Once upon a time, there were twin princesses. Their mother, Queen Dorinda loved them both. The Queen knew she didn’t have long to live and prayed they might reconcile before she died. Alas, the sisters had seldom been in the same room without fighting.
Melania was short and talkative. Her smile was infectious, but she stopped smiling when her sister came into a room. “That little snake is stultifying the atmosphere of the kingdom,” she would shout.
Kiara was tall and quiet. When Kiara was in a room, the atmosphere would be serene and calm. If Melania was there, Kiara would whisper, “That noisy little warthog doesn’t act like a princess!”
Queen Dorinda was heartsick. She knew both sisters wanted to be Queen, and to acquire the royal fortune. It would have been simple for Dorinda to choose the elder of the girls as Queen, but even the royal doctors couldn’t agree which had been born first.
Both girls had gone to endless lengths to prove they were more worthy to be Queen. Their childhood had been an endless procession of gymnastic, academic, artistic and philosophical challenges. Although the Queen was proud her daughters were so versatile, their striving had made her old and weary. Neither girl missed an opportunity to regale their mother with their virtues.
Kiara would quietly say: “Mother, you know that I’m the one to ascend to the throne. How can you even consider that raucous rhinoceros?”
”Kiara, that is your sister,” admonished the Queen. “Please don’t speak of her in that way.”
In would bustle Melania, who’d plead her own case. “C’mon, Mommers!” she’d bellow. “Of course I’m the one who has the moxy to rule this place! Send the little mouse back into her hole!” The Queen would ask Melania to speak more kindly of her sister, but she’d only laugh.
This dilemma might never have been solved, except for the Queen Finder, who was rumored to be able to tell a true queen from a phony. She sent for him and told him her tale. She asked him to help her decide which twin was the rightful queen. “Most of all, I’d like them to act like sisters. If I must give up my throne, I’d like to have know my successor will not fear her sister’s wrath.”
“What will you give me if I succeed?” asked the Finder.
“If you can select the rightful Queen, I will grant you her hand in marriage.”
The Finder asked, “What of the other twin?” The Queen frowned. “If you succeed and they treat each other like sisters, I pray the new Queen would care for her sister in a generous way. It is all I could wish for.”
So the Finder left, and the Queen dared to hope. But, as several months went by, the Queen began to fear she might die without naming a successor.
Just as she was about to give up, the Queen Finder returned. To her amazement, both sisters were with him. Joy sprang into the Queen’s heart. “Do my eyes deceive me, daughters – or are both of you in the same room? Are you at peace with each other, at last?”
”Yes, mother,” said Kiara, quietly.
“You betcha!” shouted Melania.
She looked at the Finder in wonder. “So which is to be Queen?” she asked. “And how is it that the other is also here?”
“My Queen, I spent time with both of them and am convinced both have something special to offer the country. So, I asked both if they’d rather have half the royal title and fortune - or risk having none. Both of them agreed to put aside their grudge and share the title – and the fortune”
”Share it? But … that means… they will both be Queen?”
”And why not? Since even the royal doctors cannot tell which deserves the throne, then both should share it.”
The Queen hesitated. It was unheard of! But, as she looked at her daughters – each looking at her sister with the affection that she’d always wished for – she gave in. “So it shall be,” she decided. “Now, I can die in peace. But, what about your reward? Surely, you don’t want to marry both?”
”Surely, that would be more blessing than a man would be able to contemplate. I do not want to marry them both. But I do have a twin brother…”
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