The next day, the proclamation was read from the highest tower of the palace. Such was the custom, and customs had to be observed. However, the highest tower of the palace was so high that no one could ever hear any of the proclamations that were readfrom it. Therefore, whenever any proclaiming was to be done, copies of the proclamation had to be posted at various street corners. Passersby would then read along with the proclaimer, so that they would actually know what was being proclaimed.

The new proclamation read:
A Proclamation of King Vlimpt the Fourth, Ruler of the land of Gnigst, Defender of the Crown, Twelfth in the line of the great rulers of the kingdom, Defeater of the heathen army of Hinklewitt, and champion lamb chop eater three years running at the Gnigst Autumn Faire:
Whereas, it is our desire to right a public wrong, visited upon Her Highness, the Royal Princess Ugh, and
Whereas, Her Highness, the Royal Princess Ugh, has taken a dislike to her given name, and
Whereas, Her Highness, the Royal Princess Ugh, cannot bear to hear her name spoken,
Henceforth, Be It So Ordered By The King, that Her Highness, the Royal Princess Ugh shall, forever more, in all discourse, both spoken and written, personally or impersonally, transmitted by any means both known and unknown, electronic, and mechanical, be referred to as, Her Highness, the Royal Princess Formerly Known as Ugh.
Further, The following symbol:
!
shallbe the symbol of the princess, and shall be used as Her Highness’ familiar name. Being that Her Highness, the Royal Princess Formerly Known as Ugh’s official name is too long for common usage, and that her familiar name is unpronounceable, therefore it is also ordered, that Her Highness, the Royal Princess Formerly Known as Ugh shall additionally be known as Sally.
Failure to abide by this edict, on the part of any subject of the Kingdom of Gnigst, or on the part of any visitor to such Kingdom or any of its territories, shall be deemed a capital crime, punishable by death, in the current prescribed fashion, no later than midnight of the same day of said crime.

So ordered, His Royal Highness, King Vlimpt the Fourth

As soon as the proclamation was read, Princess Ugh put on her best white dress, which had been dry-cleaned by the palace laundry, and ran out into the city. She had tied red, blue, andyellow ribbons in her hair, and she had a beautiful white bow around her waist. The princess had never felt so lovely.
She skipped down the lane toward her favorite bakery, lightly dancing around the mud puddles thatpock-markedthe road. She grabbed several dessert cakes and skipped away, eating her cakes and smiling at everyone she met.

For their part, the townspeople were kept busy remembering to observe the new proclamation. As the princess passed by them, they would smile and wave, albeit somewhat nervously, and say, "Hi, Sally." As she skipped on, they would let out their breath, wipe their brow, and continue with their business. If the truth were to be told, many of the townspeople actually went out of their way to avoid the princess.
There were several close calls that first day. Occasionally, someone would forget the princess’ new name, but they always managed to immediately correct themselves. The princess never seemed to notice that their greetings sounded like, "Hi, Ugh…Sally." Technically, this was a crime.

However, the office of the attorney established for the good of the people in charge of executing capital offenders could never prove the difference between saying "Ugh," and saying "Uh," and was forced to concede that the alleged perpetrators could have been saying, "Hi, uh, Sally." At any rate, the princess’ self-esteem was greatly improved, and all seemed fine.

One particularly nice morning, the princess was out as usual, smiling and waving at people, and eating herfavoritedessert cakes. It so happened that, on that same day, a prince from the nearby kingdom of Samofivrlackrgggszt was visiting the Royal City of Gnigst. Prince Oafer (for that was his name) had heard of the beauty of the princess of Gnigst, and had some hope of meeting her, and winning her heart.
Being a self-supporting royal city, Gnigst was rather large. There were uncounted roads and thoroughfares (mainly due to the inability of city planners to count properly), and many side roads and dead ends. Thus, it was rather a coincidence that, on this special morning, Prince Oafer should be walking up the same lane that the princess happened to be walking down.

As they approached, the princess looked up and caught the prince’s eye. She smiled and waved as usual, then blushed slightly. She thought he was quite handsome. She had no way of knowing that he was a prince, but her heart skipped a beat as they passed each other. She wondered who he was, for she didn’t recall ever having seen him before.

She bit her lip thoughtfully, and stopped. She turned around and looked at the prince’s back. She had no idea why she was so nervous, but she almost turned around again and walked away. Instead, she cleared her throat, and said, "Excuse me."

The prince stopped and turned to face her. He smiled. He thought this young girl was quite pretty. He had no idea that she was, in fact, the princess whom he had come to meet.

Not quite sure what to do next, the princess brushed a strand of hair out of her eye.

"Hi," she said, looking down, then back up at him.

He started to walk toward her.

"Hi," he replied, just as his left foot landed in an especiallyunfortunately-positionedmud puddle. He slipped and fell right in the middle of the mud. "Ugh," he exclaimed.

He did not know the princess’ new name. He hadn’t known her old name. He didn’t even know that this was the princess. He had no way of knowing that he had about a second and a half to rescue himself.

