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Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Lithuania, there lived a royal family in a regal castle. King Humphrey reigned over his kingdom well, inspiring, yet not demanding, love and respect from his citizens. The bumbling king was mild mannered and sweet, while his wife, Queen Isabella, was quite the opposite. Her fierce nature and willfulness had once drawn her to the king, but now was a different story. The king ruled only as a figurehead, following all wishes of the king. The royal couple had two daughters, Princesses Rosemary Aurora and Eleanor Andromeda.
Princess Rosemary was the “perfect princess” and Queen Isabella’s “golden angel.” It wasn’t difficult to see why, either, considering Princess Rosemary’s looks. She was in possession of the most beautiful hair; it flowed to her waist with smooth curls and ripples, and it was the hue of flaxen gold that looked as though Rumpelstilsken had just woven it. Her eyes were sky blue, and her waist was so tiny that she didn’t need a corset, and her breasts were round and full, completing Princess Rosemary’s image of a full grown women, a queen. The perfect princess had found a sweet, handsome, and doting husband easily, and she had already married and moved into the Kingdom of Algebraea, where she was happily wed to Prince Henry. When Henry’s parents became too old to rule, Henry and Rosemary would become Algebraea’s next king and queen. This excited Queen Isabella greatly, but to Henry and Rosemary, it was only an added bonus. The couple had married for lust, and they were expecting their first child in September, in only four month’s time.
Princess Eleanor Andromeda couldn’t have been more different from her goddess of a sister. She had bouncy, wavy brown hair, falling to the middle of her back, and it turned red in the summer. Her skin was tanned to the tawny color of a newborn fawn from all of the time spent in the sun, and Eleanor had thick, strong legs and muscular arms. Her eyes seemed to change color with everything she wore, becoming a sparkling green with one gown and a deep brown with another gown. Eleanor had never needed blush, as her cheeks were always a rosy pink, and she rejected all makeup, saying it was too much like paste. Even Princess Eleanor Andromeda’s name could not compare to her sister’s. In one of the books Eleanor red, she discovered that “Andromeda” was the name of a poor princess who was punished because her mother was too vain. This seemed to fit Princess Eleanor’s life perfectly.
It was the first morning in May, and Princess Eleanor rose early, so she could sneak out of the castle unnoticed, off for a day of relaxation spent daydreaming in the woods, frolicking in the meadows, or talking to the frogs at the pond. Sighing with contentment, Eleanor swept the fireplace, stacked the tinder, and lit her own fire. Then she splashed cool water on her face from a pail by the fire, and dressed in comfortable clothes. After slipping out of her nightclothes, Eleanor pulled on a man’s breeches and riding shirt, then topped it with one of her thin, old gowns, the one unraveling at the hem. She slipped on a pair of stable work boots, and then she caught her hair back in a loose ribbon. As she was a about to leave her room for the safety of the outdoors, a young servant girl stopped her. “Princess Eleanor Andromeda, miss, I…I…I am so sorry you lit your own fire while I was sleeping like a lazy sack of bones, a good for nothing wench, I…”
Eleanor smiled thinly, yet warmly, with the sincere smile of someone who is losing their patience. “Please, Gretta, don’t call me â€˜Princess Eleanor Andromeda’ anymore,” she mimicked in a high voice. “Honestly, for the thousandth time, I would like very much to be called â€˜Ella’.”
“But, but Prin-“ Gretta stammered.
“No. No Princess this, Princess that. Just Ella,” Ella smiled at Gretta. “Please, Gretta?”
“But if Her Royal Highness the Beautiful QueenIsabella finds out, then she’ll be furious.”
“Well then, my mother is not going to find out, is she, Gretta? Oh, and calling me Ella from now on is an order.” Ella started walking toward the door, then she mumbled as an afterthought “and you’re so good at following orders.’
“Princess- I mean, Ella, where are you going at this ungodly hour?” asked Gretta, worry evident in her voice.
“Out, Gretta, I’m going out.”
