The Peasant Princess
Long ago, in a time where wishes came true, there lived a young girl who was lonely. She wanted somebody more than a friend. Holly’s big brown eyes looked sad when she talked about wanting a sister. Her pretty mother, Charlotte, worked around the house and cooked the meals for Arnold, her father. Her family owned a butcher shop in the village. They provided meat for those who could afford it.
The times were tough. Sometimes the peasants of the kingdom of Rockwell could not buy her father’s steaks and other meats. Then only the King and the people who lived at the castle would buy the meats. Another sister would be too much for her family, Charlotte said quietly when the subject of a sister was spoken. “Only if God wills it,” her mother explained. Holly prayed everyday for a sister.
One brisk winter day when Holly stepped out of the door to play, she found a large basket near the door.
The wind rustled the thick blanket around something. It moved. It was a baby! It was a baby girl! She rushed in and yelled, “I have a baby sister!” Charlotte wasn’t sure what was going on until she saw the face of an angel peek through the blanket. Charlotte moved the blanket and the blonde baby’s hair glowed in the setting sunlight. The child was quickly moved inside, and was fed some milk.
“It must be God’s will. We’ll call her Maria, since it is almost Christmas,” said Holly’s mother. Holly smiled. “Your wish has come true, child.”
Arnold came back from the village with the latest news from the castle. The Queen had a son two days before, and the King was going to celebrate with a feast. “I’ve got some news for you, too.” Holly beamed. He was told of the infant girl found in the basket, and when he first saw her, he smiled. He was captured by the child’s glow that surrounded her. “Mother said her name is Maria, but she is more like a princess to me,” Holly said.
From then on, the butcher’s family called the girl “Princess” around the house. Holly had a friend to play with, and of course, share the chores that had to be done as Maria got older. That was the only way their mother could teach them things. Holly grew taller, and her dark brown hair was a long as she was almost. Her brown eyes were eager to see the world. Maria had bright blonde hair, and it was long, but not as long as her sister’s hair. Maria had green eyes that would look right through a person and tell if they were good or not.
Maria had a wish of her own, just as Holly had one. She wanted to be a princess. She felt a pretty as one, and her family treated her like one. The life of a butcher’s family was not easy, but it was a good steady living with everyone in the family working together.
When Maria was older, there was a boy who liked Maria. His name was Simon, son of the wagon master. They went to the annual carnival together, but that was their only time by themselves. A wagon made by Simon’s father used by Maria’s father fell apart. It broke and landed on Arnold. He had a broken leg. Since then, she couldn’t be with Simon any more.
Then there was a boy named George who liked Maria, but Charlotte told Maria to save herself for the Prince. Herman, the son of a jewel maker, also promised a handful of rings, but Maria’s mother gave the same advice about George: save herself for the Prince. Maria really wanted to be with these boys, but she still held on to her dream.
One spring day, an excited Arnold rushed home to say the Queen was looking for a personal attendant, and she wanted to look outside of the royal court for the job. As soon as he heard about it, he mentioned Maria’s name and told of her long golden hair and beautiful green eyes. An audience was arranged so that the Queen could see Maria.
The same glow that surrounded Maria when she was first found shimmered as she came closer to the Queen at the castle’s Royal Chamber. A few words were spoken, because not many words were needed for the Queen to see more than a personal attendant in Maria. Immediately, Maria went to the castle to live, and serve the Queen. Talks between the two women revealed Maria’s dream and how much she liked the Prince.
During royal events, several chances were arranged for Maria to talk with the even handsomer Prince. The two quickly became friends, and thoughts of marriage were discussed. Just as things were going great, the Prince seemed distant. There was trouble in the kingdom. A rebellion over taxes in the north had to stopped, and to the east, the land controlled by Count Tarantino was being taken over by the Mesotamians. The Count had one of the King’s largest provinces. A small force went north, while most of the King’s knights and soldiers marched east.
The Prince wanted to go to battle, but was told by the King to stay with soldiers to defend the castle in case of an attack. Besides, the young man should stay with his new girlfriend, he added. While the King was gone, Maria and the Prince took a long walk around the castle. By the end of the walk, they agreed to be married.
The rebellion in the north was stopped quickly, but the news was not so good from the east. The King was hurt in battle, so much that he was forced to return before the battle was over. The Royal Doctor was called upon the King’s arrival, and the wound was checked. The King had a cut in his side, and the doctor told the King he would heal in time, but he would be forced to slow down.
While being attended by the doctor, a messenger reported the province, that was threatened to be taken away, was saved. Then the King ordered the arrest of Count Tarantino for helping the enemy, but the King was told he had died in the battle. The news of the victory eased his personal pain. He felt even better when he learned of the Prince’s decision to marry Maria. Then the King talked to the doctor alone.
The next day, the Royal Court met in the Great Hall where the King had promised an. announcement. First he announced the victories by his army of warriors and knights in the north and the east. He thanked them for their support and defense of the kingdom. Then he announced the marriage of his son to Maria. The crowd cheered and clapped. He paused, and everyone was silent. His third announcement was both happy and sad.
He stated that due to his injuries in battle, he could no longer be the King of Rockwell. The kingdom was going to celebrate a new marriage and a new king. Maria and the King-to-be held hands tightly. As the King made this announcement the Queen smiled at Maria as a mother who would smile at an abandoned child accepted into a new home.
For other short stories by Elias Tobias, click here.
Did you know that Elias Tobias has published two books, and one is an anthology of 145 poems, and the other a short story murder mystery. For complete information about these books and how to purchase them, click here..