I normally don’t like to preface my creations, but I want to explain this piece a bit since I’m not ready to continue with the serial fiction yet (there’s way more prep work that needs doing than I anticipated). I wrote this story for a Fairy Tales class I took in college and it was my first attempt at what would become my favorite writing voice. I started reading Terry Pratchett in the year following this story and I improved once I had a wider variety of examples to emulate when writing this sort of humorous, trope-challenging fiction. Still, this story holds a special place in my heart because it was my first expression of what I consider MY narratorial voice, rather than the one I pick up and put down for most of my other storytelling. Here it is, reproduced and only slightly edited (I couldn’t just leave ALL the grammatical and spelling errors). I hope you enjoy it.
Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, where dragons and princesses lived and magic was still a part of life, there was a Prince Abrams who traveled the country and rescued all sorts of damsels from dragons. He was a brave hero who was loved by all the land and won the hearts of many princesses.
“Didn’t I tell you to stop that?”
I’m merely informing the reader of your many illustrious deeds and-
“Don’t listen to the narrator, he’s not telling you everything. My NAME is Prince; I’m not actually a prince. My father thought it would be funny and my mother loved the idea of having a prince for a son.”
Now why’d you have to go and spoil it for the reader, Prince? I would have told them a tale of your daring and bravery!
“I’m sure they have better things to do than listen to you talk about how I ‘slayed the mighty Pig-monster that was terrorizing my town!’ It was only a pig, a normal-sized pig that no one else wanted to bother with.”
Well, how about the adventure you’re on now?
“Narrator, as I’ve told you before, I’m not going on an adventure, I simply moved out of my parent’s house and am going to start my adult life in a different town.”
That may be true, but it sounds more interesting the way I say it…
“Just be quiet for now, I’ve got a long way to go before I reach my destination.”
The valiant Prince trudged over hills and through valleys, forged mighty rivers and blazed a trail through an ancient forest! He travelled for many days and fought his way through terrible storms but finally, he caught sight of–
“IT’S ONLY BEEN TWO HOURS!” Prince exclaimed, “and are you going to say I ‘fought my way through terrible storms’ every time I wash my face?”
-caught sight of a grand castle in the distance. It had majestic sweeping parapets and two tall towers on the far side. The lower walls were covered in vines and moss and there were many ancient trees growing near its walls. He made his way to the aged castle and knocked on the sturdy, oaken door, seeking shelter from the brutal elements. When no one answered, he cautiously pushed the door open and stepped inside.
“Hello?” called Prince, “Is there anyone there?”
Hearing no response, he walked through the empty hallways. The castle was modestly furnished, for a castle, there were torches in all the brackets and a fire burning cheerily in every hearth, but there wasn’t a person to be seen anywhere. As Prince searched the first floor, he noticed a quiet wheezing noise was coming from above, almost as if the castle itself where breathing. He found himself in the kitchens and was surprised to find that there no sign of food anywhere. All the pots were hung on pegs, gleaming and spotless, there were stacks of mugs and plates that looked as if they had never been used. Prince gazed in awe at that spotless kitchen and was thus caught by surprise when a door opened behind him.
“Who are you?” exclaimed a burly man with a sword and buckler in his hands.
“I’m merely a traveler,” answered Prince, “one that is looking for a place to spend the night if I may.”
“You certainly look harmless enough,” murmured the burly man, “but it is up to the steward to decide. Follow me.”
Prince followed the burly man through the door and down a flight of stairs into the castle’s cellar. The cellar was furnished much better than the rest of the castle and hardly resembled a cellar at all. The only signs that this was indeed a cellar were the stained walls, the group of ale barrels in a corner, the vast wine racks, and food stored in a side room. The burly man led him through the entry room and into the back storerooms where they greeted by a tall, well-dressed and distinguished-looking man.
“Ah, Maxwell! I see you have corralled our intruder. Who is he?” asked the distinguished man.
“He claims to be a simple traveler and his possessions speak to the truth of what he says.”
The distinguished man turned to Prince and said, “Hello, I am this castle’s steward and I wish I could welcome you into the castle in a more comfortable setting, but we are having a few issues at the moment. Pardon me for asking, but what is your name?”
“I am Prince Abr-” began Prince, but he was interrupted by a gasp from the burly man and the steward.
“Prince!?” exclaimed the steward, “Please forgive me for my rudeness, my liege!” and with that, the steward fell to his knee in a bow, as did the burly man.
“Did I hear you say prince?” came a voice from the other room and in walked a broad and well-built man wearing a white apron. Seeing the steward burly man bowing, he too fell to one knee and called out over his shoulder, “I heard right, it’s a prince!”
Prince groaned inwardly as more people came rushing into the room and fell to their knees. After everyone had come into the room, they all rose and returned to their business. The steward approached Prince, but Prince rushed to speak before the steward: “You misunderstood me, good steward, I am-”
“You are our savior!” exclaimed the steward jubilantly. “You will be able to break the curse that awful witch has set upon our castle.”
