The Little Princess

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Cerises
The story of a recluse little princess that discovers the world and her place in it...

Submitted: January 10, 2016

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Submitted: January 10, 2016

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There once was a little princess in a land far far away. It was not a magical land, it was a land not unlike where you and I live. Little princess Elisabeth was the youngest daughter of king Fredrick and queen Joanne, their other daughter, only a few years older than Elisabeth would be queen someday.

Everybody looked at the crown princess in anticipation of the future. Because of this the little princess was all but ignored completely. Not only by the kingdom, but by the king and queen as well. So she would lock herself in her room and do things by herself. She would paint pictures by thought, she would study about things that matter, or so her teacher told her. But most of all, she would read. Oh how she would read, it was her favorite thing of all. She read about magical lands and dragons. She read about trolls, goblins and fairies. But her favorite stories were those of majestic kingdoms ruled by noble kings and queens. But the more she read about these things she would recognize a common theme, all of these kings and queens, princes and princesses, they were all described as beautiful. You know, the little princess wasn't the prettiest girl, she knew as much. And so she started to wonder if she would be worthy to even be part of the royal family. Everybody loved her sister, she was the crown princess after all. She was smart, funny and people would always smile and cheer when she would pass by. She truly would be a queen of the people someday, she thought to herself. Perhaps she should go out more as well, though the little princess was quite socially awkward since she was always by herself. She was a far cry from the party animal her sister was.

 

But bit by bit the little princess would go outside more. At first she would go into town, but never too far away from the castle. Soon she would notice that no one paid her much mind. It appeared they did not recognize the little princess for who she was. Then again, why would they. In the beginning the little princess felt like people were just looking through her. Though soon she would see it as a blessing, if she would act normal, she would be able to go anywhere unseen. She would go to the shop, and watch people living their lives, doing their groceries. She would walk the streets and see the people interact with each other and do their daily business. She did this everyday and start to mingle more and more. If people would talk to her she would tell them her name is Lissie, obviously she would never mention the fact that she was a princess. In her mind this fact didn't matter and people would treat her differently if they knew.

 

Then one day she spotted a young girl in an alley, she was not much younger than the little princess. The young girl appeared to be living on the streets. She was begging people for bits of food or coin. But people would pass by and ignore the young girl. It was almost like they were looking through her. The little princess did not understand why they would ignore a young girl in need. So the little princess bought some bread from the baker and gave this to the girl. The girl looked so happy, she ate the bread like she hadn't eaten her entire life. From then on the little princess would buy some food everyday and take this to the girl, she even sat down next to the girl and got to know her. They sat there in that alley, day in, day out, just talking and watching the people go by. They grew close, and eventually they became the best of friends. They would visit the park together, they would shop together. The little princess paid for a change of clothes for the young girl. And over the years people wouldn't even know that the young girls they were interacting with were the little princess and a young homeless girl. They wouldn't even recognize the young girl as the girl they had ignored for so long.

 

Then one day the little princess got to the alley where they always met, but the young girl wasn't there. The little princess waited for hours, but the girl would not show. The little princess had to go back to the castle before it got dark and the gates would close. She was unable to sleep that night, wondering why the young girl didn't show. The next morning at first light the little princess would go back and look for the young girl, but to no avail. She would search for the young girl for days, but the she was nowhere to be found. The little princess would ask the grocer, the baker, the butcher, but no one knew where the young girl had gone. Then one day a guard told the princess that a girl had been found around the time the young girl went missing. According to the guard the girl was rushed to the doctor's. Why, he did not know. But it was more than the little princess had learned in the last weeks of searching.

The next day she would visit the doctor and inquire about the girl. The doctor knew what the little princess was talking about and pointed her to a bed in the far corner, but told the little princess that only family was allowed to see the girl. The little princess explained that if it was the young girl she didn't have any family, that she had no one, except for her, the little princess. The doctor allowed the little princess to visit the young girl, but warned her...

 

The little princess' heart dropped at the doctor's warning and now the little princess began feeling sick. That faithful evening weeks ago the young girl collapsed on the streets and was brought in by people that saw it happen. It appeared that the young girl was ill and had been for years. The little princess had not much time to say goodbye, for the young girl would not live to see tomorrow. And so it went, the little princess was able to hug her dear friend goodbye and before the stroke of midnight she had breathed her last.

