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See You At Ten

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See You At Ten
See You At Ten cover.png
Front cover
AuthorErmina Arlette
IllustratorGlenn Heaton
GenreChildren's literature
PublisherGreen Dove
Publication date
29 October, 1977
Preceded byOld Flag, New Flag 
Followed byThe Mongoose in the Stable 

See You At Ten is a children’s book written by Rythenean author Ermina Arlette, and was published by Green Dove on 29 October 1977. Illustrations for the book were provided by Glenn Heaton, who also worked on a number of Arlette’s other stories, including; Dancing Left, Old Flag, New Flag, Cousin George, and New Blue Suit. The book is Arlette’s fifth highest selling text of all time, having sold over eight and a half million paperback copies worldwide.

The plot of the book is centred around the temperamental Lord Chamberlain of the household, who becomes increasingly infuriated whenever a new guest arrives early to a banquet. The protagonist eventually realises that they were acting irrationally and apologises to the guests, having learnt that some things do not always go as planned. When asked in interviews, Arlette often stated that she believed “adaptability” was the main moral of the story.


The setting of See You At Ten is a reference to the annual October Banquet held in Tyrnica since 1823. The character of “the Lord” is based on the position of the Tyrnican Lord Chamberlain, who is the head of the royal household and is usually in charge of organising the banquet.

The name of the King in the story is “Fred”, as Frederick is a common name within the Tyrnican royal family. It is often speculated that Arlette chose this name in honour of the nine year old Prince Frederick (now the modern day monarch of Tyrnica), however this was never confirmed by the author herself. It has been widely assumed by many literarians that due to the mention of certain modern technologies, the King in the book can not be a direct reference to any historical Frederick of Tyrnica.

The final guest in the story is the only invitee who is not a monarch, and is a president of unspecified origin. Whilst many believe that the president is a specific nod to Rythenean democracy, Arlette herself has stated that she wrote the character without any particular nationality in mind, and has said in numerous interviews that she prefers the ambiguity.


A cold day in the fall,
the king slept on a bench,
'Twas a strange sight for all,
and he reeked of a stench.

'Twas the queen who woke Fred,
with a throw of a rock,
He said “leave me for dead,”
She said “look at the clock!”

“We must get you ready,”
“There is no time to waste,”
“Come along now Freddie,”
So the King and Queen raced.

In the garden they dashed,
through the brambles and barbs,
The two stomped and they crashed,
as they ruined their garbs.

When they reached the front door,
in they came from the cold,
They were met with a roar,
and a mighty long scold.

“By my Aunt and Perende,”
“You both look a right mess,”
“Will this craze ever end?”
“Must I deal with this stress?”

“You are King and you Queen,”
“I am shocked to my core,”
“Go on forth and get clean,”
“Don’t track mud on the floor.”

Who would dare scold the King,
in his own very home?
Not his mum with her ring,
nor his dad with his tome.

He was Lord of the house,
the servant to the king,
Too busy for a spouse,
knew the halls wing by wing.

A stickler for the rules,
a clean freak at heart,
Always present near fools,
who could not be deemed smart.

He would polish and clean,
with a scowl on his face,
He was meaner than mean,
but did work with much grace.

A small speck of fine dust,
and he’d scream to the gates,
A cold cry of disgust,
the man guilty he hates.

As he went for a rest,
came a knock at the door,
“Who is that? Not a guest?”
we have not cleaned the floor.

The door swung with a squeak,
and in popped a small man,
And he spoke with a shriek,
“I’m early, and have flan!”

With a smile on his face,
and a gleam in his eyes,
They shook hands in good grace,
and admired their ties.

“Like your tie, I quite do,”
“It is blue, through and through,”
“It is fly, that is true,”
“Tell me blue, who are you?”

“I am King of the Blakes,”
“The great lord of the seas,”
“Not ponds, rivers or lakes,”
“I will do as I please.”

“I did not wish to fly,”
“So I came on my yacht,”
“Not a fan of the sky,”
“I would rather I rot.”

