How about this for a fairytale:

Once upon a time a young magician and a young Empress hoped to marry, but her parents forbade the match. Both young people married others. But the magician, Dispacus, hot for revenge against the Empress, whom he wrongly blamed, brought up his only daughter, Tormentilla, on poisons, so that the first man she kissed would die. He knew that the Empress had a son and he planned that his daughter should be the cause of her son’s death.

The Empress, cleverer than he, knew of this and brought up her son, Amaryllus, on antidotes, so that when fate brought the young people together and inevitably made them fall in love, the first kiss was not fatal, though at first it seemed so, for Amaryllus fainted from pure joy. When he was brought home he did nearly die from the pain of being separated from his love.

Eventually the Empress relented and allowed Tormentilla to see him. Amaryllus’s happiness was so great that his mother was touched to the heart. She summoned Dispacus –long a widower as she had long be a widow– and all differences were healed. Not only did he and the Empress marry, but also her ladies-in-waiting married his hobgoblins. The prince, of course, married Tormentilla, while her faithful companion, Angelica, married his friend and squire, Gallanthus. And they all lived happily for ever after.

My four year old son, Henri, is getting rather fond of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Poisoned Kiss –and prefers listening to that rather than watching the telly. And honestly, who am I to go against him?

album cover
The Poisoned Kiss
Ralph Vaughan Williams
» buy the album @ amazon UK

Conducted by: Richard Hickox
Performed by: BBC National Orchestra of Wales