Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Short End of the Stick (02/20/14)
TITLE: Am I a Princess Yet?
By Francy Judge
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Whenever Rose asked the king if she could wear the princess crown, he always answered, “Not yet, my sweet flower.”
“Will I ever be a princess?”
“One day you will.”
Rose pouted. “I don’t want to wait for one day.”
As the morning sun splashed rainbows of light through stained-glass windows, calling her to wake, Rose howled at Nanny Gwen to draw the drapes. “That wretched sun hurts my eyes!”
“But dear, the day is well on its way at eleven o’clock. You’ll miss afternoon tea.”
“My own father won’t call me princess, so why should I dress like one? I deserve the title of my birth.”
“Your father is a wise king and loves you dearly, more than apple tarts.” Rose cracked a bit of a smile; he ate apple tarts for breakfast every day. “He’ll know when you’re ready. Some day.”
“I hate some day.”
Gwen had raised Rose since she was one month old, the day the queen died. Gwen was her mother in common clothes. She bathed her, dressed her, and escorted her on horseback rides. She saw Rose throw her first temper tantrum when she didn’t want to go to sleep. She read the story of Queen Esther to Rose before bed every night. She tied bows in her curly black hair. She watched Rose try to be a princess.
When her stallion won the Windsor trophy, Rose was sure her father would place the princess crown upon her head.
He did not.
When she danced at the ball for her twelfth birthday, Rose was sure her gift would be the princess crown.
It was not. Year after year, she heard: “Not yet.”
Then wartime came. As the battles drew closer to the castle, the king sent word for Gwen to hide Rose in the country. “Wake up, Rose…we have to go!” In the dark, she scooped Rose into her arms and carried her downstairs and outside to their carriage.
“Why? What about my dresses and jewelry? I want to pack first,” she whined.
“No, the war is too close to the castle. We’ve no time to waste.”
Sounds of battle echoed over the hills, and Rose quivered. She tried to sleep but her heart raced too fast. “What about daddy?” she whispered.
Gwen wiped the tears from Rose’s cheeks. “Don’t worry, dear. He is a good king; God will protect him.”
They arrived at a small, quiet cottage the next day. Gwen sewed a plain brown frock for Rose to wear and blend in with the other children.
She groaned as she slipped it on and looked in the mirror. “Ugh. How drab. I’ll never be a princess…just look at me.”
“Don’t worry, Miss Rose. You’ll be a princess someday, but for now you must be a country girl. This is my family’s farm, where I was born. You look at me like I’m passing you the short end of the stick; but you’ll see. What seems to be the short end may not be so short after all.”
“A princess never gets the short end.”
Gwen braided Rose’s hair and recited: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
Rose scrunched her nose. “The earth, not a farm.”
Months passed by quickly on the farm. Every day Rose helped Gwen’s nieces and nephews with the chores. She fed the chickens and pigs and even milked the cows. At first she grumbled about her tired arms and blisters, but soon she grew to enjoy laughing with the other children as the animals clucked and oinked around them. The children dressed in ragged clothing and had little to eat, yet were happy to run through the fields after their chores were finished. Every day Rose wrote to her father; at first she asked him when she could come home; soon her letters asked how he could help the poor farmers and children; eventually she wrote her own ideas to help them.
Another year ended and so did the war. Gwen brought Rose back to the castle. When the carriage stopped, Rose ran into her father’s arms. “I missed you!”
Without a word, the king placed the crown on Rose’s knotty curls. She still wore her smudged frock. “You’re beautiful, Princess Rose…with or without your crown.”
Rose grinned. She wouldn’t need a crown at the farm.
Scripture verse: Matthew 5:5
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