This is a short story (kids book in the making?) that I wrote after a therapy appointment a few weeks ago. Enjoy 🙂
Once upon a time there was a little princess who knew in her deepest heart that it was her destiny to be a queen. Each morning she arose and undertook a perfect set of rituals to make her a perfect queen. She would dress in a pure white gown, stand up very straight, take her lessons quietly and follow every rule so that when she grew old enough, the people in her kingdom would see how perfectly fit she was to be queen and they would raise her to her rightful place on the throne.
She studied politics, languages, and diplomacy to be a good leader. She studied ethics and philosophy and social justice to be fair. She learned music and decorum and decorating to be lady-like and beautiful. She was the paragon of class, charm, intelligence, and hard work. Someone had to see how suited she was to be queen.
As she grew older, the fair princess saw that despite her perfection, she was overlooked. The boys were stronger and faster than she was. They showed they were ready leaders through their competitions and it was clear to everyone that the victor deserved praise and power. She knew she deserved to be queen, that she was smart and could solve the problems she saw around her. She knew that she had done all that was asked of her.
And so she decided she had to prove she was the equal of the boys, prove she could keep up, and silently show everyone by her sheer skill that she deserved to rule. If she defeated the boys, they would have to notice her.
She marched straight up to the biggest, strongest boy of them all and challenged him to an arm-wrestling competition. He grinned mercilessly, and they each took their seats; she daintily so as not to dirty her white dress. She was a lady after all, and even if she was going to show up these boys she still had to live up to womanly standards. She couldn’t be perfect if she was dirty. And so they began.
Just after she had handily beaten the burly boy, the princess looked around, wondering where her praises were. There were a few onlookers who cheered, but most of the crowd quickly dispersed, unfamiliar with her and her story, unknowing of her potential or even her desire to be queen.
Sadly she turned to walk home. She turned a corner and came upon a nasty scene. A pair of bullies were teasing a little girl, shoving her in the mud and calling her names. The princess were outraged. If she were queen, she would order them to stop. But she knew she had to follow the rules to be queen and that they wouldn’t listen to her anyway because she was just a princess, so she looked around for someone to tell, someone with power who could stop them.
She saw a policeman and ran to tug at his sleeve, yelling and pointing at the children.
“Hm, that looks nasty. I’ll have to go file a report about it. Then someone will come back to monitor the situation,” he responded before walking away. Growing more desperate, the princess ran to the parents of the children, but they laughed and said “Kids will be kids.”
The princess was angry. Something needed to be done and no one would do it. She had followed all the rules and no one was listening to her, nothing was changing. But she was just a little princess and she couldn’t do anything by herself. She had to stay clean, and do things right until people began to notice. She had to be perfect in order to be queen!
She looked back at the little girl crying in the mud and something inside of her grew larger and larger with righteous anger.
“STOP” she yelled, throwing herself between the bullies and the girl just in time to get shoved in the mud. She sat for a moment in stunned silence. Her beautiful white dress was ruined. She had yelled. She had broken the rules. Everyone froze and stared silently at her, but through her fear words came.
“You need to stop you bullies. I may not be queen, but I will defend this girl even if it means breaking every rule in the world. This is wrong and I don’t care if people see me and hear me doing this, I will protect her! I’d rather stand up for the innocent than be queen if being queen means staying quiet about things that are wrong!” The bullies looked down, abashed, and slowly walked back to their parents. No one had ever bothered to stand up to them before. Everyone had followed the rules quietly before.
The princess’s mother came hurrying out of the crowd towards her.
“What happened?” she demanded, her eyes taking in the ruined white dress in dismay.
“I’m sorry Mother. I know now I’ll never be queen because I didn’t do things by the rules and I got dirty, but I had to stop those bullies.”
“Oh my dear,” her mother smiled. “You are more of a queen today than you have ever been before. You can only be heard if you open your mouth and speak. Today you will be Queen of the Mud, and today everyone will see you for who you are. A true leader.”
The Queen of the Mud stood up, looking around her in astonishment as all around her people knelt in the mud and dirt to applaud her actions. They didn’t care that her sheen of perfection had vanished, that her dress was torn, that she was not pristine and perfect. She had gotten her hands dirty, and they had seen her.
“So this is how to be a queen,” she whispered.