The second-and-a-half passed in silence. The birds stopped singing. The wind stopped blowing.The Sorcerer, still buried in his books, stopped sorcering.

Shocked and overcome with grief, the princess jammed her fists in her mouth, squealed a squeal which mostly failed to make it past the two fists,andran all the way back to the palace, through the gate, in the door, up the stairs, into her bed, and under the covers. Which was quite a trick, considering that she never once took either fist out of her mouth.

Palace guards appeared in the street, grabbed the unfortunate prince, and dragged him off to jail. Irwin visited Prince Oafer later in the day, informed him of his transgression, accepted his plea of Not Guilty By Reason Of I Have No Idea What The Heck You Are Talking About, and kindly offered the prince his choice of execution–death under the Ax of Doom–which was the only choice that capital prisoners ever got, but at least it was a choice.Of a sort.

*

The princess, hidden under her covers, was so overcome by grief that she could hardly breathe. After calming down, she took her fists out of her mouth, which helped somewhat. She screamed into her pillow and beat it until feathers began flying around, making it harder tobreatheagain.

"Stupid pillow," she thought to herself. Wouldn’t you just know that she’d get a defective pillow that would disintegrate at the first little provocation? The princess just lay there, mad at the pillow, mad at the blanket, and mad at a world where a person’s name could cause them so much grief.

Occasionally, when the air became too stale, the princess would lift one corner of her blanket, just a bit. After a few whiffs of fresh air she’dyankthe corner back down and crawl further under her blanket.

She heard a knock at the door. She closed her eyes tight and held perfectly still. "Go away," she thought. Perhaps if she thought hard enough, the visitor would leave her alone. "Go away go away go away," she thought at the door.

"Sweetheart?" called her mother, the queen. "Are you all right?"

The princess took a breath. She lowered the covers, yelled, "I’m fine," then covered up again.

"Is something wrong?" asked the queen, from beyond the door.

The princess wondered if she could tell her mother what was wrong. It would really be nice to talk to someone, but her mother neverseemed to understand all the things that could go wrong in the world of a princess. The queen would probably just say, "Well, I love you, and if the rest of the world can’t see what a special person you are, then that’s too bad for them."
The problem, of course, was that the princesswantedthe rest of the world to like her. If they didn’t, then that washerproblem as much as it might be theirs.

"I’m resting," she called, from beneath the covers.

"Well, I’ll be right down the hall if you need anything," replied her mother, after a moment.

The princess held her breath again as she listened to her mother walking away down the hall. When she couldn’t hear any more footsteps,she let out her breath.

She mournfully recalled the events of the day. Everything had been going well. It had been a beautiful morning. There had been no hint of disaster, right up until that distressingly inept (and cute) pinhead had fallen in the mud.

He’d called her by her old, dirty name. She didn’t even know who he was. How could he dare to do that?

Now her day was ruined.Shehadn’t slipped and fallen in the mud looking silly. Not this time. She hadn’t tracked mud through the palace. She hadn’t done anything wrong at all. And her day was still ruined. Her whole life was ruined.

"I just can’t believe it," she thought to herself. "He called me ‘Ugh’. There was a proclamation, and everything. And he STILL did it. He STILL called me by that horrible, awful name."

"That can happen," said a voice from the corner of her room.

"What?" said the princess, pulling the covers down just enough to seeout.

"Laws can’t actually make people do anything, or keep them from doing anything," explained the blue funk. "They can only encourage or discourage, by promising severe penalties."

"But I thought people just always obeyed all the laws."

"Now, if that were true, why would there be a huge complex of jail cells in the dungeon under the palace?"

"I don’t know," said the princess. "For tourists?"

"No," said the blue funk. "We don’t usually incarcerate tourists. It’s not good business."

The princess wrinkled her nose, not sure whether the blue funk had misunderstood her, or if she had misunderstood herself.

"Look," the blue funk continued patiently, "there are some people who just simply do not obey the law."

"But why?" asked the princess.

"Who knows? Sometimes they don’t know the law. Sometimes they don’t care. Sometimes they think they have to break the law just to get by."

"But this was such a simple thing. How hard can it be for people to quit reminding me of how I fell into the mud?"

"I guess some people are just mean," said the blue funk.

Tears began to fall from the princess’ eyes. "That’s just not fair," she said.

"I know," said the blue funk sympathetically. "Come here, let me hold you."

The princess walked over to the blue funk and sat down on it. "There, there," it said, as she began sobbing.

"I really thought," she offered, between sobs, "that I could finally go out and walk around."

"I know," cooed the blue funk, as it wrappedfirstone armrest, and then the other, around the princess.

"I thought all that nasty business was over with. But it’s not," she wailed.

"I know," the blue funksaid, as it held her tighter.

"I’m never going to leave my room again, no matter what," she said.

"I know," giggled the blue funk, as the princess completely disappeared inside it.

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