Amazing Kids! Magazine

Normally Ever After

By Sahara Kaul, age 12, Alberta, Canada

 

Lindsey had five brothers. She was the only girl. Of course, they were a noisy lot. They played most of the time and they fought all the time.

On this particular day Lindsey quarrelled with each one of her siblings. She disagreed with all they did and all they said. She said they were being mean to her and being unfair. Finally she announced that she was not going to play with them and she was never going to have anything to do with them ever again.

She stormed off to her tiny bedroom, hurled herself onto a bed and burst into tears. She was angry and she was miserable. Why did she have to be Lindsey in this family with these brothers? Why couldn’t she be someone else? Why couldn’t she be one of those who were princesses or became princesses and lived happily ever after?

Swept away on this tide of ideas she thought, why can’t I be Cinderella?

The image of a girl appeared before her. She was dressed in rags and her face was covered with dust and grime. Blue eyes blinked at her, and straw colored curls hung down to the shoulders of her dirty gown. She was hard at work, cleaning the dishes, scrubbing the floors. Occasionally she sighed, sometimes she smiled as though a happy thought had struck her.

Lindsey was brought up short. If she was Cinderella she would have no father or mother. You’ll have to scrub the floors, she told herself. Mother does that in my life. But it would not be for long, only until she went to the ball and met the Prince.

To go to the ball she would need the fairy godmother who would wave her wand over her and transform her rags into a glittering gown. But to go to the ball she would need a coach drawn by six horses and driven by a coachman. She would have to find a pumpkin (it would be difficult because it was not Halloween), six lizards or mice and a rat (again difficult because her mother kept a very clean house, clear of all vermin). She was horrified at the thought. She could not touch lizards or mice even if she found them, and she certainly could not touch a rat (as Cinderella lovingly did in the Disney movie). But think of it, Lindsey, she told herself, at the end of it there is a ball and a Prince! Picking up rodents once is worth it.

She paused. No, she could not do it–not even to get the Prince.

No. Cinderella was out. So why not another who got her Prince and lived happily ever after without picking up rats and mice? Why not Snow White who was beautiful and good? Hmm. Maybe.

As she imagined Snow White with her snow white skin, blood red lips and black wavy hair, she saw yet another pretty woman, glaring down enviously at the beautiful one. The Evil Queen…

Suddenly, the queen was alone, gazing at a face in the mirror.

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Her voice was so high Lindsey was surprised the glass didn’t crack.

“I would love to say you are, my Queen,” a deep voice boomed. “But Snow White surpasses all the others, including you, Your Highness.”

The Queen’s pale face turned purple with rage. She marched down the steps, turned herself into a hag, plucked a rosy red apple from a basket and smiled wickedly. “Perfect,” she purred.

She saw Snow White dancing with the dwarfs, and then about to accept the apple from the hag.

She’s dumb, Lindsay decided. She knows the Queen is out to get her, she had made two other attempts and the dwarves luckily saved her. So why would she now accept the apple especially after the dwarves had warned her not to take anything from a stranger?

Lindsey clicked her tongue in disapproval. Then another thought struck her. If she were Snow White she would have to lie in a glass coffin for months and months until the Prince rode by. What an awful prospect. She would be suffocated. No, Snow White was difficult, too.

In her mind she went over all other possible “lived happily ever after” princesses. Sleeping Beauty? No. Lindsey was not prepared to sleep for a hundred years or whatever it was. How about the Princess in The Frog Prince? She did not have to scrub and she was not threatened by stepmothers. She was a Princess who played with a golden ball. Lindsey would not mind having a golden ball–which she would not share with her brothers!

She imagined herself with a golden ball in her hands, running through grassy fields, tossing the ball up, laughing. And then, it landed in the lake. Reaching for it, she caught a glimpse of herself. Her long brown hair cascaded to her waist, and green eyes gazed back at her. Her ruddy cheeks brought out her softly tanned skin. She admired herself for a few seconds before she remembered her ball.

She leaned over the water trying to reach the ball but, do what she may, she could not and she burst into tears. Suddenly a slimy green frog appeared. “He-ribit-llo,” it croaked with a slimy, ugly smile. The Princess screamed.

“Don’t cry,” said the frog. “Tell me what the matter is and I will help.”

“My ball,” she sobbed. “I’ve lost my ball in the lake.”

“Well, here’s the-ribit- deal. So,” Lindsey could have sworn she saw the frog’s eyebrows rise up, “will you do whatever I want if I get you your ball?”

That girl must have really loved that ball, because she agreed.

“All you have to do is to take me home with you, let me eat with you at your table and let me sleep on your pillow.”

Of course, the princess agreed and then did what Lindsey would have done–she took the ball and ran home leaving the frog where he was. But the frog followed her and her father made her keep her promise and let him eat with them at the table.

Then the frog said. “Now Highness, you need to take me to bed and put me on your pillow.”

The girl’s eyes widened in horror and she swatted at the green creature.

“Now Tatiana,” the King thundered and his eyebrows inched up his face until Lindsey was pretty sure they were off his forehead. “You made a deal with this-” he gulped, “young gentleman and I expect you to keep your word.” What an unsympathetic father, Lindsey thought, but she had a feeling her parents would do the same so long as it wasn’t their pillow.

Swallowing the rest of her food (which Lindsey wouldn’t have been able to do because of the prospect of a slimy frog sleeping on her pillow), she forced herself to pick up the frog with a napkin and started up the stairs.

Well, the princess did put him in her room, just not on her pillow, not on her bed – not even close to the bed for that matter.

“Put me on your pillow, not the floor,” croaked the frog. “Ah,” he said nestling into the pillow. “Now, where were we? Ah yes, now you have to kiss me.”

“What!” Lindsey watched, frozen in horror as Tatiana did what Lindsey would have done–flung the frog against the floor–where the slimy creature slowly transformed into a regal looking, red headed prince, with startling green eyes. No, no, this was not acceptable.

“Lindsey!” A voice snapped Lindsey out of her search for the right princess and a hand gently stroked her black hair. “Lindsey! Were your siblings teasing you, sweetpea?”

Lindsay nodded. Her mother, too, nodded understandingly. “I made you your favorite cake. Do you want to come down?”

Holding her mother’s hand she trotted down the stairs. The chocolate cake with vanilla icing looked delicious.

“Is it ALL for me?”

Her mother smiled. Just at that moment her oldest brother appeared in the doorway.

“Hey Lindsey, I need someone on my team. Come on. Be a sport.” Lindsey toyed with the invitation. “All right. But I will decide what position I will play in. Let’s go play.” She looked at the cake. “We’ll have this as a treat afterwards.”

As they ran outside, Lindsey wondered why she ever wanted to live happily ever after. Yes, the luxury was tempting but the price for it all? The evil queens? The frogs? Not a chance. Because, at the end of the day, even with her 5 noisy brothers and their teasing,  she didn’t want to change a single thing. She just wanted to live normally ever after.