“Perhaps it is only human nature to inflict suffering on anything that will endure suffering.” – Honoré de Balzac
Poor Ladder Rung, bless his heart, is not being the best brownie he should be, but he’s being the best he can be, which is the most anyone is capable of, brownie or not. He’s not even a full brownie, when it comes down to it, his appearance and height making him much more human-looking than his fellow folk, which serves to do nothing more than make him an even greater target and an outcast at the orphanage where he lives.
There are plenty of bullies there to make his life miserable, his teacher included, who’ve nicknamed him “Wrong” because he’s incapable of cleaning a room to the exacting standards of his heritage. It’s a source of shame and torment for Rung, so when one of his fiercest foes, Sewing Needle, suggests Rung run away before he’s sentenced to death for his many shortcomings, Rung takes the suggestion to heart and steals away with no food nor prospects of survival.
Ending up at the castle of Prince Lionel was probably not the choicest of destinations considering the prince has just issued a mandate that no brownies be allowed within the castle walls, let alone within spitting distance of his personal belongings. Prince Lionel is a bit of a slob, to put none too fine a point on it, but he simply doesn’t like anyone touching his things, thank you very much, and certainly doesn’t like having his things moved without his consent, which is a brownie’s forte because their de facto motto seems to be “clean but not seen.”
Hiding out in the castle’s lower chambers, Rung has found a perfect home. There are rooms he can clean in his own special way without causing alarm, and he has a place all to himself where he can carve and create to his heart’s content. Until, that is, he spies Prince Lionel’s personal train-wreck of an office and the itch to organize becomes impossible to resist.
What happens once Prince Lionel discovers there’s a brownie in his midst? It inspires him to call out the hounds to hunt for the interloper. The question is how many brownies will be discovered loitering within the castle walls? Certainly more than he’d ever expected.
This story was just cute, with a capital C and a big old UTE! It’s a sweet little confection of a brownie-meets-prince fairy tale in which the brownie discovers that there’s more than one way to clean a castle but there’s only one way to capture the heart of a prince.
I adored this story for its imagination and charm and for the ease with which the author made Rung the-little-brownie-who-could, and made me want to see him succeed.
Reviewed by: Lisa