Once there was an old man who loved things, for the slightest contact with people produced in him a faint but persistent nausea. He could not remember when this distaste began, nor could he remember ever being free of it.

Velma was to rescue him from the nonlife he had learned on the flat side of his father’s belt. But he resisted her with such skill that she was finally driven out to escape the inevitable boredom produced by such a dainty life.

He thought it was at once the most fantastic and the most logical petition he had ever received. Here was an ugly little girl asking for beauty. A surge of love and understanding swept through him, but was quickly replaced by anger. Anger that he was powerless to help her.