Judy, Winny and Alfie


Mary Carmen’s novel Judy, Winny and Alfie describes what might have happened if King Æthelwulf of Wessex had immigrated to the planet of Warbut in the twenty-third century.

By 2207 the former nobleentities of Europe were allowed to keep their titles but very little else. Warbut’s King Hutarfe, still popular with his subjects, has a number of unoccupied islands on his planet, and he invites a number of penniless Earthling kings, queens, dukes, duchesses, earls, and countesses to come to live there if they can find ten paying friends to join them.

King Æthelwulf, Wulfy, divorces his wife Osburga and prepares to leave for a better life. Osburga, with many more friends than Wulfy could ever muster, finds over twenty paying customers and leaves for Warbut in the best cabin on Hutarfe’s spacecraft, taking the couple’s six children, including the six-year-old Alfred.

In France King Hutarfe’s invitation is also kindly received. King Charles Baldwin leaves his life of penury, taking his children, including his daughter Judith, then eleven years old. Audacer, a wealthy merchant of silks and woolens, comes with King Charles as one of his ten friends, and he brings his twenty-year-old son, Winston.

In spite of the great attraction between Judith and Winston, King Charles insists his daughter marry the Wessex king, a man who celebrated his sixtieth birthday on the trip to Warbut. This makes Judith the stepmother of young Alfred, who clings to his own mother, the divorced and now untitled Osburga.

Warbut is full of problems for the travelers, and not all of those troubles were brought from Earth. The Warbut natives on a neighboring island lust for the property their king has given to the newcomers, and they invade the Earthlings’ island with some regularity. It is Alfie who becomes the great leader after years of conflict.

Sample Chapters

Hutarfe’s Letter from Chapter 1

“Dear Sir,” Hutarfe wrote, “I can offer you a free home here with me. I have eighty acres waiting for you. If you bring ten friends who will buy acreage here, I will guarantee free passage for you and your family, up to six members, on my own spacecraft. If you cannot find any friends, I will charge you only a reasonable amount for the trip but the acreage will still be free.

“Don’t worry about exerting yourself with farming. We have robots that do everything for you. Your only concern here would be to pay a modest ten percent to me of all your income. For this amount, I will provide fresh air, a pretty good road to your door, clean water, and universe-class power and communications systems. I will also put a modest home on your land, but you certainly will want to build a finer residence for yourself and your family.

“I ask only that you behave yourself while you are in my craft and on my land. No murder, no adultery, no incest, no larceny, and no other goings-on that would bring disrepute to an entity of your impeccable background.

“What do you say?

“Love, Hutarfe and Mastila.”

Hutarfe had included Mastila’s name only because he felt the former duchesses and countess would appreciate some token showing equality of the sexes, even though that was certainly not the custom on Warbut.

Chapter II

Osberga opened all mail coming through the Universal Message Service. Wulfy, her husband, said he was too busy, but he also was too careless with important correspondence. In early 2207 Wulfy was pushing sixty, and already he had started to forget things he had agreed to remember, such as his marriage vows.

The letter from King Hutarfe and Queen Mastila was placed at the top of the stack of correspondence for review, and Osberga started to consider what she would say to Wulfy about the offer.

The situation for Wulfy and Osberga was getting more difficult with each passing year. Nobody wanted either of them to open a flower show these days, even though Wulfy was at the top of the accession list should another Restoration come about. The gratuity for opening a flower show always paid just enough for them to find appropriate clothes for the next engagement, but the only unworn clothes in the closet were so out of style that it was a relief that no such duty was required. Furthermore, Wulfy had developed a terrible pot on his belly, and the seams of his best suits had to be let out every six months.

Perhaps, she thought, giving everything up for a new start was the best plan. King Hutarfe had come to visit Earth just four years before, and she had been able to shake his hand. All those entities from Warbut were tall and skinny and dark, but you could get used to stretching your neck to look up at them. And, eighty acres certainly sounded like a massive spread after over a century of selling off one piece of land after another just to keep body and soul together.

It would be best to put a happy face forward when discussing this letter with Wulfy.

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