Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a young princess by the name of Violetta. She lived in a grand castle on the top of a very large hill. Whenever the princess peeked out her window, she could see all of the farmland below the castle, all of the forest next to the farmland, and all of the sea that stretched out beyond the forest. Of course, she could not see all of the sea, for it continued on for many miles, far past the borders of the king's dominion.
Quite often the young princess would wonder what things might go on in the lands beyond the castle. She wondered about the people who might live in the farmland. She wondered about the animals which might live in the forest. She wondered about the fish which might live in the sea. She wondered about these things just about every day, as no one would tell her about such matters.
This particular story is not, as you might suppose, about the princess. This story concerns a young woman by the name of Lucinda, who served as governess to the princess.
Lucinda had no children of her own, and had very little sense when it came to children. She loved her king and queen, however, and desired to serve them well. Anyone could see her kind and gentle heart, even if she lacked common sense.
Every day the young princess would question her governess about the farmland, the forest, and the sea. Like the princess, however, Lucinda had also lived in the castle all of her life, and knew nothing of what lay beyond. She responded every day in the same way, “Well, Violetta, I am not really too sure,” thinking this answer would satisfy the child's curiosity. She herself had never wondered about such things, being quite content to live comfortably behind the castle walls.
As you might suppose, one bright summer day the young princess could not be found. Lucinda searched in all of the usual places, until finally she came to Violetta's favorite window. Lucinda peeked out of the window, and for the first time, wondered about the lands beyond. She had never looked out of that particular window before, and as it had a very extensive view, it was not hard for anyone to wonder such things when looking out of that window.
Lucinda suddenly had a flash of sense. Violetta had always questioned her about the lands beyond – would she not want to explore such places to satisfy her curiosity? She hurried down through the castle.
No one ever guarded the main doors, as the people enjoyed a general peace among themselves and among their neighbors. Just inside the castle walls stood the market, with vendors and citizens milling about.
Lucinda stopped at a fruit vendor's cart. “Sir, have you seen a young girl about the age of seven?”
“Why yes, marm. She asked me about the people in the farmland,” he replied.
“Thank you!” Lucinda cried. She hurried through the main doors and down the path to the farmland.
Soon she could see a farmer, plowing his field. “Sir, have you seen a young girl about the age of seven?”
“Why yes! She asked me about the animals in the forest,” he replied.
“Thank you!” Lucinda cried. She hurried along the path to the forest.
Soon she could see a squirrel, perching near the top of a tree. “Sir, have you seen a young girl about the age of seven?”
Of course the squirrel did not respond except to chatter loudly in his squirrel tongue. Lucinda paused, then and another flash of sense came to her mind. Violetta had also wanted to know about the sea! She hurried down the path toward the sea.
Soon she could see the shoreline, and there sat her young charge. “Violetta!” Lucinda exclaimed.
The princess turned around to see her governess. “I found the sea!” she said.
“I see that,” Lucinda replied. “You have always wondered about such things. Now, today you have seen the farmland, the forest, and now, the sea. Has all this satisfied your curiosity?”
“Oh, yes!” the child said.
“Alright.” Lucinda took Violetta's hand, and began to turn for home, yet still unaware of a simple truth. No matter what one might do or say, a child's curiosity is never satisfied!
“Lucinda, I have another question.”
“How do you swim?”
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