“Please let me- wait, you have been cursed?” queried Prince, for he was truly a good man who would not hesitate to help others in need.
“Yes,” replied the steward with a mournful sigh, “a witch placed a curse on our beloved princess that caused her to grow enormously fat and eat everything in sight in one bite!”
Prince was startled at this horrid curse and immediately felt a pang of pity for the poor princess. “What can I do to help?” he asked gently.
“You must take your sword and slay the awful witch! She has taken up residence within our princess so we would not be able to touch her! But you, my good Prince, will be able to survive being eaten by the princess. Then you can hunt down that dreadful witch, slay her, and everything will return to normal!”
“How will I survive where another might not?” asked Prince.
“All princes have some magic that enables them to survive,” said the steward, “did you not know your own power?”
“No, you see I-” began Prince.
“Where is your majestic sword and princely attire?” interrupted the steward, “how can you go save our princess without your sword and attire?”
“You see, I haven’t got a majestic sword and princely attire because-” Prince said before he got cut off once again by the distinguished steward.
“You where robbed during your travels? How awful! Then we must find you a sword and dress you in our finest garb! Blacksmith? Bring your finest sword to the prince so he might save our castle! Good Tailor! Bring your finest tunic for our savior, the prince!”
A blacksmith appeared from one of the back rooms bearing a beautiful sword with a jewel encrusted hilt sheathed inside a scabbard with gold and silver inlay. He lowered himself to one knee and presented Prince with the beautiful sword and scabbard. Prince took the sword somewhat reluctantly and bade that man rise. As he left, a tailor appeared through the same day and presented Prince with a tunic of purple that almost simmer as it shifted in his hands. The prince slipped the tunic over his head and buckled the sword to his waist.
“Wise prince! You look marvelous in your princely attire and your sword looks most fearsome! Please, find our princess underneath the west-most tower and defeat the evil witch inside her!”
Prince looked at the smiling, expectant face in front of him and sighed. “I shall do as you ask good steward. I will save your princess.”
The steward began bubbling with gratitude and showed Prince to the stairs, supplying him along the way with directions to the princess’ room. Prince walked up the stairs and strode out confidently to the princess’ room. He stopped at the door as the wheezing sound seemed to grow stronger the closer he got to the room. He threw the door open and was horrified by the sight lay before him. A mountain of flesh lay in the room. It was impossible to distinguish any body parts from amongst the piles of flesh. Prince stepped cautiously into the room and before he could react, he was grabbed by a pink lump and thrown into a gigantic mouth. He tumbled down the throat and splashed into what appeared to be the princess’ stomach. He pulled a lantern out of his pack and lit it.
Prince spent the entire day searching through the princess organs, but found no witch, only enough furniture to furnish the castle and innumerable bones, both human and animal. After sleeping awhile, he continued his search in her leg. He found a vicious tapeworm that proceeded to attack him. Prince slew it with a few deft strokes of his majestic sword and continued on his way. After finding nothing more in her leg, he returned to the stomach, slept, and then he searched her other leg. This leg looked almost like a huge empty hallway except for stacks of partially digested food sitting around on the floor; her entire leg was completely hollow. The next day he searched one of her arms and found it filled with weapons of all sorts, but all of them were rusted and decaying. The Princess’ other arm was a maze of tissue that took him two days to navigate his way into and out of. Finally, on his 6th day inside the princess, he searched her head and found it full of brains but otherwise empty.
“Narrator, it’s been 6 days since I began my search, and I’ve found no witch.”
Do not give up yet valiant Prince! The witch may yet be hiding within the poor princess!
“No. I’m done. I’m leaving.”
But you can’t! You told the steward you’d slay the witch! And if you don’t, who will save the princess?
“How about this? You, Narrator, go find an actual prince to narrate and get him to come to this castle.”
But where will I find another prince as brave, kind, and valiant as you?
“I’m no prince, and there’s no witch here. The princess is simply a person of gargantuan proportions who ate so much that her skin no longer fits on her bones, or has been an unfortunate victim of some unnatural phenomenon.”
But princes save princesses!
“Indeed? Well, maybe that’s why they always need saving. You can’t count on someone to come along and solve all your problems for you. More often than not, no one will do anything about your problems unless you have already started.”
“No, I’m leaving. If these people want the princess to return to normal, then they had better break a hole in the wall so she can go out and get some exercise. But I’m done. I’m going to cut my way out and leave. Good-bye Narrator, hopefully you’ll find someone else to narrate.”
Prince swung the jeweled sword and cut a way out. He dodged the pink lump that tried to snatch him then ran out the door. He returned to the steward, fully explained his name, returned the sword and tunic, and recommended that they take the princess out to get some exercise as there is no witch. He was then chased out of the castle by the steward and burly man as they believed the witch had taken him under her control. Once out of the castle, the prince brushed himself off, and without a look backward, walked off into the horizon…
So… Um… Reader! How would you like to save a princess…?