23 December 2011

Fitzi Futzi


He lived in the countess's work-basket and nobody knew he was Fitzi Futzi.

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This is the first sentence of a book I was given for my 5th Christmas, and it contains the whole story.  Fitzi Futzi was the most treasured book of my childhood, I slept with it in the early years, and the pages finally mostly disintegrated after my three daughters had had their turns.  After years of searching for a copy on this side of the Atlantic, I found it this year through The Children's Bookshop at Hay on Wye, which had found me Peter Magpie.
* * * * *
The countess lived in a castle and she was Hansli's grandmother.  (Click to enlarge these pictures.)

Once Cook made a cake for Hansli's birthday.  Fitzi Futzi had to stand on tip-toe to see the top of the cake, and he thought it looked lovely. 

As you might anticipate, the icing was soft at one point.  Fitzi Futzi fell in and had to eat his way out through the side.  Cook thought it was mice.

Fitzi Futzi was the explanation for things that happened in the castle.  Such as how chocolate got on the countess's workbasket.  And how the countess's glasses disappeared because Fitzi Futzi looked through them and saw how big everything became and he was frightened.  And how the chimney smoked because Fitzi Futzi climbed inside to get warm and it made him sneeze, and every time he sneezed a big cloud of smoke came out.  And how one of the carriage lanterns would never stay lit because Fitzi Futzi would ride inside and he would blow the candle out.  And how the goldfish got fat because Fitzi Futzi went fishing without a hook.  And how wineglasses got broken because the butler was trying to grab Fitzi Futzi who was drinking the left-over wine.  If you are missing a button, it is because Fitzi Futzi has taken it to try to match the one he is missing on the back of his trousers.

He wanted to know how to cry.  So he pinched the baby and saw that she opened her mouth and squeezed her eyes, but when he did that himself, no tears came. 

Once he had tears, he could be seen, and he was seen with the baby, and he was seen in the garden, and seen hiding around the corner of the stairs.  A great many things happened that could be taken to indicate that Fitzi Futzi -- like Peter Magpie -- had a general disregard for the proper human order of things.  Cook and the butler and the nurse discussed all the happenings, and decided they had to stop.

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