“But, but Her Royal Highness the Good Queen Isabella said that you are not to leave this castle. You do remember, don’t you?” pleaded Gretta. “Why, just yesterday, Her Royal Highness the Noble Queen Isabella was saying-“
“Honestly, Gretta, do you have to listen to everything she says? My mother may mean well at times, but honestly, she’s full of hot air.” Gretta gasped, her mouth in a small oh, her eyes wide. “Oh, Gretta, I’m sorry, it is â€˜regal, beautiful hot air’ that Her Royal Highness the Boring Queen Isabella is full of.” Here Ella paused, imploring Gretta to understand. “Now Gretta, I’m going out. And don’t worry, I’ll be safe. Now if the queen comes in, tell her you lit my fire and went to fetch my water, and when you had come back from lighting the fire, I was gone. You may use any awful adjetives you like to describe me, just do not tell the truth, for once in your life.” And with this, Ella turned on her heel and hurried down the stairs, not even bothering to lift her skirts daintily as she went.
The first stop before the outside was the kitchen, where she grabbed a carrot and a lump of sugar for Joshua, her noble steed, as she called him. She’s raised Joshua from a calf, and she loved him to pieces. Skipping a little on her way to the stable, Ella imagined what the day had in store for her. She was envisioning a peaceful ride down the hill, then a canter to the meadows, a brisk pace through the woods, and then a picnic by the pond. She’d left her picnic basket and her book of mythology in the stables, under the careful watch of Daniel, the nine year old stable boy. They had become friends over the years, and they kept each other’s secrets. As Ella saddled and brushed Joshua, she chatted with Daniel. Then Ella set off for a day with no dress fittings, no lessons, no needlepoint, and no stiffly formal suitor dinners. Since Ella was nearly sixteen, she was expected to be married soon. But she knew that she wouldn’t marry until she found true love, like Rosemary had. And although her mother was all over her to marry and “produce heirs,” Ella had decided that she wasn’t interested in producing any heirs. Sure, she wanted children someday, but why force them to become rulers someday. Wasn’t that too much pressure for a child to face? However, with only four months left until Ella turned sixteen of September first, Queen Isabella was getting desperate. So far, Ella had been able to thwart most of her mother’s plans to find her a suitor. Ella wouldn’t pose for the royal portraits, stand still for the gown fittings, learn proper etiquette, or stich samplers to send to prospective suitors. Ella had overheard the maids gossiping that this was just as well, because with one look at one of Ella’s samplers, no one would want to marry her anyway. Still, Ella wouldn’t risk anything. In the event that a suitor was either dim enough to visit the castle, or just plain desperate, Ella had been prepared. She had worn her worst gowns, eaten even more sloppily than usual, and behaved with obnoxiously poor manners that she even repulsed the waiters. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ella spread atrocious rumors about herself. Many of the maids questioned Ella’s desire for marriage, much to her delight. Sadly, Ella’s unmarried state could not last forever, the young princess mused. Every time Ella scared away one of her suitors, Queen Isabella would order Ella to stand for more fittings, sit stiffly with makeup caked on her face for numerous portraits, and stitch sampler after sampler, all to no avail. Ella was roused out of her daydream when Joshua led her to the pond’s edge. Ella was aware that she’d be safe for the day here, because this was a one hour trip by horseback, nearly into the neighboring kingdom of Gargantua. In fact, neither of the kingdoms knew whose land this was, so no soldiers from either kingdom were likely to venture this far.
Sighing with contentment, Ella hopped off Joshua, pulled off her gown, and redid the ribbon in her hair, to get all of the hair off of her neck. Then she removed Joshua’s harness and brushed him again, finally tossing him another carrot and spreading out her picnic blanket. However, the water seemed to call to her on this hot day, so Ella stripped down and dove in. She loved the freedom she had out in the wild country, with no Queen to tell her what to do and precisely how to do it. Then Ella wondered if there was a proper way to skinny-dip, which was such a funny thought that it made Ella laugh out loud. She swam with the frogs and the turtles, and even a few birds and a snake set down to join her. Ella’s favorite were the frogs; big bullfrogs of all kinds were their full, throaty rumble, more like a laugh than anything else. They could catch insects as they pleased and swim free, with no heavy gowns to pull them down. Ella sighed at the life of a bullfrog. When Ella finally felt a rumble in her belly, she swam to the edge of the pond, toweled herself off with her gown, and dressed again in Daniel’s borrowed clothes, and set down to eat. She soon realized that she was forgetting something, so she skipped to the edge of the pond, and grabbed the big bull frog, gave him a kiss, and sat him down next to her, offering him all sorts of tidbits. Then suddenly, Ella heard a rustle in the bushes. She was immediately on guard, fearing that it was Lithuanian soldiers, coming to drag her home. However, it was only an old woman, poor and tired looking. Ella’s heart immediately went out to the woman.
