The Trouble With Princesses
Word Count: 600
Once upon a time there was fairy princess named—what’s that? I know there’s no such thing as fairies. It’s a story. You’re allowed to have fairies in stories. I know, but… Fine. Okay.
Once upon a time there was a princess named Annabelle. Yes, I’m sure that was her name. This was a time when people were named Annabelle. Listen, I understand your concern, but this is a bedtime story, we can’t strive for realism.
Don’t make that face at me.
Fine. You want realism, I’ll give you realism.
Once upon a time there was a princess who was not a fairy. She lived in a world without magic. And because this was a long time ago, it meant that it was also a world without hygiene. The princess was lucky to have not died at the age of six from dysentery.
Dysentery? It’s a bad thing. It’s a very bad thing. Yes, I know you’re also six years old. Well, little girls sometimes did… Look, forget about the dysentery. I was trying to make a point—oh, please don’t start crying. I’m sorry about the dysentery. How about we’ll have this be a magical kingdom without dysentery? Would that make everything better?
Okay, once upon a time in a magical kingdom without… No, there’s no such thing as magic, but this is a story… Do you want me to give the princess dysentery again? So help me, I’ll do it. She’ll never live to rule her kingdom and marry the handsome prince, because he caught the ague when he was thirteen…
I’m sorry. Please stop crying.
Listen, Mommy always did this. I’m… I know. Please stop crying. Nobody has dysentery or ague. Ague? It’s another bad thing. No, there’s no ague under your bed. At least I hope not. I’m sorry, I’m absolutely sure that there’s no ague under your bed.
No, I’m not going to check.
Fine, I’ll check.
There. No ague. I’m sure. Are we better? Can we stop editorializing long enough for me to tell a story?
What does what mean? Editorializing is when… I don’t have time for this. I’m thinking of a story right now about a little girl who went to bed without bedtime stories.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Please stop crying.
We’ll start again. I’ll do it better this time. No, it won’t be like Mommy’s, but I’ll do my best. Can you promise me you’ll just listen?
Once upon a time there was a princess named Annabelle. A few weeks ago, she had been a farm girl, but suddenly her father became the king of the whole land. This was a lot of responsibility. You see, he’d never been a king before, and Annabelle had never been a princess. It was a little scary for both of them.
Annabelle was used to life on the farm, and suddenly she had everything she asked for. And she asked for quite a lot. And her father, the King, he didn’t know what to do. He wanted her to be happy, but he also knew that someday she’d be the queen, and she’d have to know how to rule without him.
This caused a lot of fighting, at first. But they kept trying, because they loved each other very much. And even though they failed over and over again, they kept trying to do better. After a few years, the King learned how to give Annabelle what she needed without spoiling her, and Princess Annabelle learned how to rule the kingdom. And eventually, they lived happily ever after.
Good night, sweetheart.