Once on a time there was a little girl, who seemed to
care for nothing so much as sweet things.
  She would stand for hours before the window of a candy
store gazing at the confections with worshipping eyes.  She
was a pretty little girl, with a fresh complexion, white
teeth and bright eyes.  Her parents clothed
her nicely, and they took pains
to rear her with care, giving
her wholesome food and health-
ful pleasures.
  But the child was very much
dissatisfied with her life.  She wanted sweets and she was
not allowed to have them.  Her parents assured her that
sweets were injurious, save in very small quantities, which
they gave her now and then.  But this only whetted her ap-
petite for more.  She dreamed of sweets by night and longed
for them by day, and then all at once a queer thing happened.
  She was sitting in her room playing "candy store" with
her dolly.  This was a favorite game with her.  She placed
her dolly in a high chair behind a table on which she ar-
ranged a lot of boxes which were supposed to contain candies
and tarts, and bon-bons of all kinds.  Then she would ap-
proach the table, which represented a counter, and say to her
dolly, "a pound of your best candies, Miss, please."  And
dolly would reply in a squeaky voice (which seemed to ema-
nate from her mistress' lips), "Certainly, take all you want."
This answer, however inconsistent with the proprietors of a
candy store in real life, seemed to afford the child a great
deal of pleasure, and she immediately took possession of all
the boxes on the table, leaving the dolly to provide herself as
best she might with a new stock before the arrival of the next
  On this particular morning a very strange thing occurred,
however, just as Miss Greedy (which is a very good name
for her I am sure) prepared to take possession of the dolly's
  The little miss discovered that instead of empty paste-
board boxes the table was covered with tiny people.  There
were little ladies in pink, green, and red gowns, and little
men in white, lavender, and brown suits.  Strange and un-
expected as the sight was to her, yet Miss Greedy recog-
nized them all at once.  It was the great bon-bon race, with
all the different families represented.  The peppermints, the
gum drops, chocolate creams, the jam tarts, and the Tutti
Frutti, and the others whom we all know as pertaining to
the confectionery four hundred.
  Miss Greedy had worshipped at their shrine too long not to
know them by sight.  And now here they were all smiling
and bowing to her as if she belonged to their charmed circle.
Chocolate caramel, own cousin to the chocolate cream, and a
great leader among the bon-bon set, stepped forward to the
edge of the table, and making a low bow, he said:
  "I have the honor, Miss Greedy, to represent the society
of bon-bons in addressing you.  I voice the unanimous de-
sire of all, in what I am about to ask of you.  We have
long observed your great regard for us, and we have noticed
your faithful constancy, despite all opposition.  We feel re-
spect and admiration for you and we have resolved to elect
you our Queen, if you will consent to accept the position."
  "Your Queen!" cried Miss Greedy, nearly overcome by
surprise and happiness.
  "Yes," continued Mr. C. Caramel, "The Queen of the
Sweets.  That includes all of our leading families--pepper-
mints, gum drops, chocolates, almond creams, and all the
rest, even to the jam tarts.  Confidentially speaking, you
know, Miss Greedy," and here the speaker lowered his voice,
"the jam tarts do not belong to our set.  They are worthy
people, but they have never been in our circle, or more than
in the fringe, so to speak.  But your great regard for them
caused us to waive distinction and to allow them to join us
in our appeal to you.  An appeal, as I said before, which is
unanimous.  With your permission I will now crown you
our Queen, and place upon your brow the insignia of your
  Hereupon C. Caramel placed a wreath of candied violets
upon Miss Greedy's brow and all the bon-bon circle knelt
before her.
  "We are your humble subjects henceforth," they said.
"Hail to the Queen of the Sweets."
  Miss Greedy felt her heart swell full of such pride and
pleasure, that it nearly burst the buttons off her gown.
  She walked to and fro and up and down the room regard-
ing her subjects with looks which changed from admiring
awe, to haughty pride and supercilious power.  She had been
so eager to make their acquaintance such a little while before;
and now she owned them all! they were her humble subjects.
It seemed incredible.  She had often wished to have
just one candied violet; now she wore a whole wreath of
them.  She stood upon a chair and gazed at her reflection in
the mirror.  Yes! there were the violets, just as C. Caramel
had placed them.
  After a while she took off the wreath and held it in her
hand.  Then she made up her mind that she could eat one
of the violets and the wreath would still be large enough for
her brow.  So she took a bite, and that settled the fate of
the wreath.
  "It is mine to do with as I please," she reasoned.  "If I
find it more agreeable to eat it than to wear it, what differ-
ence would it make?  Am I not Queen of the Sweets?"
  So she devoured the whole wreath.  There was a mur-
mur of dissatisfaction from her subjects, when they saw her
do this.  But Miss Greedy turned upon them angrily.
  "What is the use of being your Queen," she cried "if I
am not to do as I please? and you, Miss Jam Tart, are the
last to have a voice in this matter.  You do not belong to
the best society anyhow.  The bon-bons only admitted you
because I happen to fancy you.  I think it will save you a
great deal of future mortification if I eat you up at once."
  So the jam tart followed the candied violets. Having once
eaten one of her subjects, Miss Greedy seemed to lose all
sense of decorum or humanity.
  Like the wild beasts whom a taste of blood infuriates, a
taste of the jam tart rendered Miss Greedy's appetite in-
satiable.  She sat down and deliberately began to devour the
remainder of her subjects.  It was in vain they cried and
begged for mercy, in vain they appealed to her better nature.
She ate them every one.
  And while she was taking her repast, a curious change
began to occur in her appearance.  Her fair skin grew sal-
low; her bright eye became dulled! and one by one her
pearly teeth broke off and decayed.  When she had finished
gormandizing she was no longer the pretty little girl I de-
scribed in the beginning of this story; but a sickly, sallow,
toothless little creature with bloodshot eyes and sunken
cheeks.  And all because she had been chosen Queen of the
  Now if you do not believe this story you must ask Uncle
Rob about it, for I tell it to you just as he told it to me.

The Beautiful Land of Nod by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: Morrill, Higgins & Co. [1892]

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