“Well tell me” said the Lord,
in a squeak to the King,
“Would you like room and board?”
“I will show you your wing.”

“No need” said the Blayksmen,
“I will find it myself,”
“This small house is a pen,”
“A fit house for an elf.”

So the Lord held his rage,
and a stare that could freeze,
At the house called a cage,
he said “do as you please.”

And just as he was through,
with the fun of guest one,
Came a guest number two,
and on heel he so spun.

“Hi and hey, how are you?”
“I am fine, that is true.”
“What a day, don’t you say?”
“What’s your name, know I may?”

“I am Queen of the Sands,”
“And the deserts and dunes,”
“All must heed my demands,”
“Where are all the balloons?”

“I am appalled by cars,”
“So I flew here by plane,”
“It’s out under the stars,”
“On the lawn in the rain.”

“It's a pleasure to meet,”
said the Lord with a grin,
“Come on in, let us eat,”
“Shall I pour us some gin?”

As the Lord shut the door,
with an almighty swing,
And he cursed and he swore,
as the doorbell did ring.

So he opened the door,
and looked on in despair,
And he let out a roar,
as he looked at the fair.

There were hundreds of guests,
who were all here too soon,
The Lord saw them as pests,
might as well have been June.

In they came, two by two,
a wall of disregard,
And they grew and they grew,
as they trampled the yard.

Oh the guests were his bane,
as they flocked in by pairs,
They all drove him insane,
with their crowns and their heirs.

And his face grew quite red,
as his ears blew out steam,
As the Lord he did said,
with a mighty loud scream.

“I’ve had it, I’ve had it!”
“I am cross and I’m mad!”
“At the end of my wit!”
“How I wish to be glad!”

“We said show up at ten,”
“And how could you not wait?”
“It was written in pen,”
“I’d rather you be late.”

“That is it, I must quit!”
“I’m in need of a break,”
“I give up, I admit!”
“I must say for my sake.”

“It is time that I leave,”
“With a heart quite so light,”
“You’re no longer my peeve,”
“I must bid you goodnight!”

As the Lord left the house,
a near clock did strike ten,
'Twas more loud than a mouse,
and the Lord then gasped when ...

He saw man, he saw guest,
a man who was on time,
Was well dressed, from the west,
a man who looked a dime.

The new guest drove a car,
not a plane or a boat,
“I’m no King or no Tsar,”
“I am chosen by vote.”

He said “sorry I’m late,”
“Had to stop for some gas,”
“Didn’t mean to make you wait,”
“It was more than quite crass.”

“Not to fret, not quite yet,”
the Lord said without dread,
“I am glad to have met,”
“I had just about fled.”

“Come with me to the house,”
“It is time for the bash,”
“Come on fast, it'll be grouse,”
“Let’s get there in a dash!”

In the garden they dashed,
through the brambles and barbs,
The two stomped and they crashed,
as they ruined their garbs.

With a throw of the door,
and a mighty loud smack,
The Lord burst in for more,
and he said “I am back!”

And the King was quite shocked,
as he clutched at his heart,
The chair he was sat rocked,
as he jumped with a start.

The North King took a breath,
as his hair turned to grey,
He was scared half to death,
here’s what he had to say:

“I had heard that you quit,”
“You had left from the grind,”
“You were done, you had split,”
“What made you change your mind?”

With a shake of his head,
and a laugh to himself,
Lord’s mouth opened and said,
with the glee of an elf.

“Oh my King, I was wrong,”
“I felt muddled and dazed,”
“I could burst out in song,”
“Oh may Perende be praised.”

“I have learnt a great deal,”
“Not to feel so resigned,”
“Do not bicker and squeal,”
“Let your worries behind.”

“I am sorry my friends,”
“I do feel a right fool,”
“I wish to make amends,”
“I don’t mean to be cruel.”

“That’s okay” said the King,
“We all have our bad days,”
“Find your feet with some zing,”
“And go on with your ways.”

So the banquet commenced,
to much merry and cheer,
And the Lord had then sensed,
he was with those held dear.