Story Saturday: The Secret Prince

"The Secret Prince"

Once upon a time, there was a lonely little maiden living with her stepmother, stepsister, and stepbrother. They treated her well enough until her father died, and their true nature was revealed. The maiden's stepfamily had been jealous of the gifts and attention granted to her by her father, so they took it all away and began treating her like a slave. Every week, they demanded that she go to the market and purchase everything they desired, leaving her no extra money for herself. She would spend her mornings making her family breakfast, tightening her stepsister's corsets, and helping her brother with his debt. All the while, she dreamed of the days when her beloved father was still alive. If she ever uttered a word about him to her stepfamily, though, they would force her to scrub the floors until her hands became cracked and raw.

One day, when she was out at the market, a young man she had never seen before caught her eye. He heard her singing absentmindedly to herself and asked her where she had heard such a beautiful song. She told him that her mother taught it to her back when she was still alive. The young man comforted her, telling her that he recently lost his mother as well. The maid quickly lost track of the time and realized how late she was from returning to her family. She told the young man she had to leave but agreed to meet him the following week in the same spot. When the maiden returned home, her family was infuriated with her tardiness. They forced her to stay up all night scrubbing every dish they owned until her hands once again became cracked and raw. She told her stepmother that she could not endure such treatment and still have the strength to work the next day, but her stepmother knew that she had no other choice.

The maiden met with the young main again the following week. This time, he asked her about the sorry state of her hands. She reluctantly told him about her situation and how she had no choice but to do everything her stepmother, stepsister, and stepbrother told her to or she would have nowhere else to go. The young man told her he knew of a place for her to go, but she would have to trust him. He told her to pack up all her things and have them prepared to bring with her the following week when she met to market. The maiden protested that there was no way she could carry all of her possessions along with everything her family needed for her to bring back, but he told her once again that she must trust him.

The following week, the maiden packed all of her possessions as she was told. Her stepsister squealed when she saw this and told her mother that she was trying to run away. The stepmother told the maiden that such actions made her unworthy of having any possessions at all. She commanded her son to take all of the things she had packed and throw them out the window. Just before he could oblige, however, there was a knock at the door. When the maiden answered it, she was surprised to see the young man from the market. Upon seeing her, he immediately got down on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage.

Her stepmother laughed at this, not even noticing the footmen collecting the maiden's things from her stepbrother behind her and loading them into an ornate coach outside. She told her stepdaughter that there was no way she could possibly survive a marriage a young man with no title or status. The maiden revealed, however, that she had grown to love this man and would go anywhere with him because she knew in her heart of hearts that she deserved to be loved as she had been before her parents died. The young man was pleased to hear this and revealed to everyone that he was actually a prince, the son of the queen who had recently passed away. He wished for the maiden to come live with him at the palace to become a princess and to be granted everything her little heart desired.

Upon hearing this, her stepmother tried profusely to apologize, but it was too late. The prince officially decreed that she and her family were unworthy of their relations to such a kind-hearted maiden, and all ties with them would be cut off the moment they were wed. From that day on, the stepmother, stepsister, and stepbrother were forced to toil away day and night until their hands became raw, and the newly crowned princess lived happily ever with the love of her life, who also happened to be a prince.


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