Majesteit, uw ontbijt
Fantastic stories, real life
King Donald’s love for Queen Rosemonde is deathless - even though everyone says that Queen Rosemonde is dead. The king is sure that she isn’t. She has only disappeared thanks to some evil spell. He just goes on waiting for her, even though his knights and councillors keep urging him into a second marriage. ‘I shall not remarry, Rosemonde before I have got you back. And then… I’ll marry you again.’ That the king can still talk to Rosemonde is due to the fact that he has found a replacement for her: her pillow, on which he has placed a crown. The king shows the power that imagination can engender.
The story of King Donald and his longing for Rosemonde is the framework for a series of bizarre fairy tales. Each chapter contains a peculiar story, for example the tale of a woman who always stays young, beautiful and desirable, although she herself would rather be old and fat, of the monster that eats virgins and of the knight who falls in love with a woman he is supposed to take to the king, of the princess who has to marry a whale, the singer who spent some wild nights visiting Venus’s grotto - Sjoerd Kuyper collects sagas, myths and legends from everywhere and fits these into the story of King Donald.
Majesteit, Uw ontbijt is eloquently, almost sensually narrated. Kuyper enjoys his own and other people’s fantasies and the reader shares his pleasure. The idea of connecting the stories to characters whom we meet again and again, such as King Donald, his daughter Iris, Sir Oscar and the disappeared Rosemonde, makes the adventures of the fairy tale characters much more gripping. Any other princess could be forced to marry a whale, but not Iris! We couldn’t bear it if the king had to tell the pillow queen Rosemonde that Iris had for centuries been the prisoner of a whale.
Kuyper does not mince his words and tells the fairy tales with the toughness which belongs to fairy tales and folk stories: people are beheaded, people are explicitly making love, there grief, desire, lust and passionate love - the emotions are certainly not reduced to child-size, they are joyously intense. For a whole book long, for twenty-five years, King Donald waits for his Rosemonde and all the time he’s telling stories. Fantastic stories which nevertheless are about real life. Because everything is real if it is told well.
By Marjoleine de Vos