The Little Princess

Once upon a time there was a little princess called Hekia. She lived in a giant castle built out of hard bricks.

Little Princess Hekia had a dream. She wanted everything to be her way. It was so very important to her that everything went exactly as she wanted it. Be it staying up past her bedtime, a present she got for Christmas, or a government policy with far-reaching implications for many years to come. It all had to be as Little Princess Hekia wanted it.

Then one day darkness came to the forest. Princess Hekia was sitting in her castle tower brushing her long, flowing hair with a brush made from the dreams of homeless children when she heard a distant laugh. She ran to the window and looked, but she couldn’t see anything. Once again, she heard the laugh. This time it was louder. Hekia wondered what it might be.

Running down the stairs of her tall tower, Hekia called out to her father.

“Father!! Father!!” she cried out in the hopes that King John was listening.

King John was listening, but not to her. He was listening to his court jester Freaky Joycie who was entertaining him with a story about a drunk muldoon. Princess Hekia rushed into the room and called to King John again.

“Father, father! Someone is laughing at me,” she informed him, “I can hear them in the forest. They are laughing. And it’s at me! Me!!”

King John looked at his daughter. For years he had been troubled with her thin skin. If it hadn’t been such an ancient and fictitious time, King John believed he would need a micrometer to measure the thickness of her skin. Would he deal with this now? Or, like any good father, would he just brush off his daughter’s concerns with some gentle platitudes. He was enjoying Freaky Joycie’s current nonsense and he wanted to see how it turned out.

“Darling,” he said to his concerned daughter, “you’ve got nothing to worry about. Nobody is laughing at you. At the end of the day if anybody does laugh at you, it’s because you are funny. Just look at Joycie. He’s so freaky looking. That’s why people laugh at him. You are a lovely and beautiful girl and I love you with all my heart but go away please. I’ve got better things to do.”

Princess Hekia left the throne room. She was on her own. If she wanted to find where the laughter was coming from, she would have to do it herself. At that moment determination grew inside her like a giant mutant slug. She stormed up to her room, took off her pretty dress, put on her gardening tunic, and headed out into the forest to find the source of the laughter.

Two days later Hekia lay exhausted at the edge of the forest. She had made it out across the drawbridge successfully but then ran into trouble in the grassy stretch between the castle and the forest. As it turned out, being cloistered for years in a high tower away from any external influences had not set her up very well to deal with the outside world.

Princess Hekia took a deep breath. Rather than heading into the dark and dangerous forest alone, she would return to the castle. She would demand King John surround her with a phalanx of special advisors, at huge cost to the crown, who would tell her exactly what to do, how to act, and what to say during confusing and dangerous situations such as the disaster she had just failed to deal with.

As Princess Hekia returned to the castle a smile spread across her face as she realised how relaxing the rest of her life would be because she had decided she would never have to think again.

The End


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