“Hello,” said Ella, hoping that the woman wouldn’t mind.
“Oh, my,” the woman murmured. “I didn’t realize that anyone lived out here.”
“Oh, me, live here? No, I don’t,” Ella muttered forlornly, “though I would love to. Oh, the freedom.”
“Yes, the freedom, sometimes too much of it. Why, those awful nobles, fighting on and on. Why can’t Lithuania and Gargantua just end this awful war? It destroys lives.”
“Dear me, I’m awful sorry,” Ella apologized. “You do look as though you haven’t eaten in days. Would you like a morsel?”
“Well, I wouldn’t want to be of any inconvenience, but if you say so, then of course!” the woman exclaimed, unable to refuse the prospect of food. “I’m Bethany, and you?”
“Ah, Ella.” And so the picnic went on, a frog, an escapee princess, and a poor old woman; an odder yet more delightful picnic was never seen.
Hours later, after all of the food was gone, the picnic goers sat there, talking into the dusk. Finally, Ella said that she must be getting home, but not before she had persuaded the woman to keep her old gown and all of the picnic supplies. As Ella kissed the frog goodnight, she murmured to the frog, “I shall name you Sam. See you later, Sam!” And then Ella departed for her castle. On the long, pleasant ride home, Ella contemplated a story from one of her many mythology books. In this story, a haughty princess lies to a frog, and is forced by her parents to take the frog into her home. After a few days, she learns to like this frog, and she kisses him on the lips. To her surprise, the frog became a handsome prince, and they were happily married. Ella couldn’t have been more disappointed with the story. Who would want their perfectly good frog friend to turn into a prince, a future king? Disgusted with the very notion, Ella dismounted Joshua, gave him the last of the sugar cubes, and brushed him, before kissing him and Daniel goodnight and heading to the castle. The moment she walked in the door, servants surrounded her and escorted her to the throne room, where King Humphrey and Queen Isabella were waiting impatiently.
“Where, where on Earth have you been, Princess Eleanor Andromeda?” Queen Isabella demanded.
“I was, uh, out,” Ella muttered, “out away from you,” she added under her breath.
“Princess Eleanor Andromeda, I think that we, as your King and Queen, deserve to know where you have been. This Instant!”
“You should demand to know as my parents, because you care, not because you are insolent royalty!” Ella spat. Instantly, she knew she had gone too far.
â€˜That is quite enough from you, young princess. You shall have to contact more suitors, so you shall sit for three portraits, get three new gowns fitted, and stitch three more samplets-No, make that three more tapestries,” demanded Queen Isabella. Seeing a calm look on Ella’s face, she added, “Oh, and one more thing, Princess Eleanor Andromeda. Seeing as how your birthday is in four months exactly, I will expect you to have a husband chosen in three,” ordered the queen with a smug smile.
“And if I don’t?” Ella shot back.
“And in the case that you fail, you will be wed to a suitor of my choice. Is that final?” Ella nodded her head. “Is it?” the queen barked?
“Yes m’.” Ella sputtered, defeated. She ran back to her room, and collapsed on her bead, unable to hold in her tears any longer. Three months? She ought to only be upset about the tapestries! But how on earth would she find a husband in three months? Ella sighed, and tried to think up a plan, but instead she fell asleep.
The next month went by in a daze, and Ella blindly followed orders like the Queen’s minion that she was. She was fitted more two more gowns, both with the empire waist, one gold with diamonds sewn in, and one of a rich velvety purple, embedded with pearls. Ella also sat through one very boring portrait, in which she was posed sitting in a throne, with her head at an angle that gave her a crick in her neck for a week. Ella only managed to visit Joshua once, and she was forced to count on Daniel to dote on him. She still tried every day to formulate a plan, but she hadn’t had any success. Each night, Ella would write in her journal, and she would try to make plans for the future. Finally, on June 20th, Ella decided that something must be done. She decided to reread her diary from May 1st onwards, and look for possible ideas.
I have just received the worst possible news. Mother says that I must marry or she’ll choose a husband, and heavens, I don’t want that. What shall I do, Diary?
I sat for my first portrait today, which gave me plenty of time to think. I developed a list of possible ideas, none of which are any promising. I suppose one of them has got to work, it’s just got to! All right, I could…
Run away with Joshua to a neighboring kingdom, Gargantua?
Flee to see Rosemary in Algebraea.
Choose my own husband and hope for the best.
