an original wonder tale by Michelle Paula Snyder
Once upon a time there was a Princess who lived in a storybook, in a castle much like any other. High on a hill surrounded by field and forest, it overlooked a small but peaceful kingdom. And like other princesses, she was blessed by the fairies when she was born. She grew in beauty and grace, and when her mother died, the kingdom was ruled only by her aged father the king. She was not yet old enough to sit on her mother’s throne, and so she spent her time talking to the birds and playing in the warm sun.
One day the storybook castle was attacked by an evil wizard who killed the king and locked the storybook princess in a high tower, until she would come of age to be his queen. Alone in her prison-room the storybook princess spent many hours looking out over the storybook land from her only window. Her friends, the birds, were her only company, and after a while a particular little bluebird came to the window every day to visit the sorrowful young girl. The princess told him her sad story, and how she would rather die than marry the wicked old wizard. The little bluebird would sing to the princess and try to cheer her up. Once in a while he would bring in his beak a fresh berry, or a little flower.
As her birthday grew ever nearer, the princess decided she would have to try and escape. But the tower was very high, and she could not get down. No one ever came to the door, except the wizard with her food, so she could not get out that way. Then one day, as the little bluebird brought her a twig of pretty white flowers, the princess had a clever idea. When she was very young her mother had read to her the most wondrous stories, magical stories about fairies, and witches, and dragons, and handsome knights who rescued princesses. That’s what she must do – find a handsome prince to rescue her. The next day, when the little bluebird came to visit, she asked her little winged friend if he would take a note and try to find one.
So every day the captive princess would give her feathered friend a note describing her dreadful plight and he would fly to a nearby kingdom to find help. For countless days the little bird faithfully came and went, seeking one who would rescue the young maiden.
After a time, quite forlorn, the storybook princess in the tower prison began to lose hope. Her fateful birthday was approaching and the evil wizard had vowed they would be wed. Anxiety and desperation were her company, and she could not sleep. While gazing forlornly out her window, the little bird flew onto the sill and startled her, for he had never before come after dark. In his beak was a tiny scroll which he dropped at her feet. On the tiny scroll was a tiny message. It said only: “I am coming.”
Well, now her heart was filled with hope, and the storybook princess gathered her few precious memories into a silken bag so as not to lose them if he really did come. Clutching the bag, she lay on her mattress and now slept, dreaming of the handsome prince that was coming to her aid. The note had not mentioned a handsome prince, but she just knew it must be one.
Just as the sun’s rays poked holes in the darkness there was a loud commotion beneath her window. Jumping up and peering into the misty dawn at the ground below she glimpsed a man engaged in a fierce duel with the wicked wizard. Fearing for her hero’s life she held her breath and could scarcely bear watching. In seconds they were inside the castle, the clashing and clanging of swords echoing through the halls. Just as quickly the noise quickly subsided, and moments later the door to her prison was opened and in the doorway stood a youthful blonde-haired boy who, by all appearances, was much too young to have been engaged in such a desperate struggle with the old wizard.
As if in a great hurry the boy’s blue eyes swept the room and all of a moment, seeing that the door stayed unlocked when he let it go and that the princess within was alive, the youth turned on his heels and disappeared down the stone corridor, footsteps echoing against the walls, fading finally into silence. Quite stunned, the princess stood frozen for several moments before she could gather herself and her silken bag, and follow him. By the time she got to the throne room where the evil wizard was quite dead, her rescuer was nowhere to be seen. Puzzled, the storybook princess sat on her late mother’s throne thinking about this strange and fortunate event. Her silken bag of memories was on her lap, and as she sat pondering what to do, she was sure she heard a baby cry.
Setting her bag carefully on a little table, she followed the sound of the whimpering cries and came to a room quite small and dark, and as she peered in, blinked to adjust her eyes to the dim light. On a straw mat, in the corner of the tiny room by the fireplace, lay a boy babe, whimpering and grasping the air with tiny fingers. As she bent down to pick the wee child up, her eyes caught sight of a tiny scroll lying on the ground next to his mat. It appeared to be exactly like the one brought by her friend the bird. She unrolled the little note and it read simply: “You are free.”
The princess looked at the note, then at the babe, and was sure she saw recognition in his tiny blue eyes. Gently she gathered him into her arms and carried the boy-child out of the dim room into the light, which sparkled in his fine wispy blonde hair. Carefully she put both tiny scrolls in her silken bag of memories. Then the princess placed the babe in a golden cradle, put her late mother’s crown on her head, and took her place on the queen’s throne.
The storybook princess, now queen, never did see again the man who valiantly fought the wizard, or the young boy who opened her prison door. She raised the babe as her own and loved him greatly. In her old age she often looked upon her handsome son, wondering at how great his resemblance was to the young prince who had set her free. The prince grew strong and wise, and handsome to look upon. He protected his mother fiercely, and his reputation spread far and wide. The storybook princess was a good queen and her kingdom prospered. When the sands of time ran out for the beautiful queen, her son became king, and married a beautiful princess that he had rescued from a tower in a nearby kingdom.
About Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids
Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder-Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon