Published 7 years ago
A long, long time ago in a faraway land there was a little Princess named Annabelle. She was quite young, perhaps as young as nine. She was rather small and delicate with long golden hair that framed her rosy red cheeks perfectly.
Annabelle was traveling by carriage to visit her mother a fair distance away. Her mother, not possessing a drop of royal blood, had been cast off from the family upon giving birth to Annabelle. Her father, a man of rather ill repute to match his ill temper, had produced yet another child out of wedlock, but as the son of a King, no harm would ever befall him.
No, he would pay no penalty for his latest transgression. Instead, he was given the dubious title of Lord.
As the rumbling carriage made its way through the forest, Annabelle spotted a lone figure sitting by a babbling brook under an huge oak tree. There was something about this figure that intrigued her. It showed no movement, but she felt as if it were beckoning to her.
“Stop!” She shouted.
The carriage driver pulled hard on the reins, sensing an emergency. Inside the coach, her guard, an amiable fellow named George leaned forward and asked the young Princess, “What is it?”
She was a curious child by nature, but possessed no fears. In fact, the fear of the unknown was her catalyst, a force to be reckoned with and driving her to seek answers. Even answers that often displeased her.
Annabelle replied, “I’m not sure, but I must investigate. Don’t worry, George. I shall be right back.”
With that, she pushed open the carriage door, lifted her skirts and placed a foot delicately on the top step as the driver reached for her tiny hand. He held it high as she took the bottom step, then let go when she said, “Thank you William. I’ll only be a moment.” Then glanced at the royal horses bobbing their festooned heads up and down.
“I think the horses need water. Will you see to it?”
William replied, “Right away, Princess.”
The young Princess lifted her skirts once again, and scampered down the hill to the mysterious figure. Once there, she stood quietly for a moment. The smell of honeysuckle assaulted her senses and she found the babbling brook loud and annoying.
At the base of the tree, there appeared to be a man, though she could not see his face. But she did see dark trousers and the top of a wide brimmed hat.
She lowered her head and assuming it was a man, whispered, “Hello. Are you alright, Mister?”
The brim of the hat eased up revealing the face of a young boy of ten or eleven, startling Annabelle. But she immediately felt at ease when he answered, “Yes. I am fine. But, thank you for asking.” He was very softspoken, only adding to his allure.
Her calculated and guarded response was, “Oh, you’re welcome. My name is Annabelle. Who are you and where do you come from?” She felt it unwise to reveal more than necessary.
The boy said, “I’m Nicholas. I live closeby.” Then he looked up the hill at the gleaming white carriage gilded in gold. He nodded and smiled, “It suits you. Are you a Princess?”
Feeling the boy could do her no harm, she grinned timidly, turned and pointed over the hills. “Yes. I am Princess Annabelle from beyond Camelot.”
It was the custom to stand and bow in the presence of royalty, but Nicholas did not. Ordinarily, a Princess would have scolded such rude behavior, but Princess Annabelle wasn’t like that. Besides, something told her not to. Instead, she was focusing on the stream where something had caught her eye.
She bent down, “Nicholas?”
“Yes, Princess?” He replied while breaking a twig in half.
“There’s something in the water. It looks distressed. Do you see it?” She pointed to what appeared to be a little goldfish struggling to breathe. Its little gills were contracting rapidly.
Nicholas answered, “I see it Princess.” Then he looked up at her and asked, “What do you want me to do?”
She rested her hands on her knees and stared, “I don’t know, but it looks like its dying. Can you save it?”
“Do you believe I can save it?” He asked.
Annabelle wasn’t sure, but this young boy seemed to have a strange aura about him that told her he could.
“Do you have the power?” She asked for confirmation.
Nicholas stared in the water, “We all have the power, Princess.”
The Princess stood and thought for a moment before answering, “I...I have no such power.” She dropped her eyes and continued, “But, I suspect you do.”
Nicholas dropped to his knees and reached in the water, “Suspect is not enough. You must believe, Princess. Do you believe?”
She nodded, “Yes, Nicholas. I believe you have the power.”
He looked up at her and smiled, “Truly?”
She smiled, “Truly.”
With one quick swoop, he picked up the dying goldfish, brought it to his lips, kissed it, then closed his hand around it concealing it from her sight.
It frightened her, “Nicholas. What are you doing? Don’t kill it!”
He opened his hand revealing the little goldfish breathing normally and flapping its tail.
She jumped for joy,“Oh, Nicholas. It’s alive. You saved it!”
Nicholas replied, “No, Princess Annabelle. You saved it.”
Annabelle was puzzled, “Me? I did nothing.”
He looked over his shoulder and stared in her eyes.“You believed it could be saved. If you believe something’s possible, then it is.”
The young boy then stood and reached for her hand. Annabelle opened it and Nicholas laid the perky goldfish in her palm.
“It’s yours now, Princess. Do with it what you will.”
Annabelle bent down to the babbling brook , looked up at him and said, “I want it to live.” Then lowered her palm into the water. The water filled her hand and the little goldfish wiggled its tail, then disappeared. She turned to Nicholas, “Where did it go? I didn’t see it swim away.” Then started to cry.
Nichlolas said, “Don’t cry. It’s right there. Don’t you see it? By that dark rock.”
The Princess leaned over and looked very close. There was something gold there, but it wasn’t a goldfish. It appeared to be a gold chain wiggling in the fast moving stream.
“That’s not a goldfish, Nicholas. I think it’s a gold chain.” She said with more than a little doubt. “But, why is it here?”
“Pick it up and find out.” He said with a grin.
She reached in the cool water, grabbed the chain and tugged on it. “It won’t budge. I think it’s stuck on something.”
Nicholas replied, “The rock. Move the rock.”
Annabelle moved the rock and freed the chain. She pulled it from the water and smiled. “Oh, look, Nicholas. It’s a locket!”
He nodded, “So it is. You’re having quite a day. That’s two things you’ve saved . First, the goldfish and now the locket.”
Her heart was pounding. The very thought that she had the power to save anything overwhelmed her.
But, was it really her power? Or was it Nicholas? The strange young boy was certainly unlike any boy she’d met before.
“Nicholas. Would you come home with me? I’d like to show you off.” She asked gleefuly.
Nicholas replied, “I’ll always be with you. Go now. Show yourself off. Let everyone see your power.”
The little Princess was hesitant, “But... but. Nicholas...”
“Go.” He answered with a nod.
Annabelle turned and headed up the hill clutching her gold locket. Once she reached her stately carriage, she turned and looked down the hill. Nicholas was gone. Even the tree was gone.
William helped her into the carriage where she plopped down on her seat, still clinging to her precious locket. She glanced out the window and saw a young dragon flying out of the stream. Were her eyes deceiving her? Had any of this really happened?
She found her answer when she opened the locket. Inside was a picture of Nicholas and an inscription. It read: To Annabelle with love from Nicholas.
George asked, “What did you discover down there?”
The Princess smiled, “Everything, George. My future, perhaps. I guess we shall see.”
*Many of you know this is a departure from my normal work, but if you enjoyed it and would like to see more, just leave me a comment and I'll see what I can do.*