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The King is Dead, Long Live the King

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The King is Dead, Long Live the King by Mary Coleridge (1861-1907) has the simple directness of a fairy tale, albeit one which is run through with cynical irony.

A king on his deathbed is granted one hour after death in which he may return to his kingdom. If during that hour, he finds three people who would wish him alive again, then he can indeed come back to life. The hour is spent learning some hard truths, uncovering false friends and finding surprising support where he least expects it. The ending includes a bitter twist.

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