Selfish, short-tempered, unscrupulous, stubborn, and willing to do anything to get what he wants, King Ethelbert, the pint-size monarch of the nation of Portocristo, rules the way any six-year-old would—requiring his chef to build gigantic sundaes so he can eat just one bite, demanding to see Santa Claus in person, passing a law that makes him the automatic winner of all television game shows ("The King of Portocristo ran his country as a pig might an aircraft carrier," writes his court biographer). Even his good intentions end up going spectacularly wrong, as when he decides to make amends to the parents of his kingdom for a botched plan by sending each family a live alligator ("That way, parents will be able to make fashionable backpacks for their children.")
- Purposely getting himself into perilous situations in order to test his new bodyguard's reliability. Though the bodyguard manages to survive all of the mishaps, he is beat to the point of breathlessness at the end.
- Demanding gifts from "Santa Claus" by force, including a swift kick to his hindquarters.
- Stealing a gameshow contestant's prize vacation.
- Sending a nuclear missile to the United States.
- Hauling parents' children overseas and replacing them with robot clones of himself.
- Sending families live alligators.