Terry Tait is a famous child actor in Hollywood. His overbearing mother will do anything to improve his career, and has become used to getting things her way. So when she sees that the king of Slovaria has a son around Terry’s age, and that they’re in London, she takes Terry to London. That the king will meet with her is unquestioned, at least in her mind. But even after booking into the same hotel as the king she finds that not even film stars can order around royalty, while Terry just wants to be left alone with a bell boy he’s befriended.
The story is light-hearted and fun. His mother is one-dimensional but entertainingly so, and when Terry makes friends with a bell boy their subsequent adventures remind me a good deal of Enid Blyton.
Let’s Play King by Sinclair Lewis
Availability: Free online in Australia, print otherwise
Word count: 26,900
First published: Serialised in Cosmopolitan in 1930-1931
Where to find it: If you live in Australia or a country with similar copyright expiry dates, you can find the story free online at Gutenberg Australia here.
Collected Short Stories, 1935
Selected Short Stories of Sinclair Lewis, 1937, Doubleday Doran
Adapted into a German film ‘Majestat auf Abwegen’ (1958)