Flatly refuse to get married to anyone when I see him at the altar.
Let mother choose my husband for me.
I thought about that list again, and I simply shall not think about number five. There must be better options. Numbers one and two would be difficult, because mother has me under tighter surveillance than ever, although I suppose I could ask Gretta and Daniel an d the cook for help, though I’d feel awful endangering them.
I thought about it, and I cannot and will not involve any of my friends, this must be up to me. Sadly, that also means that numbers one and two are not options. I thought about number four, and I decided that number four is a childlike solution. I shall not throw a tantrum at the altar, and even if I did try it, mother would never condone it. So now I have to think about this. Oh, dear Diary, what shall I do?
I had yet another gown fitting today, to see if my gown needed to be altered any. It’s an awful gown, diary, just awful. It is so extravagant that I feel horrible wearing it, and all of that gold and all those diamonds make me wish that I could give some to the poor old lady I met on that picnic. I would try, too, except that I have more to do than ever, and I simply have no moments alone to go to the stables (though Gretta did deliver a long snippet of celery to Daniel, which he will give to Joshua with all my love). I simply cannot decide what to do, diary.
Alright. I’ve done it, I’ve decided. I shall go with number two, and pick the best man that I possibly can. Mother announced today that there shall be a ball held in a week’s time, and I can meet my prince there. Oh, diary, who can show up that I haven’t already met?
Finally, it was July 31st , the day of the ball. Ella spent the morning in a cool bath, but all she could think of was the pond where she had picnicked, back before her life as she had known it had ended. After Ella’s bath, serving girls fluttered around her, lacing her into a corset so tight that she could barely breathe, and then forcing her into the awful gold dress. Once Ella had no breath left to complain with, more servants caked heavy makeup onto her face, and then twisted her hair into pin curls, completing the look with a glittering tiara.
Then it was time. Ella was herded down the intricate stone hallways, which to Ella felt like nothing more than an elaborate maze. When Ella suddenly appeared on the balcony, she heard a booming voice announce “Presenting Princess Eleanor Andromeda,” followed by a magnitude of stiff, polite clapping. Ella was forced to dance with everyone at the ball, and she hated this. Oh, how she longed to be back by the pond on that calm, serene May day. Each prince she danced with seemed content to sell himself to her, wearing the most extravagant clothing with the heaviest of crowns. Ella wanted to scream. Then at last, a man who did not appear to be a clone of the others before him appeared. He asked her for the dance, as was typical, but Ella noticed subtle things about him. For example, his voice was shy, and his crown was unadorned. This mysterious prince didn’t even know the steps to the dance, and he stepped on her foot and the hem of her gown, causing the gold silk to tear.
“Oh, oh my, princess, miss, how dreadfully clumsy of me, I…I can assure you that I didn’t mean it, Princess Eleanor Andromeda,” the poor prince bumbled.
Ella wasn’t sure what made her do it, even reflecting back on the events. But for whatever reason, she did it. “Oh, no, not at all a problem,” Ella grimaced. “I hated this gown anyhow, perhaps I will be able to donate it to the peasants now. So really, you’ve done me a service now. Oh, and please don’t call me Princess Eleanor Andromeda. I really like to be called just Ella.”
“Well, alright, Just Ella, if that’s how you feel about it,” the prince said with laughter in his voice.
“Now kind sir, you have done me a great service by stepping on my gown and tearing it. I am sure you realize how improper it is for a lady not to know her brave knight’s name, especially when he knows her’s. So, I pray, do tell me, what is your name?” Ella asked playfully, through lowered eyelashes.
â€˜Oh, which name do you want?”
Ella was taken aback by that question, so she answered, “The one you love, of course.”
The prince grinned and said, “Well, my mother gave me an awful name…so…”
“Worse than Andromeda?’
Well, I don’t really know if it’s worse than Andromeda, but I just think it’s silly that royals have such long names. When I have children, I am going to name them simple, beautiful names. Names like the one I call myself- Sam. You see, a beautiful girl once called me Sam, and now I cannot bring myself to use any other.”
The night went on in a similar manner, with both Ella and Sam laughing gaily and confiding in each other. Then, without warning, the clock struck midnight. Sam leapt to his feet.
“Oh, Ella, I’m sorry, I really am, but I must be leaving right away!”
“No, Sam, not now. I…I….” Now it was Ella’s turn to be at a loss for words.
