Monday, January 28, 2008

my very own fairy tale: a monday mission

I recently reread a favorite book of mine (well, listened to the audiobook...), The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. One of the things that always stands out to me when I read it is that at night, when there's nowhere to go, the characters sit by the fire and tell stories. Is it just me, or does this not happen as much these days? I love books, don't get me wrong, but there's something about telling stories, about remembering a story and then, with the telling, making it your own. I've been thinking about that the past few days, and thinking of stories I can tell to the Little Mister. Here's one that slowly formed itself in my head while I was laying in bed yesterday morning. I've read a lot of fairy tales, so if this closely resembles something you've heard before...sorry. I'm not meaning to copy anything. I guess I'm just...making it my own. :)

The Lady's Gift

Once upon a time, in a far away kingdom by the sea, there lived a King, a Queen, and a very small Princess. The Princess had everything she needed and some things she wanted, and she also had a sweet smile and a kind heart.

One day a Lady came to the palace and asked if she could visit with the King and Queen. They invited her to have dinner with them and their daughter. While they ate they talked, all but the little Princess who ate and listened and smiled at the Lady. When the Lady's water glass was empty she looked at the Princess and said, "Could you get me some more water?" The Princess smiled, trotted over to the side table where the water pitcher was kept, and refilled the Lady's glass.

The Lady smiled warmly at the King and Queen, and said to them, "Your daughter is full of kindness. Many princesses are spoiled and want others to do everything for them, but this little Princess didn't hesitate to do something for someone else."

Then the Lady said to the Princess, "Thank you for bringing me water to drink. Because of your kindness I'm going to give you a gift: One day, when you are truly in need of help, I will help you. Just say 'Lady, come to me' and I will be there. But you can only call on me one time, so be sure you think before you speak."

The Princess and her parents were wide-eyed with amazement and thanks, but before they could thank the Lady she smiled...and disappeared.

"Who was she, Papa?" the Princess asked with a voice full of wonder.

"I don't know," answered the king, "but she gave you a precious gift. Keep it in your mind always."

Some time later the Princess was alone in her room, playing with blocks by the fireplace. Suddenly the fire danced and the wood popped and sparks flew out of the fire and landed on the rug near the Princess. She jumped back as the rug began to burn, and she was full of fear. The Lady's gift, she thought, and opened her mouth to speak. But then she thought, But what if I need more help later? I should try to stop the fire myself first. She looked around the room, and when she saw a pitcher of water on a side table she remembered that water stopped fire. She threw the water onto the fire on the rug, the fire sizzled out, and the Princess was safe.

The Princess grew and grew, and when she was old enough she leaned to ride a horse. Her favorite thing was to ride in the forest behind the palace. One day she was riding alone when a snake slithered across the path in front of her horse. The horse reared up, startled, and the Princess fell off. Before she could get up, her horse ran away, and she was alone in the forest.

The Princess was afraid. When she fell she twisted some, and she didn't know which way to go to get back to the palace. The Lady's gift, she thought, and felt better. She opened her mouth to call on the Lady, but she closed it again. I have to try on my own first. I may need the gift later. She looked around, and saw the sunlight filtering through the trees. The sun! thought the Princess. She knew it set at the palace's front gates, so if she walked towards it she should get home. It would be a long walk, and she was sore from the fall, but she would be okay. And she still had the Lady's gift.

Years passed. The Princess grew and grew, married, and the King and Queen passed their crowns on to the Princess - now the Queen - and her husband. Their kingdom was peaceful, the fields grew plenty of crops, and the people were happy. Everyone said they loved the new King and Queen.

One day, while the King and Queen were having their dinner, a messenger ran into the dining room. "Your majesties! An army is coming! An army is coming!" He was tired from running, and he fell onto the floor.

The King looked at the Queen and said, "Is it time for the Lady's gift?"

The Queen chewed on her lower lip while she thought. It might be time for the Lady's gift. My kingdom is everything to me, the people depend on me to protect them. We don't want to fight a war, we are a peaceful people. I think it is time. The Queen opened her mouth to call on the Lady.

But then she closed it again.

She looked at the King and said, "All these years I've held onto the Lady's gift. Many times I almost used it, but each time I knew I had to try to solve the problem on my own first. So we are going to try to stop the army, see if we can talk to them to see what they want."

The King smiled, called for horses, and said to the Queen, "Let's go."

The King and Queen, along with many guards, rode out to meet the invading army. When they were close enough the Queen sent a messenger to their leader. When he came to meet them he had an angry face, but the Queen smiled kindly and said, "Why are you attacking our small kingdom? We are a peaceful people, and don't want to fight."

The leader glared and said, "We make many fine goods in our kingdom, but we are surrounded by other kingdoms and have no access to the sea, for trading. We are attacking your kingdom so we have land by the sea, to trade our goods with other kingdoms."

The Queen smiled again and said, "Is that what you want? You don't have to attack us, you are welcome to send your goods through our kingdom to the sea!"

The leader was surprised at this. He was from a kingdom that always took what they wanted, and here the Queen was offering what they wanted without a fight. The two kingdoms had many long talks, but in the end there was no fighting and everyone was happy.

More years passed. The Queen had children, and grandchildren, and even a few great-grandchildren. She had passed on her crown years before, but everyone still called her Queen. She was coming to the end of her life, and she still held the Lady's gift. One evening, while she was resting in her bed, she closed her eyes and whispered, "Lady, come to me."

When she opened her eyes the Lady stood before her, looking exactly the same as she had all those years before.

"You've grown up, little Princess!," the Lady said with a smile. "I am here at your service, how can I help you?"

The Queen looked at the Lady and said, "I'd like to talk with you, but my mouth is dry. Could you bring me a glass of water?"

The Lady smiled again and passed the Queen a glass of water. After the Queen finished every drop, she looked at the Lady and said, "Thank you for your gift. It was a treasure, and without it my kingdom would not be so happy and peaceful."

The Lady winked at the Queen and said, "But I only gave you a glass of water!"

And the Queen replied, "No, Lady. You gave me wisdom. My whole life, whenever there was trouble I thought of your gift. And each time, before I called on you, I made myself try to solve the problem myself. And each time, when I solved a problem, I gained wisdom. Thank you, dear Lady. You have blessed my whole kingdom."

The Lady smiled so brightly the room shone with her light. "Kindness and wisdom. Forever onward your kingdom will be blessed with kindness and wisdom." The light dimmed, the Queen blinked, and the Lady was gone.

And the kingdom went on and on, blessed by the Lady, happily ever after.

In my head this story wasn't so long! I guess if it were told instead of written it wouldn't seem so long. Oh well. :) This week's Monday Mission is to write a children's book or poem. What fun! Click over to Painted Maypole to read more stories...


  1. This would make a lovely children's book. Really.

  2. This is a wonderful story and definitely would make a great children's book - it was great!!! I'm so glad I came over here to read it - thanks for stopping by. Take care and I'll see you soon. Kellan

  3. what a lovely story. all it was missing was the campfire... the flow of the computer screen isn't quite as nice. ;)

  4. What a beautiful story! Is this your first?? I was mesmerized by it. It would have been nice with a campfire, like PM said, but it really wasn't necessary. You have a gift.

    The little Mister is a lucky boy!


  5. That was really beautiful What a great story!

  6. Beautiful story... you should think about publishing it for a children's book. I know my kids would love it.

  7. What a lovely, story... Are you thinking about this as a career, perhaps?

  8. Oh, this is such a wonderful story. I have a little girl here who would LOVE it. I fully expect to see it in print someday. ;)

  9. You're right, that's certainly worth pursuing. I don't know how you'd go about doing it though, perhaps you could check out some writers sites and see what they do.

  10. Oh, yes, long! but I read every word. And it does remind me of a story I've heard before ... are you able to help me remember which one?
    I always liked the story telling when one person started with a sentence, then the next person would follow with the next sentence, and so on. Story telling is indeed becoming a lost art. (But perhaps is recovering in the form of a blog?)

  11. Oh, that was very nice. You should tell it to Little Mister, for sure. Maybe you could make a little bound book?

  12. this is absolutely beautiful and it almost made me cry! thank you for sharing this. i am going to share it with my kids, too and call it "the dragonfly tale."

  13. That really would make a great book!! Worth the read!

  14. It really was wonderful. Is this your first kid's tale? You need to keep at this. Thanks for sharing it with all of us...

  15. i'm telling you, this is a great story! Keep on writing, you're good! =)