle help, and that you are sorry if you accidentally stab them a little with your quills.  If you do this, you’ll be sure to knock their socks off, or if you are incredibly polite, you might even manage to knock their feet off.

Lesson 11: More under the table dealings

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Since hedgehogs are burrowing animals, it’s incredibly difficult to not climb under tables.  Really, it’s mind-bogglingly challenging.  It’s virtually impossible to resist the alluring dark area under there.  When you do climb under the table, if a guest should spill their tea, be sure to apologize for any spilled tea.

Lesson 12: Flinging guests backwards while fleeing tea

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Tea parties can be stressful for hedgehogs, and you might feel the need to leave seconds after sitting/being set on the couch.  While we may have already covered, this, as a gentle reminder, when flinging friends backwards in their chairs towards the ground as you leave the table, which is a truly delightful thing to do, be sure to do so as politely and with as much grace as possible.

Lesson 13: Toppling techniques (advanced)

Hedgehog climbing off couch under table, knocking someone over.

At tea parties people will be flung backwards and thrown to the ground, this is a natural and inevitable development.  When you do manage to throw a guest from their chair, spilling tea cups, and flinging hats aside, be sure to do so with as much grace and elegance as possible.

There’s only one proper way to end a tea party, and that’s by ensuring that tea cups are spilling, and guests’ limbs are flailing as they hurtle towards the ground with chairs toppling backwards.  If you follow this simple guide, you’ll be sure to have a very delightful tea party with many very memorable moments.

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next: Princess Pricklepants’ Continued Guide To Politeness, Manners, Delightfulness, and Grace In Common Situations