A Gas Engine Fairy Tale
Once upon a time there lived a young king named Joe in a huge
town by the river. His castle was old and in disrepair and the
villagers were poor and beset by villains and robbers, so he
purchased a portable castle with wheels and went to live in a
castle-park in the small town of Horsham, Pa.
While he was living there, by chance he met a beautiful young
queen named Helen from a faraway land called Minnesota. They
married shortly thereafter, finding it was much cheaper than
constantly sending messengers from country to country. Then they
moved to a sturdy castle in the small village of Spinnerstown,
In time the two had a newborn baby, whom they named Prince Tony.
This baby proved to be very peculiar, because he spent all his time
taking his toys apart. The king and queen were hard pressed to know
what to do with him, until one of their subjects said, ‘There
is a wonderful kingdom known as Rough and Tumble that has huge
displays of mechanical engines. Perhaps that might delight the
Being at their wits end to amuse this small prince, they took
the advice of their subject and made the long journey to Rough and
Tumble. And in fact, young Prince Tony was so delighted by the
moving engines that he observed there, that he demanded that the
king and queen buy him his own so that he could display it, too. He
worked hard on his small Briggs & Stratton and, in time,
proudly showed it at their annual fest.
After a few years of observing these interesting machines as
Prince Tony displayed his, the King and Queen also caught this
strange fever and purchased a machine of their own. They proudly
displayed their Fairbanks-Morse along with Prince Tony’s Briggs
Then one day King Joe said to Queen Helen, ‘This is not big
or grand enough for a king. I require something more grand than
He hunted high and low for a suitable engine with no success. He
had acquired several other engines, but nothing with the grandeur
that he desired. Finally, one of his trusted friends and advisors
said, ‘King Joe, I have just the thing for you. It is big and
not common. It is an engine suitable for a king.’
King Joe went to look at this engine and fell in love with it.
It was old and rusty, but still big and beautiful. It was called a
Galloway Masterpiece Six. He bought it, and brought it back to his
After studying it, he said to the queen, ‘The paint is worn
and flaking. It needs to be removed and have a new coat of
The queen, having more time than her royal spouse, decided that
she could remove the paint, which she did. The king was pleased,
but said, ‘You have more time than me, since I am busy
governing my kingdom. You are interested in things artistic and
historical, whereas I am at my best working on mechanical things.
How about if you paint this engine?’
The queen agreed but really didn’t known how to go about
this project. She used a paintbrush and painted it a bright
Then she presented it to the king. He shook his head and said,
‘Oh, no! This will not do! This is not good enough for a king
and his kingly engine!’
So, she went out with her paint stripper and took off all the
paint. Once again she pondered the situation and then went into the
village and came back with a spray can of red paint.
She worked very hard on the engine and then called King Joe to
inspect it. Once again King Joe said, ‘Oh, no! This will not
do! This is not good enough for a king and his royal
By this time the queen had another baby, Prince Jason. She was
busy taking care of the two princes, and King Joe was very busy
overseeing his kingdom and making sure that everything was in order
and working. He spent long hours at his kingly tasks, and the old
engine sat forgotten in a corner of the royal barn.
Many years passed. The King and Queen grew older, and more
involved in their royal duties. The two princes grew older, too,
into young men. But the royal family still made time to return to
Rough and Tumble each year. This was a place where they could
forget their royal duties and relax and enjoy the fabulous sights.
Prince Tony and King Joe were still pleased by the mechanical
workings of these strange engines, and Queen Helen and Prince Jason
were enamoured by the historical and artistic aspects of them.
By this time Prince Tony had married his own princess, Melanie,
and they were bringing another little prince, Zach, to Rough and
King Joe had suffered two major health problems and Queen Helen
determined that he had to slow down. But he continued to work hard,
and became grumpy as a result. The two princes lovingly called him,
‘King-Pain-In-The-Butt’ because he always found jobs for
them to do.
Then, after all these years, King Joe and Queen Helen looked
forward to their 25th wedding anniversary. Queen Helen wanted to
give King Joe a gift befitting a king, and asked her children for
ideas, having none herself.
Prince Tony came up with the solution. ‘Queen Mother,’
he said. ‘How about if I paint the old Galloway engine which
has been gathering cobwebs in the back of the barn?’
Queen Helen thought that was a marvelous idea, knowing that
Prince Tony was adept with a paint sprayer, something which she
could never do. ‘That is a wonderful idea! He will be so
surprised!’ So Prince Tony secretly painted the engine and the
royal family presented it to King Joe on their anniversary.
King Joe was delighted. But he wished the big engine to be
totally completed, with the gold pinstriping that befitted a royal
engine. Prince Tony and Queen Helen scratched their heads and
admitted that this was something they could not do. The engine
returned to its place in the barn.
The next year, at almost precisely the same time as their
anniversary, King Joe rushed home from his duties one day and
exclaimed to his wife, ‘I have finally found a gifted craftsman
who can trim my engine with the gilded detail that I
The queen and princes were excited, too, and loaded up the huge
engine, traveling many miles to this craftsman to have it
completed. When the message came that the engine was complete, they
made the long journey to retrieve it once more. They were thrilled
with the beautiful looks of the engine and brought it home. This
became the 26th anniversary present.
King Joe and his family took the engine proudly to Rough and
Tumble to exhibit it. During the intervening years, the king had
also gotten two other Galloways of different styles, which he now
determined he wanted to finish, too.
The king is no longer grumpy, because he has a royal engine to
show, and two more to work on. He also has made a woodshop in the
royal barn where he can build elegant cases and skids for his
engines. He has found that in his royal old age it is much better
to slow down and enjoy himself working on what he pleases, and to
leave the governing of the kingdom to his sons. He is still busy,
but tries to make time for things he enjoys.
The queen and royal princes now have their plans for the 30th
anniversary taken care of. They will paint and have the two other
Galloways pinstriped for the occasion, and know that will make good
King Joe very happy indeed.
But Queen Helen is already looking around for a Handy Andy that
will not deplete the coffers of the castle for their 50th
anniversary party (if she can get one sooner, good King Joe will
have a very royal celebration, indeed).
This article was submitted by Michael Murphy as a surprise
to thank Joe and Helen for all they have done to help him in the
old engine hobby. Contact Joe and Helen Jacobes at: 2155
Spinnerstown Road, Quakertown, PA 18951. Contact Michael Murphy at:
270 Shatley Road, Box 13, Crumpler, NC 28617.
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