Sunday Stories: Sleeping Beauty – Part Two
Last week, I announced a new feature on this blog: Sunday Stories! Basically, I’m going to share a part of one of my old stories or short novellas every Sunday, for you all to read and laugh at and basically enjoy. Last week the series kicked off with the prologue of a fairy tale I wrote when I was twelve. So this week I’ll post the first part of the first chapter! (Yes, I’ve been writing obnoxiously long chapters since I was twelve) I always liked this scene, for some reason. You’ll have to read it and let me know what you think…
I’ve always loved words. Big words, small words, any words. They fascinated me. It’s amazing how someone can string together a line of words and form a beautiful sentence. I loved stories, too.
When I was ten, I decided I was going to make up a story of my own. It started when I was walking around the palace in my mother, the queen’s, old cloak, pretending to be Queen Esther.
“Boy,” I called to a servant boy named Daniel. “You shall bow and acknowledge your Queen Esther.”
He snorted, a sound I despised. He was two years older than me, and seemed immune to the fact that I was a princess. He shook his tawny curls and crossed his arms. “Some queen you are. You don’t look like a queen at all.”
I was too brave, and I let him know it! “I was given the gift of bravery at birth,” I declared.
“Oh yeah?” He nodded toward a tall tree near the back of our royal garden. “Let’s see you climb that tree over there.”
“Okay,” I lifted my chin defiantly. “I’ll do it.” I tossed off the cloak and marched toward the garden. He strode along beside me, managing not to break a smile. I stole a sideways glance at him, then looked ahead. I grew a little nervous as I neared what I knew was my certain death. Many thoughts raced through my ten-year-old mind as I stopped in front of the looming tree. What about my parents? What if I never lived to get that true love’s kiss from a handsome prince? I started for the first branch and paused.
“What’s the matter? Chicken?” He smiled and raised an eyebrow.
“Hmph!” I stuck my nose in the air and started climbing. I grabbed the first branch and swung up. My gifts of adventure and bravery gave me a thrill as I climbed up. Steadily, I climbed. Higher. Higher. The sky had never seemed so blue. A slight breeze kissed my face.
Suddenly, I heard a crack. The branch below me was falling! I grabbed a branch and wrapped my arms around it. “Help!” I yelled. My legs dangled in the air. I looked down with a look of desperation at Daniel. He grimaced. I knew what a position he was in. If he ran, he’d look like a coward. But if he stayed he might get in trouble.
I looked down and realized for the first time how high up I was. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t scared. It felt liberating to be so high! With new found strength, I reached a limb beneath me and began climbing down.
“You can do it!” Daniel shouted, his twelve-year-old face pink with eagerness.
I planted my foot on the ground firmly and straightened. I held my head up proudly and gave him a smug look.
“You did it!” he shouted, grabbing my arms and swinging me around. “I knew you could do it!” He stopped and gave me a solemn look. “I would have done it myself, but heights scare me.”
We laughed and ran outside the garden where the green grass grew wild. We sprawled our skinny little bodies out on the grass and stared up at the cloudless sky.
It still amazes me how quickly kids can meet, say three sentences to each other, and instantly be best friends. As we lay there, picking the blades of grass, I knew that he was my best friend.
“This feels like something out of a story,” I announced, proud of my ten-year-old knowledge.
“Yeah, I guess.” He wrinkled up his nose. “I’ve never been much for books, though.”
“Really?!” I’d never met someone who didn’t appreciate a good story. “maybe you just haven’t heard the right one. What stories have you heard?”
He bit his lip and rolled over in the grass. “Well, I heard the one about the naughty little boy who told lies and had to go to hell.”
I was shocked. That wasn’t a story at all! That was a tale mothers told their kids when there was a broken necklace and no one else around. I told him so, alright. That and more. “I’ll tell you a story,” I said and immediately launched into an elaborate version of my birth. He hung on every word, his eyes wide open.
“Really?” he asked in awe when I finished. I nodded my head proudly. “Tell me another one,” he said, resting his hands behind his head and closing his light blue eyes.
“What do you want to hear?” I racked my brains for another story I knew well. “Arthur and his knights? Robin Hood? Noah’s ark?”
“Make up one yourself.”
“I don’t think you’re allowed to do that.”
He opened one eye and squinted at me. “Then how do the stories get made?”
I’d never thought about that before. Weren’t authors simply born with the knowledge that they were destined to write marvelous works of art? But that couldn’t be right. They must have been ordinary people with ordinary dreams.
“I bet your story wouldn’t be any good.” He closed his eyes again, and his lips turned up in a slight smile.
I sniffed and stuck my nose up. “Once upon a time there was a prince…”
It was a marvelous story, or so I thought at the time. It involved a noble prince who was obsessed with hunting down a golden unicorn. Only one had ever been seen in Caledonia, and when he heard of it, he knew it was his destiny to kill it. On the way, he fell in love with a Geravian maid and befriended a poor farmer with dreams of being a duke. But when the prince saw the gorgeous unicorn at last, it was too lovely to kill. “So instead he married his maiden and had a castle by the sea,” I finished proudly.
He sat up and grinned. A wild hawk soared above us and the grass bended in the breeze. “Fantastic!” he cried. “You’ll be famous, Valerie!” Then he wrinkled his nose and added, “But leave out the part about the pretty maid.”
I laughed out loud. “You and me think alike, Daniel.”
And that is how I told my first story and made my first friend. All at ten years old.
To be continued…