A Simple Fairytale

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A simple fairytale, showing that you should be very very careful about what you wish for. Written in, approx, 2010

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A Simple Fairytale

Once upon a time there lived a beautiful princess who was well loved by her people. The people would always gift the princess with their best harvests and wares. Dress makers, bakers, florists, farmers, blacksmiths and even haberdashers. Despite the girl’s protests that she did not need such pleasantries from her people, she became known as Princess Parsimony to those in neighbouring kingdoms.

Due to this drastic err in word-of-mouth delivery of information, there soon were rumours that this requited royal would only consider suitors who brought her exceptional and rare trophies from around the world. Whoever brought her the most extravagant and fantastic treasure would win her hand, and her father’s realm.

It came to pass that such suitors would lend themselves to the princess’s parapet in their plea for her hand. She was affronted to learn of the tales being told of her name, but being raised properly as a princess, she knew that you could not refuse a gift from a neighbouring realm without risking ill ties and possible war. Wishing to avoid those situations, she would accept all gifts bestowed upon her hand. However, after years of enduring the returning suitors from around the world, she grew tired of the task that had become hers so unwillingly. She sent a proclamation through the city, and to be carried via horse-ridden messenger to each surrounding kingdom, and so on until it had reached all corners of the globe.

The proclamation was simply that she would see no more suitors who brought her simple trifles. She would only agree to marry the man who brought her the most precious item in all of the world.

That, however, became the problem – which she knew it would. There were arguments between kingdoms, each claiming that their treasures were worthier than the next. The princess had done exactly what she had never wanted to do before – given the nations reason to war with one another. She feared that this would be ultimately devastating for the nations of the world, but she knew not else what to do. Denying the gossip that had spread so many years before now would be pointless and none would listen save for her own people.

For many more dark years, the Princess wallowed in her grief and guilt. She saw no more suitors, for they were all at war. She had gained what she wanted, but at what price?

It was cold winter’s eve the night the old woman came from the hills to speak with the princess. The woman professed she was a practitioner of the arcane, and could aid the lovely woman in her plight. In earnest the princess unloaded all of her tale unto the woman. When all had been revealed, the woman offered the princess her services:

“I can end the war, and stop the advancement of your suitors from afar, but you must give something up in exchange.”

The princess implored the woman, stating that she could have whatever she wanted to take – the princess had been given more than enough in her short life, and she was willing to part with it easily. But the old woman stated that the only thing she could take in exchange for such magics, was her beauty – the very thing that the suitors were fighting for.

If she had not her looks, then the suitors would not wish as much to be betrothed to her, and thus the war would subside and the lands at peace once again. After hearing these words, the princess agreed – for she did not need her beauty in order to rule kindly. Her court assured her that they would never leave her side, no matter what choices she made, and so she agreed to the woman’s terms.

The old hag bid her to proclaim her desire for a single artefact – and the man that brought it to her would be bestowed with the greatest gift she could ever give to them. The proclamation was made, and soon the nations were warring for the sake of finding the artefact first.

Weeks, followed by months, and then a full year passed before there began whispers of the artefacts emergence. Not more than a fortnight past the initial introduction of the rumours came a gilded caravan across the royal gardens. A young gentleman emerged and was escorted to the princess with quickness.

When the young princess set her dark eyes upon the handsome stranger, her heart flittered a beat, and she knew that this is what must be the start of love in her breast. For this man, she could marry and live happily. The wars would end, and the suitors would cease. It had been a simple solution from the start, but she had remained steadfast in her denial of each suitor that had previously perched before her.

Before the gift was even brought forward, she stood and bid him to come forward. She would accept his proposal immediately, for she had seen the face of her angel, and wished nothing more than to be by his side eternally.

The artefact, which turned out to be a glorious crystal – it glittered like a diamond, but gave off heat like a raging fire. The stone was confined to the treasury without ever being fully examined by the princess until the royal couple commissioned that the ring the future queen would wear should be made from the precious stone.

The ring was finished within three cycles of the moon. The following full moon the wedding was held within the royal castle. It was a lovely ceremony, and when the prince placed the ring upon his future queen’s finger a wondrous thing became of her.

The stone began to glow upon her finger. Soon the smoothness of her skin hardened, cracked, and darkened to something akin to tree bark. Her long dark hair wove into tendrils of willow weeds, her dark eyes as hollow as woodpecker’s nests. The princess shrieked, and it was a cry so terrible and unbearable that her dear betrothed, as well as all those in attendance of the ceremony were killed from its sound.

Having lost her love, and half of her subjects, the now monstrously malformed maiden made her way to the moors, banishing herself to the mists as punishment for her own broken heart.

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