“Ella, please, I don’t want to, but I have to go.” With a mournful look in her direction, he turned away. Ella had been holding his arm, and when he revolved away from her, Sam’s jacket cuff came loose. Then Sam ran into the night, leaving Ella holding his jacket cuff. She was finally able to finish her sentence. “Sam, wait, not now. Sam, I…I love you.” But Sam was gone, and Ella collapsed onto the ground, sobbing into the expensive gold silk.
So that’s it. I’ve found the man of my dreams, I and lost him. I couldn’t even tell him that I loved him. What do I do now with his jacket cuff? It still smells of him, spicy yet sweet, just like Sam. Oh, now I simply cannot marry another man. I was sad before I knew Sam, but now that I have met him, I can never love another. It seems that every man I find I will compare to Sam, never to have the real man again. What to do? I suppose I am going to take Joshua out for one more run, just to get my mind off of the poor matters at hand. Does it matter if mother’s picked out a suitor when I get back? Today’s the day. August 1st. I have never hated a day more in all of my short 15 (nearly 16) years.
One last time, Ella managed to sneak past the servants, the guards, and the queen into the stables. She leapt upon Joshua, still in her nightshirt, with her hair all in a tumble. In her misery, she had forgotten Joshua’s gift of a carrot. What did it matter then? Ella did not remember much of her canter with Joshua, her last ride as a single princess, an unbound woman. She sobbed into Joshua’s mane when he slowed at the pond. Ella didn’t even look up as Joshua whinnied nervously. But she did look up when-
“Ella!” shouted Sam.
“Sam!” cried Ella.
Then Sam rushed to Ella’s side and swept her off Joshua and into his arms. The two embraces for many minutes, and then they pulled apart.
“I thought I’d never see you again,” Ella sobbed. “Why did you run away?”
“It was midnight, my ride left then,” Sam murmured. “Oh Ella, I’m so sorry. I shall never leave you again!” Ella reached into the pocket of nightgown and pulled out the jacket cuff, holding it to Sam’s torn jacket.
“It really is you,” she said in wonder. “I can’t believe I have found you.” Then, remembering the day, Ella exclaimed “We’ve got to get back to the palace right away!”
“Why?” Sam asked. “Is something wrong?”
“Well, we’ve got to get married, this is the deadline! Please, oh how I love you!” cried Ella.
“Oh, I do!” Sam pronounced, then added “although that was a strange proposal!” Ella beamed, then realized she was forgetting something! Her frog friend!
“One second, Sam wait right there!” Ella called over her shoulder, running to the pond. She still missed her frog friend, and she wanted him at the ceremony. Ella sloshed into the mud, yelling softly, “Froggy, oh Sam the Froggy?” When no one croaked or ribbeted in reply, Ella trudged back to Joshua, where her bemused fiancée stood waiting. Ella leapt onto Joshua, and helped Sam up after her. Then, urging Joshua into a canter, Ella and Sam set off to be married, with Ella giving the pond one last long look before it disappeared from sight.
The caravan arrived at the castle at six o’clock, with minutes to spare. Ella charged into the castle and demanded an audience with Queen Isabella. The Queen was certainly not pleased with Ella’s choice of a husband, but at least Ella would be marrying after all, and then there would be heirs to the throne. Queen Isabella declared that there were three days until the wedding.
In her chambers, Ella sat alone, plagued by doubts. She hated sitting idle, and she hoped that this was not a preview of her married life. Eventually, Ella became too restless to do much but write in her diary.
My goodness! So much has come to pass since I last wrote! I am going to marry Sam! I met him at the frog pond! Somehow I know that this should be a fairy tale ending, a dream come true, but it just doesn’t feel like the end of those silly princess tales I enjoy reading. Diary, I just have so many doubts. What will it be like to be married? I love Sam and I know I want to be a mother, but I hate that I have to rule over this land someday. I love Lithuania, I really do, and while I want to help the citizens who live here, I don’t want to rule them. I want Sam and I to raise our children somewhere nice, somewhere off in a cottage somewhere, really anywhere but this castle. Oh well, I mean, the wedding should be grand. I consented to let mother plan it, so I know that I’ll be wearing an overly extravagant gown with lace, pearls, and jewels. My veil will probably be at least the length of a jousting field, and I know that most every woman would love this, but just not me. I’m sure that I’ll more resemble the evergreen at Nativity Day than a bride. If it were my way, I’d have our wedding down by the meadows, near the pond. Guests could sip sweet nectar and swim in the pond. Then everyone, including my froggy friend, could attend. But nonetheless, those are only dreams, and it is nearly time to put more cakey makeup on my face and lace myself into a corset. Wish me luck, Diary.
