this is life 15.0: the princess

my little cousin, moriah rose, loves princesses.  so i thought some time ago that i would write a princess story for her birthday in november.  i sat down one sunday afternoon and began to write.  i typed, “once upon a time” in a word document, and after the cursor blinked at me for about fifteen minutes, i decided that perhaps inspiration would hit if i had a cup of coffee and switched over to real paper and pen.  after most of my coffee was gone and the remaining inch cold, i recycled six sheets of paper with “once upon a time, high in the snow-shrouded mountains, there was a princess named rose” scrawled all over them, and i gave up on the story.

but then for one of my classes (writing for children and adolescents) i was assigned the written portion of a picture book.  i looked in my brain — my fluffy, wiped-out brain — for ideas…and the only one i found was rather tiny and tattered, an idea which had already tried and failed to become a fairy tale about a princess who wasn’t.

so, with little hope in my heart, i sat down at my laptop to write.  i typed “once upon a time”…and stopped.  this felt too familiar.  *backspace.* 

the cursor blinked.

*blink.*

“rose was not a princess.” 

=)

it’s still a first draft, written up tonight after a long day, and the ending in particular needs serious work.  but i was happy with how it came together.  so, i thought i’d share.  also, i’ll take suggestions on titles…because all that i can think of is the beginning line, which is pretty lame as a title.  =)

untitled fairy tale

Rose was not a princess.

She had a ballgown.  She had a crown. She lived in a castle.

But she was not a princess.  So one day Rose ran down the path deep into the wood, where the little old woman lived in her little old cottage.  The little old woman was weeding her garden.

“I have a ballgown.  I have a crown.  I live in a castle.  But I am not a princess.  What else do I need?” Rose said.

The little old woman did not answer.  She smiled her wise smile and said, “Rose, I am a little old woman and am not as strong as I once was.  Please help me weed my garden.”

So Rose helped the little old woman weed her garden…and her beautiful ballgown got dirty.  But after the garden was weeded, the little old woman smiled her wise smile and said, “Thank you for your help, Rose.”

And Rose ran up the path back to the castle.

The next day, Rose woke up and she still was not a princess.  So she ran down the path deep into the wood, where the little old woman lived in her little old cottage.  The little old woman was collecting firewood for her fire.

“I have a crown.  I live in a castle.  But I am not a princess.  What else do I need?” Rose said.

The little old woman did not answer.  She smiled her wise smile and said, “Rose, I am a little old woman and am not as strong as I once was.  Please help me collect firewood for my fire.”

So Rose helped the little old woman collect firewood for her fire…and her beautiful crown fell off in the woods and was lost.  But after the firewood was collected, the little old woman smiled her wise smile and said, “Thank you for your help, Rose.”

And Rose ran up the path back to the castle.

The next day, Rose woke up and she still was not a princess.  So she ran down the path deep into the wood, where the little old woman lived in her little old cottage.  The little old woman was peeling potatoes for her supper.

“I live in a castle.  But I am not a princess.  What else do I need?” said Rose.

The little old woman did not answer.  She smiled her wise smile and said, “Rose, I am a little old woman and am not as strong as I once was.  Please help me peel potatoes for my supper.”

So Rose helped the little old woman peel potatoes for her supper.  But by the time the potatoes were peeled and the supper was made, it was dark.  The little old woman said, “I am a little old woman, and I am so lonely sometimes.  Please eat supper and stay the night in my little old cottage with me.”

So Rose did not run back up the path to the castle that night.  She ate supper and stayed the night with the little old woman in the little old cottage.

The next day, Rose woke up in the little old cottage and she still was not a princess.  She sighed a sad sigh and went outside.  The little old woman was washing the windows.

“May I help you?” said Rose.

The little old woman answered.  She said, “I am a little old woman, and I am not as strong as I once was.  Yes, you may help me, Princess Rose.”

“I am not a princess,” said Rose.  “My ballgown is dirty.  My crown is gone.  My castle is far away.”

The little old woman smiled her wise smile and said, “A princess does not need a ballgown.  She does not need a crown.  She does not need a castle.  A princess only needs to care about other people more than about herself.”

Rose smiled.  And then she helped the little old woman wash her windows.

~c. a.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Heather says:

    That was absolutely lovely, carreen. :) Just like the fairy tales I used to read when I was little. I love it!

  2. Cassandra Rhoden says:

    this is the kind of story that i would absolutely love to read aloud to cora.

    regarding a title, my literal geek-y side would say to name it the “anti-princess” :P however, i don’t think that’s quite the feel you’re going for. ;)

    maybe something simple like “what a princess needs” or “without her castle”. i look forward to hearing what to end up calling it. :)

  3. carreena says:

    thanks, girls! glad you enjoyed it. =)

    cass, *my* literal geeky side likes the title “anti-princess.” i just don’t know if a publisher would. =P

    i’m sorely tempted to give it a negative title (like “the princess who wasn’t” or something) but i don’t want to take away the punch of the first line. so…i still haven’t hit upon it yet. i’m thinking you’re right, something simple might be my best bet. =)

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