Story Saturday: The Forgetful Princess

"The Forgetful Princess"

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Delia who woke up one morning and found that she couldn't remember anything about her life. She took the bus to school and couldn't remember which class she was in, so she wandered the halls aimlessly for few minutes.

"Are you lost?" asked a sporty-looking boy.

Delia nodded sadly. The boy directed her around the corner to where her first class was, but when she reached the door he described, she realized she had almost entered the boys' bathroom. She heard him snicker from around the corner as another group of guys came out pointing and laughing at her. Humiliated, Delia ran into the first classroom she saw and sat down at a desk.

It turned out to be a math class. The class was given a pop quiz, but Delia realized that she couldn't remember how to solve any of the equations. Later, the teacher called on her and asked her to recite the quadratic formula. She thought she knew, but she realized too late that what she recited in response was the alphabet, not the formula. The rest of the class burst out laughing, and the teacher sent Delia to the principal's office.

Delia left in tears. She couldn't remember where the principal's office was, but she didn't want to admit that to the teacher or the rest of the class to avoid further humilation. Some students began drawing sketches of her with a blank expression surrounded by question marks in their notebooks. Eventually, she gave up searching and went to the cafeteria for lunch. A girl she recognized from her math class asked to sit with her and took a seat at her table.

"You're the new girl, right?" she asked. "I'm Sarah. I thought you were really funny back there when you recited the alphabet. Nobody can remember the quadratic equation anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much. Where are you from?"

Delia thought long and hard. In the back of her mind, she could recall lush flowers, glittering lights, and treetops, but no street signs or houses. She shook her head in defeat.

"I can't remember," she said at last.

"How can you not remember where you're from?" asked Sarah with some concern, but no hint of malice.

Before she could answer, a beautiful girl in a cheerleader's uniform approached their table.

"New girl," she said in a commanding voice. "Delia, right? How did you get those shimmer strands in your hair? I want them for our next cheer meet."

Delia pulled some of her long hair in front of her face and noticed for the first time that it was not a normal color. Her hair looked pale blond with a greenish hue that reminded her of vines. Surrounding the greenish strands were shimmering golden strands that looked like dainty necklace chains.

"I'm not sure," she said, "It looks like they just grew in that way."

"Are you mocking me?" asked the cheerleader, crossing her arms. "No one mocks me!"

She flung Delia's tray up toward her face, flinging food all over her hair and clothes. Delia was mortified.

"Hey!" said Sarah, "Leave her alone! Can't you see she's not well?"

Sarah threw her drink in the mean cheerleader's face and before she had a chance to respond, Sarah grabbed Delia's hand and pulled her outside. Delia thought she heard a teacher yelling at them to go to the principal's office again, but they were out the door before she had a chance to turn around and look.

"Listen," said Sarah, "I want to help you. I can see you're not yourself right now. Why don't you tell me what you remember, and we can try to get this whole amnesia thing figured out."

"Amnesia?" asked Delia. "Is that what I have?"

"It seems like it. Look around. Do you see anything that reminds you of where you came from?"

Delia did as she was told. When she looked toward the forest behind the school, she thought she heard voices calling her. They weren't the same voices that she heard scolding her when they ran out of the cafeteria. These voices sounded like bells, and they spoke a foreign language that she somehow understood. As if in a trance, she took off toward the forest.

"Wait!" called Sarah, "It's dangerous back there! There have been a bunch of bear sightings, and all kinds of other wild animals lurk out there. We're not supposed to go too far from the main road."

Delia could barely hear Sarah's voice over the bell-like sounds from the forest. It sounded familiar, like home. She knew this was where she belonged. The closer she got, the louder the bell-like voices became. They were warm and welcoming and called out her name. A tree deep within the woods started glowing, and she knew that was where she belonged. The moment she set eyes on it, all of her memories flooded back. She knew who she was again.

A glittering magical life high about the ignorant existence of the humans. An impossible wish. Princess Delia had lived among the faeries for hundreds of years, protected by the king and queen who watched over the human realm. She had been curious for a long time to know what it would be like to live among them. Her parents warned her that she would find nothing but sadness in their world, but she persisted. Finally, they agreed to let her live as a human for one day, but her human body would lose all its power and with it, the wisdom of the faery realm and the life she had before. The sadness and frustration she carried with her on this day was merely the result of her own foolish experiment.

She embraced the power of her ancient home tree as her human skin shed around her, and she returned to her small but powerful body. As her wings grew back large and pointy, the animals of the forest all came to show their respect. As bears, wolves, squirrels, and toher creatures drew near, Delia heard a familiar scream behind her. She realized to her horror that Sarah was still following her. The human girl trembled, realizing she was surrounded by all the hungry creatures that lived the forest.

When her faery form was fully restored, Delia used her magic to spread a message, using her bell-like language that all the animals understood. She told them to protect Sarah, for she was the only one who had showed her kindness during her short journey into the human world. The animals nodded their agreement and nuzzled up against Sarah. When she realized they were no longer going to hurt her, she pet them and laughed merrily.

"Sarah," said Delia, glowing with a golden light high above the girl's head, "I wanted to thank you for showing me a bit of kindness in your world. If you promise to keep our secret and protect our realm, you may be our human princess and one day join us as an immortal among the faeries."

"Of course I'll keep your secret, your majesty," said Sarah, giving Delia her best curtsy.

She felt a warmth as Delia's magic surrounded her and bonded her with the forest. Afterward, Sarah noticed that her hair had grown the same golden chains as Delia's did when she was human. Princess Sarah kept her promise to maintain the secret of the forest while Princess Delia returned home to her parents, satisfied to have the knowledge of life as a human. They both lived happily ever after.


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