The other day Dragon asked me to tell her a story that I made up. It’s the first time she’s asked in almost 2 years. I made up a quick story and she liked it. When she asked again, I took the opportunity to try and bring back La Princesse.
In a realm of magic, in a time of heroes; there lived Princesse. She lived in a large castle with her mum, the Queen, and her papa, the King.
She loved everything; adventure, myth, and magic. One day, she hoped to become a wizard. She also loved spooky stories and was reading one before bed.
The story was fun and sent shivers of excitement and fear up and down her spine. She turned off her light and closed her eyes.
A horrible wailing noise filled her room. It didn’t last long but she was so scared, she didn’t fall asleep until early the next morning.
The lack of sleep meant she was extra tired the next day, but she convinced herself that it was just the wind.
The second night the wailing happened at the exact same time and she was again too scared to go to sleep. She imagined all sorts of spirits, wraiths, and ghouls that could be hiding in the castle. She didn’t sleep at all that night.
When she fell asleep in her soup at lunch, her papa asked her what was wrong. She could tell he was trying really hard not to laugh.
“I keep hearing a sound like someone crying at night.”
He said maybe it was the wind, her imagination, or maybe she was dreaming. He offered to put a guard at her door or for her to sleep in their room, but she said no.
On the third night, she was struck by sympathy for whatever was crying and with frustration, she decided to find out what was making the noise.
She put on her housecoat and slippers before leaving her room and following the sound. It was coming from behind a large painting of her great-grandfather. She saw that there were curtains on either side of it and when she looked behind it, there was a passageway.
In large castles and some mansions, there are often hidden passages for servants and guards to move unseen and quickly. This was one of them and the sound was coming out of a large pipe that opened behind the painting and went along the wall.
The Princesse was so absorbed in following the pipe that she almost tripped on a younger girl, not much older than herself, who was sitting on some steps and crying. The other end of the pipe was over her head.
“Hello, are you okay?” she asked the crying girl.
“Yes,” she said glumly and then noticed who she was talking to and stood up. “Princesse, what are you doing here?”
“I followed this pipe from near my room. It was causing your crying to sound like a ghost.”
The girl turned bright red and looked directly at the Princesse. The girl’s eyes were purple. “I’m sorry. I’ve just been really sad. It’s been a year since I came here and you and your family have been very kind, giving me a job and a place to stay, but I miss my parents.”
“Where are your parents?” The Princesse tried to sound calming the way her papa did when he was trying to calm a horse.
“My home was in danger and they sent me here. They were supposed to follow me, but they never did.”
“I’m sorry.” it sounded hollow to her own ears, so the Princess gave the girl a hug.
“Thank you and I’m sorry I woke you up. I’m Meagan.”
“Nice to meet you, Meagan. Next time you feel sad you can come see me and I’ll sit with you while you cry. Maybe we can have tea.” The Princesse liked the idea of having a friend inside the castle.
She quickly found that Meagan wasn’t like other people their age. She went to school, but she didn’t know the same books or plays and she didn’t treat the Princesse any differently.
That was nice. She was used to people being guarded because of who she was. They weren’t afraid of her or her parents, just overly formal and distant.
The two started having tea together before bed and telling each other ghost stories, and the Princess was never again woken by the wailing ghost.
Heroes, Legends, Fairies, and other Absurdities are the expanded versions of stories I’ve told my children at night before bed. They’re short, silly, and were completely improvised in the telling.