After Ella had composed herself, it was time for the royal wedding. There were more people at the wedding than Ella could count, and that wasn’t just because she’d skipped several mathematics lessons in favor of a day in the sun. Ella walked down the aisle with King Humphrey by her side. When she reached Sam, Ella smiled. She truly did love this man, even though the prospect of a married life in the castle was less than thrilling. Ella stood through all of the speeches, and listened to the bishop give a short sermon. Sam each repeated his vows, and he said “I do” first. And then it was Ella’s turn.
The bishop looked solemnly at Ella, and said in his booming voice, “Do you, Princess Eleanor Andromeda, take Prince Samuel as your lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow? Do you promise to love Samuel unconditionally, to support him in your goals, to honor and respect him, to laugh with him and cry with him, and to cherish him for as long as you both shall live?”
Ella had thought about what she would do in this situation for three days, and then, suddenly, she knew what she had to do. Looking deep into Samuel’s eyes, she said “I do.”
Then the bishop looked at the couple, and announced: “You may kiss your bride.” Both Ella and Sam moved towards each other, and suddenly, they were kissing passionately. And then all of a sudden, to Ella’s shock, the groom no longer stood there. In Sam’s place was the bullfrog Ella had first fallen in love with. Queen Isabella fainted, and King Humphrey laughed in his unique way. In all the shock, Ella just bent down and held out her hand. Without further ado, the bullfrog hopped into it.
“Sam?” Ella whispered.
“Yes.” Sam croaked.
“I knew it. I knew it deep in my heart,” Ella cried.
“Do you hate me?” Sam asked. When Ella shook her head, he continued. “I couldn’t do anything about it. When we first met at the pond that day, and we picnicked together, I fell in love with you.” He looked up long enough to see Ella nod her affirmation that the feeling had been mutual. “And then, when you couldn’t come back, I pined for you. One day, a cruel fairy wandered to the edge of the pond. She wanted to kiss me, but I told her that I had eyes only for you. She was furious, and she cast a spell on me. The spell turned me into a human, and I hated it, but I knew that it was necessary. I had one week. In that week, you had to kiss me, because you wanted to, and because you loved me. If I failed, then I would remain a human forever. But if I succeeded, then I could become a frog again. I love you Ella, and I want to be with you forever. But now what can we do?” Sam asked in despair. “Could I turn back into a human somehow?”
“I have a better idea,” Ella said. Sinking to the ground, she called to the sky, “Fairy, Fairy in the sky.
Please come, hurry, fly.
Can you hear my yelp?
If so, please come to help.”
Out of thin air, a shimmering light full of swirling, glittering dust appeared above the altar. When the vortex stopped spinning, Ella and Sam recognized the face of the old woman they had once helped. “Ella, Sam, how nice to see you again!” the fairy beamed. “Now, do you require assistance? Oh, let’s see, I know just what I can do for you two.” With a wave of her magic wand and a few murmured words, Ella was a frog like Sam.
Both frogs began talking at once. “How can we ever thank you?’ croaked Ella.
“Oh, me?” said the fairy, innocently. “No thank you is required. I am simply repaying your good deed.” And with another whoosh of her magic wand, the fair had spirited Ella and Sam away to the pond where they had first met. Later that month, Ella became pregnant with tadpoles. When the tadpoles would later be born, they would all receive simple names, beautiful names, names that would reflect their free and loving spirit.
However, not all humans agreed with Ella and Sam’s opinions about their freedom. Queen Isabella, especially, was appalled, while King Humphrey just laughed. To spite her daughter, who had been able to outsmart her, Queen Isabella started vicious rumors about frogs. She told everyone in the village that if they ever went too close to a frog, or heaven forbid, they kissed a frog, they would come down with the “samandella” curse, later misinterpreted as salmonella. Most citizens knew not to listen to the Queen by now anyway, and so they continued to visit with Sam, Ella, and their ever growing family.
The next month, on September 1st, Ella’s birthday, Princess Rosemary gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. In honor of her sister, Princess Eleanor Andromeda, Princess Rosemary and Prince Henry named the baby (who would one day rule Queen Isabella’s throne) Ella. Not Eleanor Andromeda. Just Ella.