Tale for celiac chilldren

In a tiny little kingdom not very far from here lived gnomes...

Not long ago in a tiny little kingdom not very far from here lived gnomes, fairies and elves. They spent their time playing and dancing cheerfully in their beautiful kingdom made of flowers, trees and clouds. Perhaps they are still there today.

The story I am about to tell you is a true story and if you are patient…

One day the little kingdom woke up all upside down. The fairy queen’s daughter was sick: she had awful tummy aches and her face was full of tiny little red spots. The queen had tried almost everything but Maia, her daughter, would not recover.

The little princess was ... with all those red spots, she did not look like a princess any longer...desperate: she could not go to balls anymore… and she simply adored to dance! She could not join the banquets the chefs prepared… and she had always done them great honour. What was worse, though, was that, with all those red spots, she did not look like a princess any longer!

“I want to recover! I want these red spots to go away at once!” Maia would yell. On a very sad day she made up her mind: “ I will not go out until I get well again!”

Weeks went by, as well as months and years, but nobody saw her ever again. Winds blew the news around and birds chirped it away. The tiny little kingdom grew sadder and sadder.

As soon as the news reached the king of the gnomes, he sent his ... he sent his personal doctor, Dr. Smallman, to visit the fairy princess...personal doctor, Dr. Smallman, to visit the fairy princess.
Dr. Smallman set out for the long journey. He sailed on seven seas, climbed ten mountains, rode through nine hills and at the end finally arrived at the fairy queen’s castle. He examined the princess and stated: “If you do as I tell you, Your Majesty, the princess will recover pretty soon. She will only have to follow a special diet. Very shortly she will feel well and her pretty face will shine again in all her beauty, even more than before”.
The doctor produced a feather, dipped it into invisible ink and began to write on the smallest piece of paper ever seen. He kept writing and writing and the more he wrote, the longer the paper grew. When he finally finished, the paper had unravelled all through the castle, as far as the ballroom.
... the princess started the special diet...Afterwards he went to the kitchens and spoke to the chefs. The princess started the special diet at once and, although slowly, she recovered completely

Even without aches and spots though, Maia was not happy. “Eating different food MAKES ME NO princess, MAKES ME NO special person, just a sick one!” she would repeat to everybody.
The fairy queen did not know what to do and summoned Dr. Smallman. Nobody ever found out what he secretly told her.

The following day the queen proclaimed that a huge party was being arranged, to which all the kingdom was invited. ... although unwillingly, Maia put on the wonderful dress...Although unwillingly, Maia put on the wonderful dress the queen had had made and went to the party, shining with beauty.
But she was sad and everybody could see it.
A bugle-blast and the banquet started. Maia was served. Wonderful courses, heavenly-smelling dishes, also beautifully decorated, were brought to her over and over again.
Nobody had ever seen such delicious food. And so many different courses! All guests were stupefied and the murmur soon spread: “What regal food!”, “Never seen anything like it before…”, “What a nice smell!” and “ Certainly Maia eats like a queen!”

... like a princess!The princess could not believe it and slowly began to smile, happy to be so SPECIAL, happy to be a REAL PRINCESS!

Since that day, that is why, whenever a girl eats special food, it is said that:“She eats like a princess!”


Written by Cristina Casagrande
Illustrated by Elisa Bay
Published on Dienneti courtesy of the author©
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited

Read previous tale: "Grattugina, la bambina speciale"

Cristina Casagrande wrote this didactic fairy tale for children who, for one reason or another, are compelled to hold on a special diet (be it food intolerant children or food allergic children). It was written to help them overcome the unpleasant feelings a different diet can give.
Maia, a True princess, has to give up balls and all entertainment due to the sudden blistering skin manifestation of a mysterious intolerance. It will take her many years before getting a proper diagnosis. But this won’t be the end of her sufferings! Compelled to follow a special diet, she will start regarding herself as a sick person. Maia will get through this feeling only thanks to Dr. Smallman’s help and the food the main chef will start preparing especially for her! The new food, although different from the others’, will make her feel “special”, cared for and loved, even admired. What was “different” will fetch people’s attention and, consequently, a feeling of “importance”, a kind of compensation.
The tale succeeds in moving the focus from the “homogeneous” to the “nonhomogeneous” according to a process which is similar to the Copernican revolution. Moreover, it tries to show that every situation may have some benefits: “Apart from the fact that I do not eat like other people, the situation has some advantages, doesn’t it?”


Cristina Casagrande has a degree in foreign languages and literature. She is a teacher of English and has a specialization in special education, that is in teaching to young people with cognitive and behavioural disorders. She firmly believes that quality stories about nutrition can help all children in their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, but also both food intolerant children and food allergic children deal with the problems a different diet can give. Two of her previous tales have been published by AIC, the Italian Celiac Association, and are used in classes with celiac children in nursery and elementary schools. All of her tales focus on the idea of “speciality” and try to value all differences. She has two children, Francesco (10) and Eleonora (7) who is celiac.

Contact Cristina Casagrande


Elisa Bay is the young artist who did the drawings. She lives in Ravenna and attends ISIA, the design school placed in Faenza. She has recently been to London, where she has attended a course for “Character animation” at Central St. Martin College of Art and Design and she’s going to enrol the International Comics School soon.
She would like either to work in the comics field, or to illustrate children books. She is also very much interested in graphics, web design, animation, and in the use of 3D software.

Contact Elisa Bay

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