I began this story a couple of years ago, it was written for my niece Leah though it has remained unfinished. So I am going to post a chapter of the story (hopefully) every week until it is complete. This story is dedicated to all the little (and big) girls who believe in fairies, magic and thinking for themselves.
Chapter 1 The Princess and the Wish
Once upon a time in a land far, far away lived a Princess. Now she was not just any ordinary princess, she was special. The reason she was special is easy to explain but may take a little time, would you like to hear about her story? Well then I shall begin…
Some time ago in the land of Misbegotten lived a King and a Queen. For many years they had wished for a child of their own to share their kingdom with. One special day, the Queen told the King that she was to have a baby and there was much rejoicing in the kingdom. When the baby was born, happily at home in the castle, all were overjoyed to see that she was a perfect baby girl, finally the kingdom had its very own princess.
It is worth noting that Misbegotten was not a very big kingdom, indeed they had considered having the entire place carpeted, but it was a marvelous and happy place. The King and Queen worked hard for their subjects and in return their subjects worked hard for their King and Queen. Things worked very well and everyone was happy most of the time. I say most of the time because to be happy all of the time would be silly and probably annoying. We all have grumpy days, even if we can’t explain why. Being happy most of the time seems to be the best kind of being.
Anyway on with the story of the princess. She was born just as the sun came up over the hills of the kingdom of Misbegotten and so the King and Queen decided to give her a special name. They called her Leeabeena, which means ‘sunshine’. Everyone who met the little princess and that was everyone in the kingdom and some friends and relatives from other kingdoms, agreed that the name suited her perfectly. Princess Leeabeena was a happy baby, always smiling and laughing at the people around her. It is worth noting that not all babies are like this and so the King and Queen thought themselves very lucky.
To express their joy at the arrival of their little princess they decided to have a great party to celebrate. They invited everyone in the kingdom, all their friends and relatives and, of course, they invited all of the witches and wizards, fairy godmothers and godfathers and other magical types. Everyone in the kingdom worked exceptionally hard to make the party ready. Every inch of the castle was scrubbed and polished, even the spiders webs were covered in glitter to make them look more beautiful. (You may be wondering why they did not simply sweep away the spiders webs but this would have been mean for the spiders who then would have no place to live. This way everyone could enjoy the party.)
Out in the fields the flowers were given a dusting and the sheep and cows all had baths so that they would look good to the guests arriving from many far flung corners of the world. After several weeks of work the subjects of Misbegotten all looked around and nodded proudly to themselves. Their kingdom could not look better. They were ready for the party.
As the great day arrived carriages and horses, broomsticks and magic carpets began arriving at the castle. Even though it was a tight squeeze and a few chickens had to be evicted from the upper turrets, everyone had a cosy place to stay. The castle was full of excited chatter about the great event of the following evening, the Grand Ball.
Under a glowing full moon, all of the guests made their way out onto the lawns for the Ball to celebrate the life of the Princess Leeabeena. The trees were filled with glowing candles and the tables were packed with delicious food. Beautiful music filled the night and all agreed it would be difficult to improve on such a wonderful evening. As the evening progressed the excitement built as soon they would come to the Naming and Wishing Ceremonies, the most important events of all.
At last the Master of Ceremonies, who usually supervised the vegetable gardens at the castle, called for the attention of his guests.
‘Honoured Guests,’ He cried out, loudly enough for all to hear. ‘Please welcome the Princess Leeabeena Von Lovelyhair Fancy Pants of the Kingdom of Misbegotten.’ As the King and Queen stepped forward with the princess the crowd all cheered with pleasure. Many babies would have wailed upon hearing such a racket, but Princess Leeabeena only smiled and gurgled happily.
‘Now is the time of the Wishing Ceremony’ shouted the Master of Ceremonies, wanting to make sure all present heard him. There was a general buzz of conversation from the crowd but it quickly died away as a Wizard in a long blue robe with gold stars on stepped forward. He climbed onto the platform upon which the King and Queen stood and took a deep breath.
‘I wish for the Princess a long life!’ He boomed. The crowd applauded happily nodding at the wisdom of such a wish. The wizard smiled and bowed then made his way off the stage allowing room for a Fairy Godmother who was from the nearby kingdom of Bloomers-on-Sea. Like the wizard before her she too climbed onto the platform and said in a clear voice, ‘I wish for the Princess great wisdom!’ Again the crowd applauded happily, for a wise princess was just what would be needed. What would be the point of foolish royalty after all?
And so the Wishing Ceremony progressed. The magical folk stepped one by one onto the stage and bestowed their wishes upon the princess. Each one was received with great applause though some were deemed more significant than others. For example, ‘May she always know wrong from right’ seemed much more important than, ‘May she never have tangles in her hair’. Nonetheless the crowd applauded each one equally for to do anything else would have been rude.
It seemed that the evening might be drawing to an end when one final person stepped onto the stage. Indeed many people had begun talking amongst themselves but when they noticed this person standing patiently a great hush fell upon them. She was tall and proud and wearing a long green cloak, her hands hidden beneath it. Her hair was grey under the hood and her eyes seemed to pierce through each person she looked at. There was not doubt about it, she was a witch. In fact she was Lantania von Bobblet, one of the greatest witches that ever lived, but that is another story.
As they crowd hushed Lantania drew in a deep breath, she turned her piercing eyes upon the princess and said, ‘May she always think for herself!’ The crowd gasped loudly and Lantania smiled to herself. Never had such a wish been heard in the Kingdom of Misbeggotten! It was more usual to hear things such as ‘May she never scrape her knees’ or ‘May bees never sting her’ but a princess who thought for herself? What on earth would that be like?
The King was unsure if this wish was a gift or a curse and clutched his tiny daughter to him. The Queen, however, knew that this was a great gift and smiled wisely to herself. As for the princess herself she looked straight into the gaze of the great witch with her fearsome stare and…laughed happily! The crowd then began to applaude politely, though it was noticed that the clapping was a little less enthusiastic than it had been for the other wishes. Lantania soberly bowed to the King and Queen and winked at the princess who laughed again to the delight of all. Then the great witch turned and walked from the stage, quickly disappearing into the night.
After the wishing ceremony the partygoers enjoyed the dancing and wonderful food until the moon had set and even the stars had gone to bed. But no matter how much they ate, drank or danced, none could talk of anything else but the wish bestowed upon the princess by Lantania. What on earth would become of a princess who thought for herself? They wondered. Since there was no way of knowing they finally retired to their beds and a great silence fell. Into this silence rose the great orange ball of the Sun, slowly climbing higher and higher over the Kingdom of Misbegotten, beckoning the Princess Leeabeena into her future.
End of Chapter 1