 

There she was, alone, again. The little princess did not know what to do, but things would never be the same again, this much was certain. The little princess would mourn the loss of her friend for a long time. Leaving the king and queen to wonder why their youngest daughter was so glum, but in the end it did not matter much to them. Since the little princess had always managed herself, they were sure that whatever it was, the little princess would get over it.

Slowly but surely the little princess would go back to her life, she would read a lot, as she did before she met the young girl. She would go outside and feel the wind through her hair. But it felt as though the birds sang less since that day. The sun was not as bright, even the grass and leaves seemed a paler shade of green. Then one day when she went outside she got blinded by the sun, it seemed so bright. After the little princess sought refuge inside the castle guard asked the little princess what was amiss, since to him the sun was no brighter then the days before. Then suddenly the little princess noticed a warm feeling in her chest that she had never felt. Carefully she stepped outside again and felt the warmth of the sun on her skin. A cool breeze from inside sent shivers up her spine. In front of her were a couple of birds playing in the birdbath, trying to cool down, while another bird seemed to chase his siblings in a game of bird tag. And there she felt that warmth again, the little princess knew that it wasn't the sun, the warmth came from the inside rather than on her skin.

The more she thought about it she came to the conclusion that it could be nothing other than the young girl's love. She had never realized it before but it had been there since the day they met. The little princess started to remember the times they spent in the park and the animals they watched while there. Bunnies chasing one another, even that little deer that came to have a look when they were having a picnic under the great oak. There was no doubt, the warmth, the love, had always been there. And the little princess started to smile at the thought and she blew a kiss to the sun, intended for her young love, that she was sure was still watching over her. She kissed to guard on the cheek and off she went, into town. She skipped through the streets, greeting everyone she met. And she made sure to stop at the alley where they met. Every year, on the anniversary of the young girl's death she would put up flowers in the alley.

 

The years passed and the little princess grew into a young woman. Her sister had married a fair prince of a neighboring kingdom. Her sister was pregnant and the king was making arrangements for the princess and her prince to take over the kingdom. The king had announced that he would step down on his 65th birthday and that his eldest daughter would take the throne, together with her husband. Until then life went on like normal, apart from some people that had started preparing for the feast. No matter that it was 3 seasons away still, preparations needed to be made to make sure the feast would be a success.

On her weekly trip to the library the little princess witnessed all the busybodies and helped carry a flower basket or two. At the town squire she encountered a new face, a jester that had only recently arrived in town. He was performing tricks and making jokes, as a jester does. The little princess stood a while and watched from across the way. Then suddenly, in the middle of his performance, the jester stopped. He looked the little princess straight in the eyes and smiled.

The jester pulled a bouquet of roses out of his vest and as he threw the roses into the air they changed into doves. The doves scattered and the crowed stood breathless in amazement.

Then the jester motioned the crowd to part and everyone made way as he walked through the middle of the crowd, straight towards the little princess. Unsure of what was happening the little princess could only do as the rest of the crowd and stand motionless awaiting the jester's next move.

The jester walked up to the little princess and got on one knee as he bowed his head. The little princess feared he knew who she was, but how could he? Barely able to speak the little princess managed to only utter one word. "Sorry?" the little princess asked confused. "My lady" the jester began his retort, "I wish not to embarrass you, but you are the most beautiful of beings I ever had the honor to encounter." The little princess waved the jester to stand up, and so he did, still his head bowed and cap in hand. The jester stepped back and held out his hand. In the most peculiar tongue the jester said; "I would be honored if m'lady would join me on this road that is life."

The only response the little princess could muster was a sprint around the corner while her face took on the color that resembles that of a tomato. "The most beautiful being?" the little princess thought to herself, while gazing into a shop window. She was not pretty, she knew as much. "Was the jester joking at my expense?" she could not help but think. And what did he mean by joining him on the road of life? In all her stories she had never encountered such wording of what she was almost sure was a marriage proposal. But that could not be, what fool would propose marriage to someone they had only just met? No this must all be a big misunderstanding, that was the only thing that made sense to the little princess. Flustered as she was she shuffled home without going to the library as she had planned. The days after whenever she would go into town, the jester would be there, performing on the town squire. In the beginning she would stare from a distance or even from behind a corner, to make sure he would not spot her. Until she could make sense of what had happened, that seemed the best course of action. Through the days she heard all his jokes and saw his antics, none really impressed. He was funny, she even almost got caught because she laughed to hard. But never did the jester perform jokes in the manner that he did with her that day.

Eventually she would walk by on her way to the library and to the doctor's, where she had started to volunteer two seasons back. Whenever the jester spotted her, he would stop, hold out his hand, and smile. And even though the little princess had made the walk many a time, she could not help but notice that she would be sweating, only ever since the jester arrived in town. He must have cast a spell on her, he demonstrated being capable of magic, so that had to be it.

 

The anniversary of the young girl's death had come once again and the little princess did as she always did. She bought flowers and put them up in the alley. When she looked up, she saw a silhouette at the other end of the alley. As the silhouette came closer and stepped into the light, the little princess could see who it was. It was the jester, but in normal clothes this time. Her hart started racing since he was the most handsome man she had ever seen. How did she not see as much when he was performing? The jester once again held out his hand and smiled. The little princess could not help but put her hand in his. The jester kissed her hand and asked the little princess; "allow me to take you from here m'lady?"

"I can't" said the little princess, "I have responsibilities".

"As do I" explained the jester, "but I can think of none more important than you".

"Enough!" exclaimed the little princess, getting the attention of every passer-by. "You don't know me, nor I you!" continued the little princess, "And I know my physical appearance and it is not as you say." The little princess' confusement had been replaced by anger out of frustration. How could he say these things without knowing who she was?

"Upon my sight of you I felt I knew you better than my own blood" the jester explained, "I dare not presume to know you truly, but I would fight to give us the chance to converse".

"Allow me the chance m'lady" the jester asked, "If after one afternoon you still feel about me as you do now, I shall pack up and you will never have to see me again". The little princess agreed to a date, but not that afternoon. They agreed to meet in the alley that Saturday at dawn.

 

That Saturday the little princess arrived at the alley as the jester was already waiting. As she arrived the only thing the jester did was hold out his arm for the little princess to hold on to as they set out.

The jester took the little princess to the park, where the sun was just peaking out above the trees. The reflection on the water was magical. The birds flew by chirping happily after having only just woken up.  In the middle of the park was a picnic blanket set up under the large oak that had stood there for decades. "First we eat" said the jester. The basked was filled to the brim with treats, some of which the princess had never seen. Afterward they went into town and shopped, the jester bought the little princess one of the prettiest dresses she had ever seen. It fit as though it was made for her and it complimented every little curve of her body. As they walked through the streets the sun glistened off the roofs, creating an orange haze above the streets.

They ate at a little bistro near the harbor and talked for hours after. The sunset in the harbor made a magical ending to a day that the little princess had never experienced before. They were not the only ones there. She could see another couple there, a beautiful lady in an amazing dress, and a man whose face she cannot see.

The jester asked the little princess as the sun finally set; "and m'lady, what do you think?"

"I had a wonderful day dear jester" she responded, "I think you are very nice".

To which the jester replied; "M'lady, I meant of yourself". Confused the little princess asked "of myself?". "Yes" the jester answered, as he turned around.

In that moment, the little princess sees the man of the couple look at her and realizes that the couple she had envied but a moment ago was actually a reflection of them. The little princess starts to cry without knowing why. As she looks up at the jester with tears in her eye she asked him only one word; "How?" The only thing the jester did was hold out his hand and smile.

 

From that moment on the little princess and the jester were inseparable. In time they learned each other's secret, the jester learned the little princess was just that, a princess. And the little princess learned that the jester was actually a prince that would soon be king.

 

And from the prince the little princess learned;

True beauty is not seen with the eye, it is experienced with the heart.

 

And so we lived happy ever after, me and my little princess...


© Copyright 2018 Cees van Keulen. All rights reserved.

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