A Day in the Land of Zod

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Prince Eric was a big prince trapped in a small body. He was born very small and didn't grow at all until he was two. When he finally got to the age of twenty he was only five feet tall and he had stopped growing. His parents and the people of their kingdom were all taller than six foot, so he thought that he was a midget and was very unhappy with his short stature. Then one day everything changed. It was a normal day in the land of Zod. The sun was shining brightly and a cool, refreshing breeze was blowing through the countryside. Prince Eric was out for his daily walk through the forest listening to the birds chirping and watching the squirrels play hide-and-seek in the fallen leaves. Sitting on a log and dreaming about being tall, Eric failed to notice that it was growing late until he was jolted from his daydream by a sudden squeal from one of the squirrels. Looking up, Eric could see that the sun was setting and he knew that if he did not hurry home he would be late for supper, which meant that he would have extra chores and would go without supper that night. Reluctantly he got up to leave and was starting back to his horse, when he heard the most beautiful singing he had ever heard. He crept back through the trees until he came to a small clearing. Peering out from behind a bush, he saw a lovely maiden petting a small rabbit and singing it to sleep. Prince Eric had never heard singing like it before and it made him happy to realize that the singing was coming from a person who was about as tall as he was. In the kingdom of Zod, Prince Eric had been taught to sing by his teacher, who, amazed at his excellent voice, had been training him to use it to its full capacity. So when he recognized the song that the maiden was singing he joined her singing in perfect harmony. As soon as the song ended, Prince Eric stepped out into the clearing and asked the maiden's name: “My name is Rosalia” said the girl, “What is your name?” Prince Eric told her and they started walking and talking about music together. When they reached the edge of the forest they saw a gorgeous sunset of red, pink and gold, glowing on the horizon. So they sat down and watched the sky until the sun went down. Quickly Prince Eric stood up and told Rosalia that he had to hurry home, but that he would meet her in the clearing the next afternoon. Biding Rosalia farewell, Eric ran for his horse with his mind spinning and his heart inside him leaping with joy . Upon arriving home, Prince Eric's supper was refused him and he was given the task of cleaning the stables and scrubbing the banisters as punishment for his late arrival, but he did not mind at all. With feet as light as feathers, he cleaned the stables and scrubbed the banisters until they shone, singing all the while. That night Prince Eric could not get to sleep. He lay in bed tossing and turning and thinking about Rosalia. The next morning he woke up bright and early to birds chirping happily outside his window, he threw off his covers and jumped out of his bed ready to start a new day. All morning Prince Eric daydreamed about Rosalia and when the afternoon came, he was so exited about seeing her that he could hardly sit still through the last three minutes of his art class, which resulted in a very messy painting and a frustrated teacher, but Eric could not have cared less. When he reached the clearing, Rosalia was not there yet, so he sat down on a log to wait. As the minutes dragged by and he got more and more anxious, worrisome thoughts started popping up in his head, “Maybe she was late or maybe she had forgotten, maybe she didn't want to see him, maybe she was lost or hurt somewhere.” With that last thought Prince Eric ran to his horse and started riding through the forest calling for Rosalia and trying to quiet the thought that maybe Rosalia didn't like him and had stayed away on purpose. Exhausted and worried, he returned home without having found Rosalia and fell on his bed and slept a troubled sleep, with dreams about Rosalia calling for help from the bottom of a pit or lying in the woods with a broken ankle all alone.
Every afternoon that week Prince Eric searched the woods calling for Rosalia. By Friday he had almost given up hope of finding her and was on his way home when he saw a thin stream of smoke wafting through the trees in the distance. Turning his horse,he rode rapidly in the direction of the smoke. As he drew near, he saw a small cabin in the woods and he pressed his horse to a faster pace. Drawing up in front of the cabin Prince Eric quickly dismounted and ran to knock on the door; as he reached it, the door it suddenly burst open and Rosalia rushed out with a tear stained face and hugged a startled, but happy Prince Eric.
When she had calmed down and the tears of sorrow and joy had stopped, Rosalia explained to Eric that she had not come to the clearing because that morning her grandma had woken up sick and she had stayed to try to help her get better,but she had only gotten worse and there was no doctor anywhere nearby. Prince Eric followed Rosalia inside and saw an old lady lying on a bed made of neatly woven tree branches, with beads of sweat standing out on her wrinkled forehead. Bending down , he gently lifted the sick woman and carried her out to his horse. Telling Rosalia to get on the horse, he handed her grandmother up to her and then got up in front so that the old lady would not fall off. He made sure that Rosalia was holding her grandmother in the saddle and then slowly started off for the castle.
As soon as he got there Prince Eric dismounted and lifting the old woman carefully off the horse, he carried her to the doctor and laid her down on a cot. The doctor, seeing the sick woman, told Prince Eric the price of treating her and immediately set to work. Reaching into his pocket Prince Eric pulled out a handful of gold coins and placing them on the table he turned and went outside to tell Rosalia that her grandma was in good hands and that the doctor said she would be better in a few days.
The next week Rosalia's grandmother had completely recovered and was living in the palace in a special room that Eric had fixed up for her and Rosalia. Bright and early on a beautiful Sunday morning, the people of Zod gathered for the wedding of Prince Eric and Rosalia,who were the shortest people with the biggest hearts in Zod, while the King and Queen with faces aglow sat in their places of honor next to Rosalia's healthy, cheerful grandmother and listened to the beautiful song being sung by the happy bride and groom.





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