Opal Whiteley
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The book certainly was unlike any other. The original manuscript, which Opal claimed she had kept in a hollow log, was written on a mish-mash of butcher paper, grocery bags and old envelopes. The letters were in colored pencil and crayon, left for her by "the fairies" (very likely Sadie McKibben and the Man Who Wears Grey Neckties and is Kind to Mice, both mentioned by name elsewhere in the dairy) and the capital letters ran together with no punctuation, broken only at the edge of the paper. The stories were charming tales of taking Peter Paul Rubens the pig to school, reading poems to William Shakespeare the horse, and -- even after a switching from "the mamma" for yet another mistake -- Opal's joy at simply being alive:

"I sit here on the doorstep, printing this on the wrapping paper Sadie McKibben gave me... By the step is Brave Horatius. At my feet is [a wood rat named] Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus. I hear songs -- lullaby songs of the trees. The back part of me feels a bit sore, but I am happy, listening to the twilight music of God's good world. I'm real glad I'm alive."

To a world weary and disillusioned from its first global war, this was a revelation. But along with the charming stories, odd phonetic spelling system and a syntax that read like a literal translation from another language, Opal made a further claim: that she was in fact not Opal Whiteley, but the kidnapped daughter of a French prince -- and she had been substituted for the real Opal Whiteley, who had drowned. Her "Angel Father," she said, was Henri d'Orleans, of the deposed royal family, who had died in India in 1901. Her "Angel Mother" had also died -- in a shipwreck, according to Opal's book introduction. French words, too, and acrostics spelling out the Angel Father's name, were strung throughout the book.

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