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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Once in a Blue Moon (01/06/11)

TITLE: Once Upon A Time
By Megan Starbuck


“Once, in a blue moon, there lived a princess in a glowing, blue dress.” Cathy spoke softly in the best story-telling voice she could muster. “No one knew she was a princess except her mother. Then one day the princess got sick and began to stay in bed most days. She still looked beautiful in her blue gown—“ Cathy paused to point at Anna’s blue gown, tickling her as she did. They laughed quietly, and she continued. “—but the people in the blue moon didn’t pay the princess any attention because they didn’t know her. If only they had known her, she would have received thousands of “get well” cards and cheerful flowers; the people would have stopped by to tell a joke just to see the princess’s beautiful smile. Instead, only her mother was there to cheer the princess. Everyone else was too busy…” Cathy’s voice trailed off as she stared into her daughter’s sweet face and felt tears gathering in her eyes. She gently rubbed Anna’s head, smoothing her hair. Anna smiled weakly—the smile Cathy lived for, the smile she rarely saw these days, the smile she’d soon see no more.
“Mama, it’s ok. Finish telling the story. It gets better—you’re almost to my favorite part.”
Somehow Cathy gained her composure long enough to finish. “While everyone else laughed and played and sang and danced, the princess rested—listening to her mother until she could listen no more. When the princess breathed her last, all the people stopped what they were doing because they realized they were no longer in the blue moon—for the moon was no longer blue. The white light, which suddenly covered the moon, made even the princess’s mother squint. The tearful mother kissed her daughter one last time, thinking how out-of-order it was for her daughter to leave the moon before she did. Then the mother reached for the blue, heart-shaped memory box the princess had left her. When she opened it, a blue glow appeared, and the mother faintly felt as if the princess were with her again—like the blue moon was back to normal. The people felt an ache, a longing for the blue moon. Even while laughing and playing, they always hoped it would come back. Those who searched soon found out about the mother’s box and loved learning about the princess. Her mother would share different stories about her daughter anytime someone would listen, and—at the end—she would open the box, and they would all feel as if they knew the princess and could see her smiling. Only then could they finally experience a faint glimmer of what it had been like when they were in the blue moon.”
“I wish I had a blue box to leave you, Mama,” Anna said regretfully.
Cathy forced a smile and swallowed, blinking back tears. “Oh, Princess,” she said sympathetically, “I thought you knew. Every moment I’ve spent with you, I’ve stored in my heart—that’s my blue box. That’s all I need to remember you and make it through the each day without you. You’ve given me the best—“ Cathy wiped her tears swiftly and continued, “Don’t worry about me; just know that I love you.” She squeaked out the last words, despite trying to sound strong.
As she watched her daughter take her last breath, Cathy kissed Anna one last time and thanked God for making her the mother of a girl born once in a blue moon.

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Member Comments
Member Date
diana kay01/13/11
the subject of this weeks challenge so lends itself to a fairytale and how clever to combine the fairytale aspect with such a heart rending "real" story.
I had tears in my eyes as i read this.
just one extra comment which is a personal one. For me the story would have hung together better if you had left out the final lines about the child's death and left the reader to guess the outcome. It seemed just slightly melodramatic.
brilliant writing however and i can see i am going to need a box of tissues this week :-)
Nichole Hall01/13/11
I love the mother-daughter relationship you've portrayed in this piece. You did a wonderful job putting me right in the scene. I got right into it and found the setting of the "story" a nice touch.

The dialogue was great, but a little difficult to read due to the lack of spacing in the format. I found the words of the child were very true to life. Good job!
Lillian Rhoades 01/13/11
You discovered a very creative way to work this topic. Some of the magic was lost in the spacing. In a story where dialogue shifts, spacing is so important. Although the fairy tale weakened a bit in the end, the final dialogue between mother and daughter added a glowing finish,which as someone has commented, did not need the last sentence.

A great story that pulls the heart strings.
Patsy Hallum01/13/11
A fairytale with great promise put in a sad story. Its a great way to handle things when your child dies.If this is personal, I'm sorry for your loss. We who have lost children empathise with you.
Bonnie Bowden 01/14/11
A beautiful tale that warms the heart. It would be easier to read by dividing the dialogue into paragraphs.
Verna Mull 01/15/11
Wow! What a great job of literally using the challenge phrase! I drew a complete blank on that one and you made an interesting and emotional story out of it. Loved it.
Jody Day 01/18/11
Very engaging with beautiful imagery. Thanks!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/20/11
This is a very sweet and sad tale between a mother and daughter. I liked that the two realized the girl was destined to due and talked about it, instead of pretending it want going to happen.

Congratulations on placing 7th in level one.