Story Saturday: "The Secret Princess"

"The Secret Princess"

Once upon a time, there was a happy peasant couple living in a small village. Each morning, the husband would plow the fields, and each afternoon, the wife would sew the loveliest of garments to sell at market. They barely remembered a time before they were together. The two met when they were very young while the peasant woman was traveling to sell her wares. Once they were wed, she never left the village and their lives remained as constant as ever. Nothing new or exciting happened to them, and that was the way they liked it. Of course, even those with the simplest of desires do not always get what they want.


One day, there was an announcement that an ambassador from a nearby kingdom would be coming to visit the small village. When the peasant woman heard the announcement, she told her husband that she could not sell her wares at the market that day because she was feeling ill. However, his worry and concern for her made her hesitant to keep up her ruse. She suddenly changed her mind and said she did feel well enough to work after all, afraid to admit to the truth. Her husband sensed that there was something she was hiding, but he did not press her on the issue.

Instead of an ambassador, an impressive army of knights in gleaming armor rode into the village the next day. They declared that by order of the new king, all citizens of this and other neighboring villages must claim loyalty to the kingdom of Dreadmore or they would wage war immediately. Though the peasant man was willing to put his life on the line for the kingdom he loved, his wife shook her head and stepped forward in protest, revealing herself as the long-lost Princess of Dreadmore. Everyone was shocked, especially the ambassadors who now recognized her face.

The princess explained that she had been fed up with her kingdom's conquering ways and couldn't stand being pampered in the palace while her people suffered. When she was a teenager, she escaped with a band of traveling merchants, where she used her sewing and embroidery skills that she learned at the palace to survive as a peasant. Then she met her husband and decided to stop running so that she could begin a life with him here in the village. So, she concluded, Dreadmore already had an alliance with this small kingdom because its princess was married to one of its citizens.

Not sure what make of this news, the Dreadmore ambassadors insisted that the princess return with them to her kingdom where they would inform the new king, her brother, of their discovery. She agreed, only if her husband could come with her. The knights sneered at the lowly farmer, but the princess's terms were firm. On their travels, the peasant man admitted to his wife that he had always suspected her of being royalty from of her refined mannerisms, but he had been afraid to ask about it because he thought it meant he could lose her. She assured him that she loved him more than life itself, and nothing in the world could separate them.

The new king was delighted to learn that his sister was still alive. He insisted on giving her and her husband a suite in the palace as well as land and title, but the couple profusely refused, telling him that they were happy with their simple life as peasants. The king asked how that could be, and his sister regaled him with the story of how she hated their father's tyrannical methods of ruling and felt forced to flee when she was but a girl. By trying to conquer her new home, she told her brother that he was no different than their father had been as king. The new king considered this for a moment and agreed, but also told his sister that he did not know any other way to run a kingdom.

A royal conference was held in which the peasant couple, the king, and several advisors discussed how to handle their unexpected alliance with the small kingdom that the princess had learned to call home. She agreed to help him rule from afar as long as she could continue her happy life with her husband and her brother did his best to try to maintain peace between the kingdoms. Once they came to a satisfactory agreement, the princess and the farmer returned to their lives of peaceful monotony. From that day on, everything was almost the same as it had been except that now the farmer plowed the fields each morning and the princess sold her wares each afternoon by choice, and not for survival. Every few weeks, they would receive a royal treaty from the king of Dreadmore and go over it to make sure that it was as fair and just as possible. Outside of these minor interruptions, the peasant couple lived out the rest of their days happily ever after.

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