The Princess

October 1, 2011
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She had wanted to go to the ball, wanted to dress in a splendid frock and dance the night away. In fact, she had wanted to go so badly that she had cried like a spoiled child in the midst of a temper tantrum! She felt surely ashamed of it now, but what was done couldn't be helped. The Fairy had come, hearing her tears, and helped her, giving her a marvelous dress of deep plum purple and weaving her hair with pearls and diamonds. (Afterwards her head had felt strange and heavy; there were so many bobby pins in her hair.) But she forgot her top-heaviness when she looked in the mirror, and, instead of seeing the slight, dark-haired elf that usually appeared, she saw a lovely princess, in a gown who showed decolletage she didn't know she possessed!

Impatient, excited, and surely ready for the best night of her life, she breathlessly waited for the Fairy to give her leave to go, and when it happened, she took off into the night, her carriage thundering, she was giddy with pleasure. But with pleasure comes price, a price that the young, rash youth, hasty to be on their way, usually pay. The Fairy had given her two conditions, conditions that the young princess-to-be didn't attentively listen to. The first said that she was to be back by midnight, and, the second, that she wouldn't take off the feathery mask given to her. And as she was so eager to go, she readily agreed, without realizing that it was not, in fact, a masquerade.

Oh, how oddly the others looked at her! Her cheeks had burned behind the mask's wispy fringe, and they burned still, in the memory. But despite her insubstantial veil, she had an air of mystery about her, so they all chattered about her, about the beautiful anonymous princess that no one knew, so the Prince--imagine, the Prince, himself-- had danced with her. The two cut a fine figure, whirling around in the centre of the floor. He whispered to her, whispered how he admired her fine, dark eyes, her lustrous hair, her alluring smile. And she was so flattered by his attentions, she had almost obeyed him when he begged she take off her mask so he could look upon the rest of her face. But the Fairy's warnings rung out in her head, and the girlish independent had refused, and ran out quickly, as it was but a quarter to twelve. And the callow, willow-branch beauty expected him to run out after her as she scurried into the night, to scourge the kingdom until he found her, his one true love with the dark eyes and lustrous hair and alluring smile.

But he hadn't come chasing after the masked princess, and instead, had stayed with the exotic beauties of the court. She had sighed all the way home, she so greatly thought this night would be her night! Her disappointment hit her, her grand dreams and schemes fleeing, and all she had was the fine, feathered mask and a sprinkling of sparkling fairy dust intermixed with the ashes.

Our little princess sat down heavily in a kitchen chair, rubbing her sore feet. She gazed around the room, the dirty hearth and stove, an old pot in the corner. It all seemed so dull compared to the Palace, where the gold gleamed and the whole world was at her fingertips, it had all went by in a swirl of color and sound, so fast. But slowly, slowly, she began to smile. She beamed and got to her feet and danced about the humble scullery like the lightest of the Fairies, with a grace at odds with her surroundings. And when she stopped, her eyes shining, she whispered something into the night air, the moral of her adventure--a secret smile caught in between her slender fingers, and with this wisdom, she kept close to her heart always.

"This is my Palace, and I am it's Princess."





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