This is a short children’s story I wrote a while ago for a contest on the officials. With the old forums closed down, I wanted to make sure I had a copy of it here. It’s a bit silly but I hope you enjoy it!
Jane was born into a noble family, the last of three daughters. As she grew into a child, she developed thick, dark hair all over her body, a pronounced under-bite, sharp fangs, and luminous eyes.
Her father called her a monster and locked her in the tallest tower of his castle, where she had no one to talk to, no more than meal a day, and only itchy, dirty clothes to wear.
But with her long nails and athletic frame, Jane was an excellent climber. She would scale the castle walls and take the clothes that her sisters had outgrown and grown away. Jane’s favourite thing to do was to wave at the noble ladies travelling between her the royal castle and her father’s. She would give anything to look like them, just for one night.
She was too high up for them to see of course, and if they had caught sight of her Jane knew they would have been afraid. But in her dreams she was a beautiful princess, admired by everyone and promised to a prince.
Years passed, and Jane grew into a young woman.
She still sat by her window, but she no longer watched the knights and ladies go by. The reminder of what she would never have was too painful for her.
By now, everyone had forgotten about Jane in her tower. Food no longer came, but she didn’t mind; she had always hated the revolted looks the servants would give her when they brought it. Instead, Jane would climb down from her tower and fish in the nearby woods. It made her happy to watch the silver fish dance and shimmer in the water and to feel the cool wind through her thick hair.
On Jane’s eighteenth birthday, a fairy appeared to her in her cell. Jane was at first afraid and suspicious, but the fairy spoke to kindly to her that she was soon put at ease.
‘Happy Birthday, Jane,’ said the fairy, ‘I am here to grant you a wish. For one night, you shall be a beautiful princess, with golden hair and a fair face, and I shall give you a dress that shall be almost as beautiful as you. You shall wear them to the royal feast tonight, where the Prince will be looking for a wife. Now close your eyes.’
So Jane did as she was told, and when she opened them, she was everything the fairy had promised.
Jane arrived at the royal castle full of excitement. She was surrounded beautiful people in beautiful clothes, and she was one of them! But when Jane listened to the other ladies talking, it seemed that they were not so impressed. They moaned about the music and the food, and made snide remarks about other ladies’ gowns.
The Prince himself was not the courteous, vibrant man she had imagined. He sat on his throne looking bored by everything, and Jane could not get near enough to speak to him.
Disheartened, Jane returned to her tower. When morning came, she was transformed back into her old self.
Jane finally let go of her old dream. She could fish and garden better than any of the ladies at court, even though she would never be beautiful like them. But one day, when she was tending her garden, the Prince walked by and noticed her.
Jane warmed to the Prince immediately. He spoke softly to her and did not look away in fear. He told her all about his life at court, and how dull he found the women there. ‘They all look and dress the same,’ he explained, ‘and none of them has a single interesting thing to say.’ But you, you’re so different. You’re so full of life, and you have the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen.’ Jane thought the compliment must be some strange joke, but everything else the Prince had said had been so kind, that Jane chose to ignore it. Then she told him the whole story of her life, ending with her night at the royal castle, and how disappointed she had been by everything she had found there.
The Prince and Jane talked for hours, and it was not long before they had fallen in love. The Prince proposed to Jane and, struck dumb with surprise, she could only nod and smile her assent.
Jane took the Prince to see her tower cell. He was very strong and brave, though she did have to help him a little with the climb. ‘I’m sorry but I don’t understand,’ Jane said, finally able to speak again, ‘You are a Prince and I am monster. How can you love something as hideous as me?’ Her betrothed took her in his arms and looked long and hard at her, then said, ‘Jane, I love you, and I see nothing hideous in you. But I also need you to see for yourself how beautiful you are, inside and out.’ So he took her to her glass and made her look, and for the first time she truly saw herself. Her eyes were bluer than sapphires, her hair was soft and glossy, and her legs and arms were powerful.
The Prince and Jane made their wedding vows outside, in a beautiful woodland clearing.
And of course